Factbox – Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus
(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc’s experimental antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 was shown to cut by 89% the chances of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of developing severe disease, offering what could be a promising new weapon in the fight against the pandemic.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news
* Roughly 85% of the more than 50,000 people who have died of COVID-19 in Romania were over 60 years old, according to public health institute data, as isolation and mistrust keep many elderly away from vaccines.
* The pandemic has worsened in 10 Russian regions despite a week-long nationwide workplace shutdown designed to curb a surge in infections, a senior Russian official said.
* Germany’s COVID-19 situation is entering a very difficult period as intensive care patient numbers rise, health minister Jens Spahn said, while German state leaders warned the country may need a new lockdown unless it takes urgent action.
* Britain’s Health Secretary hailed the “incredible results” of a trial of Pfizer’s experimental antiviral pill, of which the country has procured 250,000 courses.
* Austria said it is barring those not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from cafes, restaurants and hairdressers as infections approach the record set a year ago and the government struggles to convince holdouts to get the shot.
* President Joe Biden said the United States has secured millions of doses of Pfizer’s experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 in case it turns out to be an effective treatment.
* Republican governors began filing lawsuits to stop the Biden administration’s requirement that nearly 2 million U.S. employers get workers tested or vaccinated for COVID-19.
* The rate of decline in Canadian cases has slowed somewhat and it is too soon to fully lift precautions, the country’s top health official said.
* Chile’s presidential candidates had to host news conferences from home and cancel travel plans as five out of seven candidates were forced to isolate for a week after left-wing hopeful Gabriel Boric tested positive for COVID-19.
* Bollywood stars are returning to India’s big screens after more than a year, with the film industry hoping that declining COVID-19 cases and the festival season will bring audiences back to the cinemas.
* Vietnam plans to restart international commercial flights with 15 countries from January next year, its aviation authority said, eyeing a full resumption by July.
* Pfizer and United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) are in talks on a licensing agreement that would allow qualified third parties to manufacture and supply the U.S. drugmaker’s oral antiviral pill candidate, pending regulatory nod, the MPP told Reuters.
* Merck has signed nine deals to sell more than about 3 million courses in total of its experimental COVID-19 pill molnupiravir to governments around the world.
* British scientists have identified a version of a gene that may be associated with double the risk of lung failure from COVID-19.
* Global equities resumed their rally and the dollar hit a one-year peak after U.S. job data rebounded in a reassuring sign for investors worried for months about how stocks would fare once the Fed starts to rolling back the pandemic-era stimulus. [MKTS/GLOB]
* U.S. employment increased more than expected in October as the headwind from the surge in COVID-19 infections over the summer subsided.
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