Latest on worldwide spread of coronavirus

AAPAAP
Moscow is facing a new coronavirus variant that is more aggressive and infectious, its mayor says.
Camera IconMoscow is facing a new coronavirus variant that is more aggressive and infectious, its mayor says. Credit: EPA

EUROPE

* The health service in England will open up COVID-19 vaccinations to everyone aged over 18 on Friday, a big step towards the government's target of giving every adult who wants a vaccine a first shot in the next month.

* The European Medicines Agency said it would not impose a 50 per cent efficacy threshold for COVID vaccines.

* Moscow is facing a new coronavirus variant that is more aggressive and infectious and the situation in the city is rapidly deteriorating, its mayor said.

* Residents of Portugal's Lisbon region will not be allowed to leave the area at weekends as authorities scramble to control a spike in infections, the government said.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Japan's top medical experts warned that holding the Olympics during the pandemic could increase infections, and said banning all spectators was the least risky option, setting up a possible collision with organisers.

* Japanese corporate giants are joining the nation's vaccination effort ahead of the Games as the government struggles to meet its inoculation targets amid fears of a resurgence of infections.

* Some 760,000 South Koreans who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine will be offered Pfizer's vaccine as a second shot due to shipment delays by global vaccine sharing scheme COVAX.

AMERICAS

* The White House will finish allocating 80 million US-made COVID-19 shots that it has pledged to ship abroad in the coming days, with shipments going out as soon as the countries are ready to receive them, a top official said.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased its warnings for cruises by a notch from the highest level that led to a sailing hiatus.

* Coronavirus infections have halved in Havana since authorities started administering Cuba's experimental vaccines en masse in the capital a month ago, raising hopes about their efficacy even as cases increase nationwide.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Tanzania is working to join the COVAX global vaccine-sharing facility and will sit down with aid agencies next week to plan its first national inoculation campaign, World Health Organization officials said.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* German biotech firm CureVac could allow its network of manufacturing partners to be repurposed to make vaccines developed by other companies should its own experimental shot fail, its chief executive said.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Asian shares were set for a weekly loss, while the US dollar hovered near two-month highs as investors continued to digest comments from the US Federal Reserve projecting interest rate hikes in 2023.

* The World Bank has approved two loans totalling $1.3 billion for Indonesia to support its COVID-19 response and economic policy reforms.

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