The coronavirus pandemic has killed over 2.9 million people and infected over 135 million globally. Here are the coronavirus-related developments for April 9:
Friday, April 9
Turkey says 3 Covid-19 vaccines in human trial stage
Studies for Turkey’s seven vaccine candidates have progressed, with three of them in the human trial stage, the country’s vice president said.
During his visit to the clinical research centre, Fuat Oktay said that work is being done to start mass production of the vaccine following approval by Turkey’s drug regulatory authority Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency.
He urged citizens, who do not suffer from a chronic illness and have not received any vaccine, to volunteer for the human trials.
“The more volunteers we have, the faster we will come to a conclusion in vaccination studies.”
He went on to say trials at the Erciyes University will enter the third phase by the end of this month.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine under EU review over blood clots
Europe's drug regulator has said that it is reviewing rare blood clots in four people in the United States who received Johnson & Johnson's vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency's safety committee has also been looking at how AstraZeneca's vaccine is associated with very rare cases of unusual blood clots and said it was now reviewing reports of capillary leak syndrome in people given AstraZeneca's vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson said it was aware of the rare reports of blood clots in individuals given its vaccine, and was working with regulators to assess the data and provide relevant information.
Pfizer seeks vaccine authorisation for 12-15 year olds in US
Pfizer-BioNTech has asked for authorisation to use their vaccine on 12-15 year olds in the United States.
The companies said in a statement that they plan to make similar requests of other regulatory authorities worldwide in coming days.
Turkey reports over 55,700 new cases
Turkey has registered 55,791 new cases in the last 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed, just below an all-time high from a day earlier.
Cases have soared since the government eased measures to curb the pandemic in early March, and daily cases rose to a record high of 55,941 on Thursday.
The latest daily death toll was 253, bringing the cumulative toll to 33,454.
Mexico posts more than 5,000 new cases
Mexico's government has reported 5,045 new infections and 874 more fatalities, according to data from the Health Ministry, bringing the country's total to 2,272,064 infections and 207,020 deaths.
The government says the real case numbers are likely significantly higher, and separate data published recently by the Health Ministry suggested the actual coronavirus death toll may be at least 60 percent above the confirmed figure.
Moldova to buy 400,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine
Moldova has said it will buy 400,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Moldova and neighbouring Ukraine, two of Europe's poorest countries, have lagged behind the rest of the continent in the scramble for vaccines and welcomed donations from friendly governments.
Virus has killed 5,307 people in Moldova, a country of 3.5 million, which declared a state of emergency last week to give the government more powers to fight the pandemic.
Italy reports over 18,900 new cases
Italy has reported 718 deaths against 487 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 18,938 from 17,221 the day before.
Italy has registered 113,579 deaths since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world.
The country has reported 3.6 million cases to date.
Thousands get vaccinated in mass rollout in Madrid
Madrid has expanded its mass vaccination programme, with jabs being administered at the city's large WiZink indoor arena.
Some 4,000 people between the ages of 60 and 65 were due to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine there on the first day.
Authorities said they would give the AstraZeneca jab only to people over 60, due to possible links between the shot and extremely rare blood clots in people younger than 60.
South Africa announces mass vaccination drive
After a false start and an unconventional test run, South Africa has announced the launch of its mass vaccination campaign with a goal of inoculating more than 40 million people by February next year.
“We have now secured adequate vaccines and can move ahead with confidence with our mass rollout campaign,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said during a presentation to civic groups and others.
This week South Africa finalised the purchases of 51 million doses: 31 million of Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine and 20 million of Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine, Mkhize said.
Iraq toughens policies ahead of Ramadan as cases surge
Iraqi authorities have locked down entire neighbourhoods in Baghdad and said it would shut down shops employing people who have not been vaccinated, as it grapples with its highest coronavirus caseload yet.
Ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins next week and is normally accompanied by family gatherings and mass prayers, concrete barriers have been placed across the capital, AFP journalists saw.
An 8 pm curfew (17:00 GMT) has been in place for several weeks, alongside a 24-hour curfew on the two weekend days of Friday and Saturday, and the measures will remain in place during Ramadan.
