Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

Edited by Paul Gribben

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Evening round-up from the UK

    A nurse preparing a Covid vaccine

    Thanks for joining us today. Here are some of the main stories we've been covering:

    • There's been much talk today of the UK's decision not to prioritise key workers like police officers or teachers for a Covid jab. Instead, it's been recommended that the quickest way to proceed is to prioritise people by age groups, with the next phase focusing on people in their 40s
    • Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a Downing Street press briefing that this is the "moral thing to do" as it will "save the most lives"
    • During the briefing, England's deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam also warned it is "too early to relax" and that people must stick to lockdown restrictions
    • A study at a hospital has found the Pfizer vaccine appears to slow the spread of coronavirus as well as preventing people getting seriously ill. The findings from Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, support similar research by Public Health England, as well as an Oxford-AstraZeneca study
    • Coronavirus cases in London have reduced "significantly" enough for Sadiq Khan to downgrade the Covid-19 "major incident" status in the capital. Residents have been urged to stay on high alert, however
    • ITV has brought the final of this year's series of Dancing On Ice forward by a week after a string of celebrities pulled out through illness and injury, including one of the contestants testing positive for coronavirus
    • The R number in the UK remains unchanged, at an estimated 0.6 to 0.9
    • A total of 19,177,555 people have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the UK, according to the latest figures. A further 8,523 have tested positive for the virus, with another 345 deaths reported of people who had tested positive within the previous 28 days. Read more on the data here
    A graph showing coronavirus data for 26 February
  2. What's happened around the world today?

    The group push themselves on a trolley
    Image caption: A group of Russian diplomats left North Korea by hand trolley due to covid restrictions

    Here are some of the main headlines from around the world today.

    • Greece and Austria are urging other EU states to adopt coronavirus vaccination “passports” which could help revive Europe’s stricken tourist industry.
    • A group of diplomats from Russia had to make an unusual exit out of North Korea by using a hand-pushed rail trolley due to strict coronavirus restrictions on travel in and out of the country
    • South Korea started its vaccination rollout on Friday with the first doses going to nursing home workers and some patients
    • A German MP is being investigated on suspicion of large-scale bribe taking linked to the supply of Covid face masks. He has called the allegations “baseless”
    • Poland is raising the upper age limit for people receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine to 69 from 65 due to limited vaccine supplies. At the start of February the Polish Medical Council recommended senior citizens should not be given the AstraZeneca vaccine in line with many other EU countries
    • The Ivory Coast has received its first shipment of the vaccine as part of the Covax scheme
  3. Greece extends restrictions to other parts of country

    A woman wears a face mask in Athens

    Greece is extending coronavirus restrictions to other parts of the country as case numbers continue to remain high.

    The measures will affect the islands of Lefkada, Syros and Samos, the town of Arta, the wider area around Corinth and Heraklion on the island of Crete, Reuters news agency reports.

    Under the restrictions, which come into effect on Saturday, schools, hair salons and non-essential shops are forced to close.

    Athens is also currently under a lockdown that has been extended. On Wednesday, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said 90% of intensive care units in the Athens area are currently occupied.

    Greece has recorded 186,469 cases and 6,410 deaths since the pandemic began.

  4. Portugal extends lockdown until 16 March

    A person walking in Lisbon, Portugal, on 23 January 2021

    Portugal's government has extended the lockdown in mainland Portugal until16 March.

    It coincides with a new 15-day state of emergency, starting onTuesday, that was approved by parliament yesterday.

    The government decision was expected. The prime minister, António Costa, had said that it would almost certainly be necessary to keep extending the lockdown until the end of March, despite a sharp fall in the numbers of new coronavirus cases and deaths in recent days.

    Today the national health authority reported 1,027 new confirmedcases in the 24 hours to midnight - down from the 28 January peak of 16,432- and 58 more deaths associated with Covid-19.

  5. Coronavirus levels 'burning quite hot' in some of UK

    A mother and son wearing face masks

    Some areas of the UK are "burning quite hot" with rising levels of new coronavirus infections, England's deputy chief medical officer says.

    Although coronavirus levels are still decreasing across much of the UK, there are hotspots that buck the trend.

    These are in the Midlands, the east and west coast of England and some parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    Prof Jonathan Van-Tam told Friday's Downing Street coronavirus briefing that the battle is not yet won.

    He warned people not to wreck it by relaxing the rules too early.

    Read more here.

  6. Canada authorises AstraZeneca vaccine

    Canada has authorised use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the third vaccine the country has approved for use.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the move on Twitter.

    View more on twitter

    The government has ordered more than 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and is soon set to rule on whether to approve the Johnson & Johnson and Novovax jabs.

    Canada has confirmed more than 863,495 cases and 21,868 deaths since the pandemic began.

