Coronavirus Updates

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Welcome to the Finance Magnates live Coronavirus blog updates page. Keep up-to-date with the latest coronavirus news, focusing on the impact upon the financial, fintech, and crypto worlds.

The President of the Philippines Threatens to Imprison Citizens Refusing the Vaccine

The Most Diverse Audience to Date at FMLS 2020 – Where Finance Meets Innovation

06:35 The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to jail anyone refusing to get the vaccine in a televised address when he expressed how ‘exasperated’ he was by his own citizens.

Venezuelan Doctors Turn Away Citizens from Vaccine Appointments

Venezuelan doctors said they are having to turn people away from appointments for second doses because they are running so low on vaccines.

US Deaths Are Dropping below 300 for the First Time since March 2020

The US reached the milestone of dipping below 300 deaths linked to Covid-19 for the first time since March last year.

The World Bank Are Collaborating with the African Union to Help Deliver Vaccines

The World Bank will work with the African Union to quickly deliver vaccines by helping to finance purchases under a new initiative. They hope the scheme will help reach 400 million people.

The US President’s Commitment to Ship 80 Million Corona Vaccines Abroad Might Fall Short

The Biden administration is expected to fall short of the president’s commitment to shipping 80 million Covid-19 vaccine doses abroad by the end of June, as demand in the US plummets.

President Putin Warns That COVID Is Increasingly Worse in Russian Regions

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the coronavirus situation in some Russian regions is getting worse, as authorities began promoting the idea of revaccination in an effort to stem new cases.

India Distributed a Record of 8.3 Million Doses

India gave out a record 8.3 million vaccine doses today under a federal campaign to inoculate all adults for free after weeks of criticism that a chaotic rollout had worsened a second wave that killed hundreds of thousands.

The UAE Offers Free Vaccines to Tourists

The UAE has quietly launched vaccine tourism, with the emirate of Abu Dhabi offering visitors free jabs after approving the inoculation of all those with visas issued by its authorities.

Tuesday 22nd June

France Ends Mandatory Mask Wearing Outdoors

Mandatory mask-wearing outdoors is being lifted and an eight-month nightly coronavirus curfew is ending in France today. The unpopular curfew has been scrapped just in time to coincide with elections in France in which the government faces pressure from a resurgent far-right.

England’s Chief COVID Adviser Stated Double-Vaccinated People May Be Exempt from Quarantine

The UK is moving towards a situation where people who have been double-vaccinated could be exempt from quarantine, Public Health England’s Chief Covid-19 Adviser has said. Dr Susan Hopkins, a key government adviser on the response to the pandemic, said a decision would be made after the results of a study that uses daily lateral flow tests as an alternative to isolation for 10 days after coming into contact with a positive case.

Lisbon, Portugal Sees Above 50% of COVID Cases Are the Delta Variant

More than half of the new Covid-19 cases being reported in the Lisbon region are of the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant, preliminary data showed on Sunday. Ricardo Jorge, from the national health institute, said the Delta variant represented more than 60% of cases in the Lisbon area though still less than 15% in the northern half of Portugal.

US Pandemic Analysts Warn Vaccine Incentives Are Losing Traction

With Covid vaccination penetration in the US likely to fall short of Joe Biden’s 70% by Fourth of July target, pandemic analysts are warning that vaccine incentives are losing traction and that ‘two Americas’ may emerge as the aggressive Delta variant becomes the dominant US strain.

First Olympic Team Member Tests Positive for COVID-19 and Is Now Barred Entry to Japan

A member of Uganda’s Olympic team has tested positive for coronavirus and was barred entry into Japan, in the first detected infection among athletes arriving for the Tokyo Games, due to open in five weeks. The athletes, who arrived on Saturday night at Tokyo’s Narita airport, were all fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca and had negative PCR tests before boarding, the Asahi newspaper reported.

Countless Brazilians Protested on Saturday against the Govt’s Response to the Pandemic

Thousands of Brazilians returned to the streets on Saturday in protest against the response of Jair Bolsonaro’s administration to the pandemic, which has killed close to half a million people in the country, which is the most after the US. On the second day of demonstrations in less than a month, the anti-Bolsonaro mobilisation is gaining momentum amid an ascendant curve of Covid-19 infections, while only 11% of 212 million Brazilians have been fully vaccinated, according to local media.

Monday 21st June

Wales Delays Removing COVID-19 Curbs

06:40 Wales is delaying further easing of coronavirus restrictions for four weeks after seeing a spike in cases of the Delta variant of the disease first identified in India.

Germany to Reopen Borders to Non-EU Nationals

Germany will reopen its borders later this month to non-EU nationals who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, the government announced Thursday.

