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(Reuters) - As England launched its booster vaccination campaign and hospitals, care homes and health centres across France suspended around 3,000 workers for failing to comply with mandatory COVID vaccination, Iran's new government approved Johnson & Johnson's vaccine.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* Spain will give a third dose to nursing home residents, organ transplant recipients and other vulnerable groups, the health ministry said.
* Sweden will offer vaccine to children aged 12 to 15 years later this autumn, Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said.
* Italy is poised to become the first country in Europe to make it obligatory for all workers to have a COVID-19 "Green Pass", with the cabinet due to approve the measure at a meeting later on Thursday, officials said.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would have to spend "a few days" in self-isolation after dozens of people in his entourage fell ill with COVID-19, the TASS news agency reported.
* China should consider inoculating children aged under 12 to further boost its vaccination drive, an expert at China's disease control authority said, as data showed over 70% of the population have received their COVID-19 shots.
* A panel of health experts advising Hong Kong's government has recommended children aged 12-17 should get only one dose of BioNTech's vaccine.
* In Australia, Victoria reported its biggest one-day rise in cases of the year while a surge in vaccinations raised hope for easing restrictions. Along with New South Wales, the state is testing facial recognition software that lets police check if people are at home during quarantine.
* The first plane carrying tourists in more than four months touched down on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, in the launch of a programme to revive the travel sector.
* Chile announced plans to reopen its borders to visitors in a bid to revive its ailing tourism industry ahead of the Southern Hemisphere summer.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* One year after completing one of the first studies into canine detection of COVID-19, the United Arab Emirates now has 38 sniffer dogs working at its airports that can identify infected persons at a 98.2% success rate.
* The International Monetary Fund approved $67 million emergency support for Equatorial Guinea to help it deal with the pandemic.
* Saudi Arabia has signed a memoranda of understanding with Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
* U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists said booster doses of Pfizer's vaccine may not be needed, even though the third shot generates a higher immune response in recipients.
* New data from Moderna's large vaccine trial shows the protection it offers wanes over time, supporting the case for booster doses, the company said. [nL1N2QH250]
* Global markets struggled to gain momentum on Thursday and U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly lower open for Wall Street, weighed by concerns about a possible slowdown in the economic recovery from COVID-19. [MKTS/GLOB]
* The cost of insuring against European corporate debt defaults fell to the lowest since late February 2020, before the pandemic rattled financial markets.
* Spain is likely to add more than 80,000 jobs in September as the economy recovers from the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva said.
* Japan cut its economic view for the first time in four months as a surge in cases disrupted manufacturers' global supply chains and dampened consumer confidence.
(Compiled by Veronica Snoj and Juliette Portala; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta, Robert Birsel and Marguerita Choy)