EXERCISE cuts the risk of dying from covid by a THIRD and makes vaccines work even better, according to new research.
To massively reduce the risk of dying, you either need to do 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week, or 150 minutes a week of exercise that gets you at least slightly out of breath.
According to a international team of researchers, led by Glasgow Caledonian University, the top exercises to reach your target are running, walking, cycling or strengthening.
The study found the above exercise levels result in “a 37% decrease in the risk of death as a consequence of infectious disease such as COVID-19 and an increase in the efficacy of vaccination against viral disease such as COVID-19”.
It comes as India recorded a massive 2,000 coronavirus deaths in just 24 hours amid fears there are hundreds of new variants circulating in the country.
Hospital oxygen supplies were at risk in the capital Delhi with official and doctors saying the city’s ability to cope from a medical perspective is now “at breaking point”.
India currently has the world’s highest number of new daily infections – rapidly approaching the peak of 297,000 that the US saw in January.
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Brits are eagerly awaiting the day they can go on holiday abroad again, with restrictions meaning travel has been banned for months.
A number of countries are already planning to welcome UK travellers back this summer, with few restrictions.
The UK government has confirmed a traffic light system, which will use a three-colour guide to allow Brits to return to some countries this summer.
Countries on the ‘green’ list would be able to travel without quarantine restrictions and would require a pre-flight Covid test as well as a PCR test on day two after returning to the UK.
The UK government are still to confirm the countries which will be placed onto the green list, ahead of the anticipated May 17 date which will allow foreign travel to resume.
PUBLIC TOILETS POSE HIGH COVID RISK DUE TO POO PARTICLES, GRIM STUDY WARNS
PUBLIC toilets pose a high Covid risk due to particles from urination and poo, a grim study has warned.
Scientists say tiny cubicles can be riddled with thousands of virus-containing droplets.
The droplets are generated when the toilet is flushed – which can happen several times an hour in the busiest of places.
If someone inhales this “toilet plume”, it could cause coronavirus infection, warn the study authors at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.
SWEDEN’S CASE RATE WITH NO LOCKDOWNS
Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, registered 7,510 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, health agency statistics showed.
The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 38 new deaths, taking the total to 13,863. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.
Sweden’s death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours’ but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.
PLAN FOR WHITE HOUSE-STYLE BRIEFINGS SCRAPPED DESPITE £2.6M BEING SPENT ON VENUE
Downing Street has scrapped plans for White House-style press conferences despite more than £2.6 million having already been spent on the venue.
The room in No 9 Downing Street has been kitted out with cameras and rows of chairs for journalists, and the Prime Minister’s press secretary Allegra Stratton was due to field questions from political correspondents.
But it is understood Boris Johnson has axed plans for daily televised media briefings and the studio will be used for ministerial press conferences, as first reported by The Times.
The Prime Minister has appointed Ms Stratton as spokeswoman for the United Nations Cop26 summit, which is due to take place in Glasgow in November.
The PA news agency revealed last month that the media room had cost £2.6 million to install, with the hi-tech refurbishment branded a “vanity project” by Labour.
SCOTLAND’S DEATHS PLUMMET
Scotland’s weekly coronavirus deaths are now at their lowest level since early October, according to the latest figures.
National Records of Scotland (NRS) data shows 24 deaths relating to Covid-19 were registered between April 12 and 18, down 10 on the previous week.
It brings the total number of fatalities up to Sunday to 10,055.
Of the deaths recorded this week, 15 happened in hospital, six in care homes and three at home or in a non-institutional setting.
The statistics are published weekly and cover all deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.
Fewer than two per cent of frail and elderly people admitted to hospital after a Covid-19 vaccine experienced coronavirus symptoms three weeks after a single dose of the jab, data shows.
The findings were described as “very good news” by Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), who worked on the academic paper.
It comes as Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said the UK should expect another wave of coronavirus cases this summer.
Describing the findings of the vaccine study, which was published in March, Prof Semple told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there was a sharp drop off in the number of vaccinated people experiencing Covid symptoms 21 days after a single dose of a vaccine.
Millions of Brits have piled on lockdown weight because of Covid, with an average gain of 10 pounds each, a study shows.
Many appear to have been comfort eating after the research showed almost three-quarters of all adults say they have felt more stressed and anxious over the past year.
The study of 2,000 people suggests up to 23 million UK adults have put on weight during lockdown, while almost two thirds (64 per cent) say they have drunk more alcohol.
