Covid: EU talks to boost jab supplies, and vaccine passports for pub goers?

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Thursday morning. We'll have another update for you this evening.

1. EU leaders to discuss boosting vaccine supplies

EU leaders are holding virtual talks later to discuss ways of boosting Covid vaccine supplies and improving the rollout of doses across the 27-nation bloc. The European Commission plans to ask leaders to support plans for added controls on vaccine exports, which could affect supply to the UK. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier warned against imposing "blockades". In a joint statement yesterday the UK and the EU said they wanted to "create a win-win situation and expand vaccine supply for all", adding "the third wave makes co-operation between the EU and UK even more important".

Image source, EPA

2. Vaccine passports for pub goers?

As lockdown measures look set to ease, a plan being mooted is that pub goers could be asked to provide a vaccine certificate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs, saying it "may be up to individual publicans". A government source told the BBC that the option of allowing people to show a negative test was also being looked at. Plans are being considered as part of a review into whether people should have to prove they have been vaccinated, as lockdown measures ease. But Tory MP Steve Baker said it was a "ghastly trap" and would unfairly penalise those advised not to have a vaccine.

Image source, PA Media

3. NHS staff in Scotland to be offered 4% pay rise

NHS staff in Scotland are to be offered a pay rise of at least 4%, the Scottish government has confirmed. Nurses, paramedics and domestic staff are among those who could receive the boost to their salaries. Health Secretary Jeane Freeman says the offer - which does not apply to doctors - recognised the "service and dedication" of staff during the pandemic. The settlement will be backdated to 1 December 2020 in recognition of an "exceptional year of significant pressure". The rise is higher than the 1% increase proposed for some NHS staff in England.

Image source, PA Media

4. Middle-aged women 'worst affected by long Covid'

Middle-aged women experience the most severe, long-lasting symptoms after being treated in hospital for Covid-19, two UK studies suggest. Five months on, 70% of patients studied were still affected by everything from anxiety to breathlessness, fatigue, muscle pain and "brain fog". But the researchers say there is no obvious link with how ill people originally became. How women's bodies fight off illness could explain their poorer recovery.

Image source, Getty Images

5. The bus journey that saved hundreds of thousands of lives

As the Number 18 bus wove through the London traffic, two passengers were deep in conversation. What they agreed on the pre-lockdown roads near Euston would change the course of the pandemic and possibly the future of medicine. It would unite researchers, the NHS and 40,000 Covid patients in an endeavour uniquely suited to a national public health service. It would save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Covid patients around the world. It would create the UK's Recovery trial, where existing drugs were tested on Covid patients to see if they had an effect on the disease.

Image source, Getty Images

And don't forget...

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