Coronavirus news – live: Roadmap ‘could cause fresh surge’, as Covid passports to become ‘part of our lives’

Shops and pubs to reopen on April 12, Johnson confirms

Scientists have warned England’s planned roadmap out of lockdown could lead to a surge of cases and deaths similar to the first wave of coronavirus last spring, while Boris Johnson has vowed to stick “like glue” to plans to ease restrictions.

A paper from experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) said their projections suggested Stage 2 of the road map – which will see shops, pub beer gardens and gyms reopen next Monday – “may lead to a small surge of cases and deaths”.

But Stage 4 – when restrictions are expected to be abolished – could “lead to a larger surge of cases and deaths comparable to that seen during the first wave”, they said.

On Monday, the PM said going ahead with the next step was “fully justified by the data” and he had seen “nothing” to make him think he would have to “deviate” from his intention to scrap all restrictions by 21 June at the earliest.

Meanwhile, a government paper said Covid passports are “likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat from the pandemic recedes”.

The document made clear that the most likely venues to require Covid-status certificates would be theatres, nightclubs, festivals and sporting events.

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Chile surge shows vaccine rollout may not end lockdowns – Whitty

A new coronavirus wave in Chile could be proof that a quick vaccine rollout alone does not necessarily guard against future surges of the deadly bug, Chris Whitty has warned.

Colin Drury has the full story:

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 08:50

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UK regulator ‘may restrict use of Oxford Covid vaccine in younger people’

In other news, rare cases of blood clots in people who have been given the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine could raise questions over whether young people should receive it, a leading epidemiologist has said.

It comes amid reports the UK’s watchdog was considering new restrictions on the jab.

Conrad Duncan reports:

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 08:40

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No vaccine passports in next two stages of lockdown lifting

Boris Johnson had already said there would be no vaccine-passport scheme as part of the planned relaxation of lockdown rules on 12 April or 17 May.

He also gave a clear hint on Monday vaccine passports are likely to be voluntary in pubs, after intense pressure from MPs not to make them a requirement for drinkers.

But he added the government was “some way off finalising any plans for Covid certification in the UK”.

Jon Stone, our policy correspondent,and Sam Lovett, our science correspondent, have the full story:

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 08:34

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No vaccine passport needed for beer garders next Monday, minister says

Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, said that coronavirus certificates will not be required for when hospitality reopens outdoors next week, or when it reopens indoors in May.

“Next Monday, you can go to a beer garden and have your beer – there is no requirements for vaccine certification or passports that are being referred to,” he told Sky News.

“In May, you will be able to go inside the pub and enjoy your drink, and there is no question of a vaccine certification being asked for.”

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 08:28

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Covid passports ‘likely to become feature of our lives’

A new government paper has said Covid status certification “is likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat from the pandemic recedes”.

The eight-page report said Covid passports could potentially be used to show an individual has received the vaccine, has recently tested negative for the virus, or has “natural immunity”, having tested positive in the previous six months.

Michael Gove has been leading the vaccine passport taskforce review and, although it is not expected to be finalised until the summer, the government published an update on the scope of the work on Monday.

You can read the full document here:

Additional reporting by PA

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 08:24

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Route out of lockdown

Boris Johnson has given the green light to the reopening of shops and beer gardens in England from next Monday, saying progress in the battle against the virus had cleared the way for a relaxation of lockdown rules on the earliest possible date of 12 April.

In a press conference on Monday, he said government experts and ministers had seen “nothing in the present data that makes us think that we will have to deviate” from his roadmap, which envisages the final lifting of restrictions on 21 June.

But he refused to commit to any timetable for the return of international travel, insisting he would not give “hostages to fortune” at a time when “waves of sickness” are sweeping across many of British tourists’ most favoured destinations.

Andrew Woodcock, our political editor, and Simon Calder, our travel correspondent, report:

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 08:14

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Warnings over lockdown easing roadmap

Boris Johnson said he plans to stick “like glue” to his plan for easing restrictions despite warning it could create a wave of Covid infections akin to that seen during spring last year.

A paper from experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) said their projections suggested Stage 2 of the road map “may lead to a small surge of cases and deaths”.

The PM said on Monday shops, hairdressers and pub beer gardens will reopen from 12 April in England as part of the next step, calling the move was “fully justified” by data.

The new paper from experts said Stage 4 in June – when restrictions are expected to be abolished – could “lead to a larger surge of cases and deaths comparable to that seen during the first wave”.

These findings were “preliminary” and made “pessimistic assumptions” about the later stages of the road map, the paper warned.

But scientists at the University of Warwick also shared a similar conclusion that a “distinct third wave of infection” would arise due to the current rate of planned unlocking, with hospital admissions peaking between late July and mid-August.

Minutes from the Sage meeting on 31 March said there could be resurgences in hospital admissions “of a similar scale to January 2021 after later stages of the road map”.

Additional reporting by Press Association

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 07:49

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