Coronavirus latest news:  Sir Lenny Henry leads campaign urging black people to get Covid jab

Sir Lenny Henry and Chiwetel Ejiofor are leading a campaign urging black people to have the Covid jab, as new figures reveal huge differences in uptake between ethnic groups.

The actors are among dozens of leading voices from the black community speaking out after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that people of black African origin are five and a half times more likely not to have received a first jab compared to white British.

Those in the black Caribbean community were nearly four times more likely.

The ONS said that while poverty, education and geography played a part, these factors accounted only for a fraction of the difference between ethnicities.

In an open letter to black Britons, Sir Lenny urged people to “trust the facts about the vaccine, from our own professors, doctors, scientists involved in the vaccine’s development, GPs, not just in the UK but across the world including the Caribbean and Africa”.

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4:30AM

Honduras puts temporary ban on arrivals from South America 

Honduras said on Monday it would temporary restrict arrivals from South America, citing fears about the so-called Brazilian variant of the coronavirus entering its territory.

Honduras’ national risk management system SINAGER said in a statement that it would curb the entry into Honduras of citizens who had stayed in South America in the last 15 days.

The measure was announced after authorities from neighboring Panama reported a case of the Brazilian variant, which is considered more infectious.

3:11AM

Trump blasts Fauci and Birx as ‘self-promoters’

Former President Donald Trump is slamming two of his most prominent coronavirus advisers. He says Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Deborah Birx are “two self-promoters trying to reinvent history”.

Dr Fauci is the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, and in a statement released on Monday evening, Mr Trump calls him “the king of ‘flip-flops”. He accuses Mr Fauci of “moving the goalposts to make himself look as good as possible”.

Dr Birx managed the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, and Mr Trump says she “is a proven liar with very little credibility left”.

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A hotel worker sweeps a quiet street near Times Square where some of the area's Broadway theatres are located in New York

A hotel worker sweeps a quiet street near Times Square where some of the area’s Broadway theatres are located in New York

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JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

1:04AM

Canada pauses AstraZeneca vaccine use for under-55s

Canadian health officials said on Monday they would stop offering AstraZeneca’s vaccine to people under age 55 and require a new analysis of the shot’s risks and benefits based on age and gender.

The moves follow reports from Europe of rare but serious blood clots, bleeding and in some cases death after vaccination, mainly in young women. No such cases have been reported in Canada, with about 307,000 AstraZeneca doses administered.

The National Advisory Council of Immunisation, an independent expert panel, said on Monday that the rate at which the clotting complication happens was not yet clear. So far, 40 per cent of people who have developed it have died, but that may fall as more cases are identified and treated early, it said.

“From what is known at this time, there is substantial uncertainty about the benefit of providing AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to adults under 55 years of age,” the council said in a written recommendation.

1:01AM

Brazil health minister seek deal for delivery of 20m doses from US 

Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on Monday that he was pushing Brazilian and US diplomats to get an earlier delivery of 20 million doses of vaccines from the United States to help slow the country’s raging pandemic.

Speaking with senators in Brasilia, Queiroga said he would be meeting with US Ambassador Todd Chapman on Tuesday to seek a breakthrough in getting access as soon as possible to the Pfizer vaccine, and had already discussed the issue with Brazil’s top diplomat in Washington, Nestor Forster.

Brazil is facing the worst stage of its pandemic, hurt by a lack of federal restrictions on social distancing and other measures, an infectious new variant, and a patchy vaccine rollout.

Brazil has a 100-million dose deal with Pfizer for 2021, but delivery is only scheduled to begin in May with 2 million shots.

Read more: British pharma giant to ‘fill and finish’ Novavax Covid vaccines amid threat of jabs trade war

A health professional prepares a vaccine in front of a panel in honour of the victims of Covid in Brasilia Ceilandia

A health professional prepares a vaccine in front of a panel in honour of the victims of Covid in Brasilia Ceilandia

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Getty

12:49AM

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