- Here are the headlines on Monday, March 15
Get vaccine despite countries suspending AstraZeneca jab
People across the UK have been urged to get their vaccine, despite a growing list of countries temporarily suspending use of the AstraZeneca jab amid concern around blood clots.
Ireland announced yesterday that it was suspending use of the jabs as a ‘precautionary step’, but the UK’s medicines regulator said the available evidence ‘does not suggest the vaccine is the cause’ of clots.
Several other European countries have already temporarily suspended use of the jabs. Dr Phil Bryan, vaccines safety lead at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said people ‘should still go and get their Covid-19 vaccine when asked to do so’.
AstraZeneca insists data shows vaccine is safe
AstraZeneca has insisted its coronavirus vaccine is safe after concern was raised around blood clots.
A review of available safety data in more than 17m people who have been vaccinated across the UK and EU has shown no evidence of an increased risk, the pharmaceutical giant said.
The number of cases of blood clots reported is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population, AstraZeneca’s chief medical officer Ann Taylor said.
Hairdressers reopen and primary pupils return to schools in Wales
Hairdressers and barbers in Wales will reopen today for the first time in 2021, as coronavirus restrictions are eased.
The change marks the first lifting of rules for close contact services since Wales entered lockdown on December 20, with businesses like nail parlours and beauty salons expected to remain shut until at least April 12.
It comes after Wales’ stay-at-home restrictions were lifted on Saturday, as the country moved to a ‘stay local’ period, with travel restrictions expected to be eased further in time for Easter.
More pupils return to classrooms across Scotland
More pupils are returning to school in Scotland in the latest phase of lockdown easing. Children in primaries 4-7 are due to join their younger classmates who were the first to go back to school on February 22.
Senior secondary school pupils required to attend for practical work for qualifications were able to return from the same date. Now, all high school students will be able head back to the classroom part-time.
Secondary school pupils are required to observe two-metre social distancing in school and on school transport as well as wearing face coverings.
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Boris Johnson unveils £3bn bus revolution
Buses will be more frequent, cheaper, greener and easier to use thanks to a £3bn revolution, the government has said.
The prime minister is unveiling a shake-up of the bus sector which aims to see lower, simpler flat fares in towns and cities, turn-up-and-go services on main routes, and new flexible services to reconnect communities.
The Department for Transport said the strategy will see passengers across England benefiting from more frequent, more reliable, easier to use, better coordinated and cheaper bus services. It is hoped it will encourage more people to take the bus rather than use their car.
Lord Mountbatten’s custom Jaguar to be offered at auction
One of Lord Louis Mountbatten’s luxury customised cars is heading to auction, Sotheby’s has said.
Lord Mountbatten, the uncle of the Duke of Edinburgh, commissioned the 1967 Jaguar 420, which was built to special order. This included being painted in the light shade typical of the royal’s livery known as ‘Mountbatten Blue’.
The car, which is still fit for driving, will go under the hammer later this month, with an estimate of between £10,000 to £20,000. The live auction will take place on March 24.
Legal action launched over indoor hospitality reopening date
Plans to keep indoor hospitality venues closed for weeks longer than non-essential shops in England are facing a legal challenge from a leading restaurateur and night tsar.
Hugh Osmond, the founder of Punch Taverns, and Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s night time economy adviser, have submitted a claim for a judicial review to the government.
They believe there is ‘no evidence or justification for the prioritisation’ of non-essential retail over hospitality, and said it could have a ‘potentially indirectly discriminatory effect’ on young people and people from BAME backgrounds working in hospitality.
Rental prices outside London surge by 8%
Rents outside London surged by eight per cent annually in February, an index has found.
Across Britain but excluding London, the average price of a newly-let property was eight per cent higher or £68 per month more than in February 2020, according to Hamptons.
The findings marked the strongest increase in rents since Hamptons’ index started in 2012. The increase took the average monthly rent outside London to £913, up from £845 in February 2020.
Spring 2021 strongest market for house-sellers in a decade
The average price tag on a home in Britain jumped by nearly £2,500 in March, in signs that the market for sellers is at its strongest in a decade, according to a property website.
Rightmove said average asking prices rose by 0.8 per cent, or £2,484, month on month in March, taking the typical price sellers are seeking to £321,064.
Nearly two out of every three (62 per cent) properties on estate agents’ books are now sold subject to contract, it added.
Calmer week ahead
Today will be a largely dry day with lighter winds, says the BBC. In the morning, there will be a few showers in the south of Wales and southwest England while eastern areas can expect sunny spells.
Tonight, a weak system will bring showers or spells of rain to the north. Dry conditions are expected for southern UK in the evening, but some patchy light rain will move in overnight.
On Tuesday, any rain will clear to the east through the morning, leaving a dry and bright afternoon for the north. The south will have a dull day, but it will be dry.
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