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Live Reporting

Edited by James Clarke

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye

    That brings us to the end of today's live page.Thanks for joining us.

    Your writers today were Alex Kleiderman, Victoria Lindrea and Georgina Rannard. The page was edited by James Clarke.

    We'll be back again tomorrow to bring you all the latest headlines. See you then.

  2. What has been happening today?

    Chat showing first vaccination doses given in UK

    As our live page draws to a close, here are today's main headlines from across the UK and around the world:

    Chart showing deaths, cases, hospital patients and vaccine doses in the UK
  3. Face coverings in future: What have other key experts said?

    Video content

    Video caption: Sir Patrick Vallance addresses potential measures in place next winter

    We earlier highlighted the comments from Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, that people may need to wear face coverings and socially distance for several years.

    She is not the first expert to suggest the basic measures could be in place until other countries successfully roll out jabs.

    Prof Chris Whitty, the UK government's chief medical adviser, told MPs this month it was hoped "simple interventions like washing hands, face masks where appropriate, test-and-trace, and above all vaccines" will keep the virus controlled beyond the summer.

    Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, has also said face masks could be needed in certain situations if the number of infections rises in the winter, but it was possible people will behave in a way that promotes social-distancing without the need for restrictions.

    Meanwhile, a group of government scientific advisers said that "maintaining a baseline of policies which reduce transmission" will be necessary for some time to come.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he hopes face coverings would become the norm on public transport as a matter of "personal responsibility".

  4. Survivors of 1972 Andes plane crash call for patience in Covid crisis

    Survivors of the 1972 Andes plane crash pictured in 2012
    Image caption: Survivors of the 1972 Andes plane crash pictured in 2012

    Survivors of the famous 1972 Andes plane crash have united in a video campaign calling for Uruguayans to be resilient in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

    A Uruguayan rugby team was on board a plane that crashed into the mountain range. When emergency teams couldn't find the wreckage, 29 survivors were forced to hike for days through the snow, with some eventually resorting to cannibalism. After 72 days, the 16 people left alive were rescued. The events were dramatised in the 1993 film Alive.

    The Covid-19 campaign, which features 13 survivors, has been shared on social media including by President Luis Lacalle Pou.

    “The Andes and the pandemic have a lot in common. The anguish, uncertainty and helplessness is exactly the same as when we crashed on the mountain,” says one.

    Another says the questions are the same: "And now, what do we do? How do we get out of this? When is it going to end?"

    They urge Uruguayans to be patient and follow Covid restrictions until vaccinations are available for the whole population.

    The campaign has been organised by the government as authorities are concerned about rising infection rates.

    "A group of Uruguayans can together... survive a mountain range and even control the coronavirus," the survivors conclude.

    View more on twitter
  5. Shortage of bouncers could stop clubs reopening

    Security personnel at event

    Venues such as bars and nightclubs may not be able to open as planned if they cannot find enough bouncers to supervise them, a body representing security staff is warning.

    The UK Door Security Association (UKDSA) says more than half of positions may not be filled.

    After a year of closure many security staff have moved into other work - and some, who are not UK nationals, have returned to their home countries amid Brexit and the pandemic.

    New, more rigorous training regulations are due to come in next month, but the UKDSA is calling for them to be postponed - to help agencies recruit new security staff more quickly.

    "When we go back on 21 June every operator in our field, every festival, nightclub, bar, restaurant, theatre, every event has been gagging to get back on track - and suddenly everyone is going to say we need security staff," says Stuart Glen, who runs a nightclub in north London.

    Having the correct ratio of security staff is a condition of holding a licence to operate, he adds.

    "If we can't find the staff then we physically can't open. It's a major issue," Glen says.

    Read more.

  6. South Africa sells unused AstraZeneca vaccines to African countries

    AstraZeneca vials against South African flag

    South Africa has sold its unused doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to countries in the African Union, the health ministry has announced.

    You may remember that South Africa stopped the use of the jab because a small trial showed it was less effective than other vaccines against the dominant local variant.

    The ministry has not specified how many doses have been sold on, but in February South Africa had 1.5 million.

    Many African countries have struggled to get their hands on vaccine supplies, though first batches have begun arriving through the global Covax intiative that distributes jabs to poorer countries

    "The first batch of vaccines that is being delivered will benefit nine (African Union) member states and the balance will be collected this week to be delivered to five other member states," the South African health ministry has said today.

    Read more about who is getting the vaccine in Africa.

  7. 'Our future will depend on science'

    Woman holding a vaccine vial

    A bit more now from Sir Paul Nurse, speaking earlier on BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend. The scientist said it was "extraordinary" that the government "is drifting, apparently rather leaderless, into a situation where it seems to be cutting support from science".

    “Really it is science that is saving the world from Covid, nobody disagrees with that," said the Nobel laureate, adding the proposed cuts "could be existential" for scientific research.

    "Over £1bn cuts just at the time when science is saving the nation. It makes no sense," he says.