AstraZeneca Can Inflate Prices of Its Vaccine to Poorer Countries

AstraZeneca can charge a higher price for its Covid-19 vaccine in dozens of poor countries once the pharmaceutical company decides the pandemic has ended, according to a copy of its contract with Oxford University seen by the Guardian.

A Spike in Infections Leads to Travel Ban to Lisbon

Travel in and out of the Lisbon metropolitan area is to be banned over coming weekends as Portuguese authorities respond to a spike in new Covid-19 cases in the region around the capital, officials announced.

Nepal Minimises Number of Infections, Yet Desperate for Vaccines

Nepal significantly reduced coronavirus infections after its worst outbreak, which overwhelmed the country’s medical system, but is in desperate need of vaccines, according to its health minister.

Denmark Delivers COVID Vaccines to Children Aged 12 to 15

Denmark will administer Covid-19 vaccines for those aged 12 to 15, broadcaster TV 2 reported, citing sources. Danish health authorities are due to hold a news briefing about using the vaccines on that age group later today, amid concerns, there is limited information about possible side-effects to children who have nothing to gain from such a move.

Austria Announced Dance Clubs Will Legally Reopen from Next Month

Austria announced that revellers will be allowed to hit the dance floor legally again from next month as nightclubs reopen, in line with a broader easing of measures.

Tourism in France Moves Forward with Disneyland Paris Reopening

France’s tourism sector is taking a further step toward normality with the reopening of Disneyland Paris, two weeks after the country reopened its borders to vaccinated visitors from across the world.

Friday 18th June

MP’s in England Approve Regulations to Delay Removing Corona Curbs

06:50 MPs in England voted 461 to 60 to approve regulations that delay the easing of coronavirus restrictions in England to 19 July.

Careworkers in England Must Be Vaccinated under New Law

All care home staff in England will need to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus under a controversial new law, the government announced.

South Africa Infections Leap in Number on Wednesday

South Africa’s Covid-19 infections jumped by 13,246 on Wednesday, the highest daily total in five months, its government said.

Biden States China Attempted to Present Itself as a Responsible Nation

US president Joe Biden said China was trying to project itself as a responsible nation in regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it remained unclear whether Beijing was really trying to understand the origins of the coronavirus.

France and Spain Relax Face Mask Rules

France and Spain are moving to ease rules around wearing face masks outside, in a development attributed by both countries to their Covid-19 vaccination campaigns.

Johnson & Johnson Is Predicted to Miss COVID Supply Target for EU

Johnson & Johnson is expected to miss its Covid vaccine supply target to the EU for the second quarter after millions of doses were banned for use in Europe over safety concerns, according to the European Commission.

Australia’s Second Largest City Eases Restrictions on Local Travel

Australia’s second-largest city will allow its five millions residents to travel more than 15 miles from home and end mandatory masks wearing outdoors from Friday.

The Taj Mahal Reopens and India Eases Corona Curbs

The Taj Mahal reopened to the public as India pushes to lift restrictions in a bid to revitalise its economy.

Thursday 17th June

The EU Medicines Agency Denies Top Official Suggesting Dropping AstraZeneca

08:00 The European Medicines Agency denied that a top official suggested dropping the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, saying that he had been misinterpreted in an interview. However, it did not appear to provide a clarification.

Easing of Curbs in Scotland Will Probably Be Pushed Back

Further relaxation of Covid controls across Scotland is likely to be pushed back in three weeks, Nicola Sturgeon said, meaning that the next significant easing could coincide with England on 19 July after Boris Johnson announced a four-week delay on Monday.

Ireland Doubles Quarantine Period for Unvaccinated Arrivals

Ireland will double the quarantine period for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated arrivals from Britain to 10 days but still plans to allow people to move more freely between the two countries from mid-July, transport minister Eamon Ryan said.

China to Deliver 1 Billion Vaccine Doses by the Close of This Week

China is on track to deliver 1 billion vaccine doses by the end of this week, after ramping up production and distribution networks in an ambitious drive to vaccinate 40% of the population by this month.

12-Year-Old French Boy Receives COVID-19 Vaccination

A 12-year-old French boy, Perceval Gete became one of the youngest people in Europe to receive a Covid-19 vaccination, on the first day the age eligibility in France was lowered to 12, the lowest of any major EU state.

Vermont, Reaches 80% of Its Population Vaccinated and Removes All Restrictions

Vermont became the first US state to reach its 80% Covid-19 vaccination goal and is now shedding all its statewide pandemic restrictions, including letting a state of emergency expire tonight.

Fatal Fungal Infection Afflicting Corona Patients Detected in Oman

Oman announced that its doctors have detected a potentially fatal fungal infection afflicting some coronavirus patients, the first such known cases on the Arabian peninsula as the sultanate faces a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Slovenia Lifts Curbs as It Has Ended State of Emergency

Slovenia ended its state of emergency declared due to the pandemic today after eight months, lifting most remaining restrictions. Cultural and sports events will be able to reopen at 75%-capacity for people who can demonstrate they have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from a previous infection.

Wednesday 16th June

Boris Johnson Has Extended Curbs on Coronavirus in England

Boris Johnson announced a four-week delay to the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in England. He said the extra delay could prevent thousands of deaths by allowing more vaccinations. No 10 said data indicated two doses of a vaccine were needed for protection against the Delta variant causing a rise in cases. The main impacts of that delay in England will be pubs and hospitality remain restricted to table service and with social distancing measures in place, people should still work from home where possible, theatres and entertainment venues will have their capacity held at 50% and nightclubs will have to remain closed. The limit of 30 people at weddings and receptions has been lifted though, and also for wakes – although there are still some restrictions in place on what you can do.

Delta Covid Variant Detected in 74 Countries

The Delta variant has been detected in 74 countries and is continuing to spread, prompting fears it will become the most dominant strain globally. There is also concern that while data is being shared, countries with weaker monitoring systems may not have detected the strain’s presence.

Indonesia Predicts Infections Will Not Peak until July

Indonesia said it fears rising cases will not peak until July, despite hospitals in the capital Jakarta and other parts of Java already coming close to full capacity. The country is trying to increase hospital capacity and turn hotels into isolation centres.

Russia Reports 13,721 New Corona Cases

Russia reported 13,721 new coronavirus cases, including 6,590 in the capital, Moscow. Authorities in St Petersburg, which is hosting a series of Euro 2020 matches, said on Monday they were tightening anti-coronavirus restrictions in an effort to curb a new spike in infections. Food courts and children’s play areas in shopping malls in Russia’s second city will be closed, and no food will be sold at Euro 2020 fan zones.

South Africa Destroys 2 Million Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Doses

South Africa has had to bin 2 million Johnson and Johnson doses because of a potential contamination of ingredients traced back to the US. It is another setback for the country’s vaccination campaign with the doses planned for health workers and over-60s.

WHO Official Stated Africa to Get Priority for 870 Million Vaccine Doses

A WHO official said Africa will get priority treatment for the 870 million vaccine doses pledged by the G7 because it has emerged as one of “the most vulnerable, under-served (areas)”.

Hospitals in Afghanistan Turn Away Covid-19 Patients

The two main hospitals in Afghanistan dealing with Covid-19 have had to turn away patients, saying they have no more beds and are short on oxygen and medical supplies.

Thailand’s Vaccination Campaign Leads to Confusion

Thailand’s recently launched coronavirus vaccination campaign was hit by confusion after at least 20 hospitals in Bangkok postponed Covid-19 inoculation appointments set for this week, citing delays in vaccine deliveries. A series of coronavirus outbreaks in Thai factories is also raising concerns that the export sector could be hit hard, threatening to further undermine an economy as it struggles to recover from the pandemic’s crippling blow to the crucial tourism industry.

Tuesday 15th June

The UK Has Reported 7,490 New Infections and 8 New Deaths

07:55 The UK reported eight new deaths and a further 7,490 positive cases, according to official data. Sundays figures are an increase of 2,149 from last weeks figure of 5,341. Becoming the second week in a row, the country has recorded over 2000 new cases from an increase on 30 May – 6 June, which showed an increase of 2,101.

G7 Leaders Call for a Renewed Investigation in Pandemic Origins

G7 leaders renewed calls into an investigation of the origin of the pandemic amid questions over whether it leaked from a Chinese laboratory.

Lebanon Administered In Excess of 40,000 Pfizer Doses over the Weekend

Lebanon administered more than 40,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in a weekend drive to contain the pandemic.

Boris Johnson Rejects former PM’s Suggestions of a Moral Failure to Supply Vaccine Doses to Poorer Nations

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected suggestions by a former prime minister that there may be an ‘unforgivable moral failure’ in the supply of vaccine doses to cover the needs of poorer nations.

Colombian President Receives Pfizer Vaccine, Urging Citizens to Keep Safe

Colombian President Ivan Duque received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Sunday, as he urged people to continue keeping themselves safe against Covid-19 amid a record number of daily deaths.

Peru Exceeds 2 Million Corona Infections

Peru passed two million positive cases, with 2,001,059 people now contracting the virus and 188,443 deaths.

The Portuguese President Pledges Not to Return to COVID Restrictions

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa pledged no return to Covid restrictions despite growing infections over the past month.

Monday 14th June

South Africa Begins Its Third Wave of Corona Infections

06:45 South Africa has entered its third wave of Covid-19 infections as the continent’s worst-hit country registered 9,149 new cases, Reuters reports.

Corona Infections in England Increase Rapidly in the North West

Covid-19 case rates have increased across every region in England with a sharp rise in the North West, new figures show.

Several Thousand Corona Deaths Go Unaccounted in Bihar, India

The discovery of several thousand unreported deaths in the state of Bihar, India, has raised suspicion that many more coronavirus victims have not been included in official figures. The health department in Bihar revised its total Covid-19 related death toll to more than 9,429 from about 5,424 on Wednesday. The newly-reported deaths had occurred last month and state officials were investigating the lapse, a district health official said, blaming the oversight on private hospitals.

EU Commission President States Necessity of Identifying Covid-19 Origins

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said it was necessary to know the origins of Covid-19 and investigators needed to have full access to sites that could shed lights on the matter.

The EU Fundamental Rights Agency Holds the Pandemic Responsible for Racism and Child Abuse

The EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency says that the coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented and profound effect on human rights, fuelling racism and child abuse. The annual report says: “The pandemic and the reactions it triggered exacerbated existing challenges and inequalities in all areas of life, especially affecting vulnerable groups.”

Ukraine Repeats That Foreigners Inoculated with Russian Sputnik Vaccine Must Also Provide Negative COVID Test

Ukraine has reiterated that it will not allow foreigners inoculated with the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik into the country if they do not also provide a negative test for the coronavirus.

Bulgaria Intends to Ease Restrictions on Masks

Bulgaria plans to lift the compulsory wearing of face masks in gyms, hairdressing salons, small shops and offices where all workers are vaccinated as coronavirus infections decrease.

Denmark to Ditch Masks in Public Places

Denmark will ditch the use of masks in most public spaces and allow 25,000 fans to attend European Championship matches in Copenhagen.

The EU Choose Not to Buy 100 Million Doses from Johnson & Johnson

The EU decided not to take up an option to buy 100m doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in March, European officials have said.

52-Year-Old Woman Dies from AstraZeneca Vaccine in New South Wales

A 52-year-old woman from New South Wales who died after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘likely’ Australia’s second death from a rare and severe blood clotting syndrome linked to the Covid vaccine, Australia’s drugs regulator says.

Hong Kong Plans to Review Travel Bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore

Hong Kong’s government said this morning that it would review its plan for a travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore in early July after the proposal was derailed for a second time in May due to a surge of cases in Singapore.

Friday 11th June

French PM Self-Isolates for Seven Days

07:30 French Prime Minister, Jean Castex is self-isolating for seven days after his wife Sandra tested positive for Covid-19, the Prime Minister’s office said. The Prime Minister, who had received his first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 19, tested negative on Wednesday evening. However as a contact of a person who tested positive, he is self-isolating for seven days, his office said.

Spain Scraps Nationwide Plan to Reopen Nightlife

Spain’s health ministry has scrapped a nationwide plan to gradually reopen nightlife just a week after introducing it, following widespread complaints from regional authorities who dismissed it as either too strict or too loose.

The Czech Health Ministry Advises People over 60 to Receive AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson Vaccines

The Czech health ministry has recommended only people over 60 should receive Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson due to a potential risk of blood clots, Reuters reports.

Canada Prepares to Relax Quarantine Protocols

Canada is prepared to relax quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated citizens returning home starting in early July, Reuters reports.

 Malaysia Reaches Full Capacity of Its ICU Beds for COVID

Intensive care beds for Covid patients in Malaysia have reached full capacity, according to the country’s health Director-General, who said the country’s pandemic remained at a critical level. The country’s king started a series of meetings with leaders of political parties amid public discontent over the government’s handling of the pandemic.

The WTO Members Agreed to Discuss Boosting Global Vaccine Supplies

The World Trade Organization’s members have agreed to talks on boosting global vaccine supplies, though there is still opposition to the idea of waiving patents, in particular from the EU which will propose its own plan.

Another 1.2 Million New Corona Cases in a Week Recorded in the Americas

There were 1.2 million new cases in the Americas over the past week, according to the Pan American Health Organization. It warned that Covid-19 could remain a problem for the region for years unless the current spread is slowed.

