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Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus – Metro US

Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing

(Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $55 billion COVID-19 aid bill aimed at helping restaurants, bars and other businesses that are still struggling through the pandemic.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals for a case tracker and summary of news.

EUROPE

* EU health agencies said on Wednesday there was no evidence to support the use of a fourth dose of vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna in the general population, but they recommend a second booster for people aged 80 and above.

* Germany’s lower house of parliament voted against a law compelling anyone over 60 years of age to get a vaccination.

* A Spanish court will investigate whether huge commissions charged by an aristrocratic entrepreneur and his partner on the sale of vital health supplies to Madrid city hall at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic constituted illegal profiteering.

* European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said she had tested positive for COVID-19 but her symptoms are mild and she will continue to work.

* The current COVID-19 wave hitting France has reached its peak, which means the country’s hospital system is not in danger, health minister said.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* China will establish a financial stability protection fund to beef up its ability to cope with major financial risks, and set up a comprehensive cross-agency mechanism for risk detection and disposal, the central bank said.

* Chinese authorities are telling foreign airlines they must have more empty seats on international flights when they arrive at Shanghai’s Pudong airport, sources said on Thursday, as part of measures to prevent the importation of COVID-19 cases.

AMERICAS

* Top FDA officials said the agency is aiming to decide by June whether to change the design of COVID-19 vaccines in order to combat future variants, even if it does not have all the necessary information to measure their effectiveness.

* Democrats in the U.S. Congress on Thursday pushed back against President Joe Biden’s lifting of a pandemic-related rule expelling immigrants seeking asylum, with others supportive of the policy saying the administration needed to do more work to prepare for a surge in migrants.

AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST

* More than two-thirds of Africans have been infected by COVID-19 since the pandemic started, 97 times more than reported confirmed cases, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) study published on Thursday.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* New research may help shed light on a rare but serious blood-clotting problem associated with the COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* China stocks closed down on Thursday as the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak since the initial wave in 2020 clouded the economic growth outlook, despite pledges by authorities to roll out more policy support.

* Some Asian central banks are shaking off their long-held reluctance to follow their global peers in lifting benchmark interest rates off historic lows, as the Ukraine war blows consumer prices well out of policymakers’ comfort zones.

* The U.S. dollar will remain dominant for now so long as the Federal Reserve stays a hawkish course on interest rate hikes and its intentions to unload some of its pandemic-related bond purchases, according to a Reuters poll of forex strategists.

(Compiled by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Valentine Baldassari and Shinjini Ganguli; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Milla Nissi and Maju Samuel)

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