Here's the latest on the pandemic from around the world overnight.
Police in rural India have made some citizens who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus wear signs with a skull and crossbones, the universal symbol for danger, stoking anger in a country where shots are in short supply.
An Indian state has raised its COVID-19 death toll sharply higher after the discovery of thousands of unreported cases, lending weight to suspicion that India's overall death tally is significantly more than the official figure.
The health department in Bihar, one of India's poorest states, revised its total COVID-19 related death toll to more than 9429 from about 5424 on Wednesday.
India is close to agreeing to grant foreign COVID-19 vaccine makers such as Pfizer protection against legal liability so that it can use their shots in an immunisation campaign that is facing acute shortages, three government sources told Reuters.
A jump in coronavirus cases on Indonesia's two most populous islands has health experts worried that the worst could be yet to come, with few curbs on movement at a time when dangerous variants drive record fatalities elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
The main coronavirus vaccination centre in the Japanese capital of Tokyo will begin booking shots for people under 65 from Saturday, media reported on Thursday, as it ramps up inoculation efforts before the 2020 Olympics open next month.
Singapore will start a phased easing of its restrictions from next week, the health ministry said. It will also work towards putting in place an air travel bubble with Australia and review in July plans to open a travel bubble with Hong Kong, the countries' governments said.
Two Australian states are on COVID-19 alert after an infected woman and her husband travelled from Victoria, the epicentre of country's latest outbreak, through the states of New South Wales and into Queensland, visiting dozens of sites enroute.
Middle East and Africa
About 90 percent of African countries will miss a September target to vaccinate at least 10 percent of their populations against COVID-19 as a third wave of the pandemic looms on the continent, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Thursday.
South Africa has entered its third wave of COVID-19 infections, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said on Thursday, as the continent's worst-hit country registered 9149 new cases.
The World Health Organization on Thursday urged Europeans to travel responsibly during the summer holiday season and warned the continent was "by no means out of danger" in the battle against COVID-19 despite a steady decline of infection rates in recent weeks.
Britain reported 7393 new daily COVID cases, government figures showed on Thursday, down slightly from the 7540 reported for the day before, which was the highest daily total since late February.
Britain also reported seven further deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID test, up from six on Wednesday and taking the total death toll on this measure to 127,867.
Italy reported 88 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday against 77 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections was down to 2079 from 2199.
A recent improvement in the number of new coronavirus cases in Germany was pleasing, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday but she warned that the pandemic was not over and the risk from the Delta variant, widespread in Britain, was worrying.
"The development in terms of numbers is extremely gratifying," Merkel told reporters after talks with leaders of Germany's 16 federal states.
"But we must not forget that the coronavirus has not disappeared and what worries us is the so-called Delta variant which has spread in Britain," she added.
Currently, about 2.5 percent of positive coronavirus cases in Germany were linked to the Delta variant, Merkel said.
British health minister Matt Hancock on Thursday said that there needs to be a fully independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19 that is allowed to take place without interference in China.
"It is vital that we have a fully independent investigation in China into finding out all we can about this, and that that is allowed to happen unencumbered," he told lawmakers.
"And part of the reforms that we need, to the way that the worldwide systems operate, is to make sure that we can properly find answers to these questions, because at the moment, it is impossible to know... we do need to get to the bottom of this."
EU leaders on Thursday called for an unfettered investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, first identified in central China, amid criticism of an initial World Health Organization probe.
The Biden administration is committed to efforts to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and will raise the issue with the World Trade Organization, but it may take time, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Thursday.
Moderna & Pfizer/BioNTech
A higher-than-expected number of young men have experienced heart inflammation after their second dose of the mRNA COVID-19 shots from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, according to data from two vaccine safety monitoring systems, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday.
The agency said it is still assessing the risk from the condition and has not yet concluded that there was a causal relationship between the vaccines and cases of myocarditis or pericarditis. While some patients required hospitalisation, most have fully recovered.
Moderna said on Thursday it has filed for US authorisation to use its COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents aged 12 through 17.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday the US Food and Drug Administration has extended the shelf life of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from three months to four-and-a-half months, as millions of unused doses nationwide near expiration.
The European Union decided not to take up an option to buy 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine and is considering donating another 100 million optional shots, if ordered, European officials said.
Reuters / Newshub.