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Live Reporting

Edited by Katie Wright

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye for now

    Thank you for joining us for live updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

    They were brought to you by Alice Evans, Becky Morton, James Clarke, Jennifer Meierhans, Katie Wright and Sophie Williams.

  2. What happened today?

    Boris Johnson on a visit to a vaccination centre
    Image caption: Boris Johnson visited a vaccination centre in Cwmbran, south Wales

    We are going to be bringing the live page to a close soon, so here's a recap of the day's coronavirus news:

    • Lockdown in England will be eased "cautiously" using a "data not dates" approach, the prime minister says
    • The world's first Covid-19 "human challenge trials" will start in the UK, infecting healthy young volunteers with the virus to test vaccines and treatments
    • A further 738 deaths have been reported in the UK within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test
    • There have also been another 12,718 daily UK cases, while 15,940,972 people have received the first dose of a vaccine
    • NI's vaccine rollout is running weeks ahead of schedule, so jabs for carers have been brought forward
    • The vaccination campaign is starting to reduce the Covid death toll in Scotland, the country's first minister has said
    • Researchers want the government to add fatigue, headache, sore throat and diarrhoea to the existing three symptoms which trigger a Covid test in the UK
    • More than £500,000 has been raised to help a mountain rescue volunteer who suffered life-changing injuries going to the aid of campers who had broken coronavirus lockdown restrictions
    • And Apple is changing its syringe emoji to remove the dripping blood, as it becomes widely used to talk about the Covid-19 vaccine
  3. Family enjoy stay-at-home 'tropical holiday' in lockdown

    The Hodgson family

    A family have harnessed the power of the imagination to "go on holiday" at home during England's lockdown.

    The Hodgsons packed their bags and embarked on a two-day trip to tropical "Hodgeland", complete with an airport departure lounge and a plane journey.

    The Disney-mad family from Leeds say it lifted their spirits during the "toughest" lockdown yet.

    The plan was conjured up by Heather Hodgson, who kept husband Dom and four-year-old Scarlett in the dark about the itinerary.

    Mr Hodgson says: "The little details really made it, she built a website to check in our passports for our flight, pre-recorded airport announcements and put tropical air fresheners around the room."

    Have a look at the holiday snaps here.

  4. Police tackle 'resurgence' of parties and large gatherings

    House party stock image

    Police in Greater Manchester have dealt with 1,200 Covid-related incidents in a week after a "resurgence" in parties and large gatherings, officials say.

    They have also seen greater "resistance" to police enforcement, officials for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority say.

    Speaking at a weekly press conference Bev Hughes, deputy mayor for policing and crime, said 280 fixed penalty notices had been issued in the past week, including 55 fines of £800, of which 32 were handed out at a mass gathering in Salford.

    Police also released footage of a large party at Beetham Tower on Deansgate which ended up in "a fight with about 50 people, and the owner is being pursued there for the £10,000 fine," she says.

    Several gyms, backroom bars and pubs, and a large yoga gathering were also found to be operating in the region.

  5. Lockdown diaries: 'No-one has seen him as a baby'

    Olivia Hall with her partner Michael Ayhow and their baby Harrison

    Olivia Hall gave birth at the start of the pandemic. She was one of the first cases to be placed in isolation at Southmead Hospital in Bristol.

    Her son, Harrison Ahyow, is now a toddler and she says it "saddens" her that no-one was able to see him as a baby.

    She says she has flashbacks to his birth on 25 March during the first lockdown.

    "I'd been left for hours labouring in the hospital car park," she says. "They didn't know where to put me, having shown symptoms for coronavirus 10 days previously.

    "They weren't testing then so I went into hospital alone, and 24 hours later I went into surgery alone.

    "An emergency C-section was required to deliver my first child. We're 10-and-a-half months later and I've seen a health visitor once."

    Read Olivia's take on motherhood and lockdown life in her own words.

