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Health News

Factbox: Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) - Moscow plans to open its COVID-19 vaccination centres on Saturday and England’s National Health Service is looking at ways to deploy vaccinations in care homes. Meanwhile Africa aims to have 60% of its population vaccinated within the next two to three years.

FILE PHOTO: A patient arrives outside Maimonides Medical Center, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread of COVID-19, open here in an external browser. * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news.

EUROPE

* Germany’s success in dealing with the first wave of the pandemic in March and April had led many people to doubt the virus’ severity or even its existence, the head of Germany’s public health agency said.

* Greece has extended to Dec. 14 a nationwide lockdown imposed last month.

* Finland has agreed a strategy for vaccinations, planning to give them to everyone, beginning with selected healthcare staff from January.

AMERICAS

* The mayor of Los Angeles has warned the city was nearing “a devastating tipping point” and ordered residents to stay in their homes and avoid social gatherings.

* U.S. health experts welcomed British emergency approval of Pfizer’s vaccine, while Canadian health authorities should soon complete their regulatory review of the shot.

* Brazil’s health regulator said it was open to approving COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use and outlined the requirements for companies looking to do so.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* South Korea has reached a deal with AstraZeneca to purchase its vaccine candidate as it seeks to secure supplies amid a resurgence of outbreaks, local media reported.

* Nearly half a million South Korean students took university entrance exams on Thursday, with COVID-19 students sitting in hospital and others separated by transparent screens.

* The last remaining foreign staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross have left North Korea, the latest in a mass exodus of foreigners amid strict lockdowns.

* China ordered inspections of imported cold chain products to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Lebanon will not have enough hospital beds to cope with increasing cases, the health minister in the caretaker government warned, saying compliance with a two-week lockdown that ended this week had been patchy.

* Iran’s total cases hit 1 million on Thursday.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* The WHO does not recommend countries issuing “immunity passports” for those who have recovered from COVID-19, but is investigating the prospect of using e-vaccination certificates.

* IBM sounded the alarm over hackers targeting companies critical to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

* Australia’s pharmaceutical regulator said it was on course to review Pfizer’s vaccine by January 2021.

* Eli Lilly and Co said the U.S. government had purchased 650,000 additional doses of its COVID-19 antibody drug.

* South Korean drugmaker Daewoong Pharma has sought regulatory approval for Phase II trials of its anti-parasite niclosamide drug to treat COVID-19 patients.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* European shares opened lower after gains spurred by advances in vaccines, and data across Europe underscored the economic damage still being caused by the pandemic. [MKTS/GLOB]

* As millions of mink are culled in Europe amid fears they could spread the virus, struggling Chinese suppliers are defying calls for their business to be banned and taking advantage of a surge in global prices for the prized fur.

* Republicans and Democrats in U.S. Congress remained unable to reach an agreement on fresh relief, although there were early signs that a $908 billion bipartisan proposal could be gaining traction as a negotiating tool.

Compiled by Milla Nissi and Ramakrishnan M.; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta and Alison Willaims

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