Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

·3-min read
FILE PHOTO: France resumes the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

(Reuters) - European Union health ministers, set to meet at 1600 GMT on vaccine rollouts, expect the EU regulator's guidance on AstraZeneca's vaccine safety to have an immediate impact on inoculation plans and to require a coordinated response, a letter showed.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.

EUROPE

* The European Medicines Agency said it had found a possible link between AstraZeneca's vaccine and reports of very rare cases of blood clots in people who had received the shot.

* Britain, which began using Moderna's vaccine in Wales, should not give Oxford/AstraZeneca's vaccine to under 30s where possible, Britain's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said, due to a very rare side effect of blood clots in the brain.

* Germany's vaccine advisory committee sees no disadvantages or risks from giving younger recipients of AstraZeneca's vaccine a second dose of an alternative shot, two of its members said.

* The Swedish Medical Products Agency said the benefits of AstraZeneca's vaccine outweighed the risks.

* Hungary began a gradual reopening of shops and services as encouraging vaccination numbers offset its highest daily death toll yet from the pandemic.

AMERICAS

* Scientists forecast Brazil's brutal surge in COVID-19 deaths will soon surpass the worst of a record January wave in the United States, with fatalities climbing for the first time above 4,000 in a day on Tuesday.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Australia said it will ask the European Union to release more than 3 million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine, testing Brussels claim it is not blocking shipments, while the EU said the delivery shortfalls of the vaccine were a global issue.

* Taiwan accused China of using an offer of vaccines to lure Paraguay to break off diplomatic relations.

* The Serum Institute of India has asked the government for a grant of 30 billion rupees ($402.97 million) to increase its capacity to make AstraZeneca's vaccine, as the country reported a record 115,736 new cases.

* Japan's Osaka will hold the Olympic torch relay in a park without spectators instead of on public roads.

* South Korea said it will temporarily suspend providing AstraZeneca's vaccine to people below 60 amid a European review, while approving a Johnson & Johnson shot in a bid to speed up its inoculation rollout.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Nigeria has directed to stop giving first doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine once they use half their current stock to safeguard supply for the second dose, its health minister said.

* Morocco will keep its nightly curfew in place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the government said, underlining resolve to counter new variants of the coronavirus.

* Iran passed its daily record of infections as cases reached 20,954, the health ministry said.

* Iraq registered its biggest daily increase in infections with 8,331 cases, the health ministry said.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Pfizer said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had extended the review of its experimental atopic dermatitis drug by three months.

* Indian drugmaker Shilpa Medicare has the capacity to manufacture 100-200 million doses of a protein-based vaccine for COVID-19, a company executive said.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* U.S. stocks were modestly higher, while Treasury yields pressed "pause" in anticipation of the release of the Federal Reserve's minutes, which investors will dissect for clues regarding the central bank's economic outlook.

* Germany's public sector deficit reached 189.2 billion euros ($225 billion) in 2020, the first deficit since 2013 and the highest budget shortfall since German reunification, the Statistics Office said.

* World finance chiefs will agree to boost reserves at the International Monetary Fund by $650 billion and extend a freeze on developing countries' debt servicing to help them deal with the pandemic, a draft statement said.

(Compiled by Juliette Portala and Federico Maccioni; Editing by Barbara Lewis)