Coronavirus latest: White House coordinator says US is ‘turning the corner’ on pandemic

A weak US jobs report has amplified political tensions ahead of talks between the White House and lawmakers this week on Joe Biden’s economic plans. Some economists say they expect the dip to be only temporary, and the strong vaccination rollout combined with the previous stimulus will bolster the recovery.

Canada shed more than 200,000 jobs last month with losses concentrated in industries such as retail and hospitality and leisure that are affected by public health restrictions. Employment fell by 207,000 in April, while the jobless rate rose 0.6 percentage points to 8.1 per cent, Statistics Canada said.

Travellers from England will be allowed to resume foreign holidays later this month but will be able to visit only a handful of destinations without having to quarantine on their return. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel would be among 12 countries and territories on the least restricted “green list”.

For the UK’s wedding industry, which estimates it typically generates £14.7bn in spending a year and provides work for 400,000 people, the pandemic has been devastating. About 220,000 weddings, or 80 per cent of the 2019 total, were postponed last year, according to the UK Weddings Taskforce, set up to represent the industry during the crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic was meant to propel the Serum Institute of India and its chief executive Adar Poonawalla from an obscure drug manufacturer into the world’s vaccine saviour. But four months on, Poonawalla is facing a reckoning as India staggers under a brutal second wave of infections.

The chief executive of Pfizer said waiving the patents of Covid-19 vaccines would “unleash a scramble” for scarce raw materials and discourage innovation in the pharmaceutical sector. Albert Bourla said suspending intellectual property rights “threatens to [put] the safety and security of all at risk”.

The World Health Organization added Sinopharm’s vaccine to its list of approved Covid-19 jabs, boosting the credentials of the China-made dose, developed in partnership with the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, amid doubts over its efficacy. The emergency use listing is for a two-dose regimen for all adults.

People in the UK in their 30s will be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, UK government officials confirmed on Friday, as declining Covid-19 infection rates mean the risk of a rare blood clotting condition linked to the jab may outweigh the dangers of the disease.

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