October 17, 2021

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Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) – New Zealand has abandoned its strategy of eliminating coronavirus amid a persistent Delta outbreak, which appears to have levelled off in Australia.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

EUROPE

* A patchwork of campaigns for an extra shot are being rolled out across the European Union even before the region’s drug watchdog rules on whether they are safe and effective.

* Italy’s health ministry has given its green light for people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu shot at the same time.

* Russia’s health minister said the country’s Sputnik V vaccine was closer to getting approval from the World Health Organization.

AMERICAS

* U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Friday refused to block New York City’s requirement that its public school teachers and employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.

* As New York, San Francisco and a few other U.S. cities and counties require restaurants to check proof of vaccination to dine indoors, some fast-food chains are simply shutting their seating areas altogether.

* Nicaragua has authorised two Cuban-made coronavirus vaccines in the Central American nation.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Thailand’s government is in talks with U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co to purchase 200,000 courses of the company’s experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 treatment, a Thai official said.

* Tens of thousands of people, mostly migrant workers, left Ho Chi Minh City over the weekend as the largest metropolis in Vietnam eased a months-long lockdown, triggering fears of labour shortages and more disruption to manufacturing.

* Indonesia will reopen its tourist island Bali for some international travellers, including those from China, New Zealand, and Japan, among others, from Oct. 14, senior cabinet minister Luhut Pandjaitan said.

* Singapore is reviewing how to simplify its pandemic protocols that many in the city-state find over complex, including whether to continue testing those who show no symptoms of the disease.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Israel on Sunday piled pressure on its vaccinated citizens to get a booster shot by making only those who received their third dose eligible for a “green pass” allowing entry to restaurants, gyms and many other venues.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Johnson & Johnson is planning to ask U.S. federal regulators this week to authorize a booster shot of its vaccine, the New York Times reported, citing officials familiar with the company’s plans.

* An advisory panel of experts to the U.S. drug regulator will hold meetings this month to review data on Pfizer Inc’s vaccine in young children, and whether to clear booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* World stocks were on the back foot on Monday and the dollar stayed close to one-year highs on concerns that higher inflation, supply shortages and China’s property sector problems would put global economic recovery at risk.[MKTS/GLOB]

* Asia’s manufacturing activity broadly stagnated in September as pandemic-induced factory shutdowns and signs of slowing Chinese growth weighed on the region’s economies.

* Demand for coal and natural gas has exceeded pre-pandemic highs with oil not far behind, dealing a setback to hopes the pandemic would spur a faster transition to clean energy from fossil fuels.

(Compiled by Federico Maccioni and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Alex Richardson)

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