Coronavirus has killed more than 2.6 million people and infected over 120 million others worldwide. Here are the latest developments for March 14:

This picture shows a vial of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine in Paris on March 11, 2021.
This picture shows a vial of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine in Paris on March 11, 2021. (AFP)

Sunday, March 14, 2021

France reports 26,343 new cases

France has reported 26,343 new Covid-19 cases, down from 29,759 the previous day, the latest data from the health ministry showed.

The number of people to have died from the virus rose by 140 to a total 90,429, of which 65,118 have been in hospitals. Meanwhile, the number of people in intensive care units edged higher by 57 to 4,127, as pressure grows on French hospitals.

France has the world's sixth-highest total of Covid-19 cases, just behind Britain.

Italy's Piedmont region stops use of AstraZeneca vaccine batch

Italy's northern region of Piedmont has said that it would stop using a batch of AstraZeneca coronavirus shots after a teacher died following his vaccination on Saturday.

The region, around the northern city of Turin, had initially suspended all AstraZeneca vaccines in order to identify and isolate the batch from which the jab administered to the teacher, from the town of Biella, came.

The decision, following similar moves elsewhere in Europe, was precautionary and the region is awaiting the results of checks which will verify whether there is a connection between the death and the vaccination, the regional government said in an online statement.

The statement did not specify what batch it had banned nor did it say how the teacher died. Italian newspapers reported it was batch ABV5811. A source close to the regional government confirmed it was batch ABV5811.

The regional government's statement said that the Piedmont region was also awaiting decisions from Italy's medicine's agency Aifa and a regional health commission on the issue.

"It is an act of extreme prudence, while we verify whether there is a connection. There have been no critical issues with the administration of vaccines to date," Luigi Genesio Icardi, head of regional health services, said in the statement.

Turkey reports over 13,000 new infections

Turkey has reported 13,378 new coronavirus cases, including 852 symptomatic patients, according to the Health Ministry.

The total number of cases in the country passed 2.87 million, while the nationwide death toll reached 29,489, with 68 fatalities over the past day.

A total of 15,516 more patients in the country won the battle against the virus, raising the overall number of recoveries above 2.7 million.

More than 35.12 million coronavirus tests have been done in Turkey to date, including 132,425 since Saturday.

The latest figures show that the number of Covid-19 patients in critical condition stands at 1,392.

UK reports 4,618 new cases, 52 deaths

Britain has reported 4,618 new cases of Covid-19 and 52 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

That compares to 5,534 cases reported on Saturday and 121 deaths.

The number of people receiving their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine rose to 24,196,211, from 23,684,103. 

Italy reports 264 deaths, 21,315 new cases

Italy has reported 264 coronavirus-related deaths against 317 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections was down to 21,315 from 26,062 the day before.

Some 273,966 tests for Covid-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 372,944, the health ministry said.

Italy has registered 102,145 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world. The country has reported around 3.2 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with Covid-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 24,518 on Sunday, rising from 24,153 a day earlier.

There were 243 new admissions to intensive care units, down from 270 on Saturday. The total number of intensive care patients increased to 3,082 from a previous 2,982.

When Italy's second wave of the epidemic was accelerating quickly in the first half of November, hospital admissions were rising by about 1,000 per day, while intensive care occupancy was increasing by about 100 per day.

Dutch police break up anti-lockdown protest ahead of election

Dutch riot police used water cannon and batons on Sunday to disperse a crowd of several thousand anti-lockdown protesters gathered at a field in the centre of The Hague a day before national elections.

The demonstration was broken up after the protesters flouted social distancing rules and ignored police warnings to disperse.

Local media said several arrests were made during the clashes. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Dutch authorities had stopped train services to the city, the seat of government, to prevent more protesters arriving. Police initially told people to go home and announced over loudspeakers that the event was over and warned that they would break up the protest by force if necessary.

Fauci hopes Trump will tell his supporters to get Covid-19 vaccine

Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, has said that he hopes former President Donald Trump will urge his supporters to get the Covid-19 vaccine and emphasised that pandemic-related restrictions should not be lifted prematurely.

In a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll released last week, about half of US men who identified themselves as Republicans said they had no plans to get the vaccine.

Asked whether Trump should speak to his supporters directly, given those poll numbers, Fauci said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program: "I hope he does because the numbers that you gave are so disturbing."

"How such a large proportion of a certain group of people would not want to get vaccinated merely because of political considerations ... it makes absolutely no sense," Fauci said.

Pandemic claims 15 more lives in Palestine

Palestinian health authorities have confirmed 15 fatalities from the coronavirus pandemic along with 2,142 infections over the past 24 hours.

Health Minister Mai al Kaila said in her daily virus update that 2,072 cases and 14 deaths were recorded in the occupied West Bank, while 70 infections and one fatality were registered in the Gaza Strip.

