COVID-19: Latest Global Developments

A healthcare worker administers a dose of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine to a patient, at a vaccination centre in Moscow on 26 April, 2021. (AFP Photo)

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

Bon Appetit France

The French will be able to eat inside restaurants and stay out until 11:00 pm for the first time in months as the country's curfew and other restrictions ease as vaccinations rise.

US Eases Travel Warnings

The United States (US) dials back warnings against travel to dozens of countries including Olympics host Japan and much of Europe. 

Russian Cases Rise

In Moscow however things are looking more worrying with the virus surging as officials struggle to persuade the public to get vaccinated.

Fiji Shutters Parliament

The South Pacific country's parliament is forced to close as its virus spike overwhelms quarantine facilities and prompts calls for a nationwide lockdown.

Mongolia's Virus-Hampered Vote

Mongolians head to the polls to vote for the country's new president in an election hampered by cancelled debates and one candidate catching COVID.

Anti-Vax Pharmacist Jailed

A vaccine-sceptic pharmacist in the US is jailed for three years after admitting tampering with hundreds of Moderna doses by removing vials from refrigerators hours before their use.

Back In Black

Spanish retail giant Inditex – owner of huge fashion chains such as Zara and Bershka – says strong growth in online sales helped it return to profit in the first quarter.

Non-Refunds Probe

Britain opens an investigation into British Airways and Irish carrier Ryanair for failing to refund all customers whose flights were cancelled because of the pandemic.

Complicated Copa

New doubts gather over the Copa America football tournament five days from kick-off as Brazil's Supreme Court considers blocking it and the Brazilian team say they are against it being held there.

Texas Hospital In Court

More than 100 employees of one of the largest hospitals in Texas are suing after it threatened to fire them for not getting vaccinated.

Oz Baseball Dream In Tatters

Baseball Australia makes the "gut-wrenching" decision to end their Olympic dream, pulling out of this month's qualifier in Mexico citing "insurmountable" challenges during the pandemic.

Tougher Euro 2020 Measures

Sweden's Euro 2020 squad will be subjected to stricter COVID measures after two players, star forward Dejan Kulusevski and midfielder Mattias Svanberg, test positive.

Andrew Lloyd Webber Threat

"Cats" and "Evita" creator Andrew Lloyd Webber says he is prepared to be arrested if the United Kingdom (UK) government does not lift all restrictions on 21 June when his hit musicals are due to return to London's West End.

Southeast Asian Games Off

Vietnam plans to postpone this year's Southeast Asian Games – the regional Olympics due to be held in November and December – as the country grapples with a new virus outbreak.

3.7 Million Dead 

The pandemic has killed at least 3,750,028 people worldwide since the virus first emerged in December 2019, according to an AFP compilation of official data.

The US is the worst-affected country with 598,326 deaths, followed by Brazil with 476,792, India 353,528, Mexico 229,100, Peru 187,157 and Britain with 127,854.

The figures are based on reports by health authorities in each country, but do not take into account upward revisions carried out later by statistical bodies. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) says up to three times more people have died directly or indirectly due to the pandemic than official figures suggest. – AFP