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COVID-19: All the latest LIVE worldwide updates - today's updates are also on our Portal page, here)

Coronavirus - 13th March 2021

Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 16:05

Summary for Saturday, 13th March

  • Wales begins easing its lockdown, with the stay-at-home rule replaced with a requirement to stay local
  • It means up to four people from two different households can now meet up outdoors to socialise, including in gardens
  • Outdoor sports facilities such as golf, tennis and basketball can also reopen
  • Welsh hairdressers will be able to open from Monday - but non-essential retail remains closed until 12 April
  • A UK national day of reflection to be held on 23 March, the anniversary of UK's first national lockdown
  • Vigil for Sarah Everard cancelled after Reclaim These Streets unsuccessfully challenged Covid restrictions forbidding gatherings in the High Court
  • More than 48,000 businesses in England have signed up for workplace Covid testing, the health secretary says
  • Italy to shut shops, restaurants and schools from Monday amid an infection spike


Good morning

Welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
We will be bringing you the latest updates throughout the day.

Latest developments in the UK and around the world

Here’s a quick look at some of the main headlines from the UK and around the world to get you started:

Headlines in today’s coronavirus related news from around the world include:


  • More than 21 million vaccination doses have now been administered in England, according to the latest official figures. Provisional NHS England data showed that a total of 21,187,615 Covid-19 vaccinations took place between 8 December and 12 March, a rise of 380,230 on the previous day. Of these, 20,111,189 were the first dose of a vaccine, while 1,076,426 were a second dose.
  • Covid restrictions were relaxed in Wales. Under the new rules, announced by the first minister, Mark Drakeford, on Friday, four people from two households will be able to meet outdoors to socialise, including in gardens. Outdoor sports facilities including basketball courts, tennis courts and golf courses can reopen and indoor care home visits will restart for single designated visitors.
  • Matt Hancock, the UK health secretary, has said that more than 48,000 businesses have signed up to offer rapid coronavirus testing to their employees, a move he said would be a “huge step forward” in getting businesses “back on their feet”. In January it emerged that it had spent £800m on tests that were later found in a pilot to give the wrong results as much as 60% of the time.
  • Jordan’s minister for health has stepped down following the deaths of six patients at a hospital where oxygen supplies failed. Sources told Reuters said it was not clear what caused the oxygen failure in intensive care, maternity units and coronavirus wards in the new Salt government hospital, west of the capital Amman.
  • Three health workers in Norway who recently received the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 are being treated in hospital for blood clots. According to Steinar Madsen, medical director at the Norwegian medicines agency, their symptoms included “bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets.” He told broadcaster NRK: “They are quite sick...We take this very seriously.”
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo has become the latest country to suspend use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, postponing its vaccination programme until results of investigations into suspected links to blood clots are available. DRC was due to begin distribution of the vaccine on 15 March, after receiving 1.7m doses of the vaccine. A new start date has not been announced.


Saturday’s front pages: 'Zero Covid areas' and Easter jabs for over-40s


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You can read the full paper review here.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 16:57

Mother's Day meet-ups and outdoor sport as Wales lockdown eases

Plans for outdoor Mother's Day meet-ups are under way as a relaxation of lockdown rules comes into force in Wales.
From today, outdoor sports facilities such as golf, tennis and basketball can reopen and up to four adults from two households can meet up in a private garden.
The stay-at-home rule has now been replaced by a requirement to stay local.
Also from today, designated solo visitors can also enter care homes in Wales.
And from Monday, all children will return to primary schools and hairdressers and barbers can reopen for appointments only.
Read more here.

Shielding in Wales to end from April

More coronavirus news from Wales - we're now hearing that the rules around shielding are set to change.
The Welsh health minister has said the rate of coronavirus infection is low enough to allow vulnerable people to come out of shielding from 1 April.
More than 130,000 people with underlying health conditions have been advised to stay at home and isolate.
It was paused in August, but resumed before Christmas amid a rise in cases and the emergence of a new variant.
Vaughan Gething says he is "conscious of the associated harms" of asking people to continue shielding.
However, with Wales' coronavirus case rate at 41.1 cases per 100,000 people - its lowest level since mid-September - he said that he had only wanted to keep the guidance for as long as was "absolutely necessary".
But the Welsh government has explained it was only "pausing" the guidance , as it could not confirm that the measures will never be needed again.
If you or a loved one are shielding, here's what you need to know.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 17:01

UK national day of reflection to be held on 23 March

A minute's silence and a national doorstep vigil will form part of a day of reflection to mark the anniversary of the UK's first Covid lockdown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is backing charity Marie Curie's plan for Tuesday 23 March, when those who have died in the pandemic will be remembered.
There will be a minute's silence at 12:00 GMT and that night buildings and landmarks will be illuminated, with people encouraged to light up their doorsteps.
Johnson announced the first national stay-at-home order on 23 March 2020, when the total number of recorded deaths linked to coronavirus in the UK stood at 335 . There have now been 143,259 deaths, according to the latest figures .
The past 12 months have also seen coronavirus vaccines developed from scratch, with 23.3 million people in the UK having now received a first dose.
Read more on what Boris Johnson called "an incredibly difficult year".

