Coronavirus - 10 March


• UK variant increases mortality by 30-100%
• Tokyo to ban overseas fans from the Olympics
• Women more likely to be furloughed, ONS
• UK case rate below 50 per 100,000
• Gloucestershire, London and Staffordshire begin mass testing for Brazilian and SA variants

World news

• A study by Exeter University that compared death rates among people in Britain infected with the UK variant, known as B.1.1.7, against those infected with other strains, has shown 30-100% increased mortality. It also found it to be about 40-70% more transmissible than the previously dominant coronavirus variants circulating.

• In the UK, case rates have fallen below 50 per 100,000 people in half of all local areas, analysis shows. Last month only six of the 380 local areas were reporting rates under 50 per 100,000.

• ONS analysis has found a consistently greater number of women than men were furloughed between 1 July and 31 December 2020. During September and early October 2020, women spent 64% more time on unpaid household work than men. Women reported significantly higher anxiety than men at almost every point between 20 March 2020 and 7 February this year, continuing a pre-pandemic trend.

• Germany’s infection rate is down slightly over the past week to 65.4 cases per 100,000 people.

• Sarajevo will be locked down this weekend for the first time since last May. Almost all businesses will be closed, and travel in and out of the region will be restricted.

• The Fiocruz Institute in Rio de Janerio has said more than 80% of intensive care unit beds are occupied in the capitals of 25 of Brazil's 27 states.

• Japan’s government has decided to stage the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators.

• Portugal’s health authority said today that it had approved the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for people aged over 65.

• The European commission said today it has reached a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech for the supply of an additional 4m vaccine doses to be delivered this month.

• The Indian state of Rajasthan said today it had started limiting vaccinations to its major hospitals due to a shortage of doses.

• Palestinian hospitals in some areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank are overfull and intensive care units are operating at 100% capacity.

• Morocco and Kenya have approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for use.

• Mauritius has started a two-week nationwide lockdown. Only essential services will be operational, including the port, airport, hospital services and emergency relief. As of Thursday, supermarkets, bakeries, petrol stations and pharmacies will be accessible on an alphabetical rotation basis.

• Heathrow Airport is regularly seeing queues of three hours and sometimes six hours at border control since the pandemic began, according to its chief operating officer, Emma Gilthorpe.

• Parts of south Gloucestershire, London and Staffordshire have begun mass testing to reduce the spread of the variants from Brazil and South Africa.