Coronavirus: Latest global developments

·2-min read
China exported more than 220 billion face masks last year, the commerce ministry says.

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

- AstraZeneca verdict -

European regulators are expected to announce if they have approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, as a row with the EU over supplies of the jab escalates.

Its Amsterdam-based medical regulator is due to hold a press conference to reveal its verdict.

- Contract revealed -

The EU ramps up pressure on the drug company by publishing a redacted copy of its contract with AstraZeneca following anger over delays in deliveries.

- Positive post-jab data -

The Pfizer/BioNTech jab has no link to reported post-vaccination deaths and no new side effects, the EU's medicines regulator says based on the first data from its rollout.

- Origins probe -

Experts from the World Health Organization visit a Wuhan hospital as fieldwork begins in a closely watched probe that will take in a food market presumed to be "ground zero" of the pandemic.

- Masks galore -

China exported more than 220 billion face masks last year, the commerce ministry says, the equivalent of nearly 40 masks per person outside China as demand for protective gear has skyrocketed.

- Deep recessions -

The French economy shrunk 8.3 percent in 2020 as the outbreak plunged countries across Europe into their deepest recessions since World War II, statistics show, and the prospect of another lockdown clouds the outlook for recovery.

A first estimate from Spain's National Statistics Institute says its economy contracted by 11 percent.

- Hungary goes for China jab -

Hungary became the first EU member to approve the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine.

- H&M profits slashed -

High street fashion giant H&M says the pandemic has slashed its 2020 net profits by 90 percent, with about a third of its 5,000 stores currently closed.

- Games will unite -

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vows to hold the Olympics as a symbol of unity and hope, despite growing doubts over the virus-postponed event.

- Cases top 101 million -

At least 2,191,865 people have died of coronavirus since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

More than 101,436,360 cases have been registered.

The US has suffered the highest toll with 433,206 deaths, followed by Brazil with 221,547 and Mexico with 155,145.

The number of deaths globally is underestimated. The toll is calculated from daily figures published by national health authorities and does not include later revisions by statistics agencies.