India has recorded the world’s highest infection tally for a second day, leaving hospitals across the country scrambling for oxygen supplies.
Meanwhile, France on Friday became the first high-income country to donate COVID-19 vaccines to a developing nation through the United Nations-backed COVAX rollout programme, shipping more than 100,000 doses to Mauritania.
Also on Friday, Japan declared a third state of emergency for Tokyo and three western prefectures.
Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world:
Belgium pushes on with bar reopening as hospitals near saturation
Belgium pressed ahead with plans to allow restaurant and cafe terraces to reopen on May 8 despite warnings from health officials that hospital saturation was starting to resemble that of Italy at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stressed an accelerated pace of vaccinations against the coronavirus, with about 28 percent of adults having received a first dose.
“If things evolve as they are evolving now, we can continue with our plan to open up outdoors on May 8,” he told a news conference. “The reopening of our economy, our social life, will follow the vaccinations.”
Canadian PM receives first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received his first dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine at an Ottawa pharmacy, telling reporters “I’m very excited” as the needle entered his arm.
Afterwards he posed for television cameras and photographers with his thumbs up and then watched as his wife Sophie received her first shot. Sophie came down with a mild case of the coronavirus at the start of the pandemic last year.
Greece reopens malls, steps up checks at toll stations
Greece will reopen shopping malls on Saturday, authorities said, in a cautious easing of coronavirus restrictions as police stepped up checks on drivers at toll stations to curb movements ahead of the start of the Eastern Orthodox Easter week.
In a further attempt to return towards some kind of normality, the government has said that restaurants will reopen early next month before the opening of the tourist sector on May 15.
Authorities have allowed church services during Holy Week starting on Monday with masks and distancing.