Does Tanzania have a hidden epidemic?


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Despite growing evidence to the contrary, Tanzania's government continues to downplay the impact of coronavirus on the country.
There is also speculation that President Magufuli is himself suffering from Covid and receiving hospital treatment, although the government has denied this.
There are no publicly available records for recent deaths in Tanzania, and no information has been released on the impact of coronavirus since May last year, when 500 cases and 20 deaths were reported up to that point.
The authorities have insisted there is little to worry about, and have taken tough action against those they accuse of spreading "false information".
BBC's Reality Check has been investigating.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 17:05

Italy to shut shops and schools as infections spike

Shops, restaurants and schools will be closed across most of Italy from Monday, as PM Mario Draghi warning of a "new wave" of the coronavirus outbreak.
For three days over Easter, 3-5 April, there will be a total shutdown.
Italy, which imposed one of the first national lockdowns a year ago, is once again struggling to contain the rapid spread of infections .
The country has reported more than 100,000 Covid-related deaths, Europe's second highest tally after the UK.
Italy's vaccination campaign has been hit by delays, as has been seen elsewhere in the European Union.
Last week the government in Rome blocked the export of 250,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia in a bid to address shortfalls of vaccines.

Premier League fans could return for final two rounds of games


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Up to 10,000 fans could be allowed at matches on 18-20 May and 23 May

The Premier League plans to have fans in grounds at the final two rounds of matches this season, says chief executive Richard Masters.
Up to 10,000 supporters will be allowed into stadiums from Monday 17 May - provided the government is able to stick to its scheduled roadmap.
To maintain a competitive balance and ensure all 20 clubs get to play a home game with fans present, a round of fixtures will be shifted to 18-20 May.
The final round of games is on 23 May.
"Hopefully the final two fixtures of our season will have up to 10,000 supporters in them all," said Masters.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 17:10

EU struggles with vaccine delays and new Covid surge

Katya Adler - Europe Editor
Europeans, like many others across the world, hoped for a better and happier year in 2021 - after seemingly endless months of Covid illness, deaths and pandemic-linked economic misery.
But so far, so annus horribilis for the EU. On a number of Covid fronts.
The bloc's by now infamous vaccination procurement scheme - trumpeting the securing of up to 2.6 billion doses - has so far failed to deliver. EU countries lag significantly behind Israel, the UK and the US in getting jabs into arms.
A number of EU members have stumbled nationally, too, with heavily criticised roll-outs of the vaccines they did manage to obtain, in Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria and beyond.
And all the while the virus continues its deadly spread.
Read Katya’s full analysis here.

Latest headlines from the UK and around the world

If you’re just joining us, here’s what you need to know today:
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 17:12

What are the rules on gatherings in England?

As an event to remember Sarah Everard in south London is replaced with a doorstep vigil , here is a look at the current rules around gatherings in England during the pandemic:

  • Under the current lockdown rules two people can meet for recreation outside, which can include "coffee on a bench"
  • From 29 March people will be allowed to meet outdoors, either with one other household or within the "rule of six"
  • Police can break up illegal gatherings and issue fines of £10,000 to someone holding a gathering of more than 30 people
  • During last year's restrictions, when Black Lives Matter and anti-lockdown demonstrations took place, police took a hands-off approach to protests


Poland reports most Covid cases in more than three months

Adam Eastonv - Warsaw Correspondent
Poland has reported 21,049 new coronavirus cases, the most since late November, as the country’s third wave continues to gather momentum.
The number of new cases rose 12% from the 18,775 cases reported on Friday and was up 42% from last Saturday.
A total of 343 virus-related deaths have been reported today.
Health ministry officials are attributing the spike to the rising number of UK variant infections, which account for about 39% of the total in recent tests.
They have expressed concern about the number of people being hospitalised, ordering an additional 2,500 hospital beds to be readied, many in 22 temporary hospitals created during the second wave in the autumn.
Restrictions have today been reintroduced to a second province, Pomerania, in northern Poland. Shopping centres, hotels, cultural and sporting facilities closed. From Monday, the same restrictions will be introduced in two more provinces, including Masovia, home to the capital Warsaw.
All four provinces have the highest growth rate in cases.
Throughout Poland, schools are mostly closed, and restaurants and cafes open only for take away service. Face masks must be worn in public spaces.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 17:15

