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Headlines
• UK school staff at same risk of infection as other workplaces
• UK unemployment claimants up 112% YoY
• Finnish Government declares a state of emergency
• US CDC approves Johnson & Johnson vaccine
• Willingness to get vaccine increases in Europe, US & Japan

World news

• According to parliamentary data, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits went up 112% across the UK between January 2020 and January 2021. In areas around the UK’s top 20 airports, it rose 145% on average.

• School staff in England are not at a higher risk of infection than other working-age adults in their local communities, new ONS figures suggest. In December, 14.99% of school staff tested positive for antibodies – which indicate a past infection – lower than the estimate of 18.22% for working-age adults.

• In Germany, hair salons are reopening from today.

• Norway’s capital Oslo is to tighten restrictions, with restaurants and non-essential shops to close.

• The Brazil variant has been discovered in the UK for the first time, with three cases found in England and three in Scotland. Officials will begin surge testing in the South Gloucestershire postcodes of BS320, BS328, BS329, BS345 and BS346 tomorrow.

• Willingness to get a vaccine is on the rise compared to last year, a survey by KekstCNC has shown. In Sweden, the rate has risen from 53% in December to 76%; in the US from 58% to 64%; in Germany from 63% to 73%; and in Japan from 50% to 64%. France had the lowest score in the study at 59%, but this was up from 40% in December.

• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel voted 12-0 to recommend the vaccine from J&J as appropriate for Americans 18 and older. US officials said initial shipments started on Sunday.

• AstraZeneca Plc has sold its 7.7% stake in Moderna Inc for more than $1bn.

• Estee Lauder owned brand Becca Cosmetics has announced that it will cease to trade from September this year citing ‘an accumulation of challenges, together with the global impact of Covid-19’.

• The Philippines has started its vaccination programme on today, with health workers the first to receive a dose.

• The European Commission will present a proposal in March on creating an EU-wide digital Covid-19 vaccination passport that may allow Europeans to travel more freely over the peak summer holiday period.

• Israel’s Supreme Court on today banned the country’s government from the sweeping use of mobile phone tracking of coronavirus carriers. It gave the government until March 14 to end indiscriminate use of the surveillance and limit it to confirmed carriers who refuse epidemiological questioning.

• Sardinia has become the first region in Italy to be classified as a ‘white zone’, meaning from today, bars can stay open until 9pm and restaurants until 11pm.

• The Finnish Government has declared a state of emergency. The main reason for the decision is that restaurants cannot be closed under the current Infectious Diseases Act.

• Bali has launched a drive-through vaccination campaign. The programme aims to inoculate around 5,000 workers in hospitality and ride-sharing services by the end of this month.