Coronavirus news live: NHS chief says staff vaccine mandate should be delayed to 2022; Australia reopens international borders

Global death toll from Covid-19 hits five million – Johns Hopkins University

The global death toll from Covid-19 has hit five million, according to figures released from the Johns Hopkins University, 19 months after the pandemic was first declared. Some experts, including those from the World Health Organization, believe the true toll may be two to three times higher than official figures suggest.

The number of deaths from Covid-19 far outstrip that of other viral epidemics in the 21st century and most from the 20th century, with the notable exception of the Spanish flu.

Since it was first recorded in China in late 2019, the coronavirus spread quickly to almost every corner of the world and was declared a pandemic in March 2020.

The virus has since mutated into more than a dozen new variants, including the highly infectious Delta strain. Dozens of countries have recorded more than 1,000 deaths, while case counts now stand at well over one million in some countries.

The US, Brazil, India, Mexico and the UK disproportionately account for more than half of all deaths worldwide.

NHS chief: UK government should delay mandatory vaccine rule for NHS staff until 2022

Thailand reopens to some vaccinated tourists after 18 months of Covid curbs

New Zealand keeps pandemic curbs for another week in Auckland


Covid booster jabs offered at NHS walk-in clinics in England

Covid booster jabs are now being given at walk-in clinics in England as the NHS aims to increase vaccine uptake before what is expected to be a challenging winter.

From Monday, anyone in an eligible group who had their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine at least six months ago can turn up at one of hundreds of sites to get their top-up without making an appointment. The walk-in centres are also offering vaccinations to 12- to 15-year-olds.

The move follows criticism of the booster campaign, with only about half of the 12 million people in England eligible so far for a third vaccine dose having received one. The vaccine rollout to teenagers has lagged behind that of countries including France, Italy and Spain.

People entitled to a booster jab are: those aged 50 and over, people who live and work in care homes; frontline health and social care workers; people aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19; those aged 16 and over who are a main carer for someone at high risk from the virus, and; people aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections.

Nikki Kanani, a GP and the deputy lead for the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: “NHS staff are making it as easy as possible for people to get their top-up vaccination, and from today people can now go online, find their nearest site and go and get their booster without delay.

Read more of our science correspondent Hannah Devlin’s report here: Covid booster jabs offered at NHS walk-in clinics in England




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