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Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Travelers arrive at Beijing Railway Station ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations as the government urges people to avoid travel because of outbreaks of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beijing

(Reuters) – AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and should be deployed widely, including in countries where the South African variant of the coronavirus may reduce its efficacy, a World Health Organization panel said on Wednesday.

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

* Germany will extend restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus until March 7, though schools and hair salons may open sooner.

* Europe’s medicines regulator said it has so far not received any application seeking approval for the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya institute.

* Ukraine has formally banned registration of Russian-designed vaccines against coronavirus.

* Spain said people under the age of 55 without major health complications who have previously contracted the coronavirus will have to wait six months from their diagnosis before receiving a vaccine.

* The share of people infected with the more contagious coronavirus variant first identified in Britain is on the rise in Denmark, authorities reported.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he has assured his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau that India would do its best to supply Canada with vaccines to fight the pandemic.

* China called on the United States to invite the World Health Organization to investigate origins of the COVID-19 outbreak there, as sparring over the pandemic continued after the WHO wrapped up its field work in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

* Hong Kong will ease strict restrictions from Feb. 18, re-opening sports and entertainment facilities and extending dining hours.

* South Korea said it would grant its first approval for a coronavirus vaccine to AstraZeneca, and will allow its use in people 65 years or older.

AMERICAS

* New York state will allow large stadiums and arenas to reopen for sports and concerts later this month, with sharply limited capacity and other restrictions.

* Chicago teachers voted in favour of approving a tentative COVID-19 safety plan to allow the third-largest U.S. public school system to gradually resume in-person classes for students who have been out of school buildings for almost a year.

* China’s CanSino Biologics Inc said its COVID-19 vaccine was approved in Mexico for emergency use for people of 18 years of age or older.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* South Africa’s health minister said the government may sell doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine it may not need or swap for a different vaccine, as it scrambles to start inoculating its citizens with an alternative U.S. shot next week.

* Pfizer said it could deliver its COVID-19 vaccine, which requires ultra-cold temperatures for storage and distribution, directly to points of vaccination in South Africa.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Making sure a mask fits snugly on the face and use of two masks is likely to significantly reduce a person’s exposure to the coronavirus, laboratory experiments described by U.S. health officials showed.

* Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is in talks with COVID-19 vaccine makers to co-produce some shots, Chief Executive Kare Schultz told Reuters.

* Eli Lilly’s combination antibody therapy to fight COVID-19 has been granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* World shares rose slightly and were on track for an eighth day of gains, while U.S. Treasury yields tumbled as U.S. data showed inflation stayed benign in January. [MKTS/GLOB]

* Brazilian retail sales slumped 6.1% in December, the biggest fall for that particular month and the second largest of all since comparable records began more than 20 years ago.

(Compiled by Aditya Soni and Anita Kobylinska; Editing by Giles Elgood and Anil D’Silva)

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