Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) – India’s coronavirus death toll neared the bleak milestone of 200,000 with another 2,771 fatalities reported on Tuesday, while its armed forces pledged urgent medical aid to help battle the staggering spike in infections.

People lower the body of Laeeq Ahmed, 67, who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), into a grave during his funeral at a graveyard in New Delhi, India, April 27, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

EUROPE

* Denmark aims to start local production of coronavirus vaccines in 2022, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said, after previously expressing concern over the European Union’s handling of vaccine procurement.

* The European Commission launched legal action against AstraZeneca for not respecting its contract for the supply of vaccines and for not having a “reliable” plan to ensure timely deliveries.

AMERICAS

* Some U.S. lawmakers and wealthy technology executives have joined forces to boost aid to India as it grapples with a severe spike in coronavirus infections, with a focus on ensuring aid is equally distributed across the country, a Congress member said.

* Canada will send the armed forces and Red Cross to Ontario to help the country’s most populous province as it struggles to cope with a surge in hospitalizations from COVID-19, the country’s public safety minister said on Monday.

* The United States will start to share up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine with other countries as soon as the next few weeks, the White House said.

* The Brazilian health regulator Anvisa on Monday rejected importing the Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine requested by state governors battling a deadly second wave of the virus that is battering Latin America’s largest nation.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* People in India are rushing unnecessarily to hospital, exacerbating a crisis over surging COVID-19 infections caused by mass gatherings, more contagious variants and low vaccination rates, the WHO said, while vital medical supplies poured into the country as hospitals short of oxygen supplies and beds turned away coronavirus patients.

* Japan will open a mass vaccination centre in central Tokyo next month, officials said, part of the country’s bid to speed up its inoculation campaign as the Olympic Games looms.

* Hong Kong will reopen bars and nightclubs from April 29 for people who have been vaccinated and use a government mobile phone application, the Asian financial hub’s health secretary said.

* Thailand reported 15 new coronavirus deaths, setting a daily record for the third time in four days in its worst-outbreak yet, as an expert warned of big problems ahead from insufficient testing.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Health authorities are reallocating around 75% of Democratic Republic of Congo’s 1.7 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses to other African countries to make sure they’re used before they expire, a UNICEF representative said on Monday.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* The WHO said it was still in discussions about the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine and had not yet set a date to evaluate the shot’s clinical data for possible emergency use listing.

* Gilead Sciences Inc said on Monday it will give India at least 450,000 vials of its antiviral drug remdesivir and help boost production.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Shares dipped from record highs on Tuesday as optimism about the economic recovery was dented by caution ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy decision and a raft of earning updates.

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