Coronavirus latest: A third of Americans have received at least one vaccine shot, says CDC

Florida governor Ron DeSantis said the state will sue the US government and the country’s top public health agency to allow cruise ships to resume sailing immediately. The cruise industry, one of Florida’s main economic engines, was shut down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than a year ago.

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi has called on the country to prioritise vaccinating the elderly as many over-60s continue to remain without shots while younger workers have received them. As of last week 43 per cent of people aged over 80 years old in Italy and 88.9 per cent aged between 70 and 79 were still waiting for a first shot.

US Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell said he would like to see “a string” of months with strong jobs growth of about 1m for the economy to show the “progress” in the recovery from the pandemic. He cited the stronger economic outlook because of strong fiscal policy support and a rapid vaccination rollout.

New unemployment claims in the US rose for a second consecutive week, pressing pause on a recent slowdown in the pace of lay-offs as states lift coronavirus restrictions. Seasonally adjusted jobless applications unexpectedly rose from 728,000 in the previous week to 744,000 in the week before Easter. 

A model wears Asos in a pre-pandemic runway show in London © Reuters

Online fashion retailer Asos said that the outlook for its full-year was boosted by a strong first-half performance, but it remained cautious about economic prospects for its core 20-something customers. Pre-tax profit in the six months to the end of February was £106m, up from £30.5m last year.

The UK’s Co-operative Group said it would repay about £15m of furlough scheme assistance that it received from the government, but has reiterated its refusal to return business rates relief. The UK’s sixth-biggest food retailer by market share said that the Covid-19 pandemic had imposed significant additional costs.

Johnson Matthey, the British specialist materials company, said full-year financial results would reach the top end of analysts’ expectations thanks to a strong recovery in China’s car market. The group, which makes catalytic converters, predicted underlying operating profit would come in at £405m to £502m in the year to March.

Vaccitech was primed and ready when the pandemic broke. The Oxford university spinout got a head start in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine after years of work on another coronavirus. It now wants to capitalise on its pioneering technology with a flotation. The timing is less propitious for that milestone.

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