FACTBOX | Ramping up vaccine production: Here's the latest on the spread of the coronavirus

  • The Biden administration promised enough vaccine for every adult American.
  • The EU plans to ramp up vaccine production.
  • Drug makers are collaborating to produce vaccines.


US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday the US would have enough Covid-19 vaccine for every American adult by the end of May.

The first doses of the Pfizer shots to be dispatched to Africa under the global Covax vaccine-sharing scheme are to arrive in Rwanda on Wednesday.

LIVE | All the latest coronavirus and lockdown updates

Europe

* The European Union aims to increase the region's Covid-19 vaccine production capacity to two billion to three billion doses per year by the end of 2021, Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton was quoted as saying.

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected on Wednesday to agree a gradual relaxation of curbs with regional leaders, but the rules can be tightened again if infections jump.

* An explosive went off at a coronavirus testing centre north of Amsterdam before sunrise on Wednesday, shattering windows but causing no injuries in what police called an intentional attack.

* A record number of Ukrainians were taken to hospital with coronavirus over the past 24 hours while the number of deaths remains consistently high.

Asia-Pacific

* Japan is planning to stop overseas spectators coming to the Summer Olympics, as many Japanese remain opposed to holding the Games during the pandemic.

* Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the government is considering a two-week extension of a state of emergency in the Tokyo area.

* Indian government ministers and officials were following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's lead by opting for an Indian-made vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca one.

* South Korean authorities are investigating the deaths of two people, both with pre-existing conditions, who died within days of receiving AstraZeneca's vaccine.

* Australia will seek the support of the defence forces in its immunisation drive, as it looks to ramp up a vaccination rollout programme that is running behind schedule.

Americas

* Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued the most sweeping rollback of restrictions of any US state on Tuesday, lifting a mask mandate and saying most businesses may open at full capacity next week, while Michigan and Louisiana also announced a loosening of curbs.

* Brazilian state governors said they were getting together to bypass President Jair Bolsonaro's government and buy vaccines directly because of delays in the federal inoculation programme, as Brazil registered a single-day record in Covid-19 deaths.

Middle East and Africa

* The World Bank is preparing emergency financing to help about 30 African countries access vaccines, the global lender told Reuters.

* Kenya and Senegal received their first batches of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the Covax vaccine-sharing scheme.

Medical developments

* Merck & Co agreed to make rival Johnson & Johnson's single-shot Covid-19 vaccine.

* The vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech has an efficacy rate of 83.5% based on final results of Phase III trials, Turkish researchers said, a downward revision from a preliminary finding of 91.25%.

Economic impact

* The US Senate is expected to take up Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package on Wednesday, with fellow Democrats seeking to advance key priorities and jettison aspects that have drawn unflattering scrutiny.

* Britain's finance minister will promise to do "whatever it takes", including a five-month extension of a huge jobs rescue plan, to steer the economy through what he hopes will be the final months of restrictions.


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