Slovenia eases virus curbs, suspends curfew
Slovenia has announced it will ease restrictions and suspend a six-month-long curfew starting Monday, with the government saying an 11-day partial lockdown over Easter had curbed the epidemic.
Elementary schools and high-schools will restart in-person lessons, smaller shops and services will reopen from Monday.
Masks will only be mandatory in indoor public spaces or at crowded gatherings.
WHO: Mixing vaccines between doses not yet safe
The WHO has reiterated that there was "no adequate data" on switching vaccines between doses, after France said under-55s who received an AstraZeneca first jab should get their second from a different vaccine.
The World Health Organization has called for studies on so-called mixing and matching between vaccines, but said there was no comprehensive data so far on which it could make any recommendations.
The UN health agency therefore recommends that the same product should be used for both doses.
Virus hammers Greece
Greece has seen record numbers of daily infections several times in recent weeks, but has also been conducting record numbers of tests.
Intensive care units in many parts of the country are at or near capacity, and deaths remain at a high level of more than 70 per day, despite the country being under lockdown-type measures since the fall.
The country has seen a growing backlash against the prolonged restrictions, which have kept restaurants, bars and cafes operating on a delivery or take-away basis only since early November, and shut down schools and retail stores for months.
People are only allowed to leave their homes for certain reasons and must send a text message to authorities or carry a self-declaration form.
This week, authorities allowed retail stores to reopen on an appointment basis, and the final three grades of high school are to reopen for in-person classes on Monday. Students and teachers will have to undergo two home tests per week in order to attend. The tests are being provided free of charge from pharmacies, and all others will be entitled to one free test per week.
Greek health authorities have said that variants of the coronavirus, particularly the variant from Britain, now account for about 85% of cases.
Virus death toll in Italy remains high
Italy has seen a stabilising new variant-fuelled infections over the past three weeks, though its daily death toll remains stubbornly high, averaging 300-500 people per day.
Italy, where Europe’s outbreak first began, has the continent’s oldest population, and the average age of virus victims has remained around 80 throughout the pandemic.
The continued high daily death toll, which ranks Italy second only to Britain in Europe, has sparked criticism that the first months of the country’s sluggish vaccination campaign failed to prioritize the oldest and most vulnerable in the country.
With a population of 60 million, Italy has administered 12 million doses of the vaccine. Some 4.2 million doses have gone to people over age 80, with another half-million to going to residents of nursing homes. The rest have been given to medical personnel, teachers, law enforcement officers and other professional groups.
The government placed much of Italy under strictest lockdown measures in mid-March after the latest surge began, and placed the whole country on full lockdown over the Easter holiday to deter travel and gatherings.
It has has said restrictions on restaurants and bars will remain through the end of April, sparking violent protests this week from restaurant owners.
The Agenas agency, which monitors regional health care capacity, said Friday that Italy's intensive care unit occupancy for virus patients is well over the threshold set by the government.
The agency said ICU's nationwide are at 40% capacity, 10 percentage points above the threshold set by the government to ensure other, non-virus critical care needs are met.
Spain expands vaccination programme in Madrid
Spain is expanding its vaccination programme in Madrid, with jabs being administered at the city’s large WiZink indoor arena on Friday.
Some 4,000 people between 60 and 65 years of age received the AstraZeneca vaccine there on the first day.
The Madrid regional government has already set up mass vaccination centres at two other major venues in the Spanish capital.
From this weekend, 10 public hospitals in the region are to join the vaccination effort, which so far has largely taken place at health centers.
Spanish health authorities are now giving the AstraZeneca vaccine only to people between 60 and 69 years old, due to possible links between the vaccine and extremely rare blood clots in people younger than 60.
Madrid is keeping in place its restrictions on gatherings and movement for another two weeks amid a gradual uptick in new cases.
Some other Spanish regions are bringing back restrictions for the same reason.
Belgium sees drop in daily figures
New cases and hospitalisations are going down in Belgium but the country’s health authorities are warning there is still a long way to go in the fight against the virus.
