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Scientists call for surge vaccines to fight variant

Email sent: May 14, 2021 3:02am
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May 14, 2021

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Scientists have called on the government to introduce “surge vaccinations” in areas of England that have seen a recent rise in cases linked to the coronavirus variant first detected in India. The latest figures show that the number of infections caused by the variant, which is feared to be spreading on a community level in some parts of the country, has nearly tripled over the past week. It comes as one council in Lancashire attempted to break rank with national guidance and take matters into its own hands on Thursday, saying it would offer vaccines to those aged 18 and over in three wards of Blackburn with Darwen, later reversing its decision. Although the jabs are thought to be capable of neutralising the variant, experts have urged the government to ramp up vaccinations in England’s hardest-hit areas, while some have gone further in arguing that the lifting of restrictions should be delayed until more data is collected.

 

Israel’s army has announced that its air and ground troops are “currently attacking the Gaza Strip”. Although the statement gave no further details, Israeli military affairs correspondents who are briefed regularly by the armed forces said it was not a ground invasion and that troops were firing artillery from Israel’s side of the border. Residents of northern Gaza, near the Israeli frontier, said they had seen no sign of ground troops inside the enclave but reported heavy artillery fire and dozens of air strikes. Residents said it was among the heaviest bombardments they have ever experienced, rivalling some of the worst nights during the seven-week war in 2014. “The houses were shaking, they were dancing from the relentless airstrikes and artillery fire,” said Nedal Hamdouna, a Palestinian journalist based in Beit Lahia, that came under heavy fire.

 

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Police have released two men detained by immigration officials after crowds swarmed the street for hours to block their van from leaving. Officers said they were freeing the men for the safety of everyone involved following a stand-off in Glasgow that lasted for nearly eight hours. The men were let out of the van and waved to the cheering crowds as they walked away, surrounded by a large number of police officers. The pair, both Indians, were detained on suspicion of immigration offences and were released on bail pending further investigation. Earlier, hundreds of residents had surrounded the Border Agency van in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow to try to prevent immigration officers from removing the men. One person lay underneath the van.

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