Coronavirus - 24 March


• India suspends exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine
• Belgium goes back into lockdown
• John Lewis closes eight stores
• Inflation in the UK fell to 0.4%, ONS
• Hong Kong suspends use of the Pfizer vaccine

World news

• India has temporarily suspended exports of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII) to meet domestic demand.

• Hong Kong suspended use of the Pfizer vaccine today after its Chinese distributor informed the city that one batch had defective bottle lids.

• The EU is to tighten export rules to stop the one-way flow of vaccines. The European Commission will tighten its export guidelines today.

• Spain is resuming vaccinations with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine today after an eight-day suspension over safety concerns.

• Action Fraud says £34.5m has been stolen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since 1 March 2020. More than 6,000 cases of Covid-19-related fraud and cyber-crime were recorded.

• The ONS reported that inflation fell to 0.4% last month, down from 0.7% in January. Lower clothes prices and cheaper second-hand cars caused the fall.

• Sweden has announced that the travel ban preventing people from Norway and Denmark travelling to the country will end on 31 March.

• India’s health ministry said a new variant has been detected in the country, in addition to many other variants of concern that originated abroad.

• The UN has warned that 34m people are ‘one step away from starvation’ and are struggling with emergency levels of acute hunger, with areas of Yemen and South Sudan particularly affected.

• Hungary is to begin vaccinating employees of some key companies such as the Budapest Transport Company.

• Belgium is to impose fresh lockdown restrictions from today, shutting schools, hairdressers and non-essential stores.

• Germany reverses plans for Easter lockdown.

Company news


 John Lewis – Has today announced that it is not planning to reopen eight of its 42 John Lewis shops from lockdown, as it rebalances its store estate to reflect how customers want to shop. The Partnership also confirmed plans to transfer the running of its Waitrose Distribution Centre in Leyland to XPO Logistics. The eight shops identified for closure include four ‘At Home’ shops in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells and four department stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York.


 Ryanair – Has said it would run about half the number of flights it flew before the coronavirus pandemic in 2019 from April to June but will step up its schedule to 80% during July or August, or 90% if there is sufficient demand.