Coronavirus news – live: High street pharmacies begin vaccinations as UK’s ‘test before travel’ plan delayed

Coronavirus vaccinations to be available 24-7, Boris Johnson says in major U-turn

High street pharmacies have begun rolling out Covid-19 vaccines as the UK’s virus death toll has now climbed above 100,000.

Boots and Superdrug branches will be among the six stores across England which will be able to administer the jabs from Thursday while the government aims to hit its target of vaccinating all people in the four most vulnerable groups by the middle of next month.

Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, north London, Woodside Pharmacy in Telford and Appleton Village pharmacy in Widnes will be in the first group to hand out the injections, alongside Boots in Halifax, and Superdrug in Guildford.

Boris Johnson also told MPs that distribution “will be going to 24/7 as soon as we can” but said supply of doses remained the main barrier.

The government’s heavily promoted “test before travel” scheme, which requires travellers to England to present an officially approved certificate of a negative coronavirus test, was due to come into effect for arrivals from 4am on Friday.

But late on Wednesday night, with details of approved tests still unavailable, the transport secretary postponed the plan to Monday “to give international arrivals time to prepare”.

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Travel from Brazil to UK could be banned

Travel from Brazil to the UK could be banned from today in response to a new strain of coronavirus in the South American country.

The measure is expected to be considered at an afternoon meeting of the government’s key “Covid-O” committee which oversees restrictions.

It has been reported that flights from Brazil’s 10 neighbouring countries – including Argentina and Peru – could also be halted.

Meanwhile, transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced that new rules requiring travellers arriving in England to have a negative coronavirus test have been delayed “to give international arrivals time to prepare”.

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 08:40

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More than 1,000 jobs lost at Gatwick as Norwegian abandons long-haul network

More than 1,000 pilots and cabin crew working at Gatwick for the budget airline Norwegian are learning they have lost their jobs.

The Oslo-based airline is to abandon its transatlantic and Asian network of long-haul flights – many of them based at the Sussex airport.

Around 1,100 UK crew will be made redundant, along with a similar number in France, Italy, Spain and the US.

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 08:28

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UK’s ‘test before travel’ scheme delayed

The government’s heavily promoted “test before travel” scheme is in disarray, with the starting date pushed back by three days.

The obligation for travellers to England to present an officially approved certificate of a negative Covid test was due to come into effect for arrivals after 4am on Friday – meaning the first affected passengers were booked on flights departing on Thursday afternoon, British time.

By late on Wednesday night, with details of approved tests still unavailable, the transport secretary postponed the plan to Monday. 

Travel correspondent Simon Calder has more details:

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 08:18

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Boots in Halifax administers first vaccine to 92-year-old patient

Brenda Clegg, 92, became the first patient to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at the Boots vaccination hub in Halifax, West Yorkshire, this morning.

Boots has also received approval to open additional vaccination sites at Gloucester and Huddersfield pharmacies in January, with the option to roll out to further locations nationwide in the future.

Brenda Clegg, 92, receives the first Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine administered at Boots in Halifax, West Yorkshire

(Boots)

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 08:16

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High street pharmacies in England begin vaccinations

High street pharmacies are to begin rolling out Covid vaccines, as the virus death toll across the UK climbed above 100,000.

Boots and Superdrug branches will be among the six stores across England which will be able to administer the jabs from Thursday while the Government aims to hit its target of vaccinating all people in the four most vulnerable groups by the middle of next month.

Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, north London, Woodside Pharmacy in Telford, and Appleton Village pharmacy in Widnes will be in the first group to hand out the injections, alongside Boots in Halifax, and Superdrug in Guildford.

Those who are eligible for a vaccine will be contacted and invited to make an appointment through a new national booking service.

This gives them the option of having a vaccine at a pharmacy or in a GP-led vaccination centre.

The six pharmacies were picked because they can deliver large volumes of the vaccine and allow for social distancing.

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 08:07

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Stay tuned for rolling updates and statistics throughout the day.

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 08:02

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