Urgent appeal issued for help in Covid critical care departments

A Welsh health board issued an urgent appeal for help to care for coronavirus patients in their critical care departments.

The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board put out an appeal on social media calling for "assistance from medical students or other staff groups who have previously supported with proning patients", the process where people are turned onto their front to help with breathing.

They have since released a statement saying the situation has improved in the last 24 hours.

The health board said: "Critical care unit remains extremely busy due to Covid-19 and winter pressures. Staffing has been challenging however the position has improved within the last 24 hours. "The unit remains open. Thank you to everyone who has contacted us with offers of support."

As lockdown measures came back into force on Boxing Day, the annual sales rush looked to have suffered a sharp decline with high streets and city centres in the worst hit areas deserted.

The boss of the firm behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has raised hopes it is more effective than first thought amid the rapid spread of the UK virus strain across the globe.

AstraZeneca chief Pascal Soriot told the Sunday Times he believed researchers had found the "winning formula" using two doses and promised to publish the results as reports suggested the UK regulator could approve the jab within days.