Coronavirus live news: AstraZeneca expected to miss EU vaccine target; WHO reports 20% drop in global deaths

Global cases, deaths continuing to decline, says WHO; French ICU patients with Covid at three-month high; AstraZeneca to deliver less than half promised doses to EU in second quarter – report

6.05am GMT

People could use a revamped NHS app to prove their Covid status on entering pubs or theatres in England under plans being considered by ministers, as one major care provider said staff have two months to get jabbed or lose their jobs.

Ministers are expected to give businesses in England the power to check Covid certification – whether people have been vaccinated or the result of recent tests. That will include small-scale venues like restaurants or bars.

Related: NHS Covid app could be used to prove status and access venues in England

5.29am GMT

Thailand received on Wednesday its first 200,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac, the country’s first batch of coronavirus vaccines, with inoculations set to begin in a few days, Reuters reports.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is expected to be among the first to receive the vaccine this weekend. Most doses have been reserved for frontline medical workers.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul earlier this week said 117,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine would also arrive on Wednesday and that Prayuth would be among the first recipients.

Thailand is expecting to take delivery of a further 1.8 doses of CoronaVac in March and April, to be given mainly to health workers and at-risk groups.
The country has so far been spared of the kind of epidemic seen elsewhere, with just over 25,000 infections overall.

The vaccine’s arrival comes amid some public criticism of the government and accusations it has been too slow to secure the vaccines.

Its mass immunisation campaign, which aims to administer 10 million doses a month, is slated to begin in June, using 26 million shots of AstraZeneca vaccines produced by local firm Siam Bioscience. It has also reserved a further 35 million doses of the vaccine.

The government has said it plans to vaccinate more than half the adult population this year.

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