Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

·3-min read
FILE PHOTO: Receiving COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the opening of the new parliament in Naypyitaw

(Reuters) - Mexico surpassed 2 million coronavirus cases while new infections in the United States fell for a fifth week in a row, with the White House increasing its supply of vaccines to states and pharmacies this week.

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

EUROPE

* Europe's drugs regulator could issue an opinion by mid-March on whether to approve Johnson & Johnson's vaccine under a speedy review.

* Sources said the European Union is adding clauses to contracts with vaccine makers to allow the bloc to gain access to possible upgraded shots.

* Germany dashed hopes of business lobby groups for a quick reopening of the economy.

* The United Kingdom could give two doses of vaccine to all adults by August or September, the interim head of the country's vaccine taskforce told Sky News.

* Denmark registered the more contagious coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, first detected in Britain, in close to half of all positive tests in the second week of February.

* Ukrainian health minister said Kyiv's vaccine purchases were being hampered by "dirty information attacks" that had triggered a corruption investigation against his ministry.

AMERICAS

* The White House is increasing the supply of vaccines sent each week to states to 13.5 million doses, and is also doubling the amount shipped to pharmacies to 2 million doses this week.

* Moderna said the release of some of its vaccine doses to the U.S. government have lagged recently because of "short-term delays" in the final stages of production at its contractor Catalent.

* Mexico will this week raise concerns at the United Nations Security Council about unequal access to vaccines globally, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* India will increase the number of its vaccination sites by up to five times after administering nearly 9 million shots in a month.

* A five-day snap lockdown in Australia's Victoria state will end on Wednesday, officials said as they reported no new cases in a cluster linked to a quarantine hotel in the city of Melbourne.

* Japan launched its inoculation drive on Wednesday.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* South Africa plans to share 1 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses with other African countries.

* Iraq recorded a sharp rise in cases after it confirmed infections of one of the newer variants of the coronavirus.

* Pizza, hummus, pastry and a cup of coffee were on the menu on Tuesday to entice Israelis to get their vaccinations.

* Zimbabwe will begin vaccinating on Thursday, starting with health workers and other essential service personnel.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Sources said the EU is in talks with Moderna on buying more vaccines, while Australia's medical regulator granted provisional approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* U.S. Treasury yields hit one-year highs on Wednesday, lending support to the dollar but pressuring lofty valuations for stocks, as investors reckoned that a stimulus-fuelled global recovery will eventually bring rising inflation.

* Japan's exports accelerated in January, led by a jump in Chinese demand, and manufacturers' sentiment turned positive for the first time since 2019.

* Financial conditions in the United States were "generally good" right now, with the potential for its economic growth to outpace China, St. Louis Fed president James Bullard said.

(Compiled by Devika Syamnath and Jagoda Darlak; Editing by Giles Elgood and Sriraj Kalluvila)