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COVID-19: India’s vaccine export ban could send shockwaves worldwide. Should the UK step in to help? | World News



One in five doses being jabbed around the world is made in India. The country is also the largest exporter of COVID-19 vaccines to the rest of the world.

Yet, when it comes to inoculating its own people against coronavirus, the South Asian nation has barely covered a tenth of its population, and is now seeing a record number of new deaths every day.

There are fears over whether India’s demand for vaccines to tackle the pandemic might impact other, often lower-income countries in their fights against COVID-19.

Why? About 30% of doses that are exported to other countries are produced in India, Sky News analysis of data from the science analytics company Airfinity shows.

The world depends on four countries which will supply 70% of the total 13.7 billion doses agreed to be manufactured so far: China, India, Germany and the US.

The rest of the doses will be supplied by 16 countries, including the UK. The country is expected to supply 2% of global demand.

But not all countries export vaccines they manufacture while some export more than others.

The UK and Japan are the only countries among the top ones that are not exporting. The doses manufactured in these nations are part of deals with their governments.

Among the top producers, China and the US have deals to export only 18% and 15% of the doses manufactured respectively.

In contrast, India is the biggest exporter of COVID-19 doses, followed by Germany, Russia and some European countries.

But the current crisis in India might have an impact on the supply of vaccines, especially in poor countries.

The Indian government has now temporarily banned exports of vaccine to bring the pandemic under control.

A forecast by Airfinity shows that if India were to maintain its strict ban, the nation would have enough doses to fully vaccinate its entire adult population by November.

But that could lead to supply shortages elsewhere.

Sky News analysis found 35 countries have mostly relied on India for their jabs. About 98% of people receiving these doses are from low or lower-income countries.

Some of these countries have yet to receive a large portion of the doses previously agreed with India – including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.

The disruption to supply goes further. India is also slated to produce more than 80% of 2.26 billion doses to COVAX – an alliance of 190 countries which aims to provide access to 92 lower and middle-income economies.

But with three in five people already vaccinated in the UK, there are growing calls from several scientists for vaccines to be more equitably distributed around the world.

“Some degree of vaccine nationalism is justified. Both [the US and the UK] have done a good job so far and fulfilled their moral obligations towards their own,” says Dr Alberto Giubilini from the University of Oxford’s Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease programme.

He added: “Now they need to continue doing the morally right thing, which from this moment on is to share vaccines.”

Dr Julian Tang, a consultant virologist at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, believes a more equitable distribution of vaccines will help prevent new variants emerging abroad.

He said: “By sending vaccines overseas to stop a virus from replicating elsewhere, you’re not abandoning all care for your own population. Actually, you’re securing the vaccine’s efficacy.”

Countries that have vaccinated a higher proportion of their population have already received a large number of doses. Most of them are wealthy nations.

Many high income countries have been also hardest hit by the pandemic, recording some of the highest number of deaths.

The UK, Chile, the US or Hungary are among the countries that have received a large number of doses while also having recorded some of the highest COVID-19 death rates.

But others like Mexico, Peru and Montenegro with similar death rates have received around a tenth of the doses receivied by UK or the US.

The UK government says it is open to exports in the future.

A government spokesperson said: “The UK will be sharing the majority of any future surplus coronavirus vaccines with the COVAX scheme to support developing countries.”

But the acute scarcity in vaccines has also led to many nations to seek help from Russia and China, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Vaccines developed by the two nations are priced cheaper than Western jabs to target low and lower income countries but often come with political and economic strings attached.

“Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are essentially unaffordable for most developing countries,” said Agathe Demarais, global forecasting director at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Without COVAX, their only option is to turn to Russia and China.”

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Euro 2020: Why no Scotland players have to isolate after Gilmour contracts COVID – but England pair do | UK News



Confusion arose over the decision to force England footballers Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell to isolate after Scotland player Billy Gilmour tested positive for COVID-19.

The England duo must isolate until Monday after being deemed “close contacts” of their Chelsea teammate Gilmour when the Three Lions played Scotland on Friday.

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Ben Chilwell (L) and Mason Mount are having to self-isolate
Ben Chilwell (L) and Mason Mount

But questions were raised over why Mount and Chilwell were affected after the entire England squad tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday, while no other Scotland player has been ruled out of their final Euro 2020 group game on Tuesday as a result of Gilmour’s infection.

As Euro 2020 is played in multiple countries against the backdrop of the pandemic, strict rules are in force to try to ensure the tournament is not disrupted.

So what happens when players test positive for COVID, could matches be abandoned as a result, and what steps are being taken to avoid outbreaks? Sky News explains.

What were the concerns about Mount and Chilwell’s contact with Gilmour?

Mount, Chilwell and Gilmour were seen embracing at the end of England’s match with Scotland at Wembley on Friday evening.

However, it is understood the contact that caused most concern was a 25-minute conversation between the three players in the tunnel following the game.

Billy Gilmour (left) and Mason Mount
Billy Gilmour (L) and Mason Mount during the England v Scotland match on Friday

The Chelsea trio had not seen each other since returning to London after they won the Champions League final in Porto on 29 May.

Government guidance states that close contacts of COVID cases include people who had face-to-face conversations within one-metre, and anyone who was within two-metres for more than 15 minutes.

The FA said the decision for Chilwell and Mount to isolate was taken in consultation with Public Health England.

The two players are now isolating and training individually in private areas at England’s training base St George’s Park.

Ben Chilwell during a training session last week
Ben Chilwell is now having to self-isolate

How long do players with COVID have to isolate?

Players at Euro 2020 are tested regularly, and those who are positive must self-isolate for 10 days.

Any other players or staff deemed to have been in close contact with someone with COVID during the tournament also have to isolate for 10 days.

It means Gilmour will be unavailable for Scotland’s final group match against Croatia tonight. If they progress, he will also miss their last-16 tie, Sky Sports News understands.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Group D - England v Scotland - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - June 18, 2021 Scotland's Billy Gilmour celebrates after the match Pool via REUTERS/Facundo Arrizabalaga/File Photo
Billy Gilmour will miss Scotland’s final group game and last 16-tie if they progress

The Scottish FA and Public Health England are said to be satisfied that Gilmour had “no close contact issues” with any other member of the Scotland squad.

The isolation period for close contacts of COVID cases includes the date of their last contact and the next 10 full days, according to government guidance.

Mount and Chilwell, who came into contact with Gilmour on 18 June, must now isolate until Monday 28 June.

With England already through to the knockout stages of the tournament, it means Mount and Chilwell could miss their last-16 tie, with the round being played on 26, 27, 28 and 29 June.

Could matches be abandoned due to a COVID outbreak in a squad?

Euro 2020 squads were expanded from 23 players to 26 to account for the chance that some teams could be hit by COVID outbreaks.

If multiple players have to isolate, matches will still go ahead providing the team can name 13 players in their squad – a minimum of 12 outfield players plus one goalkeeper.

If a team cannot named 13 players in their squad, the game can be postponed by up to 48 hours.

If the affected team still cannot meet the minimum requirements for a matchday squad, they will forfeit the game and suffer an automatic 3-0 defeat.

Both teams line up to sing their national anthems. Pic: AP
If a team cannot field 13 players in their squad, the match can be postponed. Pic: AP

Can players who contract COVID be replaced?

Outfield players cannot be changed but UEFA states that “goalkeepers can be replaced during the tournament in the event of physical incapacity, even if one or two goalkeepers in the squad are still available”.

Players that have been replaced cannot then return to the squad.

Can players see their families during the tournament?

UEFA has banned families visiting players at their training camps during Euro 2020.

England manager Gareth Southgate had hoped that players would be able to see family members at their St George’s Park training base, but UEFA’s strict COVID bubble rules forbid it.

“We’re not going to be able to let people in,” Southgate said before the tournament.

“There’s a clear edict from UEFA on what the bubbles need to look like to be as secure as we can make them, it’s never going to be 100% failsafe but we’ve got to comply with as much as we can.”

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Afghan interpreters who worked with British military land in UK today after fleeing Taliban | World News



The first group of former Afghan interpreters whose lives are in danger because they worked for the British military are due to arrive in the UK from Afghanistan in the coming hours under a new government scheme, Sky News understands.

An aircraft reportedly carrying more than a dozen Afghans who were employed by UK forces, as well as family members, is expected to land at an airport in the Midlands later on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) declined to comment on the flight – first reported by the Daily Mail – because of security concerns for the men, women and children who have asked to flee Afghanistan after receiving threats from the Taliban.

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Afghan nationals given chance to live in UK

Taliban militants are growing in strength across the country, regaining more territory from the UK and US-backed Afghan government. It comes as British, US and other NATO forces prepare to withdraw over the next three months following almost 20 years of conflict.

The Taliban views anyone associated with the US and NATO-led mission in Afghanistan as a traitor who deserves to die.

The increased influence of the militant group means a corresponding risk for such personnel.

Concerns over the safety of former staff, most of them interpreters, prompted the MoD and the Home Office in May to expand the eligibility criteria of a relocation scheme for Afghans seeking to flee.

Previously, the government had resisted pressure to allow large numbers of men and women to relocate, saying such a move would deprive Afghanistan of a talented pool of young individuals, vital for the future prosperity of the country.

More than 3,000 Afghans are expected to take advantage of the offer, on top of some 1,300 who have already made the journey under a previous, more restrictive policy. They are expected to be flown to the UK in groups.

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‘It’s the right thing to do’ – Defence secretary

It is understood that the first flight left Kabul earlier on Tuesday. Everyone had to undergo stringent security as well as COVID-related health checks.

Afghanistan is on the red list of countries, which means the group will be put into quarantine upon their arrival in the UK.

The Daily Mail spoke to a 37-year-old former interpreter called Hash, who served in Helmand with the Army between 2007 and 2012 and is reported to be part of the first party along with his wife and two sons.

“We are so happy and so thankful,” he was quoted as saying. “The British government has taken its time but it has done the right thing and we are truly grateful.”

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Aston Martin sues Swiss car dealer over deposits on £2.5m Valkyrie model | Business News



Aston Martin is suing a Swiss car dealer which it claims failed to hand over customer deposits for its £2.5m Valkyrie supercar.

The luxury vehicle maker said civil proceedings had been filed against Nebula Project and that, backed by some of its customers, it was asking prosecutors to consider a criminal investigation.

Aston Martin said the saga was expected to dent annual profits by £15m as it tries to recoup the money.

General view of an Aston Martin logo on the bonnet of an Aston Martin Rapide.
UK-based Aston Martin is famous for making cars driven by James Bond

It said it was fully committed to customers receiving delivery of their supercars on schedule despite not having received the deposited funds.

The company added that it was on track to make its first deliveries of the Valkyrie – a limited edition supercar which uses Formula One technology – in the second half of this year.

It said in future it would take deposits for “special vehicles” directly and not through a third party.

Nebula had signed an agreement in 2016 to help finance the Valkyrie, which would have entitled it to potentially “significant” royalty payments as they rolled off the production line, alongside commission on sales of Valhalla and Vanquish models – but this has now been terminated, Aston Martin said.

The deal had been signed at a time when the carmaker was struggling financially.

Aston Martin also said that it was scrapping dealership arrangements with AF Cars, a company operating in Switzerland with the same board members as Nebula, “after learning that vehicles have been sold in breach of terms of the dealership agreement”.

Aston Martin, famous as the maker of cars driven by fictional spy James Bond, said that aside from the “short term negative financial impact” of this issue, it was on course to meet financial guidance for 2021.

An Aston Martin Valkyrie car is seen during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland March 8, 2017.
Aston Martin said in future it would take deposits directly

Reuters news agency reported that Nebula and one of its board members, Andreas Baenziger, did not respond immediately to emailed requests for comment.

Florian Kamelger, another board member, said in an email that Nebula would release a statement later on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

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