Jeremy Vine leads calls for return to Covid shielding

The Channel 5 presenter, who is ill with the virus himself, criticised the Government for playing down concerns about rising numbersJeremy Vine has encouraged vulnerable people to start shielding again amid a fresh wave of Covid infections.

An outbreak on the set of his show has seen several crew forced off work with Covid in recent days, including his pregnant co-host Storm Huntley.

In a video posted on Twitter, Vine, 57, said: ‘100 per cent of our presenters have got it. That means there must be a lot of it about.

‘Why isn’t the Government mentioning it? Why isn’t it saying anyone vulnerable, you know, stay indoors?’

Nearly 4million extremely vulnerable people were told they were no longer advised to shield from April 1, as part of No10’s ‘living with Covid’ plan.

Showing his positive lateral flow test to the camera, Vine added: ‘That’s a big red line there, there is a lot of it around.

‘Shouldn’t they the Government be saying… just stay in if you are vulnerable, but we’ve not heard a peep. I guess they are just too busy.’

Nationally, Covid infections have nearly doubled in a fortnight in England and more than 1,000 patients are now being admitted with the virus each day.

The Government has said it will monitor the situation ‘very quickly’ but insists it does not plan to reintroduce restrictions.

Ministers and their advisers have taken confidence from the fact only a fraction of Covid patients are primarily admitted because they are unwell due to the virus.

Separate figures show just 20 Britons are dying from the virus each day now.

Covid infections have nearly doubled in a fortnight in England, rising to about 1.4million in the latest week

Admissions have breached 1,000 for the first time in two months but the majority of patients are not primarily ill with Covid

Vine described his Covid symptoms in a video posted to the official Jeremy Vine on 5 Twitter account.

The bed-ridden presenter said: ‘Sore throat, headache coughs. Aches and pains.

He added: ‘I am in bed with it. It being Covid. Years ago I would have come to work with this. If you can walk you can work. But obviously that’s not possible now.’

His co-host Storm Huntley, who is less than a month away from giving birth, is also off work with the virus, along with several members of their TV crew.

The presenting duo are being covered by stand-ins Trisha Goddard, Anne Diamond and Claudia-Liza Vanderpuije. The show airs on weekdays from 9.15am to 12.15pm.

Latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests 1.36million people in England were infected during the week to June 18.

That is 70 per cent more than the 797,000 who were estimated to have had the virus at the very start of June.

Bed-ridden Jeremy Vine presenter revealed he had Covid and was suffering from a ‘sore throat, headache, aches and pains’

After a coughing fit, he criticised the Government for not ramping up its public health messaging for vulnerable people

He held up a positive lateral flow and said it was proof ‘there is a lot of it about’ at the moment

No10 closely watching two Covid sub-variants responsible for virus’ recent comeback

Downing Street confirmed it is keeping tabs on the two Omicron variant spin-offs responsible for a recent spike in Covid infections.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman claimed on Monday the situation was being monitored ‘very closely’ amid early signs that hospitalisations are also starting to rise.

He insisted the Government was not considering imposing further curbs at this point and would stick to its ‘living with Covid’ plan.

‘We are obviously seeing the emergence of two Omicron sub-variants, which is likely the driving cause for the rise in cases,’ the No10 spokesman said.

‘The latest data suggests these are now the dominant strains in the UK. But, so far, vaccination means those rising cases haven’t translated into a rise of severe illness or death with no increase in ICU admissions.’

They added: ‘The key thing for us is vaccination has meant the rise in cases is not translating into ICU admissions and deaths. But we’ve always been clear Covid hasn’t gone away, which is why we have always continue to urge people to come forward and receive vaccinations when they were due them.

‘As you would expect, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) continue to monitor the situation very closely.’

The outbreak has been fuelled by the spread of BA.4 and BA.5, which are thought to be more infectious but just as mild as the original Omicron strain.

There has been some concern about daily hospital admissions breaching 1,000 for the first time in two months.

But only a third of patients are primarily admitted because they are unwell due to the virus, NHS data shows.

And the latest ONS Covid fatality report showed the virus was directly responsible for just 161 deaths in England and Wales in the most recent week, or 23 per day, on average.

Sir Jonathan Van-Tam last week dismissed hysteria that a recent uptick in Covid cases marks a new wave of the pandemic, saying Britain has to learn to live the virus.

Referring to hospital admission and death data, the country’s former deputy chief medical officer claimed there is ‘nothing alarmist in these figures’.

Sir Jonathan revealed even he had abandoned wearing his face mask.

The spread of the new variants is thought to have been accelerated during large gatherings for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and half-term holidays.

Some have also pointed to Britons mistaking Covid symptoms for hay fever.

The UKHSA estimated that BA.4 and BA.5 account for approximately 22 per cent and 39 per cent of cases, respectively.

Latest analysis suggests BA.5 is growing 35 per cent faster than the formerly dominant Omicron BA.2, while BA.4 is growing approximately 19 per cent faster.

This suggests that BA.5 is likely to become the dominant variant in the UK.

Meanwhile, the latest ONS data show roughly one in 40 people in England had Covid in the week ending June 18, equating to 2.5 per cent of the population.

The weekly infection survey is now considered the best barometre of the outbreak after free-testing was axed in spring.

The prevalence of the Omicron subvariants has nearly doubled every week, according to data from the Sanger Institute — one of the UK’s largest Covid surveillance centres. The strains’ combined 57.4 per cent share of infections in the week to June 11 is up from 41.7 per cent in the week to June 4, 21.2 per cent in the week to May 28 and 11 per cent in the week to May 21. Dominant strain BA.2, which was behind nearly all cases when infections hit a record high in March, now accounts for just 41.7 per cent of cases

It found infections were highest in Scotland, where one in 20 people (250,700) were infected, followed by Northern Ireland, where one in 40 (59,900) were carrying the virus.

One in 45 people in Wales (68,500) were thought to be infected.

The figures, based on swabs taken from a sample of thousands of Britons, show that cases were on the rise across England — apart from the North East and South East, where the trend was uncertain.

Infections were highest in London, where 2.9 per cent of people were infected, followed by the North West (2.6 per cent), the South West (2.5 per cent) and Yorkshire and the Humber (2.4 per cent).

Meanwhile, the number of people testing positive shot up across all age groups.

Those aged 25 to 34 were the most likely to be infected (3.3 per cent), followed by 50 to 69-year-olds (3.1 per cent) and 16 to 24-year-olds (2.9 per cent).

Infections were slightly lower among 35 to 49-year-olds (2.7 per cent), the over-70s (2.3 per cent), 11 to 15-year-olds (1.5 per cent) and two to 10-year-olds (0.9 per cent).

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