Factbox - Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus
(Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backed a booster shot of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older, adults with underlying medical conditions and adults in high-risk working and institutional settings.
More than half of Australia's adult population were fully vaccinated as of Friday, as authorities step up inoculations in the hope of easing restrictions with cases near daily 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
* Norway will reopen society on Saturday, the government said, ending all remaining domestic restrictions that have limited social interaction and hobbled many businesses.
* Italy's National Health Institute recommended that pregnant women should get COVID-19 vaccines after the first three months of their pregnancy.
* 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.
* Leaders of United States, Japan, India and Australia, sharing concerns about China's growing power and behaviour, meet in person as a group for the first time on Friday for a summit expected to bring progress on COVID-19 vaccines, infrastructure and technological cooperation.
* Brazil's agriculture minister has tested positive for COVID-19 one week after meeting with G20 ministers in Europe.
* Japan's infection situation is improving to the extent that emergency conditions could soon be lifted in most parts of the country, the health minister said.
* Singapore will tighten curbs to limit social gatherings to two people and make working from home a default, to try to contain a spike in infections and reduce pressure on the healthcare system.
* South Korea set a record for daily 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 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
* Egypt has authorised Russia's single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine against COVID-19, said the Russian Direct Investment Fund which markets the shot abroad.
* Sinovac's vaccine is highly effective against serious illness, although rival shots from Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca showed better protection rates, a large real world study from Malaysia showed.
* 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.
* Indian drugmaker Shilpa Medicare Limited has agreed to produce Cadila Healthcare Ltd's three-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
* Vietnamese pharma company Vabiotech plans to start commercial production of the Sputnik V vaccine in days, using semi-finished material shipped from Russia.
* Pfizer is in discussions with Singapore's Health Sciences Authority regarding a full license application for its COVID-19 vaccine, the company said in response to a query from Reuters.
* A WHO panel has recommended the use of Regeneron and Roche's COVID-19 antibody cocktail for patients at high risk of hospitalisation and those severely ill with no natural antibodies.
* European shares slipped on Friday but held their gains for the week as uncertainty around the fate of debt-ridden China Evergrande weighed on investor sentiment. [MKTS/GLOB]
* 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.
(Compiled by Milla Nissi and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Barbara Lewis)
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