(Reuters) – The United States lifted restrictions imposed on travellers from much of the world when the pandemic began, while Europe faced record outbreaks.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* The European Union is negotiating with Merck & Co and Pfizer over possible contracts to supply their experimental COVID-19 drugs, an EU official told Reuters, adding that talks with Merck were more advanced.
* Germany’s infection rate has risen to its highest level since the start of the pandemic, and doctors warned they will need to postpone scheduled operations in coming weeks to cope.
* France hit a one-month high for patients hospitalised for COVID-19.
* Denmark proposed reinstating the use of a digital “corona pass” to be presented when Danes visit indoor bars and restaurants.
* EU authorities say there is no conclusive evidence of a cancer risk from synthetic face masks and have urged people to keep wearing them after a Belgian study warned last month they may contain carcinogens.
* The Biden administration said a court should be chosen randomly to review its COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
* Experts say workplace whistleblowers and fear of losing federal funds should play vital roles in ensuring compliance with vaccine mandates due to start on Jan. 4 for U.S. businesses, nursing homes and hospitals.
* India ordered 10 million doses of Zydus Cadila’s DNA COVID-19 vaccine, while a toxic smog shrouding New Delhi alongside infection risks persuaded many students to stay home as schools reopened in the country..
* New Zealand will ease restrictions in Auckland from Wednesday, and lockdown measures should be phased out by the end of the month.
* Indonesia plans to give booster shots to the general public after 50% has been fully vaccinated, which its health minister expects at the end of next month.
* Singapore expects approval for Pfizer’s vaccine for children aged 5-11 late this month.
* Japan recorded no daily COVID-19 deaths for the first time in over a year on Sunday, local media said.
* Israeli health officials will decide behind closed doors on whether to allow child COVID-19 vaccinations.
* Pfizer and BioNTech are expected to seek authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for people aged 18 and above as soon as this week, the Washington Post reported.
* Regeneron said one dose of its antibody cocktail reduced the risk of contracting COVID-19 by 81.6% in two to eight months, following a late-stage trial.
* World shares extended near-record highs on Monday as risk assets found support from an upbeat U.S. October payrolls report and investors faced positive readings on U.S. inflation ahead of more detailed consumer prices this week. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Japan is considering a stimulus package worth more than $265 billion, a plan that would require issuing new debt, Kyodo news reported.
(Compiled by Devika Syamnath and Sarah Morland; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Sriraj Kalluvila)