The drugmaker hoped to deliver 80 million doses in the first quarter of 2021, but only 30 million were sent; it is now set to provide 70 mn doses in the second quarter, instead of 180 mn it promised
A man receives a dose of the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre on April 26 in Barcelona. Pics/AFP
The European Union’s executive branch said on Monday that it has launched legal action against coronavirus vaccine-maker AstraZeneca for failing to respect the terms of its contract with the 27-nation bloc.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been central to Europe’s immunisation campaign. European Commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker said Brussels launched the legal action against AstraZeneca last Friday “on the basis of breaches of the advance purchase agreement.”
He said the reason for the legal action was that “some terms of the contract have not been respected” and that “the company has not been in a position to come up with a reliable strategy to ensure a timely delivery of doses.”
AstraZeneca’s contract with the EU, which was signed by the Commission on behalf of the member countries last August, foresaw an initial 300 million doses for member countries, with an option for a further 100 million. The British-Swedish drugmaker hoped to deliver 80 million doses of that in the first quarter of 2021, but only 30 million were sent. According to the Commission, the company is set to provide 70 million doses in the second quarter, rather than the 180 million it had promised.
AstraZeneca said in a statement that it “regrets” the Commission’s decision to take legal action and it will “strongly defend” itself in court.
Infections surge in the Philippines
Confirmed novel Coronavirus infections in the Philippines surged past 1 million on Monday in the country’s latest grim milestone, as officials assess whether to extend a month-long lockdown in the Manila region amid a deadly spike or relax it to fight an economic recession, joblessness and hunger.
US to immediately provide raw materials
After much criticism, the US has assured India that it will immediately provide the specific raw materials required for manufacturing the Covishield vaccine, with a top White House official saying that the Biden administration was ‘working around the clock’ to deploy all resources and supplies to bolster the country’s fight against the deadly COVID-19 spike.
Thailand PM doesn’t wear a mask, is fined
Authorities in Thailand are imposing fines of up to 20,000 baht ($640) for people who fail to wear face masks in public in 48 provinces. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was among the first to be fined for the offence on Monday, when the rule took effect in Bangkok.
Johnson denies press report
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday denied a press report which quoted him as allegedly saying he would rather see “bodies pile high in their thousands” than impose a third national lockdown on the country. The Daily Mail claimed that Johnson made the comment in the fall of 2020.
Landmarks across UAE lit up with tricolour in solidarity with India
The Burj Khalifa in the Indian tricolour. Pic/PTI
Prominent iconic buildings, including the Burj Khalifa, in the UAE were lit up with the tricolour to show solidarity with India as it grapples with a growing COVID-19 crisis. India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases has climbed to 1,73,13,163 while active cases have crossed the 28-lakh mark. The death toll increased to 1,95,123 with a record 2,812 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.
No. of new cases reported globally in the past 24 hours
Total no. of cases worldwide
Total no. of deaths worldwide
Source: WHO/Johns Hopkins
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