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Your morning briefing: What you should know for Friday, February 26

Sean Morrison
·2-min read

Denying NHS staff pay rise in Budget ‘would be a kick in the teeth’

Denying NHS staff a pay rise in next week’s Budget would be a “kick in the teeth” after months on the frontline of the pandemic, Labour has said.

It comes amid reports that ChancellorRishi Sunak will not include a pay boost for health workers in England, despite warnings it could cause an exodus among frontline staff.

Mr Sunak will not make any decision on salaries for NHS staff until he receives the NHS Pay Review Body’s conclusions, which are due to be delivered in May, according to the newspaper.

Oxford University coronavirus research lab targeted in cyber attack

Oxford University is investigating a cyber attack after one of its Covid-19 research laboratories was reportedly hacked.

The breach is said to have taken place in mid-February and occurred at the Division of Structural Biology, known as Strubi, which has been carrying out research into the virus.

Strubi is distinct from the Jenner Institute, which develops the Oxford vaccine in partnership with AstraZeneca.

EU leaders agree to introduce vaccine passports by the summer

Coronavirus vaccine ‘passports’ enabling people to travel in Europe despite the pandemic will probably be available before the summer, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has confirmed.

"Everyone agreed that we need a digital vaccination certificate," Merkel told a press conference on Thursday, after a virtual EU summit.

She said the EU Commission would need around three months to create the technical basis for such documents.

US military carries out airstrike targeting Iran-backed militias in Syria

The United States launched the first airstrikes of Joe Biden’s presidency, targeting facilities used by Iranian-backed militia groups in Syria.

The Pentagon said the strikes on facilities near the Iraqi border were in retaliation for a February 15 rocket attack in Iraq that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a US service member and other coalition troops.

The airstrike was the first military action undertaken by the Biden administration, which in its first weeks has emphasised its intent to put more focus on the challenges posed by China, even as Middle eastern threats persist.

Queen speaks out about receiving the Covid vaccine

The Queen has said her Covid-19 jab “didn’t hurt at all” as she encouraged those hesitant about vaccination to “think about other people rather than themselves”.

The head of state, who was inoculated in January, said after having the vaccine you felt “protected”, which she described as “important” during a video call with health leaders delivering the Covid-19 vaccine across the four nations.

Asked for “feedback” about her vaccination experience, she chuckled as she told the officials “it was quite harmless”.

Read More

Your morning briefing: What you should know for Thursday, February 25

Your morning briefing: What you should know for Wednesday, February 24

Your morning briefing: What you should know for Tuesday, February 23