(Reuters) – Britain said on Thursday that there were lumps and bumps in the global vaccine supply chain that were causing slower than expected deliveries and scolded the European Union for threatening to slap a ban on vaccine exports.
- AstraZeneca said its scheduled vaccine deliveries to Britain were unaffected and Pfizer said it was on track to meet its delivery targets, after Britain said it would see a significant reduction in the amount of shots available at the end of the month due to a cut in supply.
- More than 3.79 million people in England who are clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer have to shield from April 1 as the number of cases and hospitalisations continues to fall.
- France saw the biggest one-day jump in cases on Wednesday since its second lockdown in November and the government prepared to further tighten limits on movement.
- Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro said he was happy that supporters have been staging anti-social distancing protests, on the same day as the country registered more than 90,000 new cases for the first time.
- Paraguayan opposition lawmakers lost a bid to impeach President Mario Abdo over the government’s handling of the pandemic.
- The United States is investing $12.25 billion on ramping up COVID-19 testing to help schools reopen safely and promote testing equity among high-risk and under-served populations.
- India and Pakistan reported a big jump in new infections, driven by a resurgence in cases in their richest states.
- Pakistan has reversed a decision which had allowed uncapped prices for vaccines imported by private firms.
- South Korea’s capital, Seoul, defended a decision to order coronavirus tests for all foreign workers on penalty of fines, as calls grew for the measure to be rescinded.
- Thailand will procure an additional 100,000 doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine to be used and paid for by businesses, in the first phase of a private sector vaccination scheme.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
- Tanzanian President John Magufuli, admired by followers for his hostility to corruption but regarded by foes as an irascible authoritarian, has died aged 61. Mangufuli decried lockdowns, was sceptical of COVID-19 drugs and suggested vaccines may be part of a foreign plot to steal Africa’s wealth.
- Syria will take delivery within weeks of its first COVID-19 vaccines from the global vaccine sharing platform COVAX, allowing it to kick off an inoculation programme as early as next month.
- U.S. officials plan to use data gathered from people who have already been vaccinated as well as data from ongoing clinical trials to determine when and whether current vaccines need to be updated to address viral variants.
- The majority of people who have had COVID-19 are protected from getting it again for at least six months, a study showed, but older people are more prone to reinfection.
- Asian shares and U.S. stock futures rose after the Federal Reserve committed to maintaining accommodative monetary policy and projected a rapid jump in U.S. economic growth as the pandemic eases. [MKTS/GLOB]
- The Bank of England will probably try to keep a lid on expectations that Britain’s economy is heading for a strong, vaccine-boosted recovery after suffering its worst crash in three centuries last year.
- Israel announced a long-awaited bailout of its airlines to help them weather the coronavirus.