EU says 90% of virus in circulation to be Delta variant by end-August

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Europe’s drug regulator said on Wednesday the Delta variant of the coronavirus will account for 90% of strains in circulation in the European Union by the end of August, with both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine needed to protect against the fast-spreading variant.

Meanwhile, these are the latest developments concern the spread of coronavirus around the world.

EUROPE

* The developers of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine have repeatedly failed to provide data that regulators deem to standard requirements of the approval process, according to sources with knowledge of European efforts to assess the drug.

* Italian team players overrode police objections in taking an open bus tour through the streets of Rome after their Euro 2020 victory, even though this had been forbidden for fear of spreading COVID-19, the capital’s prefect said.

* Greece expects to receive $4.7 billion later this month in the first tranche of funds secured from the EU’s Recovery Fund.

* Spain on Tuesday surpassed 4 million cases, as the more contagious Delta variant drives a surge of infections among unvaccinated young people.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Indonesia is struggling to slow the pace of COVID-19 transmission and on Wednesday reported a record 54,000 infections, up more than tenfold from the start of June, despite new containment measures.

* The Philippines will ban travellers coming from Indonesia to prevent the spread of the Delta variant, while Thailand is considering limiting exports of locally manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine.

* Vietnam said Pfizer would provide an additional 20 million vaccine doses to administer to 12-18 year olds.

* Several areas in China will start vaccinating teenagers this month against COVID-19, state media and local authorities said.

* Australian authorities extended a lockdown in Sydney by at least 14 days, while South Korea tightened social distancing rules across most of the country.

* A Genting Cruise Lines’ ship has returned to Singapore after a suspected case and the nearly 3,000 passengers and crew on board have been confined to their cabins.

* Rather than having medals hung around their necks and shaking hands with dignitaries, Olympic champions will be presented the medals on a tray before empty stands, with no handshakes or hugs.

AMERICAS

* Argentina has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the region in terms of cases and deaths per capita, with some 4.7 million confirmed infections and a death toll expected to pass 100,000 people later on Wednesday.

* Mexico on Tuesday reported its biggest daily increase in infections since February, with a fresh wave of cases threatening to undermine the country’s vaccination drive.

* Guatemala declared a “state of prevention” for the entire country, limiting outdoor meetings and public demonstrations, after a dramatic spike in cases last week.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* The refugee Olympic team due to compete at the Tokyo Games this month has delayed its arrival to Japan following a positive COVID-19 case by a team official in Qatar

* Arab visitors attracted by quarantine-free travel and a cheap lira are helping bolster a rebound for Turkey’s tourism industry.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* The World Health Organization’s chief scientist has advised individuals against mixing and matching vaccines from different manufacturers.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* The dollar hit three-month highs against the euro and world stocks slipped on Wednesday after a jump in U.S. inflation fuelled expectations of a quicker end to Federal Reserve stimulus, while a drop in China’s crude imports dampened oil.