Following a 27-day sustained rise in hospitalisations, virologist Yves Van Laethem said Friday that numbers went down 3% over the past seven days to an average of 253 daily admissions and are expected to continue decreasing.
Belgian health authorities said the daily number of new confirmed cases declined 25%, to reach 3,592 on average.
The situation in hospitals remain critical, though. About one-third of the country's 3,128 hospitalised patients are in intensive care units.
A total of 23,348 people have died from the virus in Belgium, a country of 11.5 million residents. Around 14.6% of the population has received a first dose of the vaccine.
Germany moves to tighten national virus law
German leaders have agreed to tighten the national virus law, the government said Friday, in a move to hand Berlin more centralised power in the face of a stalemate over lockdown measures.
Germany remains gripped by rising infection rates, despite cultural venues, restaurants and leisure facilities having been closed for months.
Currently, measures are decided on in consultation with Berlin and, in theory, implemented by the federal states.
Yet regional and national leaders are divided over restrictions, with Merkel calling for a tighter lockdown as some regions and cities unilaterally ease restrictions.
With no sign of consensus, talks between Merkel and state premiers planned for Monday have been cancelled.
The regular meetings have until now set policy for Germany's fight against the pandemic but have been marked by bitter disputes and spotty compliance in recent weeks.
Most notably, some states have not followed through on an agreement to row back on the easing of measures in areas where the seven-day incidence rate exceeds 100 cases per 100,000 people.
Largest Czech vaccination centre open, but waiting for shots
The largest vaccination centre in the Czech Republic was put through its paces, but it will not be fully operational until May as the country badly hit by the pandemic waits for more vaccine shots.
The government has come under criticism for its handling of the pandemic, including its failure to order as many vaccines as it could under the EU's programme.
Following a spat in Brussels over distribution of extra vaccines among member states, the Czechs are now projected to lag behind all other EU countries by mid-year.
The country of 10.7 million has the world's highest per-capita death toll, according to Our World in Data, while infection rates have only just started easing.
UK variant now dominant in Cyprus
The highly contagious UK variant is now predominant in Cyprus, its health ministry said, linking it to a recent surge in infections.
The ministry said all 111 positive samples taken in March and sent to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control were found to be the variant known as B.1.1.7, which was first discovered in Britain late last year.
The results explain a recent spike in infections since the strain is about 50 percent more contagious than the more common strain, the health ministry said.
An earlier comparison with January and February samples, released in March, showed the British variant accounted for about a quarter of all cases.
Paris hospitals brace for peak of third wave in mid-April
The current third wave of the virus entrenching France should reach its peak around April 20, according to forecasts established by the Paris hospitals group AP-HP.
Those forecasts also estimated there would be just under 2,000 patients in hospital intensive care units in the Paris region around that peak.
Finland aims to gradually ease restrictions
The Finnish government plans to gradually ease the country's restrictions towards the summer, Prime Minister Sanna Marin told a news conference on Friday.
She added however, that the spread of the virus is still severe and said the restrictions should not be lifted prematurely.
Norway PM fined for violating measures
Norwegian police said on Friday they've fined Prime Minister Erna Solberg for breaking social distancing rules when she organised a family gathering to celebrate her birthday.
The fine is for $2,352, police chief Ole Saeverud told a news conference.
The two-term prime minister apologised last month for organising an event for her 60th birthday with 13 family members at a mountain resort in late February, despite a government ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.
While the police would not have issued a fine in most such cases, the prime minister has been at the forefront of the government's work to impose restrictions, police said.
Gibraltar returns to normal after mass vaccinations
In Gibraltar, maskless people are greeting each other in the streets, friends gathering for meals inside restaurants and sports fans are once again attending live events.
The tiny British territory on Spain's southern tip, has become one of the first places in the world to vaccinate the bulk of its adult population, allowing virus restrictions to be lifted and life to almost return to normal.
Since the end of March, masks are only required in enclosed public spaces, shops and on public transport.
And a curfew between midnight and 5am was also lifted, boosting business at bars and restaurants which only reopened on March 1 after months of restrictions.
As of Monday there will no longer be any limit on the numbers who can sit together at a bar or restaurant.
