(Reuters) – The European Union, which has supported a plan to extend a mechanism to monitor and potentially limit the export of COVID-19 vaccines, has decided to take up an option under a supply contract with drugmaker Moderna, the EU Commission said.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* Sweden will offer vaccine to all people aged 16 and upwards, the Health Agency said.
* Ireland remains on track to further ease restrictions in early July, the deputy prime minister said.
* The Kremlin said people who were not vaccinated or did not have immunity would be unable to work in all workplaces in Russia, which reported the most confirmed coronavirus-related deaths in a single day since February.
* The final of the Euro 2020 football tournament should not be played in London, the EU’s top lawmaker on health issues said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on UEFA to act responsibly due to safety concerns over the spread of the coronavirus in England.
* Britain is working on easing travel restrictions for the fully vaccinated, the health secretary said. The data looks encouraging and currently suggests England’s lockdown can fully end on July 19, he added.
* Lithuania will donate 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan, its government said.
* India’s vaccinations over the next few weeks could fall short of the pace set on the first day of a federal campaign, experts said.
* Australia’s most populous state reported its biggest daily increase in cases in nearly a week, while New Zealand paused quarantine-free travel with the state.
* A Thai medical committee has agreed to narrow the gap between AstraZeneca doses in places where there has been outbreaks of the Delta variant, an official said.
* Kazakhstan said the Delta variant had reached its capital.
* One million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine will be transferred to Vietnam weekly starting next month, state media reported.
* Pakistan has made an agreement to procure 13 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer, the country’s health minister said.
* Securities misconduct in Canada has risen sharply as perpetrators attempted to capitalise on pandemic-driven uncertainties, regulators said.
* Hollywood is finally revving up the summer blockbuster engines for the first time since COVID-19 idled the movie business.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* A weak link in Israel’s world-beating vaccination rollout until now, adolescents have found themselves on the frontline of the campaign with fears of the Delta variant prompting reluctant parents to get their children vaccinated.
* Abu Dhabi is offering tourists free COVID-19 vaccinations, previously restricted to United Arab Emirates citizens and residency visa holders.
* U.S. scientists are expanding a government-funded study that aims to directly answer the question of whether Moderna’s vaccine curbs the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
* World shares struggled to extend a bounce off four-week lows, oil prices were at their highest in well over two years, while indecisive bond markets flip-flopped on inflation and interest rate moves. [MKTS/GLOB]
* The German state will have to invest “gigantic” sums in industry to remain competitive in hi-tech sectors, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
* Restaurant chains are paring back $5-and-under “value” items in favor of more expensive $10-to-$30 combination meals, a strategy employed to lift sales and profits and offset rising food costs as the U.S. economy reopens.
* Thousands of Russian tourists began arriving in Turkey, boosting hopes for its tourism sector.
* The European Commission approved Latvia’s and Germany’s plans to recover from the pandemic and transform the economy in coming years.
(Compiled by Juliette Portala and Aditya Soni. Edited by Shounak Dasgupta and Angus MacSwan)