Coronavirus - 26 March


• The UK's R number is 0.7-0.9, last week it was 0.6-0.9
• EMA approves two new vaccine factories
• UK retail sales rose 2.1% from January to February
• 40,000 people in the UK caught the virus in hospital
• Moderna delays vaccine shipment to Canada

World news

• In England, more than 40,600 people were been likely infected with coronavirus while being treated in hospital for another reason. In one in five hospitals at least one-fifth of all patients found to have the virus caught it while an inpatient.

• ONS “Retail sales volumes only partly recovered in February 2021 with an increase of 2.1% when compared with the 8.2% fall seen in the previous month, and sales were still down by 3.7% on a year earlier before the impact of the pandemic.” Non-food stores provided the largest positive contribution aided by strong increases of 16.2% and 16.1% in department stores and household goods stores respectively. Clothing retailers reported the largest fall, of 50.4%, in sales volumes when compared with February; automotive fuel stores also reported a large annual decline of 26.5% as travel restrictions continued to hit sales in that sector.

• Results from a study funded by the Department of Health and Social Care found health workers who had Covid-19 before being vaccinated had roughly a six-fold stronger immune response to one dose of the Pfizer jab than those who had never been infected.

• Joe Biden has announced he has doubled his administration’s vaccination goal to 200m shots during his first 100 days as president up until 29 April.

• Moderna has delayed the shipment of 590,400 doses of its vaccine that were due to arrive in Canada this weekend. The company informed Canadian officials that the delay was due to a “backlog in its quality assurance process”.

• Wales is to ease local travel restrictions from Saturday. People will be able to go anywhere in Wales but not to other parts of the UK.

• Self-contained tourist accommodation - including many hotels and cottages - will also be able to open tomorrow.

• Kenya announces a new lockdown including a stricter curfew, the suspension of in-person schooling and the closing of bars in the capital.

• Norway has said it will delay the decision on whether to resume use of the AstraZeneca vaccine until 15 April.

• Turkey has begun talks to acquire the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine.

• Colombia has approved emergency use of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine.

• Australia today reported its first locally-acquired case in more than a week, prompting authorities to place restrictions on hospitals, retirement homes and disability centres.

• Romania has extended its night-time curfew. Movement of people will be restricted from 8pm onwards, and shops will be shut from 6pm Friday until Sunday in towns with more than 4 cases per 1,000 people.

• The German government has said it would be open to using the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine when approved by the EMA.

• The EMA has approved two factories for production of vaccines. The Halix production site in the Netherlands that makes the AstraZeneca vaccine and the facility in Marburg, Germany, of BioNTech/Pfizer.