    "The prime minister and the chancellor have got to realise the danger of the decisions they are making - or rather not making. They still have time to reverse it.

    "Our future will depend on science, and it is really being damaged by the decisions they are thinking about.”

    The government has said "high-risk, high-reward" scientific research will be funded through the new Aria programme. Aria has £800m funding over four years but the amount it will get is a fraction of the money pumped into existing government research bodies such as UK Research and Innovation.

  8. Town residents urged to get tested amid flare-up

    Holyhead

    People living in a town in Wales experiencing a Covid flare-up have been urged to get tested for the virus.

    Holyhead's infection rate is 466.5 cases per 100,000 people compared to the Wales average of 42.

    Anglesey council says mass testing is "a vital step to identify as many positive cases who will be unknowingly infectious and stopping the virus from spreading further" in Holyhead - and Holy Island where the town is located.

    Wales-wide restrictions have started to ease - on 13 March the nation's stay-at-home rules were lifted and replaced by a "stay local" message.

    People are expected to stick to a five-mile travel rule, and there is flexibility for those in rural areas. But the rise in cases prompted Anglesey council to issue a no travel warning in the area on Friday.

    Read more here.

  9. Brazil's Covid 'catastrophe' shows no signs of slowing

    A nurse in Recife receives a patient

    Throughout the pandemic, Brazil has rarely escaped the headlines. Infection and mortality rates continue to be sky-high with 2,438 deaths and nearly 80,000 cases recorded on Saturday by the health ministry.

    Hospitals across the country are near capacity, following several waves of infection that left sick people in some cities including Manaus without oxygen.

    Brazil’s leading healthcare institute, Fiocruz, has said the country faces an unparalleled “catastrophe”.

    Meanwhile the foreign ministry said on Saturday it is in talks with the US about potentially importing excess Covid-19 vaccines.

    This week President Jair Bolsonaro fired the third health minister of the pandemic, and protests have broken out across the country as people are angry about the handling of the crisis.

    Bolsonaro continues to resist calls to introduce strict restrictions, even as local Covid-19 variants continue to drive up infections.

  10. Hancock hails another record-breaking vaccination day

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has tweeted his delight at the latest record-breaking vaccination figures, hailing "more than three quarters of a million people coming forward to get the jab" yesterday.

    "If you get the call from the NHS - join them," he urges.

    "The vaccine protects you - and we know it helps you to protect your loved ones and those around you."

    He adds: "It's really terrific that the vaccine programme is rolling out so effectively."

    View more on twitter
  11. More than 27.6m receive first vaccination dose in UK

    It's official: a record 873,784 people received a vaccination jab on Saturday, bringing the total number of first jabs delivered in the UK to 27,630,970.

    Over half the adult population have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

    A further 2,228,772 have received both doses.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted Saturday's figures just over an hour ago - ahead of the official release of government data - thanking "everyone involved" on a record-breaking day.

    Official government figures also show a further 33 people who tested positive for coronavirus in the past 28 days have died.

    Weekend figures tend to be low in comparison with weekdays due to a lag in reporting deaths.

    There were 5,312 positive cases recorded.

  12. Geneticist calls for investigation into early months of pandemic

    The World This Weekend

    Radio 4 programme

    A test and trace worker speaks to a driver at a surge testing programme in Bramley, near Basingstoke last month
    Image caption: The introduction of testing in Spring 2020 was among the areas Sir Paul said needed investigating

    A Nobel Prize winner has called for an immediate investigation into how the first months of the pandemic were handled in the UK.

    Sir Paul Nurse, cancer expert and chief executive of the Francis Crick Institute says a full inquiry would "take too long" while we are still in the midst of the crisis.

    But he tells Radio 4's The World This Weekend: "I do think we should look at what happened in the first wave of the pandemic, I’m thinking around January to June... The fact that we weren’t prepared as a nation, the slowness in political response - almost casual really - suggesting a failure of scientific and medical advice reaching political power..."

    “There are lessons to be learned, and those lessons are important because we are not out of it yet, and, of course, this isn’t going to be the last time that we have to deal with issues like this."

  13. The Indian factory making 6,000 syringes a minute

    To vaccinate the global population of nearly 8 billion people, a huge number of syringes will be needed.

    Factories like Rajiv Nath's Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices in India are ramping up production to try to meet demand.

    Watch Mr Nath explain how even though his factory is making four million syringes a day, it's still not enough.

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: The Indian factory making 6,000 syringes a minute
  14. Record number of jabs given in England on Saturday

    vaccine vial

    We'e got more vaccination figures - following on from Boris Johnson hailing a record number of jabs given in the UK yesterday, official NHS figures for England show a record 756,873 Covid jabs were recorded on Saturday.

    This comes at the end of a week which saw the highest number of vaccine doses delivered since the rollout began.

    NHS England said 686,424 first doses were administered yesterday.

    Dr Emily Lawson, NHS England's chief commercial officer and senior responsible officer for vaccine rollout, ascribes the "remarkable" figures to "the sustained hard work of NHS staff and all those involved in delivering jabs up and down the country".

