The European Commission said no decision had yet been taken on whether to launch legal action against AstraZeneca, after Ireland’s health minister said the case had been initiated. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news. EUROPE
* The European Commission said it would not take up the option to buy additional doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine but had not decided whether to take up the option for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. * Germany’s upper house of parliament approved a law to give chancellor’s government more powers to fight a third wave of the coronavirus.
* Norway’s health ministry said it will lend 216,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine it has in stock to Sweden, which said it will postpone a tentative plan to ease some restrictions, as well as Iceland. * Hungary is expected to reopen restaurant terraces and shorten a night-time curfew from Saturday, the prime minister’s chief of staff said.
* The Czech Republic will reopen shops, markets and some services from May 3 if the current “favourable trend” in the pandemic persists, the industry minister said. AMERICAS
* The U.S. State Department has added at least 116 countries this week to its “Level Four: Do Not Travel” advisory list. ASIA-PACIFIC
* India, which recorded the world’s highest daily tally of infections, will start receiving Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine by end-May, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories said. India’s prime minister has also opened vaccinations for all adults from next month. * In India’s New Dehli, some hospitals have run out of oxygen, the city’s deputy chief minister said.
* Singapore, which is quarantining about 1,200 migrant workers after finding cases in their dormitory, will not allow entry to long-term visa holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to India, the health ministry said. * The Japanese government plans to declare a state of emergency for Tokyo and three other prefectures, the prime minister said.
* Russia has accepted a request to provide Thailand with its Sputnik V vaccine, a Thai official said. MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* The African Union’s disease control body and World Health Organisation urged African countries not to waste vaccines donated to them. * South African researchers hope to next week resume a study using Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to immunise healthcare workers, one of the scientists leading the programme said.
* The United Arab Emirates has suspended all incoming flights from India, the UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said. * Tunisian hospitals have run out of intensive care beds, a member of the independent scientific committee advising the government said.
* Egyptian firm Minapharm has agreed to produce more than 40 million doses a year of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said. MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS
* The World Health Organisation said technical experts will review on April 26 Sinopharm’s vaccine for possible emergency use listing, to be followed by the Sinovac jab on May 3, and are due to start the next round of their review of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine jointly with the European Medicines Agency on May 10. * German group Evonik Industries has started delivering a key ingredient for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine ahead of time.
* Valneva has not met the conditions to conclude talks on a deal to the European Union with its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, a spokesman for the Commission said. ECONOMIC IMPACT
* Global stocks ground higher while oil ebbed as investors diverged over whether to bet on economic recovery in the United States and other developed markets or worry about a surge in cases in India and elsewhere. * Euro zone debt surged last year as governments borrowed heavily to keep their economies alive during lockdowns, data from Eurostat showed.
(Compiled by Juliette Portala; Edited by Steve Orlofsky)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)