Coronavirus - 12 February


• UK’s economy contracts 9.9% in 2020
• Norway’s economy contracts 2.5% in 2020
• Ukraine receives €50m from the EU for vaccines & refrigeration
• Australian state of Victoria goes into lockdown
• Austria bans travel out of its Tyrol region

World news

• UK’s R number estimated to be 0.8.

• The UK economy shrank by a record 9.9% in 2020, more than twice as much as the previous largest annual fall on record according to the ONS. In December, the economy grew by 1.2%, after shrinking by 2.3% in November.

• The deadline to buy a home under the current Help to Buy scheme in England has been extended until the end of May.

• Norway’s economy contracted 2.5% in 2020.

• The Australian state of Victoria will enter lockdown for a third time in a bid to suppress an outbreak of the UK strain. The lockdown will begin on Friday at midnight and end on Wednesday. Spectators are banned from attending the Australian Open.

• Germany is to ban travel from Austria’s Tyrol region as well as Czech border areas from Sunday without a negative test, but commercial links will continue.

• Austrian police halted travel out of the Tyrol region last night without a negative test, because of a surge in cases of the South African coronavirus variant.

• Czech MPs have refused to back an extension of a state of emergency, so it will end at midnight on Sunday.

• Poland is reopening swimming pools and ski slopes today and allowing hotels, cinemas and theatres to start up again at 50% capacity.

• Portugal’s state of emergency is to stay until 1 March and the lockdown will continue until at least the end of March.

• Credit Suisse is offering free coronavirus tests to all staff who do not work from home.

• The UK government will set out its roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions on 22 February.

• US President Joe Biden has confirmed the US has ordered 200m more doses of the vaccine.

• A variant identified in the Brazilian Amazon may be three times more contagious, but early analysis suggests vaccines are still effective against it according to the country’s health minister.

• Pakistan has approved China’s CanSinoBio Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use.

• Germany’s armed forces will extend their pandemic medical aid for Portugal by six weeks.

• Ukraine will receive €50m from the European Investment Bank to buy vaccines and modern refrigeration equipment.