Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan. I’m on Twitter @helenrsullivan if you need me.
Coronavirus death rates are 10 times higher in those where more than half the adults had a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25kg/m2 – the point at which normal weight tips into overweight, a new study shows. More on this shortly, in the meantime here are the other key recent developments.
- A further 208,968 Covid-19 vaccinations have been carried out in England, according to provisional NHS England data, including first and second doses.
- Police in China and South Africa have seized thousands of fake doses of Covid-19 jabs, adding that Interpol has warned this represented only the “tip of the iceberg” in vaccine-related crime.
- Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, on Wednesday announced tough new measures to slow a snowballing coronavirus pandemic in the country with the world’s second highest death toll.
- The Czech Republic and Slovakia, which have come under severe strain in recent weeks, will be given an extra 100,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses each by the EU.
- Serbia is struggling to contain a wave of new cases triggered by more infectious strains and health experts have urged the government to impose another lockdown despite the country’s massive vaccine rollout.
- Greece has extended its coronavirus lockdown to 16 March as it reported the highest number of new cases recorded so far in 2021.
- Estonia has imposed new restrictions on restaurants and non-essential shops as part of efforts to curb rising infections.
- New infections are dropping in the United States, Canada and Mexico but vaccinations have hardly begun in Latin America, raising the risk of dangerous new variants emerging, the Pan American Health Organization has said.
- Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech has said its Covid-19 vaccine is almost 81% effective at preventing infection following interim phase 3 trials.