- A Commons vote on extending emergency coronavirus laws for another six months has passed by 484 to 76
- During the debate, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned "we're not at the finish line yet"
- Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said Labour supported the government "without any enthusiasm or relish"
- Ministers are currently reviewing the possibility of introducing a document providing proof of vaccination against Covid
- Boris Johnson says it may only be possible to implement a vaccine passports scheme once everybody has been offered a vaccine
- Kate Nicholls, of the trade body UK Hospitality, says she doesn't think vaccine passports are "necessary or appropriate" for High Street venues
- EU leaders are meeting virtually to discuss proposals aimed at improving vaccine supplies as cases continue to rise in several countries
- The head of the European Commission says the EU "needs to ensure Europeans get a fair share of vaccines"
- A travel ban within Portugal that covers the whole of Easter week has been brought forward to midnight
Welcome to today's live page - bringing you updates on coronavirus throughout the day.
Here are the stories making headlines in the UK this morning:
- EU leaders are to hold virtual talks to discuss ways of boosting Covid vaccine supplies as coronavirus cases continue to rise across many parts of the continent. The bloc are considering plans for added controls on vaccine exports which could affect supplies in the UK.
- MPs will decide whether or not to extend coronavirus legislation for a further six months later. The government is expected to win the vote - with the help of Labour support - but there is expected to be a rebellion by Tory backbenchers.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson has floated the possibility of people needing to show proof of vaccination or a negative test before entering a pub. Mr Johnson suggested it "may be up to individual publicans" to decide. Tory MP Steve Baker said it was a "ghastly trap".
- NHS staff in Scotland are to be offered a pay rise of at least 4% , with the rise backdated to December 2020. The average pay of a front line NHS nurse would rise by more than £1,200 a year, recognising the "service and dedication" of staff during the pandemic.
- The UK's biggest building society Nationwide is to allow 13,000 office staff to choose where they work under a new flexibility scheme . "The last year has taught many of us that 'how' we do our jobs is much more important than 'where' we do them from,” said boss Joe Garner.
What the UK papers sayBoris Johnson's suggestion that people may have to prove they have had the coronavirus vaccine before they can visit a pub makes a number of the front pages.
- The Times says the prime minister's comments mark a "significant change of approach" - after he appeared to rule out the idea just a month ago.
- The Daily Telegraph agrees it is a "stark departure", with ministers previously insisting that vaccine certificates would be "discriminatory", and out of step with British values.
- The paper says Mr Johnson's tacit approval has "triggered a backlash" from lockdown-sceptic MPs, who argue that giving landlords the power to demand proof of vaccination would take the UK down a "dangerous path" to a "two-tier" system.
- According to the Guardian, vaccine certificates could allow pubs to bypass social-distancing rules, and allow customers to crowd together.
- Wednesday's joint statement from the UK and the EU amid the ongoing row over vaccine supplies makes the lead for the Daily Mirror - which claims the two sides have "called a truce", with an agreement "in sight".
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock tells the Financial Times the EU would be "making a serious mistake" if it did stop vaccines reaching the UK.
- Referring to the government's contract with the manufacturer, AstraZeneca, Mr Hancock says both sides are looking to resolve the dispute, but it was actually "very straightforward" - "our contract trumps theirs".
EU leaders meet and German infections rise: Latest across Europe
Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Bundestag on Thursday that Germany and the EU were in effect in a "new pandemic"
- EU leaders will take the AstraZeneca row centre stage in a virtual summit after officials in Brussels proposed stricter export controls for countries with higher vaccination rates than the EU, such as the UK and US. Vaccination rates are sluggish in much of the EU and several countries, in particular Austria, want a new distribution system.
- EU leaders will also discuss a planned digital green certificate to allow summer travel across borders. Estonia is planning to have a digital vaccine certificate up and running from next month and Denmark is working on a corona passport.
- There’s been another big rise in German infections in the past 24 hours, with health officials announcing 22,657 cases. Vaccination centres are managing 268,000 inoculations a day but that’s well below capacity. Spain says only half of its population aged over 80 has so far been vaccinated. France starts vaccinating over 70s from Saturday.
- Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has proposed a new law to limit movement in the capital Helsinki to tackle an increase in Covid cases. The bill could go before MPs today and would stop people visiting each other’s homes in Turku as well as the capital.
- France is to crack down on gatherings of more than six people outdoors by imposing fines. The rule does not apply to authorised groups such as funerals or professional meetings. Sixteen areas of France are already under lockdown and three more areas including the Rhône are expected to be added to that list.
- A Dutch church in the town of Urk says it’s been getting death threats because it has gone back to holding services for hundreds of people. Its spokesman Hessel Snoek insists infections in Urk are low and last Sunday the church was almost full. The government advice is a maximum of 30.
Summary of recent events around the world today
- EU leaders are likely to shy away from supporting the use of new powers to block Covid vaccine shipments to countries with better jab coverage such as the UK, with Pfizer describing bloc export restrictions on Covid-19 vaccines as a “lose-lose” situation for everyone .
- Ursula von der Leyen revealed to EU leaders that 21m doses of Covid vaccine have been exported to the UK from suppliers based in the bloc’s member states as she emphasised the need to secure jabs at home.
- The EU has been overly cautious and budget conscious over Covid vaccines and should step back from waging a “stupid vaccine war” with Britain, the former European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said .
- Novavax is delaying signing a contract to supply its Covid-19 vaccine to the EU, according to a bloc official involved in the talks , as the US biotech company warned it was struggling to source some raw materials.
- Iceland will resume the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine after suspending it on 11 March pending investigations into reports that it might be linked to blood clots in some people who had been vaccinated, the government has said. It comes after Sweden said it would resume use of the jab but only people aged 65 and older, while Denmark announced an extension of the suspension for another three weeks
- Israel has administered two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to more than half its population, the country’s health minister said , though the country continues to be dogged by criticism for not doing more to enable Palestinian vaccination.
- Italy will fail to met an EU target of vaccinating 80% of citizens aged over 80 by the end of March, a leading health institute said , questioning the vaccine policies of many local health authorities.
- Ukraine registered a record number of coronavirus deaths for the third straight day , health authorities said, as new infections also reached a record high.
- People wishing arrive in Germany by plane are set to be required to show a negative Covid test before boarding from Sunday, the health ministry said, as airlines lay on hundreds of extra flights to cope with a surge in demand after Mallorca was taken off the country’s red list.
- New York governor Andrew Cuomo set up friends and family members with scarce coronavirus tests when most New Yorkers did not have access to them in the early days of the pandemic, according to multiple reports .
- Chilean health officials extended a lockdown across the capital Santiago in an attempt to tame a second wave of infections even as the South American nation continues with the world’s fastest per capita vaccination campaign.
- New Zealanders overseas reacted with despair to news that the government has doubled the time returning citizens are required to stay to avoid paying a $3,100 quarantine fee.