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Spring will be a ‘new dawn’ for Britain, says deputy chief medical officer

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spring will be a new dawn for britain says deputy chief medical officer

One of the Government’s chief advisers on the Covid-19 crisis has said spring could be a ‘new dawn’ for Britain and its battle with the disease.

In a ray of hope for the UK, Professor Jonathan Van Tam, who became notorious for his no-nonsense style in TV press conferences, said people should be able to ‘live safely’ by Easter 2021.

He admitted life will be different in the future and home-working is likely to become much more commonplace, but said he was hopeful.

Other top advisers including Professor Chris Whitty have also said social distancing and self-isolating when sick could become the new normal.

Professor Van Tam said he expects the race to develop a vaccine to protect people from Covid-19 to bear fruit by the middle of next year and that normal life may start to resume when it does.

But he said people would still have to learn to live with the disease.

His sentiments echo comments made by the chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, Kate Bingham, who said today that efforts to develop a jab could hopefully reduce Covid-19 to a flu-like illness rather than the deadly disease it is at the moment. 

Professor Van Tam (pictured), who is second in command to the chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, became notorious for his no-nonsense style at televised press conferences alongside senior politicians

Professor Van Tam (pictured), who is second in command to the chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, became notorious for his no-nonsense style at televised press conferences alongside senior politicians

BRITAIN BUYS 90M DOSES OF TWO MORE CORONAVIRUS VACCINES

British officials have ordered another 90million doses of experimental coronavirus vaccines in support of efforts by pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson and Novavax. 

If all the vaccines pre-ordered by the UK are successful and go into production the country will have a massive stockpile of 340million jabs – enough to give every person in the country five each.

Britain’s ‘buy first, test later’ approach may be its best chance of getting a working jab, said the Vaccine Taskforce chief, who admitted most of the Covid-19 jabs won’t work.

As part of the new deals with the US-based drug companies, officials will fund clinical trials of the jabs in Britain.

If they are proven to work they could be given to members of the public as soon as the middle of next year. It is not clear how much money the UK has spent on the deals.

The global race for a vaccine – seen as the only viable way to stop the coronavirus – has received promising boosts in recent weeks as early trial results have emerged.

The first clinical trial of one of the UK’s biggest hopes, a jab made by Oxford University, showed signs that it produces an immune response and is safe. 

News of Britain’s latest deal comes after Russia this week announced that it has approved its own vaccine after trials on just three dozen people, provoking concern from scientists that it is rushing into experiments without data to prove it is safe. 

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Speaking to Lincolnshire Pride magazine in his local county, Professor Van Tam said: ‘I’d hope that spring 2021 will represent a new dawn for the country, by which time we’ll be able to live life fairly safely.

‘Even so, moving forward, the way we live will change.

‘Covid-19 won’t be eradicated anytime soon and we’ll have to learn to live with it to some extent.

‘Maybe working from home will become far more common over the longer term in some industries.’

Professor Van Tam said progress towards a vaccine is promising and the creation of one that works could change people’s way of life and return some normality.

But he doesn’t expect this to happen until well into the new year.

‘The future is hopeful but far from certain,’ the deputy chief medical officer said.

‘Covid-19 is still in circulation now and could return in significant numbers in winter 2020 if we don’t stay alert and follow the advice.   

‘A number of vaccines are currently under development.

‘I’m hopeful but not certain we’ll have some kind of a vaccine in production by the end of the year but not at full volumes.

‘So I don’t think the use of vaccines will provide a meaningful public health result until about Easter; after that I’m hoping that their impact will be substantial.’

The UK today took another big step forward in its plans to secure a vaccine against Covid-19 as it emerged the Government has signed deals for another 90million doses.

Britain will help US-based pharmaceutical firms Johnson & Johnson and Novavax to develop and trial their vaccines in exchange for the right to buy millions of doses. 

There are now at least 340million doses of different jabs ordered by the UK in the hope that one of them turns out to work – enough for five per person.

Kate Bingham, a biotech investor and chair of the vaccines taskforce, told Good Morning Britain today: ‘I’m an optimistic person… I would be confident that we will find something that will work. 

‘I’m not sure it will be a sterilising vaccine, which means it will prevent all infection, but I’m reasonably confident that we will find a vaccine that will reduce the severity of symptoms and reduce death so that we can actually turn this into a flu-like disease as opposed to a much more severe, potentially lethal disease.’ 

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P-p-p-pick up a prison sentence! Zoo keeper, 25, faces jail after breaking into his old workplace

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p p p pick up a prison sentence zoo keeper 25 faces jail after breaking into his old workplace

A former zoo keeper has been told to expect up to five years in jail after he broke into his old workplace and stole £25,000 worth of animals – including two penguins. 

Bradley Tomes, 25, was caught after he sold two tiny Humboldt penguins named Pablo and Penny on Facebook to an animal rescuer.

The rescuer checked their microchips, found out they had been stolen and contacted the police.

South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court heard on Thursday how former bird-keeper Tomes broke into South Lakes Safari in Cumbria on two occasions.

