AstraZeneca said a review of safety data of people vaccinated with its COVID-19 shot has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots, as Ireland and the Netherlands joined nations such as Denmark and Norway in temporarily halting use of the vaccine.
* Germany is continuing to use AstraZeneca’s vaccine according to the European Medicines Agency’s guidelines despite reports about possible serious side-effects.
* Russia has vaccinated 3.5 million people with both shots of its Sputnik V vaccine, the boss of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund said.
* France must do everything to avoid a new lockdown as pressure on hospitals grows, the prime minister said on Sunday as the country reported more than 26,000 new cases.
* Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said he hopes former President Donald Trump will urge his supporters to get the COVID-19 vaccine and emphasized restrictions should not be lifted prematurely.
* U.S. secretary of state urged Paraguay to work with its diplomatic ally Taiwan to overcome the pandemic, after protests in the South American country over the government’s handling of the crisis.
* Thailand will start using the AstraZeneca vaccine on Tuesday after a brief delay due to safety concerns.
* South Korea’s most populous province ordered all of its foreign workers to be tested by March 22, sparking complaints of long lines and logistical problems, as well as of implicit xenophobia in government messaging.
* China, which had administered about 65 million vaccine doses as of Sunday, said it would remove capacity limits for performance and entertainment venues in low-risk areas.
* Singapore and Australia are discussing an air travel bubble with each other to eliminate the need for quarantine as they look to reopen borders.
* South Korea and Hong Kong unveiled plans to expand their inoculation drives.
* Japan is considering limiting spectators for the delayed Tokyo Olympics to 50% of venue capacity, the Sankei newspaper reported.
* Indonesia expects to receive 20.2 million doses of vaccines developed by Moderna and China’s Sinopharm from the second quarter to use in a private vaccination scheme.
* Papua New Guinea is facing a fresh wave of infections around the capital Port Moresby, which neighbouring Australia and aid groups fear could overwhelm the country’s small and overstretched health system.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Protests erupted across many of Jordan’s cities and provincial towns against the government’s restrictions, a day after oxygen ran out at a state hospital leading to the deaths of at least six COVID-19 patients.
* Regular booster vaccines will be needed because of mutations that make COVID-19 more transmissible and better able to evade human immunity, the head of Britain’s effort to sequence the virus’s genomes told Reuters.
* Global stock prices inched higher while U.S. bond yields hovered near a 13-month peak as investors bet U.S. economic growth will accelerate after the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill President Joe Biden signed into law last week.
* Italy will increase this year’s budget deficit by a further 20-30 billion euros to support the economy hit by the health crisis.