Covid-19: Vaccination milestone and variant cluster in south London

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

1. All over-50s now offered first dose of Covid jab

All over-50s and those in high-risk groups in the UK have been offered a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, in time for Thursday's target, according to the government. Boris Johnson says it's "another hugely significant milestone", as the programme focuses on giving out second doses, a record 475,230 of which were administered on Saturday. The government also says it's on target to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July, although that's dependent on supply.

image copyrightPA Media

2. Moderna rollout begins in England

England becomes the latest nation to start offering the Moderna jab - the third Covid-19 vaccine to be licensed in the UK - as it's made available at 21 sites. Wales and Scotland began using the Moderna vaccine last week. Developed with similar technology to the Pfizer jab, it provides an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for under 30s, after concerns about a possible link to very rare blood clots.

image copyrightReuters

3. Variant cluster in south London

People aged 11 and over who live, work or travel through Wandsworth and Lambeth are being urged to get a PCR test, after confirmation of a cluster of coronavirus cases involving the South African variant. So far, there have been 44 confirmed and 30 probable cases of the variant, which it's feared could spread more quickly and affect how well vaccines work.

image copyrightPA Media

4. UK economy grew slightly in February

The UK economy "showed some improvement" in February, growing by 0.4% despite Covid restrictions remaining in place to varying degrees across all four nations of the UK, according to official figures. However, the impact of coronavirus was still evident, with the economy 7.8% smaller than a year earlier, before the UK felt the impact of the pandemic.

image copyrightReuters

5. 'Buzzing' after first night out in 97 days

"Like we're out of prison," was how one reveller summed up enjoying a drink outside a bar in London's Soho district at the end of England's lockdown. Another told us it was "how I imagine VE Day". Others faced "Arctic" conditions, as snow fell in various locations. One man, who found a "cosy" sheltered terrace in Newcastle, wasn't to be deterred: "We're from the north so we're used to it."

media captionExcitement, relief and a few cocktails in the sun Liverpool as lockdown ends

And don't forget...

... the rules on socialising in pubs, cafes and restaurants, if they're open where you live.

Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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