Potential Third Wave Likely to Hit the UK

The UK is facing a ‘substantial third wave’ according to new data presented to the government, Prof Neil Ferguson told reporters. He said that the scale of the problem would depend on how effective vaccines are against the Delta variant, originally found in India. Meanwhile, according to new data, 8 in 10 adults in the UK are likely to have Covid-19 antibodies through either vaccination or previous infection.

Judge Rules That the UK Government Acted Unlawfully Awarding a Polling Contract without Tender

A judge has ruled that the UK government acted unlawfully when it awarded a contract for polling the public about Covid messaging without a tender last March. The company was owned by friends of Dominic Cummings, then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Chief Adviser.

Pharmacist in the US Jailed for Trying to Spoil Hundreds of Moderna Vaccines

In the US, a pharmacist has been jailed for three years after pleading guilty to trying to spoil hundreds of doses of the Moderna vaccine because he was sceptical about them.

Thursday 10th June

An Outbreak in Guangzhou, China Leads to Nightlife Restrictions and Curbs

08:05 Guangzhou city in China has ordered the closures of cinemas, theatres, nightclubs and other indoor entertainment venues amid an outbreak.

The US and EU May Support Investigating Origins of Covid-19

The US and the European Union are expected to support a renewed push into investigating the origins of Covid-19 after conflicting assessments about where the outbreak started, according to Bloomberg News.

Melbourne, Australia Will Reduces Curbs on Thursday Night

Residents of Melbourne in Australia will come out a tough lockdown on Thursday night, but will still be subject to restrictions including 25km travel limits.

Washington Is Working with Brussels, Canada and Mexico on International Travel

Washington is forming working parties with Brussels, Canada and Mexico to determine how best to safely restart international travel. It came as the World Travel and Tourism Council said the UK government had to scrap its traffic light system for travel because it had ‘wreaked havoc’.

Vaccinated US Tourists Allowed Entry to Portugal

Portugal will allow vaccinated US tourists into the country, Reuters reports. “We are in a position to approve the opening of non-essential travel and flights to people from the US to Portugal as long as they have a vaccination certificate,” Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira, cited by Portuguese radio Renascenca, said.

UK Sporting Events Will Be the First to Use Vaccine Passports

Vaccine passports will be used for the first time at UK sporting events for England’s Euro 2020 group games at Wembley Stadium, with those not fully vaccinated able to show proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within the previous 48 hours.

Pro Pharma World Bank President Will Not Support Waiving Property Rights of Covid-19 Vaccines

World Bank President, David Malpass said the institution does not support waiving intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization, claiming it is out of concern that it would hamper innovation in the pharmaceuticals sector.

The South African President Sent the Allegedly Corrupt Health Minister on ‘Special Leave’

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa placed the country’s health minister on ‘special leave’ over alleged links to a corruption scandal involving coronavirus communications funding.

Pfizer Begins Testing Covid-19 Vaccine on Young Children in the US, Finland, Poland and Spain

Pfizer is to begin testing its Covid-19 vaccine on a larger cohort of thousands of children under 12 years old in the US, Finland, Poland and Spain after selecting a lower dose of the shot in an earlier stage of the trial.

White House Official Requests State Governors to Assist with Extending Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Shelf Life

A top White House official has urged state governors to work with the US Food and Drug Administration to extend the shelf life of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine as millions of unused doses nationwide near expiration.

Thousands of Vaccines Exceeding Their Expiry Dates Are Destroyed in African Countries

Many thousands of vaccine doses have been destroyed in African countries after exceeding their expiry dates amid a reluctance to be inoculated and a lack of medical infrastructure, while some jabs were donated relatively late in their shelf life.

The First Unrestricted European Festival Occurred in Albania with 10,000 Attendees

Music fans flocked to the first unrestricted European festival since the pandemic began over the weekend at an event in Albania that had 10,000 attendees across four days, with everyone showing proof of a recent negative test.

Washington Bribes Unvaccinated Adults with Free Cannabis Spliff after COVID Jab

Washington state is to give adults a free cannabis spliff after they receive a Covid jab in an attempt to accelerate vaccination uptake through a promotion coined ‘Joints for Jabs’ by the state’s liquor and cannabis board.

Wednesday 9th June

Canada Gets Ready to Ease Border Restrictions

07:55 Canada is preparing to ease border restrictions for vaccinated travellers, Bloomberg reports.

Top Japanese Virologist Warns Danger of Corona Spreading at Tokyo Olympics

A top Japanese virologist/government adviser has warned of the risks of spreading infections during the Tokyo Olympics.

Victoria, Australia on Track to Ease Restrictions on Residents

Australia’s state of Victoria is on track to ease restrictions on residents, currently in a lockdown to deal with an outbreak of the Delta variant, authorities said.

India Will Provide Free Vaccines for Adults

India’s government will provide free vaccinations for all adults, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says, as the capital New Delhi and financial hub Mumbai ease lockdowns on falling infection levels.

New COVID Antibody Drug Shows Promise

A new coronavirus antibody-drug appears to show promise in mouse studies, according to a study published in Nature.

Czech Republic Will Reopen Borders to EU

The Czech Republic has announced it will reopen its borders to EU and Serbian citizens on June 21.

Positivity Spreads across Ireland as Pubs Reopened

There was a sense of ‘delight across Ireland’ as the country reopened pubs, restaurants and leisure facilities.

Tuesday 8th June

China Adds Mass COVID Testing and Travel Curbs in Shenzhen

07:30 China has enacted mass testing and travel restrictions in Shenzhen over new cases there, while nearby Guangzhou continues to battle the country’s first outbreak of the Delta variant, first detected in India.

The US Is Donating 750,000 Vaccines to Taiwan

The US has announced 750,000 vaccines will be donated to Taiwan. Additionally, Taiwan has extended its level 3 restrictions until the end of June, as it continues to report hundreds of new daily cases.

UK Ministers May Possibly Delay England Reopening Date, 21 June

UK ministers are ‘absolutely open’ to delaying the 21 June reopening date in England if the Delta variant worsens, the health secretary said. The UK recorded 5,341 cases on Sunday, an increase of 2,101 on last Sunday when 3,111 cases were reported.

Israel Has Begun Vaccinations for 12 to 16-Year-Olds

Sunday is the first day for 12-16-year-olds in Israel to get vaccinated, after 55% of the population have so far received two doses in the country.

Morocco Reopens International Traffic from 15 June

Morocco will reopen its airports to international traffic starting from 15 June to help the return of its nationals living abroad.

Brazilian Senate Committee Staff Recommend Football Tournament to Not Be Held

The staff of a senate committee investigating the handling of the pandemic in Brazil have said that the Copa America football tournament should not be held amid the world’s second-deadliest outbreak and must be postponed.

Uganda President Imposes Strict Lockdown

Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, re-imposed a strict lockdown that included the closure of schools and the suspension of inter-district travel.

Future Lockdowns May Be Unavoidable in Victoria, Australia

Victorians in Australia are being warned there is no ‘magic number’ of the people getting vaccinated before future lockdowns can be avoided.

Monday 7th June

Dr Anthony Fauci Has Requested China to Release Wuhan Workers Medical Records

07:35 Top US infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci has called on China to release the medical records of workers at a virology lab in Wuhan, as US intelligence agencies examine reports that researchers there were seriously ill in 2019, a month before the first Covid-19 cases were reported.

A Japanese Olympic Committee Board Member Blasts Tokyo Games Organisers

A Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) board member has blasted organisers of the Tokyo Games for ignoring public concerns about holding the global sporting showpiece amid a pandemic. Japan is set to donate 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan for free, with the Foreign Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, saying his country well remembers Taiwan’s generosity following the earthquake that shook Japan a decade ago.

Hesitancy in Being Vaccinated May Be Attributed to Concern of Side Effects

Most people who are reluctant to be vaccinated against Covid are worried about side effects and whether the vaccines have been adequately tested, a survey in 15 countries has shown.

Malaysia Question Increasing Numbers of COVID Deaths and Serious Infections Seen in Children

Malaysian health authorities have raised concerns about a growing number of coronavirus deaths and serious cases involving children after a surge in overall infections forced the Southeast Asian nation into a strict lockdown.

Delta Corona Strain Now Detected in New South Wales

A Melbourne family who visited the neighbouring state of New South Wales while likely infectious have been confirmed to have Delta variant, the predominant coronavirus variant in India, Australian officials say.

Citizens Vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNTech P Have Lower Antibody Levels Targeting India Variant

People who have had the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have lower antibody levels targeting the coronavirus variant first discovered in India than vaccines against previously circulating variants in the UK, new data suggests.

Puerto Rico Plan to Reopen Bars and Clubs

Puerto Rico will reopen bars and clubs for the first time since the pandemic began following a significant drop in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

Wales Eases Restrictions, Allowing up to 30 People to Mix Outdoors

Up to 30 people will be able to meet outdoors and large outdoor activities can resume in Wales from Monday.

Friday 4th June

Biden Announces Vaccine “National Month of Action”

07:30 In the US Joe Biden has announced a “national month of action” to get 70% of Americans vaccinated.

Australian Doctors Turn Away Patients Due to Lack of Vaccines

In Australia, doctors in Melbourne say they have had to turn away patients because they do not have enough vaccines to meet demand.

