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Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out plans to reopen the economy and eventually relaunch international travel today when he updates the coronavirus roadmap, aided by one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in the world.

As much of Europe enters new lockdowns to tackle surging cases, Mr Johnson will give an update on his staggered plan to ease restrictions in the coming months at a Downing Street press conference – to be held exactly a year to the day since he was taken into hospital with Covid-19.

Mr Johnson is expected to confirm that non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality and hairdressers can reopen on April 12 in England, while he will also give more details on vaccine passports and international travel.

The government’s plan to use a traffic-light system for countries based on infection and vaccination levels gives a glimmer of hope that some form of holidays could take place. Under the current plan international travel will not resume until May 17 at the earliest.

​​Follow the latest updates below.

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 Philippine extends lockdown as infections spike

The Philippine government extended a lockdown by another week Monday after an alarming spike in coronavirus infections continued to surge and started to overwhelm many hospitals in the capital and outlying regions.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metropolitan Manila and four outlying provinces, a region of more than 25 million people, back under lockdown last week as daily infections breached the 10,000-mark.

The government-run Lung Center of the Philippines became the latest hospital in the capital region to announce over the weekend that it can no longer accept walk-in patients after its Covid-19 ward reached full capacity while its emergency room was now handling twice its capacity.

“We are not just full. We are very full. In fact, the hospital has been full for the past two weeks,” Lung Center spokesman Dr. Norberto Francisco said.

Other hospitals said they could take steps to expand bed capacity but there was inadequate number of medical workers partly because many had also been infected.

Catholics attend a mass marking Easter Sunday outside the Saint Peter Parish Church in Quezon City, Metro Manila

Catholics attend a mass marking Easter Sunday outside the Saint Peter Parish Church in Quezon City, Metro Manila



China reports biggest daily case jump in over 2 months

China reported its biggest daily jump in new Covid-19 cases in more than two months, as a city on the border with Myanmar in southwestern Yunnan province accounted for all new local cases.

Ruili’s local government put residents in its urban area under home quarantine, launched a massive testing drive and began restricting people from leaving and entering the city from last week after reporting Covid-19 patients.

The city accounted for all of the 15 new local cases reported on April 4. The total number of new infections, including imported infections originating from overseas, stood at 32, marking the highest total since Jan. 31.


China to donate 150,000 Sinovac vaccine doses to El Salvador

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele said on Sunday that China will donate 150,000 Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine doses to the Central American nation, on top of the 2 million Sinovac jabs his government already purchased.

“I received a letter from President Xi Jinping, where he informs me that he will donate 150,000 vaccines against Covid-19 to our country,” Bukele wrote on Twitter.

The donation will help El Salvador, a country of around 6.5 million people, which began its immunisation campaign with the AstraZeneca vaccine in February.

El Salvador has reported 64,431 cases of coronavirus and 2,025 deaths from the virus. 


Sturgeon ‘can’t wait’ to get first dose of vaccine

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she “can’t wait” to receive her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine later this month.

She said it had been a “grim year” for everybody because of the virus, as she revealed that she will receive her first vaccine injection in mid-April.

Like many other people, Ms Sturgeon, 50, tweeted a picture of her blue envelope with the vaccine appointment after it arrived through her letterbox.


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