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Live Reporting

Edited by James Clarke, Rob Corp and Claire Heald

All times stated are UK

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  1. Thanks for joining us

    Thanks for following our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic today.

    Updates were brought to you by Marie Jackson, Jennifer Meierhans, Victoria Lindrea, Alex Therrien, Richard Morris, Paul Kirby, James Clarke, Robert Corp and Claire Heald.

    Do join us again tomorrow when we will bring you the latest from the government's foreign travel review.

  2. Queen sympathises over 'poor man' Hancock

    The Queen and Boris Johnson

    The Queen referred to Health Secretary Matt Hancock as a "poor man" at a meeting with Boris Johnson.

    "I've just been talking to your Secretary of State for Health, poor man. He came for Privy Council," she told the prime minister.

    "He's full of...", she added. "Full of beans?", offered Mr Johnson.

    Their weekly meetings are usually private but cameras were invited in to record the start of the first one to take place since lockdown began.

    Read more here.

  3. What's been happening today?

    We are going to be wrapping up our live coverage of coronavirus soon so here's a recap on the day's news:

    • As of today, three in five adults - or about 60% of people in the UK - have had both coronavirus jabs
    • Progress is being made to "close the gap" in the uptake of Covid vaccines, with more people from ethnic minority backgrounds booking jabs, an NHS England boss has said
    • Between mid-March and mid-June, uptake in Black and Asian communities rose - from 75% to 86% in Asian communities and 55% to 68% in Black communities, Dr Nikki Kanani says
    • Travel industry employees are holding a series of protests around the country against coronavirus restrictions, saying current limits on travel are having a devastating impact on the sector
    • It comes after the health secretary said ministers were "working on" plans for quarantine-free travel from amber list countries for people who are fully vaccinated
    • India has classified a new variant of the coronavirus first identified in Europe as a "variant of concern", calling it Delta Plus
    • But leading virologists say there is no data yet to prove that the variant is more infectious or leads to more severe disease
    • Russia reported another 546 deaths related to Covid in the past 24 hours on Tuesday, the highest official figure since February
    • And Poland has imposed seven days’ compulsory quarantine for travellers arriving from the UK, because of the spread of the Delta variant
    • Meanwhile, more than five million people became millionaires across the world in 2020 despite economic damage from the Covid-19 pandemic, Credit Suisse has found
  4. Watch: 'Your vaccine is an evergreen offer'

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid vaccine: 'Your vaccine is an evergreen offer'

    Dr Nikki Kanani has encouraged everyone to come forward for their vaccine.

    Speaking at a Downing Street briefing she said: "Your vaccine has a name on it, it is for you, and it is an evergreen offer".

  5. Sir Elton's pandemic-hit farewell tour to return to UK in 2022

    Sir Elton John and David Furnish at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards last month
    Image caption: Sir Elton wants to spend more time with his husband David Furnish and their two sons, Zachary and Elijah

    Sir Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour has announced a further five stadium concerts in the UK in 2022.

    The 74-year-old star will perform in Norwich, Liverpool, Sunderland and Bristol, concluding in Swansea on 29 June 2022.

    The singer was forced to postpone a string of dates last year because of the pandemic.

    Tour dates announced for 2022 will also include a number of European cities, with performances scheduled in Paris, Frankfurt and Milan - before winding up the year with back-to-back performances at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on 19 and 20 November.

    In January 2023, Sir Elton will travel to New Zealand for two shows, continuing on to Australia where the four-year tour will formally come to an end.

    "The shows that I announce today will be my final tour dates ever in North America and Europe," says Sir Elton.

    "I'm going to go out in the biggest possible way - performing at my very best, with the most spectacular production I've ever had, playing in places that have meant so much to me throughout my career."

  6. What did we learn?

    UK Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has just finished giving a coronavirus briefing. Here's what we learned:

    • As of today, three in five adults - or 60% of people - have had both coronavirus jabs
    • First doses have already been given to half of all 25-29-year-olds and a third of 18 to 24-year-olds in England
    • Progress is being made to "close the gap" in the uptake of Covid vaccines, with more people from ethnic minority backgrounds booking jabs, Dr Nikki Kanani, the medical director of primary care for NHS England says
    • Between mid-March and mid-June, uptake in Black and Asian communities rose - from 75% to 86% in Asian communities and 55% to 68% in Black communities, Dr Kanani says
    • The government's mission is to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, Zahawi says
    • "It's incumbent on all of us to take what works (to increase uptake where hesitancy exists) and really scale it between now and 19 July," he adds.
  7. What are you doing in hard-to-reach communities?

