Coronavirus live news: WHO team to speak in Wuhan following investigation

By Lucy Campbell (now); Helen Sullivan (earlier)



WHO investigators press briefing




Covid mortality in England still higher for some ethnic minorities, study finds

Evidence that ethnic minorities in England are at elevated risk of contracting and dying from Covid-19 compared with their white counterparts is well established. But a new sweeping analysis in England shows that between the first and second waves of the pandemic in 2020, death rates in black communities improved, but continued to remain high in people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds.

The analysis – which is yet to be peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal – suggests that while the public health messaging focused on ethnic minorities has had a beneficial impact on some communities, others need customised outreach, the authors said.

The study analysed data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and from GPs for roughly 29 million adults aged 30 to 100. The researchers examined differences in the risk of death between ethnic minorities and the white population in the first wave (January to August 2020) versus the second wave (September to December 2020).

Their findings took into account factors such as age, geography, socio-demographic characteristics (using 2011 census data), and pre-pandemic health conditions:



WHO investigators to speak in Wuhan after four-week investigation


Five people jailed in China over prison outbreak

Five people including three officials have been jailed in China for dereliction of duty over an outbreak in a Shandong prison which saw more than 200 inmates infected in February 2020.

The three officials - including the former head of the province’s Rencheng prison, a deputy prison head, and former deputy director of the province’s prison administration – were sentenced to between 12 and 27 months in jail, with the court ruling that their dereliction of duty led to the spread of the virus inside Rencheng, and caused great loss to public property, the country, and the interests of the people.

A former guard and driver were separately also given suspended jail sentences of 12 and 16 months. Caixin reported that prosecutors alleged the driver was infected in January 2020 via someone in Wuhan, about 450 miles away, but deliberately failed to report his contact history.

The prison guard didn’t report his symptoms.Rencheng was the worst hit of five prisons in Hubei and Zhejiang provinces where more than 550 inmates and guards were infected.


China's 2020 new births fall 15%


Pete Buttigieg to quarantine for 14 days after security detail member tests positive



EU chief urges states to donate vaccines to Ukraine


The British Labour party has called on the chancellor to extend the government’s emergency support for hard-pressed companies after warning that businesses face a £50bn hit in April when financial help is withdrawn.

With the budget less than a month away, the opposition called on Rishi Sunak to announce a six-month extension of the business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure and to continue the temporary cut in VAT to 5% for the same three sectors of the economy.

Labour, which has already called for an indefinite extension of the furlough, said economic support had failed to keep pace with the tougher social distancing regulations introduced to curb the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic: