Vaccines offer high protection against death, report finds; Malaysia to enter lockdown – as it happened


Public Health England says AstraZeneca and Pfizer give significant protection against hospitalisations and death; month-long Malaysian lockdown

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US regulators have now authorised Pfizer BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12, Reuters has reported. Previously, the vaccine had been available only under an emergency use authorisation to people as young as 16.

You can read more on that story here, which we will update in due course.

Here are some of the key developments over the past few hours.

The story of Dilli Raj Joshi is now a sadly familiar one. After travelling to a wedding in mid-April with his family – a fun, rowdy affair – he began to be troubled by a headache and then breathing difficulties.

Joshi’s worried family took him to a nearby hospital, where he was diagnosed with Covid-19 and pneumonia. As his condition deteriorated, the doctors suggested he be transferred to a hospital with intensive care unit (ICU) beds and ventilators, as they had none.

Related: ‘A hopeless situation’: oxygen shortage fuels Nepal’s Covid crisis

Brazil recorded 25,200 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours and 889 fatalities, the health ministry reported.

The total number of confirmed cases in Latin America’s largest country had now reached 15,209,990 and the official death toll to 423,229.

US regulators authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12, widening the country’s inoculation program as vaccination rates have slowed significantly.

The US Food and Drug Administration said it was amending the Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to include the millions of children aged 12 to 15.

Novavax Inc has said it will ramp up production of its Covid-19 vaccine slower than previously anticipated and does expect to file for regulatory approval in the United States, Britain or Europe until the third quarter of 2021.

The US company has repeatedly pushed back its production timeline and said it struggles to access raw materials and equipment needed to manufacture its vaccine.

Mexico has recorded 704 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 104 more deaths, the health ministry reports.

Monday’s figures bring the total number of cases in the country to 2,366,496 and fatalities to 219,089.

Argentina’s health ministry confirmed its first cases of the Covid-19 variants first discovered in India and South Africa in three travellers returning from Europe.

The Indian variant of the virus was detected in two minors who returned from Paris, while the South African variant was found in a 58-year-old passenger returning from Spain, the ministry said in a statement.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals said on Monday it plans to start a global late-stage trial for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, INO-4800, this summer. The drug company earlier reported promising results from a mid-stage trial of its vaccine candidate.

Italy’s La Scala opera house reopened its doors to a restricted audience on Monday, raising hopes of a gradual resumption of the capital’s cultural life after nearly seven months of shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Italy had shut its theatres and concert halls last October to contain a resurgence after the summer.

Masked members of the orchestra, conducted by in-house music director Riccardo Chailly, and the choir performed arias by Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner and other world-renowned composers in an empty auditorium, with nearly 500 masked people watching the concert from the surrounding boxes.

The concert also marked the 75th anniversary of the reopening of the Milan opera house after World War Two bombings.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that public health capacities must be strengthened to prepare for the possibility of vaccine-evading Covid-19 variants.

Even in countries with a sliding trend in cases and with the highest vaccination rates.

A new drug helps Covid-19 patients breathe on their own.

A new monoclonal antibody drug was added to treatments being given to hospitalised Covid-19 patients who were still breathing on their own.

The French prime minister Jean Castex has said that France was “emerging on a long-term basis” from the Covid-19 crisis as he gave new details about shop and restaurant openings, according to AFP.

The prime minister told Le Parisien newspaper:

I say it in the clearest way possible: we are finally in the process of emerging on a long-term basis from this health crisis.’

“Obviously, this exit will take place in a progressive, careful and supported way. But the trend is clear, we are nearing the end, and it’s good news.”

The Spanish government has urged people to act ‘responsibly’ after crowds celebrated the end of a state of emergency over the week without masks or social distancing, AFP reports.

Justice Minister Juan Carlos Campo wrote in an opinion piece in El Pais daily saying:

The end of the state of emergency does not mean the end of restrictions. Far from it. The virus threat still exists, that’s why the authorities will continue to take action, and the public must keep on behaving responsibly.”

