Coronavirus - 18 May


• UK unemployment rate drops to 4.8%
• India to delay vaccine exports until October
• Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble postponed
• Eurostar secures £250m in emergency funding
• GSK reports positive results from a second vaccine trial

World news

• The UK unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.8% in the three months to March, down from 4.9% in February. In the February-to-April period there were 657,000 vacancies, up about 48,400 on the previous quarter (ONS).

• GlaxoSmithKline has unveiled positive interim results from mid-stage trials of a second vaccine it is developing with the Canadian biotech firm Medicago. The plant-based vaccine triggered protective antibody levels 10 times higher than in patients recovering from Covid-19.

• India is unlikely to resume major exports of vaccines until at least October as it diverts shots for domestic use.

• People aged 36 and over can now book a vaccination in England.

• The Italian government has agreed to push back the overnight curfew from 22:00 to 23:00 from 7 June, before it is scrapped later in the month.

• Eurostar has secured a £250m rescue package from its shareholders and banks including French state rail company SNCF.

• Germany will scrap its vaccine priority list and offer jabs to all adults from 7 June.

• The World Economic Forum has cancelled a summit planned to take place in August in Singapore.

• The Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble has again been delayed.

• Israeli airstrikes have destroyed the only Covid-19 testing laboratory in Gaza and damaged the office of Qatar’s Red Crescent.

• The World Health Organization says that only 0.3% of global vaccine supply is going to low-income countries.

• Egypt is prioritising the vaccination of tourism workers.

• The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been cancelled for the second year running, after organisers said the financial consequences of any last-minute changes to coronavirus regulations would be too great.

• All over-18s in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan will have been offered the chance to have their first vaccine by the end of May.

• Portugal’s football league has scrapped plans for a limited number of fans to attend the last games of the season starting from tomorrow.

• Singapore has authorised the use of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds.

• India has suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic so far, with 4,329 deaths in 24 hours.

• Sweden has vaccinated more than 40% of the adult population with at least one dose of vaccine.

Company news


Walmart – In the three months to 30 April, like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, in the US increased by 6% on last year. Sales of non-food items like clothes, electronics and toys rose 20% helped by increased spending after many received additional $1,400 stimulus cheques. Its online sales lost some momentum but still showed strong growth, up 37% in the quarter.