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Lockdown extended: UK’s revised ‘freedom day’

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England’s plan to lift all restrictions by June 21 has been pushed back by the country’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Johnson says the date dubbed “freedom day” by many residents, now has to be pushed back by four weeks to allow further vaccinations.

It comes as the highly infectious Delta variant spreads rapidly throughout the country, at a rate of 7 percent week-on-week.

The government fears that if restrictions are fully eased now, hospitalisations could reach the levels they were at during Britain’s first wave.

The new planned date for the full easing of restrictions is July 19, which will give health authorities a further four-week window to fully vaccinate those most vulnerable.

Which Covid-19 vaccine is more effective?

Health authorities have confirmed that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing hospitalisation.

After two doses, the Pfizer shot is 96 percent effective at reducing hospitalisations, whilst AstraZeneca’s version is 92 percent effective.

The analysis was conducted by Public Health England and is a promising sign as countries begin to move into a post-pandemic world.

“It is absolutely vital to get both doses as soon as they are offered to you, to gain maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants.”

PHE SAYS.

Further work remains underway to establish the level of protection against mortality from the Delta variant. However, as with other variants, this is expected to be high.

The analysis included 14,019 cases of the Delta variant – 166 of whom were hospitalised – between 12 April and 4 June, looking at emergency hospital admissions in England.

Public Health England (PHE) has previously published analysis showing that one dose is 17 per cent less effective at preventing symptomatic illness from the Delta variant, compared to Alpha, but there is only a small difference after 2 doses.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock says the UK vaccination programme continues at pace and has already saved thousands of lives and notes “It is our way out of this pandemic.”

“This evidence of the effectiveness of two doses against variants shows just how crucial it is to get your second jab.”

“These hugely important findings confirm that the vaccines offer significant protection against hospitalisation from the Delta variant.

The vaccines are the most important tool we have against COVID-19. Thousands of lives have already been saved because of them.

It is absolutely vital to get both doses as soon as they are offered to you, to gain maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said:

Vaccines Minister, Nadhim Zahawi says It is extremely encouraging to see research showing that vaccines are continuing to help break the link between hospitalisation and the Delta variant after one dose, and particularly the high effectiveness of 2 doses.

Separate PHE analysis indicates that the COVID-19 vaccination programme has so far prevented 14,000 deaths and around 42,000 hospitalisations in older people in England, up to 30 May.

William is an Executive News Producer at TICKER NEWS, responsible for the production and direction of news bulletins. William is also the presenter of the hourly Weather + Climate segment. With qualifications in Journalism and Law (LLB), William previously worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) before moving to TICKER NEWS. He was also an intern at the Seven Network's 'Sunrise'. A creative-minded individual, William has a passion for broadcast journalism and reporting on global politics and international affairs.

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Without drastic change, global IT outage will hit again

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Elements of Friday’s global IT outage have occurred before and until more contingencies are built into networks, and organisations put better back-up plans in place, it will happen again.

A widespread Microsoft outage is affecting Australia’s supermarkets, banks, telecommunications companies.

There are also reports of outages in Japan and the United States.

The ongoing widespread outage is reportedly related to US-based cybersecurity provider CrowdStrike. Its ‘Falcon sensor’ is installed on many business computers to gather security data.

In a statement to Ticker News, StickmanCyber said:

“Multiple StickmanCyber security engineering and our 24×7/365 security operations teams across the country support reports that this outage is related to a CrowdStrike update. 
 
“It is our understanding that any business running versions 7.15 and 7.16 are affected by the outage, but 7.17 seems to be ok. We are waiting on official advisory from CrowdStrike on these findings but doing our best to help affected customers. It’s a lesson to always update your software, but obviously this is an extreme example. IT security tools are all designed to ensure that companies can continue to operate in the worst-case scenario of a data breach, so to be the root cause of a global IT outage is an unmitigated disaster.
 
“Crowdstrike support is offering a workaround to customers. It claims users may be able to fix the issue by booting windows in safe mode or in the Windows Recovery Environment and deleting a file named “C-00000291*.sys”.   

“CrowdStrike is aware of reports of crashes on Windows hosts related to the Falcon sensor,” the company said in a statement on its website.

“Symptoms include hosts experiencing a bugcheck\blue screen error related to the Falcon sensor. Our engineering teams are actively working to resolve this issue and there is no need to open a support ticket.

“Status updates will be posted below [on the Microsoft websit€0 as we have more information to share, including when the issue is resolved.”

Laptops down

Thousands of users across the world reported problems with Microsoft services to Downdector.com, a website that tracks service disruptions.

Microsoft laptops suddenly restarted across Australia on Friday afternoon.

Outage website Downdetector shows issues across companies including NAB, Bendigo Bank, Telstra, CBA, Google.

Microsoft response

As users take to social media to complain, Microsoft reported a service outage for its Microsoft 365 apps and services, affecting businesses and users across the world.

“We’re investigating an issue impacting users ability to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services,” Microsoft 365 Status said on X early Friday.

Microsoft didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment.

Frontier airlines

 

The outage forced low-cost airline Frontier to cancel some flights. “Our systems are currently impacted by a Microsoft outage, which is also affecting other companies,” Frontier said in a statement. “We appreciate your patience.” The carrier said it would offer refunds to affected passengers.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Frontier asked it to pause the airline’s departures across the U.S. Thursday night. The ground stop was later lifted. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It said it is “observing a positive trend in service availability” as it continues to mitigate the problem.

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