Coronavirus live news: AstraZeneca expected to miss EU vaccine target; WHO reports 20% drop in global deaths

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Singapore says discussing vaccine certification with other countries

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US to vote on Covid relief bill on Friday

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Auckland high school closes again after third student tests positive for Covid

One of New Zealand’s largest high schools has closed again after another student and t wo siblings tested positive for Covid-19.

Papatoetoe high school in south Auckland was closed last week after two students and two parents tested positive. It reopened this week but closed again on Wednesday after a third student tested positive on Tuesday. Two siblings of the students also tested positive later on Tuesday.

Health authorities have been trying to test and contact-trace all 1,500 students, but were unable to find and test a small number of pupils and their families:

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An Australian doctor responsible for delivering doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to residents of a Brisbane nursing home has been stood down after an 88 year-old man and a 94-year-old woman were each given four times the recommended dose.

The federal health minister Greg Hunt said the error occurred at the Holy Spirit Nursing Home in Carseldine and the two residents were being closely monitored:

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AstraZeneca to deliver less than half promised doses to EU in second quarter – report

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The failure of successive governments to enact part of the Equality Act, which would have imposed a duty to address socio-economic disadvantage, has exacerbated inequalities in England during the coronavirus pandemic, a thinktank has claimed.

The Runnymede Trust’s report, Facts Don’t Lie, says that the public sector duty provision would have imposed a legal obligation on education authorities in England to ensure working class children on free school meals were fed properly while schools were shut and had access to laptops for remote learning.

Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 requires authorities, also including local councils, the police and most government departments, to carry out their functions having “due regard to the desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage”:

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Ireland extends lockdown

Ireland is to start reopening some schools next week but is extending other lockdown restrictions until April to prevent another explosion in Covid-19 cases.

The government has prioritised education and childcare in a cautious new roadmap out of restrictions after a disastrous relaxation before Christmas led to Ireland having the world’s highest rate of infection.

The taoiseach, Micheál Martin, announced the revised Living with Covid plan in a televised address on Tuesday evening.

He praised public compliance with restrictions and said he understood people hoped for relaxations. “The sacrifices you have made have a positive impact – our progress in response to the latest wave is among the best in Europe.”

He said 64% of adults would be vaccinated by May. “We will get through this. I know how hard it is and the toll it is taking on people’s mental health and wellbeing but I also know that the end is now truly in sight.”

The cabinet agreed to extend the maximum level 5 restrictions until 5 April, which means non-essential retail, bars, cafes, construction, gyms and other sectors will remain closed. A 5km travel limit remains in place, as does a ban on household mixing:

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French ICU patients with Covid at 12-week high

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WHO says global deaths down 20% since last week; cases declining for six straight weeks

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