Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday morning. We’ll have another update for you this evening.
1. New vaccine shows 89% efficacy
A new coronavirus vaccine has been shown to be 89.3% effective in large-scale UK trials and is the first to show its effectiveness in trials against the new variant found in Britain. The UK has secured 60 million doses of the Novavax jab which, if approved by regulators, would be produced in Stockton-on-Tees in north-east England, with the expectation of being rolled out in the second half of the year. Novavax’s Prof Paul Heath said the findings of the trials were “enormously exciting”.
2. Some pupils in Wales could return to school after half term
Some primary school children in Wales could begin a phased return to school from 22 February, if Covid rates continue to fall, First Minister Mark Drakeford is expected to say later. A Welsh Government statement said he would “indicate that the youngest learners in primary school” could start going back after February half term. Meanwhile, a think tank says pupils in England – where schools will not reopen before 8 March – should be allowed to repeat a year.
3. Data shows office outbreaks during lockdown
More than 60 suspected Covid outbreaks in offices were recorded in the first two weeks of the current lockdown in England, figures obtained by BBC Radio 5 Live reveal. Public Health England also logged more than 500 suspected or confirmed office outbreaks in the second half of 2020 – more than in supermarkets, construction sites, warehouses, restaurants and cafes combined. See our full investigation for first-hand accounts from concerned workers.
4. Vaccination volunteers to be given Covid jab
Volunteers being trained to help the NHS with the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine will now be given the jab themselves. St John Ambulance says this is because, in helping, they have become front-line health workers.
5. Parenting during lockdown is exhausting, says Kate
Long-forgotten maths, DIY haircuts, general chaos… it seems parenting during lockdown is tough even if you’re royalty. The Duchess of Cambridge has been sharing her woes with fellow parents during a video call, and wrote “exhausting” when they were asked to pick a word that summed up the experience. Now she’s urging people “to reach out to loved ones and friends” if they are struggling or feeling isolated.
And don’t forget…
You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
If you’re wondering when you might get vaccinated, check out our explainer.
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