(Reuters) – The United States, Japan and Italy have pledged more shots to the rest of the world after leaders from developing nations warned that vaccine hoarding could lead to the emergence of more coronavirus variants.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* The European Medicines Agency (EMA) expects to decide in early October on the possible use of a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech, vaccine, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
* Ukraine tightened lockdown curbs, restricting large events and occupancy at gyms, cinemas and cultural sites, after a recent steady increase in new infections, as the country plans compulsory vaccinations for some jobs including employees of state institutions and local governments.
* Russian travel agencies are selling package tours for Russians to receive foreign vaccines abroad amid frustration among some that domestically produced shots have not been approved internationally.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for those 65 and older, all people at high risk of severe disease, and others regularly exposed to the virus.
* President Jair Bolsonaro, just back from the United Nations, isolated himself at home and cancelled a trip after his health minister tested positive for COVID-19 and had to stay in quarantine in New York.
* New Zealand’s prime minister said the country should aim for a 90%-plus rate of inoculation, and could drop strict lockdown measures once enough people were vaccinated.
* Police in Australia’s Melbourne prepared for the fourth day of anti-lockdown protests, and a vaccination hub in the city closed after protesters allegedly abused staff.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Syria is facing a new surge in infections in both government-held areas and territory outside state control that could overwhelm the war-ravaged country’s fragile health system.
* Uganda’s president has eased restrictions, allowing the resumption of education for universities and other post-secondary institutions, citing a decline in infections.
* Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel thinks the pandemic could be over in a year as increased vaccine production ensures global supplies, he told the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung.
* The death of a 16-year-old who had a first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was due to a prior blood clot condition unrelated to the shot, Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa said.
* Chinese vaccine developer Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise plans to start a large trial for its nasal spray-based vaccine candidate next month, a clinical trial registration record showed.
* World markets rallied on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve confirmed plans to start reeling in stimulus, Norway became the first rich economy to raise rates since COVID struck and China Evergrande shares leapt ahead of a crucial debt payment. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Britain’s economy lost more momentum this month as businesses grappled again with rising costs, a survey showed, highlighting the difficult backdrop for Bank of England officials ahead of Thursday’s interest rate decision.
* Taiwan’s central bank revised up the island’s growth outlook for the year as strong exports bolstered a trade-reliant economy that has been resilient in the face of local COVID-19 cases, keeping interest rates steady as expected.
* Botswana government estimates that its economy will grow at a rate of 4.3% in 2022, according to a budget strategy document published on Thursday, as the country emerges from the pandemic and reaps benefits of higher commodity prices.
(Compiled by Federico Maccioni and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Mark Potter)