- Here are the headlines on Monday, March 22
PM to call on EU leaders to veto vaccine export blocks
Boris Johnson is expected to ask European leaders this week to dismiss any proposals to block coronavirus vaccine exports to the UK.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has ramped up the rhetoric this weekend, saying the EU has the power to ‘forbid’ exports, adding: ‘That is the message to AstraZeneca.’
The warning reflects growing frustration on the continent that the EU is not getting the supplies it expected from the British-Swedish manufacturer. The PM is expected to contact his EU counterparts ahead of a virtual summit on Thursday where leaders are due to consider the matter.
Face coverings and social distancing may last for years to come
Social distancing measures and face coverings may be required for years to come, Public Health England’s head of immunisation has said.
Dr Mary Ramsay said ‘lower-level’ restrictions could be in place for a ‘few years’ until the rest of the world is better vaccinated against Covid-19.
The government’s road map for easing lockdown restrictions in England aims to remove all legal limits on social contact no earlier than June 21 this year. Dr Ramsay said the return of mass events will be monitored ‘very carefully’ with clear instructions about what is and is not allowed.
Paris lockdown bites
Residents of Paris and several other regions of France spent their first weekend under a limited month-long lockdown.
While the French government insisted the rules would be less strict than in the past, the measures have been criticised as messy.
A travel authorisation certificate posted online was so ridiculed by French media for its unnecessary complexity that the Interior Ministry scrapped it within hours. For now, simple proof of residence is required to stroll within a 6.2-mile radius.
Restrictions eased on supermarkets in Wales
The ban on supermarkets in Wales selling non-essential items is being lifted from today as the country slowly moves out of lockdown.
All non-essential retail was ordered to close on Christmas Eve last year as Wales entered alert Level 4, but shops selling essential items such as food could remain open.
It meant supermarkets continued to trade but they were banned from selling anything not deemed essential, such as books, DVDs and toys. Aisles were taped off to stop customers buying non-essential goods, but this ban is now being lifted.
Saudi Aramco annual profits drop by almost half
Saudi Aramco’s net income plunged by nearly 50 per cent in 2020, according to figures.
The Saudi Arabia’s state-backed oil giant announced on Sunday that its profits in 2020 had fallen to £35bn as the coronavirus pandemic roiled global energy markets.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co released its financial results a year after the pandemic sent the price of oil crashing to all-time lows as people stopped moving around the world to stem the spread of the virus.
First-time buyers ‘need average deposit of nearly £59,000’
First-time buyers face needing to find nearly £12,000 more for a deposit than they would have done a year or so ago, analysis has found.
The typical deposit that a first-time buyer needs to put down has increased in every UK nation or region over the past year and now averages nearly £59,000, according to the research from Halifax.
It found that, in London, the average deposit size being put down by people taking their first step on the property ladder had increased by more than £20,000.
Email and social media hacking reports top 15,000 in last year
More than 15,000 reports of email and social media hacking were received by Action Fraud in the last year.
The UK’s fraud and cyber crime authority said almost nine in 10 incidents (88 per cent) brought to its attention between February 2020 and February 2021 were from members of the public whose personal accounts had been compromised, resulting in £283,500 collectively being stolen.
Businesses, sole traders and charities paid the highest price, recording a loss of £3.8m.
Nine arrested after theft of more than 70 high-value keyless cars
Detectives investigating a gang of thieves who used scanners to steal at least 70 keyless cars and 4x4s have arrested nine people.
Police raided 10 homes across London, Essex and Hertfordshire last week and arrested six men and three women.
The operation was a move against a network which investigators believe is behind the theft of at least 70 high-value vehicles worth more than £1.5m in total, most being Range Rovers.
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Getting more unsettled this week
A bright start for parts of Wales and southern England, but it will turn increasingly cloudy through the day, says the BBC. Cloudy elsewhere and light rain in the north-west. Brief sunshine in eastern Scotland.
Tonight will be a largely cloud night for all. It will turn breezier in the north-west, and showers will drift to Northern Ireland and western areas of Britain through the night.
It will be a breezier day for all tomorrow, especially in the north-west. Further showers in western areas and later in the day a band of more persistent, blustery rain will push in from the west.
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