UK Covid news LIVE: Offices to close and masks to return if cases spike

Working from home and mask-wearing could be reintroduced in the autumn if Covid-19 cases rise again this winter.

Boris Johnson is expected to publish a Covid Winter Plan on Wednesday outlining how to combat Covid in the months to come, The Times reported.

The Prime Minister is looking to avoid controversial lockdowns after some scientists warned a “firebreak” could be needed this autumn.

“This is about living with Covid,” a government source said.Northern Ireland: Three coronavirus-related deaths and 1,424 cases

Northern Ireland has recorded three coronavirus-related deaths and 1,424 new cases,the BBC reports.

The total number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland since the start of the pandemic is 2,447.
55 minutes ago
Returning to EU will put ‘rocket boosters’ on Scotland’s Covid-19 recovery, says senior SNP MP

Joining the European Union as an independent nation would “put rocket boosters” on Scotland’s coronavirus recovery, a senior SNP MP has claimed.

PA reports that Alyn Smith, the party’s foreign affairs spokesman, said firms were having to try to survive the Covid-19 pandemic at the same time as coping with the fallout from Brexit.

The decision to leave the EU, he said, had caused shortages within the labour market and resulted in empty supermarket shelves across the country.

Smith said: “Getting back into the European Union would put rocket boosters on our recovery from Covid. We can do better than we are doing right now. Independence in Europe is the answer to the problems that Scotland has.”
1 hour ago
Scotland: 10 coronavirus-related deaths and 4,289 new cases

Scotland has recorded 10 coronavirus-linked deaths and 4,289 new cases in the past 24 hours, the latest figures show.

The data published by the Scottish Government indicates the death toll under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 8,242.

The test positivity rate was 10.9 per cent, down from 11.1 per cent the previous day.

There were 985 people in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, up eight on the previous day, with 83 in intensive care, up one.

A total of 4,137,710 people have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination and 3,769,320 have received their second dose
3 hours ago
Japan to decide on Covid-19 booster shots next week

Japanese officials will begin discussing whether to roll out booster shots next week, with the possibility of administering third doses by the end of the year.

According to The Japan Times, sources have said that health experts on a government vaccine subcommittee will analyse the matter, and assess the option of mixing doses of vaccines produced by different manufacturers. The country uses three vaccines – Pfizer’s, Moderna’s. and AstraZeneca’s.
4 hours ago
South Africa approves Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 and older

South Africa’s health regulator has approved Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for use by children aged 12 and older, paving the way for the government to offer vaccinations to teenagers, Reuters reports.

The South African Health Products Authority said the decision came after a review of updated safety and efficacy information submitted in March.