"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 17th Jun 2021
New COVID-19 variant of interest identified in 29 countries: WHO
- The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that a new variant of COVID-19, named Lambda, was identified in 29 countries and notably in South America where it us believed to have originated.
- First identified in Peru, the Lambda lineage was classified as a global Variant of Interest on Monday due to an 'elevated prevalence in South America, the WHO said in its weekly update.
- Lambda has been rampant in Peru where 81% of COVID-19 cases since April 2021 were associated with this variant, authorities reported.
- In Chile, it was detected in 32% of all submitted sequences in the last 60 days, and only outclassed by the Gamma variant which was first identified in Brazil. Other countries such as Argentina and Ecuador have also reported elevated prevalence of the new variant.
- The WHO reported that the Lambda lineage carries mutations that might increase transmissability or strengthen the virus's resistance to antibodies.
- However, evidence is too limited for the moment, the Geneva-based organization said, and more studies are required to understand better the Lambda variant.
- Variants of Interest, unlike Variants of Concern that have made headlines in newspapers worldwide, are monitored by health organizations but are not proved yet to be significant threats to public health.
- The most recent example is the Delta variant. It was first identified in India and was labelled as a Variant of Interest until May 11, 2021, when its rapid spread around the world the WHO to classify it as a Variant of Concern.
New COVID-19 variant of interest identified in 29 countries: WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that a new variant of COVID-19, named Lambda, was identified in 29 countries and notably in South America where it is believed to have originated. First identified in Peru, the Lambda lineage was classified as a global Variant of Interest on Monday due to an “elevated prevalence” in South America, the WHO said in its weekly update. Lambda has been rampant in Peru where 81 percent of COVID-19 cases since April 2021 were associated with this variant, authorities reported. In Chile, it was detected in 32 percent of all submitted sequences in the last 60 days, and only outclassed by the Gamma variant which was first identified in Brazil. Other countries such as Argentina and Ecuador have also reported elevated prevalence of the new variant.
Alarm rises in India over COVID-19 risks as crowds return to malls and rail stations
Having barely got over a devastating second wave of coronavirus infections, India was gripped with alarm on Tuesday over risks of a resurgence as crowds thronged railway stations and shopping malls a day after major cities relaxed curbs on movement. The capital New Delhi, in the north, and tech hub Bengaluru, in the south, were among the cities that have begun lifting strict lockdowns as the nationwide tally of new infections dropped to its lowest level in more than two months. After a strict five-week lockdown, authorities in Delhi have fully re-opened shops and malls, and allowed restaurants to have 50% seating. Suburban rail networks can run at 50% capacity, and offices have been partially reopened.
Athletes Could Be Booted From Tokyo Olympics For Not Following Covid-19 Norms
Visiting athletes participating in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics could face expulsion from Japan if they fail to follow pandemic-related rules which have been put in place by the organizers, according to the games’ rule book published on Tuesday, which comes amid reports that Tokyo may be placed under a state of emergency for the entire duration of the games.
Israel scraps indoor mask order as COVID-19 infections wane
Israel told its citizens they could stop wearing masks indoors on Tuesday, ending one of its last main restrictions as new COVID-19 infections continued to wane even as vaccinations tapered off after a record rollout. Children headed to school and adults to work without masks for the first time in more than a year. Israelis have not had to wear masks outdoors since April. About 55% of Israel's 9.3 million population are fully vaccinated - a turnout largely unchanged by this month's expansion of eligibility to include 12- to 15-year-olds.
Hospitals told to brace for double wave of Covid and child infections
An internal NHS email seen by Channel 4 News shows how hospitals are being told to prepare for a third Covid-19 wave at the same time as a spike in serious infections among very young children. The email, sent by a London NHS trust to clinical staff, says “national guidance on planning” has been issued telling hospitals to expect 50 per cent of the Covid cases seen in the first wave of the pandemic. At the same time the third wave of severe Covid cases is likely to peak in hospitals, in early August, NHS leaders are also predicting a national wave of Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV infections.
White House to host July 4 ‘independence from virus’ bash
Cue the fireworks. President Joe Biden wants to imbue Independence Day with new meaning this year by encouraging nationwide celebrations to mark the country’s effective return to normalcy after 16 months of coronavirus pandemic disruption. Even as the U.S. is set to cross the grim milestone of 600,000 deaths from the virus on Tuesday, the White House is expressing growing certainty that July Fourth will serve as a breakthrough moment in the nation’s recovery. That’s even though the U.S. is not expected to quite reach its goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated by the holiday. As COVID-19 case rates and deaths drop to levels not seen since the first days of the outbreak, travel picks up and schools and businesses reopen, Biden is proclaiming “a summer of freedom” to celebrate Americans resuming their pre-pandemic lives.
New York governor lifts remaining COVID-19 restrictions, calls it a 'momentous day'
New York is lifting all state-mandated coronavirus restrictions after reporting that 70% of the state's adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday. "It is an important milestone, and we're going to keep pushing to do more," Cuomo told a news conference, adding that the state would continue to encourage more New Yorkers to get vaccinated. Restrictions across commercial and social settings will be lifted immediately. Cuomo said some limitations based on guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would remain in place, with mitigation measures still required in public transit and healthcare settings
Brazil to buy single-shot Chinese COVID-19 vaccine
Brazil plans to buy 60 million doses of the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's CanSino Biologics for delivery in the third and fourth quarters of this year, according to a negotiation document reviewed by Reuters. A ministry official signed a letter of intent on June 4 to purchase the doses with a Brazilian pharmaceutical company that represents CanSino in Brazil, Belcher Farmaceutica do Brasil, the document said. The vaccine, trade-named Convidecia and developed by CanSino together with a research institute linked to the Chinese military, will cost $17 per dose, it said.
U.S. buys 200 mln more Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses
The U.S. government has bought another 200 million doses of Moderna’s (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine, the drugmaker said on Wednesday, including an option to buy experimental shots that may be in development. The additional Moderna doses, which brings total U.S. orders to 500 million, could be used for primary inoculation, including of children, or as a possible booster shot, the company said. Moderna is currently conducting clinical trials testing a third booster shot of its authorized vaccine as well as an experimental one to protect against coronavirus variants.
Covid-19 vaccination could mean ‘public health crisis is over’ – expert
The UK’s “public health crisis is over” if Covid vaccines continue to offer high protection against hospital admission, despite the virus spreading in the community, a leading scientist has told MPs. Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said society would need to learn to live with Covid-19 going forward, and also suggested it was not feasible in the short-term to keep producing new vaccines for every variant. It comes as an expert from Public Health England (PHE), also appearing in front of the Commons Science and Technology Committee, said the global pandemic would last another two years.
Brazil's Bolsonaro asks Pfizer to speed up COVID vaccine delivery
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday asked Pfizer to bring forward planned delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, a government source said, aiming to speed up a slow national inoculation program. The request is a turnaround for Bolsonaro who last year ignored offers of vaccines from Pfizer, according to testimony to a Senate commission investigating delays in vaccinating the country with the world's second-deadliest outbreak.
Covid-19: Vaccine doses expire in US as uptake falls by 68%
Millions of vaccines are in danger of being thrown out as the US immunisation campaign hits a wall of vaccine refusal. The US led Canada in first dose coverage by 45% to 35% at the beginning of May, but since then Canada has added a further 29%, and the US just 7%. US vaccinations peaked at more than 3.4 million a day in April but fell to under a million a day at the beginning of June, with many sites seeing only a trickle of visitors. Vaccinations have since increased to about 1.1 million a day, as states rolled out incentives including cash giveaways. But the slight improvement is not enough to put the country back on course for President Biden’s target of at least partially vaccinating 70% of US adults by 4 July. Instead, states are on course to throw out millions of doses that will expire before people can be persuaded to take them.
Covid-19: GPs to contact over-40s who have not taken vaccine
GP practices in Northern Ireland are to begin contacting patients who have not come forward for vaccines. The groups being targeted include people over 40 and patients prioritised for the vaccine because of clinical risk factors. They will be contacted by telephone, text or letter by GP practices and encouraged to consider vaccination. Pop-up vaccination clinics will also be visiting different parts of Northern Ireland in the coming weeks. The Department of Health said it would help address potential barriers to vaccination such as mobility, accessibility and language.
Japan to ship 1 mln COVID-19 vaccines to Vietnam on Wednesday
Japan will send a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Tuesday, as the southeast Asian nation steps up vaccine procurement to fight a more stubborn wave of infections. With a population of about 98 million, Vietnam's tally of infections stands at 10,241, and only 58 deaths, since the pandemic began. The shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines produced in Japan is due to arrive in Vietnam on Wednesday, Motegi told reporters.
UNICEF Helps Refugees Get Their Fair Shot At COVID-19 Vaccines
In Jordan, refugees are eligible for vaccination along with Jordanians and those of other nationalities. To support Jordan's COVID-19 vaccination campaign, UNICEF is providing procurement and logistical support for vaccine delivery and has donated 1.3 million syringes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, UNICEF has responded to refugees' growing needs by helping Jordan's Ministry of Health safeguard the roughly 120,000 who live in the nation's four camps
Coronavirus outpacing vaccine effort, says WHO, after G7 doses pledge
The World Health Organization has warned that Covid-19 is moving faster than the vaccines, and said the vow by G7 countries to share a billion doses with poorer nations was simply not enough. “This is a big help, but we need more, and we need them faster. Right now, the virus is moving faster than the global distribution of vaccines,” World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists. “More than 10,000 people are dying every day ... these communities need vaccines, and they need them now, not next year.” Global health leaders also warned the pledge was too little, too late, with more than 11bn shots needed.
European Union administers over 300 million coronavirus vaccines
The European Union (EU) has administered more than 300 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday. "We have passed 300 million vaccinations in the EU. Every day, we get closer to our goal: to have enough doses delivered to vaccinate 70 per cent of adults in the EU next month," she tweeted. As of Monday, 53.3 per cent of the EU adults had received at least one dose, and 353 million doses had been delivered to the 27-state bloc, reports Xinhua news agency. "By now, almost a third of all adults in the EU are fully vaccinated," European Commission deputy chief spokesperson Dana Spinant said
Covid lockdown: Scientists warn of 40,000 summer wave deaths as Boris Johnson confirms four-week delay to lifting restrictions
More than 40,000 people could die this summer as the Delta variant of coronavirus sweeps through the UK, even after Boris Johnson’s decision to delay the lifting of lockdown restrictions by four weeks to 19 July, scientists have warned. A paper submitted to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) said that a summer wave of infections, hospitalisations and deaths is “likely” whether or not restrictions are lifted because of the highly virulent nature of the variant, but the potential peak death rate could be reduced from 700 to 500 a day by delaying Step 4 of Mr Johnson’s roadmap from the planned date of 21 June.
Germany set to end work from home obligation, Merkel aide tells weekly
Germany will not extend beyond the end of June a rule which forces companies to allow working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff was quoted as saying on Wednesday. Germany has gradually lifted lockdown measures in the last six weeks as infections fell. After first introducing a working from home obligation in January, the measure was anchored in "emergency brake" legislation that allows the government to impose lockdown measures if infections rise beyond certain thresholds. As coronavirus infection numbers are sinking, the home office rule does not need to be extended on June 30, when the emergency law regulating the lockdown expires
UK PM called health chief ‘hopeless’, leaked texts reveal
Boris Johnson’s former chief aide has published expletive-laden messages which purportedly show the British prime minister denouncing his health secretary’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as “hopeless”. Dominic Cummings, who stepped down as Johnson’s top adviser in December and has since levelled several serious accusations at his ex-boss, posted screenshots of apparent WhatsApp exchanges between him and Johnson in March and April 2020, as a first wave gripped the United Kingdom.
Indian scientists: We didn’t back doubling of COVID vaccine gap
The Indian government doubled the gap between the two doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine without the agreement of the scientific group that it said recommended the increase, three members of the advisory body have told the Reuters news agency. The ministry of health announced the decision to change the gap from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks on May 13, at a time when supplies of the shot were falling short of demand and infections were surging across the country.
Ukraine government extends lockdown measures until Aug 31, softens curbs
Ukraine's government on Wednesday extended COVID-19 lockdown measures until Aug. 31, but eased some of the restrictions, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said. Shmygal said all Ukrainian regions are now in the "green zone" but the country "must be ready for any development". Shmygal did not specify which measures will be eased. On Monday, Ukraine registered 420 COVID cases - the lowest daily number of new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours for nearly a year
High vaccine uptake sees 'collapse in harm' of Covid-19
The Department of Health has reported 329 new cases of Covid-19. The number of people in intensive care units is 19, down four from yesterday. There are 57 people being treated for the virus. The Department said that daily case numbers may change in future to data review, validation and update. In Northern Ireland, the Department of Health has reported a further 143 Covid-19 infections. No further coronavirus deaths were reported in the past 24 hours. There are 16 confirmed Covid patients in hospital, with none in ICU.
