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Covid news — live: Wales lifts ‘stay at home’ lockdown order as EU suffers fresh AstraZeneca vaccine blow

Mark Drakeford outlines Wales lockdown roadmap, including reopening tourism

First minister Make Drakeford has announced Wales will lift its Covid lockdown “stay at home” order over the weekend as new infections continue to drop and pressure on hospitals eases slightly.

The relaxation in restrictions means four people from two households can meet outside in a private garden from Saturday under new “stay local” guidance.

Hairdressers and barbers are allowed to open from Monday, although most non-essential shops will remain closed until at least 12 April.

Elsewhere, the EU’s vaccination programme has taken another hit after commission chiefs warned the bloc’s supply of jobs is likely to fall short.

Thierry Breton, the internal market commissioner, said he was not seeing “best efforts” from AstraZeneca to meet its EU delivery targets. The bloc also said it had failed to secure extra AstraZeneca doses from the US.

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EU in fresh Covid vaccine supply blow

Washington has told the European Union that it should not expect to receive AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in the United States any time soon.

Separately, Thierry Breton, the bloc’s internal market commissioner, said he was not seeing “best efforts” from AstraZeneca to meet its EU delivery targets.

Matt Mathers12 March 2021 09:17

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Novavax jab 96% effective against original Covid strain

Novavax has said its vaccine is 96 per cent effective against the original Covid strain and 86 per cent effective against the British variant.

The results come from late-stage trials conducted in the UK. The shot is only 55 per effective against the South Africa variant, Novavax added.

The firm hopes to get authorisation to roll out its jab by May.

Matt Mathers12 March 2021 09:13

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Wales lifts ‘stay at home’ lockdown order

The Welsh government is to begin to reopen people’s personal lives and the economy as coronavirus numbers in Wales “continue to go in the right direction”, first minister Mark Drakeford has said.

People from two households will be able to meet in gardens from Saturday, while hairdressers and barbers will be able to operate from Monday. Non-essential retail will begin to reopen from March 22.

Mr Drakeford told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Provided things continue to go in the right direction, we hope to be able to reopen self-contained accommodation for the Easter period.”

He said that in many Welsh homes, people would need to go through the house to access the back garden but “the idea is you walk straight through, out the back door into the garden”.

“That will be a big step forward here in Wales, people haven’t been able to do that now for weeks and weeks,” he said.

“For many families that will allow grandparents to see grandchildren again and it’s a sign that cautiously, carefully and step by step, we’re now on the journey of reopening Welsh society.”

Matt Mathers12 March 2021 09:02

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Thailand delays use of AstraZeneca Covid vaccine over blood clot fears

Thailand has said it will delay use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine after several European countries temporarily suspended the jabs following a small number of reports of blood clots.

Yong Poovorawan, an adviser to Thailand‘s vaccination programme, said the delay, pending an investigation into the cause of reported side-effects, will not have a big impact on the rollout.

AstraZeneca says there is no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis with the vaccine.

Matt Mathers12 March 2021 08:53

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Tourism in wales to open for Easter – but not for the English

Welsh people will be able to take holidays within Wales at Easter, the first minister has confirmed.

Mark Drakeford, the Labour leader in Wales, told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “We will reopen self-contained accommodation in Wales for Easter.

“So that means if you have a caravan or you can hire a cottage, then you’ll be able to do that.”

Travel correspondent Simon Calder has the full report:

Matt Mathers12 March 2021 08:49

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling Covid coverage.

Matt Mathers12 March 2021 08:23

Source: Covid news — live: Wales lifts ‘stay at home’ lockdown order as EU suffers fresh AstraZeneca vaccine blow

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