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UK’s PM Eyes End To Lockdown As Vaccines Reach One-Third Of Adults

The Debrief Reporter

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set Monday to start unwinding England’s third and — he hopes — final coronavirus lockdown, as a quickening UK-wide inoculation drive relieves pressure on hard-hit hospitals.

In a statement to parliament, Johnson is expected to confirm the reopening of all English schools on March 8 in the first big step towards restoring normal life, nearly a year after he imposed the first stay-at-home order.

The Conservative prime minister, who was accused of acting too late and relaxing curbs too early last year, says he will lay out a “cautious but irreversible” plan to ensure no more lockdowns.

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“Today I’ll be setting out a roadmap to bring us out of lockdown cautiously,” he said in a Downing Street release, ahead of his House of Commons appearance and a televised news conference later Monday.

“Our priority has always been getting children back into school which we know is crucial for their education as well as their mental and physical well-being, and we will also be prioritising ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely.”

Britain is one of the countries hardest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 120,000 deaths.

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It was the first nation to begin a mass vaccination campaign, in December, but surging case numbers forced a return to lockdown in early January after an easing of curbs over Christmas.

More than 17 million people have now received at least a first vaccine dose — one-third of the adult UK population.

Over the weekend, the government said it would seek to offer a dose to everyone aged over 50 by mid-April, and to every other adult by the end of July, accelerating the latter timetable from September previously.

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A third of all UK adults have now received at least their first Covid-19 jab © AFP / Oli SCARFF

Case numbers are falling again and early evidence suggests the vaccinations are reducing serious illness, after some intensive-care units were overrun last month and queues of ambulances formed outside hospitals, unable to transfer their patients.

Johnson said the planned relaxations would be uniform across England, after regionalised tiers were put in place last year, but stressed that further progress would hinge on factors such as any new Covid variants.

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That, and proof that the National Health Service is not facing any more “unsustainable pressure”, offer Johnson some flexibility against pressure from Conservative backbenchers who are pressing for a cast-iron timeline to normality by the summer.

Teaching unions say meanwhile that allowing all pupils to return on the same day is “reckless”, but the March 8 target is backed by the main opposition Labour party.

“We all want this to be the last lockdown so we’ve got to come out of it in a measured way, but make sure we are not back where we started in a number of weeks or months,” Labour leader Keir Starmer told Sky News.

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Also from March 8, the government plans to allow elderly residents of care homes to receive indoor visits from one designated relative or friend, and is expected to permit limited social mixing by the public outdoors.

The government isn’t ready to allow Premier Leagues stadiums to be filled with supporters

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But the full reopening of retail and pubs, and attendance at sporting events such as Premier League football, will be delayed until later.

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“All of us understandably want to go back to normal, but it is right to be cautious,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, noting that nearly 20,000 people remain in hospital with Covid.

The devolved governments of Scotland and Wales, which administer their own health policy, are letting some younger pupils return to school this week.ADVERTISEMENT. SCROLL TO CONTINUE READING.

In Northern Ireland, the administration is resuming younger classes on March 8 but has extended its overall lockdown to April 1.

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John Edmunds, an epidemiologist and government advisor from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the BBC: “The vast majority of us are still not immune.

“Easing up too quickly will increase pressure, cases will increase again. We’re not through this yet.”

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Al Shabaab Suicide Bomber Kills Six At Somali Cafe In Baidoa

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Six civilians died and seven more were injured on Saturday when an Al-Shabaab suicide bomber blew himself up outside a cafe in Somalia, police and witnesses said.

The attack happened in the central town of Baidoa, 250 kilometres (190 miles) northwest of the capital Mogadishu and police said the target was the regional governor, who was inside the cafe taking tea.

“A terrorist suicide bomber blew up himself at Suweys cafeteria and killed six people, he was targeting the governor Ali Wardheere but he survived the attack,” local police officer Mohamud Adan told AFP by phone.

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Uhuru contributes Ksh. 1 Million towards rugby icon Ayimba’s medical expenses

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IN SUMMARY:
– President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged Ksh. 1 million towards rugby legend Benjamin Ayimba’s medical expenses
– Senator Sakaja disclosed Uhuru’s contribution in a message posted on his Twitter account
– Kenya Rugby union had disclosed that Ayimba was critically ill
– Ayimba is a former Kenya Sevens and 15s captain, who was first appointed Shujaa Head coach in 2006

President Uhuru Kenyatta through Nairobi senator Johnson Sakaja has contributed a sum of Ksh. 1 million towards the medical expenses of ailing rugby legend, Benjamin Ayimba.

On a Tweet posted on his Twitter handle, Senator Sakaja disclosed that the head of state had promised Ksh. 1 million that will go into Ayimba’s medical expenses.

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“Let’s keep at it #TurnUpforBenja. Thank you H.E Uhuru for the KES 1m. Kindly @RailaOdinga @WilliamsRuto @MusaliaMudavadi join in,” said Sakaja in the Tweet.

Kenya Rugby union had disclosed that Ayimba was critically ill and that his condition had drastically deteriorated. The union called on Kenyans to make their contributions via the Paybill number 8021673 with the name BENJAMIN OTIENO AYIMBA MEDICAL towards the rugby icon’s medical bills.

Ayimba is a former Kenya Sevens and 15s captain, who was first appointed Shujaa Head coach in 2006. He went on to guide Kenya to her first ever World Series Cup Final in Adelaide, Australia losing 26-7 to South Africa.

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In 2011, he left the job under controversial circumstances after he openly opposed the fielding of Kenya’s main players at the Safaricom Sevens.

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Kirinyaga: Middle-aged man found dead inside a lodging in Ndia

The Debrief Reporter

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IN SUMMARY:
– The middle-aged man was found dead inside a lodging in Ndia area, Kirinyaga
– Police are in pursuit of an unidentified woman who was in the company of the deceased
– His body was moved to Kutus Funeral home, Kutus

Police in Kirinyaga are investigating the death of a middle-aged man who was found dead inside a lodging in Ndia area.

According to the lodging caretaker, the man  booked a room at around 1pm in the company of unidentified woman who latter went missing.

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The incident was confirmed by agio town’s Nyumba Kumi Chairman, Daniel Kangangi who is also a brother to the caretaker.

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The caretaker is my brother. When he called me I informed officers based at Kagio Police station,”  said Kangangi.

Police are now in pursuit of the unidentified woman asking people in the hotel business to ensure that they take details of their customers.

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The body has been moved to the Kutus Funeral home Kutus pending further investigations.

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