Coronavirus: Covid antibodies in half of UK population and festivals to go aheadon March 30, 2021 at 5:06 pm

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Five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Tuesday evening.

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Tuesday evening. We’ll have another update for you tomorrow morning.

Vaccinations and infections mean that about half of the people in the UK now have antibodies against Covid-19, according to tests carried out by the Office for National Statistics. Antibodies are proteins in the blood which recognise specific infections and fight them off. With 30 million people having received at least one dose, most of the protection has been acquired through vaccination. Among over-65s, who have been prioritised for the vaccine, about 90% have antibodies. There has been a small decline in detectable antibodies among this group since January, however. The ONS suggests this may be because some people had their first dose but had not received their second yet – but it stressed that doesn’t mean they have less immunity.

Nurse preparing a vaccine dose

image copyrightReuters

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Scotland is ending its “stay at home” lockdown order on Friday and urging people to stay local instead, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed. People will still be asked to remain within their local authority area until 26 April, when the travel ban within Scotland is lifted. Hairdressers, barbers, garden centres, homeware stores and click-and-collect services will also be allowed to reopen from Monday. The ending of the stay-at-home order follows similar moves in Wales earlier in March and yesterday in England. Conservatives in Wales have said they hope to end social distancing altogether on 21 June if they win May’s Senedd elections.

A woman walking past a coronavirus warning sign in Glasgow

image copyrightPA Media

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The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says further investigation is needed to rule out a theory that Covid-19 emerged from a laboratory in China. Although such a leak is the least likely cause, more extensive research is needed, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. The virus was first detected in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province in late 2019, but the Chinese government has dismissed the allegations of a virus leak. An international team of experts travelled to the city in January to probe the origin of the virus but Dr Tedros said they had difficulty accessing raw data and called for “more timely and comprehensive data sharing” in the future.

Security personnel keep watch outside Wuhan Institute of Virology

image copyrightReuters

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Just one day after restrictions in England were eased to allow up to six people or two households to gather outdoors, police put in place a dispersal order to prevent large crowds gathering in Nottingham Arboretum. Videos shared on social media showed people brawling, hugging and drinking while enjoying the warm weather. Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, First Minister Arlene Foster has called for the PSNI’s chief constable to resign after it was announced there would be no prosecutions following the attendance of 2,000 mourners – against Covid restrictions – at the funeral of former IRA head of intelligence Bobby Storey.

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The organiser of the Leeds and Reading festivals has said he is confident they will go ahead in August – but fans will “almost certainly” need some form of Covid vaccination passport. Melvin Benn said he was taking the prime minister at his word that legal restrictions would be removed in June for a “summer of fun”. Headline acts announced so far include Stormzy, Liam Gallagher and Queens of the Stone Age. But Mr Benn said if the dual-site festival does have to be cancelled, fans will receive a refund.

Leeds Festival in 2019

image copyrightGetty Images

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You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

If you want to know what rules have been relaxed, and what changes are expected next, you can find all the details here.

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