World News in Brief: March 30

Tuesday, 2021-03-30 22:01:45
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People wait after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Lisbon, Portugal, March 27, 2021. Portugal on Saturday started vaccinations of some 78,700 teachers and workers from pre-schools and schools of the first four years of the nine-year basic education. They are listed as one of the priority groups for the resumption of classes. (Photo: Xinhua)
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China carried out about 4.3 million vaccinations against COVID-19 on March 29, bringing the total number administered to 110.96 million, according to data released by the National Health Commission on Tuesday.

* India has received more than a third of the nearly 28 million Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses delivered so far by the global programme for poor countries, according to data from UNICEF and vaccine alliance Gavi.

* Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday unveiled the biggest cabinet reshuffle since he took power in January 2019 as he replaced six ministers, including those at the ministries of foreign affairs and defence.

* US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke on Monday with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire about the importance of working together toward a solution in the ongoing OECD discussions on international taxation, the Treasury said in a statement.

* German leaders will discuss the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, after several states said they would stop giving the shot to people under the age of 60 following further reports of a rare brain blood disorder.

* Britain could approve Novavax's vaccine next month, the chief investigator for the shot's trial told the Evening Standard newspaper.

* Austria is in talks with Russia to buy a million doses of its Sputnik V vaccine, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's office said.

* Poland will widen access to vaccines in April to those in their 40s and 50s, the government said.

* US President Joe Biden urged states to pause reopening efforts and a top health official warned of "impending doom", amid a surge in COVID-19 cases that threaten efforts to quash the coronavirus pandemic.

* Canadian health officials said they would stop offering AstraZeneca's vaccine to people under age 55 and require a new analysis of the shot's risks and benefits based on age and gender.

* Pakistan will import more coronavirus vaccines made by China's CanSino Biologics next month, equivalent to 3 million doses, the minister in charge for COVID-19 operations said.

* BioNTech said it and partner Pfizer expect to increase manufacturing capacity of their vaccine to 2.5 billion doses by the end of 2021.

* German biotech firm CureVac said it had partnered with Swiss contract manufacturer Celonic to produce more than 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate.

* COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer with BioNTech and Moderna based on messenger RNA technology reduced risk of infection by 80% two weeks or more after the first of two shots and by 90% about two weeks after the second shot - including asymptomatic infections, according to data from a real-world US study.

* Global stock markets rose as investors shook off worries about a hedge fund default that hit international banking stocks overnight, and remained focused on the global COVID-19 vaccination programme.

* Higher energy prices and supply chain disruptions pushed Germany's annual consumer price inflation in March above the European Central Bank's target of close to but below 2%, Federal Statistics Office data showed.

* The cost of supporting businesses, workers and the unemployed from the fallout of the pandemic is likely to top EUR14 billion this year, costing Greece nearly double what it had projected, the finance minister said.

* Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Italy's League leader Matteo Salvini and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will meet for talks in Budapest on Thursday, state news agency MTI reported on Tuesday.

* Iran said a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic had taken hold in western and central areas of the country, triggered by widespread travel and celebrations during the current Iranian New Year holidays.

* A new coronavirus strain has been identified in Israel, the Health Ministry said, and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine appeared to be effective against it.

* Kuwait's government took the oath of office in parliament on Tuesday, state news agency KUNA said, after a months-long standoff between the elected assembly and the appointed prime minister as the country tries to boost its finances.

* Mali has approved the use of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said.

Reuters