(Reuters) -The World Health Organization urged countries on Friday to donate COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate the most vulnerable in 20 poorer nations after India, a key supplier to the agency’s COVAX vaccine-sharing programme, said it was prioritising local needs.
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* France will send a school class home once one COVID-19 infection is detected among its pupils, instead of three previously, in regions under tighter coronavirus restrictions.
* Germany warned its citizens on Friday not to make unnecessary trips to neighbouring France, Austria, Denmark and the Czech Republic because of rising COVID-19 infection rates.
* The Italian government will let younger students return to school next month, even if they are in coronavirus hotspots, but a broader relaxation of curbs will depend on infection rates, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said.
* The Czech parliament extended a state of emergency giving the government extra powers to fight the COVID-19 epidemic until April 11.
* Spain’s coronavirus infection rate continued to climb after increasing steadily for over a week, suggesting a long decline could be in danger of reversing.
* The U.S. government will distribute 11 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine next week in its continued effort to get 200 million shots in people’s arms in the first 100 days of President Joe Biden’s term.
* Moderna has delayed the shipment of 590,400 doses of its vaccine that were due to arrive in Canada this weekend, the federal procurement minister said.
* India said it would make domestic COVID-19 inoculations a priority as infections surge and had told international buyers of its decision.
* China’s capital Beijing has started offering domestically developed vaccines to foreigners, the city’s foreign affairs office said.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Turkey’s top medical group called on the government to reverse its course and tighten COVID-19 restrictions amid a surge in infections, including by imposing curbs on social mobility and contact.
* Iran expects to start domestic production of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in April, the RIA news agency cited the Iranian ambassador to Moscow as saying.
* Kenya’s president restricted travel in the capital Nairobi and four other counties as infections hit record levels in East Africa’s richest economy.
* College students in the United States, vaccinated with Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine, will be part of a new study to test its effectiveness in curbing the spread of the virus, the COVID-19 Prevention Network said.
* Brazil’s Butantan biomedical institute will seek approval on Friday to begin human trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine, officials said, making it the first shot developed in the country to reach clinical testing.
* GSK and Vir Biotechnology have filed an application to U.S. regulators for emergency use authorization of their antibody therapy to treat early-stage COVID-19 infections.
* Global equity benchmarks and oil prices rose while safe havens such as the dollar and U.S. Treasuries dipped as hopes for a global economic recovery overshadowed the continued blockage of one of the world’s most vital shipping lanes.
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