UK coronavirus live: 1.1m in Britain had long Covid recently, with almost 20% affected ‘a lot’, says ONS

Latest updates: ONS survey suggests 70,000 people had long Covid for a year; Starmer says Johnson wrong to outsource Covid checks to pub landlords

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Today the UK Health Security Agency launches. It’s a new body, set up to to “protect the country from future health threats and ensure the nation can respond to pandemics quickly and at greater scale” and its chief executive is Dr Jenny Harries, previously England’s deputy chief medical officer.

In an interview on the Today programme this morning that mostly focused on looking back at the government’s handling of the pandemic over the last year, Harries admitted that the UK was not fully prepared. She said:

We were not fully prepared for this pandemic and, as I’ve said, I’m very happy to accept there is an awful lot to learn. I think we share some of those failings with many other countries.

I think it had merits and it had things that we would wish to improve.

We’ve learned more, as I’ve said, about asymptomatic transmission, and I think we would recommend face coverings earlier.

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