The World Health Organization’s chief said a mission to study the origins of the coronavirus in China didn’t adequately analyze the possibility of a lab leak. The White House also criticized the report, calling it incomplete and faulting data and access provided by China.

Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. are expected to bottom out in the next two weeks and then may inch higher as the nation races to blunt an incipient new wave of cases with its vaccination campaign.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany will halt the use of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid vaccine for people younger than 60 starting on Wednesday after new cases of rare blood clots emerged. Spain has made masks compulsory even on beaches, and Italy will impose new quarantine rules for travelers. BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc. raised their 2021 vaccine production target.

Key Developments:

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Chile Signs Vaccine Deal with CanSino (3:10 p.m. NY)

Chile signed an agreement with CanSino Biologics Inc. for 1.8 million Covid vaccine doses that will start to arrive in May, the government’s Vice Minister of Trade Rodrigo Yanez said in an interview.

The country has already received close to 13 million total shots against Covid-19 and it’s expecting the arrival of an extra 15 million doses by June to reach herd immunity in the first half of the year, Yanez said. CanSino, which is a one-shot vaccine, will provide 1.8 million doses, while the remaining supply will come from Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac and AstraZeneca.

Kenyans Pay $70 a Shot for Russia’s Sputnik (3:10 p.m. NY)

Kenyans have begun getting inoculated with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines for a fee after the nation’s authorities approved the shots for emergency purposes.

A single shot costs 7,700 shillings ($70.30), according to Nairobi-based lawyer Donald Kipkorir, who got an injection Tuesday.

U.S. Covid Deaths Expected to Rise Soon (2:47 p.m. NY)

Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. are expected to bottom out in the next two weeks and then may inch higher as the nation races to blunt an incipient new wave of cases with its vaccination campaign.

A plateau or small increase — instead of the hoped-for decline — could mean tens of thousands of additional fatalities.

The deaths are likely to dip to 6,028 in the week ending April 10 before slightly increasing, according to the Covid-19 Forecast Hub, a project from the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Reich Lab. Its so-called ensemble forecast, which was updated Tuesday, is based on dozens of independent models and projects fatalities four weeks into the future.

Ireland Easing Limits After 3-Month Lockdown (1:30 p.m. NY)

Ireland will begin easing some restrictions from April 12, after more than three months in lockdown. Travel restrictions will be loosened while some sports and construction will resume, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a national address. Limits on household mixing will also be reduced. The government may open so-called non-essential retail in May and hotels in June, depending on the state of the virus, Martin said. Vaccines are to ramp up sharply in the second quarter he added. “We are on the final stretch of this terrible journey,” he said.

WHO Chief Faults Covid Report (11:15 a.m. NY)

The World Health Organization’s chief said a mission to study the origins of the coronavirus in China didn’t adequately analyze the possibility of a lab leak before it concluded that the pathogen probably spread from bats to humans via another animal.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said even though the international team of scientists determined that a leak is the least likely hypothesis for the origin of the pandemic, it requires further investigation. He said he’s ready to deploy additional missions involving specialist experts as he doesn’t believe the assessment was extensive enough. He made the comments in a briefing to WHO member countries Tuesday.

Greece Cases Surge as Reopening Looms (11:10 a.m. NY)

Greece reported 4,340 new Covid-19 cases Tuesday, the highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic. The last record was 3,586 new cases on March 23. Despite the rise, the government is coming under increasing pressure to begin a faster easing of lockdown measures to help the retail and restaurant sectors. Medical advisers to the government will meet Wednesday to formulate recommendations, with non-essential shops seen reopening in some form from April 5 and citizens allowed to move again outside the municipality where they live from April 3. A ban on movement between regions will likely continue.

Google Gives $1 Million for NYC Vaccinations (10:45 a.m. NY

Google will donate $1 million to help New York City reach its goal of 5 million vaccinations by the end of June, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. The donation includes advertising grants to run ads on where, when and how to get a vaccine, as well as a grant from the tech giant’s philanthropic arm to set up an inoculation center at the Fulton Houses public-housing complex in Chelsea, near Google’s main New York office. De Blasio said Tuesday that the city is approaching 4 million vaccine doses.

Bulgaria Eases Some Limits Ahead of Election (10:40 a.m. NY)

Bulgaria will reopen restaurants and pubs with open-air space, as well as gyms, theaters and museums with limited capacity from April 1, the health ministry said in a statement. Kindergartens will reopen April 5. The Balkan country reported Tuesday 203 new coronavirus death cases, the highest since Jan. 5, amid a new wave of infections caused by the U.K. strain, as it is preparing to hold a general election on Sunday.

Iceland Tightens Border Surveillance (10:15 a.m. NY)

Iceland said travelers from so-called danger zones, which is most of Europe, will need to stay in a special hotel for their obligatory five-day quarantine upon arrival. The reason is that infections have been spread by visitors who have broken quarantine to view a new volcanic eruption.

Germany to Recommend Astra Just for Over 60s (9:30 a.m. NY)

Germany is planning to recommend the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine only for people older than 60, after new data emerged on potential side effects from the shots.

The country’s vaccination commission has drafted a decision paper that leaves open the possible use for younger people at a doctor’s discretion, according to a person familiar with the draft document. A final decision still needs to be made and could be announced as early as Thursday.

WATCH: Germany will change its recommendation on AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine and say it should only be used for women and men older than 60.

Spain Makes Masks Compulsory Everywhere (7:49 a.m. NY)

A new law in Spain mandates that all citizens older than 6 years old wear masks inside and outside, even when social distancing rules are followed. The measure includes forcing beach-goers to wear a mask while they sunbathe, a measure that could impact the country’s struggling tourism industry. People with breathing difficulties or those who practice individual sports outside will be exempt.

Scotland to Ease Restrictions (7:23 a.m. NY)

Scotland will go ahead with a tentative easing of restrictions during the next few days as the vaccine program succeeds in reducing the number of new cases, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

More than 2.4 million of the country’s population of 5.5 million have received a first dose, she told reporters in Edinburgh. That means the semi-autonomous government is now confident enough in the progress to relax the “stay at home” rule on April 2, while further changes will go ahead on April 5.

A more significant relaxation, including a lifting of the travel ban within Scotland, is still expected to go ahead from April 26, Sturgeon said. That’s just over a week before Scotland holds a parliamentary election.

Austria in Talks About Sputnik Doses: APA (6:42 a.m. NY)

Austria is in talks about purchasing as many as 1 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, with first deliveries as early as next month, the APA newswire reported.

BioNTech Raises Target to 2.5 Billion Doses (6:30 a.m. NY)

BioNTech and Pfizer raised this year’s production target for their vaccine to as many as 2.5 billion doses, with the German biotech’s chief executive officer predicting a version of the shot that can be stored in refrigerators will be ready within months.


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