Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Jan 19 (Reuters) - The chairman of the Gavi vaccine alliance, Jose Manuel Barroso, said on Wednesday that an additional $5.2 billion is needed to continue to deliver COVID vaccines at scale, as more than 3 billion people in the world have yet to receive their first dose. read more


* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.


* Betting Omicron cases have peaked, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson dropped COVID-19 rules in England, as he faces a revolt by his own lawmakers who are angry over a series of lockdown parties in Downing Street. read more

* The Hungarian opposition's candidate for prime minister said he was isolating after testing positive. read more

* Portuguese voters with COVID-19 and those in isolation will be allowed to leave home to cast their ballot when the country holds a snap election on Jan. 30. read more

* Greece began imposing recurring fines on those over the age of 60 who are unvaccinated. read more

* The Czech government scrapped a decree making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for key professionals and over 60s, while the daily tally of new cases hit a record high. read more

* Austria, Slovenia and Croatia also reported record new daily infections, but new cases and deaths fell in neighbouring Italy. read more

* The European Commission will likely approve $1.93 billion state aid for Berlin airport to avoid its bankruptcy, sources told Reuters.


* The Indian drug regulator's subject expert committee recommended full approval for Covishield and Covaxin, the two COVID-19 vaccines that have dominated the country's inoculation drive. read more

* Thousands of people in Hong Kong volunteered to adopt unwanted hamsters after the government's mass cull over COVID-19 fears. read more


* Infections continue to accelerate in the Americas, reaching new peaks, with 7.2 million new cases and more than 15,000 deaths in the last week, the Pan American Health Organization said. read more

* Brazil and Mexico reported record new daily cases with 137,103 and 49,343 respectively. read more

* The U.S. government plans to make 400 million non-surgical N95 masks from its stockpile available for free to the public starting next week.

* The Federal Trade Commission ordered U.S. marketers to immediately stop making false claims their products can prevent COVID-19. read more


* Algeria has decided to close its schools for 10 days after it registered a rise in Omicron cases. read more

* South African-American businessman Patrick Soon-Shiong opened a new vaccine plant in Cape Town, intended to help his local NantSA company make COVID-19 shots in future and address the continent's deadly dearth of manufacturing capacity. read more


* French biotech firm Valneva (VLS.PA) said preliminary studies had shown that three doses of its inactivated vaccine candidate neutralised the Omicron variant. read more

* Swiss medical researchers said they have launched an early-stage study to test a next-generation vaccine candidate which would be administered via an arm patch. read more

* Tennis champion Novak Djokovic has an 80% stake in Danish biotech firm QuantBioRes, which is aiming to develop a medical COVID-19 treatment, its CEO told Reuters. read more


* Strong U.S. and European corporate results helped stock markets initially rebound on Wednesday from the prior day's sell-off, but rising crude prices kept inflation concerns alive even as bond yields eased after they touched fresh multi-year highs. read more

* Argentina's Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner slammed payments to the International Monetary Fund as costing the country more than COVID-19, as talks over a new $40 billion deal show little sign of advancing.

* A group of more than 100 billionaires and millionaires said the ultra-wealthy were not currently being forced to pay their share of the global economic recovery from the pandemic. read more

Compiled by Sarah Morland and Marta Frackowiak; Edited by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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