Regeneron COVID-19 therapy cuts deaths among hospitalised patients who lack antibodies -study
A COVID-19 antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Roche reduced deaths in hospitalised patients whose own immune systems had failed to produce a response, a large British study found on Wednesday. The therapy, REGEN-COV, has been granted emergency use authorisation for people with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in the United States, but results from the RECOVERY trial provide the clearest evidence of its effectiveness among hospitalised patients. It found that the antibody therapy reduced by a fifth the 28-day mortality of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 whose immune system had not mounted an antibody response, known as seronegative.
Astra antibody cocktail fails to prevent COVID-19 symptoms in large trial
AstraZeneca said on Tuesday a late-stage trial failed to provide evidence that its COVID-19 antibody therapy protected people who had contact with an infected person from the disease, a small setback in its efforts to find alternatives to vaccines. The study assessed whether the therapy, a cocktail of two types of antibodies, could prevent adults who had been exposed to the virus in the past eight days from developing COVID-19 symptoms. The therapy, AZD7442, was 33% effective in reducing the risk of people developing symptoms compared with a placebo, but that result was not statistically significant — meaning it might have been due to chance and not the therapy.
Covid-19: Irish scientists discover link to life threatening blood clots
Irish scientists have identified how and why some Covid-19 patients can develop life-threatening blood clots. The work ,led by researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), could lead to targeted therapies that prevent such clots happening in future. The findings are published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. The scientists analysed samples from Covid-19 patients in intensive care in the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. They found the balance between a molecule that causes clotting called the von Willebrand Factor (VWF) and its regulator, ADANTS 13, is severely disrupted in Covid patients who had elevated levels of the VWF protein.
Treating fear of needles could reduce Covid vaccine hesitancy, study suggests
Treating the fear of needles may reduce coronavirus vaccine hesitancy, research has found. A new study suggests one in four UK adults screens positive for a potential injection phobia. Researchers from the University of Oxford say these people were twice as likely to report being hesitant to getting a Covid-19 vaccine, being put off getting vaccinated or, ultimately, never getting the jab. But if all injection anxiety in the population were removed then more than 10 per cent of instances of vaccine hesitancy might disappear too, the data indicates. People can be helped to overcome their fear of needles, including through the use of cognitive behavioural therapy, experts say.
Malaysia grants conditional approval for CanSino, J&J COVID-19 vaccines
Malaysia has granted conditional approval for emergency use to the single dose COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by China's CanSino Biologics and U.S. drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, the government said on Tuesday. The Southeast Asian country has been ramping up its vaccination programme, amid a fresh round of lockdowns imposed this month to curb a surge in coronavirus infections. Malaysia would obtain Johnson & Johnson's vaccines via the global COVAX facility backed by the World Health Organization, the health ministry said in a statement. It did not say how many doses it would procure via COVAX.
China's COVID-19 vaccines are being called into question after infections surged in countries using Chinese shots
Two Chinese shots have been welcomed by vaccine-deprived lower-income countries. But in some, cases of COVID-19 are surging even after widespread vaccination. In response, observers are questioning how well the shots work, angering China.
More evidence suggests COVID-19 was in US by Christmas 2019
A new analysis of blood samples from 24,000 Americans taken early last year is the latest and largest study to suggest that the new coronavirus popped up in the U.S. in December 2019 — weeks before cases were first recognized by health officials. The analysis is not definitive, and some experts remain skeptical, but federal health officials are increasingly accepting a timeline in which small numbers of COVID-19 infections may have occurred in the U.S. before the world ever became aware of a dangerous new virus erupting in China. “The studies are pretty consistent,” said Natalie Thornburg of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
COVID-19: NHS England to launch Long COVID services for children
The NHS is launching Long COVID services for children, as concerns grow about the number of young people experiencing long-term symptoms. Fifteen paediatric hubs will be created in England, drawing together experts on symptoms such as respiratory problems and fatigue. They will treat young people, advise family doctors or other carers, or refer patients to other specialist services and clinics. More than one million people have reported suffering symptoms for weeks or even months after being infected with the virus and it is expected that hundreds of thousands of these need support.
