More than 130.24 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 2,976,882 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
Meanwhile, these are some of the salient Covid-19 news headlines.
* Russia has agreements with 20 manufacturers in 10 countries worldwide to produce its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that markets the shot internationally, said.
* More than 70 British lawmakers have signalled their opposition to the introduction of so-called vaccine passports that the government is considering introducing in to help open the economy as it starts lifting restrictions.
* New restrictions in France will impact economic growth in 2021 but it is too early to say by how much, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, as the country heads into its third lockdown.
* Bulgaria will receive more than 1.2 million additional doses from Pfizer and BioNTech in the second quarter, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said.
* Brazil’s Sao Paulo sped up efforts to empty old graves and make room for a soaring number of COVID-19 deaths as the city hall registered record daily burials this week.
* The United States may not need AstraZeneca’s vaccine, even if it wins U.S. regulatory approval, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci said on Thursday.
* The Philippines reported a daily record 15,310 new coronavirus infections, one of the highest reported in the region since the pandemic started, bringing the country’s total to 771,497 cases.
* Authorities in the Japanese city of Osaka will discuss plans with the 2020 Tokyo Games organisers to cancel the western region’s leg of the Olympic torch relay, its governor said, to avert a clash with measures to curb infections.
* Japan will also receive bigger shipments of Pfizer’s vaccines to immunise the elderly faster, the government said after negotiating the increase in supplies.
* India’s temporary pause on major exports of AstraZeneca’s shot could have a “catastrophic” impact if extended, the head of the continent’s disease control body said on Thursday, before the country hit a six-month high in its tally of daily infections.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Turkey began administering Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 shots, introducing a second vaccine in its campaign that began in mid-January, as new cases reached record highs.
* The U.S. drug regulator gave Moderna clearance to speed up output of its vaccine by letting it fill a single vial with up to 15 doses, with the United States banking on rapid immunisation to stem the spread of the virus.
* South Africa’s health regulator approved on Thursday Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, paving the way for large-scale deliveries of the shot the government has put at the heart of its immunisation plans.
* Asian markets were set to open higher in a holiday-lightened trading session, riding a surge of strong factory data and falling bold yields that pushed U.S. and European benchmark stock indexes to record highs.
(Compiled by Federico Maccioni and Juliette Portala; Editing by Gareth Jones and Barbara Lewis)