(Reuters) – Drugmakers Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna are expected to make billions of dollars from COVID-19 booster shots in a market that could for years rival the $6 billion in annual sales for flu vaccines, analysts and healthcare investors say.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* The German government has designated the Israel, Turkey and the United States as high-risk countries, triggering a minimum five-day quarantine requirement for those who are unvaccinated, the Funke media group reported.
* Russia reported a record 815 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, but Moscow’s mayor said hospitalizations from the disease in the capital had halved over the last six weeks.
* Norway’s government will end some restrictions related to the pandemic, it said, but stopped short of announcing a full reopening of the economy.
* Indonesia’s capital reopened its retail malls this week to an exclusive crowd – shoppers vaccinated against coronavirus.
* China reported declining numbers of new locally transmitted cases for the third consecutive day. However, ports and shipping companies are diverting vessels from a container terminal in the country’s busiest marine transportation hub, which was forced to close after a case emerged.
* Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga urged people to refrain from travelling as COVID-19 cases spiked to records in Tokyo and nationwide, heaping pressure on the medical system.
* South Korea signed a deal to buy 30 million doses of Pfizer vaccine for 2022, and the government urged people to cut holiday travel amid a worsening fourth wave of infections and a slow inoculation campaign.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a third dose of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna for people with compromised immune systems.
* The United States has started shipping nearly 569,000 Pfizer vaccine doses to member countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the U.S. State Department said.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Morocco received a shipment of 600,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as it expands its inoculation campaign to younger people following a surge in cases, said Said Afif, a member of the health ministry’s scientific committee.
* South Africa’s health minister Joe Phaahla said authorities would not would recommend a relaxation of lockdown measures from its current Level 3, despite an overall downward trend in infections as the country grapples with a third wave.
* Israel lowered to 50 from 60 the minimum age of eligibility for a vaccine booster shot and will also offer it to health workers, hoping to stem a surge in Delta variant infections.
* The World Health Organization said it was setting up a new group to trace the origins of the coronavirus, seeking to end what it called “political point scoring” that had hampered investigations.
* Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine candidate has received regulatory approval for mid- to late-stage trials, the government’s ministry of science and technology said in a statement.
* A two-dose vaccine from China’s Sinopharm was 50.4% effective in preventing infections in health workers in Peru when it saw a surge in cases fueled by virus variants, and booster shots can be considered, a study found.
* Global stock markets hit record highs on Friday, capping another bumper week as investors seized on a dip in U.S. inflation and more forecast-beating corporate earnings.
(Compiled by Veronica Snoj and Federico Maccioni; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Barbara Lewis)