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Coronavirus live news: England lockdown measures lift as Johnson self-isolates; record new cases in Thailand

England’s remaining restrictions lifted from midnight; Thailand confirms record new infections for fourth consecutive day; lockdown extended in Australian state of Victoria

  • UK Covid cases could hit 200,000 a day
  • Thai police fire rubber bullets at protesters as Covid failures fuel anti-government anger
  • Questions grow over pilot scheme after Johnson and Sunak isolation U-turn
  • See all our coronavirus coverage

A quick snap from Reuters here that Taiwan’s government has approved the production of Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s vaccine candidate.

The health ministry said in clinical trials in Taiwan the antibodies created by Medigen’s vaccine candidate have been proven to be “no worse than” those created by AstraZeneca vaccines, and that there were no major safety concerns.

In the UK, while vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi was on Sky News, over on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme they were also talking about the NHS app and the instructions it is giving to workers to self-isolate.

Again it seems like there are two broad schools of thought – either the app is a nuisance that is causing over a million people, many of whom are vaccinated, to be told to stay at home when they are not at risk of developing a serious bout of Covid. Or it is a valuable diagnostic tool that is simply reflecting the fact that there are a lot of Covid cases out there in England, and it is spreading.

This is a problem and I think it could get worse. It is disruptive to the business. We had to close, in the last seven days, 33 pubs due to lack of staff because of self-isolation. Across the industry we think it is about one in five of our team members who have been affected by this and therefore it is causing a real issue for us setting up business on a daily basis – we’re having to have shortened hours in some circumstances.

We’ve been talking for a while internally about living in the ‘United Pingdom’ and it has become a huge challenge for individuals and businesses. Up to 25%, in some areas, of our staff have been asked to self-isolate. We’ve been able, through flexibility and sharing of labour, to keep sites open so far but it has been a very close call in certain circumstances, and I would echo that I think there is a different way of reacting to the pings for vaccinated people and using lateral flow tests that would help industries of all sorts a great deal and keep the economy functioning.”

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