(Adds new developments)
March 8 (Reuters) - Millions of English children and teenagers headed back to school on Monday for the first time in two months, while New York City high school students are expected to return to the classroom on March 22.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news.
* Greece plans to lift restrictions in the retail sector and open schools before the end of March and begin to re-open the tourism sector in May ahead of the vital summer season.
* The European Union’s executive criticised Belgium for extending its blanket ban on non-essential travel to and from the country despite the European Commission asking it to ease restrictions on movement.
* Italy recommended the use of AstraZeneca vaccines for those aged over 65, overcoming previous doubts that the drug might not be very effective on the elderly.
* France could approve Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine by the end of this week, in line with the timetable for its broader European Union approval.
* Poland could this week see up to 20,000 new cases a day, its health ministry said, flagging restrictions during the Easter holidays.
* U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion aid package will provide enough resources to fuel a “very strong” U.S. economic recovery, but will not address longstanding inequality problems.
* Brazil’s economy minister said that Pfizer would deliver an additional 5 million vaccination doses, which would increase the number of shots expected from the drugmaker by the end of June to 14 million.
* Canada took a step to ensure that its upcoming spring budget, which will also outline a promised post-pandemic stimulus package, includes measures to get women working and address gender inequality.
* Indonesia has received about 1.1 million ready-to-use doses of vaccine produced by AstraZeneca under the global vaccine-sharing COVAX facility.
* Thailand will from next month reduce its mandatory quarantine from 14 to seven days for foreigners arriving in the country who have been vaccinated against the virus.
* India’s richest state of Maharashtra accounts for more than half of both new and total active infections, although a team of experts said the state’s current wave might be “less virulent”.
* South Korea said it had found no link between the vaccine and several recent deaths, as it ordered nearly 100,000 foreign workers to be tested after clusters emerged in dormitories.
* East Timor will put its capital city in lockdown for the first time amid fears it could be facing its first local outbreak.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma have tested positive for COVID-19 after showing minor symptoms, his office said.
* Drugmaker Baxter International will help fill in vials and package about 60-90 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine in 2021.
* India urged the United States, Japan and Australia to invest in its vaccine production capacity, an Indian government source told Reuters, as the so-called Quad alliance tries to counter China’s growing vaccine diplomacy.
* The EU regulator urged members to refrain from granting national approvals for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine while the agency reviews its safety and effectiveness.
* World shares dipped as the U.S. Senate’s passage of a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill put fresh pressure on Treasuries and tech stocks with lofty valuations, raising inflation jitters.
* Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey painted a cautiously optimistic picture for Britain’s economy after the pandemic and did not expect a big jump in inflation.
Compiled by Milla Nissi and Sarah Morland; Edited by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Alex Richardson