Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) – Europe pushed to get its COVID-19 vaccination drive back on track on Friday after European Union and British regulators said the benefits of AstraZeneca’s shot outweighed any risks following reports of blood clots.

A pharmacist prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in a pharmacy in Paris as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign in France, March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news.

EUROPE

* Germany’s health minister warned there was not enough vaccine in Europe to contain the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that restrictions that were lifted may have to be reimposed.

* A French government spokesman said there was no reason for France to reject the AstraZeneca vaccine, as Paris and parts of the north entered a month-long lockdown.

* Denmark, Sweden and Norway said they needed more time to decide whether to use AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

* Russia delivered the first batch of its Sputnik V vaccine to St Petersburg since late February after shortage problems prompted the city to partially suspend its vaccination efforts.

* Switzerland postponed plans to relax its COVID-19 restrictions, citing increasing cases and insufficient progress on vaccinations.

* Hungary can start the first stage of easing restrictions once another million citizens have been vaccinated, the prime minister said.

* Greece considers lifting some restrictions as part of a plan for gradually re-opening its fragile economy.

AMERICAS

* Mexico’s president thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for agreeing to provide 2.7 million vaccines to help offset a shortfall in its inoculation drive.

* The beaches of Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro will be closed this weekend, as the local government seeks to stem the spread of the virus.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* India’s financial capital Mumbai is facing a second wave of COVID-19 that could overwhelm its health facilities after a record daily increase in cases in its home state Maharashtra.

* The Philippines recorded a record daily increase in COVID-19 infections on Friday, as authorities tightened curbs in the capital and approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use.

* Nepal gave emergency authorisation to India’s COVAXIN, becoming only the third country to approve the shot.

* South Korea’s capital, Seoul, will scrap a controversial order for all foreign workers to be tested, after an outcry sparked complaints by embassies and a human rights probe.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Cameroon approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for use, and suspended use of AstraZeneca’s shot which it was scheduled to receive on March 20 under the COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme.

* Tanzania’s new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, said the country should unite and avoid pointing fingers after the death of her predecessor, John Magufuli, a COVID-19 sceptic.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* The European Medicines Agency said it had concluded the AstraZeneca vaccine’s benefits outweighed possible risks, but said a link between the shot and rare cases of brain blood clots could not be definitively ruled out.

* India’s Stelis Biopharma has partnered with Russia’s sovereign fund to make at least 200 million doses of Sputnik V.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* U.S. bond yields eased from the 14-month highs reached on Thursday as markets looked to a U.S. economic recovery, while oil prices steadied after a slide. [MKTS/GLOB]

* The world’s seven largest advanced economies moved to boost the International Monetary Fund reserves for the first time since 2009, a step aimed at helping developing countries cope with the pandemic, Britain said.

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