(Bloomberg) — The European Union has a chance to put its Covid-19 inoculation push back on track after a chaotic week thats ended with its medicines regulator lifting a suspension of vaccines made by AstraZeneca Plc.
While most nations in the bloc, including Germany, France, Italy, will restart administering the shots, Scandinavian countries will wait for a green light from local regulators on the risk of side effects. Norways prime minister faced a police probe after she flouted her own governments Covid restrictions.
Cases in Germany rose by the most in two months, just days before Chancellor Angela Merkel decides on how to proceed with the countrys lockdown restrictions.
President Joe Biden announced the U.S. on Friday will clinch his goal of administering 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots in the first 100 days of his presidency, reaching the mark six weeks ahead of time.

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 121.8 million; deaths top 2.69 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 410 million shots given worldwide
  • U.S. to reach 100 million vaccinations goal six weeks early
  • Elderly face higher risk of reinfection after Covid, study shows
  • Supply of Covid swabs depends on two cousins who hate each other
  • Vaccine populism is a game Europe cant afford: Lionel Laurent

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Mauritius Gets Vaccine Delivery (5:39 p.m. HK)
Mauritius received 200,000 doses of Indias only homegrown coronavirus vaccine, Covaxin on Friday, its third delivery of shots, the Government Information Service said in a statement.
The tourism dependent-country ordered a two-week nationwide lockdown on March 9 because of a resurgence in local coronavirus infections. Tourism revenue slumped 72% to 17.7 billion rupees ($438 million) in 2020.
Seoul Eases Testing Requirements (5:21 p.m. HK)
South Koreas capital city of Seoul rescinded an administrative order requiring all foreign employees to get tested for Covid-19 after cluster outbreaks at companies with migrant workers. The city said it now only advises foreign workers to get the test. The change came after outcry from foreigners who called the measure discriminatory and xenophobic.
Russia to Produce More Vaccines in India (5:10 p.m. HK)
The Russian Direct Investment Fund announced an agreement with Indias Stelis Biopharma to produce 200 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine starting in the third quarter.
The deal follows one with Gland Pharma to supply 252 million shots announced earlier this week and helps cement Indias roll as the biggest producer of the Russian vaccine.
Norway PM Faces Probe on Covid-Rules Breach (5:05 p.m. HK)
Norways prime minister, who faces elections in September, will be the subject of a police probe after she flouted her own governments Covid restrictions.
Erna Solberg admitted in an interview with state broadcaster NRK that she breached national guidelines when she took part in a family gathering that included more people than currently allowed. Police will look into the matter, local media cited the Southwestern Police District as saying in a statement on Friday.
Scandinavia Stays Cautious on Astra Shot (4:05 p.m. HK)
The European Medicines Agencys assertion that AstraZeneca Plcs vaccine is safe and effective fell flat in Scandinavia, where countries are keeping the company on hold until local authorities complete their own reviews.
Sweden, Denmark and Norway put out statements shortly after the EMAs reassurances were made public late on Thursday. All three said they expect to make a decision next week, pending the outcome of national reviews of Astras vaccine.
ImmunityBio to Produce Shot in South Africa (3:32 p.m. HK)
ImmunityBio Inc. will have its first Covid-19 vaccine made in South Africa by The Biovac Institute, a partly state-owned company, once regulators approve it.
ImmunityBios vaccine, which is in phase 1 trials in South Africa and the U.S., uses a cold germ, known as adenovirus 5, to act against the coronavirus.
EU Seeks to Reset Vaccine Campaign (3:25 p.m. HK)
The European Union has a chance to put its Covid-19 inoculation push back on track after a chaotic week of vaccine suspensions, health scares and export-ban threats that sacrificed precious time.
Armed with an all-clear for AstraZeneca Plcs vaccine from EU regulators, European leaders must get a grip on a vaccine drive thats lagging the U.S. and the U.K. and potentially delaying an economic recovery. The rising pace of cases and a renewed four-week lockdown in parts of France underscore the urgency of the threat.
Hungary Extends Virus Lockdown (3:08 p.m. HK)
Hungary will extend its coronavirus lockdown for at least another week from Monday after daily Covid-19 deaths rose to another record, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said.
German Cases Soar to Two-Month High (3:02 p.m. HK)
Germanys coronavirus cases rose by the most in two months, just days before Chancellor Angela Merkel decides on how to proceed with the countrys lockdown restrictions. The number of new cases jumped by 28,489 in the 24 hours through Friday morning, the most since Jan. 21 according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The countrys seven-day incidence rate per 100,000 people climbed to 95.6, the highest in more than a month and close to the level that triggers an emergency brake at which regional restrictions need to be reimposed. Merkel and regional leaders are due to meet Monday to decide on the next steps in the fight against the pandemic. Germanys remaining lockdown restrictions expire on March 28.
Tokyo Disneyland To Double Number of Visitors (2:59 p.m. HK)
Oriental Land will double the number of visitors allowed in to both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea to 10,000 once the virus state of emergency is lifted Sunday.
Indonesia Lifts Restrictions on AstraZeneca, (2:52 p.m. HK)
Indonesia has lifted a suspension on AstraZenecas Covid-19 vaccine and plans to start distributing it next week, while the government will expand the current movement restrictions to five provinces to further bring down number of positive cases and deaths.
India Has Most New Cases Since November (2:48 p.m. HK)
India added almost 40,000 new cases Friday — the highest one-day jump since end of November — pushing the overall tally past 11.5 million, according to the health ministry data. New cases have nearly doubled in a week as the third-worst hit nation scrambles to contain another wave of infections that may undermine a recent economic recovery. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said earlier this week that the country needs to increase testing and tracing to arrest this sharp spike. India imposed the worlds biggest lockdown in March last year, pushing millions deeper in poverty and hobbling the local economy. Deaths rose to 159,370 as of Friday while a little over 39 million Covid-19 vaccines have been administered.
Meanwhile, the Serum Institute of India is planning to expand capacity by end April or early May with an aim to increase vaccine production by another 40m-50m doses, CNBC reports.
EU Faces Uphill Battle for Summer Travel Pass (13:00 P.M.)
The European Union faces a tough task in seeking to introduce so-called Covid-19 passports by June to get people traveling again, according to the owner of Frances busiest airport.
Thailand Eases Quarantine for Tourists (12:56 p.m. HK)
Thailand will reduce the mandatory quarantine period for foreign travelers from next month but deferred a decision on recognizing vaccine certificates for easier global mobility amid a spike in global virus cases.
Hong Kong May Ease Curbs If 50% Vaccinated (12:14 p.m. HK)
Hong Kongs government sees the potential to relax some social distancing measures when at least 50% of the people in the city are vaccinated, and the government may consider resuming hospital and care home visitations if visitors and staff are vaccinated.
Canada Says Astras Benefits Outweigh Risks (10:02 a.m. HK)
Health Canada says that the benefits of AstraZenecas Covid-19 vaccine continue to outweigh the risks, according to a statement. Health Canada says it assessed the available data and determined that the vaccine has not been associated with an increase in overall risk of blood clots.
Mexico Reports Almost 700 Covid Deaths (09:13 a.m. HK)
Mexico reported a daily rise of 698 deaths, bringing the total to 196,606, according to data released by the Health Ministry. Mexico has administered almost five million doses of the vaccine against coronavirus.
Denmark to Ease Curbs (4:18 p.m. NY)
Denmark will ease some restrictions on March 22, before a previous deadline of April 6, after the number of virus cases stabilized in recent weeks. The limit on public crowds will be raised to 10 from 5 and more students will be allowed to return to schools, the government said in a statement on Thursday.
More U.S. States to Open Vaccines to All (3:59 p.m. NY)
More U.S. states committed to a date to open vaccine eligibility to all people 16 years and older:

