Almost 49m Americans have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, as several states prepare to offer shots to all adults in the coming weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the US has administered 136.7m doses overall since the rollout began in December, with 89.6m Americans receiving at least one dose.
Germany has designated France, Slovakia and the Czech Republic as “high incidence areas” from Sunday onwards and will require visitors to present a negative coronavirus test to enter. The decision to move France into the high-risk category has raised concerns on both sides of the border.
An extra 100m children failed to learn basic reading skills as a result of the disruptions caused by coronavirus in 2020, reversing two decades of progress and triggering a “learning loss” that could take 10 years from which to recover, according to Unesco estimates. Schools around the world closed for an average of 25 weeks last year.
French President Emmanuel Macron came under fire from political opponents on Friday over his refusal to take the blame for the recent surge in Covid-19 infections that threatens to overwhelm hospital intensive care units in Paris and the north. The government finally locked down nearly a third of the country a week ago.
Cruise operator Cunard will limit its summer tours of the British coastline to vaccinated UK residents, the company has announced. Cunard said on Friday that only people who had waited a week after receiving their second dose of an approved Covid-19 vaccine would be allowed aboard the liner Queen Elizabeth.
The Serum Institute of India blamed a fire at its plant for delayed commercial shipments of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines weeks before New Delhi imposed a de facto ban on exports of doses to expand its vaccination drive. SII chief executive Adar Poonawalla warned that “a fire at one of our buildings has caused obstacles to … expansion”.
A vaccine factory in the Netherlands at the centre of a spat between London and Brussels has been given the go ahead by the European Medicines Agency to begin supplying Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs to the EU. The EMA said on Friday that the Leiden factory — run by subcontractor Halix — had been approved for production and export.
UK engineers Smiths increased its half-year dividend after a pandemic-induced increase in demand for semiconductor testing cushioned a drop in industrial sales. The FTSE 100 group raised its dividend to 11.7p, up from 11p over a year ago, after beating expectations on headline operating profit, which slipped 6 per cent to £166m.