Coronavirus - 18 January


• Australia ‘unlikely’ to open borders in 2021
• Brazil begins vaccinations
• Chinese GDP grows by 6.5% YoY in Q4
• Restrictions eased in Greece and Norway
• Scottish government offers taxi driver grants of £1,500

World news

• Brazil has begun its vaccination programme, after approving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and China’s Sinovac.

• Ten hospital trusts in England have reported they have no adult critical care beds remaining. The total number of adult critical care beds available across all England’s 140 acute trusts as of 10 January was 5,503, with 4,632 in use.

• Australia’s Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy has said the country might not fully reopen its borders in 2021, even if most of the population is vaccinated as planned.

• All travellers to the UK now have to quarantine for up to 10 days on arrival and must also have a negative test within 72 hours of travelling to the UK.

• The London Ambulance Service is currently taking up to 8,500 calls a day, compared with a pre-Covid figure of 5,000-6,000, according to its Chief Executive Garrett Emmerson.

• The Scottish government has offered taxi drivers affected by the drop in passenger numbers as a result of the pandemic a £1,500 grant.

• St Moritz has quarantined employees and guests of two luxury hotels, closed ski schools and regular schools, after an outbreak at the resort.

• In the UK, local government officials have been asked by ministers to target supermarkets for inspection to ensure companies are enforcing mask wearing, social distancing and limits on shopper numbers.

• Chinese GDP grew by 6.5% YoY in the last three months of 2020, new official figures show, an acceleration on 4.9% in the previous quarter and better than economists expected. Industrial production rose 7.3% YoY in December.

• Norway’s government will ease some Covid restrictions that have been imposed for the past two weeks.

• Shops in Greece reopened for the first time in two months today. Retailers selling non-essential items were allowed to serve customers under heavy restrictions, with shoppers required to register by instant message and book appointments with hair salons.