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Workers at a Serum Institute of India vaccine plant in Pune, India, packed trays of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in January.Credit…Atul …

Workers at a Serum Institute of India vaccine plant in Pune, India, packed trays of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in January.Credit…Atul Loke for The New York Times

The thorny business of vaccine distribution

Countries are grappling with uncertainties about Covid-19 vaccine supplies and how protective various shots will be, while racing to combat new variants and save lives. At the same time, the world’s poorest countries may have a long wait until they can start administering their own programs.

In the European Union, officials in eight countries, including Germany, Italy and France, plan to limit the newly authorized AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to younger people, citing insufficient data on its effectiveness in older people. (Doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would be set aside for them.)

Separately, Covax, an international program to supply vaccines at little or no cost to low- and middle-income countries around the world, plans to deliver more than 300 million doses to 145 countries by June 30. Even with that help, many of the poorest nations are likely to lag far behind in vaccinations and may not be able to mount large-scale efforts this year.

Scientists say that could leave the entire world, even people in widely vaccinated countries, more vulnerable, at a time when worrisome new variants of the virus are spreading worldwide.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • Hundreds of businesses in Poland, including gyms, bars and restaurants, are defying government restrictions and risking hefty fines by reopening despite an ongoing lockdown.

  • A team of experts from the World Health Organization investigating the origins of the pandemic visited a research center in Wuhan, China, that has been a focus of several unfounded theories about the coronavirus.

  • New research found that the AstraZeneca vaccine has the potential to reduce transmission of the virus.

  • People across Britain last night applauded and banged pots in honor of Tom Moore, the 100-year-old Army veteran who became a national hero for his fund-raising efforts early in the pandemic. He tested positive for Covid-19 in January and died on Tuesday.

Supporters of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi outside the Myanmar Embassy in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.Credit…Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Myanmar’s military charges Aung San Suu Kyi

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmar civilian leader deposed in a coup this week, faces up to three years in prison on an obscure charge of illegally importing at least 10 walkie-talkies.

The country’s military has a history of sidelining opponents with bizarre and arcane charges like this one. The ousted president, U Win Myint, is also facing jail time, accused of violating coronavirus restrictions.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi served 15 years under house arrest before the generals released her in 2010 to allow the beginnings of the democracy she had championed. Now she is back under house arrest, and the army is dismantling the freedoms that briefly flourished.

Response: On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council, which had convened a meeting on Myanmar, declined to issue a statement condemning the coup. China and Russia opposed such a move.

First person: Watching recent events felt like being transported back to the old, isolated Myanmar, writes the journalist Aye Min Thant. “The reality of the coup sank in, and panic seemed to grow.”

Mario Draghi spoke to reporters in Rome after accepting a mandate to form a new coalition government.Credit…Pool photo by Alessandra Tarantino

An end in sight for Italy’s political crisis

Mario Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank, accepted a mandate from President Sergio Mattarella to form a new coalition government to guide Italy out of the pandemic and through economic recovery.

The circumstances require “an answer equal to the seriousness of the situation,” said Mr. Draghi, who has steered Italy and the E.U. through multiple crises over decades of public service.

Until Mr. Mattarella summoned Mr. Draghi on Tuesday, the idea that he could replace Giuseppe Conte as prime minister seemed like a pipe dream for Italians frustrated with the coalition led by Mr. Conte’s Five Star party, which was paralyzed by ideological schisms and incompetence.

Analysis: “Draghi is the Italian who saved the euro, now he is going to be the pro-European who saves Italy,” said Matteo Renzi, the former prime minister. With Mr. Draghi, “it’s as if we got the best insurance in the world,” he added.

If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it

Leaks, creaks and breaks in a luxury high-rise

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

432 Park was once the pinnacle of a cloud-piercing luxury condo boom that promised to reshape New York City with a “billionaire’s row” of skyscrapers. Now it’s leaking and creaking. Homeowners have made claims for millions of dollars in water damage and suffered frequent elevator malfunctions and walls that creak like the galley of a ship — most likely connected to the building’s immense height of nearly 1,400 feet.

“I was convinced it would be the best building in New York,” said one of the earliest residents. “They’re still billing it as God’s gift to the world, and it’s not.”

Here’s what else is happening

Tokyo Olympics: Organizers released plans to keep athletes safe during this summer’s Olympic Games, signaling their determination to keep the event from being postponed again.

Capitol riot: Brian Sicknick, the officer who died as a result of the Jan. 6 mob attack, was honored in a ceremony at the Capitol he helped protect. Mr. Sicknick is the fifth person to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, a distinction reserved for private citizens.

India dissent: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces protests by farmers against new agriculture laws, critics and analysts say he is increasingly silencing dissenting voices and blocking the internet.

Navalny protests: The editor of the Mediazona news site in Russia was sentenced to 25 days in jail, as the authorities crack down on free expression following the opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s return to the country.

Credit…César Nuñez for The New York Times

Featured video: Above, the coastal town of Haulover in Nicaragua, which was hit by two major hurricanes in November. Faced with a future of intensifying storms because of climate change, the residents must now consider whether to abandon their way of life and move inland.

Golden Globes: Netflix, Amazon and Hulu swept the beginning of the Hollywood awards season. Netflix drew a jaw-dropping 42 nominations for titles like “The Crown,” “The Queen’s Gambit” and “Mank.” Here’s the latest.

What we’re reading: This Fast Company article on why remote work may render the five-day workweek obsolete. It raises questions about focus and performance in work-from-home settings.

Now, a break from the news

Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Cook: This comforting Jamaican curry combines chicken and potatoes. Serve as a soup, or over rice.

Listen: You only need five minutes to learn to love string quartets.

Create: Find poetry in the pages of your newspaper. “Erasure poems” can help you find your voice when it’s hard to tap into your creative juices.

Allow yourself some joy. At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.

And now for the Back Story on …

Traveling post-vaccine

Our Tripped Up column, which answers questions about travel, gave one of our readers this advice about her plans to hop on a flight to see her grandchildren after her second vaccine shot, including what health and safety precautions she still needs to take.

Is it safe to travel by subway, train, bus or plane after I have been vaccinated? What are the proper protocols for protecting others?

Even before the vaccines arrived, mass transit was rarely labeled by health officials with blanket terms like “safe” or “unsafe.” Studies conducted over the summer suggested that when certain criteria are met, subways are safer, from a viral-transmission standpoint, than one might assume. A trove of new research indicates that the chance of contracting the coronavirus while flying is low. For trains and planes alike, the focus is — and will continue to be — concrete, actionable measures that mitigate risk, like high-efficiency air filtration, enhanced disinfection, mask requirements, social distancing and capacity limits.

The basic protocols for protecting others (masks, distancing, hand-washing) haven’t changed.

“I know it’s frustrating, especially for grandparents, because it almost feels like the goal posts have been moved again,” Dr. Keri N. Althoff, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said. “But we’ve always said that you cannot just rip your mask off and run around like it’s 2019 once you’re vaccinated. We’ve all learned not only how important our individual health is, but also how interconnected we are.”

Thank you
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about Mexico’s drug cartels.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Long, boring job (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Johanna Barr, an editor on our Politics desk, is joining the Metro desk as senior editor for news and planning.

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