Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
The United States is devoting $3.2bn to speed development of antiviral pills to treat Covid-19 and other dangerous viruses that could turn into pandemics.
The new program will invest in “accelerating things that are already in progress” for Covid but also would work to come up with treatments for other viruses, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. He announced the investment Thursday at a White House briefing.
The health service in England will open up Covid vaccinations to everyone aged over 18 on Friday, a big step towards the government’s target of giving every adult who wants a vaccine a first shot in the next month.
Here are the other key recent developments:
- Wales is delaying further easing of coronavirus restrictions for four weeks after seeing a spike in cases of the Delta variant of the disease first identified in India.
- Germany will reopen its borders later this month to non-EU nationals who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, the government announced Thursday.
- AstraZeneca can charge a higher price for its Covid-19 vaccine in dozens of poor countries once the pharmaceutical company decides the pandemic has ended, according to a copy of its contract with Oxford University seen by the Guardian.
- Travel in and out of the Lisbon metropolitan area is to be banned over coming weekends as Portuguese authorities respond to a spike in new Covid-19 cases in the region around the capital, officials announced.
- Nepal significantly reduced coronavirus infections after its worst outbreak, which overwhelmed the country’s medical system, but is in desperate need of vaccines, according to its health minister.
- Denmark will administer Covid-19 vaccines for those aged 12 to 15, broadcaster TV 2 reported, citing sources. Danish health authorities are due to hold a news briefing to about using the vaccines on that age group later today, amid concerns there is limited information about possible side-effects to children who have nothing to gain from such a move.
- Austria announced that revellers will be allowed to hit the dance floor legally again from next month as nightclubs reopen, in line with a broader easing of measures.
- France’s tourism sector is taking a further step toward normality with the reopening of Disneyland Paris, two weeks after the country reopened its borders to vaccinated visitors from across the world.