Coronavirus live news: Taiwan extends restrictions; patients on ventilators in England ‘up 41% in last week’
There have been rumblings about the different rules those associated with Euro 2020 are experiencing in order to facilitate matches at Wembley and Hampden compared with the average person in England or Scotland.
UK government media minister John Whittingdale was on the defensive over this on ITV’s Good Morning Britain earlier. PA Media reports he said: “We’ve always been clear that we were keen to host tournaments in the UK and therefore obviously, we’ve had to make special dispensation already for team members and people closely associated with teams.”
He insisted those who would be able to come into the country without quarantining would not be allowed to “just go on a tour of Britain whilst they’re here”.
Whittingdale said: “They come in, they stay in a designated place, they attend the match, and then they leave. So it is for a specific purpose.”
The UK government is due to announce on Monday whether there will be an early lifting of Covid restrictions before 19 July. We are not expecting there will be, but there’s a lot of jockeying for position on the issue on the airwaves this morning.
Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh, has told Times Radio that he sees no reason in the data not to do it on 19 July as planned. PA Media quotes him saying: “The thing everyone’s looking for is the rate of increase in cases and the level to which vaccine prevents those cases turning into hospitalisations and deaths. The trends for both of those are in encouraging directions. Whether or not this wave will have turned around by 19 July is harder to say for sure.”
Brendan Wren is professor of microbial pathogenesis at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and he’s been more bullish on Sky News, saying: “I think the government has been a bit over-cautious, there’s a certain amount of coronamania going on, we do need to take a wider view of society as a whole.”
He said excess deaths in the UK were down, in part because there were fewer infectious diseases going around due to current restrictions aimed at Covid. He also cast doubt on fears over the Delta variant, saying: “The evidence that the new variant, the Delta variant, will increase like in previous waves, I believe is unlikely, because obviously we have a fully vaccinated, or nearly fully vaccinated population.”
WHO expert: variants are 'going to go on coming' and some will be 'troublesome'
IOC president to arrive in Japan for Olympics earlier than originally planned
A quick Olympic update from Reuters: International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach will arrive in Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on 9 July, three days earlier than initially planned, broadcaster JNN said on Wednesday.
He was originally planning to arrive in Japan on 12 July. The report does not give an explanation for why he is arriving earlier than planned, but says that he will quarantine in his hotel until 12 July.
Today marks a month until the opening ceremony of the Covid-disrupted Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.