decision on whether over-50s will be given a third coronavirus jab is expected to be made within weeks.
Ministers are said to be planning to deliver an average of almost 2.5million third doses a week, with 2,000 pharmacies rolling out the scheme.
If it is approved, all people in the age bracket, plus the clinically vulnerable, in England are expected to be offered a booster vaccine before Christmas.
It comes as millions of people are under strict lockdown in China as the country battles to contain its largest coronavirus outbreak in months.
China reported 55 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Monday as an outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta variant reached more than 20 cities and more than a dozen provinces.
Johnson pressed to further ease travel rules to save beleaguered industry
Hospital care standards ‘maintained’ in pandemic – study
Unite union’s assistant general secretary urges the Government to further support jobs in the travel industry
Diana Holland, the Unite union’s assistant general secretary for civil air transport, urged the Government to take further action to support jobs in the travel industry.
She said: “The current traffic light system is not working and there is disagreement within Government about how to move forward.
“While the situation remains uncertain and complex, the Government must provide job-saving support to our aviation and travel industry. “
While France and Germany had put in place sector-specific support for the aviation industry, “the UK civil air transport sector has haemorrhaged jobs”, she said.
“With the summer season all but scuppered and travel not expected to return to sustainable levels for the immediate future, the Government must follow the lead of our competitor nations and take action to secure jobs, and make sure aviation can rebuild safely and sustainably for all our futures.”
Two days in the office will be ‘new normal’ after pandemic
Hundreds of fraudulent Covid passport claims rejected
Almost 300 fraudulent Covid-19 passport claims have been rejected in Northern Ireland.
The figure emerged after the region’s vaccine certification system was dogged with technical difficulties last week.
It was partially suspended on Tuesday after issues with data sharing emerged.
The new CovidCertNI app enables users to show proof of vaccination for international travel.
Dr Eddie O’Neill, who leads the programme, said on Monday that it is now “stable and running well”.
He also revealed that 294 applications where people have fraudulently tried to claim a certificate have been rejected.
“We had three individuals who made 38 applications between them, putting in different vaccination dates every time,” he told the BBC.
However he said the programme has issued 5.843 certificates in 27-and-a-half hours.
Hong Kong tells civil servants to get vaccinated or pay for Covid tests
Unvaccinated Hong Kong government employees will soon have to pay for regular Covid-19 tests.
The measures, which also apply to education and health workers, were announced on Monday in a bid to persuade more people to get vaccinated.
City leader Carrie Lam said: “If it’s purely a personal option not to get vaccinated and help society achieve herd immunity, that’s not something a responsible government should allow or tolerate.”
Hong Kong has registered 56 days without any local coronavirus cases and life has largely returned to normal in the global financial hub, except heavy travel restrictions remain in place, with hotel quarantine required for all arrivals.
Authorities were unsatisfied with a slow initial take-up of vaccines, although the numbers have improved in recent months after various businesses announced a range of perks for those who take vaccines, including a lottery prize of an apartment worth about £720,000.
Hospital standards maintained in pandemic, study finds
Standards of care for hospital patients admitted with Covid-19 did not slip during the pandemic, a new study suggests.
More than three in four people admitted to hospital with coronavirus received “good” or “excellent” care, according to a new review from the Royal College of Physicians.
Researchers examined the case records of 510 patients treated across 19 NHS trusts in England during 2020.
Overall, 96.5% were deemed to have received adequate, good or excellent care, and for 77.4% the care was good or excellent.
It was deemed to be poor for 3.5% of patients.
The reviewers said the “very few instances of poor care” was “exceptional given the enormous pressures that were very rapidly placed upon the NHS at the start of the pandemic”.
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Critically endangered tigers recover from Covid-19 in Jakarta
Two Sumatran tigers are recovering from Covid-19 in an Indonesian zoo.
Nine-year-old Tino became ill with shortness of breath, sneezing, and a runny nose on July 9.
Two days later, 12-year-old Hari was showing the same symptoms.
Swabs were taken and results came back positive for Covid, Suzi Marsitawati from the Jakarta Parks and Forestry Agency said.
The tigers were promptly treated with antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory drugs and multivitamins.
Their condition is now described as “good”, with Ms Marsitawati saying: “Their appetite has returned and they’re being active”.
It is unclear how the tigers were infected with Covid as the zoo has been closed in line with coronavirus restrictions.
No infections were detected among zoo staff.