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Coronavirus digest: US vows to donate more vaccines

May 18, 2021

The World Health Organization has welcomed President Joe Biden's pledge to boost the US's vaccine-sharing pledge to 80 million doses. Follow DW for the latest.

Vials containing the BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
The doses will come from existing production of BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocksImage: Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA/picture alliance

The United States will boost its world vaccine commitment to 80 million doses by sending at least 20 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad, President Joe Biden announced on Monday.

The country will share doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the next six weeks, aside from the 60 million AstraZeneca doses that were already earmarked for other countries.

This would be the first time the US is sharing jabs authorized for domestic use.  

"Just as in World War II America was the arsenal of democracy, in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic our nation is going to be the arsenal of vaccines," Biden said.

The World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed Biden's decision. 

"Your commitment to global health is deeply appreciated! #COVAX partners stand ready to support equitable distribution. Solidarity is the only way to save lives & livelihoods everywhere," he wrote on Twitter.

Here's a roundup of some of the other major COVID-related stories around the world.


The state of New York is set to lift its face mask requirement in most public spaces for those vaccinated, this week, in line with the latest US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

New York will join states like Oregon and Washington that have swiftly conformed to last week’s federal guidelines. 

California, however, will continue imposing its mask requirements tIll June 15, in a bid to give the public and businesses time to prepare and ensure that the COVID-19 caselaod stays low.

United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines are adding flights to Italy with COVID-19 testing protocols as the European country opens for American tourists for the first time in over a year.


Taiwan hopes to begin rolling out domestically-produced coronavirus shots by the end of July, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday. 

Taiwan is also negotiating with the US for a share of the vaccine doses that President Biden plans to send overseas,  the de facto Taipei envoy to Washington told Taiwan's official Central News Agency in comments published earlier in the day. 

"We are in negotiations and striving for it," Hsiao Bi-khim said. 

Taiwan is battling a rare surge in domestic cases.

Over the last week, Taiwan has reported more than 700 new domestic cases of infections prompting new restrictions in capital Taipei and alarming people who were easing back into a normal life with the outbreak well under control. 

Taiwan has only received about 300,000 doses for a population of more than 23 million. 

Japan’s economy has shrunk at an annual rate of 5.1% in the January-March quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic dries up consumption, government data released Tuesday showed. 

The world's third-largest economy contracted more than a median market forecast of  4.6% and following an 11.6% rise in the previous quarter.

A 1.4% drop in private consumption, as much of Japan remains under a state of emergency to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, has mainly contributed to the decline. 

India on Tuesday reported 263,533 new cases of COVID-19 taking the country's total caseload past the 25 million mark, 

The deaths in India rose by a record 4,329, as a second wave of the virus continues to batter the nation. 


In the United Kingdom, officials are mulling contingency plans for local lockdowns or a delay to reopening after June 21 as concerns over the virulent COVID-19 variant first detected in India grow, the Times newspaper has reported.

The report comes after most of the UK eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday with full indoor service in pubs and restaurants being allowed for the first time since January.

Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases says the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased on Monday by 4,209 to 3,603,055.

Meanwhile, the reported death toll rose by 221 to 86,381.

dvv/rt (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)