Two young intensive care workers celebrate Manchester Covid ward for being empty


Two young intensive care workers have shared a celebratory selfie as a Covid ward in Manchester was empty for the first time in months.

NHS nurse Hattie Nicholls posted the photo on social media to mark Manchester Royal Infirmary’s ICU being Covid-free.

Posing for a selfie with a colleague in front of a row of empty hospital beds, she said the pair had ‘big smiles’ under their face masks.

The hospital is part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, one of Britain’s worst-hit trusts at the peak of the second wave.

Across all four of its hospitals, including the Royal Infirmary, there were 54 patients in ICU by the end of January. Latest figures show there were 18 by April 6, although this is believed to have come down even further in the past three weeks.

Manchester was also the country’s Covid capital last autumn when the virus started to resurge in the North West. 

It’s not clear when the last time Manchester Royal Infirmary’s ICU was Covid-free as NHS statistics only cover entire trusts. But a lull in transmission last summer meant the majority of hospitals only dealt with a handful of infected patients. 

NHS nurse Hattie Nicholls (left) posted the photo on social media today to celebrate Manchester Royal Infirmary's ICU being Covid-free. Posing for a selfie with a colleague in front of a row of empty hospital beds, she said the pair had 'big smiles' under their face masks

NHS nurse Hattie Nicholls (left) posted the photo on social media today to celebrate Manchester Royal Infirmary’s ICU being Covid-free. Posing for a selfie with a colleague in front of a row of empty hospital beds, she said the pair had ‘big smiles’ under their face masks

The newly trained nurse regularly posts on social media about working in the fight against coronavirus

 The newly trained nurse regularly posts on social media about working in the fight against coronavirus

Ms Nicholls, believed to be in her early twenties, tweeted: ‘Manchester Royal’s Covid ICU is empty. Big smiles under the masks.’

The newly trained nurse regularly posts on social media about working in the fight against coronavirus. 

Over-40s are told to book jabs TODAY 

In a huge boost for the nation, vaccines for over-30s are set to start within a fortnight while 40-year-olds will be invited for their jabs from today as the numbers falling ill with Covid drop to the lowest level since the pandemic began.

From today, anyone aged 40 and over in England can book a vaccination. This is set to be extended on May 10, when people aged 35 to 39 are likely to be called up for their first jabs.

In total, 48 million jabs have been given across the UK, including 14 million second doses.

In more good news, Boris Johnson will be told that social distancing can be scrapped at big outdoor events from June 21, paving the way for the return of big crowds.

Scientists monitoring the impact of letting fans back into the FA Cup semi-final, Carabao Cup final and the snooker World Championships have noted no spike in cases among attendees.

This means they will advise the PM next week that crowds can return safely without social distancing in June – as long as measures such as staggering entries and good ventilation are put in place.

It is more good news as the fight against the virus continues, with the latest data revealing that there are only 757 symptomatic cases a day in England and the chance of getting infected is as low as one in 150,000 for those who have had both jabs.

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Meanwhile a Public Health England report revealed infections in the over-80s have fallen to the lowest level on record. And in a further , hospitalisations and cases continue to plummet in all regions of the country.

Brits reacting to the photo described the pair as ‘national treasures’. 

One replied: ‘Splendid news. Thank you to the staff for your hard work and selfless dedication to get to that point. Us non-medical people can only guess what you have had to go through.’

Another responded: ‘Absolutely fantastic news. Heroes every single one of you. You are all our national treasures.’

A third said: ‘What a sight. Well done to you and all the staff. Hope you get some relief from the pressure and stress you’ve all been through.’

The vaccination programme – which is being rolled out to over 40s from today in England – has hugely stemmed the wave of Covid patients ending up in hospitals. 

There are 1,553 patients in hospital with Covid now, the lowest figure for seven months and down from a peak of 39,000 in January.

And there have been fewer than 600 deaths within 28 days of a positive test recorded so far in April. That is compared with more than 30,000 deaths after contracting Covid in January.

It means about 22million people are living in parts of the UK which have not had a single Covid related death in the last month.

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According to NHS Test and Trace, Covid infections are at their lowest rate since September. 

Latest figures show another 462,000 second and 134,000 first vaccine doses were dished out on Wednesday. 

In total, 48million jabs have been given across the UK, including 14million second doses.

It came as a fifth of Britons admitted they will feel resentful if they do not get a Covid jab before their summer holidays.

They fear it could scupper their plans, with controversial vaccine passports set to play a key role in deciding who will and won’t get to travel abroad later this summer.

A survey of nearly 5,000 UK adults found 18 per cent would feel resentful towards those who have been jabbed if they do not get one.

Middle-class earners are more likely to feel this way, with 24 per cent saying they would harbour ill feelings.

The Government’s target is to have offered a vaccine to all UK adults by the end of July, with the scheme opening to over-40s in England today. 

There was widespread support for vaccinating the elderly and most vulnerable first when the rollout first launched in December.

But there is a growing sense that those who are able to prove they have been jabbed will be afforded more freedoms than unvaccinated people.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed earlier in the week that the NHS Covid app will be turned into a vaccine certification. 



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