India launches ambitious vaccination programme for 1.3 billion citizens – Channel 4 News

India has launched one of the world’s biggest and most ambitious vaccination drives against for its 1.3 billion citizens.

The government aims to administer 300 million coronavirus jabs by August – with healthcare workers first in line for the vaccine.

India has registered more than 10.5 million coronavirus cases, the second highest in the world, and over 150 thousand deaths – although infection numbers have been falling in recent months.

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Dan Osborne proves he was just 14 when he got his first tattoo with teenage throwback

Dan Osborne was just 14 when he got his first tattoo, the star has revealed.

TOWIE’s Dan, who’s married to Jungle Queen Jacqueline Jossa, these days runs a tattoo parlour on south London and boasts inkings along one of his arms and legs.

The 29-year-old also has some elaborate art adorning his right flank, that flows seamlessly over his ripped abs.

But it was 15 years ago that Dan first showed an interest – and received his first at just 14.

Responding to a fan’s social media challenge to find a snap of himself without any tattoos, Dan admitted that he was “really struggling to find one.”

Dan revealed his first ever tattoo

He then shared a snap from 2005, on what looks like a family holiday, a single tattoo on his shoulder.

“Can’t believe I’m posting this pic haha…” he wrote, “I was 14 and just had a tattoo what a lad I thought I was!”

Another saw a fan ask him to root out a snap of himself at prom, to which Dan responded with a dapper photo of himself in a three-piece.

Dan Osborne
Dan was challenged to reveal the snaps by fans

Jacqueline Jossa, Dan Osborne and their kids
The family of four may be moving in 2021

2021 may be a big year for Dan, Jacqueline and their daughters Ella and Mia.

Reports recently emerged that they’re considering upping sticks from their Essex home into a brand new one.

And they may even renew their wedding vows, having tied the knot back in 2017 – but Jac insists it would be a low-key affair.

“The thought of it cringes me out slightly,” she shared, “but we might do something like renew our vows when the time is right.

Jacqueline Jossa and Dan Osborne
Jac and Dan may renew their wedding vows

“We would like all five of us in the photos – we’d do it for the kids.

“It does feel like we have a new relationship though, so it might be quite nice to celebrate that.”

As well as his two daughters with Jac, Dan also shares son Teddy with an ex.

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latest news on when they could reopen

All primary and secondary schools have closed, after England moved into a third national lockdown.

The Prime Minister stated on Jan 4 that schools will need to offer remote learning until at least mid-February and GCSE and A-level exams face cancellation for a second year.

Gavin Williamson, however, has indicated that exams may go ahead in a reduced capacity. The Education Secretary has said he would “like to explore the possibility of providing externally set tasks or papers”, in a letter to the chief exam regulator on Jan 13.

Only vulnerable children and children of key workers are currently allowed to attend schools for face-to-face learning, and early years settings such as nurseries will remain accessible.

Boris Johnson said the new measures were necessary: “because we have to do everything we possibly can to stop the spread of the disease”.

However, Mr Johnson remains “very cautious” about the timetable, with restrictions being lifted as a “gradual unravelling”.

Those entitled to free school meals will continue to receive them during closures, and more devices will be distributed to help remote learning, according to Mr Johnson.

The Government had insisted schools would remain open only a day before the new measures were announced, reassuring parents it was “safe” to send their children back for the start of term on January 4.

But the move prompted backlash from four national teaching unions, who called for the delay seen across London to apply to all schools in England amid concerns the new strain of Covid-19 poses a threat to teachers.

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England has called for teachers to be vaccinated “as a priority”.

The Telegraph reported on January 9 that education experts warned that Britain needed to massively expand its army of tutors to stave off the long-term economic damage of Covid-19 from lost learning.

Read more: Tracking UK Covid vaccinations: Are we on target to end lockdown?

What are the rules for children of key workers and vulnerable children?

The Department for Education (DfE) said children with at least one parent or carer who was a critical worker could attend class – even if parents were working from home.

It came after concerns were raised about the risks of transmission of Covid-19 amid reports that more than half of pupils were onsite in some primary schools.

