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FACTBOX-Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus

13 Jan 2021 / 20:20 H.

    Jan 13 (Reuters) - China's Sinovac Biotech defended the safety and efficacy of its experimental coronavirus vaccine after disappointing data from Brazil. Meanwhile, Indonesia launched one of the world's biggest COVID-19 vaccination drives, aiming to inoculate 181.5 million people, using the vaccine made by Sinovac.

    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

    * Germany will not be able to lift all curbs at the beginning of February, health minister said, stressing the need to further reduce contacts to fend off a more virulent variant of the virus.

    * Italy's health minister said the government would extend the country's COVID-19 state of emergency to the end of April.

    * British airline easyJet said the National Health Service (NHS) would train hundreds of its cabin crew to administer COVID-19 vaccines under a fast-track scheme designed to help boost the country's vaccination efforts.

    ASIA-PACIFIC

    * China posted its biggest daily increase in cases in more than five months and stepped up containment measures that have seen four cities put under lockdown.

    * Japan expanded a state of emergency in the Tokyo area to seven more prefectures amid a steady rise in cases, as a survey by public broadcaster NHK showed most people want to cancel or postpone the already delayed Summer Olympics.

    * More than 6,000 people in Singapore have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with numbers expected to rise substantially in the coming weeks as the city-state ramps up its immunisation drive.

    * Thailand said it was still on track to receive and administer a vaccine by China's Sinovac starting next month, while Malaysia said it would only go ahead with procurement if it satisfies the safety and efficacy standards of local regulators.

    AMERICAS

    * Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tried to sabotage efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in his country and pursued policies that undermine the rights of Brazilians, Human Rights Watch said.

    * The Trump administration moved on Tuesday to accelerate vaccinations of Americans against COVID-19, releasing the rest of the doses it had been keeping in reserve.

    MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

    * The daily cases in the United Arab Emirates crossed 3,000 for the first time this week as authorities urged people to accept vaccinations.

    * Senegal is in talks to buy at least 200,000 doses of a vaccine developed by China's Sinopharm.

    MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

    * AstraZeneca is scaling up releases of COVID-19 vaccine doses to the United Kingdom to the point where it expects to be providing 2 million a week by or before the middle of February.

    * Johnson & Johnson is facing unexpected delays in the manufacturing of its vaccine and may not be able to supply the doses it promised the federal government by spring, the New York Times reported.

    * J&J is likely to apply for EU approval for its vaccine candidate in February, a top lawmaker said.

    * A unit of Sinovac Biotech could double annual production capacity of its COVID-19 vaccine to 1 billion doses by February.

    ECONOMIC IMPACT

    * European shares rose after a shaky start and the dollar edged up, while the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell from 10-month highs, helped by policymakers pushing back against talk of the Fed tapering its support.

    * Oil producers face an unprecedented challenge to balance supply and demand as factors including the pace and response to vaccines cloud the outlook, an IEA official said.

    (Compiled by Milla Nissi and Ramakrishnan M.; edited by Shailesh Kuber, Larry King)

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