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  1. A recap of Monday's headlines

    People arriving at Heathrow Airport on 15 February 2021

    Thanks for joining us today as we've brought you the latest on coronavirus news from the UK and around the world.

    Here's a summary of some of the stories we've been covering.

    • People in the UK have to be "optimistic but patient" about the coronavirus situation and how restrictions might ease, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says. It comes as he said he'd set out a roadmap next week that would give a "route to normality" for England to move out of lockdown
    • The PM hailed the "achievement" of the vaccine rollout, during a press briefing at Downing Street, but warned that now was not the time to relax. It comes after No 10 said it had hit its target to offer a jab to the UK's 15 million most vulnerable people by 15 February
    • The first travellers required to stay at quarantine hotels after their arrival in England have begun their 10-day stays
    • Another 9,765 positive coronavirus tests have been recorded in the UK - it's the first time since 2 October the daily figure has been under 10,000 but it's worth remembering figures can be lower on a Monday
    • There have been a further 230 deaths of people who had tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days
    • People whose asthma is under control will not be prioritised for the Covid vaccine, the government has confirmed. The only exceptions will be if they are formally shielding, regularly take steroid tablets or have ever had an emergency hospital admission

    Today's live page has been brought to you by James Clarke, Doug Faulkner, Alex Kleiderman, Laurence Peter, Hazel Shearing, Penny Spiller, Lauren Turner, Lucy Webster, Kate Whannel and Cherry Wilson.

    We'll be back on Tuesday morning.

  2. Watch: Inside a UK quarantine hotel

    British and Irish citizens and UK residents arriving to England from "red list" countries have begun to self-isolate in hotels.

    Wiehann Meyer travelled from Johannesburg to the UK for a new job and has just begun his 10-day hotel quarantine alongside a friend, with whom he has been able to share the cost.

    Video content

    Video caption: First ‘red list’ travellers check-in to quarantine hotels
  3. Analysis: UK is winning the fight

    Nick Triggle

    Health Correspondent

    Shunu Abdalla, aged 54, receives a Covid-19 vaccination from an NHS nurse on board a modified bus

    With every day that passes, it becomes clearer and clearer that the UK is winning its fight against Covid. Science, as Boris Johnson said, is in the ascendancy.

    It is easy to forget this virus only emerged just over a year ago.

    But now the UK has approved three vaccines for use - two of which have already started to be rolled out at speed. Another two are being assessed by the regulator after promising trial results.

    There is confidence the mutations, while presenting a challenge, can be overcome. Plans are already being made to update the vaccines if needed to work better against new variants.

    No vaccine is 100% effective and some people may choose not to take it.That’s why advances in treatment are vital too.

    A cheap steroid, dexamethasone, is being widely used to improve the survival rates of the sickest patients. And last week it emerged an arthritis drug, tocilizumab, could also further improve survival chances.

    There is still a long way to go, but there is a cautious belief in both Westminster and among scientists that each step made from now on should be forward not back.

  4. Ministers risk 'dashing hope' by setting lockdown lift dates

    Radio 4 PM

    Ministers risk "dashing hope" by setting dates for the lifting of lockdown restrictions, a government adviser has warned.

    Stephen Reicher, professor of social psychology at the University of St Andrews, and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours, spoke to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.

    He said: “If you ask 'when' questions - or speculate about dates - in effect, you render people passive.

    "You don’t pose the real question, which is: what can we all do to bring infections down?

    “If you set a date and then you change it, you don’t give people hope, you dash hope. You bring despair.

    "You create what’s called ‘learned helplessness’, where people begin to feel we’re not in control of anything. Those are the conditions under which people give up.”

    The full interview can be found here, 48 minutes in.

  5. Reality Check

    Are ethnic minority people less likely to have the vaccine?

    NHS England’s Sir Simon Stevens has said that figures were published weekly on the uptake of the vaccine by different ethnic minority groups.

    But the numbers released aren’t particularly helpful.

    They are not broken down by age or by region, meaning we can’t see how well the older, priority groups are being targeted.

    Nor do we have a good idea on how large these communities actually are because the last census was a decade ago.

    This makes it difficult to work out what percentage of each group has had the vaccine.

    What we do know is that a large-scale study by the OpenSafely survey suggested that black people over 80 were almost half as likely to have had the vaccine than white people over 80.

    However, this study is now over two weeks old.

    Another more recent study fromLeicester’s main NHS trust found that just 36% of black staff had their first dose. This was compared with 71% of white staff.

  6. At a glance: More than 15 million first doses in UK

    Here is a quick look at coronavirus around the UK in numbers.

    Graph showing vaccine numbers in the UK
    Graph showing Covid cases in the UK
    Infographic showing Covid cases in the UK
  7. Analysis: Hints at what the 'new normal' could entail

    Jessica Parker

    BBC political correspondent

    Boris Johnson at Downing Street press conference on 15 February 2021

    Thinking about what the future might look can feel like a fairly futile exercise sometimes, with so much up in the air.

    But Boris Johnson did just offer up at least one interesting glimpse. He suggested there could well be rapid testing for people heading off to venues like nightclubs and theatres; a way of keeping a lid on infection rates in those parts of the economy that are the “toughest nuts to crack”.

    That may be some way off yet and there’ll be plenty of questions as to exactly how that would work.

    But it does shine a little light on what life might look like in the "new normal".

  8. Reality Check

    A scientific basis for lifting all restrictions by May?

    The lockdown-sceptic Covid Research Group (CRG) of Tory MPs has written to the prime minister demanding that all coronavirus rules be lifted by the end of April.

    The group argues that once the top nine priority groups have been vaccinated - which the government says it aims to complete by May - there will be “no justification” for the restrictions.

    The success of the vaccine rollout means by 1 May “about 99% of deaths & 80% hospitalisations from Covid protected,” CRG Deputy Chair Steve Baker tweeted.

    Might that be the case?

    In early December, England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam said it could be possible to cut deaths by 99% if everyone on the priority list took the vaccine and it was highly effective – but this was before the decision to delay second doses was announced.

    If the rollout progresses on schedule, some in those priority groups will have only just received their first vaccine at the end of April, so will not be fully protected.

    There is also a possibility the vaccine will be less effective against some variants of the virus, and the take-up, while high, is very unlikely to be 100%.

  9. Vaccine as good in 'real world' as in trial in Israel

    Rachel Schraer

    BBC Health Reporter

    Israeli man receives vaccine in Bnei Brak on 11 February 2021

    More data from Israel's vaccination programme is suggesting the Pfizer jab prevents 94% of symptomatic infections.

    This indicates the vaccine is performing just as well in a larger population as it did in the clinical trials.

    It is proving highly effective at preventing illness and severe disease among all age groups, according to public health doctor Prof Hagai Levine.

    "High vaccination coverage of the most susceptible groups" is key, he says.

    Israel is the first country in the world to see the impact of its vaccination programme, but it took significant population coverage and several weeks to reach this stage.

    You can read more here.

  10. Watch: Tocilizumab? How do you say that?

    As tricky as it is, Tocilizumab is a word Prime Minister Boris Johnson needs to get familiar with saying, as the drug normally used to treat arthritis could be a potential life-saver, according to research.

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid-19: PM has trouble pronouncing Covid-fighting drug
  11. Peru minister resigns over vaccinations for officials row

    Health workers in Lima receive the vaccine on 9 February 2021
    Image caption: Health workers in Peru began receiving the vaccine a week ago

    A second minister in Peru has resigned amid growing anger over revelations that senior officials have received the coronavirus vaccine well ahead of the public.

    Foreign Minister Elizabeth Astete tweeted that she had been inoculated in January and called it a “serious mistake”.

    Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti stepped down last week after it emerged former President Martin Vizcarra was vaccinated in October. Mr Vizcarra’s vaccination came just a few weeks before he was impeached and removed from office on charges of being morally incompetent.

    Peru has been hit hard by the pandemic, recording more than 1.2 million cases and over 43,700 deaths.

    Vaccinations of health workers began just over a week ago but no date has yet been set to roll out the programme to the wider public.

  12. Watch: 'Two sprints and a marathon'

    NHS England chief Simon Stevens was speaking at the Downing Street press conference this afternoon. He described the race to vaccinate people as "two sprints and a marathon".

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid-19: Race to vaccinate UK 'two sprints and a marathon'
  13. Reality Check

    NHS boss highlights 'pandemic of disinformation'

    At the UK government briefing, the chief executive of NHS England, Sir Simon Stevens said:“ We’re up against the pandemic of Covid and we’re up against a pandemic of disinformation”.

    False and misleading claims about vaccines have been circulating on social media for many months.

    They include baseless conspiracy theories that mass vaccinations are part of a secret plan to microchip people or that they can somehow alter human DNA.

    BBCReality Check has looked at many of these - including recent posts on vaccines and fertility – such as the false claim that vaccines contain proteins which could lead the body to attack the placenta.

    Some argue that Covid disinformation may be affecting vaccine take-up.

    In an experiment, BBC Panorama showed a panel one video filled with falsehoods - to see how it affected their willingness to get a jab.

  14. WHO approves Oxford-AstraZeneca for vaccine-sharing scheme

    Medical student Leona Leipold prepares a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination to give to Bradley Winfield in the back of a taxi parked outside a pop-up Covid-19 vaccination site near the Holland Park synagogue, London, on 14 February 2021

    The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use, which means it will be part of the WHO’s global vaccine-sharing scheme Covax.

    The vaccine will be produced at two plants - by SKBio in South Korea and the Serum Institute of India - and so had to be approved twice.

    "We now have all the pieces in place for the rapid distribution of vaccines," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

    "But we still need to scale up production."

    The Oxford vaccine is seen as the "vaccine for the world" as it is cheap, can be mass produced and is stored in a standard fridge.

    It has attracted controversy about its effectiveness against new variants, whether it should be used in the elderly and how far apart the doses should be given, due to a lack of data.

    But a review by the WHO found that it met the "must-have" criteria for safety, and its benefits outweighed the risks.

  15. What did we learn from today's press conference?

    Today's Downing Street coronavirus briefing was led by the prime minister.

    He was joined by Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, and Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer.

    Here's what they said:

    • Despite the success of offering a first vaccine to the top four priority groups, we do not know what effect vaccines have on transmission. There are still 1,600 hospital admissions a day, so restrictions must stay in place
    • Protection builds in the three weeks after the first vaccine dose, and then is strengthened and lengthened by the second. As more people are vaccinated, wider protection spreads
    • It is not yet clear whether booster shots will be needed and who will need them if they are, but the health service is prepared to provide them
    • Mr Johnson could not guarantee this would be the last national lockdown but said that due to vaccines and improving therapeutics he was increasingly optimistic
    • The government plans to rely on mass vaccination and rapid lateral flow tests to open up theatres and nightclubs, rather than domestic vaccine passports
  16. Analysis: The last lockdown?

    Jessica Parker

    BBC political correspondent

    Could this be the last lockdown?

    That is, of course, a huge shared hope and the government’s stated aim.

    It will soon be exactly a year since the first lockdown was brought in. Who knew then that we’d be in a third period of national restrictions 12 months later?

    Boris Johnson has been accused, at times, of over-promising and under-delivering during this crisis.

    Today, again, he’s urging caution - even as case rates fall and the vaccine roll-out goes well.

    That’s because ministers really don’t want to lift restrictions only to re-impose them again on a weary nation.

  17. How we will know if the vaccine is having an impact?

    The media questions wrap up with Alistair Smout from Reuters asking if it is the vaccine reducing infection cases or the national lockdown.

    He also asks who the PM holds responsible for a lack of transparency surrounding about the origins of the virus.

    To the first question, Prof Chris Whitty says the impact of the vaccine should become clear when looking at the data of those who have been vaccinated, in the order in which they received their dose.

    He adds that the UK's data set is not yet big enough to "see with the naked eye".

    On the second question, Boris Johnson says "most evidence" points to the disease having originated in Wuhan and stresses the importance of gathering as much evidence as possible.

    He also says a global treaty on pandemics is "an attractive idea".

  18. What if people in quarantine hotels can't pay?

    Metro's Dominic Yeatman asks the PM about quarantine hotels in the UK - he wants to know if people will have to pay extra if their release is delayed due to testing positive.

    What if they can't pay, he asks? He also wants to know what mental health provision is being made for these people being confined to a single room.

    Boris Johnson says it's currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays anyway so he would expect people coming in to the UK to be able to cover their costs.

    He says mental health support would be made available to whoever needs it.

    Sir Simon Stevens is asked why, when the UK is vaccinating an average of 435,000 people a day, the target for giving all over-50s a jab is the end of April.

    Sir Simon says the second doses still need to be administered and that the issue is vaccine supply.

    If supplies increase, then it "looks like we can go faster".

  19. NHS boss: We're up against a pandemic of misinformation

    Downing Street press conference

    The Financial Times' Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe asks what steps the government has taken on vaccine hesitancy and disinformation among minority groups. She also asks about the possibility of vaccine passports.

    NHS head Sir Simon Stevens says there is "real concern about hesitancy on the part of some black and South Asian communities".

    He adds that there is a "huge effort" to overcome that hesitancy and suggests there is "meaningful progress".

    "We are up against a pandemic of Covid and a pandemic of misinformation," he says.

    On vaccine passports, Boris Johnson says there are lots of discussions to be had but says at the moment the preferred route is one that relies on mass vaccinations plus rapid testing for places such as nightclubs and theatres.

  20. Could Dr Alex do the next briefing?

    Dr Alex George

    Earlier, Hannah from Glasgow asked whether a mental health spokesperson can speak at the next briefing to set out to the public how they can access mental health support.

    The PM says it is a "good idea" and suggests that Dr Alex George - ex-Love Islander and the government's youth mental health ambassador - could appear.

    "We'll try and find the right person to say something about how to do this and how to encourage everybody, really, to look after our mental wellbeing and try and keep going through this pandemic," he says.

    "I hope there isn't that much longer to go now, but clearly people have been under a lot of pressure and we've got to address that."

    He urges people to make use of NHS and charity mental health services and says the government has put a further £500m into supporting NHS mental health services.

    Prof Chris Whitty points out that one of the next priority groups for vaccination is people who have got "significant mental health problems".