Matt Hancock said on Jan 11 that Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, will be sending out 500,000 laptops to vulnerable children to ensure they can access remote lessons.

The Prime Minister told MP’s that 560,000 laptops were distributed in 2020, but this still falls short of the 1.5m pupils that Ofcom estimates are without digital devices in their homes, on which they can learn.

A DfE spokesperson said: “Schools are open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. We expect schools to work with families to ensure all critical worker children are given access to a place if this is required.

“If critical workers can work from home and look after their children at the same time then they should do so, but otherwise this provision is in place to enable them to provide vital services.

The DfE also said that schools were expected to “strongly encourage” vulnerable children to attend class.

Vulnerable children could include “pupils who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home” due to a lack of devices or a quiet space to study, according to the advice.

But Government guidance says parents who choose to keep children out of class will not be penalised.

What do Tiers mean for schools?

The new lockdown measures mean the entire country will be subject to the same tougher measures, including the closure of all schools. This means the tier system is not currently in place.

Every school had been instructed to draw up plans to ensure children continue to receive an education even if they have to stay at home.

Mr Johnson said on the announcement of closing schools: “I want to stress that the problem is not that schools are unsafe to children.

“The problem is that schools may nonetheless act as vectors for transmission, causing the virus to spread between households.”

Read more on the previous tier system:

When will secondary schools reopen?

All schools will remain closed until mid-February, with the possibility that these measures could be extended further.

This means most secondary school pupils will stay at home until at least the February half-term.

Are there any changes to exams?

Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, has indicated that GCSE, A-Level and AS exams may take place after all.

Mr Williamson addressed this possibility in a letter to the chief exam regulator on Jan 13. This contradicts his announcement on on January 6 that exams would not take place this summer.

Mr Williamson explained that the replacement would be a “form of teacher-assessed grades, with training and support provided to ensure these are awarded fairly and consistently across the country”.

However, the Education Secretary stated on Jan 13 that he would “like to explore the possibility of providing externally set tasks or papers”.

While teachers’ predicted grades will still be used, the exams may be necessary so that teachers can “draw on this resource to support their assessments of students”, he said.

Previously, Mr Williamson had told the Commons that, while exams are the fairest way of testing a student’s knowledge, the Covid pandemic means it is “not possible to have exams this year” and ministers will “put our trust in teachers rather than algorithms”.

The Department for Education and Ofqual will launch a joint consultation on the plans later this week, and this will run for a fortnight.

How will testing in schools work?

The Government had previously set out a plan for every secondary school to test as many pupils and staff as possible when they reopened.

It is not yet clear if schools will still be required to mass test pupils after the latest school closures have ended.

The plans stated that 40,000 volunteers will have to be recruited by secondary schools to mass test their pupils, according to Government documents.

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Quick jabs – Britain’s vaccine roll-out gets off to a fast start | Britain

WHEN IT COMES to the race to get out the covid-19 vaccine, there is Israel, which has given out 23 doses for every 100 people, and then there is everywhere else. In second and third place, some way behind, sit the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which are relying on a jab without published data from late-stage trials (see article). Next is Britain, the speediest big country.

British medics were quick off the mark with early approvals for the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccines, and the roll-out has recently sped up. On January 6th, 1.3m doses had been delivered. A week later, 3.1m had, a number equivalent to 4.5 doses per 100 people. Denmark, Britain’s nearest rival in Europe, has done 2.

Though fast, the pace still needs to accelerate further to meet the government’s target of offering everyone in a big group—which includes people over the age of 70 and front-line health- and social-care workers—a jab by the middle of February. To meet it, around 2.5m doses will have to go out each week. Ministers promise they will.

The roll-out is not without flaws. The government has provided little information on, for instance, who exactly has received jabs, although more is promised soon. Care-home vaccinations seem to be getting done more slowly than in other countries that got off to a quick start. And observers have raised concerns about the lack of ventilation in mass-vaccination centres, in which elderly and vulnerable people congregate.

These are serious problems. They are also ones most of Europe would love to have—which is not a position Britain has been in for most of the pandemic.

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Quick jabs”

Reuse this contentThe Trust Project

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As-it-happened: FTSE dips as UK on brink of double-dip recession after GDP fall

FTSE slides on downbeat GDP figures

Shares slid for the fourth time this week on Friday as London’s top companies gave back half the gains they made in the opening week of 2021.

The stock markets were on fire last week as traders kicked off the year with a bang, but since waking up on Monday they have been in a more sombre mood.

In the past five days of trading, London’s FTSE 100 index has lost 137 points, nearly half of everything that it gained during one of its best ever starts to a year.

On Friday, the index lost 66.25 points, a nearly 1% decrease, and settled at 6,735.71.

Investors had been eagerly anticipating the plans of incoming US President Joe Biden on Thursday, and had sent shares up on the day.

But events overtook Mr Biden’s plans to send 1,400 dollar (£1,000) stimulus cheques to many Americans as part of a 1.9 trillion dollar Covid-19 stimulus plan.

“Conscious of the difficulties in getting anything done in the American political system, let alone when you are trying to impeach the outgoing president, investors greeted Joe Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollar Covid-19 stimulus plan with a ‘we’ll see’,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

“Unfortunately that meant attention lingered on a rough couple of days for US data. Following on from Thursday’s sky high jobless claims figure – the worst since the end of August, and perilously close to the one million mark – investors had to deal with a pair of glum December retail sales readings suggestive of a tough Christmas across the country.”

The UK had gloomy economic news of its own, as gross domestic product (GDP) was reported dropping 2.6% month-on-month in November, putting the economy back on track for a recession.

But that was unlikely to be a factor in Europe, where the French and German markets struggled more than the FTSE. The Cac and the Dax both dropped 1.4%.

Across the Atlantic, the New York-based S&P 500 and Dow Jones dropped 0.6% and 0.5% respectively.

After a Supreme Court ruling which will force insurers to pay out claims to some businesses that had to shut during Covid-19, shares in the companies were a mixed bag.

After originally dropping 6% on the news, Hiscox ended the day up 3.3%. Aviva’s shares dropped 0.6%, Admiral Group lost 1%, Phoenix Group closed down 1.9%, and Prudential and RSA Insurance ended down 0.1%.

Petrofac fared much worse. The oilfield company’s shares closed down 26.6% after it was revealed on Thursday night that a former senior executive had pleaded guilty in a bribery case.

Although it may have seemed good news that the Serious Fraud Office had dropped an investigation into possible corruption at British American Tobacco, investors did not celebrate. Shares closed down 0.4%.

And finally, the Gym Group ended the day down 3.2% after saying that sales had almost halved in 2020.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Aveva, up 248p to 3805p, GlaxoSmithKline, up 20.2p to 1413.6p, Pennon Group, up 12.4p to 964.8p, Unilever, up 40p to 4394p, and Persimmon, up 20p to 2690p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Anglo American, down 149.5p to 2663.5p, Just Eat, down 408p to 7872p, DS Smith, down 19p to 386.5p, Antofagasta, down 57.5p to 1514.5p, and Kingfisher, down 10.2p to 269.4p.

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‘Big lies are part of authoritarian regime changes in history’ – Prof Timothy Snyder on Trump election fraud claims – Channel 4 News

In Washington, security is being ramped up ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, amid increasing concerns about security.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump faces trial in the Senate after becoming the first US president to be impeached for a second time and leading Republicans are increasingly divided over his fate.

We were joined by Prof Timothy Snyder, a historian specialising in fascism and political atrocity at Yale University

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Stardust review: David Bowie biopic ‘fails to do justice to musical icon’ – Lewis Knight

It may not have been wanted by a number of David Bowie devotees – including the singer’s own son Duncan Jones – but is Stardust worth the controversy that came with it?

Set in 1971, David Bowie (EMMA. star Johnny Flynn) heads out on a US publicity tour where he lies on the brink of true greatness but is in need of some guidance and ironically for Bowie, being brought back down to earth.

Paired with Mercury Records’ Ron Oberman (Marc Maron), Bowie faces some soul searching as this odd couple travels and the musician performs some rather disappointing gigs.

Amidst this, Bowie recalls a troubled familial background as the tour and his past help him in his transformation to become his iconic alter-ego of Ziggy Stardust.

So, does this film – made a mere four years after Bowie’s death – do justice to the Hunky Dory star?

Johnny Flynn stars as David Bowie heading out on his 1971 US publicity tour

Among the many pitfalls in Stardust, the most glaring has to be the lack of Bowie’s iconic songs, which are such a true example of his genius and staying power and of which convince the audience of the character’s true artistry.

While the admirable work of Johnny Flynn convinces us that the actor and musician has got some good pipes on him, he fails to deliver Bowie’s signature stage presence and when lacking the legendary songs of the singer, fails to make an impact.

Additionally, while convincing enough in showing some of Bowie’s personal traumas, the writing provided fails to offer any psychological insight into its subject, proving the death knell in Flynn’s attempt at a portrait of Bowie.

Jena Malone stars as Angie Bowie in Stardust
Jena Malone stars as the musician’s first wife, Angie Bowie

Bowie heads out on a difficult journey across the US in Stardust
Bowie heads out on a difficult journey across the US

There is no convincing, detailed or well-drawn journey here and instead his character arc feels half-hearted. Also absent is an almost alien-like uniqueness to the Bowie we see on-screen and beyond fans recognising some occasional wardrobe choices, you probably wouldn’t know who this person was supposed to be.

Of the supporting performances, Maron is reliable enough in the sort of brutally honest and practical manner he usually delivers, while Jena Malone brings some welcome charisma and snark with her take on Angie Bowie.

Flynn's take on Bowie sees him grapple with some soul-searching in Stardust
Flynn’s take on Bowie sees him grapple with some soul-searching

Bowie emerges with his Ziggy Stardust persona in the film Stardust
Bowie emerges with his Ziggy Stardust persona

Sadly, none of the relationships, particularly the vital sibling relationship of Bowie’s past fail to resonate and feel well-drawn enough to latch onto. Again, this mostly feels down to the script from director Gabriel Range, whose directorial style fails to make an impression despite still keeping proceedings somewhat watchable.

Ultimately, Stardust is a disappointing biopic of a musical Titan that fails to capture either the art and – most importantly – the artist.


Stardust fails to do justice to musical icon David Bowie, with the lack of his back catalogue feeling especially absent, along with an inability to capture his unique and otherworldly essence.

Stardust is available now on digital platforms in the UK.

What is your favourite biopic about a musician? Let us know in the comments below.

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England vs Sri Lanka Test match scores, day one batting slammed by greats

Former England captains Nasser Hussain, Mike Atherton and Michael Vaughan led the outrage after Sri Lanka capitulated in disgraceful fashion on day one of the First Test in Galle.

The hosts were rolled for 135 as spinner Dom Bess took five wickets despite admitting he hadn’t bowled very well.

Almost every batsman fell to an innocuous delivery, including being caught off long hops and while attempting reverse sweeps.

“I think abysmal is being kind – it was absolutely ridiculous,” Hussain said. ”You think of some of the greats Sri Lanka have had – what must they be thinking looking at a batting performance like that? It was farcical.

“I’d love to know how many of those Sri Lankan batsmen walked into the dressing room and thought ‘I got out to a decent delivery’, it was none of them. It was a joke by the end.

“There were people diving in, people reverse-sweeping – that was the most farcical 46 overs of Test cricket I have seen in my life and if Sri Lanka lose this game it‘s because of how abysmal they have been.”

Atherton described it as “some of the worst Test match batting I have ever seen”.

“It’s great for Dom Bess that he’s got a five-for but he’s never going to get a cheaper one than that because he really didn’t bowl all that well,” Atherton said.

Vaughan was similarly dismayed, tweeting: “Those 46.1 overs have been the worst possible advertisement for Test Cricket … it’s supposed to be the pinnacle … that was utter garbage Sri Lanka.”

Bess, who returned figures of 5/30, combined with paceman Stuart Broad, who took three wickets, as Sri Lanka were all out in two sessions as the two-Test series resumed in Galle after the original tour was aborted over the coronavirus in March.

But the off-spinner admitted he got away with a few easy strikes. “I probably haven’t bowled as well as I could have done, and probably got away with one or two, but that’s cricket,” Bess told reporters after the day’s play.