He cut a hole in the side of an aviary late at night to steal some rare tropical birds.

Bradley Tomes, 25, was caught after he sold two tiny Humboldt penguins (pictured) named Pablo and Penny on Facebook to an animal rescuer

Bradley Tomes, 25, was caught after he sold two tiny Humboldt penguins (pictured) named Pablo and Penny on Facebook to an animal rescuer

Tomes, from Preston, pleaded guilty to stealing, transporting and selling 12 spoonbill birds on July 22, 2018 and then two Humboldt penguins and three macaws on October 27 of the same year. 

Magistrates decided their sentencing powers were not enough and sent the case to Preston Crown Court, where he could face up to five years in jail. The maximum sentence a Magistrates’ Court can pass is 12 months’ jail time. 

He is due to be sentenced on October 16.

Prosecutor Lee Dacre told the court: ‘On July 22 when staff opened up they saw a hole had been cut in the perimeter fence of the aviary and exotic birds had been extracted, valued at around £20,000.

Tomes (pictured) pleaded guilty to stealing 12 spoonbill birds on July 22, 2018 and then two Humboldt penguins and three macaws on October 27 of the same year

Tomes (pictured) pleaded guilty to stealing 12 spoonbill birds on July 22, 2018 and then two Humboldt penguins and three macaws on October 27 of the same year

‘Their suspicions fell on the defendant. He had worked there previously as bird keeper and had previously asked if he could buy some of the animals.

‘Initially enquiries by Lancashire Police did not come up with anything.’

Mr Dacre then described how the animals came to be returned to the zoo.

He said: ‘On January 16 an animal collector who bought the penguins on Facebook contacted vets saying they were in bad health.

‘The defendant asked the person not to contact the police and he would refund him the money.

‘Staff from the zoo travelled to the collector’s address and tags on the birds confirmed they were stolen.

Reece Oliver, 27 who alerted police to two stolen penguins. Mr Oliver, a show jumper who keeps other exotic animals, bought the two penguins in early January after seeing them advertised on Facebook

Reece Oliver, 27 who alerted police to two stolen penguins. Mr Oliver, a show jumper who keeps other exotic animals, bought the two penguins in early January after seeing them advertised on Facebook

‘Staff were able to pick up the penguins.’

Mr Dacre said the first set of birds the defendant stole were worth £19,400 and the others £6,000.

The court heard the defendant was convicted of animal neglect and sentenced to 20 weeks in prison suspended for a year in July 2019.

Following the hearing Reece Oliver, who bought the penguins, described buying them from the defendant in a straw box.

Mr Oliver, a show jumper who keeps other exotic animals, bought the two penguins in early January after seeing them advertised on Facebook.

But he discovered the pair – who he named Pablo and Penny – had been stolen from a zoo when he checked their microchips on a database.

The 29-year-old said: ‘He seemed suspicious but you have to take people as they come. They were a little bit ill so I called the vet.

‘Penguins are very specialised and they can easily die in the wrong hands. The zoo came to me and it all worked quite well in the end.

‘I just hope the penguins are OK.’

Sergeant Andrew Browning, of Nottinghamshire Police, who worked on the investigation, said it was ‘one for the books’ and the penguins ‘made everyone laugh’.

He added: ‘My first thought was this is one for the books, and one to tell the grandkids, because there’s no way we thought we would go down there and actually find two penguins.

‘It was an unusual one. Even when we went down to custody it made everyone laugh, particularly the custody sergeant who was booking us in.

‘It was a real off-the-wall find.’

Humboldt penguins are native to South America and are named after the current of water they swim in, which takes its name from Prussian explorer Alexander von Humboldt. 

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Facebook accused of watching Instagram users through mobile cameras

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facebook accused of watching instagram users through mobile cameras

Facebook has been accused of spying on its Instagram users for ‘market research’ by secretly accessing their mobile cameras through the app, according to a new lawsuit. 

In a complaint filed in a federal court in San Francisco on Thursday, the social media giant – which owns the popular picture-sharing app – is accused of intentionally activating smartphone cameras to collect ‘lucrative and valuable data that it would not otherwise have access to’, Bloomberg reported. 

User Brittany Conditi, from New Jersey, alleges Facebook and Instagram obtained ‘extremely private and intimate’ personal information to collect ‘valuable insights and market research.’  

The lawsuit comes after Apple's iOS 14 beta update  in July showed a green icon (pictured) on the control panel of an iPhone or iPad screen when an app attempts to infiltrate the camera in the background

The lawsuit comes after Apple’s iOS 14 beta update  in July showed a green icon (pictured) on the control panel of an iPhone or iPad screen when an app attempts to infiltrate the camera in the background

The allegations come after iPhone users noticed Instagram was accessing their cameras when the app wasn’t in use, following the release of iOS 14 beta in July. 

The update allowed users to see a green icon on the control panel of an iPhone or iPad screen when an app attempts to infiltrate the camera in the background.

A user shared a screenshot of the notification on social media after scrolling through their Instagram feed – it is a round circle with the ‘recorder indicator’ in the center. 

At the time, Facebook said the notification was a result of a bug in the new software. 

‘We only access your camera when you tell us to – for example, when you swipe from Feed to Camera’, a spokesperson told DailyMail.com. 

‘We found and are fixing a bug in iOS 14 Beta that mistakenly indicates that some people are using the camera when they aren’t. 

‘We do not access your camera in those instances, and no content is recorded.’ 

The beta version of the software allowed users to poke around for bugs that may have gone unnoticed by the firm ahead of the official September launch and also revealed the ‘evil’ of some third party apps – as noted by a Twitter user regarding the news about Instagram.

User Brittany Conditi, from New Jersey, alleges Facebook and Instagram obtained 'extremely private and intimate' personal information to collect 'valuable insights and market research'

User Brittany Conditi, from New Jersey, alleges Facebook and Instagram obtained ‘extremely private and intimate’ personal information to collect ‘valuable insights and market research’

Twitter user by the name of KevDov shared a screenshot on the platform showing Instagram had activated his iPhone camera while scrolling through the site.

‘Casually browsing Instagram when suddenly the new iOS 14 camera/microphone indicator comes on. Then control panel ratted out the app behind it. This is going to change things,’ he wrote in a tweet.

Earlier this week, Apple officially released iOS 14 which features a new ‘warning dot’ that enables users to see whether one of their apps is watching or listening in.

The helpful dot is part of Apple’s increasing focus on privacy as part of the new iOS.

‘Privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything we do, Apple says on its website.

‘That’s why with iOS 14, we’re giving you more control over the data you share and more transparency into how it’s used.’ 

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EU’s von der Leyen says UK trade deal still possible despite Boris Johnson’s law change plan

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eus von der leyen says uk trade deal still possible despite boris johnsons law change plan

The head of the European Commission believes the EU can still strike a trade deal with Britain despite the frosty deadlock between the two sides.

Ursula von der Leyen lashed out at Boris Johnson over his ‘unpleasant surprise’  attempt to override the Brexit treaty he signed last year.

But addressing reporters last night she said that while the row over the controversial UK Internal Market Bill (IMB) had ‘distracted very strongly’ from the two sides being able to secure fresh trade terms she was  ‘still convinced’ a deal with London ‘can be done’.

Her comments came as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab used a CNN interview to encourage the United States to put pressure on Brussels on the UK’s behalf.

Donald Trump and his administration are at loggerheads with the EU over trade tariffs. 

But Democrats including presidential challenger Joe Biden have warned the UK that if the IMB threatens the Good Friday Agreement by forcing a hard border on Ireland it would scupper the separate trade deal being negotiated between London and Washington. 

 Despite the wrangle over the Bill – which has been derided by every living former prime minister and scores of senior Tory backbenchers, Ms von der Leyen said she remained sure that consensus on a future partnership with the UK could be reached.

 But she warned: ‘Where the UK is concerned, we want an agreement, and I think the attempt to violate the Withdrawal Agreement distracted very strongly from the ongoing negotiations. This was an unpleasant surprise.

‘And therefore it is time now that our British friends restore the trust in the validity of a signature under treaty, and that we keep on going, focused to negotiate because time is running out.’

Ursula von der Leyen (pictured today with Angela Merkel) lashed out at Boris Johnson over his 'unpleasant surprise' attempt to override the Brexit treaty he signed last year.

Ursula von der Leyen (pictured today with Angela Merkel) lashed out at Boris Johnson over his ‘unpleasant surprise’ attempt to override the Brexit treaty he signed last year.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab used a CNN interview to encourage the United States to put pressure on Brussels on the UK's behalf, while on a visit to Washington

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab used a CNN interview to encourage the United States to put pressure on Brussels on the UK’s behalf, while on a visit to Washington

The post-Brexit transition period, during which relations between the European Union and the UK have remained static, is due to end after December 31 and leaders on both sides of the Channel have warned that an agreement is needed by October if a deal is to be ratified in time for the start of 2021.

With the cliff edge only a month away, the Prime Minister has faced criticism domestically and on the world stage for pursuing legislation that would defy the Withdrawal Agreement brokered with the EU last year, breaking international law in the process.

Mr Johnson was forced on Wednesday to agree to table an amendment to the Internal Market Bill, giving MPs a vote before the Government can use the powers related to Northern Ireland which would breach the treaty.

But the compromise has not seen Brussels back down, with Eric Mamer, chief spokesman for the European Commission, telling a press briefing that its position had not changed and it still wanted the offending clauses to be withdrawn from the legislation.

Mr Raab, in an interview with CNN, said: ‘I think it would be helpful for all those concerned about this to elicit the same unilateral, absolute commitment not to require any infrastructure at the border between the North and the South. So far it’s actually only the UK that has said that,’ Mr Raab said.

He added: ‘I think actually if the EU did come out and make the same commitment it would also help the negotiations. So I hope our American colleagues will reinforce that point on both sides.’

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