She said the recovery percentage in Palestine reached 89.3 %, the percentage of active cases 9.6 percent and the deaths' percentage 1.1 percent of the total infections.

Al Kaila added that 177 patients are receiving health care in the intensive care units, including 49 depending on respirators.

The Palestinian government has ordered a 5-day lockdown in the occupied West Bank as of Monday to help stem the spread of Covid-19.

Bahrain relaxes measures as new cases ease

Bahrain has eased some of its coronavirus restrictions, including allowing eating inside restaurants and re-opening educational institutions to students, as case numbers fall.

Restaurants and cafes, which had been limited to take-away meals since late January, can open with no more than 30 customers at one time, the ministry of health said.

Swimming pools and sports facilities can re-open on Sunday, but social gatherings of more than 30 people in homes and private venues are still prohibited.

Ministry officials urged residents to get a vaccine and to continue to adhere to measures such as social distancing and washing hands.

Daily case numbers have fallen from a mid-February peak of 896 following a steady rise since December. The country, which offers residents and citizens four types of vaccine, registered 579 new cases on Sunday.

Philippines says Covid-19 vaccination drive on track as cases surge

The Philippines is on track with its Covid-19 inoculation drive, the head of the government's vaccine strategy has said, addressing criticisms the rollout has been slow as worries grow about a surge in new cases.

The Department of Health reported 4,899 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, a day after recording the largest single-day increase in more than six months with 5,000 additional infections.

The latest tally brought the country's total confirmed cases to 621,498, among the highest in Asia, with the reported death toll increasing by 63 to 12,829.

Carlito Galvez, who is in charge of the government's vaccine procurement programme, said almost 90% of the more than 1 million doses that arrived so far had been deployed nationwide.

Russia's reports more than 10,000 cases

Russia has reported 10,083 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the first time the number of daily infections has crossed the 10 thousand mark since Monday.

It brought the total case tally to 4,390,608.

The Russian coronavirus crisis centre said 395 more coronavirus patients had died in the last 24 hours, taking the national death toll to 92,090.

Turkish president hails health workers for fight against virus

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed his gratitude for healthcare workers on the occasion of the national March 14 Medicine Day.

"I greet you and your family with my most heartfelt feelings and congratulate you on the Medicine Day. I am grateful to you and all your colleagues for your services for our nation and all humanity," Erdogan said in a letter penned to mark the day also known as Doctors' Day.

Five detained over Covid hospital deaths in Jordan

The director and four other officials of a Jordanian hospital treating coronavirus patients have been detained over deaths at the facility after it ran out of oxygen.

A prosecutor decided to place them in custody for a week for questioning after seven patients died on Saturday in the hospital in Salt, near Amman, judicial sources said.

Public anger over the deaths led to the resignation of Health Minister Nazir Obeidat, and King Abdullah II, who visited the state hospital on Saturday, ordered its director Abdel Razak al Khashman to also step down.

Two arrested at Denmark protest against virus measures

Two people have been arrested on the sidelines of a weekend protest against anti-coronavirus restrictions in Denmark's capital Copenhagen.

One person was arrested for throwing fireworks at police during the Saturday march, while another was detained over violent behaviour, the police told AFP.

The rally was organised by a group calling itself "Men in Black Denmark" which has called regular demonstrations since the end of last year against what it calls the "dictatorship" of the country's Covid-19 restrictions.

Germany reports 10,790 more cases

The number of confirmed virus cases in Germany has increased by 10,790 to 2,569,245.

The reported death toll rose by 70 to 73,371, the data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed. 

Ireland recommends suspending AstraZeneca jab

Ireland's vaccine task force has recommended temporarily suspending the rollout of the AstraZeneca coronavirus jab, following reports of blood clots in adults who received the shot.

"The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has recommended that the administration of Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca be temporarily deferred from this morning," Ireland's deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn said in a statement.

He said the recommendation has been made "on the precautionary principal" after "a report from the Norwegian Medicines Agency of four new reports of serious blood clotting events in adults after vaccination".

Japan considers to hold Tokyo Olympics with 50% capacity

Japan is considering limiting spectators for the delayed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics to 50 percent of venue capacity due to risks posed by the spread of Covid-19.

For large venues the limit for spectators could be set at 20,000, but more people may be allowed if the pandemic situation improves, the Sankei newspaper reported. 

Japan's organising committee will announce its decision next month and is expected to comply with domestic regulations, the newspaper said, citing sources it did not named in the government and on the committee.

Meanwhile the government is leaning towards ending a state of emergency for Tokyo and surrounding areas over as scheduled on March 21.

The government is expected to make its decision at a meeting with advisers on March 18, the newspaper reported. Calls to the prime minister's office were not answered.