  7. Former PM Theresa May receives first vaccine dose

    View more on twitter

    Theresa May has received her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

    The former prime minister, 64, described the jab as "effective and painless".

    Mrs May thanked the NHS for their "heroic efforts" during the pandemic, urging others to follow suit by getting the vaccine.

    All over-60s who have yet to receive their coronavirus jab are now asked to book an appointment online.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: "Delighted former Prime Minister Theresa May has had the jab. When your turn comes, please get the jab"

    It comes as more than 19 million people in the UK have received their first vaccination.

  8. Austria interested in Russian vaccine

    Sputnik V vaccine
    Image caption: The Sputnik V vaccine is now going to many countries

    Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has discussed possible deliveries of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to Austria, in a phone call with President Vladimir Putin.

    Sputnik V has not been authorised by the EU’s European Medicines Agency, and Mr Kurz made it clear that such approval would be required first.

    This month the respected medical journal The Lancet published results showing Sputnik V to be safe and over 90% effective against Covid-19.

    Austrian specialists might in future co-produce Sputnik V with Russia, Mr Kurz said.

    Russia is reported to be facing some production difficulties with Sputnik V, which is now in high demand worldwide. In the EU, only Hungary is using the Sputnik V jab. But tiny San Marino – not in the EU – has also taken delivery of it.

  9. Analysis – why the focus on age not occupation?

    Philippa Roxby

    Health reporter, BBC News

    Woman getting a Covid-19 vaccine

    The next phase of the vaccination programme aimed at the under-50s is all about speed.

    The more quickly they can be vaccinated, the more lives can be saved from Covid-19 (reducing pressure on hospitals) and the more likely the roadmap out of lockdown can be delivered.

    The government’s committee of vaccine experts says that means people should be vaccinated according to what age they are and not what job they do.

    It would be more complicated and more time-consuming to invite all teachers or police officers for their first dose than to make an offer to all those in their 40s, for example.

    Research by the Office for National Statistics suggests a number of occupations have higher-than-average death rates, including restaurant workers, taxi drivers, metal workers and shop assistants – so which group would be prioritised first and how would they be identified?

    The conclusion is that a fast, efficient rollout to all adults, by age group, is the best way to achieve the target of giving all adults a first dose by the end of July.

    To know more about this issue, read here.

  10. Fears of a Covid-19 resurgence in Beijing

    Kerry Allen

    BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst

    Ronding Lidu closed off
    Image caption: The Ronding Lidu apartment complex has been closed off

    There are fresh fears about an outbreak of Covid-19 in China’s capital city, after pictures appeared online showing a sealed-off residential community in southern Beijing.

    The city’s official newspaper Beijing Daily says that residents at the Ronding Lidu apartment complex in the southern Daxing district are being instructed not to leave their homes, and they are undergoing mass testing.

    The paper says that it has also attempted to contact a university campus in the same district, after hearing similar rumours online that it had also been ordered to close. So far, it has not received a response.

    These reports have reignited fears that part of the city may be set to return to a strict lockdown. In late January, Beijing’s Daxing District went into full lockdown after nine confirmed cases of the virus. People were told to stay at home, all public places were closed and transport links were restricted.

    Daxing district, which has half a million residents, ended its lockdown two weeks ago, so there will be questions about whether it lifted them prematurely.

    However, in the last 24 hours, no domestically transmitted cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Beijing - or China as a whole.

  11. Decline in US Covid cases 'may be stalling'

    People stand outside Madison Square Garden wearing masks

    A recent decline in Covid cases may be stalling, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control warned.

    Dr Rochelle Walensky said the situation was concerning and called for Covid restrictions to remain in place.

    According to Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to the White House Covid-19 response team, nearly half of Americans over the age of 65 have had their first vaccine dose.

    The US is the worst-hit country in the world with more than 28 million cases and 508,000 deaths.

    Since taking office last month, President Joe Biden has made tackling the pandemic his priority.

    View more on twitter
  12. Reality Check

    Has UK vaccine delivery slowed down?

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock noted in Friday's Downing Street briefing that “there has been a lower amount of supply across the whole UK in the last week or so.”

    This has clearly turned up in the figures with a noticeable decline in doses.

    In the week to 25 February, 2.4 million doses were delivered.

    This is down from 2.9 million doses in the previous week.

    However, in the past couple of days things have picked up again and the health secretary said that he was expecting a “bumper March”.

    For an update on the number of people who have been vaccinated, read here.

  13. How are European countries tackling the pandemic?

    Most European countries introduced lockdown measures at the start of the year to fight new peaks in infections and deaths.

    Some are now starting to ease those restrictions but others are having to extend lockdowns or introduce new regional measures.

    We took a look at how European countries are currently tackling the pandemic from France to Sweden.

