Coronavirus - 4 February


• 50% of cases on the Diamond Princess transmitted by aerosol
• Catalonia lifts some restrictions
• Pfizer vaccine 90% effective after one dose
• International travel increased deaths by 3.4%
• Qatar re-imposes restrictions

World news

• One dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine gives people about 90% protection by 21 days, according to an analysis of Israel’s mass vaccination programme.

• More than 50% of cases that occurred on the Diamond Princess cruise ship early in the pandemic last year were transmitted by aerosol – either breathed out or spoken, research by the US National Academy of Sciences has found.

• Norway’s health authority has decided not to recommend the Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine for over-65s, joining health authorities in Germany, Austria, France and Poland.

• Germany’s government has agreed a package of new financial aid measures. There will be a one-off €150 bonus to child benefit, extra money for culture, and the restaurant sector will have a cut on sales tax extended until the end of the year.

• Delays to Covid-19 vaccinations could cost the EU’s economy €90bn this year, according to a study by credit insurer Euler Hermes. They estimate every euro invested would save €4 in losses due to current restrictions.

• The International Red Cross has pledged 100m Swiss francs to ensure vaccines get to the most vulnerable communities in the poorest countries.

• A UK trial was launched to see if giving people different Covid vaccines for their first and second doses works as well as the current approach of using the same type of vaccine twice.

• Restrictions on international travel had the greatest impact on death rates, according to a study from the University of Aberdeen. It found a million international arrivals were associated with a 3.4% increase in Covid-19 deaths during the first wave of the pandemic.

• Catalonia has removed some pandemic restrictions, allowing gyms to reopen and people to move outside their municipalities.

• Qatar has re-imposed a raft of restrictions on education, leisure and business activities, including closing indoor swimming pools and theme parks and restricting restaurant capacities.

• Sweden plans to launch a digital coronavirus “vaccine passport” by summer.