The US has delivered more than 100m doses since the rollout of coronavirus vaccines began late last year, hitting the milestone just as Johnson & Johnson began sending out its first shipments. There have been 102.4m doses delivered as of early Tuesday, up from 96.4m the day before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ireland recorded its lowest daily count of coronavirus cases since mid-December, fuelling hopes of a recovery. The National Health Emergency Team said just 359 new Covid-19 cases had been notified on March 2, a sharp fall from previous weeks when figures ranged from a low of 556 cases on February 9 to highs of more than 1,000.

Northern Ireland has laid out a cautious plan for easing its nine-week-old lockdown that is likely to keep the region’s non-essential retail outlets, drink-focused pubs and leisure industries shut for longer than those in England. The province’s government stressed that the earliest easing would focus on families and outdoor activities and venues.

The Canadian economy grew at a faster rate than expected at the end of last year despite fresh coronavirus restrictions, as activity was boosted by businesses that stockpiled. Canada’s gross domestic product expanded at an annualised clip of 9.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

A help wanted sign is posted on the door of a Target store in Uniontown, Pennsylvania © AP

Target increased sales in 2020 by more than all the previous 11 years combined, the latest sign of how the US retail chain has powered ahead in the pandemic. The company, which operates 1,900 stores, produced $93.6bn in revenues in the year to the end of January — an increase of $15.5bn, or 19.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

The director of the Oxford Vaccine Group has said it was “disappointing in some senses” that some countries in Europe have been slow to offer the coronavirus jab developed with AstraZeneca to all age groups, as newly released data confirmed it was highly effective at preventing hospitalisation.

UK engineering group Weir suffered a dip in its annual pre-tax profit last year as rising commodity prices made up for an earlier slowdown in orders caused by the pandemic. Statutory profit before tax fell 3 per cent to £184m in 2020, as the construction sector contracted severely in the first half. Revenue fell 4 per cent to £1.9bn.

The world’s largest listed hedge fund manager, Man Group, has raised its dividend despite a fall in profits as it weathered volatile markets during the pandemic. The London-based group raised its annual payout for 2020 by 8 per cent from the previous year. The boost came despite a year-on-year drop of 42 per cent in pre-tax profits to $179m. 



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