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Sunak fears scientists are ‘moving lockdown goalposts’
Amid a clamour among MPs for a faster lifting of lockdown, Rishi Sunak fears scientific advisers are “moving the goalposts”. The Chancellor is concerned that the requirements for ending restrictions have changed, with the original target of protecting the NHS and saving lives replaced by scientists with a focus on getting case numbers down. Mr Sunak has told allies that Britain is approaching a “fat lady sings moment” where lockdown must be lifted, never to return. Almost a fifth of the adult population has now been given at least one vaccine dose and new evidence shows that vaccines reduce transmission rates. But members of the scientific advisory Sage group have said case numbers must come down “a lot further” before schools can reopen. Associate Editor Camilla Tominey analyses why ministers fear the lockdown exit strategy is shifting. Read the likely “three-stage” timetable for lifting restrictions.
Meanwhile, younger people could be given a “mix and match” dose of two different vaccines after Oxford University launched a trial. Researchers will today start recruiting for a new project to test if the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines can be used together as part of a two-dose regime. It came as a new study found that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine provided 90pc protection from Covid-19 after just 21 days, without the need for a “top-up”. Search for vaccine progress by postcode.
Captain Cook added to ‘Topple the Racists’ hit list
Statues of Captain Cook are under threat after Black Lives Matter campaigners added the “genocidal” explorer to a national hit list. Two statues in London and Whitby, two museums and a pub are among 125 landmarks and tributes that activists want renamed or removed. The “Topple the Racists” list, compiled by the Stop Trump Coalition, has more than doubled in length since it was first published in June last year. Read a list of memorials under threat. Historian Robert Tombs argues that Captain Cook was a “true Enlightenment man” – not a villain.
One relationship Harry would be heartbroken to lose
Ever since “Megxit” last year, Prince Harry has been in self-imposed exile in the US, living a life far from royal duty. Though he now goes without the HRH prefix, he is longing to keep his honorary military titles. His successful libel action in the High Court this week demonstrates how deeply the Duke of Sussex still cares about the Armed Forces. Harry Mount says, without the Army, the Duke would have a hole in his life.
At a glance: More coronavirus headlines
Also in the news: Today’s other headlines
Not so smart | Highways England’s rollout of smart motorways was “entirely wrong” and drivers still do not know how to use them, the Transport Secretary said. Grant Shapps suggested motorists had no idea what to do if they broke down in live lanes as they were introduced without a major information campaign. His comments are the most damning indictment yet on smart motorways by a serving minister.
Around the world: Sign of defiance
Medical workers at Yangon General Hospital in the capital of Myanmar make three-fingered salutes in support of Aung San Suu Kyi, who was deposed as the country’s leader in Monday’s military coup and yesterday charged with illegally importing walkie talkie radios. View a gallery of more of today’s striking pictures from around the world.