(Reuters) – British police have requested more information from a department investigating alleged lockdown parties at Downing Street after opening a criminal investigation, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces fresh allegations over a surprise birthday party.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* A New York judge struck down the state’s mask mandate one week before it was due to expire, ruling the governor overstepped her authority by imposing it.
* Johnson & Johnson forecast up to $3.5 billion in revenue for its COVID-19 vaccine this year, compared to $2.39 billion it generated in 2021, even as it faces manufacturing issues and uneven demand.
* The U.S. CDC elevated its travel warning for countries including Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Peru and Saint Barthelemy.
* Taiwan’s Vice President William Lai said he would bring supplies to help Honduras combat the pandemic.
* Chile, which already boasts one of the world’s highest COVID-19 vaccination rates, has agreed to purchase 2 million vaccine doses from Moderna.
* Bolivians are buying miniatures representing certificates of good health, negative COVID-19 tests and vaccination cards during this month’s Aymara Festival of Alasita, where people buy miniatures related to personal wishes for the year.
* German care companies said that mandatory COVID shots could worsen shortages due to resistance among some workers.
* Bavaria’s government agreed to lift a ban on spectators attending major events in the southern German state.
* Denmark’s prime minister should on Wednesday announce removal of all COVID-19 restrictions by the end of this month, Jyllands-Posten reported.
* The Czech Republic reported a record number of daily infections.
* Spanish police said they had detained seven suspected members of an international criminal gang that created and sold forged COVID-19 passports and negative tests.
* Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam defended herself for not wearing a mask at news conferences, saying it was so people could see how “solemn” she was when talking about COVID-19.
* South Korea’s daily count of new cases topped 8,000 for the first time, despite the recent extension of strict social-distancing rules.
* Russian figure skater Mikhail Kolyada will miss next month’s Beijing Olympics after testing positive, as Beijing 2022 reported 15 new cases among games-related personnel.
* Two years since its first infection, Australia recorded one of its highest number of COVID-related deaths in a day.
AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST
* An Israeli government advisory panel has recommended offering a fourth vaccine dose to all adults, on condition that at least five months have passed since they received the third or recovered from the illness.
* Pfizer and BioNTech said they have started a trial to test a new version of their vaccine specifically designed to target Omicron.
* Early research suggesting that a popular non-psychoactive compound derived from marijuana might help prevent or treat COVID-19 warrants further investigation in rigorous clinical trials, researchers say.
* European stocks opened higher after a downbeat Asian session, with world stocks set for their biggest monthly drop since the pandemic hit markets in March 2020.
* South Korea’s economy expanded at the fastest pace in 11 years in 2021 helped by a jump in exports and construction activity, tempering declines in capital investment and a slow recovery in coronavirus-hit service sectors.
* Iron ore futures in China and Singapore rose after miner Fortescue Metals Group raised concerns over a labour shortage in Australia because of COVID-19 curbs.
(Compiled by Sarah Morland and Sherry Jacob-Phillips; Edited by Milla Nissi)