“Flip it and look how well Broady and Sammy (Sam Curran) bowled at the top. It was exceptional and certainly set the tone early on.”

Bess got wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella caught out at point on a long hop after the batsman played a sloppy shot and the off-spinner said it “isn’t my best wicket”.

Dasun Shanaka’s wicket was also lucky after his shot caught Jonny Bairstow’s boot at short leg and lobbed off for an easy catch to gloveman Jos Buttler.

England lost their openers early but skipper Joe Root, on 66, and Bairstow, on 47, steered the tourists to 127 for two at close of play. They still trail Sri Lanka by eight runs.

The batting duo put on an unbeaten partnership of 110 after Dom Sibley, for four, and Zak Crawley, for nine, fell to Lasith Embuldeniya’s left-arm spin.

Root, who successfully reviewed an lbw call in his favour after being given out by the on-field umpire on 20, reached his 50th fifty in 98 Tests. He has 17 centuries.

Bess remained the hero of the day with his second five-wicket haul in his 11th Test as the venue witnessed its lowest first-innings score, well below Sri Lanka’s 181 against Pakistan in 2000.

Sri Lanka suffered a pre-match jolt when skipper Dimuth Karunaratne was ruled out of the first of the two Tests with a fractured thumb.

Stand-in-captain Dinesh Chandimal scored 28 and put up some resistance in a 56-run stand with Angelo Mathews, who made 27 on his return from a hamstring injury.

Broad struck twice in an over to send back opener Lahiru Thirimanne, who had scored four, and Kusal Mendis for nought – his fourth straight duck – to spell early trouble for the hosts.

Spin was introduced in the 11th over and Bess, with his second ball, got Kusal Perera for 20 when the batsman top-edged a reverse sweep to England captain Joe Root at first slip.

Sri Lanka had slumped to 25 for three but Mathews and Chandimal stood firm till lunch.

Broad came back in the second session to break the stand as he got Mathews caught at slip and Chandimal, who survived a dropped catch by debutant Dan Lawrence before lunch on 22, departed two balls later off Jack Leach.

Mathews, whose hamstring injury kept him out of the 2-0 Test series defeat in South Africa, went past 6,000 Test runs during his knock before Bess soon ran through the middle and lower order.

“I have been with the team for a year and that’s the worst batting I have seen from the team,” Sri Lanka batting coach Grant Flower said. “It’s purely mental I think, I don’t see another other reason to explain that.”

– with AFP

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Everything we know about what happened when Trump’s supporters stormed Washington

Twitter said Mr Trump’s refusal to attend Mr Biden’s inauguration was being received by his supporters as “further confirmation that the election was not legitimate” and him disavowing his previous claim there would be an “orderly transition”.

It claimed one of his tweets may also “serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the inauguration would be a ‘safe’ target, as he will not be attending”.

The use of the words “American Patriots” to describe some of his supporters was also being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol, Twitter said.

It added: “Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021.

“As such, our determination is that the two tweets … are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.”

Following the ban, Twitter deleted two tweets apparently issued by Mr Trump on the @POTUS account, and also suspended the @TeamTrump account after it spread a statement from the president.

The statement said: “After close review of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them – specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter – we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.

“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.

“However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things.

“We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.”

Facebook removed a short video on January 6 that Mr Trump had posted to his social media accounts.

Facebook’s vice president of integrity, Guy Rosen, said the action was taken “because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence”.

Later that day, the site blocked his ability to post new content. Then on January 7, it said he would remain blocked until his term in the White House concluded on January 20.

Mr Trump is planning to address his “deplatforming” by social media companies on Monday January 11, reportedly seeking ways to bring them to heel before leaving office.

It comes as apps including preferred conservative messaging site Parler were removed altogether by tech giants for allowing “threats of violence” after the storming of the US Capitol.

Read more: Trump fury after permanent ban by Twitter due to ‘risk of inciting violence’ ​

How Washington reacted

The House of Representatives has voted to impeach Donald Trump, making him the first president in US history to be impeached twice.

Ten Republicans joined Democrats in voting for impeachment over Mr Trump’s role riling up the mob.