Related: Madrid mayor decries partying Spaniards as Covid lockdown ends

University students at the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) must get vaccinated against Covid-19 to attend classes during the fall semester, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.

Affecting more than 435,000 full-time students, the announcement comes as the governor and other officials offer incentives to encourage more people to get the vaccine as demand declines, Reuters reports.

France records 3,292 new Covid-19 cases and 292 deaths. Monday’s new cases figures are the lowest figure since the start of the year, while the tally of patients in intensive care for the disease was down for the seventh consecutive day.

New cases always tend to fall on Mondays as fewer tests are conducted over the weekend. However, the seven-day moving average of daily infections, which evens out reporting irregularities, fell to 17,767, a trough since January 14, versus an April 14 peak of 42,225.

That’s all from me for today – I’ll hand over to my colleague Edna Mohamed now. Thanks for reading along.

Greece has reported 1,904 new infections and 60 more coronavirus deaths as the country relaxes restrictions and looks forward to the reopening of its tourism industry.

This takes the country’s death toll to 11,089, while cases stand at 363,904. A total of 732 are on ventilators in intensive care.

A young Italian woman has accidentally received six doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine.

According to media reports, on Sunday, a nurse at Apuane Hospital in Massa, Tuscany, mistakenly injected the woman’s arm with an entire phial of the vaccine, which contains six doses.

Mexico’s government has applied for emergency authorisation for Russia’s “Sputnik Light” Covid-19 vaccine from the country’s regulator, its foreign minister has announced.

Russia authorised the jab, which the Russian Direct Investment Fund said is 79.4% effective against Covid-19 and costs under $10 a dose, last week.

The head of the World Trade Organization has said she hopes the body will have found a “pragmatic” solution in regard to Covid-19 vaccine patents waivers by December.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said she saw “movement on both sides” – those who are for a waiver and those against – and was hopeful on an agreement being reached, with December set as an “outer limit”, Reuters reports.

About 40 bodies believed to be Covid-19 victims have washed up on the banks of the Ganges River in northern India as the pandemic spreads into India’s vast rural hinterland, overwhelming local health facilities as well as crematoriums and cemeteries.

Related: India: dozens of suspected Covid victims wash up on Ganges River banks

The World Health Organziation has designated the B.1.617 coronavirus variant, first detected in India, a variant of global concern.

“We classify it as a variant of concern at a global level,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on Covid-19, told a briefing. “There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility.”

World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has deflected questions around whether he will stand for a second term as chief, saying he is focusing on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“So I think it’s time to still focus on this pandemic. It’s very unprecedented. I’m currently focused on fighting this pandemic with my colleagues working day and night,” Tedros told a briefing.

Boris Johnson’s coronavirus briefing is underway, with the prime minister confirming further lockdown easing for England from next Monday. You can follow the Guardian’s live coverage of it here:

Related: UK Covid live: Boris Johnson sets out next steps in England’s roadmap out of lockdown

AstraZeneca has hit its milestone of delivering 50 million vaccine doses to the European Union – a target it was originally meant to hit in January.

The cuts to vaccine supplies, which slowed down the EU’s vaccine rollout, led the European executive to sue the drugmaker last month.

No Covid deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test have been reported in England on Monday – the first time since 30 July last year.

No such deaths were also recorded in Scotland or Northern Ireland on Monday, however four deaths were recorded in Wales.

The UK has reported 2,357 new lab-confirmed coronavirus cases as well as four more deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

This takes the UK’s caseload to 4,437,217 while the death toll has risen to 127,609.

Nepal has recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus cases, registering 9,127 new infections as it struggles to combat the staggering force of its second wave.

The country also reported a further 139 deaths, pushing the toll up to 3,859, while cases stand at 403,794.

Vaccinations offer high levels of protection against hospitalisation and death from Covid-19, according to latest analysis of the outcome of England’s vaccination programme.

According to a report published today, individuals who receive a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine have approximately 80% lower risk of death with Covid-19 compared with unvaccinated individuals.

The vaccines are saving lives every day. This analysis gives us even more reassurance that the vaccine is highly effective in protecting adults against death and hospitalisation from Covid-19.

Getting your vaccine will significantly reduce your risk of dying or becoming seriously ill from Covid-19. It will also significantly reduce your chances of getting infected and infecting others. It is vital to get both doses of your vaccine when you are offered it.

While most health authorities are trying to allay people’s fears over needles right now, in Romania they’re daring people to get jabbed. The Associated Press has the story:

At Dracula’s castle in picturesque Transylvania, Romanian doctors are offering a jab in the arm rather than a stake through the heart.

A Covid-19 vaccination centre has been set up on the periphery of Romania’s Bran Castle, which is purported to be the inspiration behind Dracula’s home in Bram Stoker’s 19th-century gothic novel Dracula.

Every weekend in May “vaccination marathons” will be held outside the storied 14th-century hilltop castle, where no appointment is needed, in an attempt to encourage people to protect themselves against Covid-19.

“We wanted to show people a different way to get the (vaccine) needle,” Alexandru Priscu, the marketing manager at Bran Castle, told the Associated Press.

The Indian variant of coronavirus has arrived in Thailand, health authorities in the country have announced after finding it in a Thai woman and her son who had recently arrived back in the country from Pakistan.

Apisamai Srirangsan, a deputy spokesperson for Bangkok’s Covid-19 situation centre, said the Indian variant was found in a pregnant 42-year-old woman who arrived on 24 April with three sons.

More than 15 million people in England have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine, according to the latest data from NHS England.

The health agency reported 233,651 new vaccinations on Monday, bringing the total number of vaccine doses administered across the country to 44,683,075 since 8 December.

Facing its third coronavirus wave, Sudan is struggling to provide hospital beds, drugs and medical oxygen as its healthcare system becomes overwhelmed, according to Reuters.

The country has registered 33,000 cases and more than 2,600 deaths since the pandemic began, but officials say the figures are likely to be much higher due to low levels of testing.

Egyptian drugmaker Eva Pharma has signed a deal to provide 300,000 doses of Covid drug remdesivir to India, the company said in a statement reported by Reuters.

The agreement comes as India continues to combat a surge of infections which have overwhelmed the country’s health system, resulting in shortages of medical oxygen, drugs and hospital beds.

American biotech firm Inovio Pharmaceuticals has said its Covid-19 vaccine candidate was safe, well-tolerated and produced an immune response against the virus in all tested age groups during a mid-stage clinical trial.

The trial, which included around 400 participants aged 18 and over, helped the company confirm an appropriate dose for testing in a late-stage Phase 3 trial, Inovio said in a statement reported by Reuters.

Prof Ravi Gupta of the University of Cambridge said that unpicking issues around coronavirus variants is more complex than last year, given that many people in the population have now either had Covid, or been vaccinated.

Gupta added that while B.1.617.2 does not have the E484Q mutation seen in the other two India variants that might help it to escape the body’s immune response, it has other mutations, including one called T478K.

A coronavirus variant first discovered in India could become dominant in the UK, scientists have said.

B.1.617.2 was designated a variant of concern by Public Health England on Friday, with the body saying there is evidence to suggest it is at least as transmissible as B.1.1.7, the so-called “Kent variant”, which currently dominates in the UK.

With widespread mask wearing in the US credited for a huge drop in seasonal flu deaths, the White House’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci has said people may opt to continue wearing them during seasonal virus spikes.

“We’ve had practically a non-existent flu season this year merely because people were doing the kinds of public health things that were directed predominantly against Covid-19,” Fauci told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.

Related: Americans could opt to wear masks during flu season, Fauci says

As England’s hospitality industry prepares to begin serving customers indoors, the chief executive of Hospitality has call next week’s opening “a psychological opening, not an economic opening”.

Asked about whether pubs can begin to make money from 17 May, Kate Nicholls told the BBC’s Radio 4: “We don’t make money until those restrictions are lifted. During the course of last summer when we reopened with these same restrictions – and the restrictions are slightly tighter this time round – there was only one week that pubs and restaurants broke even.

There are labour shortages in parts of the UK’s hospitality industry as the sector reopens for business, the chief executive of HospitalityUK has said.

Speaking to the BBC’s Radio 4 programme, Kate Nicholls said that the issue has emerged “because the whole of the economy is standing up at the same time”.

Support for the Japanese government has plummeted to its lowest level since Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took office, with most people unhappy with the way he has dealt with the pandemic, a survey reported has found.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they did not rate the government’s coronavirus response positively, while 82% said the vaccine rollout had been slow, the survey by public broadcaster NHK showed.

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine does not currently need to be adapted to offer higher protection against virus variants, Germany firm BioNTech has said.

“To date, there is no evidence that an adaptation of BioNTech’s current Covid-19 vaccine against key identified emerging variants is necessary,” the company said in a statement reported by AFP.

The terrible scenes that have emerged from India are being repeated across Nepal, a country with high poverty levels that shares a porous border with five Indian states. As India has battled its deadly second wave, thousands have continued to cross over back into Nepal – many, it is feared, bringing the virus and its contagious variants that have emerged in India with them. A further 400,000 migrant workers are expected to cross back over but officials have struggled to screen and enforce quarantine for such large numbers.

Hannah Ellis-Petersen and Rajneesh Bhandari report on how the coronavirus crisis is devastating Nepal, where the Covid positivity rate is at 47%:

Related: ‘A hopeless situation’: oxygen shortage fuels Nepal’s Covid crisis

Police patrol a market in the Punjabi city of Amritsar as new rules on retail come into force:

The UK’s chief medical officers have downgraded the Covid-19 alert level from level 4 to level 3, meaning the “epidemic is in general circulation”.

Related: UK downgrades Covid-19 alert threat level

Malaysia’s government has announced that it will impose a national lockdown in response to rising coronavirus cases, according to Reuters.

The lockdown measures will come into effect on 12 May and last until 7 June.

Poland will shorten the interval between vaccines doses for the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca jabs, the country’s vaccine minister has said in a statement reported by Reuters.

The gap between doses of the AstraZeneca jab will be cut from 84 to 35 days, Michal Dworczyk told a news conference, while for Moderna and Pfizer the interval will be narrowed from 42 to 35 days.

A Spanish government minister has called for people to “behave responsibly” as the country ends its state of emergency after people were photographed celebrating in streets across cities, AFP reports.

Images of hundreds of people marking the end of curfews and other restrictions in the streets of Madrid and Barcelona made front pages on Monday morning.

She’s been fully vaccinated for three weeks, but Francesca, a 46-year-old professor, does not plan to abandon the face mask that she’s come to view as a kind of “invisibility cloak” just yet.

“Maybe it’s because I’m a New Yorker or maybe it’s because I always feel like I have to present my best self to the world, but it has been such a relief to feel anonymous,” she said. “It’s like having a force field around me that says ‘don’t see me’.”

Julia Carrie Wong speaks to people who want to stay masked as rules relax:

Related: The people who want to keep masking: ‘It’s like an invisibility cloak’

Hello, this is Clea Skopeliti taking the liveblog reins for the next few hours. If you’d like to draw my attention to something I haven’t included, you can reach me on Twitter. Thanks in advance.

That is it from me, Martin Belam, today. Andrew Sparrow has our UK live blog, which is likely to be extremely politics-based. Clea Skopeliti will be here shortly, and she’ll continue to bring you the latest global coronavirus news alongside the top Covid lines from the UK.