With a population of 34,000, the pandemic claimed 94 lives, most this January and February, and infected nearly 4,300 residents.
But thanks to the vaccine drive, there have been no virus-related hospitalisations for more than two weeks in the territory of just 6.8 square kilometres.
Iran records 155 deaths
Iranian officials said the daily death toll rose by 155, putting the country’s total at 64,039 as of Friday.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said 22,478 new confirmed cases were registered since a day earlier, bringing Iran's total in the pandemic to 2,029,412.
At least 2,567 people were hospitalised with the virus, she added.
On Saturday, Iran will start to impose 10 days of restrictions in 257 cities. The closures include all parks, restaurants, beauty salons, malls and bookstores.
Iran has more than 800 cities and towns. Only 11 cities are considered entirely safe in terms of infections and have no restrictions, while the rest have varying degrees of restrictions.
Libya gets 57,000 AstraZeneca doses from Covax
Libya has received more than 57,000 doses of vaccines from the Covax initiative.
The UN children's agency, UNICEF, said the doses that arrived late Thursday have been earmarked to health workers, people older than 75 and people with chronic disease.
Libya’s National Center for Disease Control said 57,600 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine were in the first Covax shipment to Libya.
On Sunday, Libya received 101,250 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.
Libya has seen a swelling number of cases.
The county of around 7 million people has reported more than 166,000 confirmed cases and 2,799 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
However, the actual numbers, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be far higher.
Covax says India's Serum Institute bound to supply virus vaccines
The Serum Institute of India (SII) is legally compelled to ship vaccines to global vaccine sharing facility Covax, its co-lead Gavi said on Friday in a provision that could complicate the firm's efforts to boost domestic supplies.
India, where infections have surged to over 13 million, suspended all major exports of vaccines last month to fill demand at home, forcing the world's biggest vaccine maker to divert nearly all its production to the domestic market.
The pact specified Gavi would receive from SII 1.1 billion doses of either the AstraZeneca vaccine or that of Novavax, with 200 million committed, and the rest on option.
SII partner AstraZeneca has already issued it a legal notice over delays to other shipments, even as many Indian states have complained of a shortage facing priority recipients. .
Gavi said its pact with SII took effect when the World Health Organization approved the AstraZeneca shot on February 15, after a source said SII had originally been supposed to send doses to Covax only from May.
North Carolina halts J&J vaccine after adverse reactions
North Carolina health officials have said that they stopped administering Johnson & Johnson doses at a mass vaccination site in Raleigh and at clinics in Hillsborough and Chapel Hill after at least 26 people experienced adverse reactions, including fainting.
Four people were taken to hospitals for further examination, and state and federal health officials are reviewing the matter.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that reactions like fainting are not uncommon after someone is vaccinated, though it is reviewing reports of adverse reactions in North Carolina and three other states.
All those taken to hospitals are expected to recover, local health officials said.
Another daily record for India as infections surge
India has reported 131,968 new infections, a record increase for a third straight day, data from the health ministry showed.
Deaths rose by 780 to a total of 167,642.
With an overall tally at 13.06 million, India's overall caseload was the third-highest globally, behind the US and Brazil.
Hong Kong suspends its order of AstraZeneca jabs
Hong Kong has confirmed it has requested AstraZeneca suspend delivery of its vaccine amid fears of severe side effects and concerns over its efficacy against new variants.
Europe's medicines regulator said this week the AstraZeneca vaccine could cause very rare blood clots in some recipients, prompting a cascade of countries to pull the plug on giving it to people under a certain age.
Wealthy Hong Kong has already secured a good supply of vaccines for its 7.5 million residents.
It has signed deals for 7.5 million shots each with Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac, both of which have begun deliveries.
Hong Kong are also looking at other vaccines that may have stronger results against newer strains.
Bangkok hospitals suspend testing amid shortages
At least 12 hospitals in Thailand's capital, Bangkok, have said they were suspending PCR testing due to high demand and shortage of supplies, amid a new spike in cases.
The hospitals issued notices on their social media and on messaging apps this week, some saying the suspension would last only a few days and others giving no date for resumption of tests.
