Covid-19: Vaccines cut risk of serious illness by 80%, and border measures defended

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Monday evening. We'll have another update for you on Tuesday morning.

1. Single shot 'reduces hospitalisation risk'

A single shot of either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid jab reduces the chance of needing hospital treatment in older adults by more than 80% according to an analysis in England. The Public Health England data, based on people over the age of 80 testing positive for Covid in hospital, follows similar results in Scotland. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a Downing Street press conference the results were "seriously encouraging" and that it "shows the power of science". It comes as the latest government figures show 5,455 new infections have been recorded in the last 24 hours and a further 104 deaths, of people who had tested positive for coronavirus within the previous 28 days.

image copyrightPA Media

2. PM defends border control measures

Boris Johnson has defended the government's measures to prevent new coronavirus variants being imported into the UK. Speaking on a visit to Stoke-on-Trent, he said: "We have got one of the toughest border regimes anywhere in the world for stopping people coming in to this country who may have variants of concern." It comes as officials seek a person in England who has been infected with a concerning variant of coronavirus first found in Brazil. It is understood the person used a home testing kit but did not complete their registration form properly. They are one of six cases of the P1 variant found in the UK in February.

media captionPM: "No reason" to think current vaccines won't work against Brazil variant

3. Teachers' risk 'similar to other under-65s'

School staff do not have a markedly higher risk of infection than other working-age adults, a study suggests. According to its findings, the number of staff testing positive for Covid antibodies increased by a similar percentage to their peers while schools were fully open. Experts described the findings as "very reassuring", and suggested efforts by schools to control infections were working. But they said this did not mean teachers were at zero risk. And it would be "naive" to think teachers going into schools wouldn't have higher risks than those working from home, according to Dr Shamez Ladhani who is leading research for Public Health England.

image copyrightGetty Images

4. Download Festival cancelled for second year

This year's Download Festival has been cancelled for the second year in a row because of the pandemic. Organisers of the event, which was due to take place from 4 to 6 June, said they had realised it was "not possible" to make the event happen. It was due to be headlined by Kiss, Biffy Clyro and System of a Down. The government has set the target date of 21 June for removing all legal limits on social contact. Other festivals to confirm they're being cancelled this year include Glastonbury. But a number of other festivals, including Reading and Leeds Festival in August, say they are hopeful of being able to host events later in the year.

image copyrightGetty Images

5. New mum holds baby's hand for first time

A new mum who was diagnosed with Covid-19 at 30 weeks' pregnant has finally held her baby's hand for the first time, five weeks after his birth. Ellie Wright, 20, from Walsall, gave birth to Leo by emergency Caesarean on 12 January, 10 weeks premature. She could not have life-saving treatment until her baby was delivered. Ellie's rehabilitation might take up to two years - she has been in the hospital's critical care unit, fighting the virus and pneumonia. Baby Leo was on a ventilator but came home last week and is being cared for by his grandmother.

image copyrightWalsall Healthcare NHS Trust

And don't forget...

You can read more about the new coronavirus variants here.

And you can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page. This page looks at the UK virus data, including the number of new daily cases. in the UK.

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