Russia has reported 8,709 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, including 2,653 in Moscow, as well as a further 386 deaths.
This compares with 8,667 cases and 359 deaths last Saturday.
Russia’s official national tally shows there have been 4,992,554 cases since the pandemic began, as well as 118,125 deaths.
Surge testing deployed in four London boroughs
Surge testing is being rolled out in the London boroughs of Harrow, Ealing, Hillingdon and Brent after cases were identified of the variant first discovered in India.
NHS test and trace is providing additional testing and genomic sequencing in education settings and targeted areas across the four boroughs, following the identification of the B1.617.2 strain.
Public Health England has classified B1.617.2 as a variant of concern.
The cases have been told to self-isolate and their contacts are being traced.
Local authorities will shortly confirm the areas where additional testing will be offered within the boroughs.
Everyone who lives, works or studies in the targeted areas, including children, are being urged to take a PCR test, regardless of whether they have symptoms.
Pubs and restaurants in England are feeling a sense of “cautious optimism” after their first Friday night serving customers indoors, a business leader has said.
The UK Hospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said it would be “a long road to recovery” as many businesses continued to make losses under the current restrictions.
She told BBC Breakfast: “The first week has not been as exceptional as we had when we first opened outdoors and there was that rush to come back.
“We are looking at what the numbers will look like this weekend – that will be critical.”
Sewage samples are being tested to determine which Covid-19 variants are most prevalent across regions accounting for two-thirds of England’s population.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the programme had helped identify the need for surge testing in areas such as Bristol and Luton. On Wednesday, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said testing and vaccinations were being surged in six areas as a result of wastewater analysis.
“As infections fall and we head out of national restrictions, analysing wastewater to detect variants early on is important to help local authorities and NHS test and trace act quickly to stop variants from spreading in communities,” said Andrew Engeli, who is leading on the wastewater testing scheme at the Joint Biosecurity Centre, part of the newly formed UK Health Security Agency.
Taiwan has reported 321 new Covid-19 cases, a slight rise from the 312 infections reported on Friday, but the health minister said the trend remained stable with cases clustered in the north, in and around Taipei.
The health minister, Chen Shih-chung, also announced 400 infections over the past six days which had not been included in previous reports due to a delay following a spike in cases, according to Reuters.
He reported two new deaths, bringing the total to 17 since the pandemic began.
People aged 32 and 33 in England eligible for vaccine
Hello and welcome to today’s coronavirus liveblog. I’m Clea Skopeliti and I’ll be bringing you the latest updates from the UK and the rest of the world.
People aged 32 and 33 in England are now eligible to book their vaccine appointment, the NHS has said.
People aged 33 will receive texts inviting them to book a vaccination from Saturday, and 32-year-olds will receive a message from Monday.
NHS England will hit the milestone of delivering 50 million vaccines on Saturday, with more than 40% of adults having had both jabs.
Since eligibility was widened for under-40s just over a week ago, more than half of people between 35 and 39 have had their first shot, NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said.
He added: “Today, the biggest NHS vaccination programme in history hits another milestone as we pass 50 million life-saving jabs delivered across England.”
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and national medical director for primary care, reminded people that the vaccine offer “doesn’t go away” and they can take it up at any time.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment.
People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab.