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Headlines
• US trial finds AZ vaccine 100% effective against hospitalisation
• YouGov poll shows over half in Germany, France and Spain believe AZ vaccine is unsafe
• A state of emergency has been declared in Miami Beach
• TFL accepts government bailout extension until 18 May

World news

• A study of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by Columbia University has shown it was 79% effective at stopping symptomatic disease and 100% effective at preventing people from falling seriously ill. There were no safety issues regarding blood clots. 32,000 volunteers took part, mostly in America, but also in Chile and Peru.

• A state of emergency has been declared in the US city of Miami Beach over concerns about large crowds gathering for the spring break. A 20:00-06:00 curfew was announced, which will remain in force until at least 12 April. Traffic restrictions are in place during the curfew, while businesses in the busy South Beach area must close.

• Supermarkets can sell non-essential items and garden centres can open in Wales.

• Analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that lockdown has cost the UK economy £251bn.

• Guernsey has removed the majority of its Covid-19 restrictions, following its second lockdown.

• AstraZeneca expects the EU drug regulator to give approval for a factory in the Netherlands.

• A survey conducted by YouGov has shown that the majority of people in Germany, France and Spain now deem the AstraZeneca vaccine to be unsafe. In France, 61% of the respondents considered the vaccine unsafe, as did 55% of those questioned in Germany and 52% in Spain. However, in the UK 77% considered it safe. The poll surveyed 8,805 people from 12 to 18 March. Link

• TFL has accepted a government bailout extension until 18 May. A further £260m will be provided over the next seven weeks, plus another £225m dependent on fares income. A £1.6bn bailout was agreed in May, followed by a £1.8bn deal in November, which expires at the end of March.

• EU leaders will meet on Thursday to discuss whether to ban exports of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the UK.

• Greece has ended its ban on flights from Turkey, Albania and North Macedonia, the civil aviation authority announced.

• Hungary has approved two new vaccines for emergency use: China’s CanSino and the Indian Covishield.

• Greece has ordered private sector doctors in the broader Athens region to assist its public health system.



Company news

Retail

Kingfisher – Underlying pre-tax profit rose 44% while sales climbed to £12.3bn in the year to 31 January. CEO Thierry Garnier said that the crisis had led to 18-34 year-olds doing more home improvements than any other age groups. Kingfisher, which also owns the builders’ merchant Screwfix, added that 20% of young “DIY-ers” had tried home improvement for the first time during lockdown. The company surveyed customers last year and again in February.