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ritain’s public finances will face “enormous strains” in the wake of the third national lockdown, the Chancellor has warned.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Budget announcement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the Financial Times a bill for the Government’s £280bn investment in coronavirus support will eventually have to be paid, with low interest rates leaving the nation’s finances “exposed”.

Mr Sunak said: “We now have far more debt than we used to and because interest rates … at least a month or two ago were exceptionally low, that means we remain exposed to changes in those rates.”

While Mr Sunak did not reveal any details on specific tax measures, the Budget is expected to include a swathe of actions aimed at kickstarting the nation’s economy as lockdown eases over the coming months.

Live updates

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Londoners flouted lockdown to worship the sun at London’s parks

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Matt Hancock tweets Captain Tom tribute on day of his funeral

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: “Sir Captain Tom Moore was an inspiration and we will never forget his efforts throughout the pandemic.

“He showed the best of Britain.

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Actress Abigail Breslin has said that her father Michael has died from coronavirus.

The Little Miss Sunshine star shared the news on her Instagram account on Saturday morning, along with a collection of picture of her father.

She said that coronavirus had cut her “sweet daddy’s life too short”.

She added: “I’m in shock and devastation.

“At 6.32pm EST [eastern standard time], my sweet, perfect, amazing, heroic, wonderful dada passed away after my family and I said goodbye.

“It was Covid-19 that cut my sweet daddy’s life too short.”

In a previous Instagram post on February 10, Breslin said her father had tested positive for coronavirus and had been placed on a ventilator.

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Coronavirus vaccines in numbers

Coronavirus vaccine in numbers: UK closes in on 20 million vaccinations

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Arrests in Dublin protest

A number of people have been arrested as hundreds of protesters took part in an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin.

Protesters clashed with Irish police as they marched through the city centre and attempted to make their way to St Stephen’s Green park.

There was a heavy garda presence around the city centre ahead of the protest, which started at around 2pm.

Hundreds of people who were not wearing face masks took part in the demonstration.

Gardai used batons to push protesters away from the park.

PA
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US advisers endorse single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson

U.S. health advisers endorsed a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson on Friday, putting the nation on the cusp of adding an easier-to-use option to fight the pandemic.

The acting head of the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement that the agency will move quickly to follow the recommendation, which would make J&J’s shot the third vaccine authorised for emergency use in the U.S.

Vaccinations are picking up speed, but new supplies are urgently needed to stay ahead of a mutating virus that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.

After daylong discussions, the FDA panelists voted unanimously that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks for adults. Once FDA issues a final decision, shipments of a few million doses could begin as early as Monday.“There’s an urgency to get this done,” said Dr. Jay Portnoy of Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

“We’re in a race between the virus mutating — and new variants coming out that can cause further disease — and stopping it.”More than 47 million people in the U.S., or 14% of the population, have received at least one shot of the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which FDA authorized in December.

But the pace of vaccinations has been strained by limited supplies and delays due to winter storms.

While early J&J supplies will be small, the company has said it can deliver 20 million doses by the end of March and a total of 100 million by the end of June.

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Charities unite in drive to try and boost vaccine take-up

16 charities have joined forces to urge people with long-term health conditions, and their carers, to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

The British Heart Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support and Mencap taking part in the campaign in a bid to boost the uptake of the vaccine.

They hope to tap into their combined networks to give reassurance about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and will each feature in a campaign video showing people in cohort 6 getting their jab on their individual channels and will have speakers who are promoting the cause.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the backing of the charities at this stage is a “a great boost for the rollout which continues to show what we can achieve when we pull together as one”.

Diabetes UK chief executive Chris Askew said “the best protection against coronavirus is to get the vaccine and take whichever vaccine you are offered”, while African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) co-founder Orin Lewis said he was backing the drive because decisions need to be made “with knowledge of the verified facts and the science behind the vaccine”.

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Over 2 million jabs administered to Londoners

NHS England data shows a total of 2,061,215 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and February 26, including 1,984,318 first doses and 76,897 second doses.

This compares with 3,235,063 first doses and 89,483 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 3,324,546.

The breakdown for the other regions is:

East of England – 1,978,029 first doses and 72,509 second doses, making 2,050,538 in total

North East and Yorkshire – 2,594,328 first and 95,154 second doses (2,689,482)

North West – 2,184,421 first and 74,901 second doses (2,259,322)

South East – 2,700,998 first and 97,830 second doses (2,798,828)

South West – 1,919,098 first and 67,714 second doses (1,986,812)

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Over 17.2 million vaccinations took place in England between December 8 – February 26

A total of 17,254,844 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and February 26, according to provisional NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 469,003 on the previous day’s figures.

Of this number, 16,679,881 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 452,777 on the previous day, while 574,963 were a second dose, an increase of 16,226.

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Scotland: 18 Covid-related deaths recorded in the past 24 hours

Scotland has recorded 18 deaths from coronavirus and 525 positive tests in the past 24 hours, the Scottish Government has said.

It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7,129.

The figures show 201,512 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 200,987 the previous day.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde recorded 151 cases, along with 106 in Lothian and 89 in Lanarkshire.

The daily test positivity rate is 3.1%, down from 3.3% the previous day.

There are 898 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, down 26 in 24 hours, and 74 patients are in intensive care, down six.

As of 8.30am on Saturday, 1,570,153 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, an increase of 27,224 since Friday.

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