- NewsThe Telegraph
Europe’s press has again given wide-ranging coverage to the row between Britain and the EU over the supply of vaccines, with one paper saying that Boris Johnson’s “gamble” in getting a head-start on production had paid off. The EU has urged AstraZeneca to divert millions of doses from UK plants, but the British government has resisted those demands. Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, told the BBC on Thursday: "The supplies that have been planned, paid for and scheduled should continue." Asked whether he would allow vaccines manufactured in the UK to be diverted to the EU, he said "no", adding that there must be no interruption to the British vaccination programme. AstraZeneca says it can only deliver the EU a fraction of the doses between now and March due to production problems at plants in Europe. De Standaard, a Belgian newspaper, said the success of the Prime Minister’s move was a source of great frustration to the French, in particular, who are lagging far behind in their vaccine programme. It suggested that Brexiteers would take heart from that because Paris had regularly taken a hardline stance in the Brexit negotiations. The Flemish newspaper said that Mr Johnson liked to take risks and in this case, as opposed to in Brexit, the gambit had worked. Another Belgian paper, Het Nieuwsblad, said the unprecedented public attacks by the European Commission were designed to bring AstraZeneca "to its knees". "These doses are crucial to give a long-awaited boost to slow European vaccination campaigns," the paper said. It quoted Hendrik Vos, a professor of European politics, who said the Commission wanted to prove the shortfall was not its fault.
- NewsThe Telegraph
Back in March, the University of Oxford was on the brink of signing a deal with the German drugs giant Merck to research and develop a coronavirus vaccine. The Government stepped in and helped steer Oxford towards a partnership with British-based AstraZeneca instead, taking a huge gamble by helping to fund the research and development of a vaccine that might have proved useless. Instead, the Oxford vaccine became only the second in the Western world to be approved for use, and both the UK and AstraZeneca are now reaping the benefits of the deal that was struck last April. AstraZeneca has, so far, remained fiercely loyal to the Government, resolutely refusing to give in to EU demands that it should redirect supplies of its UK-made vaccine to the bloc. But that close relationship has come under unprecedented strain as the company found itself under huge pressure from Brussels.
- NewsThe Guardian
EU could block millions of Covid vaccine doses from entering UK. European commission says new mechanism will give national regulators power to refuse exports
- PoliticsThe Independent
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- NewsThe Telegraph
People attempting to go on holiday will be stopped at the border and sent home, Priti Patel said as she hit out at social media influencers for boasting about beating travel bans. The Home Secretary said anyone without a valid reason to leave the UK will be turned back and face fines of £200 as part of a travel crackdown to prevent the spread of new Covid strains that could undermine vaccines. People will be expected to fill out a "declaration" form explaining why they need to travel before they leave home, which will then be checked by airlines, police and border force officers. Ms Patel said that even in lockdown individuals had been flouting bans on non-essential travel, citing some turning up at St Pancras Eurostar terminal with their skis, a situation that was "clearly not acceptable". "We see plenty of influencers on social media showing off about which parts of the world they are in, mainly in sunny parts of the world. Going on holiday is not an exemption and it's important that people stay at home," the Home Secretary told MPs.
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