(Reuters) - The European Commission will seek clarification from Pfizer over delays reported by EU countries for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines next week, a spokesman for the EU executive said on Friday.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news.
* An EU privacy watchdog is investigating the European Parliament’s staff COVID-19 testing website after a privacy activist filed a complaint on concerns that the site could be transferring data illegally to the United States.
* The number of new infections in Britain is estimated to be shrinking by as much as 4% a day, the government said, a sharp reversal in the trajectory of the pandemic suggesting national lockdowns are beginning to have an impact.
* Denmark is registering a rise in infections with a more contagious coronavirus variant known as cluster B.1.1.7, first identified in Britain, despite seeing regular infections fall.
* Germany’s infection numbers are encouraging but remain too high, Health Minister Jens Spahn said, dampening expectations that restrictions to curb the spread of the virus could be lifted.
* Japan and the IOC stood firm on their commitment to host the Tokyo Olympics this year and denied a report of a possible cancellation, although the pledge looks unlikely to ease public concern about holding the event during a pandemic.
* A domestic tourism campaign promoted by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga may have contributed to a sharp increase in coronavirus infections in the country, a prominent adviser to the government’s pandemic response said.
* U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to join the COVAX vaccine facility could make a “huge difference” to the financing of the scheme, intended to deliver coronavirus vaccines to poor countries, a diplomat with a lead role in COVAX said.
* Paraguay signed agreements with two pharmaceutical companies to buy 3 million doses of vaccines and plans to start vaccinations in the second half of February, Public Health Minister Julio Mazzoleni said.
* Mexico’s government said the administration of second doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines could be delayed and private companies will be allowed to purchase the drugs directly as the country struggles to keep a rampant pandemic in check.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Morocco received 2 million doses of Astrazeneca’s vaccine, becoming the first African country to get a large enough shipment to roll out a nationwide immunisation programme.
* Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said China had approved delivery of a second consignment of the CoronaVac vaccine and 10 million doses could arrive in Turkey by this weekend.
* Walmart Inc said it is preparing to offer COVID-19 vaccinations in seven more U.S. states as well as in Chicago and Puerto Rico, this week and next, expanding beyond the two states where its pharmacists are offering inoculations.
* BioNTech is to supply 50 million specialty needles at no profit to countries struggling to extract a sixth dose from vials of its vaccine, while Europe’s immunisation campaign is being hampered by a temporary supply shortfall.
* Global equity benchmarks slipped from record highs and oil prices dipped as weaker economic data in Japan and Europe and concerns that newly-inaugurated U.S. President Joe Biden’s stimulus plan may face Republican opposition curbed a weeklong rally in risk assets.[MKTS/GLOB]
* European Central Bank policymakers are set to delve deeper at their next meeting into how they measure borrowing costs in the virus-hit euro zone economy after failing to reach an agreement this week, four sources told Reuters.
Compiled by Charles Regnier and Linda Pasquini; Editing by Mark Heinrich
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