Coronavirus - 9 March


• J&J warns EU to expect vaccine supply issues
• OECD upgrades global growth forecasts
• Nightingale hospitals to close from April
• Estonia to enter a new lockdown on Thursday
• Dutch curfew to remain in place

World news

• Five of the remaining Nightingale hospitals built in England, Wales and NI are to be decommissioned in April with two others remaining open for vaccinations. Scotland’s will remain open

• Exposure to high pollen levels could increase the risk of contracting Covid-19, according to research in Germany. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich, who analysed infection rates and pollen levels in 130 regions in more than 30 countries, believe there is a link between higher pollen concentration and increased coronavirus infections.

• Johnson & Johnson has told the EU it is facing supply issues that may complicate plans to deliver 55 million doses of its vaccine to the bloc in the second quarter of the year.

• Hospitals in and around Paris had been told to reduce non-Covid treatments by 40% due to a lack of intensive care beds.

• Belgium’s ban on foreign travel is to be extended by more than two weeks to 18 April.

• In the US, new guidance says that people who are fully vaccinated can meet without masks, this includes meeting with some of those who are unvaccinated.

• Estonia is entering a new lockdown from Thursday with all education going online and all non-essential shops closing.

• The overnight curfew in the Netherlands will remain in place for the rest of March, but will be relaxed during next week’s parliamentary elections. Foreign travel should be avoided until mid-April, the government says.

• There were 3,196 Covid deaths registered in the UK in the week of 26 February, according to figures published this morning by the Office for National Statistics. That is down from 4,448 in the previous week.

• Norway has recommended that AstraZeneca’s vaccine be used for people over the age of 65.

• The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said it expected the world economy to expand by 5.6% this year – up from 4.2% three months ago – and to recover the ground lost since the start of the pandemic by the middle of the year.

• China has launched a health certificate programme for domestic travellers. The digital certificate, which shows a user’s vaccination status and virus test results, is available for Chinese citizens via a programme on Chinese social media platform WeChat that was launched on Monday.

• Preliminary data from a study in Brazil indicates that the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd is effective against the P1 variant of the virus first discovered in Brazil.

• Japan’s Terumo Corp said today it has developed a new syringe that can get seven doses out of each vial of vaccine made by Pfizer, at least one more than accessible with existing syringes.

• People who are vaccinated, have antibodies or test negative can travel to Greece this summer, Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis has said.

Company news


 Sainsbury & Morrisons – have warned of a shortage of some dog and cat food products following an “unprecedented” rise in pet ownership.

Sainsbury’s has apologised to customers after running out of dog and cat food pouches due to a “national shortage”.

Morrisons said it might not have “full availability for several months”, but added that it has enough stock for its customers.