London Politics News LIVE: Boris Johnson to make announcement on living with Covid plan at Commons

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Breaking: Cabinet gives ‘unanimous backing’ to PM’s Covid life plan, says No 10

A spokesman for No 10 said the Cabinet had ‘unanimously supported the strategy for living with Covid’.

It comes amid reports of behind-the-scenes ‘lines’ over plans to change free mass testing, such as who will pay for it and when it will end.

The Prime Minister is due to present his plan to the House of Commons at 4.30 p.m. We’ll bring you live updates here.

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Daily release of Covid-19 case and death counts

Official figures show there were 38,409 positive infections and 15 deaths reported in the UK on Monday.

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Minister supports “living with Covid” plan

Energy Minister Greg Hands said he backed Boris Johnson’s ‘living with Covid’ plan and dismissed claims it was premature.

He said: ‘We are looking forward to living with Covid, from here how can we, if you wish, normalize the situation.

“I look forward to the Prime Minister presenting his proposals this afternoon in the House of Commons.”

He added: “I think it’s a balanced approach.

“Clearly we’re not taking our eyes off the ball, but there also comes a time when you have to learn to live with Covid and that’s what today’s proposals I think will define how we do that. “.

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Sajid Javid announces fourth Covid vaccine from spring for at-risk groups

People over 75, nursing home residents and vulnerable people over 12 who are immunocompromised will receive a fourth Covid vaccine, the government has announced.

The fourth booster dose will be offered starting in the spring approximately six months after the third dose following recommendations by the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee, writes Josh Salisbury.

The independent committee said the move was necessary “as a precautionary strategy to maintain high levels of immunity” in high-risk Covid groups.

He added that he had also provided interim advice to government ministers that a further booster may be needed in the autumn of this year for people “at higher risk of severe Covid-19”.

More information on this story here.

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Lavrov says talks with US show ‘progress’

Some additional details from the Russian Security Council meeting.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Vladimir Putin that Russia’s security talks with the United States had shown “progress”.

But he said it was unfortunate that Washington was not discussing Ukraine’s possible NATO membership.

“It is important to prevent any military incident. In fact, these events are intended to downplay our priorities without harming the main interests of the United States and NATO,” he added.

Mr. Lavrov continued: “We are also ready to discuss with America… and we want to get answers on all our points. NATO must not expand eastwards and we must reconsider the military presence in Eastern Europe.

“Our request is to get something clear (from the West), they have ignored so many things.”

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Conservative party needs ‘complete change of course’, donor says

A Tory donor said he did not see himself voting for the party unless there was a “complete change in tactics”.

Sir Rocco Forte, a hotelier, said he was disappointed with the government’s approach to Covid restrictions and taxes.

He told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “My disappointment with the Prime Minister and this government is that they are not acting as a Conservative government.

“Instead of reducing regulations, increasing them, instead of reducing taxes, it increases them, and now that many companies that have suffered greatly from the pandemic and taken on more debt as a result are facing increased national insurance costs and increased corporate taxes, and that is completely the wrong way to approach the situation.”

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Putin opens talks on recognition of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened a meeting to consider recognizing the independence of breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine amid growing tensions.

More information to follow…

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Mandatory quarantine ‘probably not necessary’, says Oxford professor

Mandatory quarantine for people who test positive for Covid is “probably not necessary”, an Oxford professor has said.

Professor Sir John Bell told BBC Radio 4: ‘I think we are now in a position where legally enforced mandatory quarantine for people who test positive is probably not necessary, given that the disease we currently have is relatively benign.

“The only people who really suffer from this disease are the unvaccinated…I suspect we could go on [with restrictions] if we wanted to, but it’s not at all clear to me that we’re going to have a serious problem in the short/medium term.

He added: “At some point we have to decide that we have to step back and get on with life.”

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“Another window for diplomacy” to avoid war, according to Downing Street

Downing Street insisted there remained a “window for diplomacy” to avert war in Ukraine.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman, however, insisted intelligence reports suggest Russia still intends to attack its neighbor as the Kremlin’s plan begins to materialize.

The spokesperson added: “The intelligence we are seeing suggests that Russia intends to launch an invasion and President Putin’s plan has indeed already begun.

“We are seeing elements of the Russian playbook that we would expect to see in these situations start to play out in real time.

“Essentially, we still think there is a window for diplomacy. I think that’s what we saw in the discussions over the weekend and we want to explore that.

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