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Headlines
• Pfizer vaccine prevents 94% of asymptomatic infections
• Seven European countries suspend the AstraZeneca vaccine
• NHS waiting list rises to 4.6m
• One-week wait to land cargo at largest Californian Ports
• The EMA has recommended approving J&J’s vaccine

World news

• Pfizer and BioNTech have said that real-world data from Israel suggests that their vaccine is 94% effective in preventing asymptomatic infections.

• Interim data from a late-stage study of Vir Biotechnology and GSK’s antibody therapy showed an 85% reduction in hospitalisation or death in patients.

• Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg & Norway have suspended using the AstraZeneca vaccine to allow time for the EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee to conduct an investigation into two deaths.

• NHS waiting list for operations has risen to a record-high of 4.6m in January. More than 300,000 of those have been waiting more than a year for treatment - compared to 1,600 before the pandemic began.

• The International Council of Nurses has warned the pandemic could trigger a mass exodus from the profession from as early as the second half of 2021. The global nurse shortage could widen to nearly 13m.

• The Social Mobility Commission said its annual survey of public attitudes revealed 56% of UK adults believed social inequality had increased during the pandemic.

• Container ships arriving in California‘s two largest southern ports (LA and Long Beach) are now, on average, waiting seven days before unloading due to both imports rising and 800 of the15,000 dockworkers having been infected this month.

• France to start a month-long trial of a Covid-free status digital pass for air travellers with Air France, according to the transport minister, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari.

• Taiwan is in discussions with Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Palau over the creation of travel bubbles.

• US president Joe Biden has pledged surplus vaccines will be shared with the rest of the world, after he announced the purchase of an additional 100m Johnson & Johnson doses.

• Malta closes schools and non-essential shops.

• South Korea will extend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 65 years and over.

• Approximately 900 of 15,862 front-line staff at Royal Derby Hospital and Queen's Hospital in Burton have not had vaccines for undisclosed or non-health reasons despite it being available for four months.



Company news

Retail

John Lewis – “Profit before exceptionals was £131m. While this was up £61m on the previous year, the Partnership would have made a loss before exceptionals if it weren’t for crisis-related support from the Government. We were helped by support from the Government of £190m, which was made up of business rates relief and furlough support. Hard as it is, there is no getting away from the fact that some areas can no longer profitably sustain a John Lewis store. Regrettably, we do not expect to reopen all our John Lewis shops at the end of lockdown, which will also have implications for our supply chain. We are currently in discussions with landlords and final decisions are expected by the end of March.”



Transport

Emirates – has told employees to take a free vaccine or pay for weekly tests to prove they are not infected, cautioning that an unvaccinated workforce could create operational issues.