The UN States over 100 Million Workers in Poverty as of Pandemic

The pandemic has pushed more than 100 million more workers into poverty, the UN has said.

Tokyo Olympic Games Will Not Be Cancelled

Cancellation or another postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games has been ruled out by the head of the organising committee.

France to Begin Vaccinating 12-Year-Old Teenagers

France will start vaccinating teenagers from age 12 with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on June 15, the government said.

Mexico Reports 3,269 New Corona Infections and 306 New Deaths

Mexico reported 3,269 new cases of Covid-19 in the country and 306 more fatalities, Reuters reports. It brings the total to 2,423,928 infections and 228,146 deaths, according to health ministry data released on Wednesday.

Spain to Reopen Nightlife before Herd Immunity Achieved

Spanish regions with a low Covid infection rate will be allowed to reopen nightlife before herd immunity is achieved, which is expected by mid-August, the health minister said.

Ontario School Closures until September

The Canadian province of Ontario will keep schools closed for in-person learning until the new school year starts in September, premier Doug Ford announced.

Germany Intends to Pay Annual Advance to Vaccine Manufacturers

Germany plans to pay vaccine manufacturers an annual reservation fee to build up reserve capacity of around 600-700m doses per year to help it fight future pandemics, the health minister said.

Colombia Slowly Reopens Venezuelan Border after 14-Month Closure

Colombia has begun what its government called a gradual opening of its border with Venezuela after a 14-month closure intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Third Corona Wave Confirmed in Germany

In Germany, the Robert Koch Institute has confirmed that a third wave of the virus has been broken.

Japan Is Added to EU Government’s Non-essential Travel List of Countries

EU governments have agreed to add Japan to their small list of countries from which they will allow non-essential travel, it was reported earlier.

Thursday 3rd June

Victoria, Australia Extends Lockdown by 7 Days

08:30 The Australian state of Victoria has extended its lockdown for another seven days as it works to control an outbreak in Melbourne.

No Reported COVID Deaths in the UK for One Day

The UK has enjoyed a day without a single reported Covid death for the first time since the pandemic began.

India Targets Triple Vaccination Capacity to 10 Million Shots Per Day

India said it is aiming to triple capacity to 10 million jabs per day by July to avert another wave of Covid-19 infections as deadly as the outbreak suffered since April.

Local Corona Vaccine Production Slows in Brazil

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. Additionally, a Brazilian Supreme Court judge has given president Jair Bolsonaro five days to submit information regarding the government’s decision to host the Copa America football tournament despite the nation’s ongoing struggles with Covid-19.

Heathrow Airport Begins Segregating Passengers from Red List Countries in Dedicated Terminal

Heathrow airport in London has begun processing arrivals from red list countries in a dedicated terminal following concerns about them mixing with other passengers. Travellers arriving from red list nations on direct flights are being taken to Terminal 3.

Brazil, Russian India, China and South Africa Urge for Swift Vaccine Delivery to Poorer Countries

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa called on faster delivery of vaccines to poorer countries, including by waiving patents on vaccine development.

WHO Concerns Itself with Naming Variants Using Greek Alphabet

The World Health Organisation has recommended a new set of names for the coronavirus ‘variants of concern’, which will be known by letters of the Greek alphabet. Alpha is the new name for UK/Kent (B.1.1.7), Beta for South Africa (B.1.351), Gamma for Brazil (P.1) and Delta for the variant first detected in India (B.1.617.2).

Malaysia Starts Tough National Lockdown to Battle COVID

Malaysia has begun a tough nationwide lockdown to battle a worsening coronavirus outbreak. Of almost 2,800 deaths from Covid-19 recorded in the country of 32 million since the start of the pandemic, over 40 percent were in May alone.

Israel and Ireland Announced Starting the Easing Off of COVID Payments for Unemployed

Israel announced it will begin phasing out coronavirus-related payments to the unemployed and Ireland announced similar steps later this year while maintaining other income and business supports as the economy fully reopens.

The Coachella Music Festival Plans to Return to the US in April 2022

The Coachella music festival will return to the US in April 2022 after being repeatedly delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers have announced.

Wednesday 2nd June

Peru Amends Official Corona Death Toll to Almost Triple Its Previous Figure

07:25 Peru has revised its official Covid-19 death toll to 180,764, nearly triple the previous official figure of 69,342, following a government review that shows the severity of the outbreak in the country.

WHO Names New COVID Variants for Ease of Discussion

As new coronavirus variants continue to be discovered, the World Health Organisation has revealed new names, after the letters of the Greek alphabet, to simplify the discussion around the variants and avoid stigma.

The Drug Regulator in Australia Stated It May Pass Anti-vaccination Facebook Posts to Police

Australia’s drug regulator says it may refer anti-vaccination Facebook posts to federal police after anti-vaccine campaigners targeted an MP who posted about getting the jab.

US Gun Sales Continue to Rise with New Buyers Increasing Gun Ownership by 20%

US gun sales spiked during the pandemic and continue to rise, with first-time buyers making up more than a fifth of those who purchased guns.

German Corona Test Centres Make Fraudulent Claims

Germany has pledged to crack down on fraud in coronavirus test centres, after evidence that some centres have been claiming for more tests than they have carried out.

Scientists in the UK Prompt the Government to Increase Delivery of 2nd COVID Vaccine Dose

Scientists are urging the government to speed up second doses of Covid vaccines and delay a decision on easing lockdown restrictions in England on 21 June in an effort to tackle the creeping spread of new cases.

France Enables Corona Vaccines Delivery to All Adults to Prevent New Infection Wave

France has opened up vaccines to all adults a week before Germany, as Europe rushed to avoid another wave of infections caused by new virus variants.

Vietnam to Suspend Incoming International Flights to Capital and Increase Curbs

Vietnam has announced the suspension of incoming international flights to its capital and tightened restrictions in its biggest city. The inbound flight suspension to Hanoi will apply from 1-7 June.

French Authorities Increase Corona Restrictions Requesting ‘Compelling Reasons’ for Visits from UK Travellers

Travellers from the UK will have to provide ‘compelling reasons’ to enter France from Monday, as French authorities tighten curbs to halt the spread of the Indian Covid variant.

Research Identified the Effect COVID School Closures Has Had on Parents

School closures in England during the Covid lockdown badly damaged the mental health of mothers but had no impact on fathers’ wellbeing, research has found.

Tuesday 1st June

UK Ministers Are Likely to Be Cautious about Easing the Lockdown

08:30 In the UK, ministers will adopt a cautious approach in deciding whether to ease lockdown on June 21, with hospitals already under pressure and health experts warning against ‘charging ahead’. Scientists have warned ministers that a third wave of coronavirus may have already begun in Britain, casting doubt on plans in England to lift all lockdown restrictions in three weeks’ time.

Health Expert with Ties to WHO Requests the US to Share Intelligence on Corona Origins

A health expert affiliated with the World Health Organization has called on the US to share any intelligence it has about the origins of the coronavirus outbreak with the WHO and the scientific community.

Vietnamese Authorities Have Identified New More Dangerous COVID Strain

Authorities in Vietnam have detected a new coronavirus variant that is a combination of the Covid variants first identified in India and the UK and spreads quickly by air, the health minister has said.

Egypt to Ease Corona Restrictions from 1st June

Egypt will lift restrictions it imposed earlier this month to curb the spread of coronavirus, including early closure of shops and restaurants, from June 1, the cabinet said.

South Africa Is Extending Nightly Curfew

South Africa has extended its nightly curfew and limited the number of people at gatherings to slow the spread of Covid-19 as positive cases surge, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.

Just 1% of Vaccines Have Been Administered in Africa

Only 1% of the 1.3 billion vaccines injected around the world have been administered in Africa – and that comparative percentage has been declining in recent weeks. It is a stark figure that underlines just how serious a problem global vaccine inequity has become, but the answer for the developing world is not as simple as delivering more vaccines.

Italy Lengthens Entry Ban for Commuters from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

Italy has extended an entry ban for people coming from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as a continued precaution against the more transmissible Indian variant. The ban, which does not apply to Italian citizens, was introduced in late April and was due to expire on Sunday. It was prolonged until 21 June.

Kenya Broadens Nightly Curfew by 60 Days

Kenya has extended its nightly curfew by 60 days to slow the spread of Covid-19, the interior ministry said.

Monday 31st May

Corona Infections in Argentina Hit a New Record Daily High

06:30 Argentina reported a record one-day number of new Covid-19 cases of 41,080 on Thursday, amid a second wave of infections that has made the country one of the hardest hit in the world, pushing the local health care system to its limit.

Africa Urgently Require 20 Million Doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine

Africa needs at least 20m doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine within six weeks if those who have had their first shot are to get the second in time, the WHO said on Thursday.

Most New COVID Cases in the UK Are Believed to Be India Variant

Up to three-quarters of new UK Covid cases are thought to be caused by the variant first detected in India, as the reported number more than doubled to almost 7,000, Matt Hancock said on Thursday.

The US Requested the WHO to Carry out Its Investigation into Origins of Corona

The United States called on Thursday for the World Health Organization to carry out a second phase of its investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, with independent experts