Here’s Lucy Campbell with a full round-up of what has been said today about lifting Covid restrictions in England and what we can expect to be announced by British prime minister Boris Johnson later today:

The government will advise cautious cuddling when hugging is permitted in the next phase of lockdown easing in England, amid concerns over the possible increase in Covid variants.

Related: Government to advise caution when hugging allowed in England

Visitors to Romania’s forbidding Bran Castle, which styles itself as the inspiration for Dracula’s lair, are being jabbed with needles rather than vampire fangs in a coronavirus vaccination drive.

“I came to visit the castle with my family and when I saw the poster I gathered up my courage and agreed to get the injection,” said Liviu Necula, a 39-year-old engineer.

Related: ‘Dracula’s castle’ offers tourists Covid shots

It’s a slightly different vaccine decision in Norway, where a government-appointed commission said the country should exclude the Covid-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson in its inoculation programme due to a risk of rare but harmful side-effects,

Those who would volunteer to take either of the two vaccines should however be allowed to do so, the commission added.

Germany has opened access to Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccines to all adults, lifting a priority system determining who gets the jabs first.

With the majority of people over 60 expected to be already vaccinated by June, health minister Jens Spahn said authorities decided not to restrict the jabs to older people over very rare thrombosis risks.

The federal court in Australia earlier today rejected an urgent application to overturn the India travel ban, meaning 9,500 Australians stranded there will not be able to return until after it is repealed on Friday.

On Monday, Justice Thomas Thawley declined to make orders overturning the ban after hearing the first half of the challenge brought by Gary Newman, 73, an Australian man stranded in Bangalore since March 2020.

Related: Australia’s federal court rejects urgent bid to overturn India travel ban

The Duchess of Sussex has made her first television appearance since her and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. Meghan said women had been ‘disproportionately affected’ by the pandemic in a pre-recorded message for Global Citizen’s Vax Live charity concert.

The Duchess of Sussex said 47 million more women around the world were expected to slip into extreme poverty. President Joe Biden, Prince Harry and Jennifer Lopez were among the big names who took part in the event, which was recorded several days ago. Prince Harry used his appearance, like his wife, to call for the equitable distribution of Covid vaccines.

A quick snap from Reuters here. The United Arab Emirates will bar entry for travellers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka starting on Wednesday. It is part of measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority announced on its website.

“Flights between the four countries will continue to allow the transport of passengers from the UAE to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka,” it said.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that if wealthy nations hogged Covid-19 shots while millions in poor countries died waiting for them it would amount to “vaccine apartheid”.

Alexander Winning reports from Johannesburg for Reuters that Ramaphosa called on South Africans to support the campaign for a waiver on some intellectual property (IP) rights for vaccines and medicines in a weekly newsletter, saying vaccines should be “a global public good”.

Palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke writes for us this morning to say that Covid’s cruellest blow has been keeping the dying from their loved ones:

The most hellish detail was not what was present, but what my patient lacked. No husband, no children, no friends at her bedside. Disorientated and fighting for air, she faced the prospect of dying from Covid entirely cut off from those she loved most. Worse, her experience wasn’t rare but ubiquitous. On stretchers, in care homes, on trolleys, in corridors, tethered to ventilators, blasted by high-flow oxygen, sequestered inside negative pressure rooms, patients in their thousands throughout the last year have confronted death’s proximity alone.

Related: Covid’s cruellest blow? Keeping the dying from their loved ones

Andrew Sparrow has launched our UK live blog for today. In his preamble he says “Today I expect to be focusing mostly on non-Covid politics – Labour, the reaction to the elections, Scotland – but I will be covering the coronavirus press conference at No 10 this afternoon.”

You can follow him over here

Related: Keir Starmer faces backlash from Labour left over post-election reshuffle – politics live

Dr Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick, has urged people to “act responsibly” when restrictions are lifted in England. British prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to hold a press conference at 5pm today in which he is expected to announce relaxations.

The member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) group said more mixing, including hugging, is a good thing for people’s mental wellbeing but warned that the pandemic is not yet over.

