(Reuters) - AstraZeneca has again angered the EU by scaling back deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines, but got a boost on Friday when the World Health Organisation dismissed fears that have prompted countries in Europe and Asia to suspend use of the shot. AstraZeneca said it had found no evidence of increased risk of deep vein thrombosis in more than 10 million recipient records.
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* Washington has told the European Union that it should not expect to receive AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in the United States any time soon, two EU sources said.
* AstraZeneca cut its supply forecast of COVID-19 vaccine to the EU in the first quarter to about 30 million doses, a third of its contractual obligations, a document seen by Reuters shows.
* Bulgaria temporarily halted inoculations with the AstraZeneca vaccine until the European medicine regulator produces a written statement dispelling all doubts about the vaccine's safety.
* Italy will be placed under a nationwide lockdown over the Easter weekend for the second year running, a draft decree law seen by Reuters said.
* President Joe Biden told U.S. states to make all adults eligible for a vaccine by May 1 and urged Americans to stay vigilant or face more restrictions, hours after he signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill into law.
* The head of the U.S. House of Representatives transportation panel urged the Federal Aviation Administration to extend a "zero-tolerance" policy for passengers not wearing masks or causing disturbances on flights.
* Mexico's deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said that Mexico will continue applying doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine even as some countries have suspended its use.
* South Korea will extend social distancing rules with a ban on private gatherings of more than four people in a bid to stamp out the possibility of a fourth wave of infections, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said.
* Japanese athletes at the Summer Olympics will not be eligible for vaccinations offered by China since Japan has not approved the vaccines, Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa said.
* Thailand delayed the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine scheduled to start on Friday with its prime minister and cabinet members taking the first shots.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Russia and China are racing to plug the vaccine gap in Africa, hoping to cement their influence on a continent where many countries have yet to administer a single shot.
* The South African government's agreement with Johnson & Johnson for 11 million vaccine doses includes an option for an additional 20 million doses depending on the availability of stock, its health minister said.
* Novavax Inc's vaccine was 96% effective in preventing cases caused by the original version of the coronavirus in a late-stage trial conducted in the United Kingdom, the company said.
* Sanofi and Translate Bio said they had started a human trial of their mRNA vaccine candidate.
* Global shares were flat on Friday but within sight of a record high, while oil edged lower as benchmark debt yields climbed, helping to curb the latest stimulus-driven rally.
* Britain's economy shrank by less than feared in January when the country went back into a coronavirus lockdown, but trade with the European Union was hammered as new post-Brexit rules kicked in.
* The Spanish cabinet approved an 11 billion-euro ($13.1 billion) relief package for small- and medium-sized companies to help them weather the COVID-19 pandemic-induced crisis, including 7 billion in direct aid, the government said.
($1 = 0.8375 euros)
(Compiled by Charles Regnier; Editing by Mark Heinrich)