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Coronavirus: Latest global developments

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– EU tightens vaccine exports –

The European Union tightened its rules on Covid-19 vaccine exports, making authorisations contingent on destination countries behaving “fairly” in return — particularly vaccine-producing ones.

– Finland, Iceland OK AstraZeneca jab for seniors –

Finland and Iceland announced their senior citizens will again be able to have the AstraZeneca vaccination against Covid-19, after halting the jabs over blood clot fears.

– Merkel says ‘my mistake’ –

German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted a failed Easter virus shutdown plan was “my mistake” and asked the public to forgive her, in a rare climbdown over massive criticism of the government’s pandemic response.

– Belgium tightens virus rules –

Belgium announced a renewed partial lockdown of four weeks, with schools closed and non-essential stores open to customers by appointment only.

– Brazil: 3,251 dead in a day

Brazil’s daily death toll crossed the 3,000 barrier for the first time, with hospitals at breaking point and nearly 300,000 lives already lost to the virus.

– Hong Kong suspends Pfizer vaccine –

Hong Kong suspended the use of Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine after being informed some vials from a recent batch had “defective caps” — although authorities said none of the problematic containers were used on residents.

– French ministers in hospital –

France’s Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot is admitted to hospital with the virus two days after her cabinet colleague Employment Minister Elisabeth Borne.

Borne said on Twitter that she was released Wednesday, thanking hospital staff for their help “during these difficult days.”

– Poland’s never been worse –

Poland reports nearly 30,000 new infections in a single day, the worst since the start of the pandemic as the government vows to toughen its partial lockdown.

– HK clinic punished –

Hong Kong authorities kick a clinic out of its vaccination programme for reportedly recommending the German-made Pfizer/BioNTech shot to patients over the one from China’s Sinovac.

– More than 479 million doses –

More than 479 million vaccine doses have been administered in at least 164 countries or territories, according to an AFP count based on official sources at 1400 GMT.

– 2.7 million dead –

At least 2,735,411 people have died of Covid-19 around the world since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 543,849 deaths, followed by Brazil with 298,676, Mexico with 199,048, India with 160,441 and Britain with 126,284.