The European Union has threatened to ban exports of COVID-19 vaccines to Britain to safeguard scarce doses for its own citizens facing a third wave of the pandemic, with France seeing the biggest one-day jump in cases since November.
* Britain will see a significant reduction in the amount of COVID-19 vaccines available at the end of the month due to a cut in manufacturing supply, while Germany is sticking to its goal of offering a vaccination to everyone by the end of the summer.
* Greece urged doctors to volunteer their services to the state health system as it struggles to rein in fast-spreading COVID-19 infections.
* Spain’s health minister warned that a seven-week decline in the national COVID-19 infection rate could have bottomed out after cases ticked higher in a handful of regions.
* France will impose tougher restrictions for some regions including Paris from this weekend, however it is not planning to close schools.
* Poland announced nationwide restrictions as new daily cases reached their highest level this year, while Slovakia has banned leaving the country for holidays.
* The U.S. government is investing $12.25 billion on ramping up COVID-19 testing in the country to help schools reopen safely and promote testing equity among high-risk and underserved populations.
* New cases are picking up again in half of the countries in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said, calling on Brazil to protect its people in the face of record infections and deaths.
* About 6.5% of vaccine doses in India are going to waste, health officials said, urging states to manage their immunisation drives better.
* Australia will ask the European Union to release 1 million doses of vaccine to help Papua New Guinea battle a dangerous outbreak that authorities fear could spread to other parts of the region.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Syria will take delivery within weeks of its first COVID-19 vaccines from the global vaccine sharing platform COVAX, allowing it to kick off its national inoculation programme as early as next month.
* U.S. officials plan to use data gathered from people who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 as well as data from ongoing clinical trials to determine when and whether current vaccines need to be updated to address viral variants.
* Global stocks gained and the U.S. dollar slid after the Federal Reserve said it would maintain its interest rate at close to zero.
* The Fed repeated its pledge to keep its target interest rate near zero for years to come after projecting a rapid jump in U.S. economic growth and inflation this year as the COVID-19 crisis winds down. * New research found S&P Global, Moody’s and Fitch lowered a fifth of the countries they rate between January last year and last month, topping the 16% they cut at the height of the financial crisis more than a decade ago.