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FACTBOX-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Sept 17 (Reuters) - A panel of expert outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted against approving COVID-19 booster shots for Americans, but may vote on a narrower approval for older adults later on Friday.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news

EUROPE

* Britain simplified rules on Friday for international travel to England in a boost to the tourism industry, including scrapping the need for fully vaccinated passengers to take expensive COVID-19 tests on arrival from low-risk countries.

* Bookings for COVID-19 vaccinations jumped in Italy on Friday after the government made inoculation mandatory for all workers in some of the strictest anti-coronavirus measures adopted in the world.

* Travellers entering Switzerland who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from the virus will need to provide a negative test result from Monday, the government said.

* Spain will give a third vaccine dose to nursing home residents and other vulnerable groups, while data showed the infection rate fell to its lowest level since June.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* India will extend until the end of the year a reduction on taxes on drugs used for the treatment of COVID-19 infection, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

* Biocon Ltd said late on Thursday its biologics unit will sell a 15% stake to a Serum Institute of India (SII) subsidiary for access to 100 million doses of vaccines annually for 15 years, including COVID-19 shots

* Singapore’s health ministry reported 935 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest since April last year.

* The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will have tight COVID-19 countermeasures in place to ensure the safety of all participants, the International Olympic Committee said.

AMERICAS

* An exhibition of white flags representing Americans who have died of COVID-19 opened on Friday, covering more than 20 acres of the National Mall in Washington.

* Brazil’s federal government wants to halt COVID-19 vaccinations for most adolescents, citing a death under investigation and adverse events after some 3.5 million teens have already been immunized, but several state governments vowed to press on.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Iran’s new government has approved the vaccine developed by U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson, a senior official said, as the Islamic Republic faces a fifth wave of infections.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* The European Union’s drugs regulator could not confirm from available data if women and young adults were at a higher risk of rare blood clots with low platelets after vaccination with AstraZeneca’s shot.

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has revised its emergency use authorisation for Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail to include for use in patients who have been exposed to the virus and are at high risk for progression to severe disease.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* World shares fell on Friday, pressured by concerns over China’s markets, the potential for a U.S. corporate tax hike and an update on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering strategy next week.

* Oil prices fell on Friday as energy companies in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico restarted production after back-to-back hurricanes in the region shut output.

Compiled by Federico Maccioni, Anita Kobylinska and Shailesh Kuber; Edited by Angus MacSwan, Marguerita Choy and Anil D’Silva

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