Thousands flood into Chinatown after 'vaccine bus' advertised jabs

Thousands bombard Chinatown after ‘vaccine bus’ advertised appointment-free Covid jabs with ‘undocumented migrants welcome’ and no NHS number or ID needed – forcing police to control crowds

Thousands of people flooded into London’s Chinatown today after a ‘vaccine bus’ promised Covid jabs with no appointment, NHS number or ID needed. 

Pictures show thousands of people crowded onto a pavement outside a barbershop next to the small van, after an advert was posted on the Chinese Information and Advice Centre website. 

It read: ‘A Vaccine Bus is available in London Chinatown to offer free vaccine jab to the Community without appointment. Date: 27 May 2021 (Thursday) Time: 12 – 5pm.

‘You DO NOT need to have: NHS number any proof of address personal identification Undocumented migrants also welcomed Stay safe! Get vaccinated!’

Covid jabs can only be booked via the NHS website or at a GP surgery if you have not already been invited, and it is not clear if the vaccine being offered was one of the three approved ones.  

Patients have also been warned not to take up offers of the vaccine from non-official providers. 

Pictures show thousands of people crowded onto a pavement outside a barbershop, after an advert was posted on the Chinese Information and Advice Centre website

Covid jabs can only be booked via the NHS website or at a GP surgery if you have not already been invited, and it is not clear if the vaccine being offered was one of the three approved ones

It came as promising data suggested Britain’s coronavirus outbreak may not be spiralling out of control despite fears the rapid spread of the Indian variant could threaten plans to ease lockdown restrictions next month.

The number of people falling ill with symptoms of coronavirus has fallen by up to 10 per cent over the last week, according to a symptom-tracking app.

Academics at King’s College London and health-tech firm ZOE estimate that 2,550 Britons — and 1,919 people in England — were becoming ill every day on May 23. For comparison, figures a week earlier stood at 2,750 and 2,132, respectively.

Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist behind the Covid Symptom Study app, admitted that the Indian variant was becoming dominant in the UK. But he said national figures ‘remain unaffected’, despite numerous measures saying that the outbreak is starting to get bigger with the quick growth of the B.1.617.2 strain.

Professor Spector claimed cases appeared to be spiking in hotspots including Bolton, Kirklees and Leicester but added: ‘Reassuringly, we aren’t seeing numbers rise in other surrounding areas.

‘Our data also indicates vaccines are still effective against the Indian variant and this is likely the reason why cases haven’t increased and hospitalisation and deaths remain low.’

The figures come after one of the Government’s top scientific advisers today warned that No10’s plan to ease all restrictions in England on June 21 hangs ‘in the balance’ because of the Indian variant.

‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson, an Imperial College London epidemiologist and key member of SAGE, said the strain would trigger a ‘small third wave’. But he said the next two or three weeks would be ‘critical’ in deciding whether it was safe to move to step four on the roadmap.

Meanwhile, another SAGE expert last night called for ministers to delay next month’s ‘freedom day’. Asked whether he would advise Boris Johnson to continue with plans to unlock fully next month, Professor John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, answered ‘no’ because ‘at the moment it looks a little bit risky’.

It came as promising data suggested Britain’s coronavirus outbreak may not be spiralling out of control despite fears the rapid spread of the Indian variant could threaten plans to ease lockdown restrictions next month

Top scientists are waiting for more data on transmissibility of the variant to model how badly the country could be hit by relaxing restrictions. Ministers are also waiting on hospital admission data to prove jabs are breaking the link between infections and serious illness.

Matt Hancock today said the link between Covid cases, hospitalisations and deaths is being ‘severed’ but it is too early to say whether the June 21 lifting of lockdown will go ahead. The Health Secretary told MPs he ‘desperately’ wanted to press ahead with the plans.

But the picture on the Covid outbreak in England, and Britain as a whole, remains a mixed bag. Daily positive tests in the UK yesterday breached the 3,000 mark for the first time since April, and other surveillance studies have warned of a rise in cases across the nation.

Separate Test and Trace figures today showed the number of positive swabs across England fell slightly last week, with 14,051 recorded — down from 14,082 in the previous seven-day spell. However, this was fuelled by a drop in the number of NHS workers and seriously ill patients testing positive.

There was a small rise in cases among the general public (from 12,381 to 12,561), despite 40,000 fewer tests being carried out across England. Swab positivity rates rose in around a third of the 300-plus authorities dotted across the country but fell in Bolton — Britain’s worst-hit borough, where the Indian variant is known to be rife.

Britain’s mammoth vaccine drive continued at full steam ahead, with 387,987 top-up jabs dished out across the country yesterday. It takes the UK’s number of fully vaccinated adults to more than 23.6million

Daily infections (3,180) spiked by 18 per cent compared to last Wednesday’s figure, reaching their highest level since April 12 (3,568). But deaths remained in single figures, with nine fatalities today up slightly on the three posted last Wednesday

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