- Overseas travel restrictions may be among the later rules to be relaxed in the UK, scientific adviser Prof Neil Ferguson says
- Variants and rising cases in Europe may affect how much people coming into the UK have to be screened, he says
- But even if the country is not back to normal by the summer, things should feel a lot more normal by the autumn, Prof Ferguson says
- A case of a new "double mutant" variant of coronavirus has been found in India
- India's capital, Delhi, will begin randomised Covid tests at airports, bus stops and train stations amid what some experts say is a second wave
- "Capitalism" and "greed" got Covid vaccinations under way quickly in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a private meeting of Tory MPs
- Weekly coronavirus death figures in England and Wales are at their lowest since October, national statistics show
Good morningThanks for joining our live stream where you’ll find updates on coronavirus throughout the day.
Here are some of the stories we are looking at this morning:
- Boris Johnson has told a private meeting of Tory MPs the UK got its Covid vaccinations under way quickly thanks to "capitalism" and "greed"
- Government officials insist he wasn’t talking about the vaccine programme in the UK or the EU row over supply of jabs - but the profit motive driving companies to develop new products
- There’s been a second night of protests in Bristol against the government's new Police and Crime Bill
- A total of 14 arrests were made and police say they had to act due to lockdown restrictions banning large gatherings
- More than 6,000 cases of Covid-related fraud and cyber-crime have been recorded by the UK's police forces during the pandemic
- The Action Fraud team says £34.5m had been stolen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since 1 March 2020
- And in the US, some residents can now their takeaway meal with a Covid test on the side
- Food ordering service DoorDash announced they'll deliver at-home tests to cities across the country.
Latest around Europe
- The European Commission will announce proposals this morning to toughen controls on Covid vaccine exports.They will stop short of an export ban but instead measure each shipment on the recipient country’s vaccine rate and exports. The controls will assess “reciprocity” and “proportionality” and are likely to affect the UK and US most.The plans will be discussed by EU leaders tomorrow.
- Germany’s RKI public health agency says 75,000 people have now died in the country’s Covid pandemic. Another 15,813 new infections have been reported in the past 24 hours which is higher than a week ago.
- Finnish ministers have spent eight hours trying to reach an agreement on toughening measures to stop the spread of a third wave of Covid. Health officials have backed restrictions on movement but in the end they limited their move to extending a three-week closure of indoor dining in restaurants.
- Spain is resuming vaccinations with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine today after an eight-day suspension over safety concerns. The Spanish government will decide this afternoon whether to impose new restrictions over Easter early next month as infections are rising again.
- Italy’s cases are increasing even faster with 18,765 reported in 24 hours yesterday. Prime Minister Mario Draghi will discuss measures to be introduced after Easter on 6 April. Despite the situation, ministers want to ease restrictions, particularly focusing on early years in schools.
- Ukraine has reported a record 342 daily deaths, and also a record number of people taken to hospital in the past day. And Bulgaria has seen a record 4,851 cases in the past 24 hours. Restrictions were tightened last week, with restaurants closed and schools going online.
- Students in the Serbian city of Kragujevac have been offered vaccinations with the AstraZeneca drug without an appointment. But since the campaign began yesterday no-one has shown up. Officials believe bad publicity may be to blame.
'South Africa variant is of more concern than rising cases in Europe'The South African coronavirus variant could undermine the UK's vaccination programme, a government scientific adviser says.
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, tells BBC Breakfast that, just because cases are rising in Europe, it does not affect the UK's plans for emerging from lockdown.
He says the surge in Europe has "already happened to us and we're through to the other side". But he adds: "The real concern is things like the South African variant, where the vaccination programme we're currently using, whilst it would still give some protection against that (variant), the protection would be reduced."
He says: "We have vaccinated more than twice the proportion of the population than any other European country has done, so we're in a better place from that point of view.
"I don't think, just because cases are rising in Europe, that necessarily throws our timetable into doubt; what it may do is affect planning around restrictions on international travel, how much we try and screen people coming into the country."
On keeping to the road map, he says the UK has a "very good chance of both being able to relax measures and not needing to tighten up".
Around the world today
- Poland reports record number of daily coronavirus cases. The country has reported 29,978 new daily cases, and a further 575 coronavirus related deaths.
- India detects new coronavirus variant. India’s health ministry has said that a new double mutant variant has been detected in the country, in addition to many other variants of concern which originated abroad.
- Ukraine suffers record daily deaths for second consecutive day. Maksyn Stepanov, the health minister, said that there were 342 deaths in the last day, up from 333 deaths recorded the previous day.
- The UN has warned that over 30 million people are ‘one step away from starvation’. An estimated 34 million people are struggling with emergency levels of acute hunger, with families in pockets of Yemen and South Sudan already being in the grip of starvation.
- Hong Kong suspends Pfizer vaccine. The city’s government said the suspension was immediate while the matter is investigated by distributor Fosun Pharma and BioNTech.
- NHS hit by covid disruption as cancer referrals plunge. In November, NHS England said that the number of people waiting more than a year for surgery had reached its highest level since 2008.
- Fury in Brazil after Bolsonaro says people will soon lead ‘normal lives’. Bolsonaro made this televised address while Brazil suffered its heaviest day of losses since the pandemic began, reporting a record 3,251 deaths on Tuesday.
'Foreign travel restrictions may be relaxed later' - scientific adviserWe've got more from Prof Neil Ferguson, who has been telling BBC Breakfast foreign travel may be one of the later restrictions to be eased.
But he says he is "optimistic we'll be able to start seeing each other again in the next month, which is within the road map plan".
The scientific adviser says: "Depending what happens in other areas of the world, travel may be one of the later things to be relaxed. But I think... whilst not everything will be back to normal by the summer, certainly by the autumn, it will feel a lot more normal."
Prof Ferguson says booster jabs in the autumn will be "critical", adding: "We don't yet know how long the immunity lasts from the vaccines we're giving, but natural immunity to coronavirus probably lasts a year or so, so it's entirely likely we will need to boost immunity.
"We can't stop things like the Brazilian and the South African variants forever and they are different immunologically.
"The current vaccines are not as effective against those strains probably, so for