US President Joe Biden has announced that all adults across the United States will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccines within two weeks, well ahead of the previous target.

Joe Biden announced in a White House speech that he is moving up the deadline for all over 18 to be eligible for vaccines to 19 April. The previous target had been 1 May.

"Our vaccine programme is in overdrive. We're making it easier to get a vaccination shot," Mr Biden told the nation.

"We're the first country to administer 150 million shots and the first country to fully vaccinate over 62 million people."

President Biden's 19 April deadline means ending restrictions by age, health issues or other categories for people wanting to get vaccinated.

It would not necessarily mean that anyone could get a shot immediately, as distribution remains a work in progress.

Visiting a vaccination site in Virginia earlier, Mr Biden said that while the worst of the pandemic is "not over yet," vaccines mean it soon could be.

"Get one quickly. That's how we're going to beat this," he said.

California poised to reopen

California will fully reopen by 15 June if the current rate of vaccinations continues, lifting all Covid-19 related restrictions on businesses and gatherings, Governor Gavin Newsom said.

The most populous state in the US has now administered 20 million doses, and will end its tier-based reopening blueprint if there are no spikes or vaccine shortages.

"We are announcing today that on June 15 ... we'll be getting rid of the blueprint, as you know it today. That's on June 15 if we continue the good work," said Mr Newsom, adding that mask-wearing requirements would remain.

The California plans reinforced expectations that the US economy will be vital to leading the globe back to post-pandemic business.

The International Monetary Fund said accelerated vaccines and a flood of government stimulus spending, especially in the US, mean it now predicts global economic growth this year of 6% percent, up from a forecast of 5.5% in January.

This would be in contrast to the contraction of 3.3% in 2020 caused by the pandemic - the worst peacetime downturn since the Great Depression nearly a century ago.

"Even with high uncertainty about the path of the pandemic, a way out of this health and economic crisis is increasingly visible," IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said.


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However countering the stream of good news from the White House is a steady rise in Covid-19 infections, as people let down their guard, following more than a year of mask-wearing, social distancing and restrictions on businesses and entertainment.

Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that youths are leading the resurgence.

"We are seeing this occur predominantly in younger adults," Ms Walensky said. "Many of these, as I noted, are related to extracurricular activities and youth sports."

Around 556,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, by the far the highest toll reported in any country.

The Johns Hopkins University tracker reported 79,075 new confirmed cases and 607 deaths yesterday.