Top reasons given include comfort eating, less exercise, being trapped indoors and stress according to research by Well Pharmacy. Of those who have put on weight during the pandemic, 40 per cent say it will make them reluctant to bare their bodies on the beach this summer and 73 per cent say they are keen to shed some pounds to improve their health and self-esteem.
A dad-of-six who spent his birthday in a Covid-19 induced coma celebrated the milestone exactly one year on – and is having another special day six months later.
Richard Claxton turned 46 on Saturday but instead decided to mark his 45th with family and friends.
He has no memory of April 17 last year which was spent surrounded by nursing staff and loved ones having to sing Happy Birthday through video call.
So he restaged the day and intends to celebrate again in six months so he doesn’t miss out.
The rich are preparing for a summer of international travel by charging up their private jet travel cards, according to one of the industry’s big players.
Air Partner said new UK customers have added £750,000 worth of deposits to their so-called JetCards with the company in February and March.
It also saw a 15% rise in sales and renewals of JetCards year-on-year, the company said on Wednesday. However, this figure is when compared to February and March 2020, when Covid-19 had already started to weigh on international travel.
In the US, sales and renewals were up 54%, and deposits from new customers rose more than five-fold, to £300,000.
“The US private jet market is one vast, domestic market so it has not been subject to the types of restrictions and national lockdowns that we have seen in the UK and Europe,” Air Partner chief executive Mark Briffa said.
A care worker who helps vulnerable people cope with the pandemic is celebrating a £300,000 National Lottery scratch card win after popping to her local shop to buy a fizzy drink.
Bianca (known as Bee) Murton has worked throughout the pandemic helping people in their own homes as a community carer.
Now Bee, 31, from Bilston, in the West Midlands, with her life-changing win behind her, is to use the money to study and develop in the job she loves and sees as her vocation.
Bee said:”I know this is what I want to do as a career, and so I’m going to use some of my money to study for my NVQ Level 3 in Health and Social Care.”
ECONOMIC OUTPUT FALLS
Scotland’s economic output has fallen by 3.3% since Covid-19 restrictions were re-imposed in October, Scottish Government estimates show.
The latest findings show GDP rose by 0.9% in February, but remained 7.4% lower than pre-pandemic levels.
Tiered restrictions were put in force in October, to target the local authorities hit hardest by the virus, causing widespread closures of hospitality and non-essential retail.
Between the restrictions being put in place and February, the Scottish Government estimates economic output fell by 3.3%.
DIY dunces have racked up £600 million of botched jobs over lockdown, new figures reveal.
From shelves that don’t stay up to flooding the bathroom, the last year has seen more than half of Brits (52 per cent) take on repairs in the home now they are spending more time there.
However around 55,000 jobs a day are not done properly and need to be fixed by a professional which adds up to £609 million a year in costs, said the report by Churchill Home Insurance.
It also found that one in six jobs in which a tradesman was called out on was to put right a DIY attempt that had gone wrong at an average cost of £141.
Thousands of uni students will be forced to wait another full year for their graduation ceremonies.
Aberystwyth, Bristol and Exeter Universities have again postponed them due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It means for a second year graduates will not be able to don their caps and gowns until 2022.
Students were last year left disappointed as institutions were forced to cancel graduation ceremonies and virtually hand out degree certificates instead.
MENTAL HEALTH IMPACTS
Most managers believe the mental health of their staff has got worse as a result of the coronavirus crisis, new research suggests.
More than half of 1,200 managers surveyed said employees in their organisation had suffered over the past year, while almost half replied that their own mental health has got worse.
The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) said its study highlighted the importance of dealing with the mental health and wellbeing needs of workers.
More than one in five respondents were apprehensive about using their organisation’s employee assistance programmes.
Drinkers are returning to watering holes in greater numbers than predicted, according to the boss of one of the country’s largest pub chains.
Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame said that the brewer reopened more than 200 pubs from last Monday, around two thirds of its total.
“Many customers have returned to our pubs in the first week to enjoy great hospitality in a relaxed and safe environment. Although it is early days, trade levels so far have been above expectation,” Mr Neame said.
By the time all Shepherd Neame’s pubs reopen indoors in less than a month from now, according to the Government’s current road map, they will have been shut for 297 out of the last 423 days.
A leading epidemiologist has said Britain is getting close to herd immunity against Covid-19.
Prof Tim Spector OBE is a lead scientist on the Zoe Covid Symptom Study app – which has one million reports on symptoms across the country.
The King’s College London academic says the nation is getting close to herd immunity due to a combination of the vaccine programme and natural immunity.
And he believes that from now on coronavirus outbreaks will be smaller and more manageable.
