UK coronavirus LIVE: Covid vaccine rollout set to get £1.65 billion boost as London cases plunge


Ahead of his speech, Mr Sunak said: “Protecting ourselves against the virus means we will be able to lift restrictions, reopen our economy and focus our attention on creating jobs and stimulating growth.”

It comes as the latest daily figures revealed zero new confirmed Covid-19 cases in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is one of ten boroughs in the capital with a seven-day rate below 50 new infections per 100,000 residents in the week to February 25.

Live updates

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Australian airline Qantas launches mystery flights to boost tourism amid Covid pandemic

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‘Now time to open Texas 100%’: Republican Governor Greg Abbott lifts obligatory wearing of face masks

Texas is lifting the obligatory wearing of face masks as it becomes the latest US state to defy the Biden administration’s call for such measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott said “It is now time to open Texas 100%” as he announced he will lift its mask requirement and allow businesses to reopen at full capacity next week.

The US state of Michigan on Tuesday also announced a loosening of its coronavirus restrictions, allowing larger gatherings and easing limits on capacity for restaurants and other businesses. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has also announced the ending of the mask mandate.

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What coronavirus measures will Rishi Sunak unveil in the Budget?

On coronavirus measures, the furlough scheme will continue until the end of September, but the Government’s contribution will be tapered from July – with employers asked to pay in alongside the taxpayer for the cost of furloughed employees.

In July, employers will be expected to contribute 10 per cent, increasing to 20 per cent in August and September, as the economy reopens. Employees will continue to receive 80 per cent of their salary for hours not worked until the scheme ends.

The Chancellor will also announce further support for self-employed workers, with more than 600,000 people – many of whom become self-employed in 2019/20 – now eligible for cash grants.

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‘Vaccine, vaccine!’ Dolly Parton sings as she gets jab

Dolly Parton is the latest celebrity to announce she has been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The singer got the Moderna jab, which she partly funded, and shared the moment on social media.

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New study into Covid vaccine responses in patients with impaired immune systems

A new study is to investigate the immune response to Covid-19 vaccinations in patients with certain immunosuppressed conditions, including cancer.

People with cancer, inflammatory arthritis, diseases of the kidney or liver or who are having a stem cell transplant may be at increased risk of the more severe complications of Covid-19 infection.

These underlying medical conditions and the treatment that such patients receive as part of their care may weaken the immune system, making vaccines particularly welcome for these groups.

The new Octave trial will seek to better determine the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines in these clinically at-risk patient groups.

The trial, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), is a collaborative research project involving groups in the Universities of Glasgow, Birmingham, Oxford, Liverpool, Imperial College London and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

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London coronavirus cases by borough revealed as one area reports zero new daily infections

The zero daily tally is likely to be unusual at this stage of the epidemic, possibly even a freak result, and more confirmed cases will almost certainly be announced in coming days for the affluent west London borough.

Read our full data story here:

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Hello, are welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus crisis. We’ll be bringing you all the latest news from the UK and around the world.



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