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Coronavirus in brief

The health secretary rides in a chauffeur-driven vehicle
(LNP)

Hancock pictured without mask in ministerial car

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, was reprimand by Downing Street yesterday after being pictured riding in his ministerial car without a face covering. Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said ministers had been told to wear masks in their chauffeur-driven cars, shortly after pictures emerged of Mr Hancock with his face uncovered. He was snapped arriving at the Department of Health and Social Care. Passengers in taxis and private hire cars are required to wear face coverings in order to protect drivers from the risk of infection, with a fine of £200 for breaching the rules.

 

Vaccine ‘unlikely to stop Covid’s spread’

It is “unlikely” that a coronavirus vaccine will be able to completely stop the spread of infection, the government’s chief scientific advisor has warned, adding that the disease may well become endemic in the global population – much like influenza. Sir Patrick Vallance told MPs that the UK government would probably need to manage Covid-19 on a year-by-year basis in the same way as flu. He insisted that the strategy of attempting to eradicate the disease, which has been adopted in countries such as New Zealand and Australia, was “not right because it’ll come back”.

 

Alzheimer’s and dementia deaths rise during pandemic

Deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia have soared by almost 80 per cent in private homes in England during the pandemic, data shows. Newly released figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there were 2,905 excess fatalities from these diseases between 14 March and 11 September. This is 79 per cent higher than the five-year average for the same sixth months.

 

Billions could struggle to get access to vaccine

Three billion people could miss out on a coronavirus vaccine because of storage issues – with some of the poorest people on the planet most at risk of being left behind. Experts at German logistics company DHL have warned that among the problems facing vaccine distribution teams is that large parts of the world do not have the refrigeration capacities needed. These include most of central Asia, much of India and southeast Asia, Latin America except for the largest countries, and all but a tiny corner of Africa.