Beer giant Heineken has said UK sales by volume plunged by around 30% in the first three months of 2021 as pubs remained shut during the lockdown.
The Dutch brewer said UK on-trade sales were close to zero in the three months to the end of March, which even surging off-trade sales – up by a “low-30s” percentage – could not offset.
This contributed to an overall 9.7% fall in beer sales by volume across Europe in the quarter.
But Heineken – which also brews brands including Birra Moretti, Sol and Amstel – said that, across the wider group, beer volumes were in line with a year earlier when the pandemic first struck, thanks to strong growth in Africa and Asia.
A young mum suffered a “one in a million” blood clot from her AstraZeneca vaccine – but urged others to carry on getting the jabs.
Lauren Briggs, 32, is lucky to be alive after suffering a “horrendous headache” within days of getting her jab.
But she said: “In hospital I was told I was just unlucky, the ‘one in a million’ who will get blood clots.
“I still believe in the programme. I just want people, especially younger women, to be aware they need to act if they feel ill after the jab.”
Medics have written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to massively increase investment in NHS staffing.
Groups and unions representing NHS workers have said increased demand for services due to coronavirus has led to a “chronic undersupply” in staffing and there are nearly 90,000 vacant posts.
The letter has been signed by the NHS Confederation, NHS Providers, the British Medical Association (BMA), the Royal College of Nursing, the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges and Unison, and states that “billions of extra funding” is needed.
The NHS has reported “high levels of staff stress and burnout as a direct impact of the pandemic” which threatens to further increase vacancies, according to the letter.
Fitness chain PureGym has revealed it tumbled to a £214.6 million pre-tax loss in 2020 after its sites were forced to close during repeated coronavirus lockdowns.
The result compares with losses of £39.5 million in 2019 and comes after revenues slumped 40% as UK gyms were shut for nearly half – 44% – of the year’s trading days.
But the group said the reaction to the reopening of 240 gyms across the UK since April 12 has been “excellent”, with tens of thousands of new joiners and over one million workouts in the first week.
Wetherspoon is to open more of its pubs across the country next week as the easing of the lockdown continues, the company has announced.
A further 44 pubs in England will be open for business from April 26, adding to the 394 which opened last week.
The new pub openings include those in Guildford, Ilkeston, Lincoln, Morecambe, Camborne, Driffield, Nottingham and Reading, and London.
Wetherspoon will also go ahead with opening 60 of its pubs in Scotland and 32 in Wales next week and three pubs in Northern Ireland on April 30.
INFLUENCERS MAY NEED JAB TO TRAVEL IN UAE
The UAE – beloved by Brit influencers – has warned it could impose restrictions on anyone who haven’t had their Covid jab.
The country has widened its vaccination campaign to those aged 16 and above. So far, around 65 per cent of the eligible population has had a jab.
National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority spokesman Saif Al Dhaheri said: “Strict measures are being considered to restrict the movement of unvaccinated individuals and to implement preventive measures such as forbidding entry to some places and having access to some services.
“Your hesitation today is an obstacle to our goals. It puts your family, loved ones and community at risk.”
‘JABS WORK EXTRAORDINARILY WELL’
More on that last post now.
Prof Semple said the study shows “vaccines are highly effective”.
He said: “Not only do they work, but they work extraordinarily well.”
Detailed results are due to be handed to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) today.
And it’s hoped it’ll soon be clear if those who were admitted to hospital with Covid-19 after receiving a vaccine had milder symptoms than those who had not had a jab.
A new study into the impact of vaccinations found that, of 75,000 admitted to hospital between September and March, just 32 had been jabbed.
Those 32 people had received their jabs at least three weeks before.
The vaccine takes time to build antibodies.
Researcher Professor Calum Semple, from the University of Liverpool, said he was “absolutely delighted” with the results of the study.
STURGEON HITS OUT AT ‘MYTHS’ OF NEW HOSPITALITY DISTANCING RULES
Nicola Sturgeon has hit out at “myths” of new physical distancing rules in pubs and restaurants, saying the one-metre rule will remain in place.
The First Minister said the physical distancing rules had not changed from last year, and claims otherwise were “scaremongering”.
It comes after the Scottish Hospitality Group said an official document had raised fears that the rules had been extended.
On Tuesday, the First Minister confirmed a number of lockdown measures would ease from Monday April 26. These include indoor opening of hospitality up to 8pm, though alcohol sales will remain outdoors-only until May 17.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said she expected households to stay at least one metre apart while in pubs or restaurants. She said the rule had not changed from last year, agreeing with comments from the Scottish Beer and Pub Association that claims otherwise were “scaremongering”.
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