Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask walks past an illustration of a virus outside a regional science centre in Oldham
·3 min read

(Reuters) - European Union leaders will meet on Thursday to try to speed up the production and rollout of vaccines in a race against the emergence of new variants that some fear could bring a third wave of the pandemic across the continent.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.

EUROPE

* The World Health Organization is working with the European Commission to coordinate vaccine donations for other countries on the continent, the head of its European office said.

* AstraZeneca will deliver 180 million vaccines to Europe in the second quarter, including 20 million to Italy, the head of its Italian unit was quoted as saying, while EU officials remained wary about supply.

* France said it would bring in new restrictions for the area around its common border with Germany, as President Emmanuel Macron's government tries to contain a surge of variants in the French region of Moselle.

* Finland will go into a three-week lockdown starting on March 8 and is prepared to declare a state of emergency, the prime minister said.

* Croatia said bars and restaurants can reopen outdoor terraces next week after a more than three-month closure due to the pandemic.

* Hungary is to extend a partial lockdown until March 15 with infections expected to rise in the next two weeks, while it expects to get 1 million doses of Chinese Sinopharm's vaccine in March and April, with 3.5 million more doses arriving in May.

* New variants of COVID-19 risk a third wave in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* The Japanese government will end a state of emergency in five prefectures west of Tokyo at the end of this month, Kyodo news agency reported.

* India announced an expansion of its vaccination programme but warned that breaches of coronavirus protocols could worsen an infection surge in many states.

AMERICAS

* The United States expects to roll out three to four million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine next week, pending authorization from the FDA, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* The African Union is backing calls for drugmakers to waive some intellectual property rights on COVID-19 medicines and vaccines to speed up their rollout to poor countries, the head of its disease control body said.

* Hospitals should prepare for a possible second wave and take steps to prevent the disease spreading, health authorities in the government-controlled part of Yemen said.

* South Africa could spend up to 19.3 billion rand over the next three years to vaccinate most of its population, the Treasury said.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Pfizer and BioNTech said they are testing a third dose of their vaccine to better understand the immune response against new variants of the virus.

* Moderna is working with U.S. government scientists to study an experimental booster shot that targets a concerning new variant of the coronavirus.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* World stocks headed back towards record highs with a third day of gains and the dollar dropped to a three-year low on Thursday, after top Federal Reserve and European Central Bank officials took aim at rising bond market yields.

* Thailand's tourism-reliant economy was clearly affected by a recent COVID-19 outbreak as monthly private consumption and investment declined, making economic recovery more uneven, the central bank said.

(Compiled by Veronica Snoj and Devika Syamnath; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Steve Orlofsky)