(Reuters) – Russia reported a fourth straight daily record of COVID-19 deaths with a week to go before the start of a workplace shutdown ordered by President Vladimir Putin, while Germany’s seven-day incidence rate rose sharply over the past week.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* The UK Health Security Agency designated a Delta subvariant called AY.4.2 as a “Variant Under Investigation”, saying on Friday there was some evidence that it could be more transmissible than Delta.
* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a new lockdown was not on the cards, as advisers warned that acting early with lighter measures to cut rising case numbers would reduce the need for tougher restrictions later.
* Norway will hold off giving children aged 12-15 a second dose of a vaccine until it has gathered more research, partly due to a rare side effect involving inflammation of the heart, health authorities said.
* Ukraine shut schools in virus hotspots and announced a requirement for vaccine certificates or negative tests to access public transport in the capital, after COVID-19 deaths hit a record high.
* Americans can choose a booster shot that is different from their original inoculation but the recommendation is to stick with the vaccine they got first if it is available, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
* Canada scrapped an official advisory urging its citizens to shun non-essential foreign travel, dropping a warning that was issued in March 2020 when the pandemic erupted.
* A new COVID-19 outbreak has spurred parts of China to increase restrictions on movement, with the capital Beijing sealing off some areas and northwestern regions imposing a range of transport curbs and closing public venues.
* Sri Lanka’s president ordered frontline workers and tourism staff to be given a third booster shot next month, part of a bid to reopen the travel industry and revive the economy.
* Tens of millions of Indian adults are unlikely to be fully vaccinated by the end of 2021, due to an unusually large gap between the doses of the most widely-used vaccine and growing complacency as cases fall.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Mass Friday prayers resumed in Iran’s capital Tehran after a 20-month hiatus, state TV reported.
* The vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech showed 90.7% efficacy in a clinical trial of children aged 5-11, the U.S. drugmaker said.
* Finance ministers from Asia-Pacific trade group APEC agreed to step up efforts to expand COVID-19 vaccine manufacture and supply, and support global vaccine sharing, host nation New Zealand said.
* Global shares got a tech boost to help tee up a third straight week of gains, despite growing inflation concerns, while the dollar dipped and oil prices bounced off their lows. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Growth in euro zone business activity slowed this month as firms faced soaring costs due to supply-chain constraints, while the bloc’s dominant service industry struggled amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns, a survey showed.
(Compiled by Milla Nissi and Juliette Portala; Editing by Anil D’Silva)