(Reuters) – Australia will roll out a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines to its most vulnerable population starting next month, authorities said on Friday, as the country looks to limit fresh outbreaks ahead of winter.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* Colombia will receive two loans totalling $830 million from the World Bank to fund COVID-19 pandemic recovery and education efforts, the country’s government and the bank said on Thursday.
* New York Mayor Eric Adams said he was lifting the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for professional athletes and performers, allowing unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving to play at home and lifting a cloud ahead of Major League Baseball’s opening day.
* French Conservative presidential candidate Valerie Pecresse said she had tested positive for COVID-19 and would have to campaign remotely.
* Japan’s Shionogi & Co has signed a basic agreement with the government to supply an oral COVID-19 treatment it is now developing, the firm said.
* China reported 1,366 confirmed coronavirus cases for March 24, the country’s national health authority said on Friday, down from 2,054 a day earlier, though the number of asymptomatic infections increased.
* Organisers of the Beijing autoshow, which was scheduled to be held in late April, have postponed the event due to a recent flare up of COVID-19 cases in China, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST
* Tunisia greeted the first cruise ship since 2019 on Wednesday and expects 40 this year in a revival of tourism after the pandemic.
* A booster dose of vaccine against COVID-19 continues to provide robust protection against hospitalisation for older people nearly four months after getting the third dose, new data from the UK’s Health Security Agency showed.
* Asian shares were headed for a second successive weekly gain on Friday, though trading was choppy amid hawkish U.S. monetary policy, shifts in Chinese economic policy, and ongoing ructions in commodity markets due to the war in Ukraine.
* Japan’s factory production likely rose in February for the first time in three months as supply constraints eased slightly, a Reuters poll showed, but analysts say the Ukraine crisis poses downside risks to the outlook.
* British consumer confidence sank to levels last seen in late 2020 this month due to worries about galloping inflation, higher interest rates and the war in Ukraine, a survey showed.
* Core consumer prices in Japan’s capital rose at the fastest pace in more than two years in March, propelled by energy costs that have hit a four-decade high following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(Compiled by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)