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Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) – India accounted for nearly half the coronavirus cases reported worldwide last week, the World Health Organization said, as COVID-19 deaths in the south Asian nation rose by a record 3,780 during the past 24 hours.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

EUROPE

* The G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in London was hit by a COVID-19 scare when India’s foreign minister and his entire team said they were self-isolating after two delegation members tested positive.

* Parts of Germany are eyeing a loosening of lockdown restrictions as the number of new cases fell nationwide on Wednesday.

* British officials are currently looking at which vaccines would offer the best booster shot for vulnerable people later this year and no decisions have been taken yet.

* Poland offered to buy Johnson & Johnson vaccines from Denmark after Copenhagen excluded the shots from its vaccination programme.

* Norway will introduce verifiable vaccine certificates in early June, allowing holders to gain admittance to events held in Norway.

AMERICAS

* U.S. President Joe Biden announced a goal to vaccinate 70% of adults with at least one COVID-19 shot by the July 4 Independence Day holiday and said the government would innoculate 12- to 15-year-olds as soon as allowed.

* More than 40% of U.S. adults have received a vaccine so far, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky told MSNBC in an interview.

* The Canadian province of Alberta reported its first death of a patient from a rare blood clot condition after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Nepal is being overwhelmed by a COVID-19 surge as India’s outbreak spreads across South Asia.

* Japan is considering extending a state of emergency in the capital, Tokyo, and other major urban areas.

* Malaysia imposed movement restrictions in the capital Kuala Lumpur, adding to lockdowns that have been implemented across the country.

* The Philippines will ban the entry of travellers from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from May 7 to May 14 to prevent the spread of the variant first detected in India.

* Australia’s most populous state reported its first locally acquired infection in more than a month, with health authorities working to track down the source and the variant involved.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* A variant of COVID-19 first diagnosed in India has been detected in Kenya, days after the same variant was detected in neighbouring Uganda.

* Tanzania has suspended flights to and from India, the country’s health ministry said.

* Egypt said it would receive another 4.9 million doses of different types of vaccines in May.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds very soon.

* WHO experts have voiced “very low confidence” in data provided by Chinese state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm on its COVID-19 vaccine regarding the risk of serious side-effects in some patients, but overall confidence in its ability to prevent the disease, a document seen by Reuters shows.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Global shares edged up as U.S. stock futures steadied after a pullback in tech darlings while European markets were buoyed by accelerating business activity and positive earnings.

* U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai underscored the urgency of addressing a proposal to waive some intellectual property rights under global trade rules given the pandemic.

* India’s central bank unveiled fresh measures to help lenders tide over mounting bad loans and give some borrowers more time to repay their debts.

(Compiled by Milla Nissi and Vinay Dwivedi; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Kirsten Donovan)

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