A TERRIFYING new Brazilian covid strain is causing such alarm that planes from Portugal and South America are now banned from the UK.

Government scientists say the Brazilian variant – known as mutation 194 – is similar to the highly contagious South African strain.

There are serious concerns not only over how infectious the strain is, but also that it may be such a significant mutation from the original coronavirus strain that vaccines may be less effective or not work at all.

The flight ban will come into effect from tomorrow morning, meaning anyone will be unable to fly direct from the dozen nations to the UK – but the USA will be spared.

Follow the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis in our live blog below.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TIKKED OFF

    TikTok is allowing anti-vaxxers to spread deadly myths amid the Covid pandemic despite being warned about their content a year ago.

    The social media giant is still hosting conspiracy theories from anti-vaccination fanatics claiming jabs are made from 'sacrificed baby humans' and murdered animals.

    TikTok removed a number of misleading anti-vax videos last February following a Sun investigation.

    But the accounts remain active and continue to share claims vaccines are 'killing children' and ingredients used in Covid jabs can cause heart attacks and cancer.

    One video flagged to TikTok last year of a young female claiming vaccines contain 'cocker spaniel kidney' and 'do not give you good health' remained live on the site until today.

    The same user has since shared videos claiming vaccines are 'fraudulent science' and scientists are 'injuring and killing children'.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CLASS ACTION

    With schools closed until at least February half-term, parents will need all the help they can get with homeschooling their kids.

    Schools and colleges were shut earlier this month as part of the government’s raft of tough new Covid restrictions to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

    Only children of parents who are key workers can still go to school – but places are being rationed amid fears that the policy could undermine lockdown.

    The new measures have been rolled out in a bid to tackle a new deadly strain of Covid which is 70% more contagious.

    But if parents need a little help keeping kids on track with their studies, some companies are offering free learning tools.

    Click here for the free home school learning tools.

    Covid UK news LIVE – Panic over scary Brazil coronavirus variant as flights from Portugal and South America are BANNED

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CONTINUED

    In a bombshell note to MPs seen by The Sun, Mr Baker writes: “I am sorry to have to say this again and as bluntly as this: it is imperative you equip the Chief Whip today with your opinion that debate will become about the PM’s leadership if the Government does not set out a clear plan for when our full freedoms will be restored."

    He told them to demand "a guarantee that this strategy will not be used again next winter.”

    The major intervention reads: “Government has adopted a strategy devoid of any commitment to liberty without any clarification about when our most basic freedoms will be restored and with no guarantee that they will never be taken away again."

    It continues: “People are telling me they are losing faith in our Conservative Party leadership because they are not standing up for our values as a party."

    “If we continue forward with a strategy that hammers freedom, hammers the private sector, hammers small business owners and hammers the poor, inevitably the Prime Minister’s leadership will be on the table.

    "We strongly do not want that after all we have been through as a country.”

    Covid UK news LIVE – Panic over scary Brazil coronavirus variant as flights from Portugal and South America are BANNED

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    BO WOE

    Boris Johnson’s days in Downing Street are numbered unless he gives a clear path out of lockdown soon, influential Tories have warned.

    Powerful backbencher Steve Baker, who was instrumental in the downfall of Theresa May, has privately said: “it's inevitable the Prime Minister’s leadership will be on the table.”

    In an explosive rallying call to fellow members of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, the ex-minister blasts: “people are telling me they are losing faith in our Conservative Party leadership.”

    The group represents dozens of Tory backbenchers who are worried about the side effects of long lockdowns.

    Mr Baker urged those colleagues to make their concerns directly to Mr Johnson’s Commons enforcer, Chief Whip Mark Spencer.

    Covid UK news LIVE – Panic over scary Brazil coronavirus variant as flights from Portugal and South America are BANNED

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    HOPE FRANCIS

    Pope Francis has received his first dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine, the Vatican has announced.

