Hard Numbers: Italian cabinet crisis, Chinese jab woes, Israel raids Syria, Africa procures vaccines

Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte. Reuters

2: Italy's fragile coalition government collapsed on Wednesday after a small center-left party headed by former prime minister Matteo Renzi withdrew its two ministers and pulled support over a dispute about how to spend EU coronavirus relief funds. Renzi wants to take more money from the European Stability Fund, but current Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is reluctant to plunge Italy into further debt.


50.4: New clinical trials in Brazil show that the Chinese Sinovac vaccine is only 50.4 percent effective against COVID-19, lower than the 78 percent effectiveness reported a week ago by the Brazilian health authorities — and barely over the 50 percent threshold required for approval. Less effective drugs pose a major challenge to China's efforts to use vaccine diplomacy to build trust and relationships in the developing world.

57: Israeli air strikes in Syria killed a total 57 Syrian government soldiers and allied fighters on Wednesday morning, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The raids were carried out with intelligence provided by the US, and targeted warehouses believed to store weapons provided by Iran.

300 million: The African Union has secured almost 300 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for the continent. The deal for the extra jabs — which will be purchased outside of the global COVAX facility — was announced as infections are rising in African nations such as South Africa, which closed its borders after detecting a new strain.
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