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Covid-19: UK passes 60,000 deaths and Facebook to ban false vaccine claims

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Thursday evening. We'll have another update for you on Friday morning.

1. UK surpasses 60,000 Covid deaths

More than 60,000 people in the UK have now died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, government figures show. A further 414 deaths were recorded on Thursday, taking the total to 60,113. Only the US, Brazil, India and Mexico have recorded more deaths than the UK, according to Johns Hopkins University. Here we remember some of those whose lives were lost to the virus. You can click here to see how many cases are in your area.

image copyrightPA Media

2. First vaccines could cut 99% of Covid deaths

The first wave of vaccinations could cut up to 99% of Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths, England's deputy chief medical officer has said. Prof Jonathan Van-Tam told the BBC that would be possible if everyone on the first priority list took the vaccine and it was highly effective. His comments came after the UK became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use. You can listen back to his Q&A here. And here we look at his colourful use of metaphors at the coronavirus press briefings that have helped make him something of a household name.

media captionHow will the new Pfizer vaccine work?

3. UK got jab first because it's a 'better country', minister claims

Speaking of the vaccine, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has claimed the UK was the first to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech jab because it is a "much better country" than France, Belgium and the US. Some UK ministers claim Brexit sped the process up - but Mr Williamson told LBC radio it was down to having superior medical experts. A source close to the education secretary later said his intention had been to "praise the scientific brilliance of the regulator". The EU responded that it was "definitely not in the game of comparing regulators".

image copyrightEPA

4. Facebook to remove vaccine misinformation

With the first vaccinations set to be administered in the UK as early as next week, Facebook has said it will start removing false claims about Covid-19 vaccines to prevent "imminent physical harm". The social media giant said it was accelerating plans to ban such misinformation on its Facebook and Instagram platforms following the UK's approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Among already-debunked claims that won't be allowed are falsehoods about vaccine ingredients, safety, effectiveness and side-effects. Here the BBC debunks some of the most common vaccine myths.

image copyrightGetty Images

5. Football fans return to matches

Fans returned to English Football League grounds for the first time in more than nine months on Wednesday, after coronavirus restrictions were eased in some parts of the country. A limited number of supporters were allowed into six games. Luton and Wycombe were allowed up to 1,000, while Carlisle, Charlton, Shrewsbury and Cambridge were able to house 2,000. Here are some of the best photos from the night.

image copyrightPA Media

And don't forget...

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

If you're concerned about the safety of the coronavirus vaccines, BBC News online health editor Michelle Roberts runs through the precautions taken ahead of approval.

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