German health ministers have agreed to allow adults of all ages to have the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, no longer restricting it to people aged 60 or over. Health Minister Jens Spahn says it’s doctors who should decide who will be vaccinated and when.
Spain has been under a state of alarm for six months that comes to an end on Sunday, so all of its autonomous regions are rushing to push through measures to replace it. So far only the Balearic Islands have authorised new rules that extend the overnight curfew until 23 May and limit gatherings to six people. Andalucía is dropping its curfew and allowing pubs and discos to open until 02:00.
Germany has pushed back against a US call for patent protections to be waived for Covid vaccines. Berlin backs the Covax initiative to get vaccines across the world and says protecting intellectual property must stay in place as a “source of innovation”. According to the Spiegel website, Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the patent issue with BioNTech boss Ugur Sahin, as well as how to provide a sustainable supply to poorer countries.
Meanwhile, German newspaper Die Welt reports that France is delaying an EU order for 1.8bn Pfizer-Biontech doses for the next two years. It says EU diplomats are unsure of the reason but suspect Paris wants French companies to have a bigger role.
A group of 10 secondary school boys in Denmark have caused a local spike in infection after watching a Champions League semi-final last week, Danish TV reports. Although the boys didn’t break the rules, TV2 says the mayor has warned of local closures if the infection rate gets any higher.
Serbia’s decision to offer cash and other incentives to people to get vaccinated appears to be paying off. A large crowd gathered at yesterday’s opening of a vaccination centre in one of Belgrade’s biggest shopping malls, where shopping vouchers were on offer to the first 100 in line.
By Richard Anderson
Business reporter, BBC News
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is considering improved police protection for critical locations because of recent attacks by protesters against Covid measures. The RKI public health institute was targeted by arsonists and journalists have been attacked during protests. Intelligence officials say they’re now watching some elements of the Querdenker (lateral thinkers) protest movement.
Turkey goes under its first long lockdown later today, with the highest infection rates in Europe. For the next 17 days intercity travel will be halted without official approval, Turks will be barred from going outdoors for a good reason and alcohol sales will be limited. Read more on the lockdown here.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron will give updated details tomorrow of his plan for a “gradual and phased exit” from lockdown restrictions. Daily cases numbers have fallen below 30,000 but intensive care cases are still high, at 5,879.
Dutch ministers will decide today if and how they’ll allow an audience of 3,500 to watch next month’s Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam. There are three televised shows and even more that aren’t televised, and the ministers have to work out if they can be held safely by letting in the public.
European plane-making giant Airbus has returned to profit in the first three months of 2021 – up €362m. But Chief Executive Guillaume Faury warns the pandemic crisis isn’t yet over and the market remains uncertain. German airline Lufthansa has reported a €1bn loss - but that’s better than the first quarter of 2020.
Kenneth Clark investigates the Protestant Reformation in northern Europe. He looks at Holbein, Thomas Moore, Erasmus, the printing press and Durer.
Kenneth Clark reflects on the nature of the 18th Century music, and how some of its qualities are reflected in rococo architecture, the pilgrimage churches and palaces of Bavaria.
In Cologne, large numbers of women reported being sexually assaulted and robbed on New Year’s Eve by groups of men. Stacey Dooley travels to the city to investigate the impact.
- Most Italians are able to return to local restaurants and cafes for outdoor lunch and dinner from today. Table service remains outdoors only; masks and social distancing also remain in force. Under the national colour-coded system for Covid risk, most of Italy is returning to the less restrictive yellow, from orange or red
- A night curfew remains in force from 22:00 local time. Shows are also finally resuming in theatres, cinemas and concert halls. But they can be no more than half-full and spectators have to sit 1m (3.3ft) apart. In Milan, film fans booked all available seats at the Beltrade cinema, where some even turned up at dawn for the first showing, Rai news reports
- In France, nursery and primary school pupils are going back to lessons after three weeks away, with secondary age students returning next week. Belgians now no longer have to make an appointment to visit non-essential shops, but cafes and restaurants don’t yet offer outdoor table service
- In north Germany, police in Friesland have questioned a nurse who admitted swapping saline for Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine when injecting six people last Wednesday. Police quote the woman as saying she did it after dropping a vial, and wanted to cover up her mistake. The Friesland authorities now want 200 people to come forward for antibody testing, as the six are thought to be among them.