Coronavirus: Latest global developments

Wednesday March 17 2021
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A nurse prepares a Covid-19 vaccine jab. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
AstraZeneca suspensions

Germany, France, Italy and Spain join a growing list of nations that have halted the AstraZeneca jab over blood clot fears.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) says it is "scrutinising" the vaccine and sets an emergency meeting for Thursday.

The World Health Organization, whose experts will meet on Tuesday, says people should keep on taking the jab "for the time being".
German J&J hopes

A new agreement for Germany's IDT Biologika to help in the production of Johnson & Johnson's single dose coronavirus vaccines would offer Europe greater certainty on the delivery of the jabs, Germany's economy minister Peter Altmaier says.

Italy locked down again


Restrictions are reimposed on three-quarters of Italy until April 6 to suppress an outbreak fuelled by the virus variant first detected in Britain.

Schools, restaurants, shops and museums are shut, including in Rome and Milan, with residents told to stay home except for work, health or other essential reasons.

Portugal eases lockdown

Portugal begins easing some of the lockdown restrictions in place since mid-January, reopening nurseries and primary schools, hair salons and bookshops.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa insists the process must be "very cautious and gradual."

$250 million in donations

The WHO says that a fund it launched a year ago to draw donations from regular people and companies towards battling the pandemic has raised nearly $250 million.

Virus key in Dutch polls

Three days of voting begins in the Netherlands -- under tight virus restrictions, including an overnight curfew -- in a popularity test of the government's pandemic policies.

And in Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) admits it must manage the pandemic better after suffering heavy losses in two regional polls, six months before a general election.

Sputnik V deals

The developers of the Sputnik V vaccine say they have reached production agreements in key European countries as the EU's medical agency deliberates official approval for the Russian jab.

China border

Beijing has reopened its borders to certain travellers from the Philippines who have been inoculated with a Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccine, its embassy in Manila says.

40 million cases in Europe

Europe, the continent hardest hit by the pandemic, passes the 40-million-case mark, with 40,017,162 cases and 898,070 deaths recorded in the region's 52 countries and territories, according to an AFP count based on official sources at 1745 GMT.

At least 2,654,089 million people have died of coronavirus around the world since the outbreak began in December 2019.

The US is the worst-affected country with 534,889 deaths followed by Brazil (278,229), Mexico (194,710), India (158,725) and Britain (125,516).
Cricket without crowds

England's remaining three Twenty20 internationals against India in Ahmedabad will be played behind closed doors because of a surge in coronavirus cases.