FACTBOX-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Sept 24 (Reuters) - More than half of Australia's adult population were fully vaccinated as of Friday, as authorities step up inoculations in hopes of easing restrictions, while daily cases linger close to record levels in Victoria.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news

EUROPE

* The European Medicines Agency aims to decide in early October whether to endorse a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be given half a year after the initial two-shot course.

* Portugal will lift almost all remaining restrictions, allowing full occupancy in restaurants and cultural venues from Oct. 1.

* Norway, the most successful country in the history of the Winter Olympics, will not follow in the footsteps of the United States and insist that those traveling to the Beijing Games are vaccinated.

AMERICAS

* A U.S. CDC advisory panel has recommended a booster shot of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and some adults with underlying medical conditions that put them at risk of severe disease.

* Leaders of the largest United States aerospace and defense companies are united in their effort to comply with the Biden administration's coronavirus vaccine mandate for U.S. workers and await further government guidance, their industry group said in a statement.

* Panama is weeks away from achieving herd immunity against COVID-19 after vaccinating more than half its population of 4.2 million people, President Laurentino Cortizo said at the United Nations General Assembly.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* South Korea has set a record for daily COVID-19 cases at 2,434, breaking the previous record set last month, as the country grapples with a wave of infections that began in early July.

* Vietnam has pushed back a plan to re-open the resort island of Phu Quoc to foreign tourists until November, after failing to meet targets for inoculating residents due to insufficient vaccine supplies.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Yemen received its third batch of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing scheme, the health ministry said.

* The African Union's (AU) top health official called Britain's lack of recognition for coronavirus vaccines administered in Africa regrettable, saying it sends a confusing public health message.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* CanSino Biologics Inc's single-dose vaccine, given at a lower dosage than that for adults, is safe and triggers an immune response in children aged 6-17, results from a small trial showed.

* A World Health Organization panel has recommended the use of Regeneron and Roche's COVID-19 antibody cocktail for patients at high risk of hospitalisations and those severely ill with no natural antibodies.

* Novavax Inc and its partner Serum Institute of India have applied to the World Health Organization for an emergency use listing of Novavax's vaccine, potentially clearing the way for the shot to ship to many poorer countries.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Asian shares were on edge on Friday hurt by persistent uncertainty around the fate of debt-ridden China Evergrande, even as more risk appetite drove gains for Wall Street and U.S. benchmark Treasury yields.

* Japan's core consumer prices halted a 12-month run of declines in August, bolstered by higher energy costs and the impact of a tourism campaign.

* South Korea's central bank warned on Thursday that the debt repayment burden among vulnerable households could increase sharply as interest rates rise.

(Compiled by Ramakrishnan M., Krishna Chandra Eluri, and Federico Maccioni; Editing by Mark Potter, Anil D'Silva, Arun Koyyur)

09/24/2021 5:19

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