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Covid news – live: AstraZeneca rollout suspended in Ireland as world ‘envies UK vaccine plan’

Coronavirus in numbers

Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer has said the rollout of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine should be suspended temporarily following reports of blood clotting elsewhere in Europe.

A spokesperson for the Irish Department of Health toldThe Independent, that the rollout of the AstraZeneca jab has been “temporarily deferred” as of Sunday morning.

This comes as Scottish secretary Alister Jack will claim that the UK’s vaccination programme is the “envy of the world” as he pays tribute to the NHS and armed forces who have helped to administer coronavirus jabs. 

Mr Jack will describe the rollout so far as a “truly astonishing achievement, a task on a scale that dwarfs anything since the war.”

Meanwhile, UK charities including Cancer Research UK, Mencap and the Terrence Higgins Trust have written an open letter to those in priority group six, urging them to get the vaccine. 

This group includes people aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions. It also induces their carers as well as people who have learning disabilities.

Latest government figures have revealed that 23.6 million people have received a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. 

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‘I didn’t really feel the need to bring it up’: Gwyneth Paltrow explains why she kept coronavirus experience quiet

Gwyneth Paltrow has said that she caught coronavirus “so early” on in the pandemic that tests weren’t available.

The 48-year-old actor said she had the virus in February last year and didn’t want to publicly discuss the illness at the time.

Olivia Petter reports:

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 13:35
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French government moves Covid patients out of Paris

The French government has said it is planning to evacuate around 100 coronavirus patients from Paris’ intensive care units as hospitals are struggling with a surge in infections.

“By the end of this week, probably around 100 patients will have been evacuated from the Ile-de-France region” which Paris is part of, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said at Orly airport.

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 13:10
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‘No doubt’ there will be further Covid waves in autumn, says UK’s chief statistician

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, head of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), has said there will “no doubt” be another wave of coronavirus infections in the autumn.

Speaking on Sunday, Sir Ian acknowledged the impact of the “wonderful” vaccine rollout though cautioned “we need to recognise that this is a virus that isn’t going to go away.”

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 12:50
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Pandemic leads to people shopping more locally

According to data analysis by Lloyds Bank, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in people spending money around one kilometer closer to home.

According to the bank, who looked at its customers’ use of debit cards, the average distance people travelled to spend has dropped from 3.9km (2.4 miles) to 2.7km (1.7 miles).

The data compared the period from the beginning of March 2020 to the end of February 2021 with the same time period the previous year.

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 12:13
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Two arrested in Denmark during anti-coronavirus protest

Two people have been arrested at an anti-Covid restriction protest in Copenhagen this weekend.

One individual was arrested for throwing fireworks at police while the other was detained for violent behaviour, AFP reported.

The protest was organised by a group which calls itself “Men in Black Denmark” and has had regular demonstrations since the end of 2020.

The group has previously likened the country’s Covid-19 restrictions to a “dictatorship” and protestors moved through the streets chanting “Freedom for Denmark” and “Mette Ciao,” a reference to their prime minister, Mette Frederiksen.

The rally came just a day since a 30-year-old woman was sentenced to two years in jail for her behaviour at a previous “Men in Black Denmark” march in January.

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 11:39
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Government continued to source PPE from Malaysia suppliers accused of modern slavery

Just five months after the Home Office announced “powerful new measures” to tackle modern slavery risks in the UK’s supply chains, it has emerged that frontline healthcare workers are using medical gloves manufactured by Malaysian firm Brightway Holdings.

Samuel Lovett explains:

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 11:09
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Government continued to source PPE from Malaysia suppliers accused of modern slavery

The government continued to source personal protective equipment from companies facing modern slavery allegations, despite promises to crack down on suppliers accused of labour abuses, The Independent can reveal.

Just five months after the Home Office announced “powerful new measures” to tackle modern slavery risks in the UK’s supply chains, it has emerged that frontline healthcare workers are using medical gloves manufactured by Malaysian firm Brightway Holdings.

Samuel Lovett explains:

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 11:04
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Head of the Office for National Statistics warns of further wave of Covid-19 infections

Head of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Professor Sir Ian Diamond, has said he has “no doubt” there will be another wave of Covid-19 infections in the autumn.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the head of the ONS highlighted a need for understanding of how the data is moving forward, while calling the vaccine rollout “wonderful.”

These comments come after Professor Chris Whitty underlined that reopening UK society too quickly could result in yet another surge in coronavirus cases.

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 10:49
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Charities urge millions of vulnerable to book Covid vaccine

Charities including Cancer Research UK, Mencap and the Terrence Higgins Trust have written an open letter to people who are in priority group six in an attempt to dispel fears around the vaccine.

The group includes people ages 16 to 64 who have underlying health conditions. These include chronic respiratory, heart, kidney and liver disease and neurological conditions, immunosuppression, asplenia, diabetes, morbid obesity and severe mental illness.

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 10:30
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AstraZeneca vaccine rollout should be paused after blood clot reports, Ireland medical chief says

Rollout of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine should be temporarily suspended after reports of blood clotting elsewhere in Europe, Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer has said.

Serious blood clotting has been recorded after inoculations in Norway, where the AstraZeneca vaccine programme has been paused along with the rollout in Denmark.

Tom Batchelor reports:

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 09:58
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‘My parents still haven’t met my baby’: Becoming a mum in the pandemic

In the run-up to Easter 2020, Melissa Darby felt constantly sick. Around two weeks before, the country had gone into its first national lockdown on 23 March, and daily press conferences told us how many people had contracted and died from the novel coronavirus that had upturned our lives. But it wasn’t the news alone alone that was unsettling Darby. The 31-year-old also noticed that smells felt unusually overpowering. At the suggestion of her mother, she took a pregnancy test on Good Friday. When it came back positive, she started crying.

“It was the height of the panic at the very beginning when we didn’t know [who] was going to survive,” she tells The Independent from the home she shares with her husband Jack in south London. “No one wanted to go to hospitals and they were filling up and it was a really scary time.”

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 09:28
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Britain’s vaccination programme is ‘envy of the world’, cabinet minister claims

Britain’s vaccination programme is the “envy of the world”, the Scottish secretary Alister Jack will claim as the latest government figures showed over 23.6 million people have received a first dose.

Paying tribute to the NHS and the armed services who have helped administer Covid-19 jabs, the cabinet minister will describe the rollout so far as a “truly astonishing achievement, a task on a scale that dwarfs anything since the war”.

Ashley Cowburn has more here:

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 09:12
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Good morning

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of Covid-19.

Eleanor Sly14 March 2021 09:01