Coronavirus live news: Venezuelan president’s Facebook page frozen over cure claim; UK deaths pass 150,000 milestone, analysis shows

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Bill Roache has “recovered well” after contracting the coronavirus, Coronation Street has said. The 88-year-old actor, who plays Ken Barlow in the ITV series, has taken time off from the show. A spokeswoman said:

Following recent reports about his health, William Roache has asked us to clarify that he took time off work after testing positive for Covid.

He has recovered well and is looking forward to returning to the cobbles as soon as possible.

Spain to require negative test at French land border

Spain will require people arriving from France by land to present a negative Covid-19 test following a rise in Spain’s infection rate.

“The order will take effect three days after its publication in the Official State Gazette and until the government declares the end of the health crisis situation caused by Covid-19,” the health ministry said in a statement reported by Reuters. The requirement will not apply to truck drivers, people who cross the border for work, and people who live within 30km of Spain.

There has been a recent recent rise in the number of French people crossing the border to visit open bars and restaurants in Madrid and other areas. France remains under lockdown.

Updated at 11.49am GMT

Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has said he has mild Covid-19 symptoms as infections continue to surge in the world’s second-most populated country.

Tendulkar, who will turn 48 next month, retired from the professional game in 2013 after a prolific 24-year-career. He tweeted:

I have been testing myself and taking all the recommended precautions to ensure Covid is kept at bay. However, I have tested positive today following mild symptoms.

All others at home have tested negative. I have quarantined myself at home and I am following all the necessary protocols as advised by my doctors.

Updated at 11.26am GMT

Boris Johnson said the discovery of the highly transsible Kent virus variant known as B117 was an “incredibly important moment” that led to the end of the tier system. Speaking at the Conservatives’ virtual spring forum, Johnson said: “That was an incredibly important moment, because we were then able to work out what was happening, because we could see that B117 was basically transmitting considerably faster.”

He said that the tiering system “had been basically working for much of the autumn” before the variant’s spread, although experts at the time warned that the measures were not tough enough to contain the spread in the worst hit areas.

Boris Johnson has said he can see nothing in the data to dissuade him from continuing along the government’s roadmap to unlock the economy.

Speaking at the Conservatives’ virtual spring forum on Saturday he said:

In just a few days’ time, I’m finally going to be able to go to the barbers. But more important than that, I’m going to be able to go down the street and cautiously, but irreversibly, I’m going to drink a pint of beer in the pub. And as things stand, I can see absolutely nothing in the data to dissuade me from continuing along our roadmap to freedom, unlocking our economy and getting back to the life we love.

The prime minister congratulated NHS staff, local council staff and volunteers for their work in the vaccine rollout, before going on to praise the “might” of capitalism.

Boris Johnson said: “In the end, none of this would have been possible without the innovative genius and commercial might – you know what I’m going to say – of the private sector, the free market economy.

“At the heart of this vaccine rollout is a huge and unmissable lesson about the need for private risk taking, capitalist energy.”

Updated at 11.14am GMT

Boris Johnson said it remained unknown how the third coronavirus wave sweeping Europe could impact the UK. Speaking at the Conservatives’ virtual spring forum, the prime minister said that the second half of 2021 could be “fantastic” but it depends on “things going right”.

Johnson said “bitter experience” has shown a wave like the one in Europe would hit the UK “three weeks later”. He added: “The question is – is it going to be, this time, as bad it has been in the past?

Or have we sufficiently mitigated, muffled, blunted impact by the vaccine rollout?

“That’s a question we still don’t really know the answer to.”

Updated at 11.07am GMT

Philippines reimposes stricter coronavirus restrictions

The Philippines will reimpose tougher coronavirus measures in the capital, Manila, and nearby provinces, a senior official said on Saturday in order to fight a surge in infections. The measures will be in effect from 29 March to 4 April, the presidential spokesman said in comments reported by Reuters.

It comes as the country fights to curb a surge in Covid-19 cases that is straining its healthcare system, with cases rising by a record figure in three of the past five days. From Monday, more than 24 million people in and around Manila will have to work remotely unless they are key workers and public transport will be halted, AFP reports.

Updated at 11.45am GMT

Northern Ireland first minister receives first vaccine dose

Northern Ireland‘s first minister, Arlene Foster, has received her first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

The 50-year-old politician was given a shot of AstraZeneca’s vaccine by a GP at Castle Park leisure centre in Lisnaskea in her Co Fermanagh constituency on Saturday morning, according to PA.

The DUP leader became eligible for the vaccine earlier this month after Northern Ireland’s programme opened to the 50-and-over age bracket.

Foster said that she was “just delighted” to get the vaccine, adding:

There is a really positive community spirit here and across all of our centres in a collective effort to combat Covid-19.

I am grateful to all of the wonderful team of medics and volunteers who are making this happen in GP practices and centres across Northern Ireland every day of the week.

Northern Ireland has passed the milestones of 700,000 first doses and 110,000 second shots this week, and is on course to offer first jabs to all 1.4 million adults by July.

Updated at 10.48am GMT

Families in Israel are celebrating Passover following a successful vaccine rollout in the country in which more than half of its overall population have received both doses.

Giordana Grego, who immigrated to Israel from Italy, told AP:

For us in Israel, really celebrating the festivity of freedom definitely has a whole different meaning this year after what we experienced.

It’s amazing that this year we’re able to celebrate together, also considering that in Italy, everybody is still under lockdown.

Coronavirus live news: Venezuelan president’s Facebook page frozen over cure claim; UK deaths pass 150,000 milestone, analysis shows

Coronavirus live news: Venezuelan president’s Facebook page frozen over cure claim; UK deaths pass 150,000 milestone, analysis shows

Updated at 10.49am GMT

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