Coronavirus latest: India detects 35,000 new infections, highest since December


The Oxford start-up Vaccitech that owns the biotech platform behind the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has raised $168m, as it seeks to use similar technology to treat other infectious diseases and cancer. 

Twenty-five million people across the UK have now been vaccinated with the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, health secretary Matt Hancock said on Wednesday, with the latest evidence indicating that just one jab reduces the risk of death by 85 per cent. 

Massachusetts plans to open up Covid-19 vaccinations to the general public in mid-April, Governor Charlie Baker announced. From March 22, people over the age of 60 and essential workers in sectors such as transit, grocery, utility, agriculture and public health will be able to register for their first shot.

The US travel industry is stepping up its lobbying for further government relief, holding 300 virtual meetings with members of Congress on Wednesday as it argues for more tax breaks to help restaurants, convention centres and entertainment venues. The pandemic cost 3m jobs in the travel industry last year, the US Travel Association said.

Disney is set to reopen its California theme park on April 30, after shuttering its gates more than a year ago. The world’s largest entertainment group has been pummeled by the pandemic, which forced the closure of cinemas and theme parks, undercutting two of its most profitable businesses. 

The US will not have to throw away tens of millions of doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine, a senior regulator has insisted, even as they remain in storage awaiting approval. Peter Marks, head of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the US Food and Drug Administration, said there was no risk of the doses expiring, even as EU officials push Joe Biden’s administration to be granted access to them.

Poland is to impose a three-week national lockdown in an effort to stem a surge in coronavirus infections. Shopping centres, hotels, cinemas, theatres and museums are to close from Saturday, health minister Adam Niedzielski said. Schools will switch to remote learning while gyms and swimming pools will also close.

Brazil has overtaken the US as the country with the highest Covid-19 death rate and new case rate, according to a report from the World Health Organization. Latin America’s largest nation had a 20 per cent increase in the number of reported new cases last week compared with the previous week to reach more than 230 infections per 100,000 people. This compares with 139 new cases per 100,000 in the US.

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