(Reuters) – AstraZeneca may have provided an incomplete view of efficacy data on its COVID-19 vaccine from a large scale trial in the United States, a U.S. health agency said Tuesday, in a fresh setback for the shot.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Germany is extending its lockdown until April 18 and calling on citizens to stay at home over the Easter holidays to try to break a third wave of the pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, as the country races to vaccinate its population.
* The French hospital system could face an “unprecedented violent shock” in about three weeks if the country fails to curb its vertiginous rise in cases, the president of the French hospital federation said.
* More restrictions aimed at tackling the COVID-19 pandemic may be needed for France, if the current measures do not result in the situation improving, French epidemiologist and government scientific adviser told BFM TV.
* Denmark has agreed to further ease COVID-19 curbs next month by letting hairdressers, spas and other services reopen, while restaurants and cinemas will be allowed to follow suit in May, contingent on the use of coronavirus “passports”.
* Spain will extend the age range for AstraZeneca’s vaccine to 18-65 year olds from 18-55 year olds when it resumes use of the shot this week.
* All people arriving in Ukraine from March 23 will have to show a negative test for COVID-19.
* Uruguay confirmed that it had detected the presence of two coronavirus variants that originated in neighbouring Brazil as the tiny South American nation faces a spike in cases and deaths.
* New York will join a handful of U.S. states that have lowered their eligibility age for coronavirus vaccines to 50, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced.
* Several South Korea provinces and cities continued to require coronavirus testing for foreign workers, despite a request from the national government that prompted Seoul to end its mandate amid international outcry.
* South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in received AstraZeneca’s vaccine ahead of an overseas trip.
* The eastern Indian state of Odisha might have to stop its immunisation drive for four days starting at the end of March because of a shortage of vaccine doses, as the country reported its most COVID-19 cases and deaths in months.
* Vietnam has approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for use, Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund said.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Nigeria suspended the airline Emirates from flying into or out of its territory last week after the carrier imposed additional COVID-19 test requirements on passengers from the country, the aviation minister said.
* More producers of COVID-19 vaccines should follow AstraZeneca’s lead and license technology to other manufacturers, the World Health Organization’s head said, as he described continuing vaccine inequity as “grotesque”.
* New late-stage trial data show Regeneron and Roche’s antibody cocktail against COVID-19 cut hospitalisation or death by 70% versus a placebo in non-hospitalised patients, the Swiss drugmaker said.
* The COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme will set aside 5% of the vaccine doses it procures for a “buffer” to be used in humanitarian settings or released in the case of severe outbreaks, the GAVI vaccine alliance said.
* Asian stocks reversed earlier gains on Tuesday, dragged down by declines in Chinese markets, which were jolted by a new round of sanctions, after ebbing inflation fears had helped shore up broader sentiment in the region.[MKTS/GLOB]
* Japan decided to adopt measures to help mid-size and large companies boost capital funds, Finance Minister said, in a move aimed at backing restaurants and lodging businesses hit hard by restrictions.
* Chile will extend a coronavirus rescue package to help poor and middle class families and small businesses stay afloat until June.
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