The EU drugs regulator reiterated its view that the benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweighed the risks, as it emerged that France, Germany, Italy and Spain had co-ordinated their decision to temporarily suspend the jab.
Agnès Pannier-Runacher, France’s industry minister, said the countries acted in a joint effort to help protect public confidence. But speaking later on Tuesday, Emer Cooke, head of the European Medicines Agency, said there was still no evidence of a link between the shot and the reported incidents of blood clots, as she confirmed the EMA was continuing to investigate.
“We are worried that there may be an effect on the trust [in] the vaccines, but our job is to make sure the products that we authorised are safe and can be trusted by the European citizens,” she said.
FT’s Donato Paolo Mancin and Hannah Kuchler break down the details what we know so far. (FT)
Brussels is to propose the creation of a Covid-19 certificate to allow EU citizens to travel inside the bloc after a push by tourism-reliant countries.
China will allow travellers in from the Philippines, Indonesia and elsewhere outside south-east Asia if they have received Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccines.
Twitter and Facebook have ignored calls to ban Robert F Kennedy Jr, one of the most prominent anti-vaccine campaigners in the US, from their platforms for what critics say are attempts to discourage black Americans to take the vaccine.
Ships will soon compete with planes to deliver vaccines in a distribution drive that could take four years, according to the head of pharmaceuticals at AP Moller-Maersk, the world’s largest container group. (FT, Straits Times)
With nearly no restrictions, Israel has raced out of the pandemic — but there are fears that some curbs will stay, writes Mehul Srivastava. Follow our live coronavirus blog for the latest. (FT)
In the news
Johnson gets pushback over foreign policy reset Boris Johnson was accused by senior Tory MPs on Tuesday of going soft on China, as his foreign secretary admitted that Britain would seek trade deals with countries that breached international human rights standards, following Johnson’s launched of his new “Global Britain” foreign policy. (FT)
China’s tech giants test way around Apple’s privacy rules Some of China’s biggest technology companies, including ByteDance and Tencent, are testing a tool to bypass Apple’s new privacy rules and continue tracking iPhone users without their consent to serve them targeted mobile advertisements. (FT)
Uber accepts that drivers in UK are workers The ride sharing company will reclassify its UK drivers as workers, falling partly in line with a recent Supreme Court ruling, but probably setting up a fresh round of disputes over what should be considered “working time” in the gig economy. (FT)
Alibaba browser pulled from Chinese app stores Chinese internet companies have pulled an Alibaba internet browser from their app stores a day after President Xi Jinping warned that Beijing’s crackdown on big tech companies was just beginning. (FT)
Elsewhere in China tech, Huawei in 2020 recorded its biggest jump in patent ownership, in spite of US pressure. (FT)
Deadly violence resumes in Myanmar The security forces shot and killed at least two protesters on Tuesday, resuming the weekend’s violence after a morning of peaceful protests. The nationwide death toll as a result of the February 1 coup stands at 149, according to the UN. Thousands fled amid fears of more violence on Tuesday. (AP, Reuters)
Kim Jong Un’s sister warns Biden over military drills Nuclear-armed North Korea has warned Joe Biden against holding military drills with South Korea, ratcheting up tensions as top US diplomats arrived in the region for talks. (FT)
“If it wants to sleep in peace for [the] coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step,” Kim Yo Jong said via state media. “War drills and hostility can never go with dialogue and co-operation.”
Facebook agrees to pay News Corp for content in Australia The Rupert Murdoch-controlled publisher has struck a three-year deal to provide news to Facebook in Australia, ending a battle between two billionaire-owned empires being watched worldwide as a possible template for regulating big tech. (FT)
Biden scrambles to cope with rising number of migrant children US president Joe Biden is scrambling to contain a sudden surge in the number of children trying to cross the US-Mexico border, sparking a political crisis and drawing criticism of his administration’s immigration policy from both sides of the political aisle. (FT)
The day ahead
US interest rate decision No policy alterations are expected on Wednesday but the question is whether the Federal Reserve has changed its tune to reflect the better outlook, and if chairman Jay Powell takes a more upbeat tone at his press conference. Here are five things to watch for. (FT)
What else we’re reading
The Australian underwriter who gave Greensill a lifeline Acquaintances of Greg Brereton say he is an unlikely figure to be at the centre of an international controversy. Yet court filings and interviews show he had a crucial role until he was fired by his employer, The Bond & Credit Co, for allegedly breaching risk limits to Greensill, which collapsed last week. (FT)
Singapore port proves its resilience Singapore, which has one of the world’s highest trade to gross domestic products ratios, was hit hard when the pandemic squeezed global trade flows. But the sharp recovery in global trade in the second half of 2020 and factors unique to the island state have aided its recovery. More in our Trade Secrets newsletter. Sign up here. (FT)
The police must learn to listen to women Walking home while seven months pregnant, Iseult FitzGerald was punched in the face by a teenage boy. Like too many before her, FitzGerald’s case was only pursued by police for a few weeks before it was closed owing to a lack of leads. Meanwhile, the Met faces its MeToo moment with anger over attitude of officers. (FT)
“The data . . . shows us that women have lost faith in the system,” says Claire Barnett, executive director of UN Women UK.
The victims of Agent Orange the US never acknowledged The herbicide known as Agent Orange is best known for its use in Vietnam by the US military. What has been unknown, until recently, is the extent to which the US deployed the chemical in the neutral nation of Laos — and the long-term effects on ethnic minorities. (NYT)
The low-paid migrant workers ‘trapped’ on Britain’s farms The UK is trialling a “seasonal workers pilot” to alleviate the labour shortage caused by the end of EU free movement for Britain. But employers are setting demanding, sometimes unmeetable, targets for labourers — the programme’s rules make it difficult for workers to change roles or seek work in other industries. (FT)
Five places to see the full splendour of Tokyo’s sakura season The Japanese capital’s thousands of cherry trees are about to burst into bloom, writes Tokyo correspondent Kana Inagaki, who says despite Covid restrictions it’s still not to be missed. (FT)
Video of the day
How the pandemic has fuelled money laundering Over the past 12 months Covid-19 has curtailed countless business activities, but not money laundering. The UN estimates some $1.6tn is laundered every year and authorities say lockdown measures have presented criminals with even greater opportunities to commit offences. (FT)
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