Covid-19: Hancock to face MPs after Cummings attack and NI offers vaccine to over 18son May 27, 2021 at 7:35 am

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Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Thursday morning.

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

Matt Hancock is due to face MPs a day after his handling of the pandemic was fiercely attacked by the prime minister’s former aide. Dominic Cummings made a number of explosive claims about the government and was particularly scathing about the health secretary, describing him as “completely incapable of doing the job” and saying he “should have been fired” for lying. These claims were “absolutely” rejected, Mr Hancock’s spokesman said. The health secretary is due to appear in the House of Commons this morning to answer an urgent question tabled by Labour.

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Everyone aged over 18 in Northern Ireland can now book a vaccine. Vaccine supplies were limited and there would be about 20,000 slots available weekly, the Department of Health said. Health Minister Robin Swann said the announcement was “welcome news for young people who have been waiting patiently for their turn to get the jab”. Those aged over 30 in England and Scotland, and over-18s in Wales are all currently being invited to book their first jabs.

Covid-19 vaccine

image copyrightReuters

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US President Joe Biden has ordered intelligence agencies to investigate the emergence of Covid-19, amid growing controversy about the virus’s origins. The virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 and scientists believed it was first passed to humans from animals. But recent US media reports suggest growing evidence the virus could instead have emerged from a laboratory in China. The US Intelligence Community has “not reached a definitive conclusion on this question”, said Mr Biden and has asked them to report to him within 90 days. Beijing has condemned the reports, suggesting the virus could have come from a US lab instead.

suspected covid patient in Ahmedabad, India

image copyrightEPA

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The pandemic has caused severe disruption to GP practices, with services in England now struggling to keep up with demand. Doctors and patient groups are warning that rising numbers of people needing care, restrictions on access and a shortage of GPs is threatening to overwhelm the system. Patient groups are calling for an urgent review and the chairman of the Royal College of GPs, Prof Martin Marshall, says what is being asked of doctors is “undoable”.

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I miss my mom, I miss my dad/I miss the road, I miss my band/Giving hugs and shaking hands…There will be light after dark/Someday when we aren’t six feet apart” – a year ago US country star Luke Combs wrote lockdown anthem Six Feet Apart, giving voice to the uncertainties of the early stages of quarantine. It was one of the first musical responses to Covid-19, how does it hold up?

Luke Combs

image copyrightSony Music Nashville

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Dominic Cummings was highly critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic, making some explosive claims. We’ve fact-checked five of them.

Find further information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Government statics show 127,748 people have now died, up 9 in the past 24 hours. There've been 4,470,297 confirmed cases, up 3,180, there are 954 people in hospital, up 36, 38,378,564 people have now had their first vaccination, up 186,147, 387,987 have had a second dose in the past 24 hours, updated 26 May
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