Factbox – Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) – The United States plans to invest $3 billion in the vaccine supply chain as it continues to work to position itself as a leading supplier of vaccines for the world, a top health official said.

FILE PHOTO: A pharmacist prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in a pharmacy in Paris as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign in France, March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news

EUROPE

* Italy may eventually make COVID-19 inoculations compulsory for everyone of eligible age, and plans to start administering booster vaccine shots later this month to vulnerable people, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said.

* Twelve million French children, who returned to school from their summer break, wearing masks, were told by head teachers and President Emmanuel Macron that they should get vaccinated against COVID-19.

* Greece offered unvaccinated health care workers a second chance to get a shot against COVID-19 and allow those who have been already suspended to return to work as hundreds of them protested against mandatory vaccination.

* Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde cancelled their attendance at all public events from Thursday after a family member tested positive for COVID-19.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Vietnam could face a lengthy battle against the coronavirus and cannot rely on lockdown and quarantine measures indefinitely, its prime minister said.

* India would resume exports of COVID-19 vaccines only after its own interests are taken care of, a health ministry official said, as a recent surge in immunisations raised hopes of foreign sales that have been barred since mid-April.

AMERICAS

* Runners in this year’s Boston Marathon will need to provide proof of vaccination or produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to participate.

* Three-quarters of the people in Latin America and the Caribbean have not been fully immunised against COVID-19 in contrast to the United States and Canada, the Pan American Health Organization said on Wednesday.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* An arrangement has been suspended whereby Johnson & Johnson was shipping vaccine doses to Europe that had been packaged in South Africa.

* Abu Dhabi will remove the need to quarantine for all vaccinated travellers arriving from international destinations starting Sunday.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Aspen Pharmacare said it was in talks to make J&J’s shot under licence in South Africa, at what would be the continent’s first major independent distribution base for a global vaccine against COVID-19.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Record-setting world stocks moved higher after jobless claims data suggested the U.S. labor market was charging ahead even as new COVID-19 infections surge, while the risk of a upcoming sub-par U.S. payrolls report weighed on the dollar. [MKTS/GLOB]

* The World Trade Organization needs results by the end of the year and must focus its efforts on finding a global response to the pandemic, its director-general said.

* The roll-out of vaccinations is making life insurers more enthusiastic about offering coverage to those with underlying health conditions.

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