Saturday, 23 October 2021 02:10 GMT

Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Reuters

A panel of expert advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration unanimously voted on Thursday to recommend booster shots of Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

EUROPE
* The European Union and South Africa are in "intense talks" on how to increase the availability of vaccines to developing countries, potentially breaking a year-long global deadlock on the topic, an EU official said on Thursday.
* Russia called on pension-age doctors who quit during the pandemic for safety reasons to return to their jobs as the authorities reported a record one-day tally of cases as well as a record number of deaths.

AMERICAS
* President Joe Biden touted the success of mandates in spurring vaccination against COVID-19 in the United States on Thursday, but said more needed to be done to get the 66 million people who are eligible but still unvaccinated to get the shot.
* The U.S. Treasury says initial reporting showed that U.S. states have appropriated or budgeted 45% of the federal COVID-19 relief funds they had on hand as of July 31, with a greater proportion of funds likely allocated in the last two months.
* A panel of outside advisers to the U.S. health regulator will meet late next month to discuss whether to authorize Merck & Co's experimental COVID-19 antiviral drug, the agency said on Thursday.
* Verizon Communications In said on Thursday that about 30,000 non-union U.S. employees must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by Dec. 8 under President Joe Biden's federal contractor executive order.

ASIA-PACIFIC
* New Zealand reported its biggest rise in infections in six weeks, with all cases detected in Auckland, raising prospects of a further extension of lockdown restrictions in the country's largest city beyond next week.
* Melbourne will exit months of lockdown next week ahead of schedule, helped by a faster-than-expected vaccine uptake, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday, even though daily infections hit a record the same day.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Nigeria has received 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine from the French government through the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility, a senior health official said on Thursday.
* President Joe Biden told visiting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday that the United States will make a one-time donation of more than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the African Union, the White House said.
* Poland is donating a million AstraZeneca shots to Iran, the latest foreign delivery to be made from emerging Europe's largest economy after a slowdown in its vaccination programme.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS
* World Trade Organization chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Thursday said formal negotiations about a temporary waiver of intellectual property rules to boost access to COVID-19 vaccines were "stuck," but informal talks were intensifying.
* Hungary will receive technology this year to produce Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine at a Hungarian plant currently under construction, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Moscow on Thursday according to a foreign ministry statement.

ECONOMIC IMPACT
* The COVID-19 pandemic has caused such extreme unemployment and poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean that a "statistical rebound" in growth this year will not be enough to overcome it, regional United Nations organizations said in a Thursday report.
* Consumers are starting to feel the pinch from the surge in costs coursing through the global economy. The rebound as coronavirus restrictions are eased has exposed supply chain shortages threatening the fledgling economic recovery.

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