Related: Johnson to allow hugging and indoor venues to reopen in England from 17 May

Dr David Nabarro, special envoy on Covid-19 for the World Health Organization, has told Sky News this morning: “I’m pleased with the reality that people are being quite cautious, perhaps even a little bit afraid, of what this virus might bring. But I think, at the same time, we’ve got to get on with life, and we can’t go on mothballing ourselves forever. So, finding a way to restart, despite this fear, is what I think we will have to do.”

PA Media reports he said he would urge people to maintain social distancing and keep using face masks. “On the one hand we’ve got a dangerous virus, on the other hand we must get on with life because it just can’t go on with the restrictions that people have had up till now.

Taiwan will quarantine all pilots for its largest carrier China Airlines for 14 days as it tries to stop an outbreak of Covid-19 among its crew, effectively grounding the airline, the health minister said. The move effectively amounts to a 14-day grounding for the airline

Reuters report that while Taiwan has generally kept the pandemic well under control due to early prevention with only sporadic domestic cases, since last month it has been dealing with an outbreak linked to China Airlines pilots and an airport hotel where many of them stayed. There have been 35 confirmed infections so far in the outbreak.

Nurse May Parsons, who in December administered the first Covid vaccine dose in the UK outside of medical trials, has this morning endorsed the idea of holding a National Thank You Day on 4 July.

Reuters have this despatch from Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu this morning, saying that Nepal is so short of oxygen canisters that it has asked climbers on Sagarmāthā (Mount Everest) to bring back their empties instead of abandoning them on mountain slopes as it struggles with a second wave of the coronavirus.

The country issued climbing permits to more than 700 climbers for 16 Himalayan peaks for the April-May climbing season in a bid to get the mountaineering industry and tourism back up and running.

Health minister Nadine Dorries is still out and about on TV and radio this morning in the UK. PA Media reports she has said it is important that everyone is aware that as the country moves into each step of lockdown easing there “may be an increase in the variants or there may be an increase in the virus”.

She told BBC Breakfast: “Our objective is to nail that virus, to make sure that we are never, as a country, in the position we were in last year again, and that we move out of this cautiously and safely.”

Christina Maxouris reports for CNN this morning that the US may be turning the corner on Covid. She writes:

Roughly 58% of US adults have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose. More than 34% of the US population is fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.

Once the country climbs above that 60% mark of American adults with at least one dose, Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, says it’s likely we’ll begin to see Covid-19 numbers plummet.

“What I really worry about is that those people who are already on the fence don’t get vaccinated (and) we don’t reach herd immunity come the fall,” CNN medical analyst and emergency physician Dr Leana Wen told CNN earlier this month.

“And then with the winter … we have a big resurgence, maybe we have variants coming in from other countries, and we could start this whole process all over again and have another huge pandemic come the winter.”

Covid vaccine maker BioNTech has said today it will build a south-east Asia headquarters and manufacturing site in Singapore to produce hundreds of millions of mRNA-based vaccines per year.

Construction of the site will start this year, and it could become operational by 2023, the German company said in a statement reported by AFP.

Australia’s international travel ban is based on politics and not science, according to health experts who say there are a number of countries Australia could safely resume travel with this year.

On Sunday, the treasurer Josh Frydenberg told SBS News that the budget expectation is that international travel will begin in 2022, with further detail expected when the budget is released on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the prime minister Scott Morrison posted on Facebook that borders would only open “when it is safe to do so”, saying during media interviews over the weekend that Australians do not have an “appetite” for opening borders if it means further lockdowns and restrictions.

Related: ‘Politics rules’: Australia’s international travel ban not based on science, health experts say

The reopening of outdoor bars and restaurants in France will go ahead on 19 May, health minister Olivier Véran has said on Monday, as the number of Covid cases in intensive care eases.

“The prospects look rather good but we must not let down the guard,” Veran told LCI television.