The Covid Delta variant: how effective are the vaccines?
Live Coronavirus latest news: Second vaccines brought forward for over-40sTelegraph.co.ukJohnson’s new vaccine target sets stern test for GPs and jab centresFinancial TimesGovernment 'open' to shortening gap between Covid vaccine doses to eight weeks for over-40siNewsView Full coverage on Google News
Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine to be made in India soon - govt official
The Serum Institute of India is preparing to produce Novavax's (NVAX.O) COVID-19 vaccine in the country, government official Vinod Kumar Paul said at a press briefing on Tuesday. The vaccine maker on Monday had said its COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective in a large, late-stage U.S.-based clinical trial.
Regeneron's COVID-19 antibodies breach a new frontier by cutting deaths in some hospitalized patients
Antibody treatments have shown little success in helping COVID-19 patients with severe disease. But a large study of hospitalized patients reveals that Regeneron’s antibody cocktail can reduce the chance of death in patients who haven't produced their own antibody responses to the disease. The 9,785-patient study, conducted in the U.K., showed that among those who produced no natural antibody response, REGEN-COV reduced the risk of death by 20%. The data could open up a new group of patients for the antibody cocktail, giving some new oomph to sales that have recently surged. For patients who had developed antibodies, the treatment didn't work at all, suggesting that antibody testing would be useful for all hospitalized COVID-19 patients, trial investigator and Oxford professor Martin Landray told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday.
CDC says vaccine link to heart inflammation is stronger than previously thought
Males under 30 may face heart problems after getting vaccinated. Myocarditis and pericarditis share the same symptoms. Treatment for myocarditis can be solved with over-the-counter medication or resolve itself.
First US COVID cases may date back to mid-December 2019
A new National Institutes of Health (NIH) analysis of more than 24,000 stored blood samples reveals SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in nine participants in five states as early as Jan 7, 2020, indicating that COVID-19 was in the country weeks before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the first US case on Jan 21. Because immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies aren't detected until about 2 weeks after infection, the findings date the exposures to late December, although whether the participants were infected in the United States or abroad is unknown.
Two shots of Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines effective against Delta variant: study
As the coronavirus surged across the globe, experts have raised concerns that skyrocketing infections would cause mutations that evade current vaccines. As more data comes in, those concerns are fading. A real world study conducted by Public Health England shows that two doses of the vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca are highly effective in preventing hospitalizations due to the troublesome Delta variant (B.1.617.2), which scientists first detected in India. The variant has become the predominant coronavirus strain in the U.K. Of those who received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 96% avoided hospitalization with no deaths. Of those who received two shots of the AZ vaccine, 92% avoided hospitalization with no deaths. The study included 14,019 people in England who had contracted the Delta variant of the virus. Of them, 166 were hospitalized from April 12 to June 4.
Amazon has made its Covid-19 test available online, alongside a diagnostics portal for consumers
Amazon has made its FDA-cleared Covid-19 test available to consumers online, alongside a consumer diagnostics website where people can view their results. The consumer diagnostics website, AmazonDx.com, previously only had a login for Amazon employees. As of Tuesday, however, it appears any customer can sign into the site using the same login information they use to access the shopping portion of the tech giant’s website.
People hospitalized with COVID-19 now have one overwhelming thing in common. They're not vaccinated.
Biden apologizes for firing back at CNN's Kaitlan Collins after question Putin savored the global spotlight after his direct but largely fruitless meeting… In Minnesota, the HealthPartners system has seen a “precipitous decline” in COVID-19 hospitalizations, says Dr. Mark Sannes, an infectious disease physician and senior medical director for the system, which operates nine hospitals and more than 55 clinics. But now, nearly every admitted patient he does see is unvaccinated. “Less than 1% of our hospitalized COVID patients are vaccinated," he said. In Ohio, at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, only 2% of the COVID-19 patients admitted in the last month were vaccinated, said Dr. Robert Salata, the hospital's physician-in-chief.
Congo caps public gatherings as third COVID-19 wave builds
The Democratic Republic of Congo will limit public gatherings to 20 people and close nightclubs as the country grapples with a third wave of COVID-19, President Felix Tshisekedi said on Tuesday. Congo has officially registered relatively few cases, but low vaccination rates have left the country vulnerable to more contagious strains, including the highly-infectious Delta variant. "For several weeks we have seen a persistent rise in the number of people infected," Tshisekedi said in a televised address. "We need to react with speed, and above all, methodically."