    "I could not be more proud of all those involved who have helped us to achieve this latest milestone," she says.

    NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens says: "The speed and precision of the NHS vaccination campaign has been on full display this weekend.

    "Yesterday NHS staff across England administered a remarkable 27 jabs a second. In just one day we vaccinated the equivalent of the entire adult populations of Liverpool, Southampton and Oxford combined."

    Official government figures for the whole of the UK are expected within the hour - though as we reported a few minutes ago Boris Johnson says 873,784 were given yesterday.

  15. Another vaccine record set, says PM

    Saturday was another record-breaking day for the UK vaccine rollout, the prime minister has announced.

    The official data is due to be released in the next hour, but writing on Twitter, Boris Johnson says 873,784 people received a jab yesterday.

    A combined 711,156 first and second doses were given to members of the public on Friday.

    "A huge thank you to everyone involved and please come forward to get your jab when you are invited to do so," Johnson tweets.

    View more on twitter
  16. Palestinian authorities begin vaccination campaign

    Vaccinations in Palestinian territories

    Medical staff and cancer patients in the Palestinian territories will be the first to be vaccinated as authorities announce the start of the nationwide campaign. People in both the West Bank and Gaza will be eligible.

    On Saturday President Mahmoud Abbas received the opening jab of the Covid-19 vaccine programme, reported local media.

    Last week, 62,000 vaccines doses were delivered to the health minstry from the global Covax initiative that aims to distribute jabs to poorer countries.

    A total of 2,656 Palestinians have died of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic last year, according to the health ministry.

    Meanwhile, Israel has so far delivered the world's fastest innoculation campaign.

    Read more about vaccine divides in the Middle East.

  17. Food plea nurse considers quitting after Covid

    Victoria Derbyshire

    Video content

    Video caption: Critical care nurse Dawn Bilbrough was driven to despair by the actions of panic-buyers in March 2020

    A critical care nurse who tearfully urged the public to stop panic buying in the first wave of the pandemic last year has said she is considering leaving her profession.

    Dawn Bilbrough says the past year has been "relentless, incredibly traumatic and emotionally and physically exhausting".

    The 52-year-old, from York, tells BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend nothing in her 20-year nursing career could have prepared her for the last 12 months.

    "There have been times when I've come home and had a good cry, because we have witnessed so much… we're at the patient's bedside 12 hours a day and they haven't had that usual psychological support from their families.

    "So we've been there… and got to know them as people, their likes and dislikes, their dreams; and then they've become really unwell and been placed on ventilators and quite often they haven't got through that.

    "And that's been difficult because personally I've felt a bond to my patients, and to witness them not progress as we would wish, that's been really hard."

    Ms Bilbrough says she and others medical staff needed support for the long-term stress, anxiety and depression those in her profession are experiencing.

    "There's just this overwhelming sense of sadness that creeps in… and I think we have to kind of bury that because we're professionals and we can't explore that too deeply when we're at work," she says.

    "So we're…carrying it around with us and for me, it's starting to come up a little bit and it needs to be addressed and processed, and it's going to take some time."

    Read more.

  18. Miami Beach declares state of emergency after surge of partying

    Police struggled to manage crowds in Miami Beach
    Image caption: Police struggled to manage crowds in Miami Beach

    It's Spring Break season in the US which means thousands of university students intent on partying are descending on South Florida.

    In Miami Beach police have declared a state of emergency as they struggle to control large crowds of people trashing restaurants and fighting in the street.

    Video on social media showed closely-packed groups drinking and dancing in the streets.

    An 8pm-6am curfew has been imposed immediately and will last for 72 hours, officials said on Saturday.

    "Too many are coming, really, without the intention of following the rules, and the result has been a level of chaos and disorder that is just something more than we can endure," Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber Gelber told CNN.

    Spring Break in Miami Beach, Florida
    Image caption: Spring Break in Miami Beach, Florida
  19. What is the virus situation in the UK?

    We are expecting the latest government figures on Covid to be released in about two hours.

    Saturday's data showed there have been nearly 4.3 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 126,000 people have died. And almost 27 million people have now had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

    The average number of new daily cases in the UK has fallen substantially in recent weeks, although the decline does appear to have slowed in recent days.

    Graph showing UK Covid cases

    The number of deaths has also been falling after reaching a peak in January.

    Graph showing UK Covid deaths

    Meanwhile, the number of people receiving the vaccine is on the rise.

    Graph showing UK Covid vaccination numbers

    Read more about the current situation across the country here.

  20. Watch: Can music festivals be safely planned?

    A music festival is taking place in the Netherlands, despite the rest of the country being under a lockdown.

    The two-day experiment aims to see if there's a safe way to allow large-scale social gatherings to restart, without increasing the spread of the virus.

    The BBC's Anna Holligan went to the festival in Biddinghuizen near Amsterdam.

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid restrictions:Can music festivals be safely planned?