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Deaths, infections and medical developments: Latest on the worldwide spread of Covid-19

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Health workers wait for their turn as Vietnam starts its official rollout of AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine for health workers, at Hai Duong Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hai Duong province, Vietnam, March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Thanh Hue/File Photo

Health workers wait for their turn as Vietnam starts its official rollout of AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine for health workers, at Hai Duong Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hai Duong province, Vietnam, March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Thanh Hue/File Photo

Health workers wait for their turn as Vietnam starts its official rollout of AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine for health workers, at Hai Duong Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hai Duong province, Vietnam, March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Thanh Hue/File Photo

The World Health Organization said on Monday the coronavirus variant first identified in India last year was being classified as a variant of global concern, with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.

Deaths and Infections

EUROPE

The European Commission will start on Tuesday a second legal case against AstraZeneca over its delayed deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines, as the company reached the milestone of 50 million doses delivered to EU countries.

As its vaccination drive reaches a third of adults and COVID-19 infections ease, Europe is starting to reopen cities and beaches, raising hopes that this summer's holiday season can be saved before it is too late.

AMERICAS

The U.S. Treasury on Monday opened access to $350 billion in COVID-19 aid for state, local, tribal and territorial governments, but 30 states with faster-recovering employment are likely to see their funds split into two payments a year apart.

U.S. regulators authorized Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12 and said they could begin receiving shots as soon as Thursday, widening the country's inoculation program as vaccination rates have slowed significantly.

Argentina's Health Ministry confirmed its first cases of the more contagious COVID-19 variants discovered in India and South Africa in three travelers returning to the South American country from Europe.

Brazil's government will direct an extra 5.5 billion reais ($1.05 billion) of federal spending towards the production, supply and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, President Jair Bolsonaro's office said in a statement.

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ASIA-PACIFIC

Indian coronavirus infections and deaths held close to record daily highs, increasing calls for the government to lock down the world's second-most populous country.

Malaysia imposed a new nationwide lockdown, as the country grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases and highly infectious variants.

Eighteen people have died from the COVID-19 respiratory disease outside of hospitals in Japan's Osaka Prefecture, officials said, amid calls for tougher restrictions on movement to halt a fourth wave of infections ahead of the Olympics.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

Kuwait has suspended flights, and barred entry to travellers, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka until further notice, state news agency KUNA said.

Egypt's Eva Pharma signed an agreement to provide India with 300,000 doses of remdesivir, used in the treatment of COVID-19.

Sudan is struggling to provide hospital beds, drugs and medical oxygen to COVID-19 patients hit by a third wave of infections.

Medical Developments

The head of the World Trade Organisation said she hoped that by December the body's members will have reached a "pragmatic" solution over whether to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents.

Novavax Inc again delayed its timeline for ramping up COVID-19 vaccine production and said it does not expect to seek regulatory authorization for the shot in the United States, Britain and Europe until the third quarter of 2021, sending its shares tumbling.

BioNTech SE said its order backlog for delivery of COVID-19 vaccines this year together with partner Pfizer Inc had grown to 1.8 billion doses.

Data from the rollout of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine shows one dose of the shot results in 80pc less risk of death from the disease, Public Health England said.

Economic Impact

Asian tech stocks tumbled on Tuesday and a regional equity gauge suffered its biggest slide in nearly two months after a selloff on Wall Street, as traders braced for U.S. inflation data amid worries growing price pressures might bring forward rate rises.


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