Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
Merkel’s dire warning
German Chancellor Angela Merkel orders a strict lockdown for five days over Easter warning that the British strain of the virus is raging through the country and infections are rising ‘exponentially’.
‘We are in a new pandemic,’ she says.
AstraZeneca stumbles again
AstraZeneca is hit by another snag after a US government agency says it may have included out-of-date data in results of US trials for its vaccine announced on Monday.
The company says it will release more data ‘within 48 hours’.
In an escalating row between the EU and the Anglo-Swedish firm, Angela Merkel backs EU chief Ursula von der Leyen’s threat to block AstraZeneca vaccines produced in the bloc from being exported.
‘We have a problem with AstraZeneca,’ Merkel says.
European officials are furious the British-based company has been able to deliver its UK contract in full while falling short on its supplies to the EU.
France should be vaccinating ‘morning, noon and evening’ says President Emmanuel Macron, who faces criticism that the country’s inoculation drive has been too slow.
It has given 8.8 million doses compared with over 30 million in Britain and nearly 11 million in Germany.
A government minister says the country will open 35 mass vaccination centres ‘in the coming days’.
Day of reflection
Britain marks the anniversary of its first lockdown with a ‘National Day of Reflection’, which will see parliament hold a minute’s silence in tribute to the more than 126,000 people who have died, one of the highest global death tolls.
Swiss pharma giant Roche announces promising results from clinical trials of an anti-Covid antibody treatment developed with US biotech firm Regeneron.
Getting the virus again
Covid-19 reinfections are growing fast in the Czech Republic, which currently has the world’s highest per capita death rate from the disease.
Ukraine logs a record number of new deaths, with 333 fatalities over the past 24 hours, as authorities warn of a ‘very difficult period’ ahead.
China’s drug authority approves an inhaled vaccine for trials co-developed by domestic firm CanSino Biologics.
India jabs over-45s
India announces it will open its vaccination drive to all over-45s from April in a bid to boost its massive but flagging campaign as infections rise.
After a surge in infections in the war-torn country, Yemen’s coronavirus committee urges the government to declare a public health ‘state of emergency’.
A first shipment of 8,000 doses of vaccine lands in Papua New Guinea as a surge of cases overwhelms its fragile health system.
Banksy NHS boost
A painting by street artist Banksy is expected to raise millions for staff of Britain’s state-run National Health Service at auction.
The painting by the elusive artist, titled ‘Game Changer’, appeared at Southampton General Hospital in May.
2.7 million dead
At least 2,723,899 people have died of coronavirus around the world since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally from official sources.
The US is the worst-affected country with 542,949 deaths, followed by Brazil with 295,425, Mexico with 198,239, India with 160,166 and Britain with 126,172.