Britain could be free of strict Covid restrictions by the end of February after ministers identified the 15 million people who would need vaccinations to end cycles of crippling lockdowns.
With the "breakthrough" Oxford Sting expected to be approved within days, the government is hoping enough doses will soon be available to vaccinate those most susceptible to coronavirus within weeks.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak wrote in today's mail on Sunday that the breakthroughs of Covid – together with the newly shaped trade agreement after Brexit with the EU – signaled an optimistic new era for Great Britain.
Sunak commends the "early introduction of vaccines and the incredible work of our scientists and the NHS" and promises that next year will be the first in a "new era for the global UK". He also hopes to leave the resentment of the Brexit feuds to history, writing: "In 2021 we will not be Remainers or Leavers – only believers in the UK."
The drug and healthcare regulator could approve the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca as early as New Year's Eve.
Rishi Sunak during a visit to the Imperial Clinic Research Facility at Hammersmith Hospital in West London
The UK has a pre-order for 100 million doses of this sting to join an additional 40 million doses of the approved Pfizer vaccine that is already being launched. Boris Johnson said last week that 800,000 vaccinations had been given to date.
Government sources found that between 12 and 15 million people are likely to need hospital treatment if they contract or risk dying from coronavirus. Once this group receives the vaccine – which some officials hope can be obtained by the end of February – the NHS is no longer at risk of being overwhelmed if the virus spreads among the larger population. That would remove the main argument for closing the economy in one fell swoop.
A source said, "The path to liberation is finally becoming clear."
This newspaper also believes the government is looking into the possibility of speeding up the vaccination program by giving single doses rather than double doses.
The plans came about as:
- The number of new Covid cases in the UK rose by 34,693 yesterday, an increase of 1,968 from the last 24 hours, while daily deaths fell from 570 to 210.
- Another six million people in east and south-east England entered Stage Four, England's highest level of Covid, which includes a "stay at home" order.
- Ministers privately admitted that they were concerned about the "theoretical possibility" that a virulent new strain of the virus from South Africa could compromise vaccine effectiveness;
- Infections related to the mutant strain previously found in London and the southeast have been found in Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, linked to people who traveled there from the UK.
- It was announced that British scientists would test a new antibody treatment with the potential for immediate immunity after exposure to coronavirus.
- A poll by Mail on Sunday found that 85 percent of people followed Mr Johnson's stricter Christmas restrictions, and nearly three-quarters agreed with the decision to ban family shuffling.
- Former Secretary of Defense Tobias Ellwood called on the government to deploy troops to run tests on students so that more schools can stay open for the next month.
- More than 8,000 truck drivers stuck in Kent since Christmas Eve drove to France after the army helped organize a mass testing program.
- Shoppers stood around the block on a Boxing Day shopping spree valued at £ 3 billion – but only in areas that escaped Level 4 restrictions.
The first public Pfizer vaccine was given to British patient Margaret Keenan, 91 earlier this month. However, the Oxford vaccine is considered a trailblazer because it is cheaper and easier to distribute. The new batch can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures instead of the minus 70 ° C required by Pfizer.
Football stadiums, conference centers and race tracks are expected to become makeshift vaccination centers within a few days of regulatory approval.
Oxford University samples from coronavirus vaccine trials will be treated in the Oxford Vaccine Group laboratory in Oxford
The idea of giving one push instead of two, as former Prime Minister Tony Blair urged last week, to speed up the program, also gained more support yesterday. Pfizer says two doses of its shock are necessary to "provide maximum protection," but Professor David Salisbury, who was in charge of immunization at the Department of Health until 2003, supported the single-dose idea.
“If you give a dose, you get 91 percent [protection]. You give two doses and you get 95 percent, ”he said. "You only gain 4 percent on the second dose."
Mr Sunak's vision of a "new era" for Britain as it will eventually emerge from the EU and ultimately from the Covid crisis reflects the ambitious cabinet ministers' desire to recognize the nation's recovery.
Mr Sunak was one of the leading anti-lockdown voices in the cabinet, appalled by the billions of pounds in cost to shut down the economy.
A healthcare professional administering a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during their study in November
His ruinously expensive vacation program for workers should run until April.
But the colleagues of Health Secretary Matt Hancock, one of the leading pro-lockdown pigeons, also believe that he is now preparing to change his position – and are trying to recognize the vaccination program that could "free" the population from the misery of endless Limits.
Lord Frost's chief negotiator for Brexit, Lord Frost, reiterated Sunak's call to clarify the dual impetus of a vaccine and the UK's new trade deal with the EU, saying the country that became the world's fifth largest economy after overtaking India yesterday was standing by the Peak beginning of a moment of national renewal ”.
Meanwhile, sources told this newspaper how Lord Frost's team succeeded in trade talks by adopting the axiom of 19th century German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who once said of his diplomatic strategy that combined charm and threat: " With a gentleman, I'm always a gentleman and a half, and when I have to deal with a pirate, I try to be a pirate and a half. & # 39;
The powerful European research group of MEPs from Brexiteer Tory announced that it would give its verdict on the deal on Tuesday – just 24 hours before the Commons debate on the deal.
ERG chairman Mark Francois said a last minute decision was needed so they could conduct a line-by-line investigation into the deal.
