Boris Rejects Return Of Austerity

Boris Johnson Nation Address by .
British PM Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson Nation Address by .
Prime Minister Boris Johnson filming his address to the nation from N010 Downing Street during the Coronavirus. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

The prime minister reportedly told around 125 backbench Conservative MPs on a conference call that there would be no return to austerity to cover the 300 billion pound cost of the crisis.

Johnson promised to “double down” on transport projects in the north, amid concerns his election promises to level-up the economy would be ditched as the UK heads towards a recession.

He said the government was looking at spending heavily on infrastructure as Britain exits the restrictions and believes the pandemic could be a “springboard for ambitions”.

A Treasury document leaked earlier this week said the UK’s deficit could reach 337 billion pounds this year because of the pandemic, compared to the forecast 55 billion pounds in March’s Budget, report the Metro newspaper.

It said the assessment, dated May 5, warned that filling such a gap in the public finances through tax revenue rises would be “very challenging without breaking the tax lock”.

The leaked doscument said measures including income tax hikes, a two-year public sector pay freeze and the end of the triple lock on pensions may be required to fund the debt.

The Treasury has not commented on the report.

Boris Johnson Covid-19 Presser 11/05 by .
Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds the Daily Covid-19 Digital Press Conference with Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty in the State Dining Room, 10 Downing Street. Picture by Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street.

Blood cot

Meanwhile, BBC reported that up to 30% of patients who are seriously ill with coronavirus are developing dangerous blood clots.

Medical experts say the clots, also known as thrombosis, could be contributing to the number of people dying.

Severe inflammation in the lungs – a natural response of the body to the virus – is behind their formation. Patients worldwide are being affected by many medical complications of the virus, some of which can be fatal.

Back in March, as coronavirus was spreading across the globe, doctors started seeing far higher rates of clots in patients admitted to hospital than they would normally expect. And there have been other surprises, including the discovery of hundreds of micro-clots in the lungs of some patients.

The virus has also increased cases of deep vein thrombosis – blood clots usually found in the leg – which can be life-threatening when fragments break off and move up the body into the lungs, blocking blood vessels.

Tests on monkeys

An experimental vaccine developed by researchers at Oxford University has shown promise in preventing COVID-19, according to a small trial in six monkeys.

The vaccine candidate, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is currently being tested in humans too. Over 1,000 volunteers have participated in the clinical trials.

The results of the trial in six rhesus macaque monkeys were posted on Thursday at the preprint repository bioRxiv.

Rhesus macaque monkeys are considered to be good proxies for how drugs could work in humans as their immune systems are similar, but there is not guarantee that the results would replicate in people.

The researchers found that compared to those monkeys who got exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 but did not receive the vaccine, the monkeys which received the vaccine had less of the virus in their lungs and airways.

The results showed that the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccination appears to prevent SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia in rhesus macaques.

Researchers from the US government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) and from the University of Oxford conducted the trial in the US, the BBC reported.

The researchers at Oxford University who have begun testing their potential vaccine against COVID-19 on a small group of human volunteers also hope to expand the tests soon after getting positive results from the initial trial.

The vaccine candidate for COVID-19 was identified by researchers from the Oxford Vaccine Group and Oxford’s Jenner Institute. The potential upcoming vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is based on an adenovirus vaccine vector and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

By vaccinating with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the scientists hope to make the body recognise and develop an immune response to the Spike protein that will help stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering human cells and therefore prevent infection.

Over 100 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are currently in different stages of development.

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