The next dates you need to know for UK lockdown changes

We've been hearing how lockdown restrictions have started to ease in Wales today. The changes include up to four adults from two households can now meet up in a private garden and outdoor sports like golf can resume.
So what are the next dates you need to know for lockdown rule changes around the UK?
Wales

  • From 15 March:
  • All primary school children return to class and hairdressers can reopen

Scotland

  • From 15 March:
  • Remaining primary school years P4-P7 will return to class
  • Childcare restarts for all primary-aged children, including breakfast and after-school clubs
  • Phased return for all secondary pupils, with exam years of S4-S6 prioritised
  • Outdoors non-contact group sports for 12 to 17-year-olds will resume

England

  • From 29 March:
  • Outdoor meetings will be allowed with one other household or within the "rule of six", including in private gardens
  • "Stay at home" becomes "stay local"
  • Outdoor sport facilities reopen and organised outdoor games can restart
  • Weddings attended by up to six people can take place

Northern Ireland

If you want to know more about what's happening when, here's our guide to each step of lockdown easing across the UK .
Kitkat
Kitkat

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Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 17:18

Analysis: What do Northern Ireland's latest statistics tell us?

As Northern Ireland edges closer to the lifting of lockdown the how and when this will happen is a decision for the executive - but what do the statistics associated with the pandemic tell us?
For weeks now, things have been going - if not well - a lot better than they were when we entered 2021.
Infection rates are down, there are fewer people in hospital, and while there have been days when the number of deaths has risen, the death rate remains relatively low.
Added to that is the ongoing rollout of the vaccination programme - this has been going well and is expected to step up to another level in the next few weeks with opening of the mass vaccination centre at the SSE Arena in Belfast .
Read the full analysis here.

Mother's Day household mixing allowed in Jersey


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Household mixing will be allowed on Jersey for Mother's Day, a day earlier than previously planned.
Coronavirus restrictions were set to be partially relaxed on Monday, but the government has brought forward the change on permitted gatherings.
From Sunday, up to 10 adults will be allowed in a house, in addition to any children under five.
Chief Minister John Le Fondre says Jersey is currently "in a good position" and has not seen an impact in cases after reopening hospitality over two weeks ago.
Read more about the rule changes here.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 17:21

Eight more Covid deaths in Scotland

Scotland has recorded another eight deaths from coronavirus and 639 positive tests in the past 24 hours, according to the latest figures.
It brings the death toll, of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days, to 7,508.
The test positivity rate is 3.4% and 479 people are in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19.
A total of 1,867,123 people have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine - an increase of 22,487 from the previous day - while 156,250 have received their second dose.

Hospitals in England record 118 Covid deaths

A further 118 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital, NHS England data shows.
This brings the total number of confirmed deaths reported in England's hospitals to 85,185.
Patients were aged between 37 and 99 and all except eight, aged between 55 and 96, had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths were between 17 December and 12 March, with the majority being on or after 6 March.
There were 35 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

Family hoping sun shines on Mother's Day reunion


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Earlier we told you how families in Wales are making plans to get together on Mother's Day - now that up to four adults are able to meet up outdoors.
Angelika Monks, from Anglesey, has not seen her son Steven , 35, since Christmas. He has cerebral palsy and severe learning difficulties and lives in a supported living setting.
Angelika says she hopes the sun is shining on Sunday so they can be reunited: "That is a decision we'll have to make on the day - if the weather is nice, we're going to come out and meet him in the park, if the weather is not nice we can't do that. Decisions will have to be made day by day."
Angelika says the stay at home rule meant she could not travel to see Steven until now. The rule changes mean designated solo visitors can also enter care homes.
"We live on the same island but Steven is in Holyhead, and we live near Llanfair-PG [Llanfairpwllgwyngyll] so it's about 30-odd miles, and so we weren't allowed to go to see him," she says.
"I can't really express myself... it will be so wonderful to actually be normal again... it will make such a difference to our lives and to his life as well."
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 17:24

Covid-breach party leads to £800 fines

Police who broke up a lockdown rule-breaching party found guests had travelled hundreds of miles to attend.
Officers arrived at a house in Gloucester in the early hours of 27 February to find "loud music, flashing lights and drunken singing".
They discovered a man hiding in a bath and guests who had made their way there from Durham , 250 miles (402km) away.
It is the first time Gloucestershire Police have handed out £800 fines under new powers to crack down on parties .
The force said it had issued more than 700 fixed penalty notices since the pandemic began but the people at the party were the first to be fined for being in a gathering of more than 15.

Jordan minister quits over Covid hospital deaths

Jordan's health minister has resigned after six people died due to a lack of oxygen on a hospital ward treating Covid-19 patients, state media report.
The deaths were reported early this morning at a new government facility in the town of Salt, about 14 miles (23km) west of the capital, Amman.
Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh had asked Health Minister Nathir Obeidat to step down over the incident.
Police were sent to the hospital after dozens of relatives turned up.
The oxygen shortage lasted for about an hour and an investigation is under way into what caused it, Mr Obeidat says.
The health minister had earlier said he felt a "moral responsibility" for what had happened.
A forensic doctor at Jordan's health ministry, Dr Adnan Abbas, told Petra news agency that all six patients who died on Saturday were being treated for coronavirus. We've got the full story here.

Breaking News 

UK records 121 coronavirus deaths

There have been 121 Covid-related deaths in the UK in the last 24 hours, government figures show.
That means the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test is 125,464.
Another 5,534 new infections have also been detected.
The number of people vaccinated in the UK now stands at 23,648,103 and 1,532,754 people have received their second dose.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 17:26

When can I go on holiday abroad?

The earliest date people from England will be able to travel abroad for a holiday is 17 May, when the government hopes to move to step three of its lockdown exit plan.
This will be dependent on four conditions being met - including the vaccine rollout going smoothly and no surge in Covid-related hospital admissions.

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Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not yet announced plans for allowing foreign holidays.
Find out more in our article here about the rules, including holidaying in the UK.
Kitkat
Kitkat

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Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 17:43

Latest Italian and Dutch figures amid 'new wave'

Italy - which as we reported earlier is tightening its restrictions - has just reported its latest daily figure of 26,062 new cases, according to health ministry figures quoted by Reuters news agency. It reported 26,824 on Friday.
There were also 317 coronavirus-related deaths recorded on Saturday compared to 380 the day before.
On Friday, Italy announced tough new restrictions in much of the country, with Prime Minister Mario Draghi warning it faced "a new wave" of infections.
Earlier this week, the country said it had reached the milestone of more than 100,000 Covid-related deaths, the second European country to do so after the UK.
Cases have been rising across Italy for the past six weeks, exceeding 25,000 a day.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the number of new cases have reached their highest level since mid-January, with more than 6,396 cases in 24 hours, according to data released by the National Institute for Health (RIVM), as reported by Reuters.
The RIVM has said it expects a third wave of infections driven by variant strains of the coronavirus.

'I learnt Welsh in lockdown - now I can't wait to visit'

Philip Mac a' Ghoill from Ireland decided to learn Welsh after attending a Celtic studies conference in Edinburgh - despite never having been to Wales.
"Lockdown has given people like me an opportunity to learn Welsh because everything is online," he says.
After a year of study and conversation, he is now fluent and is looking forward to his first visit to Wales once restrictions are lifted.

Ants socially distance when sick, just like us - Packham


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There are "clear parallels" between the way humans have socially distanced during the pandemic and the behaviour of ants, says TV naturalist Chris Packham.
Like us, the insects use it to avoid disease spreading throughout their colonies, he explains.
In his BBC Two show, Animal Einsteins, he explores how - once ants are infected with a fungal disease - they will spend less time inside the nest, while also increasing the distance between themselves and healthy ants in order to reduce transmission.
The environmental campaigner says the ants are "making individual decisions" to protect their young and their future, "making sacrifices to ensure the survival of the colony".
"That's surely what we have been doing throughout the pandemic," he says.
"It's not about us as individuals, it's about looking after those other people around us - our communities, and protecting our families, and that's what so many people have been doing."
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Mar 13 2021, 17:46

UK headlines

We’re pausing our live coverage shortly. But first, here's the main pandemic-related news in the UK:

  • Wales has started easing its lockdown, replacing its "stay-at-home" rule with "stay local"
  • Up to four people from two different households can now meet up outdoors to socialise, including in gardens. It means families like the Monks, pictured above, are able to plan Mother's Day get-togethers


  • A national day of reflection will be held on 23 March, the anniversary of UK's first national lockdown
  • There have been another 121 deaths within 28 days of a positive test in the UK and a further 5,534 cases
  • Gatherings planned in memory of Sarah Everard will be replaced with doorstep vigils this evening. It comes after Reclaim These Streets unsuccessfully challenged Covid restrictions in the High Court
  • Police who broke up a party in Gloucester which breached lockdown rules found guests had travelled hundreds of miles to attend


World headlines

And here is pandemic-related news from around the world:


Have a good evening

That's all from the live page team for now.
Goodbye from Jennifer Meierhans, Jo Couzens, Sarah Collerton, Alexandra Fouche and Claire Heald.


Thanks for joining us. We'll be back tomorrow with more pandemic-related news.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 13:38