Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world - Saturday, March 6

The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines should not tempt countries to relax efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, top World Health Organization officials said on Friday, citing particular concern about the situation in Brazil.

"We think we're through this. We're not," Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergency expert, told an online briefing. "Countries are going to lurch into third and fourth surges if we're not careful." 

Here's the latest from around the world overnight.


Women in European Union countries have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic because they make up the vast majority of workers in health and other frontline jobs, an EU report said on Friday. The pandemic has also brought a rise in domestic violence against women, the EU's annual report on gender equality said.


More than 200,000 Russians diagnosed with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic began last April, Russia's Rosstat statistics agency said on Friday, more than double the widely cited figure used by the government's coronavirus task force.

Rosstat, which releases its figures infrequently and with a time lag, said it had recorded 200,432 deaths through January. The government coronavirus task force's tally, updated daily, had recorded 88,285 deaths as of Friday.

The authorities have said in the past that Rosstat's figures are more complete, including data from autopsy reports not available for the daily tally.


France reported 23,507 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, down from 25,279 on Thursday and down from 26,788 on Wednesday.

The French health ministry reported 439 new COVID-19 deaths.


Italy registered more deaths in 2020 than in any other year since World War II, according to data that suggest COVID-19 caused thousands more fatalities than were officially attributed to it.

Italy reported 297 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday.


The Czech Republic has asked Germany, Switzerland and Poland to take in dozens of COVID-19 patients as the situation in its own hospitals has reached a critical point, Prague's Health Ministry said on Friday. The country of 10.7 million has been one of the hardest-hit globally, especially in recent weeks.

The country has reported 21,325 coronavirus deaths and 1.3 million infections.


Hungary said on Friday it would have to delay the vaccination of tens of thousands of people after a bureaucratic glitch disrupted its distribution of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot.


A variant of COVID-19 first identified in Britain now accounts for 25 percent of the reported cases in Poland, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Friday.

United Kingdom

Britain said on Friday it would require people travelling abroad from March 8 to carry a new form setting out why their trip was permitted under strict lockdown restrictions.

Jair Bolsonaro.
Jair Bolsonaro. Photo credit: Reuters



After two straight days of record COVID-19 deaths in Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday told Brazilians to stop "whining" and move on, in his latest remarks attacking distancing measures and downplaying the gravity of the pandemic.

"Enough fussing and whining. How much longer will the crying go on?" Bolsonaro told a crowd at an event. 

The Health Ministry registered 75,102 additional cases of coronavirus on Thursday, the most in a single day since July and the second-highest on record. Brazil also recorded 1699, decreasing slightly from the previous two days of record deaths.


Canada's drug regulator has approved Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, the fourth such shot to be given the green light, Ottawa said on Friday, amid frustration over the slow pace of inoculations. Canada is the second major jurisdiction to approve the shot after the United States.

Canada has recorded a total of 22,151 COVID-19 deaths and 878,391 cases during the pandemic. Around 3000 new infections are being reported each day, well down from the 8400 seen in January.

Africa and the Middle East

Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda started inoculating frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable citizens against COVID-19 on Friday as Africa, the world's poorest continent and home to 1.3 billion people, stepped up its vaccination campaigns.

"This means that I will die when God wants because the coronavirus cannot kill me now," 90-year-old Stephanie Nyirankuriza said, leaning on a walking stick after her shot at a health centre just east of the Rwandan capital Kigali.


A doctor who has spent the past year treating COVID-19 patients on Friday became the first person in Nigeria to be vaccinated against the disease, kicking off a mammoth campaign that aims to inoculate 80 million people this year.



The findings of a WHO-led mission to Wuhan, China to investigate the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are expected in mid-March, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.


Japan extended a state of emergency in the Tokyo area by two weeks to try to combat COVID-19, prompting a "heartfelt apology" by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.



Preliminary data from a study conducted at the University of Oxford indicates that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca PLC is effective against the P1, or Brazilian, variant, a source with knowledge of the study told Reuters. The data indicates that the vaccine will not need to be modified in order to protect against the variant, which is believed to have originated in the Amazonian city of Manaus, said the source.

Sputnik V

A French cabinet minister urged EU countries on Friday not to use the Russian or Chinese COVID-19 vaccines unless they are approved by the bloc's medicines regulator, warning of a risk to the bloc's unity and public health.