(Reuters) – Germany, France and other European nations announced plans to resume using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday after EU and British regulators moved to shore up confidence in the shot, saying its benefits outweigh the risks.
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* France imposed a month-long lockdown on Paris and parts of the north after a faltering vaccine rollout and spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants forced President Emmanuel Macron to shift course.
* The Czech government has agreed to extend restrictions on movement among districts beyond March 21 until further notice as the pandemic ebbs slowly.
* France, Germany and Italy backed an EU threat to tighten vaccine exports as rifts over supply scarcity deepened.
* Britain will slow its vaccine rollout next month due to a supply crunch caused by a delay in a shipment of millions of AstraZeneca shots from India and the need to test a large batch, but it expects a first delivery of Moderna vaccines in coming weeks.
* The United States plans to send roughly 4 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine that it is not using to Mexico and Canada in loan deals with the two countries, bowing to pressure to share vaccine with its allies.
* The Canadian province of Ontario is entering a third wave of the pandemic, Chief Medical Officer David Williams said, though he added that it was not clear how quickly infections would rise.
* As Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak spirals out of control, the country is facing a dangerous new shortage, threatening to drive fatalities even higher: a lack of staff in intensive care units.
* Mexico’s government said it would restrict movement on its southern border with Guatemala.
* U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least April 21.
* Japan will lift the state of emergency in the Tokyo area on Sunday, its prime minister said, while the capital’s governor warned citizens not to let down their guard.
* India and Pakistan reported a big jump in new infections, driven by a resurgence in their richest states.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* The African Union said African countries should continue to use AstraZeneca’s vaccine, echoing WHO by saying the shot’s benefits outweighed risks.
* Johnson & Johnson is developing several next-generation vaccines against the emerging variants of the coronavirus, its CEO said.
* Existing vaccines may protect against the Brazilian variant of the coronavirus, according to a University of Oxford study.
* Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields hit 14-month peaks, putting fresh pressure on tech and other stocks as investors digested the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting, while concerns over COVID-19 cases in Europe also sapped risk appetite and helped pummel oil prices. [MKTS/GLOB]
* The Bank of England said Britain’s economic recovery was gathering pace thanks to the speed of vaccinations but its policymakers were split over the prospects for longer-term improvement.
(Compiled by Aditya Soni, Juliette Portala and Sarah Morland; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Sriraj Kalluvila)