Coronavirus: Latest global developments

Paris, March 17 (AFP/APP): Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– UK defends AstraZeneca –

AstraZeneca’s vaccine shot is safe and there is no evidence of health risks, the UK’s health minister says, after several EU countries halt rollouts over fears of blood clots.

– Royal reprimand –

Queen Elizabeth II’s oldest son and heir Prince Charles attacks anti-vaccine activists, saying “who would have thought that in the 21st century there would be a significant lobby opposing vaccination, given its track record in eradicating so many terrible diseases”.

– J&J effective –

The World Health Organization’s vaccine experts recommend the single-shot Johnson and Johnson jab for use in countries where variants of the virus are circulating.

– Child deaths –

The pandemic may have indirectly contributed to around 228,000 additional child deaths in 2020, 11,000 maternal fatalities and 3.5 million unwanted pregnancies in South Asia, the UN says.

– Papua plea –

Papua New Guinea’s health minister says the country’s record wave of infections will “spike” further in the coming weeks, calling on AstraZeneca to deliver one million vaccine doses to staunch the looming crisis.

– Tokyo opens up –

Japan will lift a state of emergency in the Tokyo area to contain the virus, the prime minister says, with less than five months before the postponed Olympics are to take place.

– Tourism ticket –

The EU unveils plans for a European vaccine pass to ease travel, an idea pushed by tourist hotspots such as Greece desperate to save their crippled economies.

– 2.6 million dead –

At least 2,671,720 million people have died of coronavirus around the world since the outbreak began in December 2019. The US is the worst-affected country with 536,922 deaths followed by Brazil (282,127), Mexico (195,119), India (159,044) and Britain (125,690).

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