Coronavirus latest news: Liverpool club scraps trial event amid vaccine passport confusion

A comedy club has pulled out of a trial to test how venues can operate safely after it said the Government failed to clarify whether it would involve Covid-19 vaccine passports.

The Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool said it was subjected to a “hate campaign” online after reports suggested it was working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to trial Covid-status certification.

Club co-owner Binty Blair said he has tried to contact DCMS to clarify whether Covid-19 vaccine passports will be trialled in the pilot event, but to no avail. The club has subsequently cancelled its event – which was due to be the first to be trialled – on April 16 at the M&S Bank Arena Auditorium, which would have had an audience of 300 people.

“The reason for us backing out is the Government wasn’t clear about the Covid passports,” Mr Blair told PA. “The problem is we don’t know what we signed up for.”

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6:21AM

‘Our vaccination freedom has become a betrayal’

It’s bad enough that Covid killed so many of our people; must we let it destroy who we are as well? asks Allison Pearson.

You know what, you’re marvellous. I thought it was impossible to love Telegraph readers more than I do already. And then I read some of the 8,000 comments you posted under Michael Gove’s article on Sunday.

With his usual impeccable courtesy, Mr Gove claimed to be seeking readers’ views on the role that certification might play in an anti-Covid strategy. “I know Telegraph readers will help us find common sense answers,” he concluded sweetly.

Be careful what you wish for, Mr Gove. With common sense in such perilously short supply in Westminster, and apparently missing in action in the Imperial College Models of Doom laboratory, readers were delighted to oblige. Some suggestions were nuanced and learned, others tended towards the, er, Anglo Saxon. The consensus was that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster can shove his Covid certificates up his precautionary principle.

Read more: Our vaccination freedom has become a betrayal

5:56AM

Wales to get Moderna vaccine today

The first doses of the Moderna vaccine will be administered in the UK today as a minister insisted the UK will have enough jabs to offer all adults their first dose by July.

The first doses will be administered at West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen, the Welsh Government said. Five thousand doses of the vaccine were sent to vaccination centres in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area on Wednesday, it added.

Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, said the jabs will be deployed widely “around the third week of April” with “more volume” expected by May.

He told BBC Breakfast that more Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca doses will also arrive and the Janssen vaccine is “coming through as well”.

“So I am confident that we will be able to meet our target of mid-April offering the vaccine to all over-50s and then at the end of July offering the vaccine to all adults,” he said.

Read more: First shots of Moderna vaccine set to be administered in Wales

4:37AM

Brazil tops 4,000 Covid deaths for first time

Brazil reported a 24-hour tally of Covid-19 deaths exceeding 4,000 for the first time on Tuesday, becoming the third nation to go above that daily threshold.

Many governors, mayors and judges are reopening parts of the economy despite lingering chaos in overcrowded hospitals and a collapsed health system in several parts of the country.

Brazil’s health ministry said 4,195 deaths were counted in the previous 24 hours, with the nation’s pandemic toll quickly approaching 340,000, the second highest in the world. Only the US and Peru have had daily death tolls higher than 4,000.

Sao Paulo state, Brazil’s most populous with 46 million residents, registered almost 1,400 deaths in the latest count. Health officials said the figure was partly due to the Easter holiday, which delayed the count.

Read more: Brazil’s countdown to Covid catastrophe

Aerial view showing a coffin being buried at the Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Aerial view showing a coffin being buried at the Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Credit:
AFP

3:07AM

Australia asks EU to release AstraZeneca doses

Australia said on Wednesday it will ask the EU to release more than 3 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine, testing the bloc’s claim it is not blocking shipments, as the country struggles to vaccinate its population.

Brussels on Tuesday denied blocking vaccine shipments to Australia, which has fallen dramatically behind in its scheduled vaccination programme. The EU said it was not responsible for AstraZeneca’s failure to uphold commitments to other countries.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was asked by the EU to withdraw export permit applications and letters requesting supplies have gone unanswered.

Morrison said if the EU was now indicating its willingness to release shipments, he would again ask for the 3.1 million doses to be released. The 3.1 million doses were scheduled to arrive in Australia by the end of March.

“We obviously want those millions of doses,” Morrison told reporters in the capital Canberra. “Given statements made overnight, that apparently there is no obstruction to that and then I would hope that could be readily addressed.”

Scott Morrison said he would ask the European Union to release more than 3 million doses of AstraZeneca PLC's COVID-19 vaccine

Scott Morrison said he would ask the European Union to release more than 3 million doses of AstraZeneca PLC’s COVID-19 vaccine

Credit:
AP

Morrison on Wednesday insisted he was not criticising the EU, but senior members of his government continued to blame the EU for blocking vaccines.

“They’re not giving approval is effectively the same as blocking,” Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

2:37AM

US rules out Covid passports

The White House on Tuesday ruled out imposing any form of a coronavirus vaccine passport in the United States, but said private businesses were free to explore the idea.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters: “The government is not now, nor will be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

Vaccine passports, showing that someone has been inoculated against Covid-19, are seen by Boris Johnson as a potentially powerful tool in safely reopening Britain to mass gatherings and travel, but the move is opposed by a number of Tory MPs and the Labour Party.

Read more: SNP open to voting for Covid passports in England

2:16AM

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