    Barnie Choudhury, from Eastern Eye newspaper, says by his calculations one in six people in Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities still haven't been vaccinated or got their second jab.

    He asks: "Why is the government failing to meet these communities six months after the start of the programme?"

    He says the panel had talked about visiting restaurants and mosques but asks: "What else are you doing to reach those hard to reach communities - those vaccine deniers - to get a second jab?"

    Nadzim Zahawi says the government has set up a "connect and exchange hub" to share best practice of what really works and work out how how to scale it.

    He says there was a vaccine pop-up in a Brent mosque and an event with Diane Abbot and the Haredi Hasidic Jewish community, which saw 364 members of the community coming forward to be vaccinated.

    "It's incumbent on all of us to take what works and really scale it between now and 19 July", he says.

  8. Analysis: The sort of data ministers like to see

    Helen Catt

    Political correspondent

    As expected, the message from the vaccines minister was 'get the jab', particularly if it's your second dose.

    He delivered his message with a lot of numbers:

    • Three in five adults have had a second dose
    • A third of 18-24-year-olds have had their first dose
    • Six appointments are being booked every second

    It's the sort of data that ministers will be pleased to see, particularly an increased take-up among some communities - which had been more hesitant about having the vaccine.

    But it suggests there is still some way to go before 19 July and the potential final lifting of restrictions on social contact.

    So there was another push to Asian communities and to the over-40s to get their second doses faster.

  9. Vaccine misinformation spreading on WhatsApp

    Asad Ali from UK24 says many people in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi community are receiving false messages from unknown numbers on WhatsApp saying you could die from having the vaccination, or that the vaccine causes infertility.

    He asks what the government is doing to stop misleading information?

    Nadhim Zahawi says the vaccines are "incredibly safe" and are rated as such by the independent medicines regulatory body, which is not influenced by government.

    That sort of disinformation is incredibly harmful to the UK and globally, he states.

    He says the UK government has partnered with academic institutions to get the positive messaging of vaccination around the world.

  10. How worried are you about Delta-plus variant?

    The next question comes from Channel 4.

    How worried is the minister and health chiefs about the Delta-plus variant? And there's a second part to the question about Covid travel passports.

    Nadhim Zahawi says viruses continue to mutate - but the good news is the vaccines are incredibly effective against the Delta variant.

    On Covid travel passports, he thinks a combination of proof of double-vaccination alongside testing is the way forward.

    On the subject of the new Delta-plus variant, Public Health England's Head of Immunisation Mary Ramsay says the UK has the " best system in the world" for picking up these cases, and reminds us they have only seen 41 cases of this variant in this country.

    "We're on top of the situation," she says.

  11. Additional vaccine uptake in Black and Asian communities

    Adina Campbell from BBC says people are less likely to have had a vaccine if they are black - is it time to take a new approach?

    She says the symptoms of the Delta variant are now recognised to include headache, runny nose and sore throat - she asks if the website should be updated to reflect this?

    Zahawi says since 1 April to date the additional uptake in white community is 3% but in Black and Black Afro-Caribbean communities it is 7% and in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities it has grown by 10%.

    He says this is due to the uptake strategy launched in February which includes community champions and extra resources for GP surgeries.

    On the Delta variant he says "it's important we always update our information" and urged people to get their jabs.

  12. Watch: Vaccine hesitancy 'halved' among black people

    Video content

    Video caption: Vaccines minister: 'Vaccine hesitancy has halved amongst black and black British people'

    Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi says the UK's vaccination programme has passed another key milestone - with more than 60% of the adult population now fully vaccinated.

    Speaking at a Downing Street briefing he says: "The vaccination programme has been delivered in the community, by the community and for the community".

  13. Will the government give up on trying to reach certain groups?

    Emily Morgan from ITV News says the government has been trying to persuade certain people from certain backgrounds to get the vaccine "for months". She asks at what point the government will accept that not everyone can be reached or accept the vaccine?

    Nadhim Zahawi says the government is straining every sinew to make sure that everyone has access to the vaccine. He says it is also about sharing data to ensure local health teams can see who has and hasn't been vaccinated.