I mentioned earlier that it now seems unlikely that the Indian Premier League cricket can be completed in India. Another major sporting event under threat from a Covid resurgence is the Tokyo Olympics. Justin McCurry in Tokyo has the latest for us:

Preparations for Tokyo Olympics have suffered another setback after a poll found that nearly 60% of people in Japan want them to be cancelled, less than three months before the Games are due to open.

Related: Tokyo Olympics: poll shows 60% of Japanese people want Games cancelled

Also doing the morning media round in the UK is Professor Sir John Bell, Oxford University’s regius professor of medicine. PA report he has told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that the prospect of people being able to hug their loved ones again was “great”.

Asked about the next phase of the Government’s road map – which will allow more mixing indoors – he said: “I think we’ll still probably go steady but perhaps a bit faster, I’ll be interested to see what the Government announces. I’m feeling pretty comfortable with where we are at the moment.”

One of the UK’s junior health ministers, Nadine Dorries, has hinted at what will be announced later today when British prime minister Boris Johnson will hold a press conference about plans to lift parts of the Covid-19 lockdown, junior minister said.

“It does look as if the roadmap is on course,” Reuters report Dorries told Sky News. “The prime minister will be making an announcement later this afternoon and he will be detailing how we’re going to unlock and when.”

The remainder of the suspended Indian Premier League season will have to be played outside India, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has said, though it is unclear whether a window can be found to play the outstanding 31 games.

The lucrative Twenty20 league was suspended indefinitely last week after several personnel tested positive for Covid-19.

Related: Remaining IPL games cannot be played in India, says BCCI

Ireland is lifting some coronavirus lockdown restrictions today. A phased reopening of non-essential retail will begin, with click-and-collect services and in-store shopping by appointment allowed, while close contact services, such as hairdressers, can resume.

Restrictions on inter-county travel have also lifted, while some of the limitations on indoor and outdoor social gatherings have eased.

The UK’s cybersecurity agency has taken down more scams in the last year than in the previous three years combined, with coronavirus and NHS-themed cybercrime fuelling the increase.

Experts oversaw a 15-fold rise in the removal of online campaigns compared with 2019, according to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

Related: UK Covid-related cybercrime fuels 15-fold rise in scam takedowns

Vietnam reported 102 new Covid-19 infections on Sunday as the country battled an outbreak that prime minister Pham Minh Chinh said threatened political stability if not brought under control.

The new cases raised the total to 3,332 since the pandemic began, with 35 deaths, the ministry of health said.

India’s health ministry reported 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths on Monday, down a little from recent peaks. India’s tally of infections stands at 22.66 million, with 246,116 deaths.

Calls continue to grow for India to impose a nationwide lockdown as new coronavirus cases and deaths held close to record highs, increasing pressure on the government of prime minister Narendra Modi.

China will set up a “separation line” on the peak of Mount Everest to avoid possible Covid-19 infections by climbers from virus-hit Nepal, state media reported, after dozens were taken ill from the summit’s base camp.

AFP reports that while the virus first emerged in China in late 2019, it has largely been brought under control in the country through a series of strict lockdowns and border closures.

Friends and family in England will be able to hug and mix indoors from next week, while cinemas and museums can reopen, Boris Johnson is to confirm on Monday despite growing concerns over the spread of the India coronavirus variant.

Scientists warned this weekend that cases are doubling in some areas where the variant, B1.617.2, has been detected. More deprived areas and those with large ethnic minority communities where vaccination rates may be lower are most affected, they said.

Related: Johnson to allow hugging and indoor venues to reopen in England from 17 May

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, with me, Alison Rourke.

Before we get started, here are the main developments so far:

Continue reading…

Written by Graham Russell (now); Edna Mohamed Clea Skopeliti Damien Gayle, Martin Belam and Alison Rourke (earlier)
This news first appeared on under the title “Vaccines offer high protection against death, report finds; Malaysia to enter lockdown – as it happened”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.