Lockdown easing ‘may need to be reversed if variant spreads rapidly’
Rapid spread of coronavirus variants could necessitate the reimposition of lockdown measures, a scientist advising the Government said.
Professor Peter Openshaw said his fellow scientists were “very concerned” after a cluster of cases of the South African coronavirus variant were found in London.
Some 44 confirmed cases of the variant have been found in Lambeth and Wandsworth with a further 30 probable cases identified, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
Surge testing for those who live, work or travel through those areas is being made available.
Queen returns to royal duties following death of Prince Philip
The Queen has returned to royal duties, just a few days after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh to mark the retirement of her household’s most senior official.
The monarch was back working yesterday holding her first in-person event since Philip’s passing on Friday, and hosted a ceremony as the Earl Peel formally stood down as Lord Chamberlain.
Returning to her official role so soon after her bereavement typifies the Queen’s deep sense of duty and service.
The Duke of York said his mother is bearing up stoically and the family have been rallying round to support her.
Meanwhile the Duke of Cambridge pledged to uphold Philip’s wishes and continue to support his grandmother the Queen and “get on with the job”.
‘Mix and match’ Covid vaccine trial expanded
A major study looking at whether coronavirus vaccines can be safely mixed for the first and second doses will be expanded.
Researchers running the Com-Cov study have announced the programme will be extended to include the Moderna and Novavax vaccines.
The research was first launched in February to investigate alternating doses of the first two jabs - Pfizer and Astrazeneca - to be rolled out across the UK.
Greensill Capital lobbying row deepens
The former head of Whitehall procurement became an adviser to Greensill Capital while still working as a civil servant in a move approved by the Cabinet Office, it has emerged.
Downing Street has announced an independent review into how the failed firm secured Government contracts, following a series of reports on former prime minister David Cameron’s lobbying on behalf of the company.
Correspondence between the Cabinet Office and the head of the official Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) has revealed that Bill Crothers joined Greensill as a part-time adviser to the board in 2015.
Mr Crothers was still working as a civil servant when he took up the advisory role, a move which he said was approved by a conflicts of interest policy and “supported by the Cabinet Office leadership”.
Chelsea reach Champions League semi-finals despite Porto defeat
Chelsea has reached the Uefa Champions League semi-finals despite a 1-0 defeat to FC Porto in Seville.
Mehdi Taremi scored a sensational bicycle kick in injury time to give Porto hope of levelling the tie, but the west London side held on to win 2-1 on aggregate.
Thomas Tuchel’s Blues had won the ‘away’ leg of the quarter-final 2-0 last time out thanks to goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell, leaving Porto with an uphill task in the return leg.
Porto put on a spirited display but lacked quality in the final third until the late goal.