Greece widens lockdown, EU regulator to fast-track jabs: COVID-19 daily bulletin
Updated 02:41, 14-Feb-2021
Aden-Jay Wood


- The European Medicines Agency has begun a real-time review of the vaccine developed by Germany pharmaceutical firm CureVac after the jab showed promising results in its laboratory studies.

- The UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes the virus will "become something that we simply live with," adding that "the miracles of science are already making a huge difference."

- Portugal has extended its flight ban to and from the UK and Brazil until March amid concerns of variants of the virus, the country's interior ministry said.

- Researchers at the University of Oxford will test the efficacy of its vaccine, developed alongside AstraZeneca, on children for the first time. The trial will involve 300 volunteers and determine whether the jab can be used on children aged between six and 17.

- Hundreds of people protesting in Cyprus against corruption and lockdown measures clashed with police near Nicosia on Saturday. Police used water cannons and tears gas in an attempt to break up the gathering with at least one person taken to hospital amid the violence.

- Europe's drug regulator the European Medicines Agency is planning to fast-track any new vaccines being made to protect against variants of the virus, the regulator's vaccine evaluation chair Marco Cavaleri has said. "We will ask for much smaller trials, with a few hundred participants, rather than 30,000 to 40,000," he added.

- Hungary will be able to vaccinate millions of people by the end of May due to its plans to use China's Sinopharm jab, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said. "If we start using the Chinese vaccine, which will happen soon, then by Easter we can vaccinate every person who has registered so far," he added.

- Portugal is to extend its current border controls with neighboring Spain until at least March in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.- Serbia has been given the green light to produce Russia's Sputnik V vaccine domestically, the country's innovations minister Nenad Popovic said.

- Greece has extended its lockdown measures to two more regions as it seeks to slow the spread of the new variants. From Saturday, schools, hair salons and non-essential retail shops will be closed in the northwest region of Achaia and the country's second largest island, Euboea

- Europe's airport traffic last year fell to the levels recorded in 1995 after it lost 1.72 billion passengers amid the pandemic, according to data collected by trade association, ACI Europe. "No industry can on its own withstand such a shock," ACI Europe's chief Olivier Jankovec said.





Nawied Jabarkhyl in London

By the end of the year, the UK could learn to deal with the coronavirus "like flu." That's according to the country's health minister, Matt Hancock, who said advances in treatments and progress in vaccinations meant the virus could become a "treatable disease."

The UK is on track to give a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 15 million people by Monday. The target was to vaccinate all those aged over-70, care home staff and residents and frontline health workers. 

Meeting the goal will be a much needed boost for the government's morale in a week that saw the UK economy officially plunge to its worst economic slump in more than 300 years.



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Natalie Carney in Munich

Effective Sunday, Germany's borders with Czechia and much of Austria's Alpine state of Tyrol will be closed over worrying developments in virus mutations there.

Only Germans, foreigners with German residency, seasonal agricultural workers and health workers will be allowed into Germany at these crossings. Test and quarantine regulations will also apply in exceptional cases.

The EU commission has criticized Germany's move, asking Berlin to grant exemptions. EU countries recently agreed on recommendations for coronavirus-wary travel, yet Germany's new restrictions don't appear to consider them.

Federal interior minister Horst Seehofer defended Berlin's decision, arguing "the EU Commission has made enough mistakes in procuring vaccines in the last few months, [it] should support us and not throw clubs between our legs with cheap advice."

The number of new coronavirus infections in Germany continues to fall with health authorities reporting 8,354 new cases Saturday morning – 1,506 fewer than the previous day.


Europe's airport traffic last year fell to the levels recorded in 1995, according to data collected by trade association, ACI Europe. /AP

Europe's airport traffic last year fell to the levels recorded in 1995, according to data collected by trade association, ACI Europe. /AP



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CGTN Europe has been providing in-depth coverage of the novel coronavirus story as it has unfolded. Here you can read the essential information about the crisis.

Source(s): Reuters

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