    The 84-year-old pontiff was among the first of the Vatican’s 450 residents to get the jab as the nation-state began its vaccine rollout on Wednesday.

    Pope Francis, who only has one lung after the other was removed due to an infection while he was a teenager in Argentina, has called on Catholics to follow his lead, calling it an “ethical duty”.

    Pope Emeritus Benedict, 93, was also vaccinated against the virus on Thursday as Vatican City’s jabs programme began in earnest.

    The pair are expected to receive their second dose in around three weeks.

    Francis said it was an 'ethical duty' for everyone to have the vaccine, to protect their own health and the health of others.

    Covid UK news LIVE – Panic over scary Brazil coronavirus variant as flights from Portugal and South America are BANNED

  • Chris Bradford

    LOCKDOWN COULD LAST UNTIL AUTUMN, SAYS SCIENTIST

    Brits could be in lockdown until autumn as the mutant Covid strain makes relaxing restrictions harder, a scientist has claimed.

    Professor Neil Ferguson, whose modelling led to the first lockdown, said the UK needs the “highest vaccine coverage possible” before rules are loosened.

    Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today show, the senior epidemiologist today warned that “we need to be very cautious on how we relax restrictions”.

    Responding to whether lockdowns would be in place for months to come, he said the new variant, first discovered in the UK in September, would make the lifting of restrictions harder.

    “We can’t predict these things in advance,” warned Prof Ferguson, who quit as a government adviser after breaking quarantine to see his lover.

  • Chris Bradford

    NO JAB, NO JOB

    Pimlico Plumbers is to introduce a "no jab, no job" policy into work contracts so all employees will be vaccinated against coronavirus.

    The firm expects most of its 450 workers to sign the new contracts, while future jobseekers will be denied interviews if they haven't been vaccinated.

    The contracts are currently being drawn up by the London-based firm's lawyers together with its HR team.

    "No vaccine, no job," the firm's boss Charlie Mullins told The Sun.

    "When we go off to Kenya and other African countries, we have to have a jab for malaria – we don’t think about it, we just do it.

    "So why would we accept something within our country that’s going to kill us when we can have a vaccine to stop it?"

    Covid UK news LIVE – Panic over scary Brazil coronavirus variant as flights from Portugal and South America are BANNED

    Credit: Alamy

     

  • Chris Bradford

    PHARMACIES START DELIVERING FIRST COVID VACCINE DOSES

    The director of a high street pharmacy has described joining the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out as one of the “biggest days of my career” as the site began delivering its first jabs.

    Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cheshire, is one of six pharmacies in England to begin administering doses as the Government seeks to expand the vaccination programme.

    Andrew Hodgson, who has owned pharmacies in the area for more than 30 years, described the rush to set up a vaccination site as “a whirlwind”.

    He gave the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab to 82-year-old Robert Salt at 8am on Thursday morning.

    “It is probably the biggest single day of my career,” Mr Hodgson said.

  • Chris Bradford

    ‘COFFEE COULD KILL’

    Brits will be warned going for a coffee “could cost lives” in a new advertising blitz, The Sun has learnt. 

    Priti Patel ruled out any new lockdown measures “today or tomorrow” but instead warned bending current rules will be heavily targeted. 

    Adverts designed to shock will be unveiled within days in a marked escalation in the campaign to make people stay at home to fight Covid.

    Sources say one slogan being considered is: “DON’T LET A COFFEE COST A LIFE”.

    The shocking adverts have been prepared by an external advertising agency and will be put before ministers this week.

    Read our exclusive report HERE.

  • Chris Bradford

    COVID-19 CASE RATES FALLING ACROSS MOST AGE GROUPS AND REGIONS IN ENGLAND

    Covid-19 rates have fallen in most regions of England and across all age groups apart from the over-80s, in the latest sign that lockdown measures are having an effect.

    Public Health England data shows that although London continues to have the highest rate of any region, its rate of new cases now stands at 864.9 per 100,000 people in the seven days to January 10.

