Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) – Sweden’s new COVID-19 infections jumped to the second highest in Europe, while the United States paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over rare blood clots, with South Africa also suspending the rollout of the shot.

FILE PHOTO: A person receives a dose of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during a visit of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to a vaccination center in Chinatown, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., April 6, 2021. Picture taken April 6, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

EUROPE

* The European Commission is seeking clarification from Johnson & Johnson about the company’s “completely unexpected” announcement of delays in vaccine deliveries to the EU.

* Belgium will continue vaccinations with the Johnson & Johnson jab for the moment, while the Dutch medicines regulator said the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the possible risks.

* Norway will start to unwind some restrictions and allow more people to gather from Friday, while the Dutch government extended most pandemic lockdown restrictions including a nighttime curfew.

AMERICAS

* White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said the United States has more than enough vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna to keep up the pace of vaccinations during a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s shot.

* Mexico aims to have developed a vaccine against COVID-19 that could be granted approval for emergency use this year, a senior official said.

* Canada said it was talking to Johnson & Johnson about reports that its vaccine might cause rare blood clots, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a surge in dangerous virus variants could threaten progress made so far.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* India will fast-track emergency approvals for vaccines authorised by Western countries and Japan. Its richest state, Maharashtra, will impose stringent curbs on industry and e-commerce for 15 days to slow rising infections.

* Japan’s western region of Osaka reported a record number of 1,099 daily infections as a new strain of the virus fuelled a rebound in cases.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced new restrictions for the first two weeks of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to contain surging infections.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* U.S. infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci said AstraZeneca’s vaccine had good efficacy, but safety concerns needed to be straightened out and it might not be needed for Americans because of supplies of other shots.

* Novavax Inc has pushed back the timeline for hitting its production target of 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses per month until the third quarter due to supply shortages.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* A gauge of global shares rose to record highs, led by surging technology-related stocks, as Treasury bond yields eased after U.S. consumer price data for March showed the pace of inflation was not rising wildly.

* U.S. consumer prices rose by the most in more than 8-1/2 years in March as increased vaccinations and massive fiscal stimulus unleashed pent-up demand, kicking off what most economists expect will be a brief period of higher inflation.

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