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Headlines
• WHO recommends AstraZeneca vaccine for over 65s
• Ireland to extend lockdown till April
• Germany to remain in lockdown until 7 March
• Passengers at Heathrow down 89% YoY in January
• Italy to reopen ski resorts on 15 February

World news

• Germany will remain in a partial lockdown until at least 7 March.

• Ireland’s lockdown is set to be extended until April, Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said. Restaurants and pubs across Ireland have been shut since Christmas Eve and the non-essential retail sector has been closed since New Year’s Eve.

• Travellers arriving to Ireland from Austria, the United Arab Emirates and sub- Saharan African countries are to be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine, the Taoiseach Micheal Martin said.

• AstraZeneca has said it could take 6-9 months to produce Covid-19 vaccines that are effective against new variants of the coronavirus.

• The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been recommended by the WHO for use in all adults, despite limited data on the jab’s efficacy for older people, which has caused some countries in Europe to rule out its use in the over 65s.

• Budesonide, a cheap and widely available asthma drug, appears to significantly reduce the risk of people getting seriously ill with Covid-19, if it is taken within the first week of developing symptoms, research by STOIC Oxford University suggests.

• The number of trips made on the first day of China’s lunar New Year travel period has fallen 74% compared with last year.

• AstraZeneca expects to produce more than 100 million doses of its vaccine this month, ramping up to more than 200 million a month by April.

• The EC’s Winter 2021 Economic Forecast projects that the Eurozone will reach pre-crisis levels of output earlier than anticipated in the Autumn 2020 Economic Forecast, largely because of the stronger than expected growth momentum projected in the second half of 2021 and in 2022. The report anticipates the Eurozone economy will grow 3.8% in both 2021 and 2022. It projects the EU economy will grow 3.7% in 2021 and 3.9% in 2022.

• Italy is reopening its ski resorts in Lombardy. Lifts will resume operating from 15 February, which will mark the return of skiing for the first time this year.

• Kenya is going ahead with its plan to inoculate its citizens against Covid-19 using the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, a senior health ministry official said today.

• One million people have now received a first dose of the vaccine in Scotland.

• Heathrow Airport saw passenger numbers plunge 89% YoY in January, with cargo volume falling 21%.

• The Philippines is set to receive 600,000 doses this month of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine, donated by China.

• Mexico has signed an emergency use authorisation for China’s Sinovac vaccine.