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Ministers told to bar EU from UK trial data in vaccines row

2 days 7 hours ago

England’s deputy medical chief asked for data to be withheld unless British vaccine guinea pigs allowed to travel abroad

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England’s deputy chief medical officer asked ministers to withhold all UK clinical trial data from the EU if European countries continued to deny entry to British vaccine trial volunteers, the Observer can reveal.

Jonathan Van-Tam made the extraordinary proposal after months of uncertainty for the 19,000 volunteers who are effectively unable to travel to Europe to see family, work or go on holiday because they took part in trials of Novavax and Valneva.

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James Tapper

Will she run for president? Duterte’s daughter keeps the Philippines guessing

2 days 7 hours ago

Sara Duterte ahead in the polls despite refusing to commit to presidential race

It was a decade ago, before her father had become Philippine president, that Sara Duterte attracted national attention. A local sheriff had ignored orders issued by her, the mayor of Davao City, to delay the demolition of a shantytown. She arrived at the scene furious and punched him, not once, but four times in the head, in front of reporters.

Duterte, 43, a motorbike lover and tough talker, has a combative image that echoes that of her 76-year-old father, the populist president Rodrigo Duterte. It is widely believed that, as he nears the end of his six-year term limit, she will follow in his footsteps to Manila’s Malacañang Palace.

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Rebecca Ratcliffe and Carmela Fonbuena

Nike and Amazon among brands advertising on Covid conspiracy sites

2 days 8 hours ago

Household names may have unwittingly helped spread fake news, investigation reveals

Dozens of the world’s biggest brands, including Nike, Amazon, Ted Baker and Asos, have been advertising on websites that spread Covid-19 misinformation and conspiracy theories, it has emerged. The companies, as well as an NHS service, are among a string of household names whose ads appear to have helped fund websites that host false and outlandish claims, for example that powerful people secretly engineered the pandemic, or that vaccines have caused thousands of deaths.

Analysis of nearly 60 sites, performed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and shared with the Observer, found that ads were placed through the “opaque” digital advertising market, which is forecast to be worth more than $455bn (£387bn) this year.

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Rob Davies and Jasper Jackson

UK teachers targeted by Covid anti-vaxxers as schools prepare to vaccinate pupils

2 days 8 hours ago

One headteacher threatened with legal action by own governor over student jabs

Secondary schools in the UK have been plunged into the centre of the row over Covid vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds, with anti-vaxxers at school gates and a headteacher threatened with legal action by one of his own governors.

Letters circulated by campaign groups and parents are accusing schools of sanctioning “medical experimentation” if they allow the Covid vaccination programme for 12- to 15-year-olds to go ahead.

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Julie Henry

Ed Miliband: honour promises on jabs to poor countries to save Cop26 deal

2 days 10 hours ago

Labour’s shadow business secretary says the government must ‘rebuild trust’ after a series of missteps on way to climate summit

Boris Johnson should set out plans to provide Covid-19 vaccinations to all developing countries to achieve a global climate deal, Labour’s shadow business secretary, Ed Miliband, has urged.

Only 2% of the population of developing countries have been inoculated, despite promises by rich nations. Ensuring the rest have access to vaccines would build trust with the poor world which is lacking, Miliband said, ahead of the vital UN Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow in November.

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Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent

Prove your Covid status if you want to party, UK students told

2 days 12 hours ago

Student unions are going further than government guidelines, in an attempt to avoid virus outbreaks like those of last year

Student unions are telling students they won’t be admitted to freshers’ parties in the next few weeks without a Covid pass or negative lateral flow test, in an attempt to avoid a repeat of last year’s outbreaks on campus.

Earlier this month, the government performed a U-turn on plans to compel nightclubs from 1 October to ask for Covid passports that prove someone has had two Covid vaccinations or a negative test. But many student unions have chosen to go further than government guidelines because they fear that a more relaxed stance could lead to outbreaks and students being confined to their bedrooms again.

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Anna Fazackerley

Two professional Strictly dancers reported to have refused Covid jabs

2 days 13 hours ago

Reports follow confirmation that one dancer tested positive, but show’s launch will not be affected

Two professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing have reportedly refused to be vaccinated against Covid, causing complications before the show’s return on Saturday night.

The BBC’s flagship dance contest will return to screens on 18 September with a pre-recorded launch show revealing which professional dancer each competitor has been matched with, before the live show kicks off on 25 September.

