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Headlines
• EU opens new court case against AZ
• Protests at AZ sites across the UK
• France announces timetable for lifting lockdown
• OECD calls for higher inheritance tax post pandemic Link
• Taiwan tightens restrictions

World news

• The European Union has filed a new lawsuit against AstraZeneca demanding that it delivers an additional 90m doses of its vaccine to the bloc before July.

• Protests are taking place at AstraZeneca sites in the UK, demanding the firm joins the WHO’s Covid-19 Technology Access Pool, which facilitates the sharing of technology for vaccines and treatments.

• Attendance in England’s state schools fell slightly over the past week. About 92% of state school pupils were in class on 5 May, down from 93% on 29 April, according to the DfE statistics.

• The US has authorised the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds.

• The WHO has classified the variant first found in India last year as a variant of global concern. A variant is elevated from a “variant of interest” to a “variant of concern” when it shows evidence of fulfilling at least one of several criteria, including easy transmission, more severe illness, reduced neutralisation by antibodies or reduced effectiveness of treatment and vaccines.

• France has set out its reopening timetable:
• 19 May – 50% capacity of outdoor seating at cafes, bars and restaurants, and cinemas and theatres at 35% capacity and a maximum of 800 people. Libraries and museums can also reopen, allowing each individual 8 sq/m space. Shops will have similar spacing.
• 9 June – restaurants can open indoors at half capacity, with shops and museums requiring 4 sq/m of space per person. Swimming pools and sport centres can reopen for non-contact sports for all, up to 50% capacity.
• 30 June – full reopening.


• Nurses and other ICU staff at French hospitals are taking part in a national strike over a lack of recognition for their work during the pandemic and are demanding better pay and conditions.

• The 2021 Brit Awards will take place this evening in front of a live audience at London’s O2 arena as part of the government’s trials of mass events.

• Scotland’s green travel list is the same as England’s.

• New data from the DfE show that since the start of the pandemic, a total of 1,313,449 laptops and tablets have been delivered or dispatched to support children to access remote education in England.

• Hong Kong authorities have scrapped plans to force foreign domestic workers to be vaccinated or face losing their job.

• Argentina’s health ministry confirmed its first cases of the variants first discovered in India and South Africa in three travellers returning from Europe.

• Novavax has said the development of its vaccine is slower than previously anticipated and doesn’t expect to file for regulatory approval until the third quarter of 2021.

• Inheritance tax should become a larger slice of government tax revenue following the pandemic, according to a report by the OECD. Link

• Taiwan’s government has tightened rules on public gatherings. All outdoor activities of more than 500 people and inside activities of 100 or more should be cancelled. Food and drink will also be banned on trains.

• The Philippines has discovered its first two cases of the Indian variant, its health ministry has announced.

• Spain will allow travellers from the UK without a negative PCR test from 20 May, as long as the UK’s infection rates continue to decline, the Spanish tourism minister said today.

Company news

Retail

Pret a Manger – is to trial opening concessions in Tesco supermarkets. Four stores will be in the trial. The first shop is to open in Tesco’s Kensington superstore in London in June, with three other shops set to open later in the summer.


Transport

Heathrow – lost nearly 6.3m passengers in April compared with the same month in 2019. 536,000 people travelled through the airport in April, a 92% reduction on the total for April 2019.