Covid: Setback for EU in AstraZeneca legal fight and Download Festival resumeson June 19, 2021 at 4:21 am

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Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Saturday morning.

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Saturday morning. We’ll have another update for you tomorrow morning.

The EU has lost a legal battle in Brussels to force AstraZeneca to supply 120m doses of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of June. It went to court last month after the Anglo-Swedish company delayed shipment of the vaccines, having originally committed to supply 300m doses by the same date. But the judge did impose a deadline on AstraZeneca to supply doses to the EU over the summer or face hefty fines. You can find out more about how the vaccine rollout is progressing around the world here.

A medical worker holds a vial of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Ventspils, Latvia, on March 30, 2021

image copyrightAFP

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Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom has suggested that some workers on furlough are avoiding returning to their jobs because the situation has been “great” for them. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, Ms Leadsom said there was also a mental health issue with some people fearful of going back. But the former business secretary said the issue had “real consequences for our economy”.

Office workers (file image)

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Labour is calling for a rethink on work environments as Covid restrictions come to an end. Staff should be given the “right to switch off” when they have left for the day to ensure homes don’t become “24/7 offices”, the party says. And it wants employees to have the right to flexible practices such as working from home. Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said “as restrictions lift and we adjust to a ‘new normal’, we need a new deal for working people”. However, the government has already said it has no plans to introduce a legal right to work from home. Read more about the current rules affecting work.

Woman working from home

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The Palestinian Authority has cancelled a deal under which Israel was to give it at least one million Covid vaccines. Israel had arranged to supply an ageing stock of Pfizer vaccines to speed up the Palestinian rollout. In return, the Palestinians were to give Israel a similar number of vaccines they are expecting from Pfizer later in the year. However, when the first batch of jabs from Israel arrived, Palestinian officials said they were nearer their expiry date than expected and they did not have enough time to use them.

A Palestinian member of a health ministry vaccinates elderly Palestinians against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in the village of Dura near Hebron in the occupied West Bank

image copyrightGetty Images

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Last year, Covid-19 wiped out the UK’s summer music festival season, and this year only a handful are still taking place. One such event is the Download Festival in Donnington Park, Leicestershire, this weekend. Download is a test event to allow the government to assess how crowd events can be run safely. The headliners include Enter Shikari and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. The audiences will be smaller – only 10,000 people instead of 111,000 in a normal year. And everyone must provide proof of a negative Covid test result to gain entry, and take a test after the festival.

Enter Shikari frontman Rou Reynolds

image copyrightGetty Images

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The gap between vaccine doses has been shrunk from 12 weeks to eight because of concerns over the Delta variant. Find out about the jab rollout here.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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