(Reuters) – Slovakia’s government followed the example of neighbouring Austria on Wednesday and ordered a two-week lockdown to quell the world’s fastest rise in COVID-19 cases. France, on the other hand, wants to impose containment measures but does not plan a new lockdown.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals for a case tracker and summary of news
* Coronavirus infections broke records in parts of Europe on Wednesday, with the continent once again the epicentre of a pandemic that has prompted new curbs on movement and seen health experts push to widen the use of booster vaccination shots.
* Portugal, one of the world’s most vaccinated nations, will give COVID-19 booster shots to a quarter of its population by the end of January, the health secretary said.
* Russia said it planned to export a nasal form of its Sputnik vaccine against COVID-19, which President Vladimir Putin said he had taken as a booster.
* Russia is expecting a specialist team from the World Health Organization (WHO) to visit in December to work on a review of its Sputnik V vaccine for possible WHO emergency use listing, the head of the RDIF fund that markets the vaccine said.
* Poland will have to tighten COVID-19 restrictions if it does not see daily cases decreasing in the near future, the health minister said on Wed.
* Slovakia’s government followed the example of neighbouring Austria on Wednesday and ordered a two-week lockdown to quell the world’s fastest rise in COVID-19 cases.
* Italy on Wednesday tightened the screws on people unwilling to take an anti-COVID vaccine, sharply restricting access to an array of services and making vaccines mandatory for a wider group of public sector workers.
* The Dutch government will announce new measures on Friday to tackle a surge in coronavirus infections that is putting pressure on hospitals, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said.
* Ecuador will administer booster shots against COVID-19 to the general population starting January 2022, the government said.
* Colombia will seek to vaccinate more than 80% of its population against COVID-19, up from a previous target of 70%, as it looks to cut the risk posed by further waves of the pandemic, Health Minister Fernando Ruiz said.
* A total of 92% of U.S. federal workers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, in compliance with the administration’s mandate, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said.
* New COVID-19 cases have jumped 23% in the Americas in the last week, mostly in North America where both the United States and Canada are reporting increasing infection rates, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.
* Singapore and Malaysia will launch a quarantine-free travel lane next week at their land border crossing for people vaccinated, the two countries said.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Egypt will activate within days a plan to offer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for senior citizens, people with chronic diseases and healthcare workers, the health ministry said.
* The SARS-CoV-2 virus will continue to spread intensely as societies return to the social mixing and mobility of a pre-pandemic period, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) emergency director Mike Ryan said.
* Wall Street shares reversed earlier losses in choppy trading on Wednesday and U.S. Treasury yields hovered near highs for the year after data suggested the U.S. job market and consumer spending continued to improve. [MKTS/GLOB]
(Compiled by Amy Caren Daniel; Editing by Anil D’Silva)