Bangkok is at the epicentre of a new outbreak in Thailand that has seen new cases go from only a few dozen per day to several hundred per day, prompting the government to scramble to boost testing and trace new cases.
The government has been hosting its own mass testing in districts of Bangkok where clusters have been reported, mostly involving bars or entertainment venues that have been ordered closed for two weeks.
Thailand reported 559 new infections on Friday, and nearly a third of cabinet ministers are self-isolating due to potential exposure to cases.
The spike in infections comes at a tricky time for Thailand, ahead of next week's annual Songkran festival, known for big gatherings and notoriously crowded water fights that authorities have banned.
South Korea implements measures over fears of fourth wave
South Korea is reimposing a ban on nightclubs, karaoke bars and other nightly entertainment facilities, authorities said on Friday, after the number of new cases surged, fanning fears over a potential fourth wave of outbreaks.
The curbs will begin on Monday for three weeks, after daily new case counts climbed to a three-month high in recent days.
The current 10 pm (1300 GMT) dining curfew and ban on gatherings of more than four people will be maintained.
Australia to buy extra 20M doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
Australia has said that it has finalised a deal to buy an extra 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as it rapidly pivots away from its earlier plan to rely mainly on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the deal just hours after saying Australia would stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged under 50.
He said the deal means Australia will get a total of 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the end of the year, enough to inoculate 20 million people in the nation of 26 million.
Australia's pivot came after the European Medicines Agency said this week it had found a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, though regulators in the United Kingdom and the European Union emphasized that the benefits of receiving the vaccine continue to outweigh the risks for most people.
Manila hospitals struggle as virus surges
More contagious variants have been blamed for a record surge in infections in Metro Manila that has overstretched hospitals and sent the Philippines capital into lockdown.
Long queues at emergency rooms have forced people to drive from one health facility to the next in search of treatment, in a situation described by a hospital official as a "nightmare".
A virus referral hotline set up during the pandemic to direct the sick to the appropriate hospital has been swamped, unable to handle the hundreds of calls a day to the service.
Many have turned to social media to crowdsource information on facilities still accepting patients, and vent their frustration at the hospital bottlenecks.
In a bid to slow the spread of the virus and decongest hospitals, authorities last month ordered more than 24 million people in the capital and four neighbouring provinces to stay home unless they are essential workers.
A week after lockdown was imposed, 70-80 percent of hospital beds for infected patients were full, while ICU beds were "almost 100 percent" occupied in most of the capital, Health Undersecretary Maria Vergeire said.
The government is distributing modular tents to struggling hospitals and re-deploying health workers from regions where virus transmission rates are low.
Isolation facilities were being expanded to include schools and hotel rooms for mild cases in an effort to ease the burden and stop the virus spreading in crowded households.
The World Health Organization warned hospitals were nearing a "red line" where demand exceeded healthcare capacity.
Tokyo tightening virus measures nearly 100 days before Olympics
Japan's government will approve tighter measures for the capital on Friday, weeks after lifting a state of emergency and with just over 100 days until the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
The new restrictions are far less severe than the blanket lockdowns seen in other countries and mainly call for restaurants and bars to close at 8pm (1100 GMT), with the threat of fines for those that do not.
They are already in force in virus hotspots including Osaka city, where a rebound in cases has forced the Olympic torch relay off public roads.
The pandemic-delayed 2020 Games are due to open on July 23 in Tokyo, but a surge in cases in parts of the country is creating new concern.
Japan's government imposed a virus state of emergency across several regions starting in January, lifting it gradually, with Tokyo exiting the measure last.
Yosemite National Park to limit summer visitors due to virus
Yosemite National Park in the US will require advanced reservations for day visitors during the peak summer season to limit the number of visitors and allow social distancing amid the pandemic.
Under the new rules, advance reservations will be required for day use visitors who enter Yosemite from May 21 to September 30, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
The park said large crowds already have been coming to the park in recent weeks, and there are still cases spreading in California, and other states and countries where visitors are coming from.
Rocky Mountain National Park and Glacier National Park are putting in place similar rules, which have been encouraged for decades by environmental groups but resisted by gateway communities whose economies depend heavily on tourism.
