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Coronavirus developments at a glance: 27 March to 1 April

The latest coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic from Research Professional News

National focus: France and Germany

The French research ministry has approved 10,000 applications for extensions to PhD funding, postdoctoral fellowships, industrial secondments and fixed-term research positions.

And in Germany, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft is extending financial support for the ongoing research projects it has funded, in order to mitigate the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.


The World Health Organization has called for further studies into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, with its director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying that “all hypotheses remain on the table”.

The European Spallation Source, a research infrastructure being built near Lund, Sweden, has said it is facing delays and extra costs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The European Commission has been advised to change how it monitors EU investments in research and innovation, to better keep track of the broader investment picture and progress towards ultimate policy goals.

EU leaders have adopted a nuanced stance on the possibility of blocking Covid-19 vaccine exports, praising the bloc’s international disbursements but reserving the option to prevent them under certain circumstances.

The rollout of the EU’s €750 billion Covid-19 recovery fund for activities including R&D has been put on hold across the bloc by a legal complaint, filed with Germany’s highest court, against the debt plan underpinning the fund.

The head of the South African Medical Research Council has said that local data is key to any Covid-19 vaccination programme in the country.

A “tsunami of disinformation” around Covid-19 and vaccines is threatening health and wellbeing in South Africa, the head of the country’s university health body has said.

Two-thirds of undergraduate students say they have not been given any money back from their university or accommodation provider, despite pressure from the government, a survey has suggested.

Nearly 30 national leaders from around the world have called for a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response, to ensure the world is better able to handle future pandemics by acting now to increase global cooperation on areas including research.