    This is down from 1043.9 in the previous week.

    There was a similar pattern in other areas, with the East Midlands, eastern England, north east England, south east England and Yorkshire & the Humber all recording a week-on-week fall.

    The rate increased in north west England, south west England and the West Midlands.

    Despite the positive news about case rates, the PHE surveillance report noted that there were more people being admitted to hospitals and intensive care units.

  • Chris Bradford

    DETAILS ON THE FLIGHT BAN

    Britain has slapped a flight ban on ALL planes coming in from Portugal and all of South America today to try and stop the new Brazil variant hitting our shores.

    The flight ban will come into effect from tomorrow morning, meaning anyone will be unable to fly direct from the dozen nations to the UK – but the USA will be spared.

    People coming in via a connecting flight will have to declare that at the border.

    Those people will still be allowed in, though will be told to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

    They will not be able to get a negative test and escape quarantine after five days like arrivals from other countries, either.

     

  • Chris Bradford

    TRAVEL BAN

    I’ve taken the urgent decision to BAN ARRIVALS from ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, BOLIVIA, CAPE VERDE, CHILE, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, FRENCH GUIANA, GUYANA, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, SURINAME, URUGUAY AND VENEZUELA – from TOMORROW, 15 JAN at 4AM following evidence of a new variant in Brazil. 1/3

    — Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) January 14, 2021

     

  • Chris Bradford

    BOMBSHELL WARNING TO PM: LIFT LOCKDOWN OR FACE LEADERSHIP THREAT

    Boris Johnson’s days in Downing Street are numbered unless he gives a clear path out of lockdown soon, influential Tories have warned.

    Powerful backbencher Steve Baker, who was instrumental in the downfall of Theresa May, has privately said "its inevitable the Prime Minister’s leadership will be on the table."

    In an explosive rallying call to fellow members of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, the ex-minister blasts: “people are telling me they are losing faith in our Conservative Party leadership.”

    The group represents dozens of Tory backbenchers who a worried about the side effects of long lockdowns.

    Mr Baker urges those colleagues to make their concerns directly to Mr Johnson’s Commons enforcer, Chief Whip Mark Spencer.

    In a bombshell note to MPs seen by The Sun, Mr Baker writes: "I am sorry to have to say this again and as bluntly as this: it is imperative you equip the Chief Whip today with your opinion that debate will become about the PM’s leadership if the Government does not set out a clear plan for when our full freedoms will be restored, with a guarantee that this strategy will not be used again next winter."

    Downing Street have been approached for comment.

    Click HERE to read our exclusive report.

  • Chris Bradford

    WATCH: LONDONERS PACK ONTO TUBE AT CANNING TOWN STATION DESPITE PLEAS TO WORK FROM HOME

    Shocking footage shows Londoners piling onto a packed Tube during today's morning rush hour.

    The video taken around 6am at Canning Town, East London, was branded "terrifying" as the capital battles a mutant Covid strain.

    After three Jubilee Line tubes were cancelled commuters were forced to cram onto platforms to board the next service.

    The trains were cancelled due to staff shortages, with TfL insisting the footage "was not representative of the rest of the Tube network".

    It comes as the number of Londoners who have died with Covid rose to more than 10,000, with more than 84,000 deaths nationwide.

    One person wrote: "Terrifying, but absolutely not their fault. It’s their employers forcing them to still work."

    Londoners pack onto Tube at Canning Town station despite pleas to work from home as cases soar despite national lockdown

  • Chris Bradford

    WILL YOU REF OFF!

    A referee charity has urged the FA to ban footballers coming within two metres of officials.

    Refsupport UK has called on football chiefs to implement the tougher rule in a bid to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus on the pitch.

    Football stars have already been asked not to celebrate in groups after scoring in a bid to lower the spread risk.

    But with officials seemingly forgotten about when considering on-field social distancing rules, the ref charity have called for change.

