Coronavirus - 20 April


• UK payroll dropped by 56,000 in March
• Under 35s account for 80% of UK job losses
• Pfizer vaccine has some efficacy against Indian variant
• UK border staff see100 fake test documents a day (ISU)
• US CDC warns against travel to 80% of world

World news

• The number of UK workers on payrolls dropped by 56,000 in March, and has fallen by 813,000 since March 2020, according to ONS figures. Under 35s accounted for 80% of the reductions.

• Israel has registered eight cases of a variant first identified in India, and reports that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is at least partially effective against it.

• The US State Department has delivered vaccines to all its workforce deployed abroad as of Sunday and expects all to be fully vaccinated by mid-May.

• Johnson & Johnson has requested approval from India’s regulator to carry out a bridging clinical study of its vaccine in the country.

• The Boomtown festival in England will not go ahead, with organisers citing the lack of a government-backed insurance scheme. The 66,000-capacity event sold out in February and was due to take place at the Matterley Estate, near Winchester, over 11-15 August.

• The EU should have enough vaccine doses to cover 70% of its adult population by mid-July due to higher production within the bloc. The 70% number is significant, as experts consider it the threshold for herd immunity.

• France administered 2.5m vaccines last week, with the take-up rate at 73% for AstraZeneca’s vaccine, compared with 91% for Pfizer’s as of 18 April.

• Ireland has recorded its first three cases of a coronavirus variant first detected in India, a senior health official said today.

• Greece has suspended its planned rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine pending review by the European Medicines Agency on 20 April.

• India plans to let all citizens aged 18 and over get coronavirus vaccinations from 1 May.

• The University of Oxford has launched a study re-infecting participants who have previously had Covid-19.

• The Democratic Republic of Congo has launched its vaccine rollout via the Covax scheme, after it was delayed for more than a month over concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine’s safety.

• Egypt has struck a deal to buy 20 million doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine.

• About 100 people per day are trying to enter England with fake negative certificates, according to the Immigration Services Union.

• The US State Department is to advise Americans to avoid travel to 80% of countries because of the pandemic. Currently, the highest category of the department’s four risk levels – “Do Not Travel” – covers 34 countries.

• Sweden will give people under 65 whose first dose was the AstraZeneca vaccine a different vaccine for the second dose.

Company news


 ABF (Primark) – “With stores reopening and Primark once again becoming cash generative, our confidence is reflected in our decisions to repay the job retention scheme monies in respect of this financial year and to declare an interim dividend”.