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Clea Skopeliti

Doctors treating unvaccinated Covid patients are succumbing to compassion fatigue

2 days 13 hours ago

Exhausted healthcare workers admit they feel demoralized as the fourth surge spreads across the US

Last February, Dr Bryce Meck, 30, would lock herself in the bathroom to cry for five minutes when her patients, whom she had watched over for weeks in the medical intensive care unit, were dying from Covid-19. They begged her to tell people in their community to get vaccinated. Of the 20 patients with Covid-19 in her care, only three survived.

Each week, Meck’s frustration grew when she saw patients in a Columbia, Missouri, primary care clinic. They expressed vaccine hesitancy, shared misinformation or told her that their friends were pressuring them to remain unvaccinated. “If only the patients in the clinic could just meet the people who are suffering in the hospital,” said Meck, who continues to experience long-term effects of the virus herself.

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Sadia Rafiquddin

Half-term holiday bookings jump 200% after England travel rules change

2 days 15 hours ago

Thomas Cook says it expects a busy weekend for bookings as people take advantage of simplified travel rules

Half-term holiday bookings have jumped by 200% compared with August since the government announced a relaxation of travel rules in England, the travel firm Thomas Cook has said.

On Friday, the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, unveiled plans to simplify the Covid rules around trips abroad from next month, scrapping the traffic light system and replacing it with a pared-down “red” list of countries from which arrivals will continue to be required to quarantine in a government-supervised hotel.

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Clea Skopeliti

Melbourne and Sydney anti-lockdown protests: violent clashes as police arrest demonstrators

2 days 17 hours ago

Police deploy pepper spray and dodge projectiles as protests held in Melbourne, Sydney, Byron Bay and Brisbane

Victoria police arrested 235 protesters and three officers remained in hospital on Saturday evening following violent anti-lockdown demonstrations in Melbourne’s inner city.

As the state recorded 535 new cases and one death, around 1,000 protesters gathered in the north-eastern suburbs of Richmond and Hawthorn, forced to make a last-minute change of location after 2,000 police officers formed a “ring of steel” around the Melbourne CBD.

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Justine Landis-Hanley and Luke Henriques-Gomes

Police and anti-lockdown protesters clash in Melbourne – as it happened

2 days 17 hours ago

Protests held as NSW records 1,331 cases, Victoria 535, the ACT 15 and Queensland one. This blog is now closed

8.45am BST

We’ll leave it there for now. Before we do, here are today’s main developments.

8.15am BST

Galliott defended the police operation, which aimed to lock the protesters out of the city CBD.

Instead, the protesters gathered in Richmond.

It was a great preventative measure by shutting down the public transport system, as we did by enforcing the vehicle checkpoints kept all those people and the protesters out of the city. If we hadn’t done that, we could have had thousands in the city, and we appreciate there was a great disruption to the commuters.

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Luke Henriques-Gomes and Justine Landis-Hanley (earlier)

Covid antibody drug Ronapreve to be given to vulnerable NHS patients

2 days 17 hours ago

Ronapreve, which was used to treat Donald Trump, will be ‘saving lives as early as next week’, says Sajid Javid

A drug given to the former US president Donald Trump when he had coronavirus last year is to be used to treat vulnerable NHS hospital patients.

Last month, the health secretary, Sajid Javid, heralded Ronapreve as the first treatment designed specifically for Covid-19 to receive regulatory approval in the UK.

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PA Media

Could gene editing chickens prevent future pandemics?

2 days 18 hours ago

Rearing virus-resistant birds could benefit humans too, say scientists, and Covid may have made us more open to the controversial technology

Diseases such as avian flu trigger the culling of millions of birds each year. But that need not be the case for much longer.

Vaccines are one preventive strategy employed in some countries, but they do not stop birds from being infected, getting mild versions of the disease and transmitting it to healthy chickens. In fact, this imperfect shield can make things worse, incentivising the virus to mutate to evade the vaccine.

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Natalie Grover

Are retirement properties sound investments or inheritance headaches?

2 days 19 hours ago

Options for such developments are increasing but Guardian Money hears they are not easy to sell

Almost one in eight (12%) over-70s are hoping to downsize their property or have done so already as a direct result of the pandemic.

That is one of the findings from research shared with Guardian Money that suggests many older people are rethinking their living arrangements after having been left isolated for prolonged periods during the lockdowns. Many will also have reflected on the devastating impact that Covid-19 had on some care homes.

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Rupert Jones and Hilary Osborne