Brazil registers record 4,249 deaths in 24 hours
Brazil has recorded a daily record 4,249 deaths from Covid-19 as well as 86,652 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the Health Ministry said.
Brazil has registered more than 13 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to345,025, according to ministry data.
India to review vaccine side effects
A panel of Indian experts is investigating if there are any domestic cases of blood clotting, even mild ones, as a side effect of the two Covid-19 vaccines being administered in the country, financial daily Mint has reported.
India is currently administering AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine and a shot developed at home by Bharat Biotech.
Several countries in Europe have announced restrictions on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in younger people, after a link was found to very rare blood clots, mostly in women under 60 years of age within two weeks of vaccination.
China reports 21 new mainland cases vs 24 a day earlier
China has reported 21 new Covid-19 cases for April 8, down from 24 cases a day earlier, the country's national health authority has said.
The National Health Commission, in a statement, said eight of the new cases were local infections, all of which were reported in southwestern Yunnan province.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 12 from six a day earlier.
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mainland China now stands at 90,386, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,636.
UK to classify travel destinations in May
Britain will confirm in early May whether it will allow international travel to resume from May 17 and which countries will fall into the red, amber or green categories in a new traffic light system based on Covid-19 risks.
Giving new details of how it hopes to allow people to travel this summer, the government's Global Travel Taskforce also said work was ongoing to develop a certification system, sometimes called "vaccine passports", for inbound and outbound travel.
Britain is gradually emerging from a strict winter lockdown prompted by a huge surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths. As things stand, international travel is banned except under specific circumstances defined by the government.
Case numbers have dropped dramatically since the January peak, and one of the government's top priorities is to avoid undermining the success of the national Covid-19 vaccination programme by importing vaccine-resistant variants from overseas.
So far, more than 31.8 million people in the United Kingdom have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 6.1 million have received two, in one of the fastest mass vaccination campaigns in the world.
One in five adults in France vaccinated
One in five adults in France is now vaccinated against Covid-19, Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced, on reaching the objective of 10 million vaccinations.
“We reached this objective one week in advance thanks to the mobilization of health workers. France is vaccinating in a big way,” he said during a visit to a vaccine centre.
At least 437,000 vaccinations, a record high in 24 hours, were carried out across the country. A total of 10,114,284 people have received at least one injection and 3,484,006 have received both doses since the start of the campaign on December 27 last year.
New York to offer Covid aid to immigrants excluded earlier
In the largest program of its kind, New York lawmakers have created a $2.1 billion fund to aid workers who lost jobs or income during the coronavirus pandemic but were excluded from other government relief programs because of their immigration status.
The fund, which passed this week as part of the state budget, will give payments of up to $15,600 to workers who were living in the country illegally and weren't eligible for federal stimulus checks, unemployment aid, or other benefits.
As many as 300,000 workers might benefit, according to some estimates.
Other states have offered aid to unauthorized workers, but nothing on this scale.
California's relief fund offers cash payments of up to $500.
Venezuela says it has production capacity for experimental Cuban vaccine
Venezuela has the capacity to produce the experimental Cuban coronavirus vaccine candidate known as Abdala at a Caracas biomedical facility, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez has said.
The academies of medicine and science as well as health-sector workers have urged the government of President Nicolas Maduro to speed up a stalled vaccination campaign.
The Venezuelan government, which has received 750,000 vaccines from Russia's Sputnik V and China's Sinopharm, says the country has been unable to buy vaccines because of US sanctions that have frozen assets in offshore accounts.
Cuba began late-phase trials in March of two of its five experimental shots, Soberana 2 and Abdala, which will be Latin America's first homegrown Covid-19 vaccines if they prove successful.
The Communist-run Caribbean island developed a large biotech sector partly in response to a crippling US trade embargo.
The trials for Abdala, named after a poem by the 19th century Cuban independence hero Jose Marti, will be completed in July and the first results will be published in August, according to state media.
Venezuela has reported 170,189 infections and 1,705 deaths from Covid-19 since March 2020. Opposition leaders and doctors say the total case count is likely higher than that due to limited testing.