Coronavirus live news: China launches virus passport; Pfizer vaccine works on Brazil variant

China launches digital certificate showing vaccination status and virus test results; Biden urged to establish temporary Covid health credentials; Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine ‘neutralises’ new variant

10.43am GMT

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the international financial talking shop, has increased its global growth forecast, citing the deployment of coronavirus vaccines and a huge economic stimulus programme in the US as reasons for greater optimism.

The Paris-based organisations said it expects the global economy to grow 5.6%, an increase of 1.4 percentage points from its December forecast. It said in its economic outlook report published on Tuesday:

Global economic prospects have improved markedly in recent months, helped by the gradual deployment of effective vaccines, announcements of additional fiscal support in some countries, and signs that economies are coping better with measures to suppress the virus.

Global #GDP will grow by 5.6% this year, an upward revision of more than 1 percentage point since our last projection in Dec 2020.

GDP growth by country ⬇️
OECD Interim #EconomicOutlook: https://t.co/CaYycpMSjv pic.twitter.com/pcwjUUmK01

There are increasing signs of divergence across countries and sectors. Strict containment measures will hold back growth in some countries and service sectors in the near term, while others will benefit from effective public health policies, faster vaccine deployment and strong policy support.

Sizeable risks remain. Faster progress in vaccine deployment in all countries would enable restrictions to be lifted more quickly and enhance confidence and spending. Slow progress in vaccine rollout and the emergence of new virus mutations resistant to existing vaccines would result in a weaker recovery, larger job losses and more business failures.

10.21am GMT

Seventeen European countries received doses from a batch of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine that authorities in Austria have stopped using while investigating a death and an illness, a senior health official has told Reuters.

The warning came after a 49-year-old nurse in Zwettl, a town north-west of Vienna, died as a result of severe coagulation disorders after receiving the vaccine. Another nurse from Zwettl who is 35 and received a dose from the same batch, ABV 5300, developed a pulmonary embolism and is recovering.

We informed all European colleagues in the European network as this batch, which amounted to roughly a million doses in total, was sent to 17 European countries.

Continue reading… Source: The Guardian: Coronavirus live news: China launches virus passport; Pfizer vaccine works on Brazil variant ———

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