April 29 (Reuters) – Indians struggled to register online for a mass vaccination drive set to begin at the weekend as the country’s toll from the coronavirus surged past 200,000 on Wednesday, worsened by shortages of hospital beds and medical oxygen.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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- Russian and Chinese media are systematically seeking to sow mistrust in Western COVID-19 vaccines in their latest disinformation campaigns aimed at dividing the West, according to a European report.
- The coronavirus situation is improving in France and President Emmanuel Macron will outline on Friday how restrictions will be progressively relaxed.
- Britain will buy 60 million more doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in a deal that more than doubles the country’s supply of the shot ahead of a booster programme later this year.
- China’s aviation regulator will slightly relax suspension rules on international flights due to COVID-19 as it seeks to facilitate more flexible capacity arrangement for airlines.
- About 100 South Korean athletes and coaches travelling to Tokyo for the Olympics this year will receive their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, as the country struggles to keep its inoculation drive on track amid supply shortages.
- Taiwan has bought 150 oxygen concentrators and aims to send them to India this weekend to help it deal with a massive increase in COVID-19 infections, and is also looking at providing further aid, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said.
- Australia’s medicines regulator will investigate two deaths for possible links to the COVID-19 vaccine, raising fresh concerns as the country seeks to accelerate an immunisation program that has widely missed its initial vaccination targets.
- Restrictions on movement and gatherings in the Philippines’ capital region and four nearby provinces will be extended for another two weeks.
- The United States is sending supplies worth more than $100 million to India to help it fight a surge of COVID-19 cases, the White House said.
- Ontario will introduce three paid sick days for all workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government announced, as hospitals struggle through a third wave of infections largely driven by coronavirus variants passed through workplaces.
- Brazil is on the verge of registering 400,000 coronavirus deaths this week, after the Health Ministry reported 3,163 new COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 398,185.
- Mexico will produce Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine domestically, its foreign minister said on a visit to Moscow.
- Argentina’s government said it met with representatives of drugmaker AstraZeneca to ask about “difficulties” in the production of its COVID-19 vaccine and supply of it to the country.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
- Turkey has signed a deal for 50 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine that will start arriving next month and should help address a short-term fall in supply.
- Moderna said it is boosting manufacturing capacity for its COVID-19 vaccine and expects to make up to 3 billion doses in 2022, more than twice its previous forecast.
- Asian shares rose in early trade on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it was too early to consider rolling back emergency support for the economy, and as U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled plans for a $1.8 trillion stimulus package.
(Compiled by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Aditya Soni, Federico Maccioni and Juliette Portala; Edited by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)