DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news. EUROPE
* Europe approved Johnson & Johnson’s single dose COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for the first shots to be delivered in a month.
* French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday that French health authorities see no reason to suspend the use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccinations.
* The COVID-19 situation in greater Paris is “especially worrying” and the government will take extra restrictive measures there if the pandemic continues at its current pace.
* The French health ministry said the number of people treated in intensive care units for COVID-19 went up by 74, to 3,922, the highest for three and a half months.
* Hungary said it was paying the equivalent of about $37.50 per dose for Chinese company Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine and $9.95 per dose for the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine.
* Turkey plans to vaccinate 50 million people against COVID-19 by autumn.
* The European Union’s executive will propose next week that new COVID-19 certificates combine information on vaccination, recovery from the sickness and test results to avoid discrimination between citizens, a senior official said.
* Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria, next in the line of succession to the Swedish throne, and husband Prince Daniel have tested positive for the coronavirus.
* The Portuguese parliament on Thursday approved a 15-day extension of a state of emergency until the end of March as the government geared up to unveil a long-awaited plan to gradually lift strict lockdown rules in place since mid-January.
* Britain’s official death toll from COVID-19 has passed 125,000, another grim milestone for the country which has recorded the highest number of deaths from the disease in Europe.
* Slovakia’s health minister said he would resign to help defuse a row over coronavirus vaccine shipments that rocked the four-party ruling coalition, as the country battles the world’s second highest per capita COVID-19 death rate.
* Public Health England said a new coronavirus variant had been identified in the UK in two people who had recently been in Antigua, adding that it shared some traits of others, but would not be categorised as concerning for now. AMERICAS
* Chile’s president Sebastián Piñera announced a raft of new measures aimed at helping middle class families stay afloat amid a new wave of coronavirus contagions that has sent swaths of the country back into lockdown.
* Hospitals in Brazil’s main cities are reaching capacity, health officials warned, triggering tighter restrictions on Thursday in its most populous state. ASIA-PACIFIC
* Moderna will submit to Thailand its application for approval for its vaccine this month. MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Mozambique expects to receive 1.7 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines by May from various bilateral sources.
* Palestinians received 40,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, a donation by the United Arab Emirates that could boost a long-time rival of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of an election. MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS
* Vir Biotechnology and GSK plan to seek emergency use authorization for their experimental COVID-19 antibody therapy after interim data from a study showed 85% reduction in hospitalization and deaths among patients. ECONOMIC IMPACT
* Direct deposits from the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief legislation signed into law by President Joe Biden on Thursday will come as early as this weekend, the White House press secretary said.
($1 = 0.8375 euros) Compiled by Amy Caren Daniel; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta