(Reuters) – President Joe Biden took aim on Thursday at vaccine resistance in America, announcing policies requiring most federal employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations and pushing large employers to have their workers inoculated or tested weekly.
However, the plan to mandate vaccination or repeated testing for around two-thirds of U.S. workers could be hampered by supply challenges as test manufacturers strain to keep pace with demand.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* Germany’s vaccine oversight body recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be vaccinated against COVID-19 with an mRNA-based shot.
* Italy’s medicines agency AIFA said it had approved the use of a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines for vulnerable groups of the population, while the country’s government ruled catering and cleaning staff in schools and nursing homes can only work if they have proof of immunity.
* Singapore is trying to live with COVID-19 and sees no need to tighten restrictions to address a spike in cases, but will hold off on more reopening moves while monitoring for increases in severe cases.
* Australia’s daily cases topped 1,900 for the first time in the pandemic on Friday as a Delta outbreak continued to gain ground in Sydney and Melbourne.
* Vietnam plans to reopen the resort island of Phu Quoc to foreign tourists from next month.
* Los Angeles County school officials ordered vaccinations for all students aged 12 and over, the largest school district in the United States to take that step.
* The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is doubling fines for first-time offenders who fail to wear masks, effective Friday, and said repeat offenders could face fines as high as $3,000.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* The United Arab Emirates said residents who had been fully vaccinated with a shot approved by the WHO could return as of Sept. 12 from a list of previously suspended countries.
* BioNTech is set to request approval across the globe to use its COVID-19 vaccine in children as young as five over the next few weeks and preparations for a launch are on track, the biotech firm’s two top executives told Der Spiegel.
* Vietnam has approved the Hayat-Vax coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, the seventh to be endorsed in the country. The vaccine is manufactured in China and packaged in the United Arab Emirates.
* China’s Sinovac Biotech will trial its COVID-19 vaccine in children and adolescents in South Africa as part of a global Phase III study, Sinovac and local partner Numolux Group said.
* Global shares rose and the dollar edged lower as news of a call between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden offered some relief to traders eyeing cautious central bank steps towards ending stimulus. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Britain’s economy unexpectedly slowed to a crawl in July as the Delta variant spread rapidly after lockdown restrictions were eased and as a ‘pingdemic’ kept many workers at home self-isolating.
* The euro zone economy is performing better than feared just a few quarters ago but it has yet to fully overcome the burden of the crisis, so continued support is necessary, ECB President Christine Lagarde said.
(Compiled by Milla Nissi and Devika Syamnath; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta)