COVID roundup: vaccine restrictions, record cases and job losses | News on the coronavirus pandemic

Daily cases in India continue to rise, the African Union is exploring AstraZeneca alternatives and COVAX has delivered the vaccine to more than 100 countries.

A growing number of countries are joining the ranks of those restricting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) found a link between very rare blood clots in the brain and the vaccine.

Almost 134 million coronavirus infections have been reported worldwide since the first reported case in 2019. More than 2.9 million people have died, with the United States reporting the highest death toll of more than 560,000 .

Here’s a quick look at the latest coronavirus related news from around the world:

No more restrictions on AstraZeneca shooting

Countries around the world are taking action following EMA’s announcement of a link between rare blood clots in the brain and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

France’s health ministry said recipients of the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine who are under 55 should receive a second injection with a new messenger RNA vaccine, like those developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Spain and Italy have also decided to limit the use of the vaccine to people over the age of 60, while Belgium has limited the vaccine to people over the age of 56. In the UK, it is recommended that an alternative vaccine be offered to people aged 18-29.

Australia and the Philippines have restricted the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, while the African Union has abandoned plans to purchase the vaccine.

More countries restrict use of AstraZeneca vaccine after European Medicines Agency finds link between very rare blood clots in brain and vaccine [File: Pedro Nunes/Reuters]

Job losses in Latin America

Some 26 million jobs have been lost in the region and the Caribbean due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to data from the International Labor Organization.

The average employment rate in the region of some 650 million people has fallen from 57.4% to 51.7% since the start of the pandemic until the end of last year. The unemployment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean fell year over year from 8.3% to 10.6%.

India’s new record

For a third day in a row, India reported a record high with 131,968 new infections in the past 24 hours. Deaths increased by 780 for a total of 167,642.

With a total of 13.06 million cases, the number of cases in India was the third in the world, behind the United States and Brazil.

For a third day in a row, India reported a record number of daily cases with 131,968 new infections in the past 24 hours. [File: Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters]

Equitable access to vaccines

The COVAX vaccination facility, an international platform that aims to deliver two billion vaccines to the poorest country by the end of the year, has sent over 38 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 102 countries and economies on six continents, six weeks after it began rolling out supplies.

WHO said despite India’s decision temporarily suspend the export of vaccines from the Serum Institute (SII) to meet domestic demand, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, it still expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that requested vaccines in the first half of the year.

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