EU faces fresh shortfall of AstraZeneca supplies

The European Union is facing further shortfalls in its coronavirus inoculation programme after pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said production problems and export restrictions would reduce planned deliveries of its vaccine.

The Anglo/Swedish firm's image has already taken a hit with several countries suspending the rollout of its vaccine over blood clot fears, even as the World Health Organization said there was no reason to stop using it.

It is just the latest blow for the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is the cheapest vaccine aimed at fighting back against a pandemic that has claimed more than 2.6 million lives worldwide.

Two more tough years for cruise industry expected

Carnival Corp Chief Executive Arnold Donald anticipates at least two more tough years for the cruise industry, which is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023.

The cruise company's full fleet might be sailing by the end of this year but it will take longer to recover to pre-crisis revenues, Donald told the Financial Times.

Carnival in January reported a bigger-than-expected preliminary fourth-quarter net loss as business was brought to a virtual standstill by the coronavirus outbreak.

Carnival in January reported a bigger-than-expected preliminary fourth-quarter net loss as business was brought to a virtual standstill by the coronavirus outbreak.

Singapore may reopen borders by year-end

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said in a TV interview he hopes Singapore will start re-opening its borders by the end of the year as more countries ramp up vaccination drives against infections.

The Southeast Asian island nation has largely banned leisure travel, but has put in place some business and official travel programmes. It is also discussing the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates with other nations.

"I hope if that many countries can have substantial proportions of their populations vaccinated b y later this year, we will be able to have the confidence and to have developed the systems to open up our international borders to travel safely again," Lee said in an interview with BBC.

"Hopefully by the end of this year or next year, the doors can start to open, if not earlier," he said.

Australia records second local case in as many days

Australia has recorded its second local case of Covid-19 in as many days after a worker at two hotels used to quarantine people arriving from overseas tested positive for the coronavirus.

The infection is the first locally acquired case  in New South Wales in 55 days. The state's director of population health, Stephen Conaty, said the authorities are testing close contacts of the unnamed worker.

Queensland state, which on Saturday reported Australia's first local infection in two weeks, said  it has detected no cases in the past 24 hours.

US administers 105.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines - CDC

The United States has administered 105,703,501 doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the country and distributed 135,846,665 doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The tally is for Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines as of 6:00 am ET on Saturday, the agency said.

According to the tally posted on March 12, the agency had administered 101,128,005 doses of the vaccines and distributed 133,337,525 doses.

Brazil registers 1,997 new deaths

Brazil registered 76,178 new cases of coronavirus and 1,997 new Covid-19 deaths, said the Health Ministry.

The country has recorded a total of 277,102 deaths and 11,439,558 cases.

British Airways calls for vaccinated people to travel without restrictions

British Airways' new boss said vaccinated people should be allowed to travel without restriction and non-vaccinated people with a negative Covid-19 test, as he set out his ideas for a travel restart a month before the UK government finalises its plans.

Holidays will not be allowed until May 17 at the earliest, the government has said, but before that, on April 12, Britain will announce how and when non-essential travel into and out of the country can resume.

Sean Doyle, appointed BA's chief executive last October, called on Britain to work with other governments to allow vaccines and health apps to open up travel, after a year when minimal flying has left many airlines on life support.

Australia says working on travel bubble with Singapore

Australia is "working with Singapore" to create a travel bubble between the two nations as early as July, officials said, in an effort to restart tourism and travel put on hold by Covid-19.

Early in the pandemic Australia effectively closed its international border to slow the spread of the coronavirus, with non-citizens banned from visiting except in special circumstances.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said Australia was "working with Singapore at the moment potentially for a bubble (beginning) in July".

Protesters in Germany defy court ban on virus restrictions rally

More than 1,000 people gathered in the east German city of Dresden to protest against government-imposed restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The protest came despite a court confirmation on Friday evening that the rally had been banned by the Dresden Assembly Authority.

Few people at the protest wore masks or kept their distance from others despite police warnings from megaphones and officers walking through the crowds on foot to caution them.

FA Cup final could see virus-tested crowd bigger than 10,000

The FA Cup final could see the biggest English football crowd since the start of the coronavirus pandemic with the government hoping for more than 10,000 fans at the Wembley Stadium game.

The May 15 showpiece has been lined up as a pilot to assess how supporters could return to venues with them being tested in advance for the coronavirus and potentially without social distancing.

The government will assess the scientific data from the cup final that could pave the way to large-scale crowds on a more widespread basis from June 21, including the rescheduled European Championship, with the semifinals and final in July among seven games at Wembley.

The FA Cup final is taking place two days before the government already plans to ease coronavirus restrictions to allow 10,000 fans but with social distancing at sports.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies