COVID-19: Latest global developments

File: A health worker checks a nasal swab sample collected during a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for the COVID-19 coronavirus. AFP/Tauseef Mustafa

PARIS - These are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

 World passes 200m vaccine doses 

More than 200-million coronavirus doses have been administered worldwide, according to an AFP tally at 1000 GMT Saturday, although 45 percent were in the wealthy G7 nations and 92 percent in countries ranked high- or upper-middle income by the World Bank.

Israel is far ahead of any other country worldwide with almost half its population having received at least one vaccine dose and one-third both doses needed for full protection.

 Russia registers third vaccine 

Russia says 120,000 doses of its third authorised coronavirus vaccine, CoviVac, will reach people by March, following in the footsteps of the Sputnik V and EpiVacCorona shots.

The new vaccine, still in final-stage clinical trials, was produced by the state-run Chumakov Centre based in Moscow and employed a different method of development from Sputnik and EpiVacCorona, using an inactive virus.

 New Zealand starts vaccine campaign 

Calling it a "small but important step in a long journey", New Zealand starts its vaccination programme with the initial focus on high-risk citizens and those returning from overseas, along with border and quarantine workers.

Despite the vaccine program, the New Zealand government has said it is unlikely overseas tourists will be allowed to return this year.

 Argentina health minister quits 

Gines Gonzalez Garci, 75, steps down from his job as Argentina's health minister after it emerged that friends of his had been able to skip the line for vaccination.

So far only health workers have been vaccinated in Argentina and vaccinations for people aged over 70 only began on Wednesday in the province of Buenos Aires.

 Romania prioritises vaccinating homeless 

Romania says it has vaccinated almost 300 homeless people in the days since making them a priority alongside the elderly and the chronically ill, saying they have little chance of protecting themselves against infection.

Bucharest decided to move the homeless up the priority scale -- following in Denmark's footsteps -- after pressure from charity groups.

 More than 2.45 million dead 

An AFP count at 1100 GMT Saturday shows that Covid-19 has killed at least 2,453,070 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, with at least 110,700,000 cases registered.

The United States remains the worst-affected country with 495,804 deaths from 28,006,085 cases, followed by Brazil, Mexico, India and Britain.


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