    Refsupportuk tweeted: “It would be brilliant if the FA could also state that players should not intentionally be within two metres of a match official.

    "There is no reason whatsoever for a player to be intentionally that close to a match official."

  • Chris Bradford

    OUT OF TUNE

    Cops caught punters breaking coronavirus restrictions by sneaking into a Manchester pub to down pints and sing karaoke.

    Customers crept into The Cock Hotel in Denton through the back door for "invite-only" booze ups during lockdown.

    Police who raided the bar found four people cowering upstairs.

    Designated premises supervisor Michael Andrew said he'd simply been having a drink with his lodger while watching a football match, the MEN reports.

    But when more people were then found hiding, he changed his story – telling licensing officials and cops the incident was just a "one-off".

    He said he'd invited pals over because he was "lonely", and wasn't selling alcohol.

    Read more HERE.

  • Chris Bradford

    TRACK AND TRACE £500 PAYMENTS EXTENDED UNTIL APRIL

    Low-income families who have been told to self-isolate by NHS track and trace now have until the end of April to claim a £500 payment.

    The Test and Trace Payment Support Scheme launched in September and was due to end at the end of January 2021.

    But it has now been extended until March 31 amid rising coronavirus cases and fears of a new mutant strain.

    The one-off payments are available to people on certain benefits who will see their income drop as a result of having to stay at home.

    Ministers paid out £15million by the end of last year under the scheme.

    Anyone who is told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or through an alert from the NHS Covid-19 app is legally required quarantine for 10 days or risk a £10,000 fine.

  • Chris Bradford

    MAKING A MEAL OF IT

    Schools have been told NOT to provide free school meal vouchers to families during the February half-term.

    After the fierce row over meagre food parcels being sent out to vulnerable families, fresh advice from the Department of Education has told schools they do not need to dole out the vouchers to kids.

    The guidance says: "Schools do not need to provide lunch parcels or vouchers during the February half-term.

    "There is wider government support in place to support families and children outside of term time through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme."

    Instead, families will need to go to their local council to access free school meals through the Government's winter grant scheme, worth £170million.

    At least 80 per cent of the cash was earmarked to give support with food and essential utility costs until the end of March.

  • Chris Bradford

    WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE BRAZIL STRAIN?

    The Government haven't specified what the symptoms of the new strain from Brazil are.

    However, experts have said it is characteristically similar to the other Covid mutations from the UK and South Africa.

    Speaking previously, the WHO's technical chief, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, said those infected with different variants had the same symptoms of the disease and there was no severity.

    But she said the variant had increased transmission.

    The most common signs of Covid to look out for are a loss of taste and smell, a persistent cough, and a high temperature.

    WHO's Executive Director Mike Ryan said the variant transmitted in the same way – through respiratory droplets from coughing or in the breath, and from infected surfaces.

    Fears Covid vaccine will be less effective against new Brazilian mutant strain

  • Chris Bradford

    IS THE BRAZIL STRAIN IN THE UK?

    It's not yet known if the new strain from Brazil is present in the UK or not.

    It was picked up during routine surveillance by Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), which analyses the genomes from all international travellers who test positive for Covid-19 on arrival.

    From next week, all international travellers coming into the UK will have to show a negative Covid test before they enter.

    Passengers – including homecoming Brits – will have to get a test up to 72 hours before they travel and show a certificate to enter the country.

    Test results must be shown at check-in with their airline, train company or ferry before they travel and those who refuse won’t be allowed to travel.

    If someone does smuggle themselves into the UK they will be subject to a £500 fine.

  • Chris Bradford

    WHAT IS THE NEW COVID STRAIN FROM BRAZIL?

    A third new strain of coronavirus has been identified after mutating in Brazil.

    It comes after a more contagious variant was first identified in the UK, followed by another from South Africa.

    The third strain was detected in Japan after four travellers returned from Brazil.

    The mutation "emerged independently" from those detected in the UK and South Africa, according to virologist Tulio de Oliveira.

