Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) – The U.S. drug regulator granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, prompting President Joe Biden to make a fresh pitch to vaccine sceptics to get the shot to fight the pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: A view shows a sign reading “vaccine,” shaped like a dose of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, next to a syringe sign at the indoor Velodrome National of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in Montigny-le-Bretonneux, southwest of Paris, France, August 13, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news

EUROPE

* French health authorities said the number of people hospitalised for COVID-19 and those treated in intensive care units stood at the highest levels in more than two months.

* Germany has decided to stop using the coronavirus infection rate as its yardstick for deciding if restrictions should be in force, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

* Britain has agreed to buy 35 million more doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, to be delivered from the second half of next year.

* Sweden is likely to see infections gain momentum in the coming months, the health agency said.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Vietnam deployed soldiers to help enforce a strict lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City, its biggest urban area and current epicentre of its worst outbreak to date.

* Indonesia will start reopening restaurants, malls and places of worship in some areas including the capital Jakarta, as new cases have fallen sharply from their peak and vaccinations rise.

* China reported no new locally transmitted cases for the first time since July.

* New Zealand’s prime minister extended the lockdown, as criticism mounts of her strategy to eliminate COVID-19 amid the slow rollout of vaccinations.

AMERICAS

* New York City will require public school teachers and staff to get vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

* The Pentagon is preparing to issue updated guidance to require all U.S. service personnel to be vaccinated after Monday’s approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said.

* White House press secretary Jen Psaki said a review on the origins of COVID-19 sought by the president is expected to be complete by Tuesday’s deadline, but it will take a “few days” to put together an unclassified version for the public.

* Ahead of next month’s Canadian federal elections, most of the contenders doing the rounds will be vaccinated – but not all of them.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Egypt will vaccinate all 4.5 million of its state employees in August and September as it seeks to accelerate vaccinations ahead of a likely fourth wave.

* The Biden administration is working on offering vaccines to refugees from Afghanistan, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* EU competition regulators approved Danish aid to fund Bavarian Nordic’s coronavirus-related research and development activities.

* Valneva said it started rolling submission for its vaccine candidate’s initial approval with the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Global equity markets rose while the U.S. dollar dipped on Monday as investor concerns that the Federal Reserve would soon begin changing its accommodative monetary stance faded.[MKTS/GLOB]

* Business activity in the euro zone grew strongly again this month, as rapid vaccination allowed more firms to reopen and customers to venture out, a survey showed.

($1 = 0.8532 euros)

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