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UK Covid live news: Boris Johnson insists discovery of Brazilian variant in UK won't reverse lockdown easing


Latest updates: prime minister says there is no reason to change approach after six people infected with Brazilian variant in UK

4.15pm GMT

In a pre-budget video, Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, all but confirms he will extend the furlough scheme beyond April in his statement on Wednesday. He says:

Throughout this crisis I have always been determined to make sure the government is doing what it can to provide support to get through this enormously difficult time and that’s not going to stop.

People should be reassured that we are going to continue to be there to support them as we get through this difficult period and emerge – hopefully stronger – on the other side.

One year ago I was preparing for my first ever Budget.

A lot has happened since then, but the promises that underpin our plan remain unchanged.

Watch below #Budget2021 pic.twitter.com/IccH1GwDTJ

4.10pm GMT

The European commission has said it expects the UK to finish the construction of permanent border control posts in Northern Ireland. (See 3.44pm.) Daniel Ferrie, a commission spokesman, said:

We have received reassurances that these announcements last week are not going to affect the current work of the temporary border control posts in Northern Ireland, so the relevant checks and controls are continuing to take place as usual.

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We expect the same commitment when it comes to the UK government’s obligations under the protocol regarding the permanent facilities that need to be put in place … by the middle of 2021, in line with the protocol and also in line with the joint committee decisions from last December.

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