Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) – Australia on Monday moved to reassure its citizens over the efficacy of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after South Africa suspended use of the shot as data showed it offered limited protection against a new strain of the virus.

Travelers arrive at Beijing Railway Station ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations as the government urges people to avoid travel because of outbreaks of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beijing, China February 8, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

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

EUROPE

* France reported a fall in new COVID-19 infections on Sunday for the fourth successive day.

* A COVID-19 booster in the autumn and then annual vaccinations are very probable, Britain’s vaccine deployment minister said as countries race to administer injections in the face of new variants.

* Some 500 protesters marched through the Swiss tax haven of Zug on Saturday, wearing white protective suits and chanting dystopian slogans to voice displeasure with rules aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.

* The Netherlands on Saturday surpassed a million confirmed coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic.

* Slovenia will reopen ski resorts and some shops, and has eased restrictions on people entering the country after coming under pressure over its handling of the pandemic.

* Britain will not introduce COVID-19 vaccine passports, but people will be able to seek proof from their doctor if needed for travel to other countries.

* Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza said it had signed the decree authorising the emergency use of monoclonal antibodies to treat the coronavirus.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* South Korea reported the lowest daily number of new coronavirus cases since late November as the government slightly eased social distancing restrictions in the face of growing criticism from businesses impacted by the rules.

* China reported no new locally transmitted mainland COVID-19 case for the first time in nearly two months.

* Bangladesh launched a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive with the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday.

* The first 600,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines donated by China to Cambodia arrived in Phnom Penh on Sunday by special plane, with the doses earmarked to vaccinate health workers and the military.

* Afghanistan received 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine from India on Sunday.

* Australia reported no new local coronavirus cases for a third day on Sunday, as tennis players geared up for the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne.

* Myanmar has approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against the new coronavirus, the Russian Direct Investments Fund said.

* Vietnam is expected to get access to the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX sharing scheme within the first quarter.

AMERICAS

* Chicago schools could gradually start to reopen for in-person learning this week under a tentative agreement with the teachers union on a COVID-19 safety plan.

* Corpses in Bolivia have begun to pile up as a fierce second wave of the coronavirus has overwhelmed funeral homes and cemeteries.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* The United Arab Emirates will temporarily only vaccinate residents and citizens who are elderly or who have certain health conditions.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* AstraZeneca said its vaccine developed with the University of Oxford appeared to offer only limited protection against mild disease caused by the South African variant of COVID-19, based on early data from a trial.

* Pfizer has applied for full regulatory approval in Brazil of its COVID-19 vaccine developed with BioNTech, Brazilian health regulator Anvisa said on Saturday.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Asian shares hovered near record highs on Monday, while oil edged closer to $60 a barrel on hopes a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package will be passed by U.S. lawmakers as soon as this month, just as coronavirus vaccines are being rolled out globally. [MKTS/GLOB]

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