Vaccines 1) Johnson heralds victory for care homes

“Boris Johnson has hailed a “crucial milestone” in the coronavirus battle as official data is expected to confirm that all older people in English care homes have been offered the vaccine. The government had set a target to provide the vaccine for all eligible residents and staff by the end of January. Figures are expected to show today that the NHS has reached some 10,000 care homes with older residents, although a small number have had their visits deferred because of local coronavirus outbreaks. The number of jabs administered across the UK exceeded 500,000 in one day for the first time on Saturday. The government recorded 598,389 more people as having received their first dose on January 30, and a further 10,621 as having had a second dose.” – The Times

  • Housebound elderly have ‘slipped through cracks’ in Covid jabs rollout – Daily Telegraph
  • Public ‘should be told to consider face masks in some outdoor spaces’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Britain to give Ireland priority in any sharing of Covid vaccines – Daily Telegraph
  • Give ethnic minorities priority for Covid-19 jab, say doctors – The Times
  • Mapping Covid-19 mutations is route out of pandemic – The Times
  • Patients face fall in care quality as NHS training stalls in coronavirus pandemic – The Times
  • NHS will take months to return to normal in England, says hospitals boss – The Guardian

Vaccines 2) France and Germany mull sanctions on vaccine providers as EU row over delays escalates

“France and Germany threatened legal action against AstraZeneca on Sunday as they scrambled to explain their shortages in vaccine supplies and warned that any firm which favoured UK orders for the jabs would be penalised. Clement Beaune, the French Europe minister, threatened sanctions against the Anglo-Swedish firm, which produces the Oxford vaccine, if it emerged that Britain had been given priority. “If there is a problem and that other countries have been favoured – for example the UK over us – then we will defend our interests,” Mr Beaune said on Sunday.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson says AstraZeneca ‘tooings and froings’ with EU will not affect UK’s supplies as drug firm agrees to provide the bloc with nine million extra vaccine doses by March – Daily Mail


Vaccines 3) Peter Tiede (chief political reporter for Bild, the German daily): Ursula von der Leyen’s mess has disgraced Europe

“Oh, how we Germans made fun of those strange Brexit birds with the weird Euro-populist Boris Johnson at their head. Marching out of the EU. Ridiculous! Well, they’ll soon see what they’re left with. Without Europe. All alone. Now we see it. All of us — 83 million Germans, and all of Europe — undersupplied with vaccines, left lagging behind not only the US and Canada but also Britain! Of all the people, it was Johnson who got it right: he ordered vaccines for the British in time, generously and sufficiently. In surplus! And we? We have done everything wrong and are struggling with a vaccination disaster. Germany, of all countries! Industrial power, clever nation, kings of cleanliness and order. We screwed up. We ordered too little, too late. We were too stingy, too lame. As a result, Poland and Hungary are already wondering what on earth the EU is all about.” – The Times

Coronavirus 1) School closures ‘will cost each pupil £40,000 in lost earnings’

“School closures during the pandemic will cost the average pupil £40,000 in wages over their lifetime, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated. The think tank says that closures were likely to cost £350 billion in lost earnings. It said that the government should extend the school day among other recommendations. The institute says in a report today that the wages deficit will result in a £100 billion loss in taxes to the Treasury. It also advises ministers to set up summer schools, extend the school year or enable millions of children to repeat whole years. Boris Johnson said last week that summer schools, tutoring and a “Covid premium” would be established to help children but details have not been announced.” – The Times

  • More teenage girls admitted to English hospitals for self-harming – The Times


Coronavirus 2) PM tells MPs to abstain in Labour vote to shut borders

“Boris Johnson will order his MPs to abstain on a Labour motion to secure the country’s borders amid backbench pressure to enforce compulsory hotel quarantine for all arrivals. Labour will force a symbolic vote this afternoon calling on ministers to require all arrivals from abroad to quarantine for ten days in a hotel, to stop potentially vaccine-resistant variants of coronavirus being brought here. The vote puts Priti Patel, the home secretary, in an awkward position after she pushed for the policy last month but was overruled by Johnson. Instead the government announced that only people arriving from about 30 high-risk countries with significant mutations, including South Africa, Brazil and surrounding nations, would have to pay to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.” – The Times

  • England risk being kicked out of the World Cup under Labour border plans – The Sun

Truss 1) Britain is poised to become a Pacific player, writes the Trade Secretary

“Tomorrow, I will be presenting our formal letter of application to New Zealand and Japan to join them in one of the world’s largest trading areas: the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Global Britain is not resting on its laurels after a year as an independent trading nation – we are picking up speed. We are stepping up as G7 President this year to rally an alliance of like-minded democracies in the fight for free and fair trade. We are speaking up at the World Trade Organisation for global rules fit for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. And we have a great deal with the EU, alongside agreements covering 63 countries.” – Daily Telegraph

More comment:


Truss 2) UK firms aren’t facing border Armageddon

“Six in ten manufacturing companies say they are suffering significant disruption at the border despite government claims that Brexit has not led to “Armageddon”. A study by Make UK, which represents engineering and manufacturing companies, found that a majority of almost 200 businesses had faced long delays caused by the paperwork needed to trade with the EU since the end of the Brexit transition period. In many cases companies were struggling to prove the UK origin of their goods to qualify for zero-tariff EU access, hitting them with additional export charges, it was claimed… Truss, the international trade secretary, denied claims of disruption.” – The Times

Flat owners trapped by cladding crisis after Grenfell Tower fire ‘feel abandoned’

“Ministers must set up a national task force to “get a grip on the deepening cladding crisis” after the Grenfell Tower fire, Labour said last night. The party will force a vote in the Commons today calling for robust protections to prevent leaseholders bearing the cost of replacing unsafe cladding. Sir Keir Starmer said there had to be “a turning point” for the 700,000 trapped in dangerous homes and three million with unsellable flats. “For many leaseholders, the dream of home ownership has become a nightmare,” he said.” – The Times

Burma military coup: Aung San Suu Kyi arrested

“The commander of Burma’s armed forces has seized power and declared a one-year long state of emergency, hours after the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and unknown numbers of democratic politicians and activists were arrested across the country. The arrests mark the beginning of a new period of military rule after the armed forces stood back from power a decade ago, following half a century of dictatorship. Ms Suu Kyi, formerly one of the world’s most famous political prisoners, is returned to the house arrest from which she was released in 2010. Telephone and internet connections appeared to have been cut off or slowed down in parts of the country, after the dawn raids in which dozens of people, at least, were arrested and detained in unknown locations.” – The Times

News in brief: