COVID-19: Latest news on the coronavirus pandemic

People walk along Sandymount strand at sunset, amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dublin, Ireland, March 21, 2021. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC2WFM9SAOZF

Social distancing is still a fact of life for many around the world. Image: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

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  • This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: Rising deaths and cases in India; European confidence in AstraZeneca vaccine falls; Philippines expanding COVID-19 restrictions.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 123.2 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 2.71 million. More than 436.37 million vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

The United Kingdom has set a new daily COVID-19 vaccination record with 844,285 doses administered on Saturday. More than 27.6 million people have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

It comes as the UK reported 33 new COVID-19 deaths on Sunday - the lowest figure since 5 October.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to announce within two weeks a date for quarantine-free travel with Australia.

Turkey's COVID-19 death toll rose about 30,000 yesterday, with the cumulative number of confirmed cases rose above 3 million.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have both expanded COVID-19 vaccinations to all citizens and residents aged 16 and above.

An EU summit due to take place 25-26 March in Brussels will now take place virtually as a result of rising COVID-19 cases across the continent.

China has administered around 10 million vaccine doses in the last week. It brings its total to 74.96 million, health commission spokesman Mi Feng told a news briefing.

The Philippines is set to expand tighter COVID-19 restrictions to include four provinces surrounding its capital Manila. Travel to and from these areas will also be restricted for two weeks from today.

COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per 100 people in selected countries.
The vaccine rollout continues globally. Image: Our World in Data

2. Cases and deaths rising in India

India has reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths in weeks.

Some restrictions have been reintroduced in an effort to slow the spread, particularly in the western state of Maharashtra, which accounted for nearly two-thirds of the 46,951 new infections and the majority of the 212 deaths.

The rise in new cases was the highest since early November, while the rise in deaths the highest since early January.


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3. European confidence in AstraZeneca vaccine falls

Confidence in the safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has fallen across Europe after many countries briefly stopped using it, poll data has shown.

The YouGov poll, which covered about 8,000 people in seven European countries between 12 and 18 March, found that in France, Germany, Spain and Italy, people were now more likely to see the AstraZeneca vaccine as unsafe than safe.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, reiterated the vaccine's safety on Friday.

The WHO's Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety found that "the AstraZeneca vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks, with tremendous potential for preventing infections and deaths from COVID-19," he said.

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