PARIS: Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
– Covid catastrophe was preventable –
The scale of the Covid disaster could have been prevented, a panel of independent experts assembled by the World Health Organization declares, also blaming the UN body for not sounding the alarm sooner.
– How many India deaths? –
India´s coronavirus death toll passes 250,000 but comparisons of official data with reports from people on the frontlines suggest the true number is several times higher.
– Indian variant spreading –
The WHO says that the B.1.617 variant blamed for India´s explosive outbreak has been found in dozens of countries all over the world.
– EU urges limiting India trips –
The European Commission calls for EU member states to work together to restrict travel from India in order to limit the spread of the B.1.617 variant.
– Norway ditches AstraZeneca –
Norway will drop AstraZeneca´s vaccine from its immunisation programme due to concerns over rare blood clot side effects, and offer Johnson & Johnson´s jab only to volunteers, the government announces.
– Slovakia to start Sputnik jabs –
Slovakia will start rolling out Russia´s Sputnik V vaccine in June, the government says.
– Spanish football fans rejoice –
Fans will be allowed to return to some stadiums in the top two divisions of Spanish football this weekend, the government says.
– EU boost –
The European Union sharply revises its growth forecasts for this year and next, saying an accelerated vaccination drive and the bloc´s landmark recovery plan would lift Europe out of recession.
– Pope is back –
Pope Francis staged his first public audience since early last year in Rome, greeting a baby, chatting with masked children outdoors and donning a hat handed to him from the crowd.
– Fully jabbed island –
The tiny Pacific nation of Nauru congratulates itself for a “world record” vaccination drive which has resulted in all its adult population receiving their first jab.
– 3.3 million dead –
The pandemic has killed at least 3,319,512 people worldwide since the virus first emerged in late 2019, according to an AFP compilation of official data.
The US is the worst-affected country with 582,848 deaths, followed by Brazil with 425,540, India 254,197, Mexico 219,323 and Britain 127,629.