Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Oct 2021

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WA contacts still waiting for test results after coming into contact with COVID-19-infected truck driver

Eight people who came into contact with a COVID-positive truck driver while he was in WA have not yet returned negative test results. Contract tracers today said they were still waiting for the test results of eight of the 70 close or casual contacts. The 10 close contacts have been instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days. The truck driver was “potentially infectious” while in WA between September 30 and October 3. He has since travelled to South Australia and is no longer in WA — but the risk to local residents has been described as “low”.
16th Oct 2021 - PerthNow

Slightly more than half of migrant workers in Jurong dorm vaccinated or have verified status, says MOM

Fifty-five per cent of the migrant workers at Westlite Jalan Tukang dormitory have verified their vaccination status or have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Saturday (Oct 16), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said. The remaining 45 per cent are pending verification or have yet to receive a Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR) or World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing Procedure (WHO EUL) vaccine, said MOM in a statement on Saturday. The two PSAR-approved vaccines are the ones made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. These are also among the WHO EUL vaccines, which include AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Covishield.
16th Oct 2021 - CNA

Singapore Covid: Airline websites crash as borders set to open

Singapore's borders have effectively been closed for 21 months, so news that the rules will finally be relaxed has sent residents rushing for a ticket out. From 19 October, people will be able to travel freely from Singapore to ten countries around the world, without quarantine and with fewer swab tests, as long as they are vaccinated. By 15 November, one more country - South Korea - will be added to the list. "The cabin fever was just driving us crazy. There's no demarcation between leisure and work here," Low Ka Wei, a corporate communications executive, told the BBC.
16th Oct 2021 - BBC News

India reopens for foreign tourists after 19 months as COVID ebbs

India has reopened to fully vaccinated foreign tourists travelling on chartered flights in the latest easing of its coronavirus restrictions as infection numbers decline. Foreign tourists on regular flights will be able to enter India starting from November 15, officials said on Friday. It is the first time India has allowed foreign tourists to enter the country since March 2020 when it imposed its first nationwide coronavirus lockdown. It is unclear whether arriving tourists will have to quarantine but they must be fully vaccinated and test negative for the virus within 72 hours of their flight.
16th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English

U.S. to lift restrictions Nov 8 for vaccinated foreign travelers

The White House on Friday will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors starting Nov. 8, ending historic restrictions that had barred much of the world from entering the United States for as long as 21 months. The unprecedented travel restrictions kept millions of visitors out of the United States from China, Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil, much of Europe and elsewhere; shrunk U.S. tourism; and hurt border community economies. They prevented many loved ones and foreign workers from reuniting with families.
16th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Zimbabwe bars unvaccinated civil servants from work

Zimbabwe will bar unvaccinated government workers from reporting for duty from Monday as part of efforts to fight COVID-19, an official circular showed. The southern African country has, as of Oct. 14, recorded 4,655 COVID-19-related deaths from 132,251 infections since March 2020. Although the country was one of the first on the continent to vaccinate against COVID-19, less than 2.5 million people out of its 15 million population have been fully vaccinated.
15th Oct 2021 - Reuters

U.S. will accept mixed doses of vaccines from international travellers

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late on Friday that it will accept mixed-dose coronavirus vaccines from international travelers, a boost to travelers from Canada and other places. The CDC said last week that it would accept any vaccine authorized for use by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization. "While CDC has not recommended mixing types of vaccine in a primary series, we recognize that this is increasingly common in other countries so should be accepted for the interpretation of vaccine records," a CDC spokeswoman said.
15th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Biden’s Moderna Vaccine Double-Cross

Moderna has already pledged 500 million doses to Covax, the World Health Organization-backed group distributing donated vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. But progressives want the White House to use the Defense Production Act (or other means) to make Moderna share its intellectual property with the world. In a letter to Dr. Kessler on Tuesday, 12 Democrats in Congress, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, asserted that the government may have the right to confiscate Moderna’s IP because it has received “huge sums of public funding from American taxpayers.” The feds have held Moderna “‘by the hand on a daily basis,’” they said.
14th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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Coronavirus: Unions call for improved vaccine rollout

A global coalition of more than 350 trade unions is renewing calls for politicians to waive the patents on Covid vaccines. They say that failing to do so would compound supply chain crises and inflict "economic self-harm". It comes as the World Trade Organization (WTO) tries to broker a compromise at a meeting in Geneva. Critics argue that accelerating the rollout of vaccines is more complex than just the waiving of patents. The dilemma being discussed at the WTO meeting centres on finding the best way to ensure the most widespread and equitable way of vaccinating the whole world from coronavirus and ending the pandemic. Successfully doing so would allow the removal of restrictions that have impaired economic growth.
14th Oct 2021 - BBC News

Hungary will receive technology to produce Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine -foreign minister

Hungary will receive technology this year to produce Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine at a Hungarian plant currently under construction, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Moscow on Thursday according to a foreign ministry statement. This would be the first concrete step towards making the vaccine in the European Union, even though it is not yet approved in the bloc. The Sputnik V vaccine, widely used in Russia and approved for use in more than 70 countries, is still undergoing a review by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: NHS facing exceptionally difficult winter - Chris Whitty

The NHS faces an "exceptionally difficult" winter whether there is a Covid surge or not, England's chief medial officer Prof Chris Whitty says. GPs in England are being told to see more patients face-to-face as ministers unveil a £250m winter rescue package. But the doctors' union says the package shows "a government out of touch with the scale of the crisis." The British Medical Association adds doctors will be "horrified" by the idea the plan will save them when it could "sink the ship altogether"
14th Oct 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19 cases surge among children after schools reopen - but drop among adults

Coronavirus infections among children increased in England last month after schools reopened, a study has found. The surge kept overall cases high even as COVID-19's prevalence among adults fell, the research showed. The epidemic was estimated to be growing among those under 17, with an R number estimated at 1.18, according to the REACT-1 study led by Imperial College London.
14th Oct 2021 - Sky News

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Australia's CSL reaffirms commitment to making AstraZeneca COVID vaccine

Australian biotech CSL said on Thursday it was committed to its agreement for the production of about 50 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine into 2022. The announcement came after a media report said the British drugmaker's vaccine, Vaxzevria, will no longer be manufactured in Australia due to demand for vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna. Pfizer and Moderna have established a market dominance by using mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine technology to fight the pandemic.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

English school return spurred COVID in children, but cases fell in adults - study

COVID-19 infections in children in England rose in September after schools returned from summer holidays, helping to keep cases high even as there was a fall among adults, a large prevalence study showed on Thursday. The REACT-1 study, led by Imperial College London, is the latest to find that more children are getting infected with COVID-19 following the reopening of schools at the start of September. Infection numbers in Britain are currently much higher than in other western European countries, with more than 30,000 new cases reported every day this month, but have not risen above summer levels following the return of schools in England despite the higher infection rates in children.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters UK

Ivermectin Demand Sends Sales Soaring for Foreign Generic Drugmakers

Before the pandemic, Taj Pharmaceuticals Ltd. shipped negligible amounts of ivermectin to Russia for veterinary use. But over the past year it’s become a popular product for the Indian generic drug maker: Since July 2020, Taj Pharma has sold $5 million worth of the pills for human use in India and overseas. That’s a bonanza for a small family-owned company with an annual revenue of about $66 million.
13th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

'It's not Satanism': Zimbabwe church leaders preach vaccines

Apostolic groups that infuse traditional beliefs into a Pentecostal doctrine are among the most skeptical in Zimbabwe when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, with an already strong mistrust of modern medicine. Many followers put faith in prayer, holy water and anointed stones to ward off disease or cure illnesses. While mandates — a blunt no vaccine, no entrance rule — is the way to go for some, there’s a subtler approach for the Apostolic and other anti-vaccine Pentecostal groups, partly, but not only, because they are deeply suspicious of vaccines.
13th Oct 2021 - Associated Press

Back from the brink: how Japan became a surprise Covid success story

Just days after the Tokyo Olympics drew to a close, Japan appeared to be hurtling towards a coronavirus disaster. On 13 August, the host city reported a record 5,773 new Covid-19 cases, driven by the Delta variant. Nationwide the total exceeded 25,000. Soaring infections added to resentment felt by a public that had opposed the Olympics, only to be told they could not watch events in person due to the pandemic. Hospitals were under unprecedented strain, the shortage of beds forcing thousands who had tested positive to recuperate – and in some cases die – at home. The then prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, who had ignored his own chief health adviser in pushing ahead with the Games, was forced to step down amid stubbornly low approval ratings. A state of emergency in the capital and other regions that had been in place for almost six months looked likely to be extended yet again.
13th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

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Merck aims to double supply of Covid-19 antiviral pill on rising demand

Merck plans to double manufacturing capacity for its antiviral pill to treat Covid-19 next year as governments scramble to procure a treatment that a late-stage trial showed cuts hospital admission and death rates in half. The mounting demand for Merck’s drug, the first oral treatment shown to prevent severe disease in vulnerable people with coronavirus, is a sign that it could trigger the same kind of worldwide rush faced by makers of early Covid-19 vaccines. Merck, which this week asked US regulators to authorise use of the drug called molnupiravir, told the Financial Times it had secured deals with Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and South Korea to supply doses in the past week and is in talks with several other governments.
12th Oct 2021 - Financial Times

WA's health sector vaccine mandate puts pressure on overstretched bush hospitals

Almost two weeks after Western Australia's health sector vaccine mandate took effect, just a small number of staff losses is increasing pressure on struggling hospital wards and fanning tension between burnt-out workers. Health authorities have confirmed frontline staff have been removed from rosters for refusing to have at least one dose since the rules came into force at the start of the month. The nurses union, which supports the mandate, has accused health bureaucrats of not preparing for the inevitable loss of staff at a time when hospitals in WA's remote north are already being pushed to the brink due to a nurse shortage.
12th Oct 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Bangladesh plans to vaccinate 80 mn people against Covid by next January

Bangladesh aims to administer Covid-19 vaccines to nearly half of its population by next January. Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the Bangladeshi government is working to vaccinate 80 million people by December and January, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Bangladesh's state-run news agency BSS. The minister said the government is considering vaccinating children aged between 12 and 17 years. Bangladesh has already announced a target of vaccinating 80 per cent of its population by 2022. The South Asian country has so far got nearly 70 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
12th Oct 2021 - Business Standard

Sydney COVID-19 cases ease further as focus shifts to reviving economy

Sydney's COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest in two months on Tuesday as authorities rolled out support measures for businesses, shifting their focus to rejuvenating the economy after the city exited a nearly four-month lockdown a day earlier. Pubs, cafes and retail stores reopened in New South Wales (NSW), home to Sydney, on Monday after vaccination levels in the state's adult population crossed 70%. New daily infections in the state fell to 360 on Tuesday, the majority in Sydney, marking a steady downward trend.
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Back to school: How are pupils being kept Covid-safe?

Face coverings are no longer compulsory in schools in England or Wales, although they are recommended in crowded spaces like school buses. However head teachers and health officials can ask staff and pupils to wear masks on school premises in response to local circumstances. Schools in Trafford, Cambridgeshire and West Yorkshire have already reintroduced face coverings. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi confirmed that mask-wearing in all English schools could be made compulsory again under the government's winter contingency "Plan B".
12th Oct 2021 - BBC News

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1 in 5 critically ill coronavirus patients is pregnant, unvaccinated, England says

Unvaccinated pregnant women account for nearly 20 percent of the most critically ill coronavirus patients requiring lifesaving care in England in recent months, according to the country’s National Health Service. “Since July, one in five covid patients receiving treatment through a special lung-bypass machine were expectant mums who have not had their first jab,” the NHS said in a statement Monday. Out of all women between the ages of 16 and 49 being treated with a therapy called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation — used only when a patient’s lungs are so damaged by the virus that a ventilator cannot maintain oxygen levels — pregnant women make up almost a third, up from just 6 percent at the start of the pandemic.
11th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

The rate of Covid-19 cases is dropping nationally but rising in these 5 states

The big picture for Covid-19 in the US is looking a little brighter as new infections and hospitalizations decline. "That's the good news. And hopefully it's going to continue to go in that trajectory downward," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "But we just have to be careful we don't prematurely declare victory in many respects. We still have around 68 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated that have not yet gotten vaccinated," Fauci said Sunday. "If you look at the history of the surges and the diminutions in the cases over a period of time, they can bounce back."
11th Oct 2021 - CNN

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Italy widens COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign to frail and over 60s

Italy has decided to provide a booster shot of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine to frail people regardless of their age as well as people aged 60 and over, the health ministry said on Friday. The booster dose would be available on condition that at least six months have passed since people completed their primary vaccination cycle, the ministry said in a statement. The European Union's drugs regulator said on Monday people with weakened immune systems should get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna but left it to member states to decide if the wider population should have a booster
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Wasted COVID vaccine doses in Louisiana swell to 224,000

Louisiana’s problem of wasted COVID-19 vaccine shots continues to balloon, with about 224,000 doses thrown out across the state as health providers can’t find enough residents willing to roll up their sleeves. The number of trashed doses has nearly tripled since the end of July, even as Louisiana grappled with a fourth, deadly surge of the coronavirus pandemic during that time that led to increased interest in the vaccines. The latest data provided to The Associated Press by the Louisiana Department of Health showed 223,918 doses of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been thrown out.
9th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

7% of Israel’s serious COVID cases had three vaccine shots

Some 7% of Israel’s serious and critical COVID-19 cases were vaccinated with three shots of the coronavirus vaccine, according to data released Friday morning by the Health Ministry. However, the number of new daily cases is declining and the government voted to roll out the Green Class outline in several green cities on Sunday to help keep children out of isolation. “I cannot say that 7% is a lot,” Health Minister Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash told The Jerusalem Post. “The vaccine, even the third shot, does not work at 100%. It is 95% effective.”
9th Oct 2021 - The Jerusalem Post

COVID-19: Calls for stronger safety measures in schools amid pupil infection surge

Education unions have called for the reintroduction of extra safety measures in schools after official estimates showed around 270,000 secondary pupils had COVID-19 last week. The demand for action came as an expert warned about the level of coronavirus circulating among older children. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that around one in 15 children in school years 7 to 11 in England are estimated to have had COVID-19 in the week to 2 October. This was the highest positivity rate for any age group and up from one in 20 during the previous seven-day period.
9th Oct 2021 - Sky News

Russians flock to Serbia for Western-made COVID-19 vaccines

When Russian regulators approved the country's own coronavirus vaccine, it was a moment of national pride, and the Pavlov family was among those who rushed to take the injection. But international health authorities have not yet given their blessing to the Sputnik V shot. So when the family from Rostov-on-Don wanted to visit the West, they looked for a vaccine that would allow them to travel freely — a quest that brought them to Serbia, where hundreds of Russian citizens have flocked in recent weeks to receive Western-approved COVID-19 shots.
9th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Pfizer shots offered to Novavax trial volunteers so they can travel

Britain announced that it will offer new vaccinations to thousands of people who volunteered for trials of the Novavax coronavirus vaccine, which hasn’t yet been approved for use in any country. About 15,000 people in Britain got Novavax shots as part of a clinical trial. While Britain recognises them as vaccinated, most countries don’t, meaning they can’t travel. Britain’s health department said on Friday that more than 15,000 participants would be given two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The government says it plans to expand the offer to about 6000 British participants in trials of other vaccines that also haven’t been approved for use. Britain has appealed to other members of the Group of 20 nations to classify clinical trial volunteers as vaccinated, but most haven’t done so.
9th Oct 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

More organ transplant centers require patients to get Covid-19 vaccine or bumped down waitlist

A Colorado kidney transplant candidate who was bumped to inactive status for failing to get a covid-19 vaccine has become the most public example of an argument roiling the nation's more than 250 organ transplant centers. Across the country, growing numbers of transplant programs have chosen to either bar patients who refuse to take the widely available covid vaccines from receiving transplants, or give them lower priority on crowded organ waitlists. Other programs, however, say they plan no such restrictions — for now.
9th Oct 2021 - CNN

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Hospital system says it will deny transplants to the unvaccinated in 'almost all situations'

A Colorado-based health system says it is denying organ transplants to patients not vaccinated against the coronavirus in “almost all situations,” citing studies that show these patients are much more likely to die if they get covid-19. The policy illustrates the growing costs of being unvaccinated and wades into deeply controversial territory — the use of immunization status to decide who gets limited medical care. The mere idea of prioritizing the vaccinated for rationed health resources has drawn intense backlash, as overwhelmingly unvaccinated covid-19 patients push some hospitals to adopt “crisis standards of care,” in which health systems can prioritize patients for scarce resources based largely on their likelihood of survival.
6th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

England urged to step up vaccinations to avoid winter Covid surge

The distribution of Covid boosters for the most vulnerable people and second shots of vaccine for teenagers should be accelerated to help prevent a winter surge of coronavirus overburdening the NHS, a senior scientist has said. Prof Neil Ferguson said England’s vaccine strategy had been “cautious” in recent months, with many teenagers having only one jab, and boosters for the most vulnerable people given no sooner than six months after their second dose. Ferguson said it was unclear whether the winter would bring another substantial wave of infections, but with new cases already high, at about 30,000 a day, even a moderate rise could put the NHS under pressure.
6th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Hospitalization rates are down across the US, but these 8 states still have fewer than 15% of ICU beds available

The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to require patrons at indoor spaces such as restaurants, gyms and movie theaters to show proof of full Covid-19 vaccination -- starting November 4. The ordinance will also apply to personal care establishments such as spas and hair salons, as well as city buildings. And while the measure doesn't go into effect until next month, businesses must display advisory notice of the requirement by October 21. Individuals with medical or religious exemptions must provide a form declaring that. People who do not meet those requirements can use the outdoor spaces of a business and will be allowed in the covered spaces to use restrooms or pick up takeout orders.
6th Oct 2021 - CNN

Swindon site to produce Covid-19 vaccines, PM says

Doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine are to be made in Swindon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced. It will be made at the Thermo Fisher Scientific site and production is expected to start in 2022. The firm already makes the vaccine at its facility in Monza, Italy. A statement from Pfizer said that regulatory approval, transfer of technology and on-site development work means production cannot immediately begin. It added: "The support from Thermo Fisher - one of more than 20 contract manufacturers across four continents that are - or will be - helping manufacture the vaccine is an example of our efforts to deliver the vaccine to people around the world as quickly as possible."
6th Oct 2021 - BBC News

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Arizona can't use COVID money for anti-mask grants, feds say

The Biden administration on Tuesday ordered Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to stop using the state’s federal pandemic funding on a pair of new education grants that can only be directed to schools without mask mandates. In a letter to Ducey, the Treasury Department said the grant programs are “not a permissible use” of the federal funding. It’s the latest attempt by the Biden administration to push back against Republican governors who have opposed mask mandates and otherwise sought to use federal pandemic funding to advance their own agendas. Ducey, a Republican, created the grant programs in August to put pressure on school districts that have defied the state’s ban on mask mandates.
5th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

English Schools Drop Mask Mandates, but Questions Rise Along With Cases

England took a high-stakes gamble when it sent millions of students back to school last month with neither vaccines nor a requirement to wear face masks, even as the coronavirus continued to course through the population. On Tuesday, the country’s Education Department issued its latest report card on how the plan is working: 186,000 students were absent from school on Sept. 30 with confirmed or suspected cases of the virus, 78 percent more than the number reported on Sept. 16, and the highest number since the pandemic began. Yet to hear many parents tell it, the bigger risk would have been to force the students to keep wearing masks or, worse, to keep them home.
5th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Rapid COVID-19 tests increasingly scarce, pricey as demand from employers jumps

Surging demand for COVID-19 tests from U.S. employers has exacerbated a nationwide shortage of rapid tests in recent weeks and is driving up costs for state and local testing programs, according to industry executives and state officials. Testmakers including Abbott Laboratories, Quidel Corp and LumiraDX Ltd are scaling up production to meet rising demand. But significantly boosting test output will take weeks to months, half a dozen industry executives told Reuters, making the tests harder to procure in the near term.
5th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Thai Red Cross delivers COVID-19 vaccines to Thailand's vulnerable migrant workers

The Thai Red Cross Society kicked off a vaccination campaign on Tuesday for migrant workers, one of the country's most vulnerable groups that has been largely left behind in the broader COVID-19 inoculation rollout. About 300 workers received their first doses along with a small number of undocumented refugees as part of a campaign due to run until the end of the month that is initially targeting 5,000 workers. "The more migrant workers we're able to vaccinate, the better for the Thai people, too," said Tej Bunnag, secretary-general of the Thai Red Cross Society.
5th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: November vaccines 'likely' for 12 to 15-year-olds

It is likely to be November before most schools in Northern Ireland begin to vaccinate 12 to 15-year-old pupils. Letters and consent forms for the Covid-19 vaccine are expected to be sent to parents of eligible children in mid-to-late October, according to the Public Health Agency (PHA). The UK's four chief medical officers have recommended healthy 12 to 15-year-olds be offered one vaccine dose. Vaccinations for pupils in Scotland and England are already taking place. However, the approach being taken by each nation differs.
5th Oct 2021 - BBC News

India begins delivering Covid-19 vaccines by drone

In India, the vast landscape, difficult terrain and remote location of some of its population has presented challenges for the coronavirus vaccine drive. Officials in the vast nation have come up with a unique solution to deliver the vaccine to such areas; by drafting in drones. The drones can travel up to 22 miles and could bring the country closer to its target of vaccinating each of its 950 million adults by the end of this year. The system has already been used to transport Covid vaccines from a hospital in north east state of Manipur to a health centre on Karang Island, which lies 10 miles away in the middle of a lake.
5th Oct 2021 - ITV News

At a rural ICU, Covid-19’s summer surge put telehealth to the test

On the surface, there’s little about Whitfield Regional Hospital that would make it a safety net for Alabama’s sickest Covid-19 patients. It has a small ICU with eight beds, and no critical care doctors on staff. The rural hospital has spent decades focused on caring for the community surrounding Demopolis, population 7,000, in the heart of the state’s Black Belt. But over the summer, Whitfield became an unlikely landing pad for critically ill Covid-19 patients from across the entire state — with the help of a team of telemedicine specialists calling in from more than 100 miles away. As Covid-19 swept through unvaccinated communities, every ICU bed in the state was full for weeks on end — including those at the state’s largest hospital, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
5th Oct 2021 - STAT News

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Coronavirus: BioNTech CEO says new vaccine will be needed in 2022

The CEO of BioNTech, the company that paired with Pfizer to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, told The Financial Times on Sunday that a new vaccine formula will probably be needed by the middle of next year, as new variants to the virus are likely to emerge. Ugur Sahin, who co-founded BioNTech, said that the variants seen now are not so different from the original virus as to evade the protection that the current vaccine offers. However, Sahin warns that new variants will emerge that will be able to evade vaccines and booster shots. “This year [a different vaccine] is completely unneeded,” he said. “But, by mid-next year, it could be a different situation.”
4th Oct 2021 - KIRO Seattle

Signs of encouragement as US sees drop in Covid cases and hospitalizations

The United States has seen a dramatic drop in the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks, a trend that epidemiologists see as an encouraging sign that the Delta wave of the virus has peaked nationally. The seven-day average of daily new cases in America dropped from about 151,000 on 14 September to about 106,000 on 29 September, a 29% decrease, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
4th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Largest COVID-19 PCR provider announces expansion of ‘cube’ labs

The UK’s largest laboratory diagnostics company, Randox, has announced a nationwide expansion of ten new adaptive ‘cube’ laboratories across Great Britain, with facilities that provide a rapid and cost-effective model to expand laboratory provision.
4th Oct 2021 - PharmaTimes

Pregnant Women Benefit from Getting the COVID-19 Vaccination

The number of women who were pregnant and also hospitalized for COVID-19 increased from 10% to 15% in late August 2021 and early September 2021, which is more than double the percentages of a year earlier, results of a study posted in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology show. "If they are exposed and infected, they run a higher risk of severe illness from this most recent Delta variant," Emily Adhikari, MD, medical director of perinatal infectious diseases at Parkland Health and Hospital System, said in a statement. "Pregnant women should get immunized as soon as possible." Investigators found that these findings are the first objective evidence of the number and severity of illness in pregnant individuals alongside the spike in the Delta variant.
4th Oct 2021 - Pharmacy Times

Senegal records fewest daily COVID-19 cases since outbreak began

Senegal on Monday logged only two new daily COVID-19 infections, the lowest number since the pandemic reached the country and two months after the rate of new cases hovered at record highs, the health ministry said on Monday. "Two cases were recorded today, the lowest ever recorded," said health ministry spokesperson Ngone Ngom. "They were in the past seven, 10 cases, but from the top of my head I think this is the lowest." While the number of COVID-19 infections has been relatively low in Senegal compared with elsewhere, the West African nation is emerging from its deadliest wave yet. Twenty thousand of its 73,800 cases and 250 of its 1,860 deaths were recorded in July alone.
4th Oct 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Amber list and UK's traffic light system for international travel scrapped as rules simplified

The UK's traffic light system for travel has been scrapped and replaced with just two categories - countries on the red list and everywhere else. The number of countries on the red list - currently 54 - is expected to be cut to as few as nine, with places such as South Africa, and Mexico expected to become available to quarantine-free travel. People arriving in the UK fully vaccinated against COVID-19 - and everyone under 18 - will also see changes.
4th Oct 2021 - Sky News

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Britain’s Covid infection rate is one of the worst in the world, data reveals

Britain’s current Covid infection rate is by far the highest in western Europe and is only exceeded by a handful of countries around the world, latest research reveals. The UK’s average daily reported cases on stood at 52 per 100,000 population on Friday, according to the respected Johns Hopkins University in the US. That puts the country 14th out of more than 200 states in a global list of Covid infection rates – well above the likes of the US, Canada and the whole of western Europe, as well as other former global “hotspots” such as India and Brazil. A total of 191,771 people tested positive for Covid in England in the week to 22 September, a rise of 18 per cent on the week before, it was revealed on Thursday.
2nd Oct 2021 - Evening Standard

Covid cases rise as UK schools return and furlough scheme ends

The number of daily new Covid infections in the UK has risen in the past month after the removal of most pandemic restrictions and as schools and offices reopened, fuelled by the Delta variant. The latest daily figures up to 30 September show that 36,480 people tested positive for Covid-19 across the UK, an increase from the start of the month. The government said a further 137 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Thursday, bringing the UK total to 136,662. Almost 49 million people have had a first shot of a coronavirus vaccine, about 90% of the adult population. Almost 45 million – about 83% – have had a second.
2nd Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Indonesia’s pandemic-fuelled problem: Mounds of medical waste

The overpowering stench is the first thing that I notice, filling my nose and making my eyes water. Then I see the mountains of rotting waste. This is Burangkeng, one of Indonesia’s largest landfills, in the city of Bekasi some 30km from the capital, Jakarta. On the surface it looks like any other large dumpsite, but among the regular rubbish lies a growing amount of toxic medical waste. From blood-filled drip lines to masks, medical gloves and COVID-19 tests. All hidden in plain sight.
2nd Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera

India imposes retaliatory COVID restrictions on British nationals

Fully vaccinated British nationals arriving in India will be subjected to a 10-day mandatory quarantine, in response to similar measures imposed on Indian nationals. The move comes after India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla called Britain’s decision not to recognise the Indian version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, known as Covishield, “discriminatory”. He had warned of reciprocal measures should London fail to reconsider.
2nd Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Return to Covid restrictions as hundreds of schools told to ‘prepare for bubbles’

At least two councils have told schools to reintroduce some Covid measures as cases threaten to spiral out of control. Schools in Staffordshire have been issued with new guidance including the reintroduction of classroom bubbles and face coverings in crowded places after infections increased by nearly a third in the past week. Wolverhampton secondary school pupils have also been told to wear masks in communal areas as councils take it upon themselves to tackle the latest outbreaks. All compulsory measures were scrapped by the government for the start of the latest term, with schools able to operate mostly as normal.
2nd Oct 2021 - Metro

Flu's Return Will Shape the Pandemic's Impact in Coming Months

Charting the course of the pandemic during the coming months is likely to involve a more traditional winter nuisance: the flu. As countries from Italy to Canada lift restrictions, travel resumes and colder temperatures set in, influenza will probably start circulating as well. That’s after measures to thwart Covid-19 such as masks and ventilation kept the flu at bay for the past year and a half. Efforts have already been under way to lessen the potential strain on health systems dealing with both illnesses. A U.K. study released late Thursday showed that it’s safe for people to get Covid and flu shots at the same time, which might help increase vaccine uptake and cut down on appointments as the country rolls out booster doses.
1st Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Japan's restaurants, bars welcome back drinkers as COVID-19 controls ease

Typhoon winds and rain dampened what might have been a more celebratory mood in Tokyo on Friday, as restaurants were allowed to sell alcohol and stay open later following the lifting of the latest COVID-19 state of emergency. Japan is cautiously easing restrictions that have prevailed across much of the nation for almost six months. New COVID cases in Tokyo totalled 200 on Friday, a sharp drop from more than 5,000 a day in August amid a fifth wave driven by the infectious Delta variant that brought the medical system to the brink. The restrictions, intended to blunt infections by reducing mobility and interaction, have been particularly tough on the service sector.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

S.Korea extends social distancing curbs as COVID-19 cases rise in Seoul

South Korea extended social distancing curbs to combat the coronavirus pandemic on Friday for two weeks, offering more incentives to people to get vaccinated as it battles thousands of new cases each day, particularly in the capital. The rapid resurgence in the greater Seoul area prompted authorities to extend distancing restrictions until Oct. 17, including a ban in the region on dining out after 10 p.m. and gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m. The country recorded 2,486 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), with the daily tally having topped 3,000 for the first time last week.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

NBA vaccination rate reaches 95 percent

As a few notable NBA players continue to make headlines for their anti-vaccination stances, the vast majority of the league has been vaccinated against COVID-19. NBA executive director Michele Roberts revealed this week that over 90 percent of the league's players are fully vaccinated, while ESPN reported Thursday that 95 percent of players have now received at least one shot. Still, the topic of vaccinations has become hot-button. The NBA mandated that all team employees except for players must be vaccinated, and there is tension within the league about that difference.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

EXCLUSIVE White House presses U.S. airlines to quickly mandate vaccines for staff

The White House is pressing major U.S. airlines to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees by Dec. 8 - the deadline for federal contractors to do so - and is showing no signs of pushing back the date, four sources told Reuters on Friday. White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeffrey Zients spoke to the chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines on Thursday to ensure they were working expeditiously to develop and enforce vaccine requirements ahead of that deadline, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

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U.S. Frackers Fear Vaccine Mandate Will Worsen Worker Crunch

American frackers, already struggling to hire enough workers, are concerned that the coming U.S. vaccine mandate will worsen the situation at a time of rising oil and gas prices. Many of the truckers, rig hands and roustabouts who used to work in Texas and other oil patch regions found other jobs after crude prices crashed last year during the onset of the pandemic. Oil-field service companies, which employ most of the ground-level workers who drill and finish wells, say many remaining employees are skeptical about Covid-19 vaccination, and some have warned they would quit before getting shots. The proposed mandate doesn’t require companies to terminate employees who don’t comply, but those workers would be subject to frequent testing. Some companies are concerned that such testing would frustrate unvaccinated employees and motivate them to leave their jobs.
30th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

In Well-Vaccinated Maine, Covid-19 Still Fills Hospitals With the Unvaccinated

The Delta variant is finding clusters of unvaccinated people even in some of the best-vaccinated parts of the country, such as Maine. A Covid-19 surge in the New England state has filled hospitals and put dozens of mostly unvaccinated people on ventilators, setting records for the state. The problem, public-health experts say, is the variant’s high transmissibility combined with the relaxation of precautions such as wearing masks. Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations have also flared among mostly unvaccinated people in Vermont and western Massachusetts, highlighting the risk Delta poses even in states with the best track records for getting shots in arms. “The Delta variant is so much more contagious that it doesn’t need much kindling to continue to burn,” said Dora Anne Mills, chief health improvement officer at nonprofit health system MaineHealth.
30th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

End of Covid-19 Jobs Program to Test U.K. Recovery

European capitals spent big on wage subsidies to prevent job losses at the start of the pandemic. A U.K. experiment in preventing mass layoffs is coming to an end, in a test of how quickly economies can reabsorb workers idled by the pandemic and wean companies off government support. The closure Thursday of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme marks the first big move by a European government to step back from the emergency economic policies in place since the virus swept the continent last year.
30th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

CDC urges COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an official health advisory, encouraging COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant and lactating Americans, as well as those considering pregnancy. According to CDC data, only 3% of pregnant women have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and vaccination rates vary markedly by race and ethnicity. Pregnant Asian Americans have the highest coverage (45.7%), while only 15.6% of Black pregnant women are vaccinated. "Pregnancy can be both a special time and also a stressful time—and pregnancy during a pandemic is an added concern for families," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH. "I strongly encourage those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy to talk with their healthcare provider about the protective benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine to keep their babies and themselves safe."
29th Sep 2021 - CIDRAP

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COVID-19: Cruise ship industry faces calls to prevent spread of infectious diseases after pandemic

The billion dollar industry is being urged to carry out "more monitoring" of the major health impacts that cruising can potentially cause for passengers.
29th Sep 2021 - Sky

Roll-out of Covid-19 boosters to NI care homes gets underway

Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed the roll-out of the Covid-19 booster jab programme in Northern Ireland. Health Trust vaccinator teams are bringing the boosters to care home residents and staff as part of a planned programme. The minister said the roll-out will be on phased basis, as the booster vaccine dose is to be offered no earlier than six months after receipt of the second dose. “I very much welcome the fact that vaccinator teams are providing vital vaccine booster doses to care home residents and staff," said Robin Swann. “This will give added and important protection for some of the most vulnerable people in our society as we head towards winter." The Health Department said the wider booster dose programme will begin in October for those eligible.
29th Sep 2021 - ITV News

Algeria to start Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine production Wednesday

Algeria will start production of COVID-19 vaccine Sinovac in partnership with China on Wednesday with the aim of meeting domestic demand and exporting the surplus, the prime minister's office said on Tuesday. The government has said production capacity will stand at 1 million, 2 million and 3 million doses in October, November and December respectively, before reaching 5 million doses per month from January. The North African country has been importing vaccines, mainly Sinovac, since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020.
29th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Behind Israel’s Swift Rollout of Covid-19 Vaccine Boosters

In late July, dozens of Israeli scientists and government health officials were locked in a marathon video call where they examined new data indicating that the effectiveness of the Covid vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE was waning. Infections from the new Delta variant were increasing, and growing numbers of people were falling seriously ill, even those who had had both shots of the vaccine. Lives were potentially on the line. Within days of the midnight vote that decided to distribute a third shot, the first of millions of booster shots were administered, months before the U.S. or any other country would take the same step. “It was a really tough discussion,” said epidemiologist Gili Regev-Yochay, who presented key research on the effectiveness of booster shots. “[But] it was a decision that was reached essentially with one voice.”
28th Sep 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Defying Delta: Back to school goes better than feared

School for children in many nations has been underway for more than a month and fears the Delta coronavirus variant would derail in-person learning have largely proven unfounded. In a dozen countries with high vaccination rates in Asia, Europe and the United States, case rates that surged in August have mostly fallen back, according to local data and officials. The jury is out on how much this is due to seasonal factors amid a global decline in cases, and how much it is linked to vaccinations and other preventative measures. Public health experts say they will continue to watch for signs of an increase in cases as winter approaches.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Egypt allows immediate COVID-19 vaccination amid fourth wave

Egypt is now providing immediate COVID-19 vaccinations at youth centres across the country without prior online registration, a step aimed at encouraging vaccinations and relieving pressure on hospitals and health units amid a fourth wave of infections. Nearly 270 youth centres are now open for citizens to get the vaccines, the health ministry said, bringing the total number of vaccination sites across the country to 1,100. The move is part of the "Together We Are Assured" campaign, launched by the health ministry in mid-September, that allows citizens to register and receive vaccinations immediately after complaints of a large time difference between the two steps.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Hospitals fear staffing shortages as vaccine deadlines loom

Hospitals and nursing homes around the U.S. are bracing for worsening staff shortages as state deadlines arrive for health care workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. With ultimatums taking effect this week in states like New York, California, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the fear is that some employees will quit or let themselves be fired or suspended rather than get the vaccine. “How this is going to play out, we don’t know. We are concerned about how it will exacerbate an already quite serious staffing problem,” said California Hospital Association spokesperson Jan Emerson-Shea, adding that the organization “absolutely” supports the state’s vaccination requirement.
28th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Two Europes: Low vaccine rates in east overwhelm ICUs

Around 72% of adults in the 27-nation European Union have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but a stubbornly low uptake of the shots in some eastern EU nations now risks overwhelming hospitals amid a surge of infections due to the more contagious delta variant. Bulgaria and Romania are lagging dramatically behind as the EU’s two least-vaccinated nations, with just 22% and 33% of their adult populations fully inoculated. Rapidly increasing new infections have forced authorities to tighten virus restrictions in the two countries, while other EU nations such as France, Spain, Denmark and Portugal have all exceeded 80% vaccine coverage and eased restrictions.
28th Sep 2021 - Associated Press

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Global vaccines project to revamp rules after Britain got more than Botswana

In March, as wealthy Britain led the world in vaccination rates and almost half its people had received a shot, the organisation meant to ensure fair global access to COVID-19 vaccines allotted the country over half a million doses from its supplies.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

New U.S. travel rules close door on those fully vaccinated with Russia's Sputnik V

The United States announced last week that it would soon open its doors to foreign travelers vaccinated against the coronavirus, loosening restrictions for broad swaths of global visitors for the first time since the pandemic began. But the new rules, set to take effect in November, appear to also shut out many people who consider themselves to be fully immunized — including millions who have received two doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. Hundreds of thousands of Russians could be directly affected. Despite frosty diplomatic relations and limited demand for international travel, roughly 300,000 Russians visited the United States in 2019, the last year for which figures are available, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
27th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

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To Reach Vaccine Holdouts, Scientists Take a Page From Digital Marketing

Public-health researchers seeking new ways to persuade vaccine holdouts to take coronavirus shots are turning to the strategies of the digital marketing industry to figure out how to win over the reluctant. Companies that use online ads to sell products try out various colors, phrases, typefaces and a whole host of other variables to determine what resonates with consumers. So why not, the thinking goes, apply the same sort of A/B testing to figure out how best to promote vaccines?
26th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Logistics, Staff Shortage Hurt Indonesia's Vaccination Progress

A shortage of healthcare workers and logistical flaws are hampering Indonesia’s efforts to inoculate its people against Covid-19, leaving the world’s largest archipelago trailing its neighbors despite being among the first in Southeast Asia to start the program. Only 17.9% of Indonesia’s 270 million people are fully vaccinated, behind almost every major economy in the region, according to Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. About 32% have received their first dose, placing the nation among the bottom four on the list.
26th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

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Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine offered to Ayrshire children aged 12 to 15 as NHS tackles Covid cases

Schoolkids in Ayrshire are now being offered the Covid-19 vaccine. Youngsters aged 12 to 15 can receive a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech inoculation following a decision by Scottish Ministers to accept advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs). Children should either attend a local drop-in vaccination clinic from today or await appointment details to arrive by post. Appointed clinics for this age group will begin on Wednesday. NHS Ayrshire & Arran's Public Health Director, Lynne McNiven, said: “The roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine to all young people aged 12-15 marks a significant milestone in the vaccination programme.
23rd Sep 2021 - Daily Record

Alaska, overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, adopts crisis standards for hospitals

Alaska, which led most U.S. states in coronavirus vaccinations months ago, took the drastic step on Wednesday of imposing crisis-care standards for its entire hospital system, declaring that a crushing surge in COVID-19 patients has forced rationing of strained medical resources.
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

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COVID-19 creates dire US shortage of teachers, school staff

One desperate California school district is sending flyers home in students’ lunchboxes, telling parents it’s “now hiring.” Elsewhere, principals are filling in as crossing guards, teachers are being offered signing bonuses and schools are moving back to online learning. Now that schools have welcomed students back to classrooms, they face a new challenge: a shortage of teachers and staff the likes of which some districts say they have never seen. Public schools have struggled for years with teacher shortages, particularly in math, science, special education and languages. But the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem. The stress of teaching in the COVID-19 era has triggered a spike in retirements and resignations.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Supplier Contracts Get Revamped After Covid-19 Disruptions

Pandemic-driven strains in supply chains are triggering changes in contract terms between suppliers and their manufacturing and retail customers as companies try to address the risks and added costs brought on by persistent delays and disruptions. Procurement experts say that when drafting new contracts and renewing existing ones, companies increasingly are seeking to add provisions that cover the impact of pandemics or epidemics and accelerating inflation. The moves come as commodity costs and shipping prices have soared far faster during the past two years than considered in traditional contract terms. A fourfold increase in container shipping rates has made ocean freight for some shippers more expensive than the products they are shipping.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

A North Carolina-based health care system has suspended hundreds of employees for not getting a Covid-19 vaccine

A North Carolina-based health care provider announced Tuesday it has suspended hundreds of employees for not meeting the company's Covid-19 vaccine requirements.
22nd Sep 2021 - CNN

Unvaccinated should get priority for an effective early covid-19 treatment, some officials say

Faced with a new federal push to conserve a highly effective covid-19 treatment, some officials are urging health-care providers to put the unvaccinated first. Demand for once-obscure monoclonal antibodies has skyrocketed as federal authorities and particularly Republicans such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis promote the treatment’s success at preventing mild or moderate covid-19 cases from escalating to hospitalization. The Biden administration moved last week to take over distribution of the therapy, drawing an outcry in Southern states that have used the treatments heavily and will probably have to cut back. The recommendation to prioritize the unvaccinated — who are far more likely to be hospitalized — comes after intense backlash to the idea of penalizing the unvaccinated while rationing hospital care.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Between Covid-19 and the flu, health care professionals are bracing themselves for the winter ahead, expert says

The current pace in Covid-19 vaccinations is the slowest it has been since July, according to data released Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest data comes as flu season is around the corner, which could increase death tolls and put more of a strain on hospitals that are already struggling with an influx of patients and depleted resources. More than 312,000 people have initiated the vaccination process -- or getting their first shot -- over the last week, CDC data shows. That's a 7% drop from last week and a 35% drop from the previous month. An average of 742,703 doses are being administered each day and about 182 million people, or 54.9%, of the US population, are fully vaccinated, the data shows. That leaves 71 million people, or 25.1% of the population, who are not vaccinated
22nd Sep 2021 - CNN

‘It’s scary’: record Covid absences cause concern in England’s schools

Last week more than 100,000 children were absent from school in England with confirmed or suspected Covid infections, the highest number during the pandemic, according to the Department for Education. Five parents and teachers in England share their experiences since the start of the new school year, including how they, their families and their pupils have been affected.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Iran eyes normalisation as COVID vaccination drive accelerates

The rollouts of Iran’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19 has gathered significant pace, after months of public anger about slow imports, raising hopes of a relative return to normal life in the Middle East’s worst-hit country. More than 30 million jabs alone were imported during the sixth month of the Iranian calendar which ends on Wednesday – higher than all doses imported since the start of February combined. Another 13.4 million doses were imported in the previous Iranian month, in the middle of which President Ebrahim Raisi took office. Iran’s foreign ministry said on Sunday that 60 million more doses are expected to be imported during the next month. The overwhelming majority of imported doses so far have been that of China’s Sinopharm, followed by AstraZeneca jabs from several countries and via the global COVAX initiative.
22nd Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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U.S. Pledge to Vaccinate Poor Countries Stumbles Amid Logistical Challenges

A White House plan to donate hundreds of millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines has been hampered in many developing countries by a lack of infrastructure to handle storage and distribution, leaving poorer nations far behind the developed world in vaccination rates. After a delayed start—the U.S. missed its first donation target—the Biden administration has been ramping up overseas donations, shipping around 137 million doses, most of them Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. It expects to send 500 million doses of a shot developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE by the end of June 2022, the largest donation total of any country.
21st Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Major Idaho Hospital System Says 70% of ICU Patients Have Covid

An unprecedented 70% of intensive care unit patients have Covid-19 at a hospital network in Idaho, a state where vaccination rates are low, medical care is being rationed and virus hospitalizations are setting records. The Covid-19 ICU mortality rate is up to 43% at St. Luke’s health system, higher than the prior peak, and 98% of ICU patients suffering the deadly malady are unvaccinated, James Souza, chief physician executive of the statewide network of six hospitals, told an online news briefing.
21st Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

COVID creates shortages of an array of U.S. medical supplies

Shortages of masks and gloves that marked the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic have spread to a host of other items needed at medical facilities in the United States, from exam tables and heart defibrillators to crutches and IV poles. It can now take up to five months to get some types of exam tables, for instance, compared to three to six weeks before the pandemic, according to CME Corp, a distributor of medical equipment that handles over 2 million products.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.S. retail industry seeks 90-day lead time on COVID-19 rules

Two major U.S. retail industry groups on Tuesday asked the Biden administration for at least 90 days before imposing new rules that will require employees at larger firms to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing. On Sept. 9, the White House said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing an emergency temporary standard that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated, or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative COVID-19 test once a week.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Thai campaign to vaccinate schoolchildren makes progress

Health officials in the Thai capital made headway Tuesday in their effort to vaccinate children against the coronavirus, giving shots of the Pfizer vaccine to students aged 12 to 18 with underlying diseases. Vaccinations for that age bracket were first offered last month through hospitals, but now are arranged by schools. A separate campaign by a medical research institute on Monday began inoculating children aged 10 to 18 with China’s Sinopharm vaccine. On Tuesday, 1,500 students received shots of the Pfizer vaccine, 800 for the first time and 700 as a follow-up to their first shot in August.
21st Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Colleges struggling with Covid-19 in Republican states where up to 40% students unvaxxed

School leaders in Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Texas are battling lawmakers Governors are banning colleges from implementing vaccine mandates Meanwhile schools in states like Maryland and NY have high vaccine rates Colleges fear not just for student health but also for their balance sheets
21st Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Victoria's construction industry has been linked to 403 Covid-19 cases prompting shut down

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has shut down the state's construction industry after it was revealed 403 Covid-19 cases have been linked to the sector. There are now 300,000 tradies out of work for two weeks following the shut down announced late on Monday night with hundreds taking to the streets of Melbourne to protest outside construction union CFMEU's office. The state's health minister Martin Foley said that the hundreds of cases found within the industry have been recorded across 186 construction sites.
21st Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19 Australia: ACT boosts funding to mental health services as 16 new Covid cases are recorded

ACT Chief Minister announced extra $14million to boost mental health services Includes support for people with eating disorders, alcohol and drug services The increase in funding will also assist Indigenous and social housing residents Canberra recorded 16 cases with lockdown scheduled to run until October 15
21st Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Monoclonal antibody treatment to be rolled out to hospital patients with no antibody response

Eligible patients with covid-19 in UK hospitals who have not mounted an antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 will be offered the monoclonal antibody treatment ronapreve from this week, the government has announced. The drug is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (casirivimab and imdevimab), which work by binding to two different sites on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and neutralising the virus’s ability to infect cells. It was the first neutralising antibody drug specifically designed to treat covid-19 approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (in August 2021). Ronapreve will be administered to patients without antibodies—who must be either aged 50 or over, or aged 12 to 49 and considered to be immunocompromised—through a drip. The government said it had secured enough supply for NHS patients across the four nations and that antibody testing will be used to determine which patients are eligible.
21st Sep 2021 - The BMJ

HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2021: Covid-19 Infection Prevention and Control Award

Northern Care Alliance Group: Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Testing Using LFDs in Emergency Departments to Aid Infection Prevention & Control – Northern Care Alliance at the Vanguard. During the second wave of the pandemic, demand for PCR testing exceeded capacity and adversely affected patient management. At that time (November 2020), UK policy did not support deployment of lateral flow devices for covid. Northern Care Alliance NHS Group introduced LFD for patients needing admission through emergency departments. An LFD (SD Biosensor) was introduced in the ED by pathology. Significant improvement in patient flow and reduction in nosocomial transmissions was a testimony to its clinical utility. The alliance presented at the National Virology Cell meeting and by late December 2020, the government launched its use for all ED admissions.
21st Sep 2021 - Health Service Journal

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Russia Vaccinates Indigenous Yamal Herders Against COVID-19

The Nenets are one of the few Indigenous minorities on the Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia. Their lifestyle is nomadic, following the seasonal migrations of the reindeer they herd. While Covid brought travel to a halt in much of the world, the Nenets of Yamal kept moving. From December to April, the herders deploy their camps and pasture their reindeer in the Nadymski district, a region of some 40,000 square miles at the base of the Yamal Peninsula and centered on the city of Nadym. In mid-April they begin “kaslanie,” a season of nomadism, traveling with their herds some 400 miles up the peninsula and moving camp 30 to 100 times during the year.
20th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Though lagging behind, Israel’s COVID-19 jab hopes to ‘find its place in market’

Nearly two years after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel may soon finally see its own homegrown vaccine become commercially available. The jab will be a very late newcomer — lagging behind the first wave of COVID vaccines by almost a year — but its backers believe that it will find its rightful place in the global vaccine market, and may even prove in the long run to be more effective than existing jabs against coronavirus variants. These beliefs were offered this month by Dr. Jonathan Javitt, chairman of NRx Pharmaceuticals, the American-Israeli clinical-stage pharmaceutical company tapped two months ago by the Israeli Defense Ministry to manufacture and market the country’s vaccine developed by the government-run Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) in Ness Ziona.
20th Sep 2021 - The Times of Israel

Winter is coming, again: What to expect from Covid-19 in the new season

“We’re experiencing a new virus, a newly emerged pathogen, and we’re trying to fight it with new tools that we don’t have a lot of experience with,” he said. “And we’re dealing with unpredictable human behavior … which is a very important factor as well, and environmental factors that may influence the severity of Covid outbreaks and how well it transmits.” “There’s a lot of moving parts,” said Duchin, who is also an infectious diseases professor at the University of Washington. Among them: the questions of when Covid vaccines will be approved for use in children and what percentage of parents will agree to vaccinate their kids. While the crystal ball may be cloudy, who can resist taking a peek? Let’s talk about some things we might face in the months ahead.
20th Sep 2021 - STAT News

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Africa's Biggest City to Vacinate 30% of Residents in a Year

Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, plans to give Covid-19 shots to 30% of residents within a year, the state’s governor said in an emailed statement. To be able to do so “the world must ensure that vaccines were available to all, especially poorer countries that had struggled with supply,” Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who governs Africa’s biggest city said. Lagos has only been been able to vaccinate 1.2% of its estimated 24 million residents, which is far below the recommendation set by the World Health Organization, Sanwo-Olu said.
19th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Supply fears lead EU vaccine industry to seek home comforts

European companies playing key supporting roles in COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing are working to move production and supply chains closer to their customers to guard against trade restrictions that have interrupted supplies during the pandemic. Germany's Merck, whose Life Science unit is one of the world's largest makers of bioreactor gear and supplies, told Reuters it is pushing to spread its production network geographically so that fewer shipments have to cross customs borders.
19th Sep 2021 - Reuters

How Europe's hospitals are faring in the face of another pandemic fall

Much of Europe has opened up to international visitors and scaled back Covid-19 restrictions since a wave of cases swept the continent in the spring. Those steps back toward pre-Covid life have been accompanied by a gradual rise in cases and hospitalizations in many nations, with the more transmissible Delta variant dominant in the region. However, vaccination rollouts have kept hospital admissions far below where they were in the first months of 2021. As a result, Europe presents a varied picture as governments brace for a potential rise in cases in the autumn and winter months.
18th Sep 2021 - CNN

Coronavirus NI: Students getting vaccinated will help ease disruption to their lives, says health minister as 'jabbathon' continues

In Northern Ireland, students getting vaccinated against Covid-19 will help ease the disruption they have endured since the start of the pandemic, the Health Minister has said, Robin Swann was speaking as details of Jabbathon clinics aimed at rolling out Covid-19 vaccines to as many young adults as possible were announced yesterday. Mobile walk-in clinics will continue at 30 campuses across Northern Ireland’s universities and further education colleges next week.
17th Sep 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Singapore optimistic as severe COVID-19 cases remain low

Singapore, which has one of the world's highest COVID-19 vaccination rates, is seeing encouraging signs that the number of severe cases is not rising at the same pace as new infections, a senior health official said on Friday. The country reported 910 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the most in 15 months, with average new daily infections rising from 146 two weeks ago to 682 in the past week. But the number of people in serious condition remains low, however, with 12 in intensive care units (ICU), from a total of 837 people hospitalised with COVID-19 in Singapore as of Thursday, the health ministry said.
17th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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COVID-19: Army could be called in to help Scottish ambulance service, amid reports man died after a 40-hour wait

The military could be called in to help Scotland's ambulance service which is facing "acute pressure", Nicola Sturgeon has announced. Scotland's first minister apologised "unreservedly" for long waiting times and confirmed that targeted military assistance to help deal with "short-term pressure points" is under consideration. The announcement came as Ms Sturgeon was questioned about the death of Gerald Brown, a 65-year-old from Glasgow, who reportedly died after waiting 40 hours for an ambulance.
16th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Alaska, Idaho using crisis standards of care over COVID-19

Alaska now joins Idaho in establishing crisis standards of care as its largest hospital is now prioritizing treatment to patients most likely to survive COVID-19 infections. "While we are doing our utmost, we are no longer able to provide the standard of care to each and every patient who needs our help," Kristen Solana Walkinshaw, MD, chief of staff at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, wrote in a letter addressed to Alaskans and published yesterday. "We have been forced within our hospital to implement crisis standards of care," Walkinshaw said. "We have been required to develop and enact policies and procedure to ration medical care and treatments, including dialysis and specialized ventilatory support.”
15th Sep 2021 - CIDRAP

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Montana's Largest Hospital Nears 'Crisis Standards of Care' Rationing Over Covid

Montana’s largest hospital is considering crisis standards of care procedures that grant authority to decide who receives life-saving treatment, the Billings Gazette reported Wednesday. Intensive care unit capacity at Billings Clinic is at 150% as Covid-19 rages, the newspaper said. “If it comes to a point where we have to make those incredibly [difficult] life or death situations, we will have an objective team that will be available to provide council and make those decisions,” said Laurie Smith, chief nursing officer.
15th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid-19: Close-contact pupils 'should not be sent home from school'

In Northern Ireland, schools should not send pupils home as close contacts or ask them to self-isolate, according to guidance to principals from the Department of Education (DE). It said schools should not identify close contacts unless asked to do so by the Public Health Agency (PHA). The PHA took over responsibility for contact tracing in schools on Friday. The move brings Northern Ireland into line with the approach taken in England, Scotland and Wales.
15th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Unvaccinated French health care workers face suspension

Health care workers in France face suspension from their jobs starting Wednesday if they haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19. With as many as 300,000 workers still not vaccinated, some hospitals fear staff shortages will add to their strain. Vaccines are now compulsory for medical care, home care and emergency workers in France, and Wednesday is the deadline for such staff to have had at least one shot. Failing that, they face having pay suspended or not being able to work. But a top court has forbidden staff to be fired outright.
15th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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Schools will need vaccine mandates for in-person classes to last, expert says

As kids return for a new school year and Covid-19 cases rise among younger age groups, vaccine mandates in schools may become the only way forward, a vaccine expert said. "So far, we've not seen a lot of Covid vaccine mandates, even for the teenagers," vaccinologist and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine Dr. Peter Hotez told CNN. "It's gonna have to happen if we're going to get kids through the school year." Cases have risen "exponentially" among children, with the weekly count of 243,373 new cases showing about a 240% increase compared with the week of July 22-29, data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows.
14th Sep 2021 - CNN

UK recommends COVID-19 booster shots for over 50s

The U.K. said it will offer a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to everyone over age 50 and other vulnerable people after an an expert panel said the boosters were needed to protect against waning immunity this winter. Health Secretary Sajid Javid told lawmakers that the government had accepted the recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization and would start offering booster shots next week. The World Health Organization has asked wealthy nations to delay booster shots until every country has vaccinated at least 40% of their populations.
14th Sep 2021 - The Independent

A conversation with Bill Gates on how public health has fared in the midst of the pandemic

The foundation’s 2021 Goalkeepers report, published late Monday, shows an additional 10 million children around the globe didn’t get key childhood vaccines this past year, because of public health service disruptions. Another 31 million people were pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic. And employment among women is expected to remain 13 million jobs lower around the world this year than it was in 2019.
14th Sep 2021 - CIDRAP

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Family: Man turned away by dozens of COVID-filled hospitals

As hundreds of mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 patients filled Alabama intensive care units, hospital staff in north Alabama contacted 43 hospitals in three states to find a specialty cardiac ICU bed for Ray Martin DeMonia, his family wrote in his obituary. The Cullman man was finally transferred to Meridian, Mississippi, about 170 miles (274 kilometers) away. That is where the 73-year-old antiques dealer died Sept. 1 because of the cardiac event he suffered. Now, his family is making a plea. “In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies,” his obituary read.
14th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Walgreens COVID-19 test registration system left patient data unprotected - Recode

Drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance's COVID-19 test registration system exposed data of potentially millions of people, including their phone numbers and email addresses, Recode reported on Monday.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

NY hospital to pause baby deliveries after resignations over Covid-19 vaccine mandate

A hospital in upstate New York is "pausing" deliveries of babies because of the number of maternity unit employee resignations over the state's Covid-19 vaccination requirements, health officials say. Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, about 60 miles northeast of Syracuse, will stop deliveries after September 24, said Gerald Cayer, chief executive of the Lewis County Health System. "We are unable to safely staff the service after September 24. The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital. It is my hope that the Department of Health will work with us in support of pausing the service rather than closing the maternity department," Cayer said at a news conference Friday.
13th Sep 2021 - CNN

India worried about complacency over second dose of COVID-19 vaccine - sources

India is worried that growing complacency as COVID-19 infection rates and deaths decline could lead to people skipping their second vaccine shots, leaving communities vulnerable to the coronavirus, said two health experts briefed on the matter. India has administered more than 744 million vaccine doses - with 60% of its 944 million adults getting a first shot and 19% fully vaccinated with the required two shots. India has the most partly immunized people in the world, according to the Our World in Data website, mainly due to a long gap of between 12 and 16 weeks between doses, as prescribed by the government.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 vaccine clinics open on Northern Ireland campuses

Walk-in clinics have been set up in universities and further education colleges in a bid to get more students vaccinated against Covid-19. The first of 60 clinics will open on Monday as part of the Department of Health's "jabbathon" drive. They will cover 30 campuses and offer first doses to students throughout September. About 72% of 18 to 29-year-olds in Northern Ireland have had at least one Covid vaccine dose. Nearly 88% of adults have received one dose and about 82% have been fully vaccinated.
13th Sep 2021 - BBC News

School starts for 1 million NYC kids amid new vaccine rules

School started Monday for about a million New York City public school students in the nation’s largest experiment of in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic. The first day of school coincided with several milestones in the city’s pandemic recovery that hinge on vaccine mandates. Nearly all of the city’s 300,000 employees were required to be back in their workplaces, in person, Monday as the city ended remote work. Most will either need to be vaccinated, or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing to remain in their jobs.
13th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Bangladesh reopens schools after 18-month COVID shutdown

In a report last week, UNICEF warned that prolonged school closures during the COVID crisis accentuated “alarming inequities” for more than 430 million children in South Asia. “School closures in South Asia have forced hundreds of millions of children and their teachers to transition to remote learning in a region with low connectivity and device affordability,” UNICEF’s regional director, George Laryea-Adjei, said in a statement. “As a result, children have suffered enormous setbacks in their learning journey.”
13th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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Mine worker tests positive for COVID-19 in South Australia after arriving on flight from Sydney

South Australia has recorded one new local case of COVID-19, in a mine worker who flew in yesterday from Sydney. He arrived on Virgin Australia flight VA406 at 9:20am, and was tested half an hour later. SA Health said the man went straight into quarantine at the Atura Hotel at Adelaide Airport, under the mining company's policy. Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the fact the case was identified so quickly was "a reflection of our system working".
11th Sep 2021 - ABC News

Covid-19 Australia: A huge spike in pregnant women becoming severely ill with the virus

Seven pregnant women with Covid taken to Monash Medical Centre last week Health authorities are alarmed as the virus has caused premature births Dr Ryan Hodges worried over the spike in pregnant women in hospital with Covid Overwhelmingly the women being looked after in the ward are not vaccinated Dr Hodges noted international data showed Pfizer is safe for pregnant women
11th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

With more doses, Uganda takes vaccination drive to markets

At a taxi stand by a bustling market in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, traders simply cross a road or two, get a shot in the arm and rush back to their work. Until this week, vaccination centers were based mostly in hospitals in this East African country that faced a brutal COVID-19 surge earlier this year. Now, more than a dozen tented sites have been set up in busy areas to make it easier to get inoculated in Kampala as health authorities team up with the Red Cross to administer more than 120,000 doses that will expire at the end of September.
11th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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Least Vaccinated States Lead Spike in Children’s Cases, Leaving Some Hospitals Stretched

Just as millions of families around the United States navigate sending their children back to school at an uncertain moment in the pandemic, the number of children admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 has risen to the highest levels reported to date. Nearly 30,000 of them entered hospitals in August. Pediatric hospitalizations, driven by a record rise in coronavirus infections among children, have swelled across the country, overwhelming children’s hospitals and intensive care units in states like Louisiana and Texas.
9th Sep 2021 - New York Times

Covid-19 vaccine: Unvaccinated NHS workers could be barred from treating patients as jabs to be compulsory

Frontline NHS staff could be barred from treating patients and possibly lose their jobs if they refuse to have the Covid-19 vaccine. The government has launched a six-week consultation into proposals to make Covid jabs mandatory for all frontline NHS workers. On a visit to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, Health Secretary Sajid Javid refused to rule out staff losing their jobs if they refuse the vaccine.
9th Sep 2021 - iNews

Trial of Covid-19 vaccine and flu jab combined to begin in Australia on 640 healthy residents

Vaccine developer Novavax will trial a combined flu and Covid-19 vaccination. The tests in Australia will include 640 healthy adults aged between 50-70. Who have previously been infected or received a Covid jab at least 8 weeks prior. Novavax said that flu and Covid combination vaccines will combat new variants
9th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

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Bulgaria, EU's least vaccinated nation, faces deadly surge

Standing outside the rundown public hospital in Bulgaria’s northern town of Veliko Tarnovo, the vaccination unit’s chief nurse voices a sad reality about her fellow citizens: “They don’t believe in vaccines.” Bulgaria has one of the highest coronavirus death rates in the 27-nation European Union and is facing a new, rapid surge of infections due to the more infectious delta variant. Despite that, people in this Balkan nation are the most hesitant in the bloc to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Only 20% of adults in Bulgaria, which has a population of 7 million, have so far been fully vaccinated. That puts it last in the EU, which has an average of 69 % fully vaccinated.
8th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Idaho moves to start rationing medical care amid surge in covid hospitalizations

For the first time in Idaho’s history, officials in the state on Tuesday moved to start rationing medical care in some overburdened hospitals grappling with a surge in covid-19 patients — a grim reflection of the delta variant’s devastation and a dire warning for other health-care systems pushed to the brink by rising infections. Officials activated Idaho’s “crisis standards of care” for at least 10 hospitals in two public health districts, saying in a statement that a “massive increase in patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization” had led to a shortage of staff and beds. Idaho has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with less than 40 percent of the population fully vaccinated.
8th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Children make up more than a quarter of the weekly US Covid-19 cases, pediatricians' group says

Children now represent more than a quarter -- or 26.8% -- of weekly Covid-19 cases nationwide, according to data released Tuesday from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The update comes as schools across the US have been in session or are getting into full swing. Experts have encouraged adults to get vaccinated to protect young children returning to the classroom. "If we want to protect the children, particularly those who are not yet eligible for vaccination, you want to surround the children with people who are vaccinated -- teachers, school personnel, everyone else," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday.
8th Sep 2021 - CNN

In Parts Of The U.S., Delta Covid-19 Surge Is Forcing Hospitals To Ration ICU Beds

When Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) tweeted on Tuesday, September 7th, that “Real America is done with Covid-19” it raises the question whether the Congressman is even aware that the 7-day average of daily Covid-19 deaths is approaching 1,500 (real Americans, by the way), and approximately 100,000 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized nationwide. The Delta surge of Covid-19 is forcing hospitals in parts of the U.S. to plan for or implement rationing of intensive care unit (ICU) beds. On September 6th, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, said that as hospitals in a number of states fill up with Covid-19 patients, doctors will have to make “tough choices” regarding who will get an ICU bed.
8th Sep 2021 - Forbes

Northern Ireland schools “on verge of collapse under strain of Covid-19” as hundreds of pupils sent home

Northern Ireland schools are “on the verge of collapse under the strain of Covid-19, a leading teaching union has warned. Jacquie White, General Secretary of the Ulster Teachers’ Union, was speaking as the Education Committee meets today to discuss the significant difficulties across schools at the start of the new term. Health chiefs are under pressure to ramp up coronavirus testing capacity as schools across Northern Ireland continue to send hundreds of pupils home. There is also concern at suggestions a faster form of Covid-19 testing could be used to allow self-isolating students to return to school.
8th Sep 2021 - Belfast Live

New Zealand marks downward trend in new COVID-19 cases

New Zealand reported a further fall in locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, as the largely coronavirus-free nation looks to eradicate an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant. New Zealand reported 15 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, down from 21 a day earlier, on the first day of an easing of tough restrictions in all regions outside its largest city Auckland.
8th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Moderna turns to biotech startup to ramp up Covid vaccine manufacturing

Moderna will turn to a biotech startup, National Resilience, to manufacture additional doses of its Covid-19 vaccine. Moderna had previously said it would manufacture 800 million to 1 billion doses of its Covid-19 vaccine in 2021, ramping up to 3 billion doses in 2022. A person familiar with the company said the collaboration might result in hundreds of millions more doses. Currently, the vaccine is given as a two-dose series, though Moderna has said at least some patients may need a third dose given many months later. National Resilience will manufacture mRNA to produce the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at its facility in Mississauga, Ontario, for worldwide distribution. The company is headquartered in San Diego and Cambridge, Mass.
8th Sep 2021 - STAT News

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Covid-19: 'Without the vaccine we would have been on our knees'

BBC News NI is given access to Belfast City Hospital's intensive care unit, where a consultant warns the system is "one step from chaos". Seven patients had Covid-19 - six of the men and women in their 20s, 40s and early 60s were unvaccinated. One of them was double-jabbed. "Without the vaccine we would have been on our knees weeks ago," Dr Gardiner said
7th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Queensland records no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, more vaccinations encouraged

Queensland has recorded zero new cases of COVID-19 as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk stepped up the state government's push to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible. Ms Palaszczuk said 53.33 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have had their first dose of the COVID vaccine and 34.75 per cent of eligible Queenslanders are fully vaccinated — both rates below the national average. The Premier said the government would be sending Queenslanders text messages with important vaccine information
7th Sep 2021 - ABC.Net.au

In Vietnam’s COVID epicentre, ‘everyone is struggling to survive’

Home to nine million people, Ho Chi Minh City has been under a total lockdown since August 23, with residents forbidden from leaving their homes even to shop for food. With the restrictions set to last until September 15, newly elected Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has ordered mass testing for the city’s residents and deployed soldiers to enforce the stay at home orders and help with the delivery of food. But despite the strict measures, the number of infections continue to rise in Ho Chi Minh City and more than 200 people are dying every day. On Monday, the city reported more than 7,000 new cases and 233 deaths, rising from a caseload of 5,889 a week ago.
7th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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Overwhelmed Morgues Belie U.S. Illusion of a Defanged Pandemic

The fast-spreading delta variant has flooded hospitals across the South. It’s killed more people in Florida and Louisiana than the darkest days of the pandemic winter, and left so many Covid-19 patients gasping for breath that some places face shortages of medical oxygen. This harsh reality, likely fueled by a failure to adequately vaccinate the most vulnerable, has undercut the best efforts of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and other Republican leaders to simply move past Covid.
6th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Hundreds of health centres at risk of closure in Afghanistan - WHO

Hundreds of medical facilities in Afghanistan are at risk of imminent closure because the Western donors who finance them are barred from dealing with the new Taliban government, a World Health Organization official said on Monday. Around 90% of 2,300 health facilities across the country might have to close as soon as this week, the UN health agency's regional emergency director, Rick Brennan, told Reuters in an interview.
6th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid: School attendance fines 'could be unlawful'

The government is facing mounting legal pressure over its decision to continue fining medically vulnerable families for poor school attendance during the pandemic. The Good Law Project has said that education secretary Gavin Williamson could be "in breach of the law" over the issue.
6th Sep 2021 - TES News

United States eclipses more than 1,500 COVID-19 deaths per day - the highest in six months

The United States eclipsed a 1,500 deaths per day average over the weekend, the first time that mark has been reached in six months. More than 100,000 Americans are hospitalized with the virus as well, and hospitalizations doubled in August when compared to July. Florida currently leads the nation with the most total deaths and deaths per 100,000 residents. Louisiana is struggling to handle its COVID-19 situation in the wake of Hurricane Ida
6th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: India school closures 'catastrophic' for poor students

The prolonged closure of schools in India has led to "catastrophic consequences" for poor children, according to a recent survey. Only 8% of the children sampled were studying online regularly and 37% were not studying at all, the survey found. Primary and upper-primary schools in India have been closed for 17 month to curb the spread of coronavirus. The survey, supervised by leading economists, spoke to 1,400 children across India in August. Researchers focused on households in relatively deprived villages and slums, where children generally attend government-run schools.
6th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Pfizer COVID vaccines arrive in Australia under UK swap deal

Nearly half a million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Australia overnight, officials have said, the first batch of a swap deal with Britain that Australia is using to speed up its inoculation programme as it battles a surge in cases that has put more than half its 25 million population in lockdown.
6th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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Child Covid-19 Cases Rise in States Where Schools Opened Earliest

The recent spread of the highly contagious Delta variant has thrown back-to-school plans into disarray, temporarily driving tens of thousands of students back to virtual learning or pausing instruction altogether. Since the school year kicked off in late July, at least 1,000 schools across 31 states have closed because of Covid-19, according to Burbio, a Pelham, N.Y., data service that is monitoring school closures at 1,200 districts nationwide, including the 200 largest. The shutdowns are hitting classrooms especially hard in the Deep South, where most schools were among the first to open, a possible warning of what’s to come as the rest of the nation’s students start school this month.
5th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Maduro says Venezuela to receive first COVAX vaccines this week

Venezuela this week will receive the first coronavirus vaccines obtained via COVAX, President Nicolas Maduro said, following months of stalled attempts to obtain inoculations through the global vaccine program. The South American nation has been inoculating its population with doses acquired directly from China and Russia, following months of delays in making payments to COVAX that Maduro has attributed to U.S. sanctions. "This week, the first vaccines from the COVAX mechanism will arrive," Maduro said in an interview with state television. "We hope the COVAX mechanism accelerates, such that in October they deliver the vaccines for an estimated 6 million Venezuelans."
5th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Nearly 80% of fatalities in deadly August COVID surge among unvaccinated, partially vaccinated Oregonians

Nearly four in five coronavirus deaths in Oregon during the first four weeks of August were among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals, according to new data released by the Oregon Health Authority. And roughly five in six of the 51,391 known COVID-19 infections during the same period were among people who were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, according to a state report. The share of so-called breakthrough cases and deaths among fully vaccinated Oregonians remains tiny compared to the 2.4 million Oregonians who were fully vaccinated as of Aug.28, demonstrating the effectiveness of vaccines at preventing severe COVID-19.
5th Sep 2021 - Oregon Live

Hospitalizations for Children Sharply Increase as Delta Surges

Pediatric hospitalizations for Covid-19 have soared over the summer as the highly contagious Delta variant spread across the country, according to two new studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From late June to mid-August, hospitalization rates in the United States for children and teenagers increased nearly fivefold, although they remain slightly below January’s peak, one new study found.
4th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

GP surgeries in England cancel flu jabs amid vaccine shortage

GP surgeries are being forced to cancel appointments for the winter flu jab after the NHS’s biggest provider warned that it could not deliver supplies for up to two weeks due to “unforeseen road freight challenges”. Practices in England have begun contacting patients to postpone their immunisation without being able to rebook them at a later date. The problem emerged on Friday when vaccine maker Seqirus wrote to surgeries alerting them to the possibility of having to rearrange booked appointments. “We would like to inform you that due to unforeseen road freight challenges, there will be a delay to your scheduled delivery by one to two weeks,” the firm said.
4th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Lilly's COVID-19 antibody combo cleared for nationwide use as feds say it can tackle the dominant delta variant

That didn't take long. Only a few days after Eli Lilly's COVID-19 antibody combo of bamlanivimab and etesevimab made its return to more than 20 states, federal officials are resuming distribution nationwide. In a Thursday alert, officials said Lilly's drug "can be used in all U.S. states, territories, and jurisdictions" based on data about variants circulating nationwide. Since Eli Lilly's combo is expected to be effective against the delta variant—and because that variant is now dominant in the United States—officials are ready to again endorse the drugs.
3rd Sep 2021 - FiercePharma

Doctor says ERs overwhelmed with people overdosing on livestock drug ivermectin to treat COVID-19

Physician Jason McElyea told KFOR patients who took doses of ivermectin meant for a horse are filling up hospitals in eastern and southeastern Oklahoma. “The ERs are so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting to facilities where they can get definitive care and be treated,” McElyea said. Ivermectin has gained popularity as a COVID-19 treatment despite unproven anti-viral benefits
3rd Sep 2021 - The Hill

15 million Covid vaccine doses thrown away in the U.S. since March, new data shows

Pharmacies and state governments in the United States have thrown away at least 15.1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines since March 1, according to government data obtained by NBC News — a far larger number than previously known and still probably an undercount. Four national pharmacy chains reported more than 1 million wasted doses each, according to data released by the CDC. Walgreens reported the most waste of any pharmacy, state or other vaccine provider, with nearly 2.6 million wasted doses. CVS reported 2.3 million wasted doses, while Walmart reported 1.6 million and Rite Aid reported 1.1 million.
1st Sep 2021 - NBC News

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Hawaii Struggles With an Oxygen Shortage

The authorities in Hawaii are struggling to transport tanks of oxygen from the mainland as the state’s hospitals grow increasingly strained by new coronavirus infections. Medical authorities are asking people to postpone elective surgeries and the state’s 223 I.C.U. beds have dwindled to 16 available, said Hilton R. Raethel, the president and chief executive of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii. “The most critical point for Hawaii that we’ve experienced during this entire pandemic is right now,” he said.
2nd Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Norway to Offer Teens Single Covid Shot as Reopening Is Delayed

Norway will offer children down to 12 years of age a single vaccine dose and delay removing remaining restrictions, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a press conference. Infections in Norway, which has topped Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking for last two months, are currently at a record high after most restrictions were lifted. While hospitalizations are rising, they have been kept in check by the vaccination of more than 70% of adults.
2nd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid-19 Australia: NSW to hit 70 per cent single vaccine dose today

NSW is on track to hit 70 per cent single dose vaccinations on Thursday as Premier Gladys Berejiklian hints about what life will be like once residents are double-jabbed. Current modelling suggests NSW will reach that double vaccination target by October 21, whereby residents will finally be afforded freedoms to visit the pub, restaurants and stadium events. NSW is the first state in Australia to reach the 70 per cent first dose target and will likely be the first to reach the second dose target as well.
2nd Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

South African train brings COVID-19 vaccines closer to people

At Springs train station in South Africa's biggest city Johannesburg, Simphiwe Dyantyi and her partner wait their turn to board. But they are not going anywhere, instead they are getting COVID-19 jabs inside a stationary train. The initiative by South African state logistics firm Transnet is meant to bring vaccines closer to people and save them from travelling long distances as the government ramps up its COVID-19 vaccination drive.
2nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: UK will offer third vaccine dose to severely immunosuppressed people

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that people with severely weakened immune systems should have a third vaccine dose as part of their primary vaccination schedule against covid-19. The third dose of either the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be offered to people over age 12 who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second dose, including those with leukaemia, advanced HIV, or recent organ transplants. For 12-17 year olds the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is preferred. The JCVI is still deciding on the benefits of booster doses for the rest of the population and is awaiting further evidence to inform this decision.
2nd Sep 2021 - The BMJ

Australian doctors warn of risks to hospitals once COVID-19 curbs ease

Australian doctors on Thursday warned the country's hospitals are not ready to cope with the government's reopening plans, even with higher vaccination rates, as some states prepare to move from a virus suppression strategy to living with COVID-19. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) said the health system was in danger of being locked into a "permanent cycle of crisis" and has called for new modelling to check if staffing levels in hospitals can withstand an expected surge in cases when lockdown rules ease.
2nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Philippines health workers protest neglect as COVID-19 strains hospitals

Scores of healthcare workers protested in the Philippine capital on Wednesday to demand an end to what they called government neglect and unpaid benefits, as pressure builds at hospitals fighting one of Asia's longest-running coronavirus epidemics. Protesters wearing protective medical gear gathered at the Department of Health (DOH) and held placards demanding their risk allowances and hazard pay, and the resignation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
1st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Hair cuts and dining in as Thai malls reopen after virus cases ease

Thailand allowed shopping malls in the capital Bangkok to reopen on Wednesday and restaurants to operate at half capacity, after nearly three months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the country's worst coronavirus outbreak. The move comes after infections numbers started falling in the middle of last month and with the government under pressure to ease lockdown measures due to the impact on the economy.
1st Sep 2021 - Reuters

India schools cautiously reopen even as COVID warnings grow

More students in India will be able to step inside a classroom for the first time in nearly 18 months Wednesday, as authorities gave the green light to partially reopen more schools despite apprehension from some parents and signs that infections are picking up again. Schools and colleges in at least six more states are reopening in a gradual manner with health measures in place throughout September. In New Delhi, all staff must be vaccinated and class sizes will be capped at 50% with staggered seating and sanitized desks.
1st Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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'Threat of Long Covid means this is the most worrying start to a new school year'

Polly Hudson questions the decision to send children back to school without all the safety measures we had in place before as we still wait to see if vaccines for kids will be approved
31st Aug 2021 - The Mirror

Covid-19 Australia: Sydney ICU nurse says the virus is 'ripping families apart'

ICU nurse Michelle Dowd has detailed scenes at Liverpool Hospital Covid ward Covid-19 patients coming into her ward are some of the sickest they've seen Parents who need to be on ventilators in ICU are left separated from their kids ICU nurses have been left to provide emotional support for dying Covid patients Ms Dowd urged the community to get vaccinated to assist frontline workers
31st Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

These 5 states have less than 10% of ICU beds left as Covid-19 overwhelms hospitals

As Covid-19 cases surge across the US, particularly among unvaccinated Americans, hospitals have been pushed to their limits treating the influx of patients -- and five states are nearly out of ICU beds. Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida and Arkansas have less than 10% left of their ICU bed capacity, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. In Georgia, the CEO of Northeast Georgia Health Systems said it had 287 Covid patients Monday morning, which is more than the hospital has had since January.
31st Aug 2021 - CNN

Philippines: Nurses threaten mass resignation amid COVID surge

Saying they are overworked and underpaid, health care workers across the Philippines are threatening to walk off the job unless they receive benefits promised by the government. The Philippines is currently experiencing record-high COVID caseloads driven by the highly transmissible delta variant. As hospitals fill up, overworked nurses have staged protests and are threatening mass resignations if government benefits are not paid by September 1.
31st Aug 2021 - Deutsche Welle on MSN.com

Covid outbreak on cruise ship docked in Liverpool

A cruise ship docked in Liverpool was hit by a coronavirus outbreak as staff members were told to self-isolate. Three crew members onboard the Celebrity Silhouette cruise liner had to leave the ship after testing positive for the virus. The cruise liner, which has the capacity to carry 2,902 passengers, arrived in Liverpool on Monday and is making its way over to Southampton, where it's due to arrive on Saturday, September 4.
31st Aug 2021 - Liverpool Echo

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Government says parents responsible for preventing new Covid wave when schools reopen

Parents have a responsibility to help prevent schools from closing when they reopen next week by regularly testing their children for Covid-19, Gavin Williamson has said. “School communities still need to follow Covid precautions, especially regular testing for pupils, families and staff. But it is not just a matter for schools,” the education secretary wrote in an article for the Daily Mail newspaper. “Parents too have a responsibility to make sure that their children are tested regularly.
30th Aug 2021 - The Independent

Ensure children have regular Covid-19 tests as schools return, parents urged

Parents should make sure their children are tested regularly for coronavirus, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said as he warned youngsters not to get “carried away” when schools return. The Government is trying to persuade parents, secondary school pupils and college students to take part in voluntary asymptomatic Covid-19 testing amid concerns that the return to classes in England in September could drive a new wave of infections.
30th Aug 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Saudi students return to school with masks and checks

Pupils have to keep their distance during the day - the children sit far apart on blue tables. But the return was still something to celebrate, Waleed and his friends said. "At least now we can understand what our teacher is saying. We could barely follow our lessons remotely," said Fahd al-Fares, 13.
30th Aug 2021 - Reuters

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GPs and hospitals to limit blood tests in England due to bottle shortage

GPs have been told to stop performing most blood tests until mid-September, and hospitals to cut their number by 25%, as the NHS grapples with an acute shortage of sample bottles. NHS England has ordered the unprecedented huge cut in blood testing because hospitals and GP surgeries have been hit with a severe and deepening shortage of the vials samples are put into. The problem had already forced hospitals and GPs to start limiting the number of blood tests being carried out on patients.
29th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Cuba to deploy China's Sinopharm alongside homegrown vaccines

Cuba, which to date had deployed exclusively its homegrown COVID-19 vaccines, will start also using the Sinopharm vaccine of its Communist-run ally China in its bid to battle one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world. Health authorities will apply two doses of Sinopharm combined with a Cuban booster in the central province of Cienfuegos from Sunday, Vicente Verez, the head of the Cuban Finlay Vaccine Institute, was cited as saying
28th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Hospitals in U.S. South Run Low on Oxygen Amid Covid and Storm

Hospitals in the Southeast are running low on oxygen, with the worst-hit left only 12 to 24 hours worth, said Premier Inc., a hospital-supply purchasing group. This comes amid the region’s struggle over the summer with high numbers of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. Now Hurricane Ida is set to hit the Gulf Coast in the coming days. Premier has notified the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Health and Human Services department about the scarcity of oxygen in the region, said Blair Childs, Premier’s senior vice president of public affairs.
28th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Aug 2021

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Pandemic windfall for US schools has few strings attached

As the federal government releases historic sums of pandemic aid to the nation’s schools, it’s urging them to dream big, to invest in seismic changes that will benefit students for generations to come. But many districts say they have more urgent problems to tackle first. In Detroit, that means fixing buildings with crumbling ceilings and mold infestations. Like other school systems, Detroit is caught between the Biden administration’s lofty aspirations and bleak realities. The district is using some of the government money to hire tutors, expand mental health services and cut class sizes. But at least half of its $1.3 billion windfall is being set aside to make long-neglected repairs.
26th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

NHS planning Covid vaccines for children from age 12, reports say

NHS England has been told to prepare to administer Covid vaccinations to all children aged 12 and above, as vaccine advisers continue to consider whether to extend the programme, according to reports. The planned extension to the vaccination programme would coincide with the start of the new school year. NHS trusts have been told to have plans prepared by 4pm on Friday, the Daily Telegraph reported. Children aged 12-15 in the UK are currently offered coronavirus vaccines only if they have certain health conditions or live with vulnerable people, but distribution of the vaccines has already been extended to that age group by countries such as the US, Germany and Israel.
26th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Among children, older teens are seeing the highest Covid-19 case rates

Coronavirus infections continue to surge among children across the United States, and older teens, ages 16 and 17, are facing the highest rate of weekly cases, according to a new CNN analysis of the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Saturday, these teens appear to have the highest rate of infections among not only children, but all age groups, based on the CDC's count of weekly Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people.
26th Aug 2021 - CNN

With more than 100,000 people in the hospital with Covid-19 in the US, this August is worse than last, expert says

More than 100,000 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 in the US -- the first time that level has been reached since January -- as medical workers say they're once again struggling to treat waves of patients. The latest figure, amid a summer surge in Covid-19 cases driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, is also more than double what it was on the same day last year, when vaccines were not available as they are now. Hospitals and researchers have been saying the vast majority of this year's hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.
26th Aug 2021 - CNN

Where the Delta Wave Has Driven Up Covid-19 Vaccinations

After weeks of stagnation, the United States vaccination campaign has had a relatively successful month, with vaccine uptake rising from early-summer lows in every state in the country. The upswing in vaccinations has come alongside an extended, and much more pronounced, increase in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States over the past two months. Public health officials say that in their communities, residents have been driven to get the vaccine by worries that the more-transmissible Delta variant might make them, or their loved ones, sick.
26th Aug 2021 - The New York Times

WHO: COVID-19 vaccination triples in Africa but still low

COVID-19 vaccinations in Africa tripled over the past week, though protecting even 10% of the continent by the end of September remains “a very daunting task,” the Africa director of the World Health Organization said Thursday. Meanwhile, the continent saw 248,000 new confirmed cases over the past week, with at least 24 countries seeing a surge in infections driven by the delta variant. “This is a preventable tragedy if African countries can get fair access to the vaccines,” Matshidiso Moeti told reporters.
26th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Aug 2021

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NSW hospitals warning: nurses and staff ‘flat out’ and ‘exhausted’ as Covid numbers soar

The nurses union has rubbished New South Wales health minister Brad Hazzard’s claims that Sydney’s hospitals are coping with the city’s Covid outbreak, warning multiple facilities are under “enormous pressure” and have “very little capacity” in their emergency departments. NSW set a new daily record on Wednesday with 919 local Covid cases. There were 645 Covid patients in hospital, with 113 people in intensive care, but transmission and exposure at multiple hospitals has sidelined significant numbers of health staff due to isolation requirements.
25th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Kroger plans for 1 million Covid-19 booster shots a week, including in nursing homes

U.S. grocery chain Kroger Co (KR.N) is gearing up to administer 1 million COVID-19 booster shots a week once they are available to the general public, and plans to offer vaccines in nursing homes for those who cannot go to its stores. The U.S. government is planning to make COVID-19 vaccine booster shots widely available from Sept. 20 to Americans if U.S. health regulators give the go-ahead. Only people who are immunocompromised have been eligible for booster shots since early this month.
25th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam to pay recovered COVID-19 patients to help in hospitals

Vietnam is offering patients who have recovered from the coronavirus a monthly allowance if they agree to stay on at stretched hospitals to help health workers struggling to cope with an influx of infected people. After successfully containing COVID-19 for much of the pandemic, Vietnam is facing its worst outbreak to date driven by the virulent Delta variant, with a surge in cases and deaths ramping up pressure on health authorities
25th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Aug 2021

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'Exhausted' Florida doctors gather outside hospital to urge people to get vaccinated

A group of 75 South Florida doctors staged a news conference Monday outside a medical office to urge people to get the COVID-19 vaccine and wear masks as the state battles a wave of new infections and hospitalizations driven by the delta variant. The conference took place before office hours and included leadership and staff from surrounding hospitals, according to U.S. News. “We are exhausted. Our patience and resources are running low and we need your help,” Rupesh Dharia from Palm Beach Internal Medicine told NBC 8. Healthcare workers are reporting high rates of fatigue and burnout, on top of frustration over the lack of vaccinations among patients and the public, according to The Wall Street Journal.
24th Aug 2021 - The Hill

Douglas County reopens testing site as COVID-19 cases surge across North Georgia

With the rise of COVID-19 cases and the spread of the delta variant, some people are having trouble getting a test. In Douglas County, a local practice moved back to a public park to have more space and see more people. Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach was there Tuesday as lines of cars snake through Deer Lick Park with people trying to find a free COVID-19 test. “We’re trying to meet the need and see as many as we can,” said Pamela Willis with Douglas County Family Practice and Pulmonary Medicine. “We’ve had a lot come in with symptoms.”
24th Aug 2021 - WSB Atlanta

Fauci expects uptick after FDA OKs Pfizer shot

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s hoping for an uptick in the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations following U.S. government approval of the Pfizer vaccine. The top infectious disease expert in the U.S. says the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Monday should encourage people who cited lack of approval as a reason for not getting vaccinated. The FDA previously had cleared the Pfizer shots for use on an emergency basis. Fauci told NBC’s “Today Show” that FDA approval will mean more “enthusiasm” for vaccine mandates by workplaces, colleges and universities, and the military. He says it will help boost U.S. vaccination rates.
24th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

Lecturers at Georgia university resign over COVID concerns

Two University of North Georgia lecturers have resigned over concerns about teaching in the classroom during the state’s latest COVID-19 surge. “I feel that with COVID surging and us being asked to teach our courses face-to-face with potentially unmasked and unvaccinated students that, in my case, I think they are asking me to choose between my job and the health of myself and my family,” Lorraine Buchbinder told The Times of Gainesville. Buchbinder a colleague — Cornelia Lambert — resigned last week, she said. Both are history lecturers. Masks and vaccinations are “strongly encouraged, but not mandated,” school spokeswoman Sylvia Carson said.
24th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Maine has vaccinated 95% of people in their 70s for COVID-19

Maine health officials have reported that 95% of state residents who are in their 70s have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Maine is one of the oldest states in the country, and it also has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 vaccination. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday that 95% of the more than 125,000 people in their 70s in the state have now had their final shots. More than 70% of the state’s eligible population is fully vaccinated. That means they have had one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
24th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Oregon, once a virus success story, struggles with surge

Oregon was once the poster child for limiting the spread of the coronavirus, after its Democratic governor imposed some of the nation’s strictest safety measures, including mask mandates indoors and outdoors, limits on gatherings and an order closing restaurants. But now the state is being hammered by the super-transmissible delta variant, and hospitals are getting stretched to the breaking point. The vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.
24th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

Gov. Kemp deploys National Guard to help Georgia hospitals

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced Tuesday he would deploy 105 medically trained National Guard personnel to hospitals across the state. In coordination with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Community Health, the Georgia National Guard will deploy to more than a dozen hospitals, including Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick, Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah and Phoebe Putney in Albany. “These guardsmen will assist our frontline healthcare workers as they provide quality medical care during the current increase in cases and hospitalizations, and I greatly appreciate General Carden and his team for their willingness to answer the call again in our fight against COVID-19,” Kemp said. “This Georgia National Guard mission is in addition to the 2,800 state-supported staff and 450 new beds brought online I announced last week, at a total state investment of $625 million through December of this year.”
24th Aug 2021 - News4jax.com

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Aug 2021

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France's COVID-19 hospitalisations highest in 2 months

French health authorities said on Monday the number of people hospitalised for COVID-19 and those treated in intensive care units (ICU) stood at the highest levels in more than two months, as the Delta variant of the disease has put a renewed strain on the health system.
23rd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Israel struggles with COVID surge despite mass vaccinations

Israel was one of the first countries to vaccinate the majority of its population and by March most Israelis were already putting COVID-19 behind them. By June the mandatory mask requirement was completely dropped and the only restrictions that remained concerned the entry and exit from the country. Now the rate of infection has risen to 5.4 percent and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said he will take every action possible to lower the rate and avoid going to a fourth lockdown. Health experts say there are two main reasons the Delta variant hit Israel so hard. For one, Israelis were flouting the mask requirements, which were re-imposed at the end of June. Now police are handing out fines to those who do not wear a face covering.
23rd Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English

So many people in this Texas town got Covid-19 that the school district shut down and then the city essentially closed

Last week, the school district shut down after only five days of classes because about a quarter of the staff and 16% of the students got infected or were exposed to Covid-19, according to Iraan-Sheffield Independent School District Superintendent Tracy Canter. "In the last week, we've seen more Covid cases for staff and students than we did the entire year, last year, during school," Canter said. For right now the closure is due to last until August 30, depending on the situation. In the meantime, there's no virtual or remote learning, the superintendent told parents in a letter. She also asked everyone to pitch in to slow the spread of the virus.
23rd Aug 2021 - CNN

Bristol Covid-19 vaccine clinic targeted by protesters set to reopen

A Covid vaccination clinic that had to close because of an anti-vaccine protest will reopen later this week. The pop-up clinic inside Cabot Circus Shopping Centre in Bristol was shut when about 60 protesters gathered outside on Sunday afternoon. Avon and Somerset Police said the clinic closed "for the welfare and safety of staff and patients". In a statement, the NHS said it was "disappointed" that vaccinations had to be paused. Some of the protesters addressed shoppers outside the clinic using a megaphone, telling them not to get the vaccine.
23rd Aug 2021 - BBC News

Young patients bedbound with Covid-19 urge unvaccinated teenagers to get the jab

The invitation extends to “at-risk” people aged 12 to 15 ahead of their return to school in September. People aged 18 to 34 now make up more than one in five of those admitted to hospital with the virus, which is four times higher than the peak in winter 2020, the NHS has said. Megan Higgins, 25, and Ella Harwood, 23, were both previously healthy and active but are now suffering with extreme fatigue due to long Covid. Miss Higgins, a special needs tutor from London, said: “It’s now been eight months since I tested positive, and I can’t even walk around the shops without getting exhausted.
23rd Aug 2021 - Wales Online

Now Lebanese Hospitals Near Collapse From Covid-19

Medics scramble to find alternatives to saline solutions after the hospital ran out. The shortages are overwhelming, the medical staff exhausted. And with a new surge in coronavirus cases, Lebanon’s hospitals are at a breaking point. The country's health sector is a casualty of the multiple crises that have plunged Lebanon into a downward spiral — a financial and economic meltdown, compounded by a complete failure of the government, runaway corruption and a pandemic that isn’t going away.
23rd Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Aug 2021

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Louisiana sees 'astronomical' number of new Covid-19 cases, governor says

With the continued spread of the more infectious Delta variant, health and elected officials warned that hospitals across the country are reaching critical levels of Covid-19 patients, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates. Overall hospitalizations are continuing to increase across Alabama as the "pandemic of unvaccinated people continues," state health officer Dr. Scott Harris said on Friday. Alabama hospitals have a negative capacity of ICU beds available, he said, and the state is seeing the highest number of Covid-19 cases among children than at any other time during the pandemic.
22nd Aug 2021 - CNN

Covid-19: Vaccination 'big push' continues in Northern Ireland

The Department of Health is continuing its push to get more people in Northern Ireland vaccinated against Covid-19 with mass vaccination walk-in centres reopening on Sunday. There were some long queues on Saturday on the first day of what has been billed as the Big Jab Weekend. No official figures have yet been released, but the total number of jabs administered was in the thousands. It comes as 11 more deaths with Covid-19 were reported in the past 24 hours. Another 1,485 cases were also reported.
22nd Aug 2021 - BBC News

South Africans form long queues as COVID-19 jabs opened to all adults

South Africans formed queues hundreds of metres long to get their COVID-19 shots on Friday, after the government made vaccinations available to all adults in order to hasten a rollout beset by challenges and delays. South Africa has been battered by three coronavirus waves, infecting at least 2.65 million people, killing 78,000 - by far the continent's worst toll - and pummelling an already struggling economy with lockdowns and travel restrictions.
20th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Child Covid-19 hospitalizations soar, filling pediatric wings, data show

Two weeks ago, only two or three children a day would come into Dr. Nick Hysmith’s hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, with Covid-19, usually ones who were admitted for other reasons, like broken bones. This week, he is seeing as many as 28 children under 18 a day, some of them landing in the intensive care unit.
20th Aug 2021 - NBC News

PM has third COVID-19 shot as Israel extends booster campaign

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett received a third shot of Pfizer/BioNtech's COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, after Israel extended its booster campaign for people over 40 to try to curb the Delta coronavirus variant. New cases in Israel have surged since Delta's emergence and Bennett, 49, has sought to avoid an economically painful national lockdown by ramping up third doses.
20th Aug 2021 - Reuters

English schools told to delay seeking help with small Covid outbreaks

Universities, schools and nurseries in England have been advised to delay seeking help in dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks until a cluster involving as many as 10% of staff, students or children have contracted the virus. A new “contingency framework” issued by the Department for Education (DfE) to all education settings in England – ranging from universities and colleges to after-school tuition and youth clubs – advises that preventive measures such as wearing masks or remote learning should be used only after discussion with public health officers, once a “threshold” of infections has been reached.
20th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Aug 2021

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Texas health officials warn of full ICUs as state grapples with worsening Covid-19 surge

The latest surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations this summer is having a deepening effect in Texas, a state that has seen its leadership rebuke steps such as mandatory mask wearing, yet now faces hospitals stretched to capacity with sick patients. And amid both the crises at health care facilities as well as court battles raging over the legality of safety measures in schools, recent news of Gov. Greg Abbott's positive test for Covid-19 has punctuated messaging from health officials that Texans need to remain vigilant during the pandemic. The state's Department of State Health Services said Texas is in "one of its worst fights" it has faced with Covid-19, and mortuary trailers were requested this month as a preparatory maneuver.
19th Aug 2021 - CNN

Oregon hospitals near breaking point as COVID-19 surges

Just 41 intensive care unit beds were available in Oregon on Wednesday as COVID-19 cases continue to climb and hospitals near capacity in a state that was once viewed as a pandemic success story. Oregon, which earlier had among the lowest cases per capita, is now shattering its COVID-19 hospitalization records day after day. Oregon — like Florida Arkansas and Louisiana — has had more people in the hospital with COVID-19 than at any other point in the pandemic. As of Wednesday, 850 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Oregon — surpassing the state’s record, which was set the previous day. Before this month, the hospitalization record was 622 in November, during a winter surge and when vaccines were not yet available
19th Aug 2021 - The Independent

South Africa to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to 18-35 year olds from Friday

South Africa will open up COVID-19 vaccinations to those aged between 18 and 35 years old from Friday, the government said in a statement, as it tries to ramp up its immunisation drive. The country has recorded the most coronavirus infections and deaths on the African continent, but it has so far only fully vaccinated less than 8% of its population of 60 million.
19th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Aug 2021

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Covid hospital patient numbers hit five-month high in England

More coronavirus patients are currently in hospital in England than at any other time in the last five months, NHS data shows. On Wednesday, more than 5,500 people with Covid-19 were in hospital – a jump of 9 per cent from last week, according to PA news agency, and the highest level since mid-March. But although hospitalisations have begun to climb in recent days, numbers remain low compared to the peaks of the UK’s first and second waves, when fewer people were fully vaccinated.
18th Aug 2021 - The Independent

French patients in ICUs for COVID-19 above 2000 for first time since June 14

French health authorities reported on Wednesday that the number of patients being treated in intensive care units (ICUs) for COVID-19 has risen above 2,000 for the first time since June 14. That figure has more than doubled in less than a month as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is putting a renewed strain on the French hospital system
18th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Aug 2021

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South African activists slam J&J for exporting vaccines

Health activists in Africa have slammed Johnson & Johnson for exporting vaccines produced in South Africa to countries in Europe, which have already immunized large numbers of their people and have even donated vaccines to more needy countries. The one-dose J&J vaccines were exported from South Africa, where they had been assembled, despite the pressing need for vaccines across Africa, where less than 3% of the continent’s 1.3 billion people have been fully vaccinated.
17th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

Ontario to offer third COVID-19 vaccine doses to high-risk people

The Canadian province of Ontario will begin offering third COVID-19 vaccine doses to vulnerable people as early as this week, its chief medical officer said on Tuesday. Eligible populations will include transplant patients, along with residents in high-risk settings, including long-term care homes and indigenous elder care lodges.
17th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Cuba struggles to get oxygen to the sick, vaccines to the healthy

Cuba has turned to the military to provide oxygen amid a surge of the coronavirus even as doctors rush to administer locally developed vaccines to the population. The government announced on Sunday that the Caribbean island’s main oxygen plant had broken down in the midst of a Delta variant-driven coronavirus surge that has resulted in record numbers of cases and deaths, swamping some provincial health systems.
17th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Aug 2021

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COVID-19 hospitalization rates for adults in their 30s hit record highs amid Delta variant surge

Dr. James Lawler addressed the alarming hospitalization rate among the young 'So this is not only the pandemic of the unvaccinated in the U.S., it's a pandemic of the young now,' he said. He called it a 'myth' that young people don't get very sick from the coronavirus. New COVID-19 hospital admissions for patients in their 30s reached an average of 1,113 per day for the week that ended Wednesday/ That average daily hospitalization rate had jumped 22.6 percent from 908 in the previous seven days. The data shows that thirtysomethings made up 170,852 out of more than 2.5 million new hospital admissions for COVID-19 since August 2020
16th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

US COVID-19 cases back to pre-vaccination levels

For the first time since February, the United States reported more than 900,000 COVID-19 cases last week—with the country represented 20% of global cases—a sign the pandemic surge caused by the Delta (B1617.2) variant has stalled the progress made by an aggressive vaccine rollout that dampened cases this spring and summer. Cases are on the rise in 46 states, according to USA Today. Hot spots continue in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Oregon, Hawaii, and Mississippi. Oregon reported 11,564 cases in the week ending Friday, the paper said, topping its December pandemic peak by more than 7.2%. The United States reported 38,482 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 382 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.
16th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Aug 2021

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Florida Hospitals Are “Stacking Patients In Hallways” As The Delta Variant Surges

The calls came fast, first with a cardiac arrest case, next with multiple patients who were having trouble breathing, and all were suspected to have COVID. Usually, Stew Eubanks, a paramedic in Sumter County, Florida, deals with lots of minor emergencies, but now it’s mainly life-threatening cases. After a nonstop 24 hours, his Wednesday shift ended with another cardiac arrest. “It’s bad right now,” Eubanks, 39, told BuzzFeed News. “We’re stacking patients in the hallways, stacking patients in the waiting room.”
14th Aug 2021 - BuzzFeed News

NHS summer crisis: Hospital suspends all inpatient surgery for three weeks over bed shortages

All routine inpatient surgery at a hospital in Yorkshire is to be suspended from Monday to help the hospital trust cope with overcrowding in A&E caused by a lack of beds. Bosses at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust told staff in an email, shared with The Independent, that they had been forced to make the decision because of the lack of beds for waiting patients, which they said ad been a “critical issue for too long.” Martin Barkley, chief executive of the trust, told staff that he had been forced to act because of serious overcrowding in A&E, which was having an impact on patient care.
14th Aug 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19 resurgence puts Philippine health workers under strain

The Philippines’s already stretched healthcare system is under more strain as the country reports its second-largest daily increase in COVID-19 infections since the pandemic, providing more evidence of how the virulent Delta variant may be spreading. Hundreds of hospitals in the country were again nearing full capacity as of Saturday, with some facilities reporting they had run out of intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients, leaving healthcare workers, who are forced to work longer hours, exhausted.
14th Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English

COVID hits hard in rural Mississippi after big county fair

A community in rural east central Mississippi is overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, two weeks after it hosted the Neshoba County Fair that brought thousands of people who lived in cabins, attended shoulder-to-shoulder outdoor concerts and horseraces and listened to political speeches — including one by Republican Gov.
14th Aug 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

Oregon Gov. Brown Deploys National Guard to Hospitals to Help With Covid Surge

Oregon’s governor said Friday she will send up to 1,500 National Guard troops to hospitals around the state to assist healthcare workers who are being pushed to the brink by a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said the first group of 500 Guard members will be deployed next Friday to serve as material and equipment runners in the most stricken hospitals and to help with COVID-19 testing, among other things. Troops will be sent to 20 hospitals around Oregon. There are 733 people hospitalized with the virus in Oregon as of Friday, including 185 people in intensive care units — more than 60 people more than just a day before and nearly double what the number was two weeks ago.
14th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

North Texas runs out of pediatric ICU beds amid Covid surge

"If you’re not vaccinated, you’re playing Russian roulette," Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council's CEO said. "Please get vaccinated. Just about all of the patients in our hospitals are unvaccinated."
13th Aug 2021 - NBC News

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Aug 2021

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Mississippi braces for 'failure' of hospital system due to covid-19 surge and lack of ICU beds

A surge in coronavirus patients and a shortage of health-care workers and intensive care unit beds have pushed Mississippi’s hospital system to the brink of “failure,” state health officials warned Wednesday, saying drastic federal intervention was needed to help the state grapple with the thousands of new daily infections that have overwhelmed doctors and nurses.
12th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

More than 50,000 children registered to receive Covid-19 vaccine

More than 50,000 children have been registered to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE). Registration for 12- to 15-year-olds opened overnight and the first vaccinations of this age group are expected to be administered in the coming days.
12th Aug 2021 - The Irish Times

Kenyan oxygen maker to double production as COVID-19 fuels demand

Kenya’s oxygen production firm Hewatele is doubling production this year to keep up with surging demand from hospitals that are treating critically ill COVID-19 patients, the company said. Demand for the commodity has more than doubled to 880 tonnes from 410 tonnes before the pandemic, the ministry of health said, causing a steep shortage due to lack of installed capacity. The East African nation is confronting a severe fourth wave of COVID-19 infections that is putting pressure on health facilities. “This country doesn’t have capacity to put 2,000 patients under high flow oxygen at the same time. We need to do something urgently,” said Bernard Olayo, founder of the company.
12th Aug 2021 - Reuters

South Korea turns COVID-19 testing booth contactless

A South Korean hospital has upgraded a COVID-19 testing booth to become a mobile contactless clinic that can test people and enable telemedicine for basic treatment.
12th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Ultraviolet and air purifier trials in schools to combat Covid-19 – report

Schools are taking part in trials which involve having air purifiers and ultraviolet light installed indoors to combat Covid-19, according to reports. The trial aims to assess how air purifiers and ultraviolet light mitigate the transmission of coronavirus and other respiratory diseases in schools, the i newspaper said. It also hopes to evaluate how feasible it is to implement the technologies in primary schools, and is expected to yield its first results by the end of the year, the newspaper reported.
11th Aug 2021 - Evening Standard

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COVID-19: 'Vaccine lottery' in Ohio offering millions in cash prizes ensured 82,000 people got coronavirus jab, says economist

A "vaccine lottery" that offered millions of dollars in cash prizes and free university scholarships ensured 82,000 vaccine-hesitant Ohio residents came forward for their first jab, an economist has claimed. The "Vax-A-Million" scheme awarded five prizes of one million dollars, and five young people a full scholarship to any public college or university in Ohio. PhD student Andrew Barber and assistant professor of economics Jeremy West, both from the University of California, published a working paper that claimed to show "in short, the lottery worked".
11th Aug 2021 - Sky News

Senegal's ambulance teams struggle amid a wave of COVID-19

The paramedics get the urgent call at 10:30 p.m.: A 25-year-old woman, eight months pregnant and likely suffering from COVID-19, is now having serious trouble breathing. Yahya Niane grabs two small oxygen cylinders and heads to the ambulance with his team. Upon arrival, they find the young woman's worried father waving an envelope in front of her mouth, a desperate effort to send more air her way. Her situation is dire: Niane says Binta Ba needs to undergo a cesarean section right away if they are to save her and the baby. But first they must find a hospital that can take her.
11th Aug 2021 - The Independent

Older teenagers seriously ill with Covid-19 ‘led to vaccine rollout extension’

The number of 16 and 17-year-olds becoming “seriously ill” with coronavirus informed the extension of the vaccination rollout to that age group, a member of the committee advising on jabs said. Professor Adam Finn, who sits on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and is a professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol, said there had been “a couple” of 17-year-olds in that area who needed intensive care in hospital in recent weeks. He said while most young people will only have the virus in a mild form, the vaccines will be effective at preventing serious cases.
11th Aug 2021 - Wales Online

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Hospitals run low on nurses as they get swamped with COVID

The rapidly escalating surge in COVID-19 infections across the U.S. has caused a shortage of nurses and other front-line staff in virus hot spots that can no longer keep up with the flood of unvaccinated patients and are losing workers to burnout and lucrative out-of-state temporary gigs. Florida, Arkansas and Louisiana all have more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any other point in the pandemic, and nursing staffs are badly strained. In Florida, virus cases have filled so many hospital beds that ambulance services and fire departments are straining to respond to emergencies. Some patients wait inside ambulances for up to an hour before hospitals in St. Petersburg, Florida, can admit them — a process that usually takes about 15 minutes, Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said.
10th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Schools start again in-person despite growing concern about variants

The big fear lingering: a repeat of last year, when many students were forced to learn from home all or part of the time and students were regularly shuttled into quarantine after exposures to the virus. The current surge, driven by the delta variant, has elevated case counts and hospitalizations across the country. There are about twice as many cases today as there were when schools began a year ago, when the country was coming off a case surge.
10th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

Some children's hospitals in Covid-19 hotspots are especially busy

It was far from a quiet Monday for infectious disease specialist Dr. Adriana Cadilla who had to meet with patients, many of them just out of the hospital after being treated for Covid-19 at Nemours Children's Hospital in Orlando. "Clinics were packed," Cadilla said. Her hospital has seen a significant increase in the number of children with Covid-19. They're also managing an earlier than usual surge in other respiratory illnesses. Kids aren't sicker with Covid-19, necessarily, there are just more of them, Cadilla said. "We know how to treat a lot of these things, including Covid," Cadilla said. "But this is a public health crisis because when you overload the system, we can't do a lot of things well."
10th Aug 2021 - CNN

Pandemic prompts changes in how future teachers are trained

Before last year, a one-credit technology course for students pursuing master’s degrees in education at the University of Washington wasn’t seen as the program’s most relevant. Then COVID-19 hit, schools plunged into remote learning, and suddenly material from that course was being infused into others. “It’s become so relevant, and it’s staying that way,” said Anne Beitlers, who directs Washington’s master’s program for secondary education. “And nobody’s going to question that now.” Changes to standards and curricula happen slowly, but the pandemic is already leaving its fingerprints on the education of future teachers. Many U.S. educator preparation programs are incorporating more about digital tools, online instruction and mental and emotional wellness in their courses to reflect takeaways from the pandemic.
10th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

China's Sinovac to invest $60 million in vaccine facility in Chile

Chinese pharmaceutical Sinovac Biotech Ltd on Wednesday said it will build a fill-and-finish vaccine plant in Chile with an investment of $60 million, consolidating its presence in the Latin American nation that has used its COVID-19 shot the most. Chile has run one of the world’s fastest vaccination campaigns, so far fully vaccinating more than 60% of its population, including with 19.6 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac already delivered.
10th Aug 2021 - Reuters

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Indonesia’s Aceh medics offer COVID lifeline for the isolated

Aceh doctors hope monitoring through WhatsApp can help reduce the risk of people dying from coronavirus when quarantining at home.
10th Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English

BioNTech says vaccine repeats beat devising new one for now

BioNTech said that repeat shots of its COVID-19 vaccine, of which more than a billion doses have now been supplied worldwide, was a better strategy than tailoring the product it developed with Pfizer to new variants. The German biotech firm said that offering a third dose of its established two-shot vaccine remained the best response to concerns over waning immune protection in the face of the highly contagious Delta variant, as worse strains may emerge.
9th Aug 2021 - Reuters

‘Worrying’ numbers of pregnant women in intensive care with Covid

A record number of pregnant women were admitted to intensive care with Covid last month, data shows, as doctors raised concerns about vaccine hesitancy among expectant mothers and urged them to get jabbed as soon as possible. Figures from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) showed that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland 66 pregnant women ended up in intensive care in July, the highest number since the pandemic began and three times as many as April last year. A total of 46 recently pregnant women were also admitted to critical care. The numbers of expectant mothers in intensive care has risen steadily in recent months, from 17 in March to 22 in June but a spike in admissions occurred last month amid rising Covid cases and a loosening of restrictions.
9th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Canada loosens travel restrictions for vaccinated US tourists

American tourists who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus are now allowed to enter Canada after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government lifted months-long restrictions on non-essential travel into the country. As of Monday, citizens and permanent residents of the United States who received their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival in Canada will be exempt from quarantine requirements.
9th Aug 2021 - AlJazeera

Covid patients in critical care are decade younger than in previous waves, data shows

Hundreds of critically ill Covid patients have had to be moved between hospitals to relieve pressure on beds in recent months, according to new data which also shows those sick with the virus are a decade younger then in previous waves. The latest assessment of admissions to hospital critical care units showed 176 patients in intensive care had been moved to different hospitals 198 times since the start of May this year. The Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC) has been analysing Covid admissions to NHS ICUs throughout the pandemic and in its latest report, published on Friday, it compared the patients admitted to ICU since May with those admitted since September.
9th Aug 2021 - The Independent

U.S. City With 2.4 Million Population Has Just Six ICU Beds Left

With ICU beds down to a single digit, Austin sounded the alarm Saturday, using its emergency alert system to let residents in the Texas capital city know that the local state of the pandemic is “dire.” The Austin area -- with a population of almost 2.4 million people -- has just six intensive-care unit beds left, state health data show. A total of 313 ventilators are available.
8th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

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Alabama ICU beds almost full as COVID hospitalizations continue rapid rise

Critical care units in Alabama hospitals are nearing capacity due to increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients, but recent deaths from the virus still remain relatively low. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Friday that about 93% of Alabama’s ICU beds are occupied as the more transmissible COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread in the state and vaccination rates remain low. As of Saturday there were 1,968 Alabamians hospitalized from COVID-19, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. A month ago, just 235 people were hospitalized. Most of those patients are unvaccinated, Harris said.
8th Aug 2021 - Alabama Daily News

Some in U.S. Getting COVID-19 Boosters Without FDA Approval

When the delta variant started spreading, Gina Welch decided not to take any chances: She got a third, booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by going to a clinic and telling them it was her first shot. The U.S. government has not approved booster shots against the virus, saying it has yet to see evidence they are necessary. But Welch and an untold number of other Americans have managed to get them by taking advantage of the nation’s vaccine surplus and loose tracking of those who have been fully vaccinated.
7th Aug 2021 - TIME

Covid-19 vaccines now on offer for over 16s in Northern Ireland

The first young people aged 16 and 17 in Northern Ireland have received a vaccination against Covid-19. It is the first part of the UK to give jabs to teenagers in this age group with no underlying health conditions. The move follows a recommendation by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). More than 180 vaccinations were administered to 16 and 17-year-olds at the SSE arena in Belfast on Friday morning.
6th Aug 2021 - BBC News

Mexican factory workers cross Texas border in Covid-19 vaccine outreach effort

Huge outreach effort involving vaccines for Mexicans across the border has seen El Paso become one of America’s most vaccinated cities In a matter of just six minutes, a factory worker from a Mexican border city stepped off a bus in Texas last week, received the Covid-19 vaccine and was heading back home across the international bridge to Mexico. The vaccination took place near El Paso, the west Texas city where the coronavirus was raging so relentlessly nine months ago that jail inmates were being used to load bodies into mobile morgues because funeral homes were overflowing. After a hard pandemic and with concerns over continued infections in Texas and northern Mexico, vaccination efforts are being stepped up. El Paso now has one of the highest vaccination rates among US cities, according to government data – progress which prompted outreach across the border and an international initiative.
6th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

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Covid-19: Huge batches of extra Pfizer doses are sent to NSW and Queensland

Queensland and New South Wales will get thousands of Pfizer doses from next week in a bid to control Covid-19 outbreaks ravaging both states. From Monday NSW will be given an extra 183,690 doses of the in-demand vaccine and Queensland will have an extra 112,320 jabs. The supplies have been not been taken from other states but have been brought forward from September allocations.
5th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID: In Florida hospitals, ‘there are only so many beds’

Florida hospitals slammed with COVID-19 patients are suspending elective surgeries and putting beds in conference rooms, an auditorium and a cafeteria. In Georgia, medical centers are turning people away for lack of space. And in Louisiana, the sick are left waiting and waiting some more in the emergency room before being airlifted elsewhere. “We are seeing a surge like we’ve not seen before in terms of the patients coming,” Dr. Marc Napp, chief medical officer for Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Florida, said Wednesday. “It’s the sheer number coming in at the same time. There are only so many beds, so many doctors, only so many nurses.”
5th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

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Status of some UK citizens vaccinated overseas still not recognised by NHS

Ministers have been criticised for their failure to let some people vaccinated overseas have their double-jab status recognised by the NHS, after a promise the system would be changed to enable them to do so by the end of July was not met. In the final week before the Commons broke up for recess, the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, sought to reassure MPs that the government was working quickly to help those who were inoculated overseas but registered with a GP in the UK. He said on 22 July that “by the end of this month” that would change – and that “UK nationals who have been vaccinated overseas will be able to talk to their GP, go through what vaccine they have had, and have it registered with the NHS that they have been vaccinated”.
4th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

UAE lifts ban on transit flights including from India and Pakistan

The United Arab Emirates will on Thursday lift a ban on transit flights including from India and Pakistan, the National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) said. India and Pakistan are important markets for Emirates, Etihad Airways and other UAE carriers flydubai and Air Arabia (AIRA.DU). The Gulf state, a major international travel hub, had banned passengers from many South Asian and African states travelling through its airports this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
4th Aug 2021 - Reuters India

COVID in Louisiana shows consequences of Delta variant, low vaccination rate

Low vaccination rates and the more infectious Delta variant are converging to create a new COVID-19 crisis for Louisiana as the United States and the world face the latest stage of the pandemic.
4th Aug 2021 - Reuters

San Francisco says Johnson & Johnson recipients can get extra dose of Covid vaccines

Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in San Francisco will be allowed to request a 'supplemental' dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. San Francisco officials say decision was made after many residents were requesting to receive additional shots to boost immunity. Currently, the CDC does not recommend a person to mix and match vaccine types or receive additional doses. Johnson & Johnson vaccine is believed to be effective against all strains of COVID-19, including the Indian 'Delta' variant. CDC has said it is tracking instances of people receiving unauthorized COVID-19 vaccine boosters
4th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

US vaccination rates increase alongside spread of Delta variant

Cases of COVID-19, along with hospitalisations and deaths, remain on the rise in the United States even as the pace of vaccinations has increased, fuelling ongoing concerns about the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. Chemist chain Walgreens said on Wednesday that it has seen a recent jump in inoculations in parts of the country that had previously lagged behind. The number of jabs rose more than 30 percent in states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas, in the past few weeks, said the company, which now has administered more than 29 million COVID-19 jabs since the pandemic began.
4th Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English on MSN.com

COVID-19: Race is on to vaccinate up to 1.4 million 16 and 17-year-olds before schools reopen

The decision to vaccinate teenagers has been slow in the UK. Countries such as the US, Canada and France are already routinely vaccinating children as young as 12. But the government's experts are now confident there's the evidence to press ahead - and the race is on to get up to 1.4 million 16 and 17-year-olds vaccinated before schools return. That's less than two weeks in Scotland and just four weeks away in England and Wales. An added challenge is the resistance among some young people and parents.
4th Aug 2021 - Sky News

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Here's how schools should handle a Covid-19 outbreak, experts say

Getting children back in classrooms has been a top priority for the United States -- but if a coronavirus outbreak were to happen within a school, how should schools respond? Drew Charter School in Atlanta kicked off the new school year last week and already has reported initially nine students and five staff testing positive for Covid-19, and more than 100 students at the school are in quarantine, Peter McKnight, the head of the school, said Friday. Only one of the five staff members who tested positive had been vaccinated, he said
3rd Aug 2021 - CNN

Food giant Tyson to require COVID vaccination for all US workers

Meat processer Tyson Foods will require all of its employees in the United States to get vaccinated against COVID-19, becoming one of the first major employers of front-line workers to do so amid a resurgence of the coronavirus. One of the world’s largest food companies, Tyson said on Tuesday that members of its leadership team must be vaccinated by September 24 and the rest of its office workers by October 1. Its front-line workers must be vaccinated by November 1, although the company said the specifics were being negotiated with unions.
3rd Aug 2021 - AlJazeera

People chasing Covid-19 vaccine boosters create headaches for the health care system

The entire U.S. health care system has been single-mindedly focused on getting Covid-19 vaccine shots in arms, but as the Delta variant spreads, the country’s decentralized vaccination campaign is presenting a different challenge — how to police people seeking unauthorized booster shots. The buzz around booster shots for Covid-19 vaccines has intensified in recent weeks as Pfizer has sought approval for a third shot of its vaccine regimen, and Israel, the United Kingdom, and Germany have greenlit additional shots. Federal officials in the United States say that booster shots are not needed yet. But some anxious patients are nonetheless trying to get them — either by asking a health care provider willing to prescribe an extra shot, or by lying about their earlier vaccination.
3rd Aug 2021 - Stat News

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Covid-19: Low take-up of vaccine in Manx homeless, says charity

There has been a low take-up of the Covid-19 vaccine among the Isle of Man's homeless, a charity has said. Graih, which runs a drop-in and night shelter for anyone sleeping rough, said many homeless people had been reluctant to get the jab since the start of the vaccination rollout in January.
2nd Aug 2021 - BBC News

More than 816,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered Saturday in the US as pace of vaccination rises

The rate of Covid-19 vaccinations in the United States continues to rise, a positive sign amid skyrocketing cases and hospitalizations after weeks of lagging inoculations. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Sunday that 816,203 additional doses were administered, the fifth straight day the agency recorded more than 700,000 shots in arms. That brings the total number of doses administered to 346,456,669, according to the CDC numbers released Sunday.
2nd Aug 2021 - CNN

COVID-19: Tests at England's major railway stations and on trains reveal no traces of coronavirus

Tests at four major railway stations in England and on intercity train services revealed no traces of COVID-19, National Rail has said. Swabs were taken on areas most commonly touched by passengers, including escalator handles, ticket machines and benches, along with hour-long air samples to detect the virus. London Euston, Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly station underwent two rounds of testing in January and June, with tests repeated on trains running between stations.
2nd Aug 2021 - Sky News

Massive quarter mile queues at Heathrow Airport 'as 25% of staff in Covid isolation'

Huge queues have built up at Heathrow Airport amid a suspected Covid outbreak among staff, it has been reported. Frustrated passengers have been stuck waiting for hours at the London airport today. Some reported tension within the queues, with people jostling and pushing just to get into the terminal. The lack of social distancing has led to concerns among some that the virus could spread as crowded people wait to get on their flights. Problems with the e-gates and sickness among Border Force staff are behind the delays, The Times reports.
2nd Aug 2021 - The Mirror

U.S. South braces for record numbers of hospitalized COVID patients

COVID hospitalizations in Louisiana and Florida have surged to their highest points of the pandemic, leading overwhelmed doctors on Monday to plead with the unvaccinated to get inoculated against the Delta variant. More than 10,000 patients were hospitalized in Florida on Sunday, surpassing that state's record. The surging Delta variant led Louisiana's governor to reinstate a statewide indoor mask mandate, with that state expected to break its record on COVID hospitalizations within 24 hours. Hospitalizations in Arkansas are also soaring and could eventually break records
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

NHS urged to redistribute near-expiry vaccines as take-up slows in young

The NHS is facing pressure to redistribute tens of thousands of vaccine doses nearing expiry as demand from younger adults drops. An internal email seen by the Guardian warned of 170,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine at risk of expiry within the next fortnight, as doctors across England have raised alarm at the unpredictability of vaccine take-up among young people meaning more doses will go to waste. The government is to unveil a raft of new initiatives to increase vaccine uptake among young people, including discounts on car-hailing companies such as Uber and Bolt, as well as the delivery service Deliveroo.
1st Aug 2021 - The Guardian

GOP lawmaker who once spurned masks urges people to take covid-19 seriously after eight-month illness

A Tennessee legislator who went from unmasked gatherings with fellow legislators to being placed on ventilator days later has emerged with a message for constituents after a harrowing eight-month experience with long-haul covid-19: Take the coronavirus seriously. “It is a disease that wants to kill us,” state Rep. David Byrd (R) said in a statement Friday. Byrd, 63, described an ordeal that included 55 days on a ventilator in which covid-19 ravaged his memory, his muscles and his organs — it led to him having a liver transplant in June; his condition was so grave that his family at least once began planning for his funeral.
1st Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

Unvaccinated Covid-19 patients are filling up hospitals, putting the care of others at risk, doctors say

Hospitals are surging with unvaccinated patients infected with the Delta variant -- which could affect car accident victims and other non-Covid-19 patients who need hospital care, doctors say. "None of these patients thought they would get the virus, but the Delta variant has proven to be so highly contagious that even the young and the healthy, including pregnant patients, are now starting to fill up our hospitals," said Dr. Neil Finkler, chief clinical officer for AdventHealth Central Florida.
1st Aug 2021 - CNN

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Louisiana hospitals reach capacity as COVID-19 cases surge

Louisiana hospitals are running out of ICU beds as COVID-19 cases surge in the state. Our Lady of Lourdes and Oschner Lafayette General hospitals have run out of ICU beds. Our Lady of Lourdes has resorted to converting regular beds outside of the ICU to deal with the virus, KATC ABC 3 reported. "Part of that reason and why it's such a high percentage of our 70 patients is we're seeing enhanced severity of this illness in these individuals who, many of whom, are otherwise completely healthy," Dr. Henry Kaufman, interim chief medical officer at Our Lady of Lourdes, said at a press briefing. There are three beds open out of 156 in Region 4 of the state, with more than 1,000 people hospitalized across Louisiana due to the virus, according to the outlet.
1st Aug 2021 - The Hill

Covid-19 pandemic: Japan widens emergency over 'frightening' spike

Japan is extending a state of emergency in Tokyo and expanding it to new regions as the Olympic Games host faces a surge in Covid-19 cases. The restrictions are being imposed in areas surrounding the capital as well as in the city of Osaka. Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga warned infections were spreading at an unprecedented rate, urging the country to watch the Games from home. New cases are being fuelled by the more infectious Delta variant.
30th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Vietnam taps private hospitals as Delta-driven COVID-19 infections rise

Private clinics should host COVID-19 patients - ministry. Delta variant 'destroying' pandemic gains - health minister. Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, southern provinces locked down. President warns of 'guilt' over slow vaccine rollout
30th Jul 2021 - Reuters

First Swedish doses delivered through COVAX

As part of a pledge to deliver at least three million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, the first doses donated by Sweden have been delivered to countries this week, with shipments arriving in Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. Per Olsson Fridh, Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden: “Sweden supports a robust multilateral response to the COVID-19 pandemic through COVAX. We have provided over USD 280 million, making Sweden the largest contributor to COVAX per capita.” Dr Seth Berkley, CEO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance: “The Government of Sweden is one of the original six donors to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and has steadily increased its support to global vaccination over the past 20 years. In addition to its already-substantial funding of COVAX, Sweden’s dose donations will help COVAX reach some of those in urgent need of protection against COVID-19.”
30th Jul 2021 - Gavi - The Vaccine Alliance

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Shut-down Baltimore vaccine plant cleared to return to operation by FDA

Emergent BioSolutions' Baltimore plant will reopen soon after the FDA forced a shut down in April. Plant forced to close after Johnson & Johnson vaccines were contaminated with AstraZeneca vaccine ingredients. Further investigation found unsanitary conditions and that workers were not properly trained. Once opened, the factory could produce up to 120 million vaccine doses every month
29th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

Refugees are at high risk of COVID-19 infection, but low priority for vaccines

As high-income countries move into post-vaccination life with vaccination rates of more than 80 doses per 100 people, a number we’re not seeing in the headlines is the 1.1 per cent. That’s the percentage of people in low-income countries who have received at least one dose. Globally, 3.83 billion vaccine doses have been administered so far, but a large vaccine gap exists between countries and continents. Africa has the lowest vaccination rate. With a global population of 7.88 billion, and only 27.1 per cent of the population vaccinated, that means 5.74 billion people globally aren’t vaccinated. And the majority of those people are in South America, Asia, Oceania and Africa.
29th Jul 2021 - MSN.com

Israel to recognize Palestinian coronavirus vaccine certificates

Israel's Health Ministry will recognize the Palestinian Authority's coronavirus vaccination certificates and will allow patients to be transported from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, after agreements were reached between the two ministries on Wednesday evening, according to Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila. Kaila stated that the Israeli Health Ministry recognizes all the coronavirus vaccines the PA is using and will recognize its vaccination and PCR test certificates.
29th Jul 2021 - The Jerusalem Post

Myanmar jail vaccinates hundreds amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Myanmar's main prison vaccinated more than 600 inmates against COVID-19 on the first day of a drive to inoculate inmates, state media reported on Thursday, as military authorities struggle to control a wave of infections across the country. Infections have surged since June, with 4,980 cases and 365 deaths reported on Wednesday, according to health ministry data cited in media. Medics and funeral services put the toll much higher.
29th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Phuket restricts travel from other Thai regions as COVID-19 cases surge

Thailand's Phuket will ban travel from the rest of the country from Aug. 3-16 to try to stop a surge in coronavirus cases from spreading to the resort island, but overseas visitors will be largely unaffected, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.
29th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Coronavirus outbreaks have 'significantly reduced' vaccine hesitancy

Coronavirus outbreaks have helped reduce vaccine hesitancy across Australia, with more people willing to get the jab amid surges in case numbers. The outbreaks in New South Wales and Victoria had "significantly reduced" the rate of vaccine hesitancy, a report by the Melbourne Institute found. The 2021 Vaccine Hesitancy Report Card showed Australia's vaccine hesitancy plummeted from 33 per cent at the end of May, to 21.5 per cent of the adult population as of July 23.
28th Jul 2021 - 9News

Thailand builds COVID-19 hospital in Bangkok airport amid surge in cases

Thai volunteers on Wednesday turned a cargo warehouse at Bangkok's Don Muang Airport into a 1,800-bed field hospital for COVID-19 patients with less severe symptoms, as the country deals with its biggest outbreak to date. The Southeast Asian nation reported a daily record of 16,533 new cases, plus 133 new deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total accumulated cases to 543,361 and 4,397 deaths.
28th Jul 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Deaf woman wins court case over lack of sign language at government coronavirus briefings

A deaf woman has won her court case over a lack of sign language interpretation at two government COVID-19 briefings last year in England. Katie Rowley took legal action against Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, arguing that Number 10 was breaching its duty under equality laws to make broadcasts accessible to deaf people.
28th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Kuwait bans unvaccinated citizens from travelling abroad

Kuwait on Tuesday said only citizens who have been vaccinated for the coronavirus will be allowed to travel abroad starting on Aug. 1. A government statement said the rule excepted children under age of 16, those with a health ministry certificate saying they cannot be vaccinated, and pregnant women who have a pregnancy proof certificate from authorities.
27th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Some people are seeking out a second dose of Covid-19 vaccine after getting J&J shot

Jason Gallagher, an infectious disease pharmacist in Philadelphia had gotten the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine through a clinical trial in November, but this summer he didn't like the direction Covid-19 cases were taking due to variants. "Come June, I started to get nervous about this Delta variant spreading and had some travel plans," said Gallagher, a clinical professor at Temple University School of Pharmacy. So, Gallagher decided to get a dose of a different mRNA vaccine, even though he was already considered fully protected with his single dose of the J&J vaccine.
27th Jul 2021 - CNN

Supply issues to delay Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shipments, S.Korea says

Moderna said on Tuesday its COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing partners outside the United States are facing delays due to laboratory testing operations that have occurred in the past few days, slowing the supply of the shot to these markets. The vaccine maker's comments come after South Korean health officials said earlier in the day that Moderna has delayed its late-July vaccine shipment schedule for the country to August due to supply problems
27th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Catholic church turns pastoral care centre in Jakarta into COVID-19 ward

The Catholic Church has converted a pastoral centre in Jakarta into an isolation ward to care for COVID-19 patients in the Indonesian capital as it battles an devastating second wave of the pandemic that has overrun hospitals.
27th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Bangkok to convert disused train carriages into COVID-19 ward

Authorities in Thailand's capital Bangkok plan to convert 15 disused railway carriages into a 240-bed COVID-19 isolation ward for patients with less severe symptoms, the city's governing body said on Tuesday.
27th Jul 2021 - Reuters

'Severe' Covid-19 cases surge in Tokyo during Olympics

Japan's prime minister on Tuesday said there were no plans to shut down the ongoing Olympics Games after a record number of new Covid-19 cases were recorded in the country's capital. “First of all, thanks to the restrictions on vehicles, and through measures such as remote-working, with the cooperation of the public, the flow of people has been decreasing," Yoshihide Suga said during a press conference. "Because the flow of people is decreasing, we’re not worried."
27th Jul 2021 - NBC News

Tokyo’s daily Covid cases on track to hit all time high of more than 3,000 cases

Olympic host city Tokyo is on track to a record high of more than 3,000 coronavirus cases after the number of infections almost doubled in a day. Daily infections in the city, which has seen an influx of overseas visitors for the Games, reached 2,848 on Tuesday, official figures showed. The figure on Monday was 1,429. Now Tokyo is asking hospitals to raise the number of Covid beds to 6,406 by early next month from the current capacity of 5,967, to avoid people having to sleep on the floor or outside.
27th Jul 2021 - Evening Standard

India says it will meet July target for domestic vaccine supply

India will meet its target of supplying more than half a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to states by the end of this month, the health ministry says but added that not all doses may be administered by then. The government told the country’s highest court last month that 516 million doses would be made available by the end of July, an important milestone for its goal of inoculating all of India’s estimated adult population of 944 million this year.
26th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

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More COVID-19 cases who are vaccinated may not need to be hospitalised as Singapore adjusts healthcare protocols

As COVID-19 becomes endemic, Singapore must shift its healthcare protocols to treat the disease closer to how it approaches influenza, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Monday (Jul 26). This includes allowing more COVID-19 cases who are vaccinated and who show mild or no symptoms to be directly admitted to community care facilities instead of going first to hospitals. Delivering a ministerial statement in Parliament, Mr Ong said: "As we learn to live with COVID-19, our healthcare protocols must be remodelled. If COVID-19 is indeed endemic, having 200 or more cases a day may not be unusual at all.
26th Jul 2021 - CNA

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in some NSW pharmacies from today

Pharmacists can administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over the age of 40 in New South Wales from today. Dozens of chemists across NSW are part of the pilot program to assist GPs and purpose-built vaccination hubs administer the shots. They are located across Sydney, plus in regional towns, including Gulgong, Narromine, Walcha, Dungog, Dunedoo and Merriwa.
26th Jul 2021 - 9News

Teenagers can book second coronavirus vaccine two weeks earlier

Teenagers who are due to receive their second Covid-19 vaccination dose in the second half of August can have the shot two weeks earlier, the health ministry has decided. Anyone aged 12 to 17 with a second jab scheduled for August 16 or later can call the national vaccine line 0800 7070 to book a new appointment. The ministry is also sending SMS messages advising them of the policy change.
26th Jul 2021 - DutchNews.nl

COVID-19 sufferers in Indonesian capital rent oxygen cylinders

Muhammad Ihsan gratefully lugs an oxygen cylinder into a small office in Jakarta's outskirts, lining the breathing equipment up with scores of others against a wall. Ihsan has taken advantage of a new rental service, established by volunteers in response to the coronavirus outbreak ravaging the Indonesian capital, borrowing the cylinder to give his infected mother some much-needed oxygen. "Thank God, this really helped my mother," Ihsan said, adding that her COVID-19 diagnosis was complicated by pre-existing asthma.
26th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Doctors warn over increasing number of young people with Covid in ICU

Increasing numbers of young people with coronavirus are being admitted to hospital – including to intensive care wards – doctors have said, begging them not to “suffer unnecessarily” and to get the vaccine. During the first weekend after the majority of Covid restrictions were lifted in England there were pictures of crowded nightclubs, filled with revellers not wearing masks or social distancing. Medics raised the alarm that unvaccinated young people urgently needed to protect themselves against infection to avoid serious illness.
25th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

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China's Sinovac evaluates vaccine plant in Chile

Chilean authorities said on Friday that China's Sinovac had begun evaluating potential sites for the construction of a vaccine plant in Chile that could begin producing doses of the Chinese shot as early as the first half of 2022. Chile, a global leader in vaccinating its citizens against the coronavirus, has leaned heavily on the Sinovac vaccine in its fast-paced mass vaccination program. The Andean nation also helped spearhead clinical trials of the shot late last year. A delegation of executives from Sinovac this week visited potential sites for the factory near the capital Santiago and in Chile's northern desert.
25th Jul 2021 - MSN.com

COVID 'the straw that broke the camel's back': Big increase in alcoholic liver disease deaths during pandemic

Deaths from alcoholic liver disease increased by an unprecedented 21% during the first year of the pandemic, compared with 2.9% between 2018 and 2019. Sky News speaks to someone who lost her sister to the disease, as well as a recovering alcoholic who had to have a liver transplant. After years of drinking, Martin Rhodes will be 11 years sober on 7 September.
25th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Indonesia prepares more ICU units, waits to see if COVID curbs will be extended

Indonesia is preparing more intensive care units after logging several days of record-high COVID-19 deaths last week, while the country waits to see whether the government will extend or loosen tough restrictions due to expire on Sunday. Buckling under a Delta variant-driven wave of the virus, Indonesia has become Asia's COVID-19 epicentre with hospitals deluged, particularly on the densely populated island of Java.
25th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Indonesia's Bali running out of oxygen as government ponders curbs

The Indonesian island of Bali is running out of oxygen for its COVID-19 patients as infections surge, the chief of its health agency said, as Southeast Asia's biggest country struggles with the region's worst COVID epidemic. Bali, famous for its tourist beaches and temples, along with the main island of Java and 15 other regions are under tight coronavirus restrictions, due to expire on Sunday. The government is debating whether to extend them or not.
24th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: 'More than 60% admitted to hospital not vaccinated'

More than 60% of people admitted to hospital in Belfast in recent weeks due to Covid-19 have not been vaccinated, according to the medical director of the Belfast Trust. Chris Hagan explained that there were also "rising numbers of young patients" in the 20-39 age group.
23rd Jul 2021 - BBC News

Three states are seeing about 40% of the country's new Covid-19 cases

"This week, just three states Florida, Texas and Missouri, three states with lower vaccination rates accounted for 40 percent of all cases nationwide," Zients said at a White House news conference. "For the second week in a row, one in five of all cases occurring in Florida alone. And within communities, these cases are primarily among unvaccinated people." But Florida is one of five states with the highest case rates that had a higher rate of people getting vaccinated compared to the national average, he said.
23rd Jul 2021 - CNN

Vaccinated people make up 75% of recent COVID-19 cases in Singapore, but few fall ill

Vaccinated individuals accounted for three-quarters of Singapore's COVID-19 infections in the last four weeks, but they were not falling seriously ill, government data showed, as a rapid ramp-up in inoculations leaves fewer people unvaccinated. While the data shows that vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe cases, it also underscores the risk that even those inoculated could be contagious, so that inoculation alone may not suffice to halt transmission.
23rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Thailand to join COVAX, acknowledging low vaccine supply

The head of Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute apologized Wednesday for the country’s slow and inadequate rollout of coronavirus vaccines, promising it will join the U.N.-backed COVAX program to receive supplies from its pool of donated vaccines next year. Thailand is battling a punishing coronavirus surge that is pushing new cases and deaths to record highs nearly every day. There is fear that the numbers will get much worse because the government failed to secure significant vaccine supplies in advance of the onslaught.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Covid-19: Health minister urges caution over easing restrictions

The health minister has advised the executive that Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland should not be eased next week due to an increase in cases, BBC News NI understands. Ministers are currently meeting to decide whether some restrictions should be lifted.
22nd Jul 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19 hospital admissions in England highest since end of February

The number of hospital admissions in England of people with Covid-19 has climbed to its highest level for nearly five months. A total of 752 admissions were reported on July 19, NHS England figures show. This is up 21 per cent on the previous week, and is the highest daily number since February 25, according to analysis by the PA news agency. The total includes 197 admissions in north-east England and Yorkshire: up 40 per cent week-on-week and the highest daily number for this part of England since February 18. North-west England recorded 141 admissions on July 19: up 44 per cent week-on-week and the highest since February 23.
22nd Jul 2021 - Evening Standard

Toyota halts factories in Thailand as COVID hits supply chain

Japanese auto group Toyota Motor has halted operations at its three factories in Thailand as the country's delta-variant COVID epidemic disrupts the supply of key automobile parts. The closures underline how the pandemic is still putting the automobile supply chain under strain. The stoppage started from Wednesday (July 21) and will last at least until July 28, Nikkei has learned. Toyota said it will "assess the situation and decide" whether to resume operations from July 29.
22nd Jul 2021 - Nikkei Asian Review

Tokyo new virus cases near 2,000 a day before Olympics open

Tokyo hit another six-month high in new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, one day before the Olympics begin, as worries grow of a worsening of infections during the Games. Thursday’s 1,979 new cases are the highest since 2,044 were recorded on Jan. 15. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is determined to hold the Olympics, placed Tokyo under a state of emergency on July 12, but daily cases have sharply increased since then.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Death rates soar in Southeast Asia as virus wave spreads

Indonesia has converted nearly its entire oxygen production to medical use just to meet the demand from COVID-19 patients struggling to breathe. Overflowing hospitals in Malaysia had to resort to treating patients on the floor. And in Myanmar’s largest city, graveyard workers have been laboring day and night to keep up with the grim demand for new cremations and burials. Images of bodies burning in open-air pyres during the peak of the pandemic in India horrified the world in May, but in the last two weeks the three Southeast Asian nations have now all surpassed India’s peak per capita death rate as a new coronavirus wave, fueled by the virulent delta variant, tightens its grip on the region.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

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Novartis set to deliver 50 mln CureVac COVID-19 vaccines this year

Novartis is still helping CureVac make COVID-19 vaccines and could expand its capacity to assist other vaccine manufacturers as well, finance chief Harry Kirsch told reporters on Wednesday. "We have started the production as planned. We are planning to deliver 50 million doses this year," Kirsch said of the CureVac deal when asked whether it could instead make its capacity free for others after CureVac said last month its COVID-19 jab was only 48% effective. Swiss drugmaker Novartis also assists Pfizer and BioNTech in making COVID-19 vaccines and can ramp up output for them or others if needed, he said.
21st Jul 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Over-18s can now register for Covid-19 mRna vaccine

All adults aged 18 and over can now register for a Covid-19 mRna vaccine from this morning. Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said on Tuesday that registration for the Pfizer and Moderna jabs for anyone over 18 is happening now “because our vaccination programme is ahead of schedule and continues to perform really well”. Almost 5.3 million Covid-19 vaccines have been administered to date, with more than 79 per cent of the adult population partially vaccinated and over 65 per cent fully vaccinated, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said on Wednesday.
21st Jul 2021 - The Irish Times

Coronavirus Australia: How young Australians in WA are getting Pfizer jab without making appointment

Western Australians turning up without appointment are getting Covid jab. Those not eligible to book under current rollout trying luck in vaccine lottery. WA Health confirmed spare jabs administered to those without appointments. Those who try their luck must be willing to wait in queue until end the day. Spare jabs remaining at mass vaccination centres would otherwise go to waste
21st Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

States are sitting on millions of surplus Covid-19 vaccine doses

Millions of unused Covid-19 vaccines are set to go to waste as demand dwindles across the United States and doses likely expire this summer, according to public health officials. Several state health departments told STAT they have repeatedly asked the federal government to redistribute their supply to other countries, many of which are facing a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Officials in Washington have rejected those requests, citing legal and logistical challenges. “We’re drowning in this stuff,” said Robert Ator, a retired colonel in the Arkansas Air National Guard who is leading that state’s Covid-19 vaccine distribution drive. “It’s starting to get a bit silly and we want to make sure we’re being good stewards.”
21st Jul 2021 - STAT News

Vietnam produces first batch of Russian COVID-19 vaccine

Vietnam has produced the first test batch of Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19, Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund and Vietnamese pharmaceutical firm Vabiotech said on Wednesday, as the Southeast Asian country battles its worst outbreak so far. The first validation samples taken from the batch will be shipped to the Gamaleya Center in Russia for quality control checks, the fund and the company said in a joint statement.
21st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Businesses forced to close as staff are told to isolate

With most lockdown measures lifted in England, businesses might finally be expecting things to be returning to normal. But many have had to temporarily close after their staff were either "pinged" and told to isolate by the NHS Covid-19 Test and Trace app or contacted by NHS Test and Trace directly. How do owners feel about this latest blow to their livelihoods?
21st Jul 2021 - BBC News

Turkey's virus cases nearly twice the low touched in early July

Turkey's daily coronavirus cases rose to 8,780 on Tuesday, nearly double a low water mark touched earlier this month, while 46 new related deaths were logged, according to the government tally. Infections remain well down from a wave in April-May when new COVID-19 cases peaked above 60,000. They fell to 4,418 on July 4 in the wake of a stringent lockdown that ended in mid-May.
21st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Pfizer-BioNTech to produce COVID-19 jabs with S African company

Pfizer and BioNTech have said they struck a deal with South Africa-based company Biovac for the production of COVID-19 vaccines for the African Union (AU). In a statement published on Wednesday, the two companies said Cape Town-based Biovac will complete the last step in the manufacturing process, known as “fill and finish”, of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine.
21st Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

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Vaccinating children in Australia would help protect against Covid but high-risk groups first, experts say

Public health experts say vaccinating children against Covid-19 will be important for protecting Australians against the Delta variant, but that high-risk populations must take priority. On Monday, the New South Wales government indicated the state would consider vaccinating young people as part of its efforts to control the current Delta outbreak. “I think there will be a key role for vaccinating children,” the NSW chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said at the daily press conference. “It is pleasing to see in some countries overseas that we have vaccines that are licensed for use in children.”
21st Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Researchers: Virus surge a 'raging forest fire' in Arkansas

Public health researchers on Tuesday called the rapid rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Arkansas a “raging forest fire,” and the state’s top health official warned that he expects significant outbreaks in schools. The model by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health projected a daily average of 1,039 new cases over the next week. The model also predicted an average increase of 169 new cases per day in children under the age of 17. Arkansas leads the country in new cases per capita, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers. The state also has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with only 35% of the population fully vaccinated.
21st Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Two Fox News hosts urge viewers to get vaccinated despite anti-jab rhetoric from colleagues

While Fox News has come under fire for some of its on-air personalities undermining the US effort to get Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus, two of its anchors recently urged viewers to go and take the shot. Monday on Fox's morning show "Fox & Friends," host Steve Doocy discussed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which is almost entirely concentrated among unvaccinated Americans. The direct encouragement for viewers to take the shot stands in stark contrast to the views expressed by the network's popular pundits, specifically Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.
20th Jul 2021 - The Independent

Canada to open border to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens on Aug. 9

Canada on Monday said it will begin to ease pandemic restrictions at the U.S.-Canada border next month, allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in the United States who are fully vaccinated with Canadian-authorized vaccines to enter for nonessential travel without quarantining. The decision, which takes effect Aug. 9, follows months of criticism from U.S. lawmakers across the political spectrum, business groups and some travelers over what they said was an overly cautious approach to lifting curbs that have split families, battered the tourism sector and upended life in close-knit border communities.
20th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

A million children in England out of school last week because of Covid-19

More than one million children in England were out of school last week for reasons relating to Covid-19, official figures show. About one in seven (14.3 per cent) state school pupils did not attend on July 15 — the highest number since classes returned in March. This includes approximately 934,000 children self-isolating due to a possible contact with an infected person, 47,000 pupils with a confirmed case of Covid-19, and 34,000 with a suspected case. A further 35,000 pupils were off as a result of school closures due to the coronavirus, according to Department for Education (DfE) statistics.
20th Jul 2021 - The Times

Covid-19 restrictions on family hospital visits persist, despite concern

Even as most businesses in the U.S. have been removing Covid mask mandates and social distancing policies, one major exception continues to be hospitals, which have been more cautious in lifting restrictions. At the start of the pandemic, in the face of a new virus and the many unknowns that came with it, hospitals rushed to implement rules to keep patients as well as hospital staff safe, including barring visitors from entering altogether. Now, with the nature of the pandemic changing in the U.S. and increasing vaccination rates among the general population, patients and many physicians say the more restrictive ongoing limits, like only allowing one visitor, are no longer justified and may actually be harming patients’ mental health and leading to worse outcomes.
20th Jul 2021 - STAT News

Circumventing Covid-19 with better ventilation and air quality

Gathering outdoors has provided people a safer alternative to meeting inside during the Covid-19 pandemic. But for those who spend their days in crowded indoor spaces — workers in office buildings and industrial facilities, students in schools, and the like — how can their indoor environments be made more similar to the outdoors? With better air quality and ventilation. Yet federal regulations are insufficient for improving indoor ventilation and few states are moving to improve it. We examined the Covid-19 US State Policy database and found that only Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington have explicit occupational safety and health standards to promote better air and/or ventilation quality.
20th Jul 2021 - STAT News

Kazakhstan considers producing second Russian vaccine locally

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered his cabinet on Monday to look into the possibility of importing and locally producing the Russian-developed Sputnik Light vaccine, his office said. The Central Asian nation already produces the Sputnik V vaccine, developed earlier, at a local plant in addition to importing it from Russia.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters

‘The hospitals are very near to not coping’: UK health workers speak out

n Monday, for the first time since the early days of the vaccination programme in the UK, new Covid cases outnumbered the number of daily doses administered. As England lifts most restrictions, six healthcare workers from paramedics to paediatricians speak about what the reality is like amid rising coronavirus infections.
20th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

NHS summer crisis deepens as Covid surge leads to cancelled operations and ambulance ‘black alert’

Hospitals and ambulance services are in a deepening crisis caused by the surge in infections as the removal of Covid-19 rules coincides with added pressure from the heatwave and the return of thousands of workers to offices.More than half of staff at one NHS trust are absent because of Covid-19 isolation rules, forcing operations to be cancelled, while the number of Covid patients in England has leapt by one-third in the past week. The chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, told a Downing Street press conference that he expected the NHS to see 1,000 patients a day being admitted to hospital soon.
20th Jul 2021 - The Independent

NHS reliant on exploitative Malaysian factories for PPE, expert says

The NHS is wholly reliant on the Malaysian glove-manufacturing industry, where the exploitation and degradation of migrant workers is “endemic”, a leading expert has warned.
20th Jul 2021 - The Independent

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More than 80% of the crew aboard a South Korean destroyer have tested positive for Covid-19

South Korea's military has recorded in biggest cluster of Covid-19 infections to date, with more than 80% of personnel aboard a navy destroyer on anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden testing positive. While the 247 cases are not directly linked to new domestic infections, with the destroyer Munmu the Great having left South Korea to start its mission in February, the surge comes as the country battles its worst-ever outbreak of Covid-19 cases at home, with another 1,252 new infections reported for Sunday.
19th Jul 2021 - CNN

UK runs out of Covid-19 lateral flow tests

Britons across the country were left unable to order Covid-19 lateral flow tests today after a 'temporary glitch' on the Government's website. Members of the public attempting to order free supplies of the at-home kits through the government portal were today told that 'no more tests can be ordered' and they should instead 'come back tomorrow'. The Department of Health and Social Care has now insisted that people can still order a lateral flow test and that the 'temporary technical glitch' with their site has now been rectified.
19th Jul 2021 - MSN.com

Cuba, gripped by unrest, battles highest COVID caseload in the Americas

Cuba, which kept coronavirus infections low last year, now has the highest rate of contagion per capita in Latin America. That has strained its healthcare sector and helped stoke rare protests that have roiled the Communist-run island. The Caribbean nation of 11 million people reported nearly 4,000 confirmed cases per million residents over the last week, nine times more than the world average and more than any other country in the Americas for its size.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Many ICU staff have experienced mental health disorders in COVID-19 pandemic

In a study of 515 healthcare staff working in intensive care units (ICUs) in seven countries, the researchers found that 48 percent of participants had mental health problems - depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The team also found a 40 per cent increase in these conditions for those who spent more than six hours in personal protective equipment (PPE), compared to those who didn’t. The study, led by researchers at Imperial College London, is published in the British Journal of Nursing and is the first to evaluate ICU workers’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with the UK Government’s report on burnout in NHS staff published in June 2021, the researchers suggest that the high level of mental health disorders found among the ICU staff surveyed should inform local and national wellbeing policies.
19th Jul 2021 - Imperial College London

Fox Rails Against Vaccine Passports, Uses Vaccine Passports

Tucker Carlson and other Fox hosts have railed, on-air, against the idea of so-called “vaccine passports” but never told their audience that Fox uses one of Its own
19th Jul 2021 - Rolling Stone

Spain's COVID infections rise, but Brits still flock to its beaches

Spain reported a new jump in its COVID-19 infection rate on Monday, with 61,628 cases registered since Friday, just as fully vaccinated British holidaymakers flocked to its beaches, giving hope to the hard-hit tourism sector. Since July 8, when Britain announced the lifting of a 10-day quarantine for returning vaccinated tourists from July 19, flight bookings to Spain have increased four-fold even though they remain far below 2019 levels, an airlines industry group said.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Doctors and health officials say their latest Covid-19 hospital patients are unvaccinated and increasingly younger

Covid-19 is putting younger, healthy and mostly unvaccinated people in hospitals at higher rates as cases continue to climb in much of the US, health experts say. Over the past week, 48 states saw an increase in Covid-19 cases, with 30 reporting a more than 50% increase, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. Low vaccination rates in some areas and increased spread of the more contagious Delta variant are making an already deadly virus even worse, especially for younger, healthy people, Dr. Catherine O'Neal, an infectious disease specialist at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told CNN's Erin Burnett on Friday.
18th Jul 2021 - CNN

Indonesia reports record number of doctor deaths from COVID-19 in July

Deaths of doctors from COVID-19 in Indonesia rose sharply in the first half of July, according to the profession's association, as the Delta variant of the coronavirus fuelled a surge in infections across the country.
18th Jul 2021 - Reuters

South Africa footballers test positive for Covid-19 in Tokyo Olympic Village

Team GB’s preparations for the Olympics have been plunged into chaos after six athletes and two staff members from the athletics squad were forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with a member of the public who had Covid-19 on their flight to Tokyo. The news, which broke late on Sunday afternoon in Yokohama after the athletes had finished training for the day, stunned officials who immediately rushed to ensure that the athletes and staff members were confined to their rooms.
18th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Covid cases could hit 100,000 ‘in two weeks’ with lockdown needed ‘by September’

The UK’s third wave of coronavirus could last well into the autumn, one of the government’s scientific advisers has warned. Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), suggested the current wave ‘will be quite long and drawn out’ after lockdown is lifted in England next week. The so-called ‘freedom day’ on Monday will see the majority of the remaining legal restrictions dropped, meaning the end of social distancing measures, the return of large-scale events and workers beginning to head back into the office.
18th Jul 2021 - Metro

‘Covid cases are up – 6,000 miles from Paris.’ France baffled by UK quarantine change

The government was embroiled in a rancorous diplomatic standoff with France on Saturday night after its surprise decision to continue imposing a 10-day quarantine on fully vaccinated people returning from the country. French officials seemed baffled by the move, suspecting UK ministers may have based it on rising cases on the French island of Reunion – nearly 6,000 miles from Paris. On Friday, the government announced the end of quarantine for vaccinated British residents returning from countries on the “amber” list, but said this would not apply to France because of the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa.
18th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Children's viruses that disappeared during pandemic lockdowns are back, doctors say

As children emerge from their homes after COVID-19-related lockdowns, common viruses that all but disappeared during the pandemic are re-emerging too, doctors say. "This time of year in pediatric hospitals, it's usually quiet," said Dr. Fatima Kakkar, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at CHU Sainte-Justine in Montreal. "But now we're seeing a surge of respiratory infections." The level of non-COVID illnesses is what Kakkar usually sees in the fall, she said, when children are out and about in daycares or schools.
17th Jul 2021 - CBC.ca

Rising COVID-19 cases in Australia's Victoria state raise prospect of longer lockdown

Sydney logs 111 new cases, one death. Construction sites, non-essential retail shut down. 600,000 residents banned from leaving neighbourhood for work. Victoria records 19 new cases. Sydney has battled Delta variant since June
17th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 battle 'on a knife edge' in Scotland

Scotland’s battle against coronavirus is on a knife edge, with hospital cases falling for the first time in weeks. There were 532 patients being treated for coronavirus yesterday, 11 fewer than on Thursday, but forecasters have warned that another surge in cases could be on the horizon. The Scottish government’s forecasters said: “Based on the increase in cases in the last few weeks, [pressures on] hospital beds and intensive care units are projected to rise — for how long this continues is uncertain.” The present rate of admissions is already above forecasters’ “worst-case scenario”, which predicted that cases would plateau below 500 cases by mid-July. The recent decline in cases offers hope that the battle against the third wave is back on track. Hospital cases are forecast to fall to about 400 by the end of July under the best-case scenario, or rise above 800 under the worst.
16th Jul 2021 - The Times

African countries to receive first U.S. donated COVID-19 vaccines in days - Gavi

49 African countries to receive 25 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses. First deliveries soon to Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Ethiopia. Africa recorded a 43% jump in COVID-19 deaths last week
16th Jul 2021 - Reuters

As Delta drives COVID surge, vaccines, strategies under scrutiny

Malaysia’s health ministry has announced that it will stop using the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac once its supplies end, while other Southeast Asian countries have said they are looking to mix and match the Chinese-made shots with those from western manufacturers amid a surge in cases driven by the highly-transmissible Delta variant. Malaysian Health Minister Adham Baba announced on Thursday that about half its 16 million doses of Sinovac have already been distributed and the remainder will be used to cover second doses.
16th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Half of U.S. States Ended Federal Covid-Related Jobless Benefits Early. Here Is How They Compare With the Other Half.

The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits continues to decline to the lowest levels since the economy shut down last year, though claims are still elevated compared with pre-pandemic levels. As many return to work, the amount of federal Covid-era benefits that unemployed people are receiving has splintered from one state to the next. In response to the catastrophic effect that pandemic lockdowns had on the U.S. job market, the federal government created programs in the past year that expanded the pool of unemployed workers eligible for benefits, extended the length of time Americans can receive payments and enhanced weekly payments, most recently by $300 a person. The federally funded programs are scheduled to expire in early September, but states have the option to opt out before then, and roughly half already have on some level. Governors in those states have argued that expanded benefits have contributed to labor shortages as the economy reopens.
16th Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Bangladesh plans to vaccinate Rohingya against COVID: Official

Bangladesh plans to start rolling out inoculations against COVID-19 for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya living in crowded refugee camps next month, says a senior official. “Subject to availability of the doses, we will begin administering the jabs among Rohingya anytime in August,” Shah Rezwan Hayat, chief of Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission, told DPA news agency on Friday.
16th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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Graphs show surge in cases among men in their twenties... and spike coincides with Euro 2020

Professor Chris Whitty warned England could be plunged into another lockdown amid a surge in cases. Public Health England data showed 10,267 more young men than women caught the virus last week. King's College London scientists estimated 33,118 people were catching the virus every day last week. For comparison, they said 33,723 people were getting infected every day during the previous spell
15th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19 cases are surging in 46 states. In one hot spot, hospitalized patients are younger than ever, doctor says

"In recent weeks, we've been seeing a much younger population," he said. "We're seeing a lot of people in their 30s, 40s, early 50s. We're seeing some teenagers and some pediatric patients as well." In St. Louis County, officials said the rate of new cases jumped by 63% over the past two weeks. "A tidal wave is coming towards our unvaccinated populations," County Executive Sam Page said. "This variant is spreading quickly, and this variant has the ability to devastate those in its wake. And that is why it is so critical to get vaccinated now."
15th Jul 2021 - CNN

Trafford health bosses worried as Covid-19 infection rate higher than it’s ever been

Trafford’s health bosses have voiced their concerns about restrictions fully lifting across the UK on Monday after the borough’s infection rate soared to higher than it’s ever been before. The borough’s infection rate has more than doubled in just a two week period and those in charge are calling for caution; for people to continue wearing face masks in public places and maintaining social distancing.
15th Jul 2021 - Manchester Evening News

Australian government scales back supply projections for AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

The government has quietly scaled down projections of how many AstraZeneca doses will be available in Australia in the coming weeks, while downplaying a huge gap between the amount being locally produced and original Covid-19 vaccine supply targets. Last month, under significant pressure over the vaccine rollout, the federal government released a planning document estimating how many doses would be distributed over the rest of 2021. The document, titled Covid Vaccination Allocations Horizons, estimated the commonwealth would distribute between 2.2m and 2.6m AstraZeneca doses a week to the states, general practitioners and the aged care and disability sector in July and August.
15th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Official: Nearly 70% of medical workers in Moscow vaccinated

The majority of medical workers, teachers and social workers in Moscow have been vaccinated against the coronavirus a month after authorities in the Russian capital mandated the shots for many of those employed in health care, education, retail, public transport and hospitality and services sector. Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said Wednesday that nearly 70% of medical workers, 66% of those working in Moscow education facilities and 76% of social workers have been vaccinated. Her statement came a day before the Thursday deadline authorities set for eligible companies and institutions a month ago to ensure that 60% of their staff receive at least one vaccine shot.
15th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Vaccine deliveries rising as delta virus variant slams Asia

As many Asian countries battle their worst surge of COVID-19 infections, the slow flow of vaccine doses from around the world is finally picking up speed, giving hope that inoculation rates can increase and help blunt the effect of the rapidly spreading delta variant. With many vaccine pledges still unfulfilled and rates of infection spiking across multiple countries, however, experts say more needs to be done to help nations struggling with the overflow of patients and shortages of oxygen and other critical supplies.
15th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Athlete, Olympic workers test positive for COVID as opening nears

A foreign athlete and five Olympic workers in Japan have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Tokyo 2020 organisers. The cases, announced on Thursday, marked the latest infections to emerge among people involved with the Summer Games, which are due to begin next week, and have raised new concerns about the spread of coronavirus at the global sporting event.
15th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

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China to start giving COVID-19 shots to teenagers this month

Several areas in China will start vaccinating teenagers this month against COVID-19, state media and local authorities said, as the country steps up its inoculation campaign.
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid: Low uptake of jab causing 'crisis' at NHS trust

A health boss says his hospitals are in "the teeth of a growing local crisis" over low uptake of the Covid jab. Richard Beeken, chief executive at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, said it had 60 coronavirus inpatients, eight of whom were "critically unwell". In a letter to staff, he said it was vital people had the vaccination to boost their protection. But following 600 calls to under-40s to encourage jabs, he said, fewer than 10 agreed to appointments. Mr Beeken wrote that intensive care units were full and urgent cancer surgery was "under threat" due to Covid pressures faced by the trust.
14th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Netherlands sees Covid cases rise 500% in a week

There was a 500 per cent increase in new coronavirus cases in the Netherlands in the week to Tuesday and the reproduction rate or R number now stands at 2.17 and rising – its highest since the pandemic began. Days after acting prime minister Mark Rutte apologised for relaxing restrictions too quickly, the head of the Centre for Infectious Disease Control, Dr Aura Timen, briefed MPs that the current wave was directly linked to the most recent easing on June 26th.
14th Jul 2021 - Irish Times

Nearly 3000 confined to cabins after COVID-19 case on Singapore cruise

Infection confirmed in a passenger on 'cruise to nowhere.' Nearly 3,000 passengers, crew on Genting Cruise Lines ship. Ashore, Singapore marks highest new COVID tally in months
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters

US COVID-19 cases rising again, doubling over three weeks

The COVID-19 curve in the U.S. is rising again after months of decline, with the number of new cases per day doubling over the past three weeks, driven by the fast-spreading delta variant, lagging vaccination rates and Fourth of July gatherings. Confirmed infections climbed to an average of about 23,600 a day on Monday, up from 11,300 on June 23, according to Johns Hopkins University data. And all but two states — Maine and South Dakota — reported that case numbers have gone up over the past two weeks. “It is certainly no coincidence that we are looking at exactly the time that we would expect cases to be occurring after the July Fourth weekend,” said Dr. Bill Powderly, co-director of the infectious-disease division at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis.
14th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

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Long Lines Form for Russia's Third Coronavirus Vaccine in Moscow

Long lines formed outside Moscow vaccination sites over the weekend as demand for Russia’s third registered coronavirus jab outstripped supply and caused yet another shortage of the jab. Videos published to social media showed Muscovites lining up outside a dozen vaccination sites where authorities had shipped around 850 doses of CoviVac each. Moscow City Hall, which had previously suspended CoviVac vaccinations due to shortages on June 22 and June 28, announced that it ran out of doses on Sunday.
13th Jul 2021 - The Moscow Times

Serbia to become first country in Europe to produce China-developed COVID-19 vaccine

Serbia will become the first country in Europe to produce China-developed inactivated COVID-19 vaccines as the country has reached an agreement with Sinopharm, the Chinese company announced Tuesday. The production line in Serbia will be able to deliver about three million doses of vaccines per month and is set to produce 10 million doses of Sinopharm's inactivated vaccine, according to the announcement. The first batch of the doses will be provided to the local Serbian market to help the country fight against the epidemic, according to the announcement.
13th Jul 2021 - Global Times

COVID-19: Why no one should feel especially comfortable with this genuine new wave of infections

Every other time COVID-19 infection rates were as high as this, and heading up at the rate they are now, this government, tried to put the epidemiological brakes on, but this time it's different, as lockdown easing will go ahead as planned.
13th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Experts warn Jersey Covid cases could reach 500 per day by next week

Stage 7 of Jersey's reconnection plan will not go ahead as scheduled for 15 July, working from home is to return and masks are advised once again. The announcement has been made following a sharp rise in the number of Covid cases in the island. Experts are warning case numbers could reach 500 per day by this time next week. At a press conference this afternoon (13 July) officials announced their objective is to slow the rate of infection and reduce levels of isolation, which is impacting on individuals, and consequently businesses are having to close.
13th Jul 2021 - ITV News

UK megalab opens to process hundreds of thousands of Covid tests and identify new variants

The UK’s first testing megalab - which will process hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 samples every day - has opened as the “centrepiece” of the country’s future test and trace infrastructure, the government has said. The new Rosalind Franklin laboratory in Royal Leamington Spa will play a role in responding to new Covid variants of concern and future disease threats as part of plans to prevent another national lockdown. The facility is named after the British scientist who played a key role in the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA and in pioneering the use of X-ray diffraction.
13th Jul 2021 - The Independent

Brits will need annual Covid vaccine booster as new variants emerge, experts warn

Millions of vulnerable Brits will likely need a Covid booster jab every year and it could be given at the same time as an annual flu shot, say experts. About 32 million people in England could receive their third coronavirus jabs from September in the next stage of the biggest vaccination programme in UK history. A British clinical trial - the first of its kind in the world - was launched to find out whether boosters are safe and effective in extending immune protection against coronavirus, and which vaccines could be used for third jabs.
13th Jul 2021 - The Mirror

Delta surge ‘could leave hundreds of thousands with long Covid’

The decision to lift England’s remaining Covid restrictions next Monday – even as cases of the Delta variant surge around the country – is expected to turbocharge the epidemic and push the nation into what one leading scientist called “uncharted territory” in terms of the numbers of people left suffering from long Covid. Ministers have been told to expect at least one to two million coronavirus infections in the coming weeks. And while the mass rollout of vaccines – which started with elderly and vulnerable people – will dramatically reduce the proportion who are hospitalised and die, the wave may leave hundreds of thousands of younger people with long-term health problems, researchers have said.
13th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

New COVID-19 cases up 94 percent in two weeks

The average number of new daily COVID-19 cases has increased 94 percent over the past two weeks, according to data from The New York Times, as worries over outbreaks climb nationwide. The U.S. recorded a seven-day average of more than 23,000 daily cases on Monday, almost doubling from the average two weeks ago, as less than half of the total population is fully vaccinated. Monday’s count of 32,105 newly confirmed cases pushed the seven-day average up from its Sunday level of more than 19,000 new cases — a 60 percent increase from two weeks prior.
13th Jul 2021 - The Hill

In first, Thailand to mix Sinovac, AstraZeneca vaccine doses

Thailand used Sinovac vaccine for frontliners. AstraZeneca vaccine available since June. Delta variant on increase in Thailand. New curbs imposed around capital
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Coronavirus in Australia: AstraZeneca vaccine offered to over-40s in New South Wales

Sydney contradicted previous official health advice today by saying they would offer the AstraZeneca vaccine to younger people as new daily cases of the highly infectious Delta variant soared to more than 100. While the national government continues to recommend that the locally-produced AstraZeneca vaccine be restricted to people aged over 60 because of blood clotting fears, health chiefs in New South Wales said its mass vaccination centres would offer it to anybody over 40. It is a departure from national health guidelines which have recommended heavy restrictions on the use of AstraZeneca, despite severe shortages of alternative vaccines such as Pfizer.
12th Jul 2021 - The Times

Canada to reach 55M vaccine doses by week's end, catching up to U.S. on second doses

Canada is expecting vaccine shipments to keep rolling in this week as the country inches closer to matching the percentage of people in the United States fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The federal government expects another 1.4 million doses of the shot from Pfizer-BioNTech to arrive in the next seven days. It also plans to distribute the 1.5 million doses from Moderna that came in last Friday.
12th Jul 2021 - CTV News

Desperate Myanmar residents queue for oxygen as COVID-19 cases surge

There is enough oxygen - army chief. Myanmar sees record deaths, cases Suu Kyi worried about outbreak. Myanmar's military authorities pledged on Monday to ramp up oxygen supplies to help treat COVID-19 patients, as residents described their struggle to secure supplies to save loved-ones from a record-setting wave of infections.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Spain's coronavirus infections keep rising, regions impose restrictions

Spain's two-week COVID-19 contagion rate kept rising on Monday, reaching 368 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, officials said, more than tripling in two weeks as infections have soared especially among young people. Health emergency chief Fernando Simon said the pace of increase had reduced in recent days as officials believe the latest wave is nearing its peak. He praised new restrictions announced in the hard-hit Mediterranean regions of Catalonia and Valencia.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Tokyo 2020 CEO says Tokyo Olympics will create model for pandemic Games

The Tokyo Olympics will provide a model for hosting the Games during a pandemic after rising COVID-19 infections forced organisers to ban spectators at most events, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said on Sunday. "This will be the first Olympics held during a pandemic, and Tokyo will provide a model for how that is done," Muto said on a political debate program aired by public broadcaster NHK. Athletes will not have to compete in completely empty venues because Olympic officials and journalists will be there, he added.
11th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Public alarm grows at Boris Johnson’s plan for Covid ‘freedom day’

Boris Johnson faces a growing revolt over plans to end most Covid restrictions on 19 July – including the mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport and in hospitals – as half of the public now say they want “freedom day” to be delayed. Last night, as doctors and other NHS workers demanded that mask-wearing continue in hospitals, regional political leaders broke ranks, saying they would override the national government on the issue and strongly advise people to continue wearing masks on public transport.
10th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Unvaccinated hospitalized patients say they regret not getting the shot

"It is heart-wrenching to see unvaccinated individuals come into the hospital with regret," said Dare, an infectious diseases physician. They are patients who, "if they could do it all over again, would have had the vaccine in a second." Arkansas has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with less than 35 percent of adults having been fully vaccinated. Now, the state's low vaccine uptake has crashed headlong into the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, leaving some hospital systems once again teetering on the brink of collapse more than a year into the pandemic.
9th Jul 2021 - NBC News

Britain should NOT return to normal on July 19 because NHS backlog combined with third wave is putting doctors under pressure and the 'pandemic is far from over' says medical chief

The government hopes Covid passports will encourage vaccine-shy young people to get jabbed. By September, all adults over 18 should have been offered both vaccine doses, allowing for the passports. Patrons will need to show proof of either two vaccine doses or a recent negative test under the proposals
9th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

U.S. Covid-19 Hospitalizations Rise as Delta Variant Spreads

Hospitalizations related to Covid-19 are rising in the U.S. after a long decline, federal data showed, providing evidence of the human toll the Delta virus variant is taking on unvaccinated Americans. Just under 2,000 new patients were admitted to hospitals each day over the week ending July 5, a 6.8% increase over admissions during the previous week and an 88% decrease over a seven-day average of 16,492 patients admitted daily in early January, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New cases are up too, to a seven-day daily average of 13,859 on July 6, about an 11% increase over the previous seven-day average, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Thursday at a White House briefing.
8th Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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Delta variant is 'Covid-19 on steroids,' expert says, with cases increasing in nearly half of US states

Twenty-four states have seen an uptick of at least 10% in Covid-19 cases over the past week, Johns Hopkins University data shows, as health experts and the federal government keep pressing for more people to get vaccinated. The rapid spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus has only ratcheted up the pressure. That variant, first identified in India, accounted for 51.7% of all new Covid-19 infections in the country over the two weeks that ended Saturday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated.
8th Jul 2021 - CNN

Indonesia's surge in COVID-19 cases spreads to coal mining areas

Indonesia's biggest coal-producing province of East Kalimantan has recorded a spike in coronavirus cases, with miners among those infected, but so far there has been no disruption to coal operations, a local official said. The Southeast Asian country is the world's biggest thermal coal exporter and has been riding a boom in prices powered by strong demand from countries such as China, South Korea and Japan.
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Australia's slow vaccination, locked borders eclipse early virus success

Last year, when much of the world was in coronavirus lockdown, Australia was successfully hosting international cricket matches and tennis tournaments in front of packed crowds in a show of what post-pandemic life could look like. But in recent weeks, new virus outbreaks, a chaotic vaccine rollout and a tightening of already strict curbs on international travel have rapidly reversed those fortunes. As crowds in London watch Wimbledon and the Euro Cup football finals, Australians confront new disappointments, with the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix cancelled and holiday plans scuppered. Unlike last year, business and consumer tolerance for the restrictions and uncertainty is quickly evaporating as Australians witness other countries reopen
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Delta COVID variant surges in Asia, casts shadow on Olympics

Indonesia's daily COVID-19 cases jumped to a new record level today, with Thailand and South Korea also reporting record highs. Rising virus activity has also forced Japanese officials to order a state of emergency for the Tokyo area and a spectator ban for Olympic events. Meanwhile, the world's death total from the virus topped 4 million today, with just over one-third of all fatalities from three countries: the United States, Brazil, and India. Global cases topped 185 million, rising to 185,350,264, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.
8th Jul 2021 - CIDRAP

Australia says Pfizer to expand COVID-19 vaccine supply amid Sydney outbreak

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said Pfizer will increase COVID-19 vaccine delivery to about one million doses a week from July 19, more than tripling shipments, as Sydney battles its worst outbreak of this year. As many as 4.5 million Pfizer Inc doses that were expected to arrive in September will become available next month, Morrison said.
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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COVID infections imperil Indonesia's vaccinated health workers, and hospitals

Indonesian pulmonologist Erlina Burhan is exasperated after another long shift in a jam-packed hospital missing 200 staff infected by the coronavirus despite being vaccinated just months ago. "It's crazy, really crazy," she tells Reuters. "More patients but less staff. This is ridiculous." About 95% health workers have been fully vaccinated, overwhelmingly with China's Sinovac, said the Indonesian Hospitals Association (IHA).
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: PM heading for showdown with MPs amid predictions millions of Britons could get coronavirus this summer

Boris Johnson is heading for a COVID showdown with MPs amid a backlash over a six-week wait for the ending of self-isolation rules. Conservative MPs and business leaders have reacted furiously after Health Secretary Sajid Javid said children and fully vaccinated adults will have to follow current self-isolation rules until 16 August. This means they will have to stay at home for 10 days if they come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
7th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Germany Renews Vaccine Plea as Europe Struggles to Contain Delta

Germany’s health minister stepped up his plea for as many people as possible to get a Covid-19 shot amid signs the vaccination drive across Europe is losing steam. Jens Spahn made the call on Wednesday as the spread of the delta variant threatens to spark a new wave of virus infections throughout the European Union. There are signs that other countries, including France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria, are also struggling to maintain the pace of shots. The slowdown suggests a growing risk that developed countries, including the U.S., could fall short of the vaccination rates needed to achieve herd immunity. The situation is being made worse because the delta strain is more transmissable than previous versions of the coronavirus.
7th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

Singapore omits Sinovac shots from COVID-19 vaccination tally

People who received Sinovac Biotech shots are excluded from Singapore's count of total vaccinations against COVID-19, officials in the city state said, citing inadequate efficacy data for the Chinese-made vaccine, especially against the contagious Delta variant. "We don't really have a medical or scientific basis or have the data now to establish how effective Sinovac is in terms of infection and severe illnesses on Delta," health minister Ong Ye Kung said
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Desperate Indonesians search for oxygen as virus cases soar

With his aunt gasping for breath at home from her COVID-19 infection, 17-year-old Ridho Milhasan took matters into his own hands Wednesday and went to find her some oxygen. After his uncle scrounged an empty tank from a friend, Milhasan found an oxygen filling station in southern Jakarta, waited in the long line of others also in desperate need, and emerged triumphantly after three hours with the supply he needed. “My aunt badly needed this oxygen,” he said before strapping the oxygen container to his small scooter. “This pandemic is getting dire.”
7th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Bangladesh hits record COVID cases amid fears of oxygen crisis

The country reports 11,525 cases, the highest in a day since the pandemic started, as authorities fear a shortage of medical oxygen could worsen the crisis.
7th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

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Israel to ship 700K Pfizer doses to South Korea in swap deal

Israel is sending 700,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to South Korea in exchange for a future shipment of vaccines from South Korea to Israel. Under the deal, Israel will transfer the Pfizer vaccines to South Korea in an effort to inoculate more of the Asian nation’s citizens this month. South Korea will send the same number of doses to Israel as early as September, the officials added. “This is a win-win deal,” Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in his statement. The agreement will “reduce the holes” in the vaccine’s availability. Jung Eun-kyeong, South Korea’s top infectious disease expert, confirmed the deal. She said the Seoul government will continue to pursue swap deals with other countries.
6th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Covid bubbles to be axed in England's schools

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the system of sending "bubbles" of children home after a positive case would cease at the end of summer term. The bubble system had been necessary to limit virus spread but was now causing disruption to pupils' lives, he said. Teaching unions warned against easing rules as cases are still rising. The changes to schools guidance will take effect at the same time as the country eases restrictions and moves to stage four. This is expected to be on 19 July - with confirmation of this due next Monday.
6th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Morepen Laboratories produces test batch of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia's sovereign wealth fund), and Morepen Laboratories, one of the leading manufacturers of pharmaceutical products in India, today announced the production of the test batch of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in an exclusive facility in state of Himachal Pradesh. The first batch will be shipped to the Gamaleya Center for the quality control. RDIF and Morepen Laboratories signed a cooperation agreement in June 2021 and are actively implementing the technology transfer.
6th Jul 2021 - Business Standard

COVID-19: Londoners who get first vaccine jab can win Euro 2020 final tickets, says mayor Sadiq Khan

Londoners are being offered the chance to win tickets to the Euro 2020 final if they sign up for their first COVID jab. The city's mayor, Sadiq Khan, is putting up one pair of tickets for Sunday's final at Wembley, as well as 50 pairs for the fan zone in Trafalgar Square. To be eligible, people need to show proof they have been to a walk-in vaccination centre for their first dose, or have booked an appointment.
6th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Crackdown on ‘vaccine sommeliers’ as Covid pandemic grips Brazil

Cities across Brazil are clamping down on “vaccine sommeliers” who seek to cherrypick their Covid shots despite the devastating epidemic still gripping Latin America’s largest nation. More than half a million Brazilians have lost their lives to an outbreak the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, stands accused of ruinously mishandling. Yet some citizens have shown themselves to be perplexingly selective about which brand of vaccine they receive. “We’re pioneering a new occupation here in Brazil: the vaccine sommeliers,” Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, complained last month amid mounting reports about over-picky residents turning down certain vaccines at health posts.
6th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Indonesia copes with oxygen shortages as COVID cases quadruple

Indonesia is struggling with one of Asia’s worst coronavirus outbreaks as new cases more than quadrupled in a month, prompting a critical shortage of oxygen in several areas. At least 33 people died at a hospital in Yogyakarta when its supply ran out over the weekend and the government on Monday asked oxygen producers to send all their supplies to hospitals and clinics.
6th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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Morocco's Sothema to produce China's Sinopharm vaccine

Moroccan pharmaceutical firm Sothema will soon start production of 5 million doses a month of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in the North African country, state news agency MAP reported on Monday. The announcement was made at a ceremony chaired by King Mohammed VI during which the Moroccan government, Sinopharm and Sothema, whose formal name is Société Thérapeutique Marocaine, also signed deals to produce the vaccine in Morocco, which has a population of about 36 million.
5th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Indonesia seeks more oxygen for COVID-19 sick amid shortage

Parts of Indonesia lack oxygen supplies as the number of critically ill COVID-19 patients who need it increases, the nation's pandemic response leader said Monday, after dozens of sick people died at a public hospital that ran out of its central supply. “Due to an increase of three to four times the amount (of oxygen) needed, the distribution has been hampered,” said Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the coordinating maritime affairs and investment minister. The government is asking oxygen producers to dedicate their full supply to medical needs and will import it if needed, Pandjaitan said at the virtual news conference.
5th Jul 2021 - The Independent

'Call of duty': Indonesian bikers brave COVID-19 surge to escort ambulances

Indonesian volunteer biker Sebastian Dwiyantoro and his team have been particularly busy helping ambulances navigate heavy traffic in Jakarta's satellite city of Depok to get COVID-19 patients to hospital as infections soar in the country. The volunteers ride motorbikes in front of the ambulances, the deafening noise of the sirens behind them, freeing up space and stopping other cars to make way for ambulances carrying the sick to medical facilities or corpses to graveyards. Indonesia has been reporting more than 20,000 new cases and over 400 deaths per day over the past week as the spread of the more contagious Delta variant accelerated infections and strained the country's healthcare sector
5th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Vaccination for people aged 18-34 opens at more than 800 pharmacies

Vaccinations against Covid-19 for people aged between 18 and 34 begin on Monday in Ireland, as more than 800 pharmacies across the country begin administering the one-shot Janssen/Johnson & Johnson jab. The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) recently changed its advice to allow people aged under 40 to receive the J&J and AstraZeneca shots as the State seeks to widen the vaccine rollout amid concern about the spread of the Delta variant. The news comes as the limit is removed on the number of people who can visit a private home together if they are all fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 in the previous 9 months.
5th Jul 2021 - Irish Times

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The UK's preparing to administer COVID vaccine booster shots, and Australia is set to follow suit

The UK has become the first nation in the world to plan a third round of COVID-19 vaccinations for vulnerable Britons, with a booster program that would shore up resistance to the virus ahead of winter. Preparations to roll out the vaccine to elderly populations from September are awaiting final medical advice, but the move marks a step in the global vaccine race as the UK turns its attention towards providing ongoing resistance to COVID-19 and new variants.
4th Jul 2021 - ABC News

Covid wards in the D.C. area are almost empty. Doctors credit the coronavirus vaccine.

Just six months ago, the covid-19 unit at Sibley Memorial Hospital was full and doctors at the Northwest D.C. hospital were grappling with a winter surge in pandemic patients. Today, the 25-bed ward is empty, said Michael Lee, the hospitalist medical director. There have been virtually no covid-19 patients for four weeks. It’s a trend that doctors say they are seeing across the D.C. region as vaccinations have led to increased immunity, sending hospitalizations and deaths plunging.
3rd Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

Indonesia triples oxygen supplies as Covid-19 outbreak worsens

Indonesia is tripling its oxygen supplies to hospitals as data suggests the Delta variant of coronavirus is now driving the country’s worsening outbreak, accounting for more than 60% of recent cases. Indonesia’s health minister, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, told the Guardian that three-quarters of the national oxygen production used for industry would be redeployed to hospitals for the next two weeks. “We learned from India to make sure the supply is there,” he said.
3rd Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Putin's 'Lockdown Lite' as Moscow Stops Millions From Dining Out

As the Covid-19 pandemic rears up again in Russia, President Vladimir Putin is following Israel’s example as Moscow stops millions of residents from entering bars and restaurants without proof of vaccination or recovery from the illness. But mindful of hostility to the vaccines in Russia ahead of key elections, he’s steering away from making the shots mandatory nationwide. “Damn!” swore a 26-year-old who gave his name as Nikolai, as staff refused him entry to a bar in downtown Moscow, on a recent evening. In the end he got a beer and sat sullenly in the rain at the venue’s outside tables. City authorities have allowed summer terraces to accept all customers, but only until July 12.
3rd Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

Moscow Tightens the Clamp on Russia’s Millions of Covid-19 Vaccine Holdouts

Russia is adopting increasingly coercive measures to convince Russians to be vaccinated, as authorities try to reboot a flailing vaccination campaign and race to beat back a surge in Covid-19 cases caused by the more infectious Delta variant. Local authorities in some areas of Russia have made vaccination compulsory for service-sector employees, meaning that millions of workers, ranging from hairdressers to bank tellers, face the threat of unpaid leave if they don’t get inoculated. Restaurants and shops could be closed for months if they don’t have 60% vaccinated staff by mid-July. And as of late June, only the inoculated, those who have recovered in the past six months or who have a negative test can enter Moscow restaurants and coffee shops.
3rd Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

15 million people in the U.S. have missed their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, CDC says

Nearly 15 million people — or more than one in 10 of those eligible in the United States — have missed their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC data shows that as of June 16, nearly 11 percent of people who had sufficient time to get the second dose missed their ideal window. The number has increased from 8 percent earlier in the year, but CDC spokesperson Kate Fowlie said the rise was “not unexpected.”
2nd Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

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Bolivian hospital connects COVID-19 patients and loved ones with virtual visits

Ruth Lagos has come to the Cotahuma Municipal Hospital in the highland Bolivian city of La Paz for a "virtual" visit with her mother and father who are being treated for COVID-19. Not allowed to see them in person, and like many Bolivians not having enough internet bandwidth at home, Lagos is taking advantage of an innovative new idea: a video call booth at the hospital's entrance, which connects patients inside with their loved ones.
1st Jul 2021 - Reuters

S.African medics threaten court action as staff shortages hit COVID response

The South African Medical Association threatened on Thursday to take the government to court because scores of new junior doctors cannot find placements despite staff shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. SAMA said it was "scandalous" that, during a third wave of infections, 228 medical interns who graduated in March and April were waiting for the government to place them at public hospitals to complete their training.
1st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Moscow begins booster vaccine campaign as Russia's COVID-19 cases surge

Health clinics in Moscow will begin offering booster vaccine shots against COVID-19 on Thursday, the city's mayor said, as Russian officials scramble to contain a surge in cases blamed on the highly infectious Delta variant. The health ministry issued new regulations for the national inoculation program on Wednesday, recommending clinics begin administering booster doses to people vaccinated six months ago or more, making Russia one of the first countries globally to begin re-vaccination. The health ministry said campaign was an emergency measure as coronavirus cases in Russia rise sharply and vaccination rates remain low.
1st Jul 2021 - MSN

NHS GPs giving second Covid jabs just three weeks apart

Hundreds of GPs are administering second Covid jabs just three weeks after the first in defiance of NHS advice, triggering a rebuke from the UK’s vaccines authority. The rollout of second doses up to nine weeks earlier than official guidance has prompted concern over a postcode lottery in access to protection against coronavirus. GP vaccinators, high street pharmacies and some mass vaccination centres and pop-up jab clinics in different parts of England have taken the decision to offer second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab after three weeks and of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after four weeks. Doctors say their unofficial and “pragmatic” policy of shorter gaps between doses is boosting the immunisation drive ahead of what has been dubbed “Freedom Day” on 19 July and ensures vaccines are not wasted, especially amid the spread of the Delta variant.
1st Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Euro soccer tournament under fire for helping spread COVID-19

The Euro 2020 soccer tournament was on Thursday blamed for a surge in coronavirus cases as fans have flocked to stadiums, bars and spectator zones across Europe to watch the action while the pandemic still raged. Germany's interior minister called European soccer's governing body UEFA "utterly irresponsible" for allowing big crowds at the tournament. The World Health Organization (WHO) said the mixing of crowds in Euro 2020 host cities, travel and easing of social restrictions had driven up the number of new cases rose by 10%.
1st Jul 2021 - Reuters

California virus cases rising as delta variant spreads

California broadly reopened its economy barely two weeks ago and since then an especially contagious coronavirus variant has spread among the unvaccinated, a development that has health officials on edge and already has prompted Los Angeles County to strongly recommend everyone resume wearing masks inside. The nation’s most populous state is averaging close to 1,000 additional cases reported daily, an increase of about 17% in the last 14 days. Officials expected an increase when capacity limits were lifted for businesses and most mask restrictions and social distancing requirements were eliminated for vaccinated people. But public health officials raised concern this week with the more transmissible delta variant spreading among the unvaccinated, who comprise the vast majority of new infections. LA County, where a quarter of the state’s nearly 40 million people live, recommended Monday that vaccinated residents resume wearing face coverings indoors after detecting that about half of all cases were the delta variant.
1st Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Israel scrambles to curb jump in COVID infections

Authorities are racing to vaccinate children and are considering tighter travel restrictions at the country’s main airport. The Health Ministry on Thursday reported 307 new cases on Wednesday, the highest in nearly three months and a rise from 293 newly-diagnosed cases a day earlier. The health ministry reportedly expects those numbers to jump in coming days, raising concerns that Israel is plunging back toward a crisis. In recent months, Israel has reopened businesses, schools and event venues, lifting nearly all restrictions after it inoculated some 85% of the adult population. It’s now seen as an early-warning system of sorts for other nations. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday announced a drive to inoculate thousands of children by mid-month.
1st Jul 2021 - Associated Press

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Covid-19: GP staff have faced threats and abuse during vaccination programme, poll finds

Over half (52%) of GP practice staff have received threats of physical abuse while working on the covid-19 vaccination programme, a survey has found. The poll of 222 GP practice staff by the Medical Protection Society (MPS) also found that over half (53%) of staff said that their surgery or vaccination centre had been defaced by anti-vaccination material. The survey included GPs, nurses, and practice managers at surgeries in the UK. One respondent said, “Staff of all disciplines are leaving the profession in droves because of the behaviour of the public creating unbearable working situations. Morale is the lowest I have ever known, anyone near retirement is retiring early.” Another said, “Abuse—especially written and posted in the prescription box on the gate—has resulted in staff being very concerned for their safety at the surgery.”
30th Jun 2021 - The BMJ

England aims to lift restrictions in schools in final stage of lockdown easing, minister says

British education minister Gavin Williamson on Wednesday said he expects to be able to end the restrictions and bubble system in England's schools when other freedoms are regained in the last step out of lockdown, scheduled for July 19. The current system can result in entire classes of pupils being asked to self isolate if one of their classmates tests positive for COVID-19. "What I want to see is these restrictions, including bubbles removed as quickly as possible, along with wider restrictions in society," Williamson told lawmakers.
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters

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Mexico suggests tweaked border restrictions with U.S. as vaccinations advance

Mexico's foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday the Mexican government had suggested to U.S. counterparts that travel restrictions on their shared border should change as vaccination programs advance. Restrictions on non-essential travel over the U.S.-Mexico border were first imposed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and have been extended in 30-day increments.
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Royal Caribbean cruises out of Florida to require unvaccinated passengers buy travel insurance

Royal Caribbean cruises departing from Florida are requiring unvaccinated passengers above the age of 12 to buy travel insurance for medical and travel costs that could occur if they get COVID-19. The company announced on Tuesday unvaccinated passengers must get $25,000 in medical expense insurance and $50,000 insurance for quarantine and medical evacuation costs. The insurance is required for cruises that leave from Florida from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31. The policy will not apply to people who booked their cruises between March 19 and Monday.
29th Jun 2021 - The Hill

Israel may have to throw away nearly 1 million COVID vaccines

In Israel, the Health Ministry will destroy at least 800,000 expiring coronavirus vaccine doses if no buyers are found for them in the next two weeks, according to a report Monday. The doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines, set to expire at the end of July, are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Kan public broadcaster. Israel’s search for a taker for the shots come as many countries are expanding their vaccination drives to combat the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus, which has sent case numbers in some places soaring.
29th Jun 2021 - The Times of Israel

Sanofi to invest 400 million euros in a mRNA vaccines facility

Sanofi will invest about 400 million euros ($476 million) annually in research and development of next-generation vaccines using mRNA technologies, which proved their efficiency in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 jabs. Sanofi added on Tuesday that its "mRNA Center of Excellence" will bring together around 400 employees based at existing sites close to Lyon in southern France and in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is expected to produce a minimum of six clinical candidates by 2025. "During the COVID-19 pandemic, mRNA technologies demonstrated potential to deliver new vaccines faster than ever before", said Jean-Francois Toussaint, global head of R&D at Sanofi Pasteur, the company's vaccines division.
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters

As infections rise, Cuban doctors fan out to encourage COVID jabs

There is a health clinic on every corner in Havana, each with a family doctor and nurse. Over the last weeks, these health workers have been out visiting their patients in the Cuban capital, from the solares – warren-like buildings where whole families live in single rooms – to smarter apartments in crumbling art deco buildings where memories of wealth still show in grand windows looking out over the Florida Straits. They have been telling residents the coronavirus vaccine has arrived and giving out appointments for jabs. This scene has been repeated across the city, and – so long as there are enough syringes to administer doses – will soon be repeated across the country.
29th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

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Vaccination rules begin at Moscow restaurants

Restaurants and cafes in Moscow on Monday began requesting that patrons provide proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test as the Russian capital faces a surge of new infections. According to a decision by city authorities last week, all Moscow restaurants, cafes and bars must only admit customers who have been vaccinated, have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months or can provide a negative coronavirus test from the previous 72 hours. As proof of vaccination for entering a restaurant, customers must visit a government website and get a QR code, a digital pattern designed to be read by a scanner
28th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Hong Kong bans flights from ‘high risk’ UK to curb virus

Hong Kong will ban all passenger flights from the UK starting Thursday as it seeks to curb the spread of new variants of the coronavirus. In a Hong Kong government statement on Monday, the UK was classified as “extremely high risk“ because of the “recent rebound of the epidemic situation in the UK and the widespread Delta variant virus strain there”.
28th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Anatomy of a health conundrum: The racial gap in vaccinations

The United States is awash in coronavirus vaccines, with free beer, plane tickets and million-dollar prizes dangled as inducements to persuade the reluctant to get a shot. Philadelphia is doling out $400,000 in giveaways. Despite that, a racial divide persists in the nation’s vaccination campaign, with federal figures showing counties with higher percentages of Black residents having some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. An examination of city and federal vaccination data and interviews with more than 20 researchers, doctors, health officials and residents in the nation’s sixth-largest city opens a window onto the missteps and misunderstandings, the legacy and loss that have fostered the disproportionate pain of death and disease in communities of color. Coronavirus immunizations are the latest iteration of the pandemic’s unequal burden.
28th Jun 2021 - The Washington Post

Hong Kong to ban passenger flights from UK to curb virus

Hong Kong says it will ban all passenger flights from the U.K. starting Thursday as it seeks to curb the spread of new variants of the coronavirus. It said in a statement Monday that the U.K. has been classified as “extremely high risk“ because of the “recent rebound of the epidemic situation in the U.K. and the widespread delta variant virus strain there.” Under the classification, people who have stayed in the U.K. for more than two hours will be restricted from boarding passenger flights to Hong Kong.
28th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Amid COVID dip, Pakistan to ease some flight restrictions

With active cases of the coronavirus continuing to drop in Pakistan, authorities say they have decided to ease incoming flight restrictions from several countries, including all the European countries, Canada, China and Malaysia. Direct flights from these countries will be allowed to operate at 40 percent of their full schedule of flights, a government document said, with the new regulations coming into effect on July 1.
28th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

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As variant rises, vaccine plan targets 'movable middle'

Thrown off-stride to reach its COVID-19 vaccination goal, the Biden administration is sending A-list officials across the country, devising ads for niche markets and enlisting community organizers to persuade unvaccinated people to get a shot. The strategy has the trappings of a political campaign, complete with data crunching to identify groups that can be won over. But the message is about public health, not ideology. The focus is a group health officials term the “movable middle” — some 55 million unvaccinated adults seen as persuadable, many of them under 30.
27th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

India set to shift T20 World Cup to UAE due to pandemic - sources

This year's Twenty20 World Cup is set to be shifted to the United Arab Emirates due to the COVID-19 situation in India, Indian cricket board sources told Reuters on Saturday. The pandemic swept the world's second-most populous nation last year, resulting in a lengthy shutdown. Infections have rocketed again in another wave this year as the country scrambles to curb a more transmissible variant of the virus, hitting plans to ease lockdown measures.
27th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Leeds waits for vaccine as Covid rates go sky-high in student areas

Heading back to their student halls with a bottle of wine, 19-year-olds Roz Monaghan and Mackenzie Bradley-Wilkinson are feeling tense. The pair live in the Hyde Park area of Leeds, where Covid-19 rates are the highest in the country, more than 10 times the average. A combination of a majority-unvaccinated population, a return to face-to-face teaching, good weather and the end of exams has sent Covid rates in Leeds’s student area sky-high. While the UK average is 105 cases per 100,000 people, the case rate in the Hyde Park ward is a huge 1,547 per 100,000 people and it is rising rapidly. In neighbouring Hyde Park Corner and Woodhouse Cliff, there are 1,044 cases per 100,000 people.
27th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Germany expects faster Moderna COVID-19 vaccine deliveries

Germany expects drugmaker Moderna Inc to deliver COVID-19 vaccines faster than expected, helping it ramp up vaccinations in coming months, the health ministry said on Sunday. Moderna will increase its deliveries to 1.33 million doses a week in July from 733,000 previously expected, raising the figure to 2.57 million a week in August and 2.95 million a week in September, the ministry said. Moderna said last week it hopes to be able to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines it has promised to Germany more quickly than originally planned, without giving figures.
27th Jun 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Another 175000 Janssen Covid vaccine doses to be offered in the coming weeks

An additional 175,000 doses of the Janssen Vaccine will be made available to the Netherlands residents in the coming weeks, the Health Ministry announced. An initial batch of 200,000 doses was already offered from Wednesday, marking the first time the Dutch were able to express their preference for their choice of a Covid-19 jab. The Janssen Vaccine was highly sought after by many people this week as it only requires one shot for maximum protection. The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines require two doses for a person to be considered fully vaccinated, unless they have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection in the past. "With summer just around the corner, the interest in the Janssen vaccine is enormous," Health Minister Hugo de Jonge wrote on Twitter. "That is why it is great that an additional 175,000 doses will become available in the coming weeks with an extra delivery. A safe and effective vaccine of which one shot is sufficient."
26th Jun 2021 - NL Times

Amid high vaccine hesitancy, PCMC to launch vaccination drive in Khandevasti slum on Monday

Khandevasti, which has nearly 3,000 residents, is one of the four big slum clusters in Savale’s ward where vaccination penetration has been low. Only around 750 people have been vaccinated so far as vaccine hesitancy runs high. “Unfortunately, vaccine hesitancy is high in the slums. Rumours of people dying because of the vaccine prevents many from approaching the vaccination centres,” said Savale. This situation stems from people preferring to believe in local myths and godmen rather than doctors or staff of the civic body, she said.
26th Jun 2021 - The Indian Express

'Grab a jab' vaccine drive underway across England as cases continue to rise

Hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites including stadiums and shopping centres will be open in England this weekend in a drive to have people jabbed as Covid-19 cases continue to rise. NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the country was in a “race to the finish line” in its vaccination programme as summer freedoms loom. The “grab a jab” campaign comes as the UK recorded a further 15,810 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 9am on Friday – up 50% on the 10,476 new cases reported a week earlier.
25th Jun 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

More UK Covid-19 patients are requiring oxygen and intensive care, doctors reveal

Although hospitalisations have crept up slowly in recent weeks, medical experts are warning that patients in intensive care are becoming sicker when they come into hospital with Covid symptoms.
25th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

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UN-backed program trims forecast to supply COVID-19 vaccine

A public health group that manages the U.N.-backed program to ship COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries is paring back its supply forecast for this year by more than 100 million doses, largely because a key Indian manufacturer has focused on needs at home. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, says it now projects that the COVAX program can supply just under 1.9 billion doses this year -- including about 1.2 billion provided for free to 92 poor countries -- down from original targets of more than 2 billion doses. The shortfall comes because the Serum Institute of India -- a pivotal producer of vaccines for COVAX -- has reverted supplies to needy people in India, as its government scrambled to fight a spike in infections. So far, COVAX has only distributed about 90 million doses, far short of its original plans.
24th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Russia's new COVID-19 cases surge to highest since January

Russia's holiday resort region on the Black Sea told tourists on Thursday it would not let them visit later this summer without a COVID-19 vaccination, part of a government campaign to speed up the inoculation drive amid a wave of infections. The number of confirmed nationwide cases surged to 20,182 on Thursday, the most confirmed in a single day since Jan. 24. Both Moscow and St Petersburg recorded their most coronavirus-related deaths in a single day since the pandemic began
24th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: School proms hit by continuing lockdown restrictions

Fiona Drake, who runs Cinderella Ball Gowns and Beauty in nearby Histon, has had a similar experience. "We had hundreds of dresses sitting in our store - with no events to go to," she says. Remembering the pre-prom excitement of early 2020 - before the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK with its full force - her shop was full of girls ordering dresses for their summer leaving parties, she says. "We put the dresses on order, paid for them, and then no-one wanted them. "It was a bit of a nightmare for us, really." This year, however, she says she was excited to hear proms were starting up again, before the delay to lifting lockdown was announced. While most proms have been rescheduled, she says, some have been cancelled.
24th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Britain wants to allow travel again but is wary -minister

PM says double vaccine shot process can open up travel. Transport minister to set out green list countries. Anger rises over travel restrictions. Germany's Merkel: Europe should quarantine Britons.
24th Jun 2021 - Reuters UK

Hong Kong bans passenger flights from Indonesia over COVID-19 fears

Hong Kong will ban passenger flights from Indonesia from Friday, deeming the country's arrivals "extremely high risk" for the coronavirus. The Hong Kong government said late on Wednesday it was suspending flights after the number of imported COVID-19 cases from Indonesia crossed thresholds set by the global financial hub. Hong Kong has already banned arrivals from India, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines, using a flight suspension rule triggered when there are five or more passengers who test positive for one of the variant COVID-19 cases on arrival, or 10 or more passengers found to have any strain of the disease while in quarantine
24th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Another NHS Trust issues black alert

Another hospital in England has been forced to declare a “black alert” after more than 300 patients descended on its Emergency Department (ED), allegedly causing wait times of up to seven hours. An email sent to staff at Derriford Hospital, in Plymouth, this morning warned that Tuesday had been a “busy evening, with 305 attendances and 109 ambulances in ED yesterday”. The internal message, seen by The Independent, said the hospital was operating above its capacity – at “101.5 per cent occupancy in medicine, and 96 per cent overall” – meaning there were not enough beds on wards to admit some A&E patients to.
24th Jun 2021 - The Independent

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More than 150 Houston hospital workers resign or are fired for refusing to have Covid-19 vaccine

More than 150 employees at a Houston hospital resigned or were fired Tuesday after they refused to follow a hospital policy requiring they get vaccinated against Covid-19. A spokesperson for the hospital, Houston Methodist Baytown, said that among 200 employees who were told they needed to be vaccinated by June 7 or face a two-week suspension, 153 either resigned or were terminated. The departures came after a judge dismissed an employee lawsuit over the vaccine requirement.
23rd Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

WHO cites concerns about Russian Sputnik V plant, which says issues resolved

The World Health Organization said its review of how Russia produces the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine had found some issues with the filling of vials at one plant, which said it had since addressed all of the WHO's concerns. The Sputnik V shot, widely used in Russia and approved for use in over 60 countries, is undergoing a review by the WHO and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Their approval could open up new markets for the shot, especially in Europe.
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Novartis aims to bottle more than 50 mln doses of BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in 2021

Novartis aims to help manufacture more than 50 million doses of BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 at its Stein, Switzerland fill-and-finish facility, the Swiss drugmaker said, after the European Union's drug regulator approved the bottling plant.
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Machine that can 'sniff out' coronavirus particles in the air goes on trial in North East

A revolutionary new system which can detect COVID-19 particles in the air is being trialled in the North East. Its developers say it could help provide early warning of the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses, enabling a more rapid response to potential outbreaks. Two units, which are about the size of an office printer, are now in situ at Teesside International Airport and at a primary school.
23rd Jun 2021 - Sky News

NHS alarm over rise in number of UK Covid patients on ventilators

NHS bosses have sounded the alarm over the number of people on ventilators in hospital in the UK, which has risen over the past week. The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said the number of Covid patients in hospital on ventilation beds had increased by 41% in the last week to 227, which she said was a strong indication Covid was having an impact on health services. Cordery told BBC Breakfast: “Trusts on the frontline are really coming under huge pressure ... they have plans in place to tackle the backlog, but with more Covid cases and demand for emergency care going up, that’s really challenging.”
23rd Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Israel faces fresh Covid surge and calls for teens to be jabbed as even fully vaccinated catch Delta

Israel recorded 125 new cases on Monday - the most cases per day since April New cases come as Israel rolled back nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions Nearly a third of the new cases recorded in the past week have been found in vaccinated people, with many of the new infections being the delta variant More than 55 percent of Israel's population - some 5.2 million people - have received both doses of the vaccine
22nd Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Michigan confirms 25 cases of COVID-19's highly contagious delta variant

The news is good when it comes to coronavirus in Michigan and most of the U.S. — as case rates continue to fall, the percentage of positive tests drops to the lowest point since the start of the pandemic and hospitalizations and deaths from the virus dwindle. The country is headed for a "bright summer. Prayerfully, a summer of joy," President Joe Biden said at a Friday news conference. But he said he is still concerned about people who haven't been vaccinated and their risk as a more contagious — and potentially more deadly — variant gains a bigger foothold in the U.S. Called the delta variant, this strain originated in India and swept through that nation in April and May, causing a massive surge in cases and thousands of deaths. Since then, it has spread to more than 80 countries, including the U.S., and pushed the United Kingdom to extend coronavirus restrictions as case rates climbed.
22nd Jun 2021 - Detroit Free Press on MSN.com

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Wembley to have crowd of 60000 for Euro semis and final - UK govt

Crowd capacity at Wembley Stadium will be increased to more than 60,000 fans for the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020, the British government said on Tuesday. The new levels mean the stadium will be at 75% capacity for the final three games, which conclude with the final on July 11. All ticket holders will need to have either a negative COVID-19 test or proof of full vaccination - two doses received 14 days before the fixture. The announcement came after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called on Monday for the final to be moved from England due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country
22nd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Eating Disorders Surged Among Adolescents in Pandemic

Experts across the country who treat eating disorders in adolescents and young adults say they are seeing unprecedented demand for treatment that arose during the pandemic. Inpatient units have doubled or tripled capacity, wait lists for residential programs and outpatient services are months long, and the patients coming in are sicker than ever. Experts say they have seen the biggest increase during the past year in anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder where people deprive themselves of food. Other disorders being seen include bulimia nervosa, where people binge on food and then try to get rid of it with laxatives or vomiting, and binge-eating disorder, where people consume excessive amounts of food in a short period.
22nd Jun 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Almost 900 Secret Service employees were infected with COVID

Roughly 900 U.S. Secret Service employees tested positive for the coronavirus, according to government records obtained by a government watchdog group. Secret Service records show that 881 people on the agency payroll were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1, 2020 and March 9, 2021, according to documents obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. More than 11% of Secret Service employees were infected. Secret Service spokesperson Justine Whelan said COVID testing of employees was pro-active with more than 25,000 tests being administered.
22nd Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Israel Sees Highest COVID Daily Infections in Two Months as Delta Variant Spreads

The highest daily coronavirus infection rate in two months was registered in Israel on Monday, with 125 people testing positive after local outbreaks of the delta variant had been reported across the country. The director-general of the Health Ministry, Chezy Levy, told Israeli television that about 70 per cent of the new infections were with the Delta variant. He also noted that half of those infected were children, and that a third of those infected had been vaccinated.
22nd Jun 2021 - Haaretz

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Authorities say doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are set to 'ramp up' from August

The coordinator of Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout says supplies are being "carefully managed" ahead of a major ramping up of doses from August. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is quarantining at The Lodge in Canberra following an overseas trip, met via teleconference with state and territory leaders on Monday to discuss the rollout. Premiers have been critical of a shortage of supplies. Lieutenant General John Frewen, who is in charge of logistics for the vaccine rollout and briefed the national cabinet, told reporters the premiers had now been given a detailed breakdown of what supplies they can expect, including dose number forecasts.
21st Jun 2021 - SBS News

Moderna set to expand Covid-19 vaccine production

Moderna Inc is adding two new production lines at its coronavirus vaccine manufacturing plant, as it prepares to ramp up booster shot production. The US biotech firm’s plans will increase overall production capacity at its Massachusetts plant by 50 per cent, the Wall Street Journal first reported. The move indicates that Moderna expects the market for Covid-19 vaccines to endure as lockdown restrictions ease but strains of the virus remain in countries around the world.
21st Jun 2021 - City A.M.

Repeat Coronavirus Vaccination Needed After 6 Months, Russian Health Minister Says

Russians who were vaccinated against the coronavirus over six months ago should revaccinate themselves for extra protection as the country grapples with the third wave of the pandemic, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said Monday. Moscow, the epicenter of the pandemic in Russia, reported its highest-ever number of Covid-19 cases in a single day this weekend as the fast-spreading Delta variant first detected in India accounts for 90% of all infections in the capital. The variant is more resistant to Covid-19 antibodies which gradually decline after one is vaccinated or recovers from the virus.
21st Jun 2021 - The Moscow Times

US extends Covid-19 travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico

The United States has extended Covid-19 restrictions on non-essential travel at land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico until July 21, according to a tweet from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Sunday. "To reduce the spread of #COVID19, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through July 21, while ensuring access for essential trade & travel," DHS wrote.
21st Jun 2021 - CNN

Portugal speeds up vaccination as COVID-19 infections rise

As the Delta coronavirus variant continues to spread, Portuguese authorities are scrambling to bring a worrying spike in cases under control and said they would accelerate vaccinations and increase testing. Just over 25% of the population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Portugal, a country of 10 million that faced its toughest battle against the virus in January. Most of those fully vaccinated are older or more vulnerable but a recent rise in cases around the populous Lisbon area led authorities to speed up the vaccination campaign, especially among younger people.
21st Jun 2021 - Reuters

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S.Korea to mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccine doses for 760000 people

Some 760,000 South Koreans who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca Plc's COVID-19 vaccine will be offered Pfizer Inc's vaccine as a second shot due to shipment delays by global vaccine sharing scheme COVAX, the government said. Several countries, including Canada and Spain, have already approved such dose-mixing mainly due to concerns about rare and potentially fatal blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
19th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Argentine lab makes first half million doses of Russian COVID-19 vaccine

Argentine laboratory Richmond said on Friday that it had produced almost half a million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, the first made in the country. The vaccines await approval from the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) and Russia's Gamaleya Institute for their release, Richmond said in a tweet. "We appreciate the hard work it took our staff to achieve this first objective, and continue with our commitment to have local vaccine production," it said.
19th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Afghanistan running out of oxygen as COVID surge worsens

Afghanistan’s is racing to ramp up supplies of oxygen as a deadly third surge of COVID-19 worsens, a senior health official told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday. The government is installing oxygen supply plants in 10 provinces where up to 65% of those tested in some areas are COVID positive, health ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigir Nazari said. By WHO recommendations, anything higher than 5% shows officials aren’t testing widely enough, allowing the virus to spread unchecked. Afghanistan carries out barely 4,000 tests a day and often much less. Afghanistan’s 24-hour infection count has also continued its upward climb from 1,500 at the end of May when the health ministry was already calling the surge “a crisis,” to more than 2,300 this week. Since the pandemic outbreak, Afghanistan is reporting 101,906 positive cases and 4,122 deaths. But those figures are likely a massive undercount, registering only deaths in hospitals — not the far greater numbers who die at home.
19th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Palestinian Authority calls off vaccine exchange with Israel

The Palestinian Authority announced it has cancelled an agreement with Israeli regarding the exchange of Pfizer vaccines, saying the doses are set to expire soon. Palestinian officials had come under heavy criticism on social media after the agreement was announced, with many accusing them of accepting subpar vaccines and suggesting they might not be effective.
19th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

South Africa deploys army medics to COVID-hit Gauteng province

South Africa is deploying army medical personnel to its commercial hub and most populous province to help health workers battle a surge in coronavirus, the government said on Friday. South Africa, the worst-hit country in the continent, has entered a third COVID wave, with new daily cases doubling over the past two weeks.
19th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

In 2nd school outbreak, 44 kids catch COVID — apparently the Delta variant

At least 44 kids at a middle school in northern Israel have tested positive for coronavirus, local authorities announced Saturday, in the second such outbreak at an Israeli school this week. The town of Binyamina-Giv’at Ada’s said the vast majority of those infected were in seventh and eighth grade.According to Kan news, initial tests indicate the outbreaks there and in Modiin earlier in the week were all of the Delta variant first identified in India, which is more contagious than other variants and may be better able to bypass vaccines. The report said several adults who were infected in the school outbreaks were vaccinated.
19th Jun 2021 - The Times of Israel

Poorer US counties have lower COVID-19 vaccine uptake

A study yesterday in Vaccine reveals socioeconomic disparities in county-level COVID-19 vaccine uptake, with a 32% lower vaccination rate in the most disadvantaged areas. In the study, researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock used the COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index (CCVI) and seven theme scores to identify links between socioeconomic vulnerability and adult vaccination rates in 2,415 counties up to May 25, 2021. To track vaccination rates, they used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker. Two age-groups were considered: 18 years and older and 65 and older.
18th Jun 2021 - CIRAP

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Denmark will offer Covid-19 vaccine to all children aged between 12 and 15 to boost overall immunity ahead of winter

Denmark will offer Covid-19 vaccines for children aged 12-15 after the adult population has been inoculated to boost its overall immunity against the virus ahead of the winter, health authorities announced on Thursday. Initially, offer Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine will be made available for 12-15 year-olds as it is the only vaccine approved by the EU's drug regulator for use in adolescents, the Danish Health Authority said in a statement. The EU regulator expects to announce a decision on the use of Moderna's shot in adolescents sometime next month.
17th Jun 2021 - Yahoo News UK

COVID-19: All over-18s in England able to book vaccine from Friday as Whitty warns of 'surprises' ahead

England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned COVID-19 "has not thrown its last surprise at us and there will be several more over the next period". Speaking at the NHS Confed Conference, he said he is anticipating case rates will continue to go up in the next few weeks due to Delta being "significantly more transmissible" than Alpha. He said: "In terms of the medium term, my expectation is that we will get a further winter surge, late autumn/winter surge.
17th Jun 2021 - Sky News

Hundreds of Indonesian doctors contract Covid-19 despite Sinovac vaccination

More than 350 Indonesian doctors have contracted Covid-19 despite being vaccinated with Sinovac and dozens have been hospitalised, officials said, as concerns rise about the efficacy of some vaccines against more virulent virus strains. Most of the doctors were asymptomatic and self-isolating at home, said Badai Ismoyo, head of the Kudus district health office in Central Java, but dozens were in hospital with high fevers and declining oxygen saturation levels. Kudus is battling an outbreak believed to be driven by the more transmissible Delta variant which has pushed bed occupancy rates above 90 per cent in the district.
17th Jun 2021 - The Independent

England invites all adults to get their COVID-19 vaccines

The health service in England will open up COVID-19 vaccinations to everyone aged over 18 on Friday, a big step towards the government's target of giving every adult who wants a vaccine a first shot in the next month. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday pushed back the full re-opening of England from lockdown until July 19 because of a rise in cases, but also accelerated his vaccination plans, pledging to give every adult a first dose by the same date.
17th Jun 2021 - Reuters

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Turkey surpasses 35M coronavirus vaccine shots administered

Turkey has administered over 35.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine doses since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in mid-January, according to official figures released on Tuesday. More than 21.7 million people have received their first doses, while over 13.9 million have been fully vaccinated, said the Health Ministry count. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca also said in a tweet that over 1.2 million vaccine doses were administered in a single day, indicating another record in the country's mass vaccination campaign. The country currently uses China’s CoronaVac and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in its campaign.
16th Jun 2021 - Daily Sabah

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.
16th Jun 2021 - Channel 4

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
15th Jun 2021 - Business Standard

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.
15th Jun 2021 - Sky News

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.
15th Jun 2021 - BBC News

COVID Delta variant represents 2-4% of French cases -minister Veran

The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus first found in India - which experts estimate to be more infectious than other variants - currently represents 2-4% of confirmed COVID cases in France, said French health minister Olivier Veran on Tuesday. Veran added this meant France was registering between 50-150 cases a day of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which highlighted the importance of sanitary protocol measures and vaccinations to keep the virus at bay. "We are in the process of crushing the virus and crushing the pandemic, and we must in no way let the Indian variant get the upper hand so that it leads to another wave of the pandemic," Veran told reporters at a Paris vaccination centre.
15th Jun 2021 - Reuters

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.
15th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

Troubled J&J vaccine manufacturer Emergent promises to fix plant

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. is promising the Food and Drug Administration a series of fixes in response to an inspection that led to a halt in production at a company facility that had been making Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine. The contract manufacturer said in a letter to the FDA dated April 30 that it would strengthen its biowaste handling processes, put in place new requirements for wearing protective gowns and deliver training to facility personnel, among other steps to ensure the quality of the vaccine, after agency inspectors cited myriad problems in a report earlier that month.
14th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

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Covid hospital cases 'would match first peak' if June 21 Freedom Day went ahead

England faced a wave of Covid hospital cases as high as the first peak if Boris Johnson went ahead with the June 21 'Freedom Day', government advisors believe. The Prime Minister was forced to delay the easing of lockdown until July 19 after the Delta variant, said to be between 40% and 80% more transmissible than the Kent strain, had spread rapidly. Now, new modelling by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) - a SAGE subgroup - has revealed just how risky scrapping all social distancing could have been. Among the experts' worst case scenarios was that hospitalisations would reach around the peak of the first wave, when there were more than 3,000 new UK patients per day, compared to under 200 a day now.
14th Jun 2021 - The Mirror

J&J will export more COVID-19 vaccines to South Africa beyond 300,000 doses already promised - Aspen CEO

Johnson & Johnson will be exporting more ready-to-administer doses to the South African government beyond the 300,000 that was been announced by the local drug regulator on Sunday, CEO of Aspen Pharmacare said on Monday. Aspen is the local manufacturer of J&J's COVID-19 vaccine.
14th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus infections dropping where people are vaccinated, rising where they are not, Post analysis finds

States with higher vaccination rates now have markedly fewer coronavirus cases, as infections are dropping in places where most residents have been immunized and are rising in many places people have not, a Washington Post analysis has found. States with lower vaccination also have significantly higher hospitalization rates, The Post found. Poorly vaccinated communities have not been reporting catastrophic conditions. Instead, they are usually seeing new infections holding steady or increasing without overwhelming local hospitals. As recently as 10 days ago, vaccination rates did not predict a difference in coronavirus cases, but immunization rates have diverged, and case counts in the highly vaccinated states are dropping quickly.
14th Jun 2021 - The Washington Post

America’s broken PPE supply chain must be fixed now

Almost everyone knows by now that the U.S. was ill-prepared to combat Covid-19. But few realize that the structural problems in the supply chain that plagued the government’s response haven’t been fixed. It’s crucial to address these vulnerabilities now. There’s no telling when the inevitable next health crisis will hit. Consider the government’s disastrous distribution of emergency medical supplies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in charge of the Strategic National Stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirators, gloves, gowns, and face shields, along with ventilators and certain pharmaceuticals, such as antibiotics and antitoxins.
14th Jun 2021 - STAT News

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Moscow residents to have paid leave to curb COVID-19 surge

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced on Saturday that workers in the Russian capital will have paid leave next week in a bid to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19. Sobyanin said in his blog that he has signed a decree designating June 15-19 as non-working days with salaries staying intact, after the city saw a sharp increase in new COVID-19 infections. The mayor said the paid leave applies to enterprises and organizations of all forms of ownership, except for critically important industries. As Saturday to Monday are Russia Day holidays, the "long weekend" in Moscow will last a total of nine days from June 12 to 20, during which catering and entertainment facilities are ordered to be closed from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
12th Jun 2021 - Xinhua

EMA Approves New Manufacturing Site for Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on June 11, 2021 that its committee for human medicines (CHMP) has approved Recipharm’s Monts, France facility for the production of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine finished product. Several other sites were given a positive opinion by CHMP for batch control/testing. The new site follows two other sites approved by CHMP in June for the manufacture of API and finished product intermediates in the United States. “Together, these changes are expected to allow the production of an additional one to two million vials of ready-to-use vaccine for the European Union market every month. This will increase the supply of the vaccine in the European Union,” the agency stated in a press release.
11th Jun 2021 - BioPharm International

The FDA is forcing Johnson & Johnson to throw out millions of doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine produced at a troubled plant in Baltimore

The Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) is forcing Johnson & Johnson to throw out millions of doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine produced at a troubled plant in Baltimore due to contamination concerns. According to The New York Times, 60 million doses were unusable. Another 10 million doses from the plant will be allowed to be distributed but with a warning that the FDA cannot guarantee they were produced using good manufacturing practices, according to the Times. In a statement, the FDA confirmed that it has now authorized two batches of the vaccine. Federal officials "determined several other batches are not suitable for use, but additional batches are still under review and the agency will keep the public informed as those reviews are completed," the agency said.
11th Jun 2021 - The Hill

Southern states have a ‘real vulnerability’ to Delta Covid variant this summer, warns Dr. Peter Hotez

Dr. Peter Hotez warned that Southern U.S. states could feel the impact of the highly transmissible Delta Covid variant as early as this summer, due in part to low vaccination rates. “Here in the South, particularly in Louisiana, Mississippi, we’re seeing really low vaccination rates. And less than 10% of adolescents are vaccinated in many of these southern states, so we have a real vulnerability here,” Hotez said. Just around 30% of the population in many Southeastern states is fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
11th Jun 2021 - CNBC on MSN.com

If you have long Covid, as I did, don’t give up hope. Recovery is possible

I learned that my Covid-19 infection had probably induced a physiological stress response that put my brain in a state of high activation and had an immediate effect on my hormone, heart, gastrointestinal and immune systems. When I got sick, the brain shut me down with fatigue, as it should do, until I recovered. My nervous system scanned for alarm signals, described by the Oslo-based physician Vegard Wyller as “false fatigue alarms”, and after a time, classical conditioning (learned by association) caused the “kickback” symptoms in response to these signals. Finding an explanation, understanding it and accepting it helped me. I am not saying that it will definitely help others suffering from the post-Covid-19 syndrome, but it might
10th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Virtually all hospitalized Covid patients have one thing in common: They're unvaccinated

There are only three Covid-19 patients at Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at North Shore University Hospital, on Long Island, New York — a far cry from when the hospital, which is part of Northwell Health, had as many as 600 patients during the peak of the pandemic. All three patients, who are in the intensive care unit, have one thing in common, said Dr. Hugh Cassiere, director of the hospital's critical care services: They're unvaccinated.
9th Jun 2021 - NBC News

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Covid-19: France reopens restaurants and welcomes back British tourists

Paris waiters smiled and there was a spring in the step of commuters flocking back to offices in France today as near-normal life resumed under bright sunshine after months of restrictions. President Macron voiced “lucid optimism” for the country as restaurants and cafés opened to customers indoors for the first time in seven months, the curfew was pushed back from 9pm to 11pm and the country’s borders were opened to visitors — including those from Britain — without the need to prove a family emergency or a compelling business reason. “Life will resume across our territory,” Macron said. “We are going to reacquaint ourselves with part of our culture, of our art of living.”
10th Jun 2021 - The Times

NHS told to identify patients actually sick from Covid-19 separately to those testing positive

Hospitals have been told to change the way they collect data on patients infected with coronavirus to differentiate between those actually sick with symptoms and those who test positive while seeking treatment for something else. The move would reduce the overall number of patients in hospital for coronavirus as until now data from hospitals has included all patients who tested positive for Covid-19, regardless of whether they had symptoms or not. NHS England has instructed hospitals to make the change to the daily flow of data sent by NHS trusts and told The Independent that the move was being done to help analyse the effect of the vaccine programme and whether it was successfully reducing Covid-19 sickness.
10th Jun 2021 - The Independent

AstraZeneca says working with Southeast Asian nations on vaccine deliveries

AstraZeneca says it is working closely with Southeast Asia governments to ensure its COVID-19 vaccine is supplied "as quickly as possible", after reported delays in deliveries of orders from a Thai plant owned by the country's powerful king.
10th Jun 2021 - Reuters

As more kids go down the ‘deep, dark tunnel’ of long Covid, doctors still can’t predict who is at risk

At 14 years old, Kate Dardis knows what pain feels like and how to work through it. An accomplished gymnast accustomed to training four hours a day, she has met a competitor this year that she can’t beat with exercise or sheer willpower — yet. Rarely sick before a stomachache kept her home from school for three days in October, the Bloomington, Ill., eighth-grader was hit by a headache in January that still hasn’t loosened its grip. Her heart races. Her body aches. She gets winded climbing stairs and feels dizzy when she changes position. Concentrating on schoolwork is difficult remotely and exhausting in person. Kate learned last month from a team of doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital that she is suffering from the post-Covid syndrome better known as long Covid. Her Covid-19 test was negative last fall after some teammates and coaches at her gym tested positive, but in February an antibody test ordered by her pediatrician confirmed she had been infected with Covid-19.
10th Jun 2021 - STAT News

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Hospital suspends 178 health care workers for failing to get COVID vaccine

As of Tuesday, 178 health care workers employed by a Houston-based hospital system are on a two-week unpaid suspension after failing to meet the hospital system’s mandate to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday, June 7. Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom announced the mandate in April, telling hospital staffers that if they failed to get vaccinated, they would be fired. The 178 suspended employees now have the two unpaid weeks to become fully vaccinated before termination. They can do so by getting the one-shot COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson or a second dose of either of the two mRNA vaccines. Boom noted in a letter to employees sent Tuesday that 27 of the 178 suspended employees have received one dose of vaccine.
9th Jun 2021 - Ars Technica

Teenagers in vulnerable health will get coronavirus vaccine, minister says

In the Netherlands, teenagers who fall into medical at-risk groups because they have heart problems or are obese for example, will be invited to get vaccinated against coronavirus, health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Wednesday. The national health council Gezondheidsraad has recommended that children with vulnerable health conditions should be given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which has been cleared for use among the under-18s. ‘Vaccinating these children will deliver both direct and indirect health benefits,’ the health council said. Family doctors will also be able to use their discretion to decide if other children should also be vaccinated
9th Jun 2021 - DutchNews.nl

China builds new plant for IMBCAMS COVID-19 vaccine -state media

China is building a new COVID-19 vaccine factory that is capable of boosting annual production of a shot developed by a medical research institute to between 500 million and 1 billion doses, state-backed media said on Wednesday. The vaccine, developed by the Institute of Medical Biology of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (IMBCAMS), is one of seven shots approved for use in China. It was not immediately clear how many doses of the vaccine are currently produced and supplied for China's inoculation campaign.
9th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Dozens of hospitals hit 'dangerous' bed occupancy levels as NHS bosses warn any spike in Covid patients could scupper efforts to tackle record waiting list of 4.9million

Dozens of hospitals in England hit dangerous bed occupancy levels at the end of May even though Covid had fizzled out, official figures show. MailOnline's analysis of the latest NHS data showed 21 trusts had more than 95 per cent of beds filled in the final week of May. One board in London — North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust — had almost every single bed occupied for the whole week. More than a third — 50 out of 130 trusts in England — had over 92 per cent of beds occupied by patients, a level which NHS chiefs say should not be exceeded because it can make hospitals unsafe. Experts fear the rapid spread of the Indian variant will start to ramp up pressure across the NHS in the coming weeks, despite the massive vaccine roll-out which has got first doses to more than three in four adults.
9th Jun 2021 - MSN.com

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Taiwan’s Covid-19 outbreak spreads to chip companies

The spread of Covid-19 into Taiwan’s electronics factories is threatening to delay semiconductor shipments, according to companies and analysts, raising the prospect of renewed disruption to an industry gripped by a global shortage. The country, viewed as a linchpin in the world’s chip supply chain, is suffering from its first large coronavirus outbreak. It has come against a backdrop of escalating warnings about the depth of the semiconductor shortage, which has hit everything from cars to consumer electronics.
8th Jun 2021 - The Financial Times

Carnival to require first passengers to have COVID-19 vaccines when its cruises restart in July

Carnival Cruise Line will require passengers on its first sailings in July out of Galveston, Texas, to be vaccinated for COVID-19. If the policy remains in effect for Carnival's upcoming sailings out Port Canaveral and other Florida ports, it would put the cruise giant at odds with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The governor opposes the system of requiring so-called "vaccine passports," and has filed legal action against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to the federal agency's requirements for a return to sailing.
8th Jun 2021 - Florida Today

Thailand begins mass Covid-19 vaccine rollout using shots made by royal-owned company

Thailand began its mass Covid vaccination program Monday, following criticism of delays and concerns over health authorities relying on AstraZeneca shots produced by a company owned by the country's king. The Southeast Asian nation is battling a third coronavirus wave with the highest number of daily cases and deaths reported since the start of the pandemic, raising public concerns of adequate access to vaccines. On Tuesday, Thailand reported 2,662 new Covid-19 cases and 28 deaths, according to its Covid-19 task force (CCSA). Thailand plans to administer 6 million shots in June using the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines
8th Jun 2021 - CNN

NHS and social care staff burnout at an emergency level - report

NHS and care staff in England are so burnt out that it has become an "emergency" and risks the future of the health service, MPs have warned. A highly critical report said workers were exhausted and overstretched because of staff shortages. It said the problems existed before the pandemic - although coronavirus has worsened the pressures. Doctors' and nursing unions welcomed the report, saying it highlighted the stress and anxiety facing staff. It has already been well documented that the NHS is short of staff.
8th Jun 2021 - BBC News

US COVID cases drop another 30% as Africa surge continues

With the introduction of three effective COVID-19 vaccines, daily COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rapidly decline across the country, and new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that vaccines have been particularly beneficial for older Americans. During a White House briefing today, the last briefing run by COVID-19 pandemic response coordinator Andy Slavitt, who announced he was stepping down from his position today, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said for the second week in a row, daily case averages dropped by 30%, with a 7-day average of 13,277 cases
8th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

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WHO's Tedros hopes African COVID vaccine sites to near production by end-2021

World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday he hopes African COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing sites will be identified and some even close to producing by the end of 2021, in the race to deliver more shots to the continent. While Tedros did not provide specifics on which country, Reuters has reported that Senegal could begin producing COVID-19 vaccines next year under an agreement with Belgian biotech group Univercells aimed at boosting Africa's drug-manufacturing ambitions.
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Norway shortens interval between COVID-19 vaccine doses

Norway will shorten the interval between COVID-19 vaccine doses to nine weeks from the current 12 weeks, thus speeding up the inoculation process, the health ministry said on Monday. "We'll have ample supply of vaccines in the time ahead," Health Minister Bent Hoeie said in a statement. Norway uses vaccines made by Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) as well as the Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N) partnership, each requiring two injections. "Reducing the dose interval is part of the Institute of Public Health's strategy to ensure that the population is fully vaccinated as quickly as possible," the ministry said
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Indonesia reinforces hospitals amid worrying COVID-19 surge in some areas

Indonesian authorities have drafted in more doctors and nurses to two areas on the islands of Java and Madura after hospitals there approached full capacity amid a spike in coronavirus cases, the country's health minister said on Monday. Health experts and officials are worried about the risk of a broader spike in virus cases fuelled by variants and a jump in travel last month as many in the world's biggest Muslim-majority country travelled back to hometowns for holidays after Ramadan.
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Covid chaos at airports in rush to flee Portugal before it leaves green list

Thousands of British holidaymakers in Portugal face chaos at airports and Covid testing sites as they rush to return before quarantine rules change tomorrow. The government abruptly announced that Portugal would be moved from the green list of approved travel destinations to the amber list last Thursday. Passengers have until 4am tomorrow morning to return or they must quarantine for ten days. Anyone flying home must have proof of a negative Covid test taken no more than three days before their departure or face a £500 fine, but testing centres in Portugal were overwhelmed by the sudden demand.
7th Jun 2021 - The Times

First Slovaks get Sputnik V shots after months of wrangling

Slovakia became the European Union's second country to start inoculating people with the Russian-made Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine on Monday, after months of rows over the shot that has yet to be approved by European regulators. Then-Prime Minister Igor Matovic bought Sputnik V in March, saying it would speed up vaccination efforts. The country of 5.5 million bought 200,000 doses and intended to buy 2 million. The launch of vaccinations was delayed, however, amid a political crisis that erupted because Matovic had done the deal without consulting his coalition partners, who opposed using the vaccine before it had EU approval
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Thais debut locally made AstraZeneca but supplies are tight

Health authorities in Thailand began their much-anticipated mass rollout of locally produced AstraZeneca vaccines on Monday, but it appeared that supplies were falling short of demand from patients who had scheduled vaccinations for this week. Hospitals in various parts of the country have been posting notices for several days that some scheduled appointments would be delayed, adding to existing public skepticism about how many doses Siam Bioscience would be able to produce each month. The government has said it will produce 6 million doses in June, then 10 million doses each month from July to November, and 5 million doses in December.
7th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Egypt to start local production of Sinovac vaccine mid-June- minister

Egypt received 500,000 doses of China's Sinovac coronavirus vaccine on monday, airport sources said, as the health ministry said local production of the Chinese vaccine will start in mid-June. Egypt received raw materials for the production of two million Sinovac doses in May, after signing an agreement to produce the vaccine locally and distribute it in Egypt and other African countries. The first vials are due to be produced on June 15 and up to six weeks will be needed for checks before they are put to use in vaccination centres, Health Minister Hala Zayed told the private MBC Masr TV channel late on Sunday.
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

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Nearly 400,000 people still have long Covid a year after initial infection, new stats show

The number of people suffering from symptoms of long Covid more than a year after their initial coronavirus infection has jumped to almost 400,000. New data from the Office for National Statistics based on a survey of patients found the numbers of patients with persistent symptoms after 12 months jumped from 70,000 in March to 376,000 in May. Overall, the ONS said an estimated one million people had self-reported signs of long Covid which last for more than four weeks.
4th Jun 2021 - The Independent

NHS says it can’t provide extra Covid vaccines in Blackburn despite infection rate

The NHS cannot provide thousands of extra doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Blackburn with Darwen borough, despite it having the highest infection rate in the UK and a death rate almost a third higher than the national average. The local MP said it “beggared belief” that Blackburn’s repeated pleas to continue surge vaccinations had been knocked back, arguing the move will place the NHS under “overwhelming and unnecessary pressure”. Correspondence seen by the Guardian shows Blackburn’s director of public health warning the NHS that not providing additional doses would lead to avoidable deaths and the NHS being swamped within four weeks, calling it “unfair, unjust and avoidable”. In mid-May 19,500 extra doses were sent to Blackburn and surrounding areas to distribute by 30 May after an outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid, which originated in India.
4th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Double jab cuts risk of hospitalisation with Indian Covid by 93% to almost nothing but un-vaccinated are MORE at risk than in previous waves: Freedom Day dilemma as cases in England spike 76% to 86,000 and R rate rises to between 1 and 1.2

Pfizer vaccine produces fewer antibody levels Indian variant than those against previously circulating strains. Joint study also suggests levels of antibodies are lower with increasing age, and that levels decline over time. Researchers say this provides extra evidence in support of plans to deliver a vaccine booster in the autumn. But it could also fuel concern that the Pfizer vaccine is less effective in preventing serious illness with Delta. It comes as PHE said the Indian variant appears more likely to put people in hospital than other strains
3rd Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

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AstraZeneca in talks to shift COVID-19 vaccine production to Catalent factory

AstraZeneca Plc is in talks with the U.S. government to shift production of its COVID-19 vaccine from a troubled Baltimore plant to a factory owned by Catalent Inc, the New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The British drugmaker has been on the lookout for an alternative production site since the U.S. government stopped it from using Emergent BioSolutions Inc's Baltimore plant after workers accidentally contaminated a batch of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine with ingredients from AstraZeneca's that was also being produced at the time.
3rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Nimble Irish restaurants head back to basics as epic lockdown ends

In October 2019, shortly after opening, chef Jordan Bailey's Aimsir restaurant in County Kildare won two Michelin stars. Ten months later he was selling lobster rolls and lamb kebabs from a camper van. Having been closed entirely to guests - like the rest of a hospitality industry emerging from Ireland's third COVID-19 lockdown - for all but four of the past 15 months, he had to innovate to survive. "It really kicked in a few weeks into lockdown when things were getting worse and worse and worse, that's when it got really scary and forced us to start thinking how can we keep Aimsir going?" said Bailey.
3rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

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Millions of vaccines to be produced at major new Liverpool site

The national effort to get flu shots in the arms of vulnerable Brits has received a massive boost after the largest vaccine manufacturing site of its type in the UK started work in Liverpool. Although there has understandably been intense focus on the roll out of the coronavirus vaccine, the annual flu vaccination programme is also vitally important to easing winter pressures on the NHS. The high-speed syringe filling and packing facility in Renaissance Way, Speke, operated by pharmaceutical firm Seqirus, will produce more than 50 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine each year, with the ability to increase production to 200 million doses in the event of an influenza pandemic. The site now has a high-speed fill-and-finish facility, which enables start-to-finish onshore manufacturing, where previously the vaccine would be sent abroad to be put into syringes and packed, reports Business Live.
2nd Jun 2021 - Liverpool Echo

Moderna to double EU vaccine manufacturing with new Dutch site

Moderna will start producing a retooled version of its coronavirus vaccine in the Netherlands, doubling the company's expected EU production, the company announced today. The new contract, inked with the subcontractor Lonza, will allow Moderna to make approximately 300 million doses a year starting at the end of 2021. The Dutch site, in addition to a drug-substance site run by Rovi in Spain, will allow Moderna to make 600 million doses a year in the EU. Currently, the American company doesn't make any drug substance in the EU. Instead, it has outsourced its vaccine substance production to Lonza's site in Switzerland to supply the EU, U.K. and Canada. But production issues there forced the company to cut projected deliveries to the U.K. and Canada earlier this year.
2nd Jun 2021 - POLITICO Europe

Moderna plans mix of COVID-19 vaccine doses with new Lonza deal

Moderna is gearing up to halve the dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. drugmaker said on Wednesday, so that it can also be used to combat variants and inoculate children. It has agreed a deal with Swiss-based drugmaker Lonza which said a new drug substance production line in Geleen, Netherlands, will have capacity to make ingredients for up to 300 million doses annually at 50 micrograms per dose. "We're assuming that as of 2022, we are going to have a mix of dose levels on the market," a spokeswoman for Moderna said, following the announcement of Lonza's new production.
2nd Jun 2021 - Reuters

UK rights watchdog endorses compulsory Covid jabs for care home staff

The prospect of care home workers being required to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has moved a step closer, with a crucial endorsement from the UK’s human rights watchdog. Ministers are considering changing the law to make vaccination a condition of deployment for people in some professions that come into regular close contact with elderly and vulnerable people at high risk from the coronavirus. In a report to the government seen by the Guardian, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) admitted that making vaccines compulsory for care home staff would be a “significant departure from current public health policy”. But they judged that ministers were “right to prioritise protection of the right to life for residents and staff” and said it would be reasonable for care home workers to need a jab “in order to work directly with older and disabled people, subject to some important safeguards”.
2nd Jun 2021 - The Guardian

AstraZeneca starts deliveries of Thailand-made vaccines

AstraZeneca’s partner in Thailand on Wednesday began its first deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines after concerns they were behind on their production schedules for the country and parts of Southeast Asia. Siam Bioscience said the first locally produced AstraZeneca doses were delivered to Thailand’s Ministry of Health ahead of the June 7 start of the country’s official mass vaccination program. It did not say how many were delivered. AstraZeneca signed with Siam Bioscience last year to be its vaccine production and distribution center in Southeast Asia. It said that the vaccines would be ready for export to other Southeast Asian countries in July. As part of the plan, AstraZeneca has to deliver 6 million doses to Thailand in June, and 10 million doses monthly from July to November, with a final 5 million doses in December.
2nd Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

On a roll, Moderna taps Thermo Fisher for fill-finish duties and Lonza for booster shot manufacturing

The globe has come to depend on Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, sending the biotech racing to expand its mRNA manufacturing capacity. In the next step of its effort to meet lofty supply expectations, Moderna is leveraging its relationships with two CDMO powerhouses to help. Moderna has tasked Thermo Fisher Scientific with fill-finish, labeling and packaging duties for its mRNA vaccine at Thermo Fisher’s commercial manufacturing site in Greenville, North Carolina, the company said in a Tuesday statement. The latest agreement will “support the production of hundreds of millions of doses,” and production is set to begin in the third quarter this year, the biotech said. Moderna already has a standing relationship with Thermo Fisher, which has supplied the drugmaker with raw materials for its COVID-19 vaccine, said Juan Andres, Moderna’s chief technical operations and quality officer.
2nd Jun 2021 - FiercePharma

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People in Wales to be offered third Covid 'booster' jab as part of trial

People in one part of Wales are set to take part in a new clinical trial to receive a third 'booster' coronavirus vaccine. Volunteers who are over the age of 30, have already had both Covid jabs and live within a 50-mile radius of Wrexham are needed for the world-first research study. The COV-Boost study, which is being run at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, is taking place at 18 sites in the UK and will involve 2,886 volunteers. The trial is looking at seven different Covid-19 vaccines as potential boosters given at least 10 to 12 weeks after their second dose. Volunteers could receive a different brand to the one they were originally vaccinated with.
1st Jun 2021 - Wales Online

Covid-19: Irish pharmacies to administer vaccines in June

Pharmacies in the Republic of Ireland are to play a role in Covid-19 vaccinations from early June, the Irish health minister has said. Stephen Donnelly told the Seanad (Irish parliament) the move would be "particularly important in areas further away from vaccination centres". Mr Donnelly said people aged 40 to 44 will be able to register for their jabs from Wednesday, RTÉ reports. A total of 2.7m jabs have now been administered in the Republic. That means that half of the adult population has now had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
1st Jun 2021 - BBC News

Moderna partners with Thermo Fisher to scale up COVID-19 vaccine production

Moderna Inc said on Tuesday it had entered into an agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific for manufacturing and packaging its COVID-19 vaccine, as the U.S. vaccine maker looks to scale up production. Under the terms, Moderna said Thermo Fisher's commercial manufacturing site in Greenville, North Carolina will be used to provide fill/finish manufacturing services and supply packaging for hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine. "The addition of Thermo Fisher to our network will support our efforts to scale up our manufacturing ability," Moderna's chief technical operations and quality officer, Juan Andres, said in a statement.
1st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Brazil vaccination pace slows as production issues halt second doses

A decrease in local COVID-19 vaccine production has slowed the pace of Brazil's inoculation drive and contributed to a growing number of people not taking their second doses, according to the latest data from the Fiocruz biomedical institute.
1st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Australian court upholds ban on most international travel

An Australian court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to the federal government’s draconian power to prevent most citizens from leaving the country so that they don’t bring COVID-19 home. Australia is alone among developed democracies in preventing its citizens and permanent residents from leaving the country except in “exceptional circumstances” where they can demonstrate a “compelling reason.” Most Australians have been stranded in their island nation since March 2020 under a government emergency order made under the powerful Biosecurity Act. Libertarian group LibertyWorks argued before the full bench of the Federal Court in early May that Health Minister Greg Hunt did not have the power to legally enforce the travel ban that has prevented thousands of Australians from attending weddings and funerals, caring for dying relatives and meeting newborn babies.
1st Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

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CDC approves first cruise ship to sail with paying passengers in June

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday gave the green light to a Celebrity Cruises ship to be the first to sail with paying passengers next month. Starting on June 26, the Celebrity Edge will embark on the first revenue cruise since the COVID-19 pandemic first crippled the cruise industry in March 2020. The seven-night trip will launch from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and be led by Cpt. Kate McCue, who was the first American female captain, the company announced. The Celebrity Edge will have a fully vaccinated crew and require U.S. guests aged 16 and older to be fully vaccinated. In August, the ship will extend that requirement to U.S. guests aged 12 and older.
29th May 2021 - The Hill

COVID-19: Hundreds head to London's Chinatown as vaccine bus offers appointment-free jabs

Hundreds of people headed to London's Chinatown on Thursday after an advert promised a COVID-19 vaccination without an appointment and with no ID checks. Footage showed crowds of people gathered after an official advert posted on the Chinese Information and Advice Centre website said jabs would be offered on a "vaccine bus". Similar strategies are being used around the UK in areas where take-up has been low.
28th May 2021 - Sky News

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Covid: Wales' mass vaccination centres 'safe and efficient'

Vaccine centres in Wales have provided a "safe and efficient" environment for the roll-out of Covid-19 jabs, an inspection report has found. Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) visited eight mass vaccination centres to check safety standards. It found "dedicated, hard-working staff" and only asked for minor improvements in some areas. The watchdog's report comes as the number of people to have had a dose of the jab in Wales surpassed two million. This month, Wales has also become the best in the world, for sizeable countries, for the percentage of first doses given to its total population.
27th May 2021 - BBC News

Thai princess allows new vaccine imports as slow rollout prompts anger

The Thai king’s sister has approved coronavirus vaccine imports by an institution she sponsors, bypassing the government as it deals with surging infections and growing public anger over a slow and chaotic rollout. The secretary-general of the Chulabhorn Royal Academy wrote on Facebook that the “alternative vaccines” would supplement the government campaign until it could meet the country’s needs. The government has long insisted it must handle all vaccine imports and next month starts its mass immunisation drive, which relies heavily on AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured locally by a company owned by the king.
27th May 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Another coronavirus vaccine set to enter production within weeks - and UK has 60m doses ordered

Production of the coronavirus vaccine developed by French firm Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will begin within weeks, the firms have said. The two companies are currently in Phase 3 of their trials, which will see 35,000 adult volunteers receive their coronavirus jab across the US, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They will test for effectiveness against the original form of COVID-19 that swept across the world after emerging in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 - and also the variant first detected in South Africa. "Manufacturing will begin in the coming weeks to enable rapid access to the vaccine should it be approved," a joint statement from Sanofi and GSK said. The Sanofi-GSK vaccine could be given the green light by drugs regulators in the final three months of this year if the Phase 3 trials are successful.
27th May 2021 - Sky News

India scraps local trials for COVID shots, says Pfizer vaccine could arrive by July

India scrapped local trials for “well-established” foreign coronavirus vaccines on Thursday as it tries to accelerate its vaccination rollout, with a government official saying Pfizer shots could arrive by July. India pledged last month to fast-track imports, but its insistence on local trials and a dispute over indemnity stalled discussions with Pfizer. “The provision has now been further amended to waive the trial requirement altogether for the well-established vaccines manufactured in other countries,” the government said in a statement.
27th May 2021 - Reuters India

Ten states reach 70% COVID-19 vaccination goal

So far ten states have reached President Biden's Jul 4 goal of vaccinating 70% of eligible residents against COVID-19, according to White House COVID-19 response coordinator Andy Slavitt. Pennsylvania joined Vermont, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New Mexico as the tenth state to reach the 70% goal of having citizens with at least one dose of vaccine. Slavitt tweeted that another 10 states are above 65% coverage. In total, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker shows 359,849,035 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the US, and 289,212,304 have been administered, with 131,850,089 Americans fully vaccinated.
27th May 2021 - CIDRAP

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Department for Education was ‘unprepared’ for Covid-19 challenges, parliamentary committee finds

The Department for Education (DfE) “had no plan” and was unprepared for the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, a parliamentary committee has found. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that children had “very unequal experiences” during the end of the last academic year, as it explored the DfE’s response to Covid-19 in England’s first lockdown.
26th May 2021 - The Independent

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Quebec to move up appointments for second COVID-19 vaccine doses

Quebecers will soon be able to change their appointments online for their second COVID-19 dose to an earlier date as the province’s vaccination rollout has exceeded the government’s own expectations, the Montreal Gazette has learned. Quebec is poised to vaccinate at least 80 per cent of the adult population with one dose by June 24, which would mean going beyond the initial goal by more than five per cent. And with nearly 48,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses expected early this week, the provincial government has decided to modify the Clic Santé online portal to permit Quebecers to move up appointments for a second dose, a high-ranking source confirmed.
26th May 2021 - Montreal Gazette

More than 77,000 NHS staff in England have caught Covid, shows research

At least 77,000 hospital staff in England caught coronavirus during the pandemic, while there were nearly a quarter of a million absences for Covid-related reasons, Guardian research has revealed. However, the true totals are likely to be much higher, because out of the 142 acute and specialist trusts in England sent freedom of information requests, only 55% (78) provided figures on staff who were infected, while 60% (85) gave data on time off for sick leave related to the virus. The responses, which cover the year following 1 March 2020, offer the first official data on Covid’s impact on frontline workers who risked their own health while caring for the more than 400,000 patients who have ended up seriously ill in hospital.
25th May 2021 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: India, world’s largest jab maker, has to ask overseas for vaccines

India’s race to vaccinate its population has slowed to a standstill as the world’s largest manufacturer of jabs is forced to ask overseas suppliers for doses. The number of people jabbed each day has decreased by almost two thirds while states have been told to arrange their own supplies by Delhi. Local officials says vaccines are running out and second doses of jabs cannot be arrange. Despite warnings that India needs to vaccinate 10 million people a day to tackle surging cases and deaths, the numbers inoculated have decreased from about three million a day a few weeks ago to a million on Monday. About 10 per cent of Indians have had a single jab.
25th May 2021 - The Times

Hong Kong could soon throw away millions of unused vaccine doses

Hong Kong may soon have to throw away millions of coronavirus vaccine doses because they are approaching their expiry date and not enough people have signed up for the jabs, an official has warned. Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world fortunate enough to have secured more than enough doses to inoculate its entire population of 7.5 million people. But swirling distrust of the government as it stamps out dissent – combined with online misinformation and a lack of urgency in the comparatively virus-free city – has led to entrenched vaccine hesitancy and a dismal inoculation drive.
25th May 2021 - AlJazeera

America’s largest school systems announce full-time return to in-person learning this fall

The two largest school systems in the United States will fully reopen for in-person learning this fall, officials announced Monday, a major step in the country’s pandemic recovery. The public school districts in New York City and Los Angeles — which together educate more than 1.6 million students — became the latest to announce their planned transitions away from virtual learning, which will also allow parents who have been supervising their children’s online classes to go back to work. New York City will eliminate its remote-learning option and all students and adults will have to wear masks, unless guidance from federal health officials changes. In Los Angeles, school district leaders said they expect most students, teachers and staff to be present every day, but an online option will be available.
25th May 2021 - The Washington Post

UAE opens regional COVID-19 vaccination site for Chinese nationals

The United Arab Emirates will offer China's Sinopharm (1099.HK) vaccine to Chinese nationals visiting the regional tourism and business hub, the first non-residents to be eligible for the country's vaccination campaign against COVID-19. Chinese nationals over the age of 16 holding a short-term visa can receive two doses of Sinopharm in Dubai, the state news agency WAM said earlier this week, under an agreement between the UAE and China to launch a regional vaccination site. The UAE led Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine produced by China's state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm and has started manufacturing it under a joint venture between Sinopharm and Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42.
25th May 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 hospital admissions 'triple' in Indian variant hotspot

Covid-19 hospitalisations have reportedly tripled in an Indian variant hotspot within the last three weeks. Hospital admissions have TRIPLED in Bolton within 21 days. 43 Covid patients have been hospitalised and are in the town’s NHS trust. On May 10, that figure was 12. Yesterday, business owners in the town blamed families failing to self isolate on returning from India for the rise. Mohammed Khan, owner of a travel agency in the Greater Manchester town, told MailOnline : "It’s very selfish. "People just think about themselves and their own pleasure.
25th May 2021 - Birmingham Live

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Vaccine deliveries poised to slow this week with Canada expecting 600K Pfizer doses

Canada is set for a relatively quiet few days on the COVID-19 vaccine front with only about 600,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses set to arrive this week. The two pharmaceutical firms were originally scheduled to deliver two million shots in the next seven days, but shipped 1.4 million of those doses last week instead in anticipation of the May long weekend. Pfizer and BioNTech have been consistently delivering doses even as other vaccine makers have struggled to keep their shipments flowing. They're set to increase their weekly deliveries to 2.4 million doses starting in June.
24th May 2021 - CTV News

Singapore airport tightens measures after COVID-19 outbreak

Singapore's airport said on Monday it was stepping up measures to keep out the coronavirus, including further segregating arrivals and about 14,000 workers into different risk zones, after it became the country's largest active COVID-19 cluster. The Changi airport cluster, which involves over 100 cases, may have initially spread through a worker who helped an infected family arriving in the country, according to authorities. Some of the cases included the B.1.617 variant first detected in India.
24th May 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Boris Johnson's review of social distancing rules set to be delayed by Indian variant

The public will likely have to wait longer for details of the government's review of social distancing rules and its proposals for COVID certification due to the growth in cases of the Indian variant. Downing Street signalled Boris Johnson would wait longer to unveil the plans, despite the prime minister having previously promised to provide details by the end of this month. Mr Johnson's official spokesman on Monday said the review of social distancing rules would be published "as soon as possible based on the latest data, which will help inform us what measures we can take around certification".
24th May 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Scientists urge final push for NI reopening

One final push is required by the public to ensure Northern Ireland's reopening is a success, a group of scientists has said. The Independent Scientific Advocacy Group (ISAG) is a multidisciplinary group of scientists, academics and researchers based across the UK. It said people's actions could determine the future, especially for the hospitality sector which has "borne the brunt" of the economic damage. Dr Andrew Kunzmann, an epidemiologist at Queen's University Belfast, told BBC News NI that the simplest of steps could make a big difference in the recovery roadmap, including continuing to meet up outdoors to socialise when possible.
24th May 2021 - BBC News

Canada to deploy healthcare resources to help Manitoba combat COVID-19

The government of Canada said it was preparing to deploy a number of healthcare resources for the province of Manitoba that is reeling under a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes after Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister last week said he had asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to supply critical care nurses, respiratory therapists and contact tracers to battle the raging health crisis in the province.
24th May 2021 - Reuters

Moderna taps Samsung for fill-finish duties on 'hundreds of millions' of COVID-19 vaccine doses

As Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine rolls out across the globe, the mRNA specialist has continued to bolster its production network. With a deal unveiled over the weekend, it's now bringing a Korean manufacturing heavyweight into the fold. Moderna has tapped Samsung Biologics for large-scale, commercial fill-finish duties on its mRNA-based vaccine, the companies said Saturday. Once the deal closes, tech transfer will kick off "immediately" at Samsung's facilities in Incheon, South Korea, where the CDMO plans to leverage a finishing, labeling and packaging line to crank out "hundreds of millions" of vaccine doses for countries other than the United States.
24th May 2021 - Fierce Pharma

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Australia Can Get Enough Pfizer Doses by End-2021: Sun-Herald

Australia’s government is promising enough Pfizer Inc. vaccines to have all Australians vaccinated by the end of 2021, the Sun-Herald newspaper reported. Two million Pfizer doses are expected to be available in Australia each week from the beginning of October, which would mean all who are keen can get their two shots by the end of the year, the paper said, citing the Australian Medical Association. Health Minister Greg Hunt told the paper that 4.5 million Pfizer doses will arrive by the end of June, and there will be 7 million doses expected in both the third and fourth quarters. He added that people should not delay getting their shots as there are AstraZeneca Plc vaccines available now for Australians above 50.
23rd May 2021 - Bloomberg

Moderna, Novavax to produce more COVID-19 vaccines in S.Korea

Moderna Inc and Novavax Inc entered into a deal with the South Korean government to manufacture their COVID-19 vaccines, as the country has been under pressure to secure more and faster deliveries of U.S.-made vaccines. Saturday's agreements with the U.S. drugmakers came a day after U.S. President Joe Biden said that he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in had agreed on a comprehensive partnership on COVID-19 vaccines and that the United States would provide vaccinations for 550,000 South Korean soldiers
23rd May 2021 - Reuters

Covid Vaccination Campaign Off To Strong Start Among Young Teens, With Almost 2 Million Getting Jab

Since federal regulators began allowing younger teenagers to receive Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine last week, about 1.87 million Americans ages 12 to 15 have already gotten at least their first shot, as U.S. vaccination efforts pivot from higher-risk groups to adolescents and hesitant adults.
22nd May 2021 - Forbes

Covid: Scotland and Wales send urgent supplies to India

Life-saving medical equipment has been flown to India from Scotland and Wales to help the country deal with its Covid-19 crisis. The Scottish government provided 100 oxygen concentrators and 40 Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) ventilators which arrived on Friday. The Welsh government sent 638 oxygen concentrators and 351 ventilators which arrived earlier this week. The operation is being funded by the Foreign Office. The devices can be used in hospitals, intensive care wards or other locations and are ideally suited to treat Covid-19 patients when there are constraints on the medical gas infrastructure supply.
21st May 2021 - BBC News

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Northern Ireland coronavirus vaccine programme further extended to under 30s

In Northern Ireland, Covid-19 vaccines are to be offered to those aged 25 to 29 from today. Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann said this will be “welcome news” for people in the age group and is a further testament to the success of the local vaccination programme. “Vaccination is vital in helping us move through this pandemic and there is no doubt that there are people in Northern Ireland alive today because they have been vaccinated,” he said. The announcement comes as the Executive meets today to rubber-stamp more softening of curbs— including around indoor hospitality and indoor visits.
20th May 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Third coronavirus vaccine dose for thousands in autumn booster trial

A trial into the use of a third booster dose against the coronavirus is to begin, with thousands of volunteers receiving one of the seven different vaccines bought by the UK. Scientists said the data would help government advisers decide how to proceed with planned autumn vaccinations for the most vulnerable. The trial, involving 2,886 patients, will look at the effects of boosters in those who have received two doses of either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech jabs. Until now, people have been given the same vaccine for both doses. The purpose of the trial — announced by Matt Hancock, the health secretary, at a Downing Street press conference — is to test the effects of a third dose and see whether mixing vaccines at this stage will work.
20th May 2021 - The Times

India battles rash of "black fungus" cases hitting COVID-19 patients

India has ordered tighter surveillance of a rare fungal disease hitting COVID-19 patients, officials said on Thursday, piling pressure on hospitals struggling with the world's highest number of daily infections of the novel coronavirus. Mucormycosis, or "black fungus" usually infects people whose immune system has been compromised, causing blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood.
20th May 2021 - Reuters India

Essex GPs deliver COVID-19 jabs from custom-built van to boost uptake

GPs in Essex are going the extra mile to boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake in their area by using a custom-built van to travel to vulnerable patients. Working closely with local community leaders, the ‘Essex vax van’ is being used to bring clinics to people who may also face barriers to accessing traditional health services, including black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and the homeless. Equipped with its own temperature control fridge, as well as Wi-Fi capabilities, the van - accompanied by two supporting vehicles - allows for the safe transportation and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.
20th May 2021 - GP online

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Rwanda halts coronavirus vaccination because of vaccine shortage

Rwanda halted coronavirus vaccination because of delays in deliveries that have created a vaccine shortage, an official said. Director-General of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre Sabin Nsanzimana said the number vaccinated in Rwanda is still low. Rwanda wants to vaccinate 30% of the population by the end of 2021 and 60% by the end of 2022. About 350,400 people have received jabs as of Tuesday, representing just 5% of the population. Nsanzimana said 500,000 doses of the vaccine Rwanda procured from India have yet to arrive, following a health crisis that affected vaccine supplies to developing countries.
19th May 2021 - Anadolu Agency

Scheme to give students coronavirus vaccine scrapped within hours

A scheme offering students in Bournemouth the chance to get a coronavirus vaccine has been withdrawn, just hours into the first day. Long queues formed outside the Bournemouth International Centre as university students lined up to receive their jab. It is after Bournemouth University was advised by health officials that there was surplus capacity to start offering the vaccine out to students. However Dorset HealthCare, which is running the vaccination sessions at the venue, says it had been overwhelmed with the response and had to withdraw the scheme 'until further notice'.
19th May 2021 - ITV News

Covid-19 vaccines: Why some African states can't use their vaccines

Despite many African countries struggling to obtain enough Covid-19 vaccines, some have thousands of expired doses which they have been unable to use. Some countries are now destroying these vaccines, in line with the latest World Health Organization (WHO) advice. Many countries failed to prepare adequately before receiving the vaccines, Phionah Atuhebwe, from the WHO in Africa, says. "That is one of the reasons we are seeing the slow pace of rollout," she says. And some countries also faced financial challenges. Africa Centres for Disease Control head John Nkengasong says countries need more support to increase the numbers of health workers and obtain supplies, such as personal protective equipment.
19th May 2021 - BBC News

Thailand starts COVID-19 vaccinations for monks at risk

Thailand began vaccinating Buddhist monks against the coronavirus this week, hoping to build up their protection to enable them to safely perform their spiritual duties. About 500 monks were inoculated in the capital, Bangkok, on Tuesday and Wednesday, to allow them to receive daily alms and do merit-making activities, as Thailand battles its third and most potent wave of infections. "These activities are putting them at risk where they can come into contact with an infected person," said Montchai Chumnumnavin of Bangkok's Priest Hospital, a medical facility exclusively for monks, where the vaccines were administered.
19th May 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Poor links between NHS and social care weakened England's response, says NAO

Pre-pandemic issues such as severe budget cuts to local government and poor integration between the NHS and social care weakened England’s ability to respond to covid-19, the public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office (NAO) assessed the government’s response to the pandemic and also found many issues with transparency around personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts, provision of PPE for the social care sector when compared with the health sector, and inconsistencies between what providers and frontline staff were reporting in terms of having protective equipment. Responding to the findings, the NHS Confederation’s chief executive, Danny Mortimer, said, “This report re-emphasises the long term issues that severely weakened the foundations of health and care, which meant the country was not better prepared to deal with the pandemic and its fallout . .
19th May 2021 - The BMJ

Pfizer to begin manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine components in Ireland by end of the year

Ireland will begin to produce key Covid-19 vaccine components later this year, with Pfizer announcing that they will be investing in their west Dublin plant. The pharmaceutical giant made the announcement today, saying that they would be investing $40 million in upgrading their Grange Castle plant. In a statement, Pfizer said that they have made several enhancements to the vaccine supply chain since they began rolling out their mRNA vaccine in late December. “As such, Pfizer is now bringing on additional European-based facility to be a part of the global Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine supply chain network and Grange Castle (Ireland) will contribute to the worldwide supply of the vaccine,” they said in a statement.
19th May 2021 - The journal.ie

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All people who refused coronavirus vaccine to be offered second chance

All people who fail to turn up for their first coronavirus vaccination appointment will receive a second invitation to be vaccinated at the end of the campaign in Belgium, the Vaccination Task Force announced on Tuesday. Both doubters and those who initially refused the vaccine will get a second chance, Gudrun Briat, spokesperson for the task force said during a press conference held by health institute Sciensano and the National Crisis Centre.
18th May 2021 - The Brussels Times

Clinic helps long-haul patients in London's "COVID triangle"

When the coronavirus tore through their London neighborhoods in early 2020, they all got sick. More than a year later, they are still struggling. “It’s like a rollercoaster,” said Miller, a previously fit, gym-loving 57-year-old who is coping with leg and joint pain, headaches and breathlessness. “There are times that I see light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like I’m taking one step forward, and then all of a sudden — bang — I’m ill again and I take two steps back.” Even as London looks to life after lockdown, thousands of people are still grappling with long-term physical and mental effects of the virus. Help is coming through “long COVID” clinics, where medics, patients — and Britain’s overstretched health system — are confronting the virus’s enduring effects.
18th May 2021 - The Associated Press

Brazil to receive ingredients from China for more COVID vaccines

Brazil has announced it will receive enough coronavirus vaccine ingredients from China to produce as many as 25 million doses of the AstraZeneca and Sinovac jabs, as the South American nation continues to struggle to vaccinate its population. Rodrigo Cruz, executive secretary of the Brazilian Health Ministry, said the Fiocruz medical research institute would receive two lots of AstraZeneca jab ingredients on Saturday.
17th May 2021 - AlJazeera

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More Victorians eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine from today

Victoria has begun accelerating its vaccine rollout, opening a new mass vaccination hub as more Victorians are eligible to receive the jab from today. About 400,000 Victorians under the age of 50, who fall into select priority groups, are now eligible to get the Pfizer jab. The priority groups include carers of people aged over 70 or who have specific medical conditions; disability workers and carers; adults with specific health or mental health conditions; and high-risk workers such as emergency/defence personnel and meat processing workers.
17th May 2021 - 9News

Ontario expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 18 and up, starting Tuesday

The Ontario government says it will expand COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to everyone 18 and older — almost a week ahead of schedule — starting Tuesday, May 18 at 8 a.m. The acceleration for age eligibility was due to a large supply of vaccines scheduled to arrive in Canada this week. “This high number of doses is due to an early delivery of the week of May 24 shipment, to accommodate the long weekend, and is an opportunity for the province to offer an appointment to receive the vaccine to more Ontarians ahead of schedule,” officials said in a press release
17th May 2021 - Global News

Indonesia is preparing for spike in COVID-19 cases after Idul Fitri: Health minister

The Indonesian government is preparing for a spike in COVID-19 cases after an annual exodus of thousands of people to their hometowns for Idul Fitri and tourists sites being packed with visitors over the past few days, said Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin on Monday (May 17). Speaking at a joint press conference with the coordinating minister for economic affairs and the head of the disaster agency, Mr Sadikin noted that there was an increase in COVID-19 cases after the previous holidays. The increase in cases following public holidays was between 30 per cent to 90 per cent. Thus, the government has prepared extra beds for COVID-19 patients this time, said the health minister.
17th May 2021 - CNA

Glasgow may be facing weeks more of tougher lockdown to stem Indian variant

Glasgow may be facing weeks more of tougher lockdown restrictions to tackle the spread of the Covid Indian variant, Scotland's national clinical director has warned ahead of lockdown being eased on Monday across most of the rest of the country. Jason Leitch said existing restrictions “may well” last longer than a week and the situation remained "fragile" as case rates continue to climb. He said Nicola Sturgeon's decision to keep Glasgow in Level 3 - only three days after stating it would go to Level 2 - was made due to past experience where delaying moves to halt the spread of Covid-19 “rarely works”. The latest weekly average Covid rate in the city is 94.5 cases per 100,000 people, nearly double the Level 2 benchmark of 50.
17th May 2021 - The Daily Telegraph on MSN.com

Under-40s could get AstraZeneca vaccine after all: Plan to offer alternative Covid jab could be reversed amid fears over Indian variant

The decision to offer under-40s an alternative jab to AstraZeneca could be reversed in light of the Indian variant, it emerged yesterday. Last month the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation decided those aged under 30 should get a different jab due to the slightly higher risk of a rare blood clot. This advice was later extended to those aged between 30 and 39 'if available and if it does not cause delays in having the vaccine'. But yesterday, for the first time, experts said this rule could be reversed to help speed up the rollout and protect more people against the Indian variant.
17th May 2021 - Daily Mail

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COVID-19: Local lockdowns can't be ruled out to curb spread of Indian variant in places like Bolton and Blackburn

In England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has not ruled out imposing local lockdown restrictions in places worst affected by the Indian variant of coronavirus. In Bolton, where a number of people have ended up in hospitals with the Indian variant, the "vast majority" of those patients had been eligible for a COVID jab but not yet had one, Mr Hancock said.
16th May 2021 - Sky News

Australia sticks by plan to re-open border in mid-2022

Australia is sticking to plans to start re-opening to the rest of the world only from the middle of next year, officials said on Sunday, resisting mounting pressure to end the closure of international borders. In March 2020, Australia closed its borders to non-nationals and non-residents and has since been allowing only limited international arrivals, mainly citizens returning from abroad. "All the way through we will be guided by the medical advice," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a televised briefing. "We will be guided by the economic advice."
16th May 2021 - Reuters

All over-50s to get second dose of Covid-19 vaccine early in bid to prevent deadly wave due to Indian variant

In England, everyone over 50 or with a pre-existing health condition should now get a second dose of the coronavirus vaccine eight weeks after their first in order to boost their protection against Covid-19 in light of the growing Indian variant. The independent regulator has recommended the change in strategy in order to reduce the number of people who are vulnerable to serious illness if the spread of the new strain leads to a spike in infections. Ministers are confident the new approach can be delivered without slowing down the rollout of first doses to the under-40s, because most people waiting for a second dose have received Oxford/AstraZeneca whereas younger cohorts will be given Pfizer or Moderna instead.
15th May 2021 - iNews.co.uk

Japanese gov't to boost domestic coronavirus vaccine development as 'national strategy'

The Japanese government is quickly crafting a new strategy to boost development of domestic coronavirus vaccines, the Mainichi Shimbun learned on May 13. The government has created a framework for the new strategy to boost coronavirus vaccine development and a production system, based on lessons learned from delays in developing domestic vaccines. Setting the development of domestic vaccines as a "national strategy to tackle on a long-term and continuous basis," the government intends to incorporate items such as forming and funding a research and development hub to boost vaccine development with new technologies, arranging a clinical trial environment and revising the pharmaceutical approval system.
15th May 2021 - The Mainichi

'I'm finally here': Greece formally opens to tourists

Greece formally opened to visitors on Saturday, kicking off a summer season it hopes will resurrect its vital tourism industry battered by the coronavirus pandemic. After months of lockdown restrictions, Greece also opened its museums this week, including the Acropolis museum, home to renowned sculptures from Greek antiquity. "I feel really alive and good because it has been such a hard and long year because of COVID," said Victoria Sanchez, a 22-year-old student on holiday from the Czech Republic.
15th May 2021 - Reuters

India's Cipla says supply of COVID-19 drug remdesivir catching up with demand

India's Cipla said on Saturday that its manufacturing of the COVID-19 remdesivir drug was beginning to catch up with demand after the company sought to boost production amid a massive second wave of coronavirus infections in the country. Backorders and complaints over low supply started moderating in the second week of May, the drugmaker said, after it began ramping up production of the antiviral drug last month. Hospitals have faced shortages of the drug, which is being widely used and was sold in April for over 10 times its listed price in the black market.
15th May 2021 - Reuters

India's Dr. Reddy's to get 36 mln doses of Sputnik V vaccine in next few months

Indian drugmaker Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd said on Friday it expects to get 36 million doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in the next couple of months under its contract with Russia's sovereign wealth fund. India's catastrophic second wave of the pandemic has led to huge demand for vaccines, which in turn has left the country, the world's biggest vaccine producer, low on stocks
14th May 2021 - Reuters

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Brazil to pause production of AstraZeneca vaccine due to lack of ingredients

Brazil's Fiocruz biomedical institute said on Thursday it would interrupt production of the AstraZeneca AZN.L vaccine for certain days next week due to a lack of ingredients, until new supplies arrive on May 22. Fiocruz, a government-backed center in Rio de Janeiro, said on Twitter that production based on current supplies would allow it to continue delivering vaccines through the first week of June, with additional supplies to sustain production beyond that.
14th May 2021 - Nasdaq

Coronavirus: Over-50s and vulnerable in Indian variant hotspots will get second jabs rushed through

Older people living in areas of high infection to be offered second dose of the vaccine early to protect them. The JCVI also been asked to examine the case for 'targeted vaccinations' of all over-17s in the worst-hit areas. Surge testing for the new coronavirus variant will also be deployed in areas where it is now spreading rapidly. Boris Johnson said he was 'anxious' about variant and refused to rule out local lockdowns to try to contain it. Government sources played down the risk that outbreaks of the 'variant of concern' could derail June 21 plans
13th May 2021 - Daily Mail

LA Times owner offers $210million to create new Covid vaccines in South Africa

A US billionaire has announced he will offer 3bn South African rand (£152m) to South Africa, where he was born, to help create coronavirus vaccines. The New York Times reports that Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, who owns The Los Angeles Times, said on Wednesday that his business and philanthropic foundation would donate the money. The money will be used to send the technology for producing vaccines and biological therapies to get ahead of the pandemic and make shots that will combat the new variants of the disease. “Our goal and our commitment is to come back to South Africa and transfer this kind of technology,” Dr Soon-Shiong reportedly said at an international meeting on the equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines. Referring to South Africa, he said, “Not only do we have the science, we have the human capital and the capacity and the desire.”
13th May 2021 - The Independent

Biotech company pushing to begin Australian production of mRNA coronavirus vaccines

An international biotech company says it could manufacture mRNA COVID-19 vaccines — including Pfizer's — in Australia, but would need support and investment from the federal government. BioCina last year purchased Pfizer's former manufacturing plant at Thebarton in Adelaide's west and said it had the capability to develop key ingredients for coranavirus vaccines. "We already have a really good facility in Thebarton that is commercially approved to manufacture microbial products," BioCina's chief executive Ian Wisenberg told ABC Radio Adelaide.
13th May 2021 - ABC News

Indian states turn to anti-parasitic drug to fight COVID-19 against WHO advice

At least two Indian states have said they plan to dose their populations with the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to protect against severe COVID-19 infections as their hospitals are overrun with patients in critical condition. The move by the coastal state of Goa and northern state of Uttarakhand, come despite the World Health Organization and others warning against such measures. "The current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients is inconclusive," WHO said in a statement in late March. "Until more data is available, WHO recommends that the drug only be used within clinical trials."
13th May 2021 - Reuters India

Kids 12 and up are eligible for COVID vaccine in Virginia

Children ages 12 to 15 were expected to start getting the coronavirus vaccine in Virginia on Thursday, with state health officials stressing that inoculating that age group will help prevent the overall spread of the disease in the state. Many adolescents who contract the disease are far less likely to get severely ill. But they can still pass on the virus, particularly if they’re not showing symptoms, Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said during a news conference.
13th May 2021 - Associated Press

Indian variant hotspots will RUSH through second doses for over-50s and vulnerable people as Boris admits he's 'anxious' over 100% increase in some areas and national infection rate creeps up

Older people living in areas of high infection to be offered second dose of the vaccine early to protect them. The JCVI also been asked to examine the case for 'targeted vaccinations' of all over-17s in the worst-hit areas. Surge testing for the new coronavirus variant will also be deployed in areas where it is now spreading rapidly. Boris Johnson said he was 'anxious' about variant and refused to rule out local lockdowns to try to contain it. Government sources played down the risk that outbreaks of the 'variant of concern' could derail June 21 plans
13th May 2021 - Daily Mail

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Moderna says it has signed deal with Australia to supply 25m doses of Covid vaccine

Australians will have another vaccine option after the pharmaceutical company Moderna announced it has signed a deal with the federal government to provide 25m doses of its mRNA-based vaccine to the nation. The announcement was made overnight in a press release and has not yet been formally endorsed by the federal government. It is also subject to regulatory approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, but Moderna says it will lodge a submission shortly. The company says 10m doses could arrive in Australia by the end of the year and a further 15m would arrive in 2022.
12th May 2021 - The Guardian

EU plays catch-up on vaccines and hails its export programme

My Covid-19 vaccine moment came suddenly — and sooner than I had expected. On Friday April 30, Brussels authorities opened online bookings to my age group. The following Tuesday I went for my first shot at a military hospital on the Belgian capital’s outskirts. After months of reporting on the EU immunisation drive, it felt odd finally to be living it. My visit highlights how the 27-member bloc’s inoculation campaign has stepped up a gear after initially falling well behind the UK and US. “It was all very theoretical for such a long period of time,” says Alastair Rabagliati, another just-jabbed British resident of Brussels who, like me, was born in 1974. “I was expecting to be on the waiting list for a while — yet suddenly I was making an appointment for a slot three days later.”
12th May 2021 - Financial Times

Hospitals in tourist-haven Costa Rica in 'serious' phase as Covid-19 cases surge

Hospitals in the Central American nation of Costa Rica are running out of space for COVID-19 patients amid a new wave of infections, the president of the national doctors' union said on Tuesday. The sharp rise in coronavirus infections has led to calls for a fresh lockdown by doctors, potentially dealing another blow to businesses, especially in the tourism sector, which were hoping for an influx of American and European tourists.
12th May 2021 - Reuters

Emotional 'First Aid Kit' Gives Tips for Doctors on COVID Front Line

Retired GP Dr Lesley Morrison is offering emotional coping tips to help clinicians on the COVID-19 front line in her new book The Wellbeing Toolkit for Doctors that's being published next month. Dr Morrison says she's been thinking of writing it for years, based on her experiences as a GP in Hackney, London, the Scottish Borders, and as a tutor at Edinburgh University. The project was accelerated by her knowledge of the struggles doctors were facing on the COVID front line. "There are times when you may feel overwhelmed, when it seems that you're unable to do anything useful to help the person sitting in front of you," Dr Morrison acknowledges. "But there are nearly always ways in which you can reclaim some control."
11th May 2021 - Medscape

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Coronavirus vaccine: Government-recommended 6 steps to monitor and report the vaccine side effects

While the second wave of coronavirus has hit the country badly, India is currently in the third phase of the vaccination. The government has recently permitted people above the age of 18 to get vaccinated as well. While the vaccination drive is going on in full swing, people are still hesitant to get vaccinated as several people are experiencing side effects like fever, headaches after getting vaccinated. To clarify more on the side effects of the vaccine and how there is nothing to be afraid of, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has listed six steps that can be used to monitor and report the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. As per the guidelines, the step 1 to step 3 is to be followed before the vaccination while step 5 to step 6 should be taken care of after getting the vaccination dose.
11th May 2021 - Times of India

Edinburgh patients waiting 14 weeks for coronavirus vaccine amid warning over stocks

Some patients in Edinburgh are waiting up to 14 weeks to receive the second dose of their coronavirus vaccine, despite official Scottish Government guidance. Almost three million Scots have had their first jab of either the Pfizer, Moderna or Oxford/AstraZeneca inoculations against COVID-19. However, those waiting on the final jab have been subjected to delays due to clinics either being full or access to certain vaccine stock being unavailable. The Scottish Government’s vaccine deployment plan, published in January, stated the rollout was “predicated on ensuring everyone that receives the first dose will be able to receive their second dose in 12 weeks from the first dose.”
11th May 2021 - Edinburgh Live

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In about a dozen countries, not even health care workers can get COVID-19 vaccines

There are nearly a dozen countries that have yet to receive a single COVID-19 vaccine dose, including Chad, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Eritrea, and Tanzania. "Delays and shortages of vaccine supplies are driving African countries to slip further behind the rest of the world in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and the continent now accounts for only 1 percent of the vaccines administered worldwide," the World Health Organization said last week.
10th May 2021 - Yahoo News UK

Health board offers last minute coronavirus vaccine appointments for people as young as 18

A Welsh health board is offering last minute appointments for the coronavirus vaccine to people as young as 18. Cardiff and Vale University Health Board shared an update at 5.30pm on Sunday offering first dose appointments for adults of all ages on Sunday and Monday. It wrote on Twitter: "We still have available slots for adults aged 18+ to receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination today (Sunday) and tomorrow (Monday). " The update was the second time in the day that the health board offered a last minute appointments for the coronavirus vaccine after sharing a similar appeal earlier in the afternoon.
10th May 2021 - Wales Online

Egypt's Eva Pharma to export COVID-19 drug remdesivir to India

Egypt's Eva Pharma on Monday signed an agreement to provide India with 300,000 doses of remdesivir, used in the treatment of COVID-19, the company said in a statement. The agreement, which was signed at the Indian embassy in Cairo, is aimed at helping India combat a surge in infections which has overwhelmed the health system and held close to record daily highs on Monday. Eva Pharma, a generic drugmaker established in 1997, said in June 2020 it had received a licence from Gilead Sciences Inc to make remdesivir in Egypt and distribute it in 127 countries. The drug targets moderate to severe cases of COVID-19 in intensive care who require oxygen.
10th May 2021 - YAHOO!News

BioNTech committed to deliver 1.8 bln doses of COVID-19 vaccine this year

BioNTech SE said on Monday that its order backlog for delivery of COVID-19 vaccines this year together with partner Pfizer Inc had grown to 1.8 billion doses, underscoring its role as a major global supplier of immunization shots. That was up from 1.4 billion doses announced in March. Based on these delivery contracts, the company said it expects about 12.4 billion euros ($15.1 billion) in revenue from the vaccine this year, including sales, milestone payments from partners and a share of gross profit in the partners’ territories, up from a previous forecast of 9.8 billion euros.
10th May 2021 - Reuters

Australia's New South Wales reports zero COVID-19 cases, fears remain over missing link

Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state reported zero COVID-19 cases for a fourth straight day on Monday, but concerns about new infections remained as the missing link in a case that has reinstated restrictions continued to elude officials. Australia's most populous state on Sunday extended social distancing curbs in Sydney by a week after authorities could not find a transmission path between an infected overseas traveller and a resident in his 50s who tested positive last week
10th May 2021 - Reuters

Eli Lilly signs deals to boost supply of COVID-19 treatment in India

Eli Lilly and Co said on Monday it had signed licensing agreements with three Indian generic drugmakers to expand the availability of its arthritis drug baricitinib in the country for treating COVID-19 patients. The agreements will bolster India's arsenal of drugs to battle its catastrophic second wave of the pandemic, which has led to an acute shortage of coronavirus medicines including remdesivir and tocilizumab.
10th May 2021 - Reuters

India turns to ex-army medics as COVID surge sparks calls for lockdown

India will recruit hundreds of former army medics to support its overwhelmed healthcare system, the defence ministry said on Sunday, as the country grapples with record COVID-19 infections and deaths amid calls for a complete nationwide lockdown. Some 400 medical officers are expected to serve on contract for a maximum of 11 months, the ministry said in a press release, adding that other defence doctors had also been contacted for online consultations.
10th May 2021 - Reuters India

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Hoping to lure back tourists, Greece reopens beaches after lockdown

With widely spaced sun loungers and regular disinfections, Greece reopened its organised beaches on Saturday as the popular Mediterranean holiday destination eases COVID-19 curbs in preparation for the return of foreign visitors next week. Tourism accounts for about a fifth of Greece's economy and jobs, and - after the worst year on record for the industry last year - the country can ill afford another lost summer.
8th May 2021 - Reuters

4th wave of COVID-19 likely if Canada reopens too fast — and seasonal return may be inevitable

As Canada beats back its third coronavirus wave, experts warn a fourth one could strike at any time if restrictions are lifted too quickly — but there's hope that could be prevented with more vaccinations and careful reopening. The potential for a fourth surge of cases comes as multiple provinces struggle to get case counts back down after the gruelling third wave started in March. In recent weeks, B.C. hit record-high intensive care admissions, Alberta reported the highest case rate in Canada, and Ontario has been struggling to boost hospital capacity amid an overwhelming level of COVID-19 admissions by transferring patients across the province, halting non-emergency procedures, and bringing in medical teams from the Canadian Armed Forces. But that is starting to turn.
9th May 2021 - CBC.ca

Covid-19 vaccines: Why some African states have leftover doses

Malawi has been left with 16,400 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, while South Sudan has 59,000 - all now past their expiry date, 13 April. Both countries say they have decided to destroy these consignments, donated via the African Union, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for them to be kept while it investigates whether the expiry date can be safely extended.
8th May 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Cargo plane leaves NI with medical aid for India

Britain will allow international travel to resume from May 17 but is limiting the number of destinations open for quarantine-free holidays to just 12 countries as it cautiously emerges from lockdown restrictions. Countries including Portugal and Israel made a green list of countries for low risk travel for people from England, transport minister Grant Shapps said on Friday. The most popular destinations such as France, Spain and Greece did not make the list.
8th May 2021 - BBC News

States plan to lift remaining COVID-19 restrictions

Across the US this week, governors are announcing plans to lift remaining COVID-19 restrictions and have made promises of a normal summer. Relying on metrics that predict high vaccine uptake, Tim Walz, governor of Minnesota, said his state would end existing mask mandates by Jul 1 or earlier if 70% of Minnesotans ages 16 and older had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. On May 28, Walz said all remaining restrictions on businesses and social gatherings will end. "Let's just go get it done and end this thing," said Walz at a press conference yesterday, referring to his challenge to vaccinate 70% of the state's population.
7th May 2021 - CIDRAP

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Nurses report 'not feeling safe to share concerns or needs' during Covid-19

Almost a third of female nurses have not felt safe sharing their personal concerns or needs around the impact of Covid-19 with their manager since the crisis began, a new survey has shown. In addition, the majority of female nurses feel working during the pandemic has had a negative impact on both their mental and physical wellbeing. The results come as part of a report published by the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network earlier this week, which explored the impact of the pandemic on female health and care workers.
6th May 2021 - Nursing Times

Thailand says foreigners to get COVID-19 vaccines amid access concern

Thailand confirmed that it plans to include 3 million foreigners living in the country in its mass vaccination programme to protect the entire population, amid concerns over the scope of vaccine access. "Anybody living in Thailand, whether they be Thai or foreign, if they want they vaccine, they can get it," head of the disease control department, Opas Kankawinpong told a briefing. The government has repeatedly said foreigners would be offered vaccines. But concerns among expatriates have been raised in recent weeks, with some venting frustrations on social media about a lack of public information, problems registering or confusion over private vaccine availability.
6th May 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 booster could be given with flu jab in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, public health officials are hopeful a campaign for Covid-19 booster vaccines will be combined with the regular winter flu jab programme. A Stormont committee was told combining the two campaigns would be more effective. The head of NI's vaccination campaign, Patricia Donnelly, said guidance would come from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
6th May 2021 - BBC News

TUI lures UK holidaymakers with cheap COVID-19 tests ahead of travel restart

Holiday company TUI launched a 20 pound ($28) testing package for its UK customers on Thursday, as Britain prepares to allow travel again from May 17 but with strict testing requirements. Airlines and travel companies have complained that Britain's requirement for arrivals from low-risk countries to have two COVID-19 tests, one before arriving in the UK and one after arriving, will make holidays too expensive for many people. TUI hopes to attract bookings from customers wary about testing costs by offering testing packages starting at 20 pounds, much cheaper than the current cost for a single test which can be up to 100 pounds.
6th May 2021 - Reuters UK

UK diners return as more restaurants reopen

British restaurants saw more diners on May 1 than the week before as hospitality businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland partly reopened after months of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Britain's Office for National Statistics said seated diner reservations on May 1 were 71% of their level on the equivalent Saturday two years ago, up from 62% a week ago when restaurants in England were open. Spending on credit and debit cards in the week to April 29 was 99% of its level in February 2020, little changed from the week before, according to CHAPS payment data provided by the Bank of England.
6th May 2021 - Reuters

Serbians queue to get COVID-19 vaccine and with it a shopping voucher

Dozens of people gathered at a major mall in Belgrade on Thursday hoping to be among the first to get a COVID-19 vaccine and with it a shopping voucher, in the latest initiative by authorities to encourage more Serbians to get inoculated. Since last December, Serbia has vaccinated 29.81% of its population of around 7 million with at least one dose. The government now wants to accelerate the programme, including drop-in vaccination centres and facilities in shopping malls. "People should be responsible ... and seize the opportunity (to have a vaccine) ... as we reach out to them," said doctor Zoran Vekic, who coordinated Thursday's event.
6th May 2021 - Reuters

India’s gov’t eases hospital oxygen shortage as demand jumps

Under order by the Supreme Court, India’s government on Thursday agreed to provide more medical oxygen to hospitals in the capital city of New Delhi, potentially easing a 2-week-old shortage that worsened the country’s exploding coronavirus crisis. Government officials also denied reports that they have been slow in distributing life-saving medical supplies donated from abroad. The government raised the oxygen supply to 730 tons from 490 tons per day in New Delhi as ordered by the Supreme Court. The court intervened after 12 COVID-19 patients, including a doctor, died last week at New Delhi’s Batra Hospital when it ran out of medical oxygen for 80 minutes. On Wednesday night, 11 other COVID-19 patients died when pressure in an oxygen supply line stopped working at a government medical college hospital in Chengalpet in southern India, possibly because of a faulty valve, The Times of India newspaper reported.
6th May 2021 - The Associated Press

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HSE staff who refuse Covid-19 vaccines may be redeployed under new proposals

Healthcare staff who refuse to be vaccinated face redeployment under proposals being examined by the Health Service Executive. Staff who fail to confirm they are vaccinated could be moved out of patient contact depending on the outcome of a risk assessment, under proposals being finalised. Healthcare workers who are not vaccinated could escape being redeployed if they cannot be replaced due to staff shortages or specialised qualifications, but there are no plans to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for healthcare staff. Last month, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) proposed a phased approach to healthcare workers who opt not to take the Covid-19 vaccine, starting with the provision of information, one-to-one conversations, testing and additional PPE.
5th May 2021 - The Irish Times

Egypt to close stores, restaurants early for 2 weeks to curb COVID-19

The closing hours of Egyptian stores, malls and restaurants will be brought forward to 9pm (1900 GMT) to help contain the coronavirus for two weeks from Thursday, straddling the last days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and Eid celebrations, the prime minister said on Wednesday. Large gatherings and concerts will be banned over the same period and beaches and parks will be shut between May 12-16, Mostafa Madbouly said.
5th May 2021 - National Post

Australia's most populous state reports first COVID-19 case in more than a month

Australia's most populous state reported its first locally acquired coronavirus infection in more than a month on Wednesday, with health authorities working to track down the source and the variant involved. The first local infection in southeastern New South Wales since March 31 strengthens prospects for a resumption of social distancing curbs, many of which had been eased as cases dwindled. Although Australia has largely eradicated COVID-19, a man in his 50s with no known links to hotels used to quarantine people who have arrived from overseas tested positive on Tuesday, the state's health ministry said in a statement.
5th May 2021 - Reuters