Coronavirus latest: US hospital case numbers decline in all regions

Many UK teachers and parents preparing for a mass return of children to classrooms in England from Monday are doing so with “trepidation”. Almost all English pupils will start face-to-face lessons as part of a “big bang” return, defying pleas for a phased restart along with mitigating measures to control attendance levels.

The US created 379,000 jobs in February, pointing to a rebound in the labour market amid a rapid decline in coronavirus cases nationwide. The increase in employment last month was more than double its January pace, when the economy created 166,000 jobs after shedding 306,000 during the pandemic’s surge in December.

Laboratories working on dangerous viruses and other pathogens must be more tightly controlled, a UK bioweapons expert has warned. “I think we need to see biological hazards as an existential threat,” said Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, former commander of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment.

The EU will urge the US to permit the export of millions of doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine to Europe as Brussels scrambles to bridge supply shortfalls that have hobbled its inoculation drive. The European Commission plans to raise the matter in discussions aimed at boosting collaboration in the fight against Covid-19.

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A Wizz Air flight attendant checks the cabin of an aircraft at Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport © Bloomberg

The share price of budget carrier Wizz Air has been on a tear since publication of its half-year figures in November. Co-founder and chief executive József Váradi offloaded about £6.4m worth of shares, while the latest load figures indicate that investors are placing a great deal of faith in the various vaccine programmes now under way.

The first test for a T-cell response to the virus behind Covid-19 has received emergency approval for use in the US, allowing people to discover whether they have had the disease. Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies worked with Microsoft to create the blood test, which can be more accurate than some antibody tests.

Fast-food chains are gobbling up high street sites left vacant by struggling retail and casual dining operators as they plan aggressive expansion in the UK. Adam Parkinson, European vice-president of the Philippines-based Jollibee Foods, said the company wanted to be in “every major city in the UK” with plans to invest £30m.

Veteran value investor John Rogers predicted the US is headed for a repeat of the “roaring ’20s” a century ago that will finally encourage investors to dump tech stocks in favour of companies more sensitive to the economy. “This will be a sustainable recovery [from the pandemic],” the founder of Ariel Investments told the Financial Times.

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