    Read more here

    A person wearing a mask sits near the Louvre in Paris
  14. 'We have to hold our nerve' - Van-Tam

    Jim Scott of the Northern Echo also asks about lockdown breaches involving people travelling to the North East. Now the roadmap has been set out by the PM, he wants to know if Prof Van-Tam is concerned "people think the end is here".

    "Yes, is the answer," is the stark reply. "I do worry that people think it's all over."

    He says the more people think that, when it is far from over, the greater the risk of not hitting the key dates on the roadmap.

    "It's a collective effort," adds Prof Van-Tam, saying we have to "hold our nerve and see this through to the end of the roadmap".

    Closing the briefing, Matt Hancock says "this is on all of us" and that "every single person needs to stick to the rules".

    "We're making great strides but we're not there yet," he says.

  15. Vaccine programme has been 'equal and fair' says Hancock

    Jim Scott from the Northern Echo asks why vaccine clinics in some areas of north-east England have had to be cancelled because of a lack of supply.

    Matt Hancock says "one of the brilliant things about this vaccine programme is how it has been equal and fair UK-wide". He says there has been a lower amount of supply across the whole of the UK in the past week or so, but this has picked up again in the last 48 hours.

    Supply is "lumpy", in that it goes up and down, he says, but the health secretary promises "we're going to have a bumper March" in terms of vaccinations.

    Getting access to the vaccine for every single person in the North East is just as important as in any other area of the UK, he adds.

  16. Hancock defends mental health support for NHS staff

    Matt Hancock is asked by a journalist from HuffPost UK about support for healthcare workers given the number of sick days lost to mental ill-health.

    The health secretary says there is a "huge amount of support" for NHS staff who have been traumatised during the second wave of the pandemic.

    Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, is asked whether he would be "comfortable" with the Eat out to Help Out Scheme returning this spring or summer.

    He replies that when people eat together then "of course, it is likely there will be some transmission".

    But "who pays the bill, or how much of the bill you have to pay for yourself" is a question for politicians.

  17. 'Strong recommendation' for primary children not to wear masks

    Jonathan Reilly from The Sun says there are reports schoolchildren as young as five are being told to wear facemasks in classrooms - he asks if teachers should be doing this.

    He then asks if Covid volunteers should be recognised in any way.

    Dr Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at Public Health England, says they have looked and reviewed the evidence on mask-wearing in younger children.

    She says the consensus view is "very strongly" not to advise children at primary age to wear face coverings.

    She says this is because children can have difficulty wearing them and keeping them on and because it's "very important" for them to see facial expressions in order to develop their communication and language skills.

    Responding to the other part of the question, Hancock pays tribute to the Sun's "Jabs Army" campaign and says the voluntary effort around the vaccine rollout has been "unbelievable".

    He says they are looking at a system of NHS reserves.

  18. Blunt 'Don't wreck it' warning highlights potential issue

    Helen Catt

    Political correspondent

    This briefing is about looking to the next phase of the vaccine rollout but "don't wreck it" is a characteristically blunt message from Jonathan Van-Tam to those who've already had a jab.

    The government knows it has a potential issue here.

    As the vaccine rollout continues quickly, and many more people know they are developing some protection, the temptation might be there to start bending the rules a bit.

    Expect lots more messages of caution for the coming weeks to try to prevent that.

  19. What's the latest on vaccine passports?

    Talk Radio's Charlotte Ivers asks about vaccine passports and if they would ever be needed for pubs or football grounds - something, she says, listeners have been asking about.

    Matt Hancock says there will be some areas where certification will be needed, for example if another country says you need to have had a vaccine before entering.

    The wider questions have been put into a review to be led by Michael Gove, he says, adding he cannot be more specific at this time. "It's right that we take our time to think about this," he adds.

  20. 'Moral thing to do was save most lives' - Hancock

    Teacher in her secondary school classroom

    The BBC's Hugh Pym asks what the health secretary would say to teachers who argue being given priority for the vaccine could help prevent absences from the classroom.

    Matt Hancock says the "overall view we came to" was that the "right thing to do, the moral thing to do was to make sure we save the most lives". It's also a matter of how people can receive vaccines most quickly - and the quickest way is by prioritising by age, he adds.

    "Trying to come up with a scheme which prioritises one professional group over another would have been complicated to put in place and wouldn't have done what we asked the JCVI to put in place", he adds, which is to prevent deaths.

    Prof Van-Tam says the ONS data suggests restaurant and catering managers have the highest risk of death, followed by other professions including metal working and machine operatives, chefs and cab drivers.

    The figures for male teachers is much lower for mortality. "We have to start in a logical place," he adds, and says that is going to be difficult because of the many occupations that would need to be called forward.

    The pace of the rollout would be damaged and the "big win" is in speed, he adds.