The article, which charging him with “incitement of insurrection”, carried by 232 votes to 197.

Mr Trump will now face a trial in the Senate.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Party leaders in the US House of Representatives and Senate respectively, demanded Mr Trump’s immediate removal amid outrage at his actions before the US Capitol was stormed by a mob of his supporters.

They publicly called on Mike Pence, the US vice president, to invoke the 25th Amendment, a mechanism that removes a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”, but Mr Pence refused.

A wave of top officials quit the White House, turning their backs on Mr Trump.

A number of White House staff, including Sarah Matthews, the deputy press secretary, and Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s chief of staff, resigned effective immediately. It was also reported that Chris Liddell, the president’s deputy chief of staff, had quit.

Read more: Top Republicans turn on Trump after day of chaos

How the world reacted

Boris Johnson called on the US to restore the rule of law. “Disgraceful scenes in US Congress”, the British prime minister tweeted.

“The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power. “

EU officials expressed shock at the “assault on US democracy”.

“To witness tonight’s scenes in Washington DC is a shock,” European Council president Charles Michel tweeted.

“In the eyes of the world, American democracy tonight appears under siege,” the European Union’s foreign policy supremo Josep Borrell said, in a separate tweet.

“This is an unseen assault on US democracy, its institutions and the rule of law. This is not America. The election results of 3 November must be fully respected,” Mr Borrell said, referring to the US presidential election that saw Mr Trump beaten by Joe Biden.

“The strength of US democracy will prevail over extremist individuals,” Mr Borrell said.

Speaking to Sky News, Kim Darroch, the UK’s former ambassador to the US, shared his belief that Mr Trump was not fit to be president, before suggesting No 10 “got too close” to the Trump presidency.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced she is “furious and saddened” by the violence seen in Washington DC, and said Mr Trump shares the blame for the unrest among his supporters.

“I deeply regret that President Trump has not conceded his defeat, since November and again yesterday,” she said, before adding: “Doubts about the election outcome were stoked and created the atmosphere that made the events of last night possible.”

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Number of London transport staff dying with Covid-19 increases to 60


he number of London transport staff dying with Covid has increased to 60, including 46 bus workers, it was revealed today.

The total figure, up three from 57 revealed earlier this week, includes staff working for the private bus firms contracted by Transport for London to run the capital’s buses, plus Tube and rail staff and TfL head office workers. The death toll includes 37 bus drivers and nine other bus workers, such as bus station staff.

Transport for London commissioner Andy Byford said: “I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of our 60 colleagues who have sadly passed away from coronavirus.

“Their tragic loss is devastating for us all, and I and everyone at Transport for London would like to pay tribute to the critical role they played in London’s fight against this global pandemic. We will never forget them.

“Our heroic frontline staff and colleagues across the transport industry are the beating heart of London and have kept this great city moving through one of the most challenging periods in its history and helped ensure life-saving critical workers were able to do their jobs. I would like to pay tribute to them all.”

The Government’s vaccine delivery plan states that phase two of the roll-out – once over 50s have received the jab – may include “targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services”.

There are high-level concerns among London politicians that teachers, TfL staff and Metropolitan Police officers might be more vulnerable to infection due to the public-facing nature of their work and because they cannot work from home.

More than 3,300 TfL staff are said to be off work sick, shielding or isolating. One in seven London Ambulance staff are currently off sick or isolating.

Nick Hague, headteacher of Marner primary school in Tower Hamlets, died just before Christmas after contracting covid.

Officials leading the Covid response in the capital are trying to secure rapid testing of transport workers and police to free them from self-isolation and enable them to get back to work.

London’s public health chief Professor Kevin Fenton told a City Hall inquiry into covid this week that he supported the principle of distributing jabs based on likely exposure to the virus rather than vulnerability to the disease, once the first priority groups had received their doses.

Professor Fenton said: “I think the evidence on key workers… and other factors which can increase the risk of acquiring severe disease may well be another way of thinking about who gets prioritised.

“Rather than focusing on one characteristic – a person’s job – it may be that it is the combination of risk factors that would help to identify an even better, more sophisticated prioritisation strategy.”

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