Latest on worldwide spread of coronavirus

AAP
The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has exceeded 2,100,000.
Camera IconThe worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has exceeded 2,100,000.

EUROPE

* As the United Kingdom's COVID-19 death toll approached 100,000, grief-stricken relatives expressed anger over the government's handling of the pandemic, while vaccine makers faced the heat in other parts of Europe.

* Several Spanish regions ramped up anti-coronavirus measures after weeks of incremental tightening have failed to tame a rampant third wave.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was looking at toughening border quarantine rules because of the risk of "vaccine-busting" new variants.

* AstraZeneca is not doing enough to try to resolve a dispute over delayed COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to the European Union, the bloc's top health official said.

* The Italian government sent a letter of formal notice to Pfizer calling on the company to respect its contractual commitments over its COVID-19 vaccine deliveries.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga faced renewed pressure over his handling of the pandemic, while a London-based forecaster predicted the country is likely to achieve herd immunity through mass inoculations only months after the planned Tokyo Olympics.

* Pfizer will pursue its request for India to approve its COVID-19 vaccine if the government commits to buying shots, the US drugmaker told Reuters.

* Thailand said it would start its coronavirus inoculation program next month by administering the AstraZeneca vaccine.

* Hong Kong has formally approved use of the Fosun Pharma-BioNTech, vaccine, the first COVID-19 vaccine to be accepted in the Asian financial hub.

* New Zealand confirmed its first case in the community in months.

* Pakistan is all set to approve the Russian Sputnik vaccine for emergency use.

AMERICAS

* The world's largest syringe maker does not have the capacity to substantially increase US supplies of speciality syringes needed to squeeze more doses from Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine vials in the coming weeks, an executive said in an interview.

* Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's announcement that he had COVID-19 has raised fresh questions over his handling of the pandemic and set off a scramble by top officials to get tested.

* Russia will supply Mexico with 24 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine over the next two months.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Turkey received 6.5 million further doses of the vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech, several local media reports said.

* Russia and China have approached Zimbabwe about supplying vaccines to tackle its escalating COVID-19 outbreak amid concern about Harare's ability to afford the shots.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Moderna said it believes its COVID-19 vaccine protects against new variants found in Britain and South Africa, although it will test a new booster shot aimed at the South Africa variant after concluding that the antibody response could be diminished.

* Drugmaker Merck & Co said it would stop development of its two COVID-19 vaccines and focus pandemic research on treatments.

* A British study found widely used antibiotics azithromycin and doxycycline were generally ineffective against early-stage COVID-19.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Global stock markets lacked direction, with optimism over a $US1.9 trillion ($A2.5 trillion) US stimulus plan offset by increasing COVID-19 cases and delays in vaccine supplies.

* Some 8.8 per cent of global working hours were lost last year due to the pandemic, roughly four times the number lost in the 2009 financial crisis, but there are "tentative signs" of recovery, the International Labour Organisation said.

GLOBAL

DEATHS: 2,146,126

CASES: 100,147,068

RECOVERED: 72,089,599

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