Covid-19: Golden age for new vaccines, and UK cases remain high

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

1. UK Covid cases remain high

The number of new UK coronavirus cases has been rising in recent days, with a further 43,423 daily infections recorded on Saturday. After falling at the end of July, the average number of daily confirmed cases climbed and fell a number of times during August and early September. The average has been rising once again in the last week. Meanwhile, the recent spikes have been driven by the Delta variant, which spreads faster than the previously most common Kent variant (now named Alpha).

2. A golden age for new vaccines?

Medical science has transformed the pandemic, and the experimental technologies that helped develop vaccines in record time have strapped rocket boosters to scientific ambitions. Prof Sarah Gilbert, the architect of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid jab, tells the BBC that there is a lot of vaccine development that needs to be done now that we have the right technologies. Top of her list of targets are the official priority pathogens - like Mers, Zika, Ebola - that are known threats bubbling away with the potential to spark large outbreaks or future pandemics. You can read more here.

Image source, Getty Images

3. Russia sees 1,000 daily deaths for first time

Russia on Saturday recorded 1,000 Covid-related deaths in a single day for the first time since the pandemic began. The figure had been rising all week, with the Kremlin blaming the Russian people for not taking up vaccination. Only about a third of the population has had a jab, due to wide distrust of the vaccines. Russia's total figure of 222,000 Covid deaths is the highest in Europe, with another 33,000 infections reported on Saturday. You can read more here.

Image source, Reuters

4. Brown calls for emergency stockpiled vaccine airlift

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urged the UK, US, the EU and Canada to launch an emergency airlift of 240 million Covid jabs from unused stocks for an "unparalleled distribution" to 92 vaccine-starved countries. Mr Brown said: "With vaccines stockpiled in the West, we urgently need a timetable to prevent avoidable loss of lives." He added that the initiative could save 100,000 lives.

Image source, PA Media

5. Football fans' 'mixed reaction' to Wales Covid pass

Since Monday, people aged 18 and over in Wales have needed an NHS Covid pass to be able to legally attend big events or nightclubs. They show that people have either tested negative on a lateral flow test or are double jabbed against Covid. But football fans have told the BBC they expect "a mixed reaction" to Covid passes for sporting events, as the south Wales derby between Swansea and Cardiff City is played on Sunday. It will be the first time fans will be able to attend the fixture in person since January last year, with the past two being played behind closed doors.

Image source, Huw Evans picture agency

And there's more...

So far more than two million people have had their Covid booster jabs in England but they will only be offered to certain groups of people - find out if you're in one of them.

Find further information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Image source, BBC

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