Covid-19: AstraZeneca hits back in EU vaccine row, and hotel quarantine for hotspots only

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

1. AstraZeneca boss hits back in EU vaccine row

The boss of vaccine maker AstraZeneca has defended his company - amid an ongoing row with the EU about delays to supply. On Monday, the EU health commissioner accused AstraZeneca of giving "insufficient explanations". But Pascal Soriot told Italian newspaper La Repubblica (English version) the delay was partly caused by the EU agreeing its vaccine deal relatively late. "We've also had teething issues like this in the UK supply chain," he said. "But the UK contract was signed three months before the European vaccine deal. So with the UK we have had an extra three months to fix all the glitches we experienced." You can read about the EU's vaccination problems here, see how its vaccine rollout compares with other countries here, and watch a video explainer below.

media captionSofia Bettiza explains why some countries are far ahead of others in the vaccination race

2. Hotel quarantine for hotspots only

As we reported on Tuesday, the UK is to introduce "hotel quarantine" for some people entering the country. Yesterday, the government hadn't decided whether it would apply to all arrivals - or just those from "high risk" countries. Now, after a late night meeting, it seems it will apply only to "high risk" areas, including South America, southern Africa, and Portugal. Although each part of the UK sets its own travel rules, it's thought all four nations will introduce hotel quarantine. Yesterday, Scotland's deputy first minister, John Swinney, said it would go "at least as far" as England. Read the UK's travel rules here - and watch what one bored tennis player did in quarantine below.

media captionWatch French tennis player Edouard Roger-Vasselin's quarantine chain reaction machines

3. Church reacts as UK reaches 100,000 Covid deaths

On Tuesday evening, another 1,631 deaths within 28 days of a Covid test were announced in the UK - taking the total above 100,000 since the start of the pandemic. Now, the Church of England's archbishops have urged the public to reflect on the "enormity" of the figure. "Each number is a person: someone we loved and someone who loved us," said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell. They are calling on people to join in a daily "prayer for the nation" at 18:00 GMT from 1 February. Watch Boris Johnson announce the "grim statistic" below.

media captionBoris Johnson announces UK deaths from Covid-19 have passed 100,000

4. Cut juries to seven, says Labour

Labour is calling for juries to be reduced from 12 members to seven, to help clear the backlog of crown court cases, partly caused by the pandemic. The party says smaller juries and more temporary courts would allow socially distanced trials. The government has not ruled out the move - but insists it is clearing the backlog. Read more about Covid's impact on justice here.

image copyrightTonyBaggett

5. The story of one Covid death

As the Church of England's archbishops said, each of the 100,000 Covid victims was "a person: someone we loved and someone who loved us". Read the story of Ann Fitzgerald, her husband Tony, and their four-decade marriage, here.

And don't forget...

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page. This piece explains why the UK's death toll is so high

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