Union leader Sir Keir Starmer said he would back the deal in the House of Commons, but faced a rebellion from around 20 of his europhile MPs who said they would abstain or vote against the deal because they had no “Brexit blood in ours” Hands "wanted. .
The leader of the Brexit party, Nigel Farage, wrote in today's mail on Sunday that the Brexit war was over.
RISHI SUNAK: In 2021 we will not be Remainers or Leavers – only believers in the UK
This has been a tough year for everyone in this country. We all know companies that have closed or friends that have lost their jobs. We loved everyone we couldn't see and just two days ago we all celebrated a Christmas that is unfortunately different from any other.
There will be tough days and months ahead, but there are reasons to look to a brighter future and the promises of 2021. The early adoption of vaccines – and the incredible work of our scientists and the NHS – means that now with this pandemic we can see light at the end of the tunnel.
Brexit and shocks to investors of £ 145 billion
According to the top city company, pension funds and investors on the London Stock Exchange expect an upswing of GBP 145 billion after the Brexit agreement.
Business and financial market experts welcomed Boris Johnson's agreement with the European Union with relief.
Analysts at financial data giant Bloomberg said the deal was "a double dose of good news" for the country as the excitement also swept the market over expectations that vaccines would turn the tide on Covid.
Analysts said markets may remain sluggish for the first six months of next year until the pandemic subsides, but the value of stocks listed on the FTSE should rise eight percent in 2022 as markets regain confidence.
The same analysts had predicted stocks would crash if a no deal had been declared, even if the pandemic rebounded. Economist and Brexit proponent Gerard Lyons said: “The Brexit deal should be positive for the UK. The deal also removed a certain amount of uncertainty that has struck us for a while. & # 39;
Mr Lyons said it was not just about leaving the EU, but about the policies that we will implement after we leave.
The free trade agreement that the Prime Minister negotiated with the EU means that after four years of debate and trembling from Brexit, we can move on to a future in which we can now make the right long-term decisions for our country.
I have campaigned for an exit from the EU, and it has always been clear to me that if we cannot reach an agreement that respects the fundamental principle of UK sovereignty, an exit on World Trade Organization terms would be necessary. But leaving with a deal is better for us and better for our friends across the channel.
This is the largest free trade agreement in history, covering £ 668 billion worth of trade in 2019. It is the first free trade agreement that the EU has concluded on the basis of zero tariffs and zero quotas. This means that our companies can export easily and we keep prices low in our stores.
At a time when job protection was our number one priority and we have taken the unprecedented step of paying people's wages through the vacation program, this deal will also help keep people in work.
And this is an agreement that applies to all nations in our Union – Welsh farmers, Scottish distilleries, Northern Irish fishermen and English cheese makers.
Most importantly, this deal is in line with the instructions of the British people from the 2016 referendum and general election last year. We will take back control of our money, our borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters.
We will have full flexibility to implement our points based immigration system to welcome talented people from around the world when free movement ends.
But I don't want 2021 to be just the year we kept the promises made in 2016. I want next year to be the start of something much more meaningful for all of us. A moment to take a fresh look at the world and the possibilities it creates, and to consider how it can be used.
In 2021 we will not be Remainers or Leavers – just believers in the UK. We will benefit from our newfound freedom and autonomy outside the EU as we rebuild our economy and recover from Covid.
Next year is the first in a new era of the global UK and all it has to offer. We will make trade deals with new markets and assert ourselves as a liberal and free trading nation. and to act with a strong moral anchor as a force for good in the world. And we will invest in our country to create opportunities for everyone. Whether new roads or rails connecting our cities, global leaders in creating green jobs, or rewarding risk takers and entrepreneurs who want to invest in the new free ports we will open next year – this is a fresh start for all of us.
This deal closed the Brexit. Now let's move on together.
The euphoric negotiator Frost welcomes the moment of renewal.
The UK's agreement with Brussels marks the "beginning of a moment of national renewal", according to the UK negotiator.
Lord Frost hailed "one of the largest and most comprehensive agreements of all time" and ensured Britain "restores its own laws". He added: "All decisions are in our hands as a country and it is now up to us to decide how to use them and how to proceed in the future."
Lord Frost's euphoria follows almost 12 months of exhausting negotiations that culminate in a nightly haggling session over quotas for individual fish species.
MEPs will vote on the agreement in parliament on Wednesday. Britain will leave existing trade rules on Thursday. The European Parliament also has to ratify it, while EU ambassadors were briefed on the trade agreement by EU negotiator Michel Barnier on Christmas Day.
A 1,246-page document has been published on the UK government's website, containing 800 pages of appendices and footnotes setting out post-Brexit relations with the EU.
Lord Frost said: “There is no longer a role for the European Court of Justice, there is no direct impact of EU law, there is no approximation and we are out of the internal market and out of the customs union, just like the Manifesto said we would . & # 39; Senior members of the UK negotiating team said the deal allowed for a "managed departure" from EU rules and standards.
A free trade agreement usually excludes tariffs on imported goods. Pursuant to the provisions of this Agreement, a party may turn to an independent arbitrator if it acts in a way that the other view considers anti-competitive. If this does not resolve the complaint, either party can raise tariffs.
Union leader Sir Keir Starmer, who campaigned against Brexit, said the deal did not provide adequate protection for jobs, manufacturing, financial services or rights in the workplace.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the deal was "fair", adding that it was "time to turn the page and look to the future".