Indonesia warns COVID-19 cases may not peak until July as hospitals fill
Indonesia expects a new wave of coronavirus infections will peak in early July, as the highly transmissible delta variant becomes more dominant in some areas and with the occupancy of hospitals in Jakarta hitting 75%, officials said. COVID-19 infections in the world's fourth most populous country have been on the rise in recent weeks since holidays at the end of the Muslim fasting month, when millions flouted restrictions to travel across the archipelago. The delta variant was now "more dominant" in areas like Jakarta and other parts of Java, Health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told a news conference on Monday.
CDC: Delta variant now 10% of US COVID-19 cases
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday said that Delta, a highly transmissible COVID-19 variant first identified in India and currently sweeping through the United Kingdom, now makes up at least 10% of all US cases. On May 22, the variant had made up only 2.7% of cases. The CDC also now designated Delta as a variant of concern, which means the agency officially recognizes that the variant may carry a risk of more severe illness and transmissibility. In addition to Delta, the CDC has noted five other variants of concern.
‘Black fungus’ detected in 3 COVID-19 patients in Oman
Doctors in Oman have detected a potentially fatal fungal infection called mucormycosis – commonly known as “black fungus” – in the country, according to authorities. The country’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday that three COVID-19 patients had become infected with the condition, which has spread among some coronavirus patients in hard-hit India.
Ongoing COVID surges in multiple regions keep nations on edge
Cases in Africa are up for the fifth week a row, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said today in its weekly outbreaks and health emergencies report. Overall, the region's cases increased 36.3% over the previous week. South Africa reported more than half of last week's cases, and other hot spots include Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, and Kenya. Twenty countries reported rises in cases, with increases of 50% or more in 10 of them. In a related development, Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi today announced new measures to limit gatherings to help the country slow its third COVID surge, according to Reuters. Tshisekedi told reporters last week that hospitals in Kinshasa were overwhelmed.
Covid-19: Deaths in Brazil near half a million as controversial football tournament gets under way
Brazil continues to report a high number of covid-19 infections and deaths against the backdrop of a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s management of the pandemic and a controversial football tournament plagued by virus outbreaks. The country is expected to reach half a million deaths from covid-19 in the coming days as teams from around Latin America compete in the Copa America, which kicked off in Brasilia on 13 June. “The situation is not coming under control since [politicians] are still in denial of the pandemic, including the president,” said Helena Nader, biomedical scientist at the Federal University of São Paulo and former president of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science. At least 31 Copa America players and 10 members of staff have been infected so far, as health experts and players alike voice their concern over the health risk posed by the controversial decision to host the tournament in one of the nations worst hit by covid-19 in the world.
South Africa returns to tighter COVID restrictions as cases surge
South Africa has returned to tighter restrictions on public gatherings and liquor sales as the country sees a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations. President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday that the new infections threaten the health systems in several parts of the country and COVID-related hospital admissions have increased 59 percent over the past two weeks.
Taj Mahal reopens for tourists as India eases COVID-19 curbs
The Taj Mahal reopened to the public on Wednesday as India, still reeling from a disastrous second wave of the pandemic, pushes to lift restrictions in a bid to revitalise its economy. The 17th-century white marble mausoleum, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the northern city of Agra, was closed in early April as India introduced strict lockdown measures in an effort to contain a surge in COVID-19 infections that is still killing thousands every day. Only 650 tourists will be allowed inside the premises of the Taj Mahal at any time, said Prabhu Singh, district magistrate of Agra. The monument normally attracts 7 million to 8 million visitors annually, or over 20,000 people per day.
Nearly 900 people got expired Covid-19 vaccine doses at site in New York's Times Square
Nearly 900 people received expired Covid-19 vaccine doses at a vaccination site in Times Square this month, health officials said Tuesday. The 899 people who received doses of the Pfizer vaccine at the former NFL Experience building in Times Square between June 5 and June 10 should schedule another Pfizer shot as soon as possible, the New York City Health Department said. Health Department spokesperson Patrick Gallahue said those who got the expired doses “have received e-mails, phone calls, and are also being sent letters to make sure they are aware of this situation.”