  6. Author Ian Rankin's son 'forgotten' by vaccine programme

    Ian Rankin

    Scottish crime author Ian Rankin says his son Kit has been "forgotten" as vaccines were delivered to care homes.

    The 26-year-old - who has severe learning difficulties - lives in care in Edinburgh, but did not qualify in the first priority group.

    The Scottish government said it had "rightly" prioritised those at higher mortality risk.

    People with a "severe or profound" learning disability are in priority group six for the coronavirus vaccine.

    Rankin told the BBC: "Our son can't look after himself and he's in the same group as us - his parents, who are healthy 65-year-olds. People with learning difficulties should have been prioritised.

    "It's a bit late now. My son will get the jab in the next month or so. But we should learn lessons for the future about what it seems to be a bit of a lottery."

  7. Injured mountain rescuer appeal raises £500,000

    Chris Lewis

    More than £500,000 has been raised to help a mountain rescue volunteer who suffered life-changing injuries going to the aid of campers who had broken coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

    Chris Lewis, a member of the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team in the Lake District, suffered severe spinal injuries when he fell 500ft (150m).

    Lewis, 60, also suffered multiple facial fractures in the fall at Red Screes, above Kirkstone Pass on 6 February.

    Colleagues described the fundraising support, which saw more than 20,000 people donate in less than 48 hours, as "phenomenal".

    The campers, from Liverpool and Leicester, have both been fined £200.

  8. Amazon being sued by New York over Covid response

    A worker assembles a box for delivery at an Amazon fulfilment centre
    Image caption: An investigation was launched last March after numerous complaints about the lack of precautions for workers in New York

    Internet giant Amazon is being sued by New York over its coronavirus response.

    In a lawsuit, Attorney General General Letitia James said her inquiry into conditions at two warehouses in New York City found Amazon implemented a “deficient” programme to trace the contacts of infected workers.

    She also claims the company did not follow rules requiring companies to shut and disinfect areas that had been visited by a sick person, among other violations.

    James launched her investigation last March after numerous complaints about the lack of precautions for workers in New York, then the epicentre of the US coronavirus outbreak.

    Amazon last week attempted to block the lawsuit with its own legal action.

    It said James was applying "an inconsistent and unfair" standard.

    Read more here

  9. NI's vaccination rollout 'weeks' ahead of schedule

    Someone having a vaccine

    Northern Ireland's vaccine rollout is running weeks ahead of schedule, Health Minister Robin Swann has said.

    Carers and more people with underlying health conditions were due to be vaccinated in March but this will be brought forward "on a staggered basis", he says.

    "As ever, the rate of our progress through the eligible groups will depend on available supplies of vaccines," he says.

    The vaccine rollout will be divided between GP practices and the seven regional vaccination centres.

    On Wednesday, the Department of Health recorded six more Covid-19 related deaths, taking its death toll to 2,015.

  10. Losing both of my parents to coronavirus

    Cathy Killick

    Journalist, BBC Look North

    I lost both of my parents to Covid within six weeks.

    I've been a reporter for the BBC for more than 30 years. In that time I've interviewed dozens of people who have experienced loss. I've done my best to convey their emotion faithfully, not having experienced it myself.

    Now I find I am one of those people.

    I've always been struck by the bravery of those I've talked to and I've always been grateful to them too. Journalism can only exist if people are willing to share their stories, so I'm going to share mine not because I'm brave, but because I owe them.

    I've made this video below and the full story is here.

    Video content

    Video caption: BBC reporter Cathy Killick shares her experience after both of her parents died with Covid
  11. Premier League games on live TV until stadiums reopen


    All Premier League football matches will remain available to watch live in the UK until fans are allowed to return to stadiums.

    Matches will continue to be broadcast by Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and the BBC.

    Premier League football has been played behind closed doors since the 2019-20 season resumed in June following the first coronavirus lockdown.

    Some Premier League clubs were able to welcome up to 2,000 fans in December, but games were soon moved back behind closed doors amid rising cases of Covid-19.

    Earlier this month, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told BBC Sport there was a "long path ahead of us" before fans could return to stadiums.

    On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce how the current lockdown in England will be eased.

  12. South Africa rolls out vaccination programme

    President Cyril Ramaphosa gets the vaccine
    Image caption: President Cyril Ramaphosa was amongst those vaccinated on the first day

    As we mentioned earlier, South Africa has started Covid vaccinations following the suspension of an earlier plan to use the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

    A new variant accounts for most of the new cases in South Africa.

    South Africa put the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on hold, following a study that showed "disappointing" results against the country's new Covid-19 strain.

    South Africa says it has so far secured enough doses for the target population of 40 million.

    However, there has been criticism the government was too slow to act.

    Read more about immunisations and what the government is saying.

  13. What are challenge trials and why do we need them?

    James Gallagher

    Health and science correspondent, BBC News

    Stock image of a nose
    Image caption: Volunteers will get coronavirus squirted up their noses

    As we've been reporting today, a group of UK volunteers are soon to be deliberately infected with coronavirus in what's known as a "challenge trial".

    It will be the first such trial in Covid anywhere in the world.

    The volunteers will come into hospital and spend the whole time in a single room, and come into contact only with people running the trial.

    On the third day, a small syringe filled with live virus will be squirted up their nose.

    They will be monitored in hospital - including regular blood samples - for at least the following two weeks, after which they can go home if they are free of the virus.

    The volunteers will continue to be followed up for a year.

    Challenge trials and traditional trials are both important but there are some advantages to challenge trials, such as that they get results - including on vaccine effectiveness - incredibly quickly.

    This is because everyone is deliberately infected, whereas a "real-world" trial would have to wait for people to catch the virus in their day-to-day lives.

    The UK trial is focusing on young people (aged 18-30) with no health problems, who we know are very unlikely to have any health problems from a coronavirus infection, and they will be closely monitored in hospital.

    The risk is low, but a challenge trial is not completely risk-free.

    Read the full explainer here.

  14. Latest UK Covid data, in charts

    Following the UK government's release of daily coronavirus statistics, here are some charts showing the country's epidemic.

    To track case numbers in your area and see more graphs and charts, read our full story.

    A graph showing the number of daily coronavirus cases recorded in the UK is continuing to fall
    A chart summarising the coronavirus epidemic in the UK
    A graph showing the number of daily doses of coronavirus vaccine recorded in the UK
  15. 'This has got to be the final lockdown' - Labour

    Jonathan Ashworth

    Labour's shadow health secretary says he expects the government to lift Covid restrictions in England through "gradual easing" rather than ending lockdown "in one big snap".

    Speaking to reporters, Jonathan Ashworth agrees with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's comments made earlier today - that any easing should be driven by data rather than dates.

    "But we have to be cautious because this has got to be the final lockdown," Ashworth adds.

    He agrees the vaccination programme has been "a success" but says the government needs to "do more" to stop the spread of the virus when lockdown measures are eased.

    Ashworth lists sick pay as one of the elements that needs addressing and says "double-masking" - a concept being recommended in the US - should also be considered when UK ministers review the rules.

    The PM will set out details on Monday on the plan for lifting restrictions.

  16. China stays Covid free during the holidays

    Kerry Allen

    BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst

    People walk through the Yuyuan Garden during the Spring Festival in Shanghai
    Image caption: Tens of millions of people will still be travelling daily between now and the beginning of March

    In the past 24 hours, China has reported no new domestically-transmitted cases of Covid-19.

    This has pretty much been the story for the last week, and Chinese media have been praising these statistics, and thanking groups of people that the government urged shouldn’t travel during the Spring Festival holiday period. In particular, they have praised university students, migrants and overseas Chinese.

    In January, there were multiple outbreaks of the virus in the northeast of the country.

    And as hundreds of thousands of people traditionally travel across China for the Lunar New Year – which this year fell on 12 February - to spend time with their families, there were government concerns this annual migration might exacerbate the spread of the coronavirus.

    Consequently, China’s central government tried to discourage people from travelling this year, and local governments introduced financial incentives for people to stay put.

    The government also introduced special measures for those who did still intend to travel, in order to keep them safe. Travellers were instructed to show a negative Covid-19 test within seven days of their journey, and encouraged to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival at their destination.

    Tens of millions of people will still be travelling daily between now and the beginning of March, but today is the last public holiday in China, so the majority of people made their return journeys today.

  17. Quarantine hotel rooms are 'like a prison'

    Caroline Davies

    BBC transport correspondent

    One of the hotel rooms being used to quarantine arrivals
    Image caption: One of the hotel rooms being used to quarantine arrivals

    Quarantine hotels in the UK opened to their first guests on Monday, but some have expressed concerns about their safety, the cost and whether the system works.

    Everyone who has visited or transited through 33 countries on the UK's "red list" who arrive in England must stay 11 nights in a quarantine hotel - at a cost of £1,750 for a single person.

    Mohammed Mostafa travelled to London after visiting family in Bangladesh. While the country is not on the red list, Mr Mostafa transited through the UAE which is - and the new measures took him by surprise.

    "It was absolutely shocking and I felt quite intimidated as well," Mostafa told AFP news.

    He is staying at the Holiday Inn hotel and described his room as "like a prison".

    Read more.

  18. 'Self-isolation cost my family £700'

    Tracy Moore and her husband Jason
    Image caption: Tracy Moore and her husband Jason lost hundreds of pounds when they were told to isolate

    Self-isolation is costing people who do not qualify for financial support hundreds of pounds in lost income.

    Most applications to Wales' £500 self-isolation grant scheme have been rejected.

    Under the existing system, applicants must stand to lose income by isolating, and be on at least one of a range of benefits.

    The Welsh government announced on Wednesday it was expanding the scheme to include people not on any benefits but with a personal income of less than £500 net per week or on basic statutory sick pay.

    Tracy Moore, from Flintshire, saw her household income fall about £700 last month, and told BBC Wales Live the way the support system worked was "wrong".

    Her husband and son work for a Tarmac company and shared their van with someone who tested positive the following day.

    They called 111 and were advised to isolate for 10 days - but when they tried to apply for financial help they were told they were not eligible as they had not formally been asked to isolate by Test, Trace, Protect.

    Read more.

  19. Over-75s 'given time' to pay BBC licence fee

    TV Licensing paperwork

    The BBC says it will give people over the age of 75 more time to pay their licence fee due to the pandemic.

    The right to a free TV licence for the elderly ended last August for all except those in receipt of the pension credit benefit.

    More than 2.7 million households with someone over 75 have now bought a licence, with 750,000 more applying for a free one under the new system.

    However, the BBC said around one in seven have not yet made arrangements.

    A spokeswoman denied reports that the corporation was introducing an amnesty on prosecutions for those who do not sign up.

    "There is no amnesty, nor have we announced any new policy," she said. "We are simply giving more people time to safely set up their licences in light of the pandemic."

  20. Instagram ban for Australian celebrity chef over Covid misinformation

    Pete Evans
    Image caption: Pete Evans was a judge for 10 seasons on Australian show My Kitchen Rules

    Australian celebrity chef Pete Evans has been banned from Instagram just weeks after his Facebook page was removed for repeatedly sharing misinformation about Covid.

    Evans, who had about 1.5 million Facebook followers and some 278,000 Instagram followers, had shared a range of debunked theories about the severity of the virus, mask-wearing and vaccines, as well as incorrect claims about 5G telecom networks.

    The chef was a judge for 10 seasons on the Australian show My Kitchen Rules.

    Aside from his comments on coronavirus, he has also promoted pseudo-science about diets and cancer cures.

    Read more here.