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Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad

(Reuters) – Indians struggled to register online for a mass vaccination drive set to begin at the weekend as the country’s toll from the coronavirus surged past 200,000 on Wednesday, worsened by shortages of hospital beds and medical oxygen.

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

* European Union lawyers demanded AstraZeneca immediately deliver COVID-19 vaccines from its factories in Britain, in a move that risks reigniting a spat with London over scarce vaccine supplies.

* EU countries introducing their own COVID vaccination certificates will have to grapple with a myriad of disjointed systems if the bloc fails to build a shared one, a senior official said.

* Russian and Chinese media are systematically seeking to sow mistrust in Western COVID-19 vaccines in their latest disinformation campaigns aimed at dividing the West, a European report said.

* The coronavirus situation is improving in France and President Emmanuel Macron will outline on Friday how restrictions will be progressively relaxed.

* Britain plans to use a National Health Service phone app as its COVID-19 ‘vaccine passport’ certificate that will allow its population to travel internationally this summer.

* Britain will buy 60 million more doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s, COVID-19 vaccine in a deal that more than doubles the country’s supply of the shot ahead of a booster programme later this year.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics announced tougher coronavirus countermeasures such as daily testing of athletes to try to reassure an increasingly sceptical Japanese public already facing a resurgence of COVID-19.

* Restrictions on movement and gatherings in the Philippines’ capital region and four nearby provinces will be extended for another two weeks.

AMERICAS

* AstraZeneca’s vaccine is safe and Canadians should have confidence in it, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, reacting to news that a woman had died of a rare blood clot after being inoculated.

* Chile has designated pregnant women a COVID-19 vaccination priority and this week began issuing Pfizer doses to those with underlying health issues in their second or third trimester.

* Mexico will produce Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine domestically, its foreign minister said on a visit to Moscow.

* Argentina’s government said it had met with representatives of AstraZeneca Plc to ask about “difficulties” in the production of its COVID-19 vaccine and supply of it to the country.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Turkey has signed a deal for 50 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine that will start arriving next month and should help address a short-term fall in supply.

* Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is not likely to reach deals with COVID vaccine makers to co-produce the vaccines although discussions are still ongoing, chief executive Kare Schultz told Reuters.

* Tunisia will impose a week’s quarantine on all visitors from May 3 and continue to suspend schools until May 16.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Moderna Inc said the U.S. government had agreed to increase the contract for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine by $236 million to roughly $1.25 billion, to include additional costs related to the shot’s studies.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* World shares stayed close to record highs after the Federal Reserve held interest rates and its monthly bond-buying program steady, giving no sign it was ready to reduce its support for the recovery.

(Compiled by Aditya Soni, Federico Maccioni and Juliette Portala; Edited by Peter Graff, Giles Elgood and Arun Koyyur)

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