  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said the state would open eligibility on April 12 except for Chicago, which makes its own rules. Chicago estimates that it will open up vaccines to adults with underlying medical conditions on March 29 and all adults on May 31
  • Utah Governor Spencer Cox said the state would begin full eligibility on March 24
  • Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said that all people 16 and older with underlying medical conditions would become eligible on March 30 and all adults no later than April 27
  • Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee said full eligibility would open April 19

Biden Marks Vaccine Milestone (3:32 p.m. NY)
President Joe Biden announced the U.S. on Friday will clinch his goal of administering 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots in the first 100 days of his presidency, reaching the mark six weeks ahead of time.
Im proud to announce that tomorrow, 58 days into our administration, we will have met my goal of administering 100 million shots to our fellow Americans. Thats weeks ahead of schedule, Biden said, speaking Thursday at the White House.
The U.S. recorded 2.7 million more doses on Thursday, pushing the cumulative total to 115.7 million shots given, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of data reported on inauguration day, the U.S. had given about 16.5 million doses.
Ontario Leader Grateful for Shots (3:11 p.m. NY)
The Biden administration plans to send about 4 million doses of AstraZenecas Covid-19 vaccine to neighboring Mexico and Canada, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. It would represent the U.S.s first known exports of domestically produced vaccines.
Rarely at a loss for words, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was almost overcome with gratitude after learning of the plan.
New cases of Covid-19 have been creeping higher in Canadas most populous province as vaccination efforts have been slowed by lack of supply.
France Plans Lockdown in Paris Area (2:35 p.m. NY)
France is locking down the Paris area as it suffers to contain a third wave of the coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced.
In a bid to contain the resurgence in cases, only essential businesses and schools will stay open, he said on Thursday. The measures will start from midnight on Friday and will remain in place for four weeks.
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