World News in Brief: April 12

Monday, 2021-04-12 19:37:36
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Johnson & Johnson on Monday began delivering its single-dose vaccine to EU countries, a lawmaker said, while the European Commission said it was seeking clarification from AstraZeneca on supply shortfalls.
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Some 14.1 million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have been allocated to 47 countries and economies for delivery in the second quarter of this year, the Gavi Vaccine Alliance said, with Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, and Ukraine set to be among the main recipients.

* Mainland China reported 16 new COVID-19 cases on April 11, up from 10 cases a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Monday. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 90,426, while the death toll remained at 4,636.

* Hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees flocked on Monday to take a holy bath in India's Ganges river, even as the nation racked up the world's highest tally of new daily coronavirus infections. With 168,912 new cases, India accounts for one in six of all new infections globally, although the figure is still well below the US peak of nearly 300,000 new cases on Jan. 8.

* The United States had administered 187,047,131 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and distributed 237,796,105 doses as of Sunday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

* Talks between Britain and the European Union on part of their Brexit deal which governs trade with Northern Ireland are constructive but there are still differences on how to overcome issues that have triggered violence in the British province.

* US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Brussels on Tuesday to join Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in consulting with NATO allies and partners on range of priorities, the Department of State said on Monday.

* The leader of Israel's ultra-nationalist Yamina party said on Monday it would back a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, potentially nudging the incumbent towards being able to build a coalition after last month's inconclusive election.

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the current COVID-19 infection rate in the country was much too high, warning that the current third wave of the pandemic could prove to be the toughest yet.

* Republic of Korea plans to begin local production of Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine as early as June, while five domestic companies aim to start late stage clinical trials of their own shots in the second half of this year.

* Ireland is set to restrict use of AstraZeneca's vaccine to people over the age of 60, RTE reported.

* Bulgaria's prime minister revealed that a big new vaccine contract the EU is seeking from Pfizer-BioNTech will be at a significantly increased price.

* The number of patients in intensive care in Sweden is now higher than during the second wave, figures showed on Monday.

* Czech schools, libraries, zoos and some stores reopened on Monday as well as English shops and pub gardens, following months of coronavirus closures.

* Canada is shifting its vaccination campaign to target frontline workers, moving away from a largely age-based rollout.

* An expert panel of India's drugs regulator recommended emergency use approval of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, sources said, while businesses in Maharashtra state reeled under new restrictions.

* Africa must expand vaccine manufacturing, including by forging partnerships to boost expertise and investment, said continental leaders and international health officials.

* Treating COVID-19 patients at home with a commonly-used inhaled asthma drug called budesonide can speed up their recovery, according to UK trial results.

* Turkey's daily infection numbers have soared above 50,000 and it will likely tighten restrictions this week ahead of the vital tourism season, a government official said.

* South Africa extended by a further three months the deadline of a loan scheme central to efforts to counter the economic impact of COVID-19.

* The French foreign ministry on Monday said it was confirming that two French citizens had been kidnapped in Haiti.

Reuters