    He told the Telegraph initial analysis suggests all three variants share concerning characteristics.

    Japan reported the mutation to the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the country recorded a sharp rise in cases in recent weeks.

  • Chris Bradford

    GRIM TOLL

    A further 884 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 58,712, NHS England confirmed today.

    Patients were aged between 27 and 101. All except 48, aged between 38 and 101, had known underlying health conditions.

    The deaths were between December 4 and January 13.

    There were 45 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

  • Chris Bradford

    'EVERY AREA SEEN ITS FAIR SHARE OF JABS', SAYS DOWNING STREET

    Downing Street has said every area is receiving its "fair share" of coronavirus vaccines after figures showed a disparity in the rollout of jabs.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We've rolled out the vaccination programme across the country and we've ensured that every area receives a fair share of the vaccinations and we will continue to do that.

    "You will continue to see the vaccination programme accelerate through this month and throughout February and the PM's been clear that we will ensure there is a vaccine centre close to everybody by the end of the month."

    It comes as statistics reveal that almost half a million doses of the vaccine in the North East of England and Yorkshire have been given to vulnerable Brits – and more than 2.6 million people have had their first coronavirus jab.

  • Chris Bradford

    NO.10 DEFENDS DELAY FOR ENFORCING PRE-DEPARTURE COVID TESTS WHEN TRAVELLING TO ENGLAND

    Downing Street has today defended the delay to enforcing the requirement for pre-departure coronavirus tests when travelling to England.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We always said we'd introduce the regulations on Friday and the law is still coming into force on Friday.

    "But we've implemented a grace period over the weekend until 4am on Monday so passengers can have a little bit more time to ensure they can get access to tests that meet our requirements."

    Asked if the delay was giving the strain a chance to enter the UK, he said: "It is important to remember this is alongside other measures we have in place.

    "We will continue to look out for new variants and new strains."

  • Chris Bradford

    MINISTERS MEET TO DISCUSS 'URGENT MEASURES' REGARDING BRAZILIAN COVID STRAIN

    Ministers have met to discuss "urgent measures" to restrict any spread of the Brazilian coronavirus variant, Downing Street has said.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Ministers have met this morning to consider urgent measures to reduce the potential spread to the UK of the Brazilian variant."

    An announcement is expected to follow the meeting.

A TERRIFYING new Brazilian covid strain is causing such alarm that planes from Portugal and South America are now banned from the UK.TIKKED OFFCLASS ACTIONCONTINUEDBO WOEHOPE FRANCISLOCKDOWN COULD LAST UNTIL AUTUMN, SAYS SCIENTISTNO JAB, NO JOBPHARMACIES START DELIVERING FIRST COVID VACCINE DOSES‘COFFEE COULD KILL’COVID-19 CASE RATES FALLING ACROSS MOST AGE GROUPS AND REGIONS IN ENGLANDDETAILS ON THE FLIGHT BANTRAVEL BAN BOMBSHELL WARNING TO PM: LIFT LOCKDOWN OR FACE LEADERSHIP THREATWATCH: LONDONERS PACK ONTO TUBE AT CANNING TOWN STATION DESPITE PLEAS TO WORK FROM HOME WILL YOU REF OFF!OUT OF TUNE TRACK AND TRACE £500 PAYMENTS EXTENDED UNTIL APRILMAKING A MEAL OF ITWHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE BRAZIL STRAIN?IS THE BRAZIL STRAIN IN THE UK?WHAT IS THE NEW COVID STRAIN FROM BRAZIL?GRIM TOLL'EVERY AREA SEEN ITS FAIR SHARE OF JABS', SAYS DOWNING STREETNO.10 DEFENDS DELAY FOR ENFORCING PRE-DEPARTURE COVID TESTS WHEN TRAVELLING TO ENGLANDMINISTERS MEET TO DISCUSS 'URGENT MEASURES' REGARDING BRAZILIAN COVID STRAIN