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Covid news – live: Lockdown anniversary to become ‘Day of Reflection’ as vaccines appear to halve transmission

UK Covid-19 vaccinations: Latest figures

A minute’s silence at midday for those who have lost their lives will be followed by other commemorative activities, including the lighting of candles and wrapping yellow ribbons around trees.

Meanwhile, a major new study, carried out by Public Health Scotland and the University of Glasgow, found that vaccines could cut Covid-19 transmission by half in the UK.

Around 300,000 NHS workers and their families were assessed between 8 December and 3 March. Both the Pfizer and Oxford jabs appeared to be effective at minimising the virus’s spread in people who have received two doses, as well as offering individual protection.

In Italy, “red-zone” regions are facing another lockdown, with schools, shops and restaurants shut from Monday.

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‘Bumper boost’ to vaccine supplies could mean 1m jabs a day

A million Covid vaccinations could be administered each day in the UK ‘within weeks’, according to reports.

Vaccine stocks are expected to more than double, allowing for up to 1m daily jabs. The Telegraph reported that all over-40s should be offered their first dose by Easter, citing government sources.

Around 280,000 first doses are currently administered each day, according to the BBC. Highs of over 400,000 were hit in mid-February.

Joanna Taylor13 March 2021 10:42
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Portugal set to be taken off UK’s ‘red list’ for travel

Transport secretary Grant Shapps is expected to announce Portugal’s removal from the UK’s “red list” of countries from which travel is severely restricted on Monday.

Portugal is currently the only European country on the list; it was added at the list’s launch on 15 January because of its strong links with Brazil, a source of “variant concern”.

But cases have been falling in the country and the new rate of infection is currently around one-seventh lower than in the UK.

The move has raised hopes that British holidaymakers will be able to visit Portugal from 17 May, the earliest date on which international travel for leisure will be allowed according to the prime minister’s roadmap.

Joanna Taylor13 March 2021 10:27
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Italy faces total shutdown over Easter weekend

The restrictions will last until Easter, at which point the whole of Italy will face a total shutdown on 3-5 April.

Parades and large family gatherings are traditional in the country, where more than 80 per cent of people are Roman Catholic – but such activities will be put on pause this year.

PM Mario Draghi said that the measures are “necessary” to “avoid a worsening of the situation that would require even stricter measures”.

Covid cases have been rising in Italy in recent weeks, exceeding 25,000 a day.

Joanna Taylor13 March 2021 10:11
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Vaccines could halve Covid transmission in UK, new study finds

Both the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines appear to be capable of minimising the spread of coronavirus in people who have received two full doses, a major new study has found.

Around 300,000 NHS works and their households were assessed between 8 December and 3 March for the study, which was conducted by Public Health Scotland and the University of Glasgow.

For people living with both vaccinated and unvaccinated healthcare workers, the likelihood of catching Covid-19 was reduced by at least 30 per cent after the health workers had received a single dose.

Joanna Taylor13 March 2021 09:54
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‘National Day of Reflection’ planned for 23 March

Marie Curie, along with more than 110 other groups, has organised a “National Day of Reflection” on the anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown in the UK.

A minute’s silence will be held at midday to “remember those who have died”, followed by other commemorative activities including lighting candles and wrapping yellow ribbons around trees.

There will also be online assemblies and choirs, and iconic landmarks will be lit up across the UK at 8pm.

The event is backed by Boris Johnson, Keir Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford.

Mr Johnson said: “My thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones, and who have not been able to pay tribute to them in the way they would have wanted.

“I want to thank people for the sacrifices they continue to make and hope they can look forward to being reunited with loved ones as restrictions are cautiously eased.”

Joanna Taylor13 March 2021 09:46
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Welcome to The Independent’s Covid-19 liveblog, where we’ll be bringing you up-to-the-minute updates about lockdowns, vaccines and the virus’s transmission around the globe.

Joanna Taylor13 March 2021 09:28