Covid-19: 'Greed' helped UK's vaccines success and fraudsters steal £34.5m in scams

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning. We'll have another update for you this evening.

1. Covid fraudsters steal £34.5m in scams

More than 6,000 cases of Covid-related fraud and cyber-crime have been recorded and £34.5m has been stolen during the pandemic in the UK. The Action Fraud team says that sum has been stolen since 1 March 2020, with the activity only covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Many of the scams involved conning people out of their money and financial details by focusing on internet shopping. The National Cyber Security Centre also reveals it is tackling about 30 "significant" attacks a month against the country's pandemic response infrastructure including the NHS, vaccine producers and vaccine supply chains.

Media caption,

Police raid the home of a man who has since pleaded guilty to fraud

2. 'Greed' helped UK's vaccines success, says PM

Boris Johnson has told a private meeting of Tory MPs that the success of the UK's Covid vaccine programme was because of "capitalism" and "greed". But sources say the prime minister had "very insistently" withdrawn his comments straight after making them during a Zoom call with backbenchers. A government source says Mr Johnson was referring to the profit motive driving companies to develop new products and the remarks were not connected to the EU row over vaccine supply. The PM also reportedly praised work by large drug companies during the pandemic.

Image source, PA Media

3. 'I've applied for more than 300 jobs in lockdown'

"There are definitely days when it's pretty tough." Alex is one of 1.74 million people currently out of work in the UK. She's been unemployed for most of the pandemic after being made redundant from her role at a finance company in March last year. At the start of the pandemic Alex's partner also lost his job and they moved in with his parents in London. "When I first got made redundant, I was terrified. But then Covid took over."

Image source, Getty Images

4. 'Alone is ok, but being lonely - it hurts'

"I'm grinning and bearing it but that doesn't mean it's easy." Raggie El-Koumos has lived on his own in Cornwall for the last 17 years, after his wife, Linda, died from cancer. Being alone "is ok", he says, "but being lonely... it hurts, and Covid-19 is not helping that at all." After conducting a year-long inquiry into loneliness, a group of MPs and peers is calling on the prime minister to commit to helping people reconnect socially when planning England's recovery from coronavirus.

5. UK shines 'beacon of remembrance' on lockdown anniversary

The year anniversary of the first UK lowdown was marked with candlelight vigils across the country last night. A candle of remembrance was placed outside No 10 Downing Street and major landmarks were lit up in yellow as part of the nationwide tribute to everyone who died in the pandemic.

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And don't forget...

Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page. We've been looking at what next after lockdown and have found signs of hope among Newcastle's shuttered streets.

Image source, BBC

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