Greece slams EU jab roll-out, Sputnik V global production: COVID-19 daily bulletin
Updated 01:30, 03-Apr-2021
Aden-Jay Wood


- Police in riot gear used tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands of people who gathered for an illegal party in Brussels, an event that started as an April Fool's Day joke on social media. Law enforcement authorities on Wednesday had issued a warning that the announcement of a party was illegal and that its organizers could be prosecuted.

- Russia has agreed to produce its Sputnik V vaccine with 20 manufacturers in 10 countries across the world, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the jab's marketing company, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, has said.

- Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has criticized the European Union's slow roll-out of vaccines, but confirmed that Greece could be able to vaccinate everyone over the age of 60 by the end of May.

- The Netherlands has decided to halt the use of the AstraZeneca jab for people aged under 60, following reports of a small number of blood clots in patients who have had the vaccine.

- Austria is to provide Czechia with 30,000 vaccine doses to help it speed up its vaccination program, the office of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has said.

- Only 40 percent of pubs in England will have outdoor space to reopen on April 12, the British Beer and Pub Association CEO, Emma McClarkin, has said. As part of the country's lockdown measures, pubs and restaurants will only be allowed to open later this month for outside service.

- The UK is to add Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines to its "red list" of countries from 4 a.m. GMT on Friday April 9. People who have been in or through any red list nations in the previous 10 days will be refused entry to the country.

- More than 70 members of parliament in the UK have opposed to the introduction of vaccine passports. The idea, which is being considered by the government, would mean people showing proof of a vaccination to attend crowded places such as pubs and sporting events.  

- Greece is to offer restaurants and bars that have been under lockdown for months up to $390m in additional funding to help them reopen in the coming weeks. Each business will receive a grant of $117,000 to handle reopening costs as Greece hopes to reopen the hospitality sector in April. "Our goal is clear ... to reopen your businesses as comfortably as possible," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.

- UK drug regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said it has identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events in patients after they had been given a dose of AstraZeneca's newly renamed Vaxzevria jab. However, the health officials still believe the benefits of the vaccine "far outweigh" any possible risks.

- Bulgaria is to receive more than 1.2m additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as a sign of solidarity from European Union member states to those countries most in need of the jabs in Europe. "This is good news for us and for all of Europe. It shows that member states can show solidarity," Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said.

- Ukraine has reported a further 19,893 new cases in the past 24 hours, its highest number of new daily cases since the start of the pandemic, as it continues to struggle with the third wave of the virus.

- Former India cricket player Sachin Tendulkar has been admitted to hospital as a precautionary measure after contracting the virus last week. "I hope to be back home in a few days. Take care and stay safe everyone," he added on twitter.





Guy Henderson in London

The UK has received 30 reports of very rare blood clots already linked to the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in the rest of Europe. Sweden, Finland, Canada and Germany advise younger people not to receive the jab. Norway and Finland have suspended its use. UK regulators say the benefits continue to outweigh any risks.

More than 59 percent of the UK adult population has now received a first dose of a jab. That success means infections continue to fall across England, Wales and Scotland. Although cases appear to be rising again in Northern Ireland.

However, authorities are warning against complacency over the Easter weekend, days after the stay-at-home order was lifted allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors. England's chief medical officer has warned some measures may be needed for "the next year or two."

Opposition is growing against proposals for the domestic use of "immunity passports," even as their use for international travelers looks more and more likely.



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Penelope Liersch in Budapest

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban took part in his weekly radio interview on Friday, insisting vaccination is still the way out of the pandemic. He forecast there are still two to three difficult weeks ahead before the tide turns, following weeks of record deaths and hospitalizations.

During the interview, he took aim at Western governments, accusing them of thinking they know better and saying it is stupid to refuse Eastern vaccines. According to Orban, by April 13, 3 million people will have been vaccinated in the country and younger age groups will be inoculated if there are more doses available than the number of people registered. 

He continued to insist vaccination is the only thing that will ease the situation, saying those who think restrictions can stop it are wrong.




Stuart Smith in Brussels

Police dispersed thousands of revelers from a Brussels park with water cannons on Thursday evening after an impromptu illegal party.

A Facebook event called "La Boum" originally started as an April Fool's Day joke. But sunny weather and a festival atmosphere ahead of the Easter weekend saw thousands descend on Bois de la Cambre park with drinks and speakers playing music.

Police mobilized water cannon, officers and horses to disperse the crowd, which lef several police and participants injured and there were 22 arrests.

Philippe Close, the mayor of Brussels, said the gathering went beyond what could be accepted, saying yesterday's non-socially distanced gathering was "a real slap in the face for health workers."

Belgium is going through a third wave of COVID-19 and hospital capacity is stretched.


Police in riot gear used tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands of people who gathered for an illegal party in Brussels. /Reuters

Police in riot gear used tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands of people who gathered for an illegal party in Brussels. /Reuters



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