UK ditches daily COVID figures and moves to twice a week updates – Yahoo News UK

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The government has scrapped its daily COVID updates and said coronavirus figures will only be published on the government's dashboard twice a week.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced this week that the dashboard will only update coronavirus figures every Monday and Thursday from now on.
The dashboard stopped publishing weekend figures in February and moved to reporting cases on a Monday that covered the previous three days.
In a tweet on Monday, the UK Health Security Agency said: "Reporting #COVID19 stats is changing within the UK.
"From today, the COVID-19 dashboard will update UK figures every Monday and Thursday."
The UK-wide move was forced by the decision of health officials in Scotland to only publish its figures every Monday and Thursday from this week, before moving to weekly updates in June.
Because Wales only publishes its vaccine data on a Monday, UK vaccine figures on the dashboard will only be updated weekly on the same day.
However, data for England will continue to be published daily, including testing, cases, hospital admissions, vaccinations and deaths.
Clare Griffiths, head of the COVID-19 dashboard, said: “As we move forward in the pandemic, changes to reporting across the four nations means COVID-19 metrics will be updated on different dates and schedules.
"Variations in reporting schedules should be considered when looking at reported COVID-19 figures and day-to-day comparisons may therefore be misleading.”
According to the latest update, there were 26,280 coronavirus cases reported in the UK on Monday, covering the previous three days. There were 212 deaths from COVID-19 in the three-day period.
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Since 31 January, daily cases have included reinfections across the UK.
The nation now relies on figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for a more accurate picture of its COVID-19 cases.
Last week, the ONS said about one in 33 people in the UK are thought to be infected.
It said about 1.9m people tested positive in the week ending 30 April, more than 923,000 fewer than the previous seven-day period.
It was the biggest weekly reduction in infections since the ONS began its COVID survey in July 2020.
The number of COVID tests has fallen recently, with 201,062 reported on Monday, a fall from 432,025 a month earlier.
Free lateral flow tests were no longer generally available in England from the beginning of April. They can now be purchased privately but the results cannot be reported on the government website.
More than 176,000 people have died in the UK from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
On Monday, a new study suggested that fourth Covid jabs give people protection “over and above” that afforded to people who have had three jabs.
Research is continuing to assess the levels of protection people have after vaccination, and for the length of time that this protection lasts.
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Turkey on Tuesday postponed NATO accession talks with Sweden and Finland, further denting the Nordic neighbours' hopes of joining the Western defence alliance after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.Ankara announced its decision one day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Sweden for allowing weekend protests that included the burning of the Koran outside Ankara's Stockholm embassy.A Turkish diplomatic source said the tri-party meeting has been pushed back from February to a "later date", without providing further details.The decision further diminished the chances of the two countries joining NATO before Turkey's May presidential and parliamentary elections.Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden decided jointly to end their decades-long policies of military non-alignment, winning formal support for their plans at a historic NATO summit in June.The two countries bids' were then swiftly ratified by 28 of NATO's 30 member states, highlighting the issues' urgency in the face of Russia's aggression.Bids to join NATO must be ratified by all members of the alliance, of which Turkey is a member.Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has promised that his parliament would approve the two bids next month.But Erdogan has dug in his heels heading into a close presidential election in which he is trying to energise his nationalist electoral base.Erdogan's resistance prompted Finland to hint for the first time on Tuesday that it may try to join on its own because of Stockholm's diplomatic problems with Ankara."We have to assess the situation, whether something has happened that in the longer term would prevent Sweden from going ahead," Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told broadcaster Yle.- 'Permanently barred' -Sweden's Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said he was "in contact with Finland to find out what this really means".Haavisto later clarified his comments, saying he did not want to "speculate" on Finland joining alone "as both countries seem to be making progress", and emphasising their commitment to a joint application.But "of course, somewhere in the back of our minds, we are thinking about different worlds where some countries would be permanently barred from membership", he said.Swedish leaders have roundly condemned the Koran burning but defended their country's broad definition of free speech.The incident came just weeks after a support group for armed Kurdish groups in Syria, the Rojava Committee, hung an effigy of Erdogan by the ankles in front of Stockholm City Hall, sparking outrage in Ankara.Haavisto said the anti-Turkey protests had "clearly put a brake on the progress" of the applications by Finland and Sweden."My own assessment is that there will be a delay, which will certainly last until the Turkish elections in mid-May", Haavisto said.- 'Plan B' out in the open -Turkey has indicated that it has no major objections to Finland's entry into NATO.Helsinki had refused until now to speculate on the option of joining without Sweden, emphasising the benefits of joint membership with its neighbour.But "frustration has grown in various corners of Helsinki", and "for the first time it was said out loud that there are other possibilities", Matti Pesu, a researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, told AFP."There has been a change" in the Finnish position, he said. "These Plan Bs are being said out loud."Pesu noted that while Turkey had so far given no indication it would treat the two applications "separately", it will be "interesting to see how Turkey reacts" to Haavisto's comments.Ankara signed a memorandum of understanding with the two Nordic countries at the end of June, paving the way for the membership process to begin.But Ankara says its demands remain unfulfilled, in particular for the extradition of Turkish citizens that Turkey wants to prosecute for "terrorism".ehu/po/zak/ach 
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