- Downing Street says reuniting families will be a key ambition of the PM's strategy for easing the lockdown in England
- Care home residents in England will be allowed to pick one person to visit them regularly from 8 March, the government says
- PM Boris Johnson will reveal his road map for easing lockdown in England on Monday
- In Scotland, care home residents will be allowed two designated visitors from early March
- The UK should donate vaccines to developing countries now rather than waiting until it has a surplus, the World Trade Organization says
- It comes after Johnson said the UK would donate most of its surplus supply to poorer nations
- G7 leaders have pledged to increase their contribution to the Covax vaccine-sharing initiative
- Another 533 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test and there are 12,027 new cases reported
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The latest headlines
- Downing Street says reuniting families will be a key ambition in Boris Johnson’s plan to ease England’s lockdown, which we'll hear more about on Monday.
- Care home residents in England will be allowed to pick one person to visit them regularly from 8 March, but visitors must wear PPE and be tested before entering the home.
- The head of the World Trade Organization says the UK should donate vaccines to developing countries now rather than waiting until it has a surplus.
- That comes as G7 leaders pledged to intensify co-operation on Covid-19 and increase their contribution to the Covax vaccine-sharing initiative.
- The Royal College of Emergency Medicine says ambulances waiting outside busy hospitals over Christmas led to "secondary Covid victims" dying of other causes.
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has criticised China for its lack of transparency in uncovering how Covid-19 emerged.
Here’s a quick summary of the latest events (from The Guardian):
- Italian police are investigating fake Covid-19 drugs and vaccines. Officers interviewed a Veneto regional official reported to have received an offer to buy 27m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine outside of the EU procurement system.
- Greece extended lockdown restrictions to more areas of the country. The authorities are trying to stem the spread of infections, Reuters reported. But they also lifted lockdown in others where infections receded.
- US land borders with Canada and Mexico are to remain closed to non-essential travel. The measure has been extended until at least 21 March to address Covid-19 concerns, Reuters reported, citing the US government.
- About 200,000 doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine are on their way to Mexico. The Central American country’s foreign minister announced the news amid a global scramble to secure tight supplies.
- France reported an increase in the daily death toll. Officials said on Friday that 328 people had died, compared with the 271 announced on Thursday and 310 on Wednesday.
- The Irish Department of Health has reported three cases of the Brazilian variant. The cases were identified as having been directly related to recent travel from Brazil.
- Two people died amid anti-lockdown protests in Gabon. The country’s president said the deaths occurred as the protests against new Covid-19 restrictions degenerated into a street standoff.
- Several French cities are facing tougher lockdown measures. The health minister Olivier Véran is warning that Nice and its surrounding département will require further restrictions and local media reports that he has not ruled out a total lockdown.
- British officials are being urged to donate vaccine doses to developing nations. The new head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, urged Downing Street to act now as it was “in the interest” of rich countries as well as poor countries to have “equitable access”.
- Argentina’s health minister resigned after claims surfaced of the improper allocation of vaccines. Ginés González García said individuals were able to sidestep proper procedure for vaccinations due to “involuntary confusion” in his office. A prominent journalist had said he was given a dose after speaking to García personally.
Lockdown easing plans around the UKPrime Minister Boris Johnson is spending the weekend finalising his road map for easing lockdown in England, which will be revealed on Monday.
Downing Street has said a key ambition will be to reunite families.
We already know that care home residents in England will be allowed to pick one person to visit them regularly from 8 March.
Other details being announced on Monday include those on the reopening of schools, which Johnson has said is his top priority.
But what's happening in the devolved nations of the UK? They have the power to set their own restrictions, and have been moving at different speeds:
- In Scotland, the government hopes to publish a route out of lockdown next week, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged people not to book Easter holidays. We also know care home residents in Scotland will be allowed two designated visitors from early March
- In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced up to four people from two different households can exercise outdoors together from Saturday; he said he hoped the "stay-at-home" requirement could end within three weeks, with some non-essential shops and hairdressers possibly reopening at the same time
- Northern Ireland's health minister has played down the prospect of restrictions being eased in time for Easter - a review of current measures will take place on 18 March
Care home residents in England to be allowed one regular visitorCare home residents in England will be allowed to pick one person to visit them regularly from 8 March, the government says.
They will be able to meet indoors and hold hands - but visitors must wear PPE and be tested before entering the home.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the rule change is a "first step to getting back to where we want to be".
These care home visits are the first confirmed easing of lockdown since its reintroduction last month.
On Monday, PM Boris Johnson will reveal his roadmap for the gradual lifting of restrictions.