Coronavirus live news: ‘long way to go,’ says UK PM after 15m offered jab; France hospitals in ‘crisis organisation’

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Prince Charles has spoken of his sadness at the variable uptake of Covid-19 vaccines in Britain and the challenges faced in “particular sections of our society, especially in some ethnic minority communities”.

He made the comments in a video for a webinar on “Covid-19 Vaccine – Facts for the BAME Community,” to be held on Thursday by the British Asian Trust, a development organisation delivering programmes in south Asia.

He said:


Recently, I fear we have reached a most sobering milestone in this seemingly interminable campaign as we marked the tragic loss of a hundred thousand souls. It is clear that the virus has affected all parts of the country, and all sections of society – but it is also clear that there are particular challenges faced in particular sections of our society, especially in some ethnic minority communities.

What saddens me even further is to hear that those challenges are being made even worse by the variable uptake of the vaccines which finally offer us a way out of the suffering of the past year.

A photo from October 28, 2020, showing Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Britain’s Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the headquarters of the Bank of England in the City of London.

A photo from October 28, 2020, showing Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Britain’s Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the headquarters of the Bank of England in the City of London. Photograph: Eddie Mulholland/AFP/Getty Images

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In an echo of others around the world, businesses in London’s Chinatown have been speaking about their fears for their future as lunar new year celebrations go virtual.

Alan Lau’s family business is one of the oldest in London’s Chinatown. Since the 1970s, the Wen Tai Sun art and crafts store in Soho has supplied decorations for the lunar new year, the most important festive holiday for Chinese people around the world. “Usually this would be the pinnacle of our trading year,” he said.

But last week was “scarily quiet” in Chinatown. Every year the area hosts the biggest lunar new year celebrations outside Asia, a massive tourist attraction for domestic and international visitors.

Lau, whose shop supplies restaurants, supermarkets and schools around the country, would normally have sold about 150 boxes of paper dragons for events across the UK’s Chinatowns, from Newcastle to London. This year, he’s sold about 20.

“It’s just felt very flat, you wouldn’t have known it was lunar new year,” he said.

People walk through Chinatown on 12 February n London. This year’s festivities, which usher in the Year of the Ox, take place while the UK remains in lockdown

People walk through Chinatown on 12 February n London. This year’s festivities, which usher in the Year of the Ox, take place while the UK remains in lockdown. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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There is growing controversy over a World Health Organization investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic after one of its members said China had refused to hand over key data, and the US national security adviser said he had “deep concerns” about the initial findings.

An international delegation travelled to the Chinese city of Wuhan last month as part of efforts to understand how the outbreak began. Dominic Dwyer, an Australian infectious disease expert who was part of the team, said it had requested raw patient data but were only given a summary.

Dwyer told Reuters on Saturday that sharing anonymised raw data is “standard practice” for an outbreak investigation. He said raw data was particularly important in efforts to understand Covid-19 as only half of 174 initial cases had exposure to the now-shuttered market where the virus was initially detected.

“That’s why we’ve persisted to ask for that,” Dwyer said. “Why that doesn’t happen, I couldn’t comment. Whether it’s political or time or it’s difficult.”

Thea Koelsen Fischer of the World Health Organization team arrive at the airport to leave at the end of the WHO mission in Wuhan, China

Thea Koelsen Fischer of the World Health Organization team arrive at the airport to leave at the end of the WHO mission in Wuhan, China on Wednesday. Photograph: Ng Han Guan/AP

On their Twitter accounts, other members of the team have been rejecting reports that Chinese authorities refused to hand over data

Thea K Fischer, Prof. i PH Virus Inf. og Epidemier
(@TheaKFischer)

This was NOT my experience either on the Epi-side. We DID build up a good relationsship in the Chinese/Int Epi-team! Allowing for heated arguments reflects a deep level of engagement in the room. Our quotes are intendedly twisted casting shadows over important scientific work. https://t.co/elL5qrKCxk


February 13, 2021

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