Coronavirus - 12 May


• Japan widens state of emergency
• Norway will not resume use of AZ vaccine
• UK GDP grew 2.1% in March
• Americans offered free taxi rides to vaccine centres
• Poland accelerates reopening by one week

World news

• Japan has widened its state of emergency to cover one-third of the country's population.

• Japanese officials say the US national track and field team has cancelled its Olympic pre-training camp in Japan.

• Violent crime was down by a third in England and Wales in 2020 compared with the previous year, according to research by Cardiff University.

• Poland is accelerating the opening of cinemas, theatres, concert halls and cultural institutions by one week, to 21 May, and is to start vaccinating 16- and 17-year-olds.

• The UK economy shrank by 1.5% in the first quarter of 2021. The reopening of schools and strong retail spending helped the economy grow 2.1% in March, its fastest monthly growth since last August, but the economy is still 8.7% smaller than it was before the pandemic.

• Sweden will stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine as a first dose in the next few weeks.

• French MPs voted last night to end the state of emergency and back a health pass. However, the government has agreed to cut short a transition period to normality by a month – from 2 June to the end of September.

• Every adult who has tested positive for Covid-19 in Scotland is to be invited to take part in a major new study into the effects of long Covid.

• The Canadian provinces of Alberta and Ontario said on Tuesday that they would stop offering first doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

• Brazil has signed a deal for Pfizer to deliver an additional 100m doses of its vaccine, doubling the original order from the company.

• The Australian government has committed to spend a total of US$311bn to fight the pandemic, including US$20bn on health support and US$290bn in economic stimulus.

• Americans are to be offered free taxis to vaccination centres. Joe Biden announced the scheme with Uber and Lyft today.

• Germany’s cabinet approved plans this morning to allow people who have been fully vaccinated, recovered, or had a negative test to enter Germany without having to go into quarantine.

• Norway will not resume its use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to the risk of side-effects.

• Sweden is to delay plans to ease restrictions on some public gatherings, such as football matches, until 1 June.