    "We've got to keep going, it's incumbent on all of us" to keep getting people vaccinated, Zahawi says.

    He says he doesn't think he will ever stop encouraging people to get the vaccine.

    Alongside him, NHS England's vaccines boss Mary Ramsay says the government has to just keep going with encouragement.

  14. Why are vaccination centres being closed?

    Andrew in Chichester asks why so many Covid vaccination centres are being closed when people still need to be vaccinated.

    Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi says the deployment infrastructure can deliver many more vaccines and the record is 24 jabs a second.

    He says local systems are able to decide how we deploy and how we deliver vaccines, potentially focusing more on walk-in centres and mobile vaccination centres where needed.

    He says this means some vaccination sites are stood down so other areas with greater need can get vaccinations.

    Dr Nikki Kanani says vaccine centres are not closing, it is just that staff are busy working vaccinating people in other areas.

  15. Will unvaccinated hold back freedoms of vaccinated?

    We go to questions from the publicand Anna says that figures show most people going into hospital with Covid now have not been vaccinated.

    She asks if these are people who have chosen not to have jab or are they of an age where the rollout hasn't reached them yet? She also asks if they will hold back the freedoms of others already vaccinated?

    The vaccines minister says 60% of hospitalisations from the Delta variant are unvaccinated, but people are still coming forward for their jabs.

    Nadhim Zahawi says: "We keep going at pace to make sure we protect the whole country because the virus will attempt to survive by finding people that are unprotected and then infecting them - particularly communities that are close knit."

    He says he is "confident" that we will have 66% of the adult population with the protection of two jabs by 19 July.

  16. We are closing gap on take-up - Kanani

    Dr Nikki Kanani, the medical director of Primary Care for NHS England is up next.

    She starts on a positive note, reiterating the figures of vaccine uptake which show the success of the vaccination programme - and thanks those working behind the scenes to deliver the programme, as well as those getting a vaccine.

    She says the vaccination programme continues in full swing, adding that while it is "overwhelmingly positive", "we know some people are still anxious about coming forward for their vaccine".

    Tackling vaccine hesitancy has been at the heart of our programme, she says. We continue to close the gap with more people from ethnic minorities coming forward and uptake is increasing faster in Black-African and Pakistani communities than in white backgrounds now, she adds.

    Between mid-March and mid-June uptake in Black and Asian communities rose - from 75% to 86% in Asian communities and 55% to 68% in Black communities.

  17. Vaccine hesitancy halves in Black and Asian communities - Zahawi

    In his statement, the vaccines minister says the rollout has been delivered in places of worship across the whole of the UK.

    He says there have been open two-way conversations about the vaccines and how safe they are.

    He says this "concerted community effort" has really paid off.

    Vaccine hesitancy has halved among Black and Black British people since February.

    And it's halved in Asian and Asian British people in the same period, he says.

    But there is "much more to do" before we can take the final step on the road to recovery, he says.

  18. Ramsay: Severe illness prevented by double vaccinations

    Mary Ramsay goes on to say that the number of people testing positive for Covid is increasing, but is not growing at the rate that happened during the second wave of the pandemic in England.

    She says hospitalisations and severe illnesses are being prevented by people being double vaccinated against Covid.

    Graph showing Covid data
    Graph showing Covid data
    Graph showing Covid data
  19. NHS jabs boss stresses importance of all vaccines

    Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation for NHS England, thanks those working across the NHS and Public Health England so that "we can really inform ourselves" on how best the UK can deal with the Delta variant.

    She says two doses of the vaccine has "over 90%" effectiveness against hospitalisation from the Delta variant of Covid-19.

    She reminds the public of the importance of other vaccines, not just the ones against Covid - for babies, school pupils and leavers and those aged over 70.

  20. Mission to protect people ASAP - Zahawi

    Nadhim Zahawi says: "Our mission is now to get as many people protected as we can and to protect them as quickly as we can."

    The government made the "difficult but essential decision" to pause step four of the roadmap for four weeks with a review at two weeks, he says. (The move that meant a relaxation of England's coronavirus restrictions did not happen on Monday.)

    The time will be used to get jabs into the arms of those most vulnerable to Covid before restrictions are eased, he says.

    Two weeks ago, there were more than two million people in England over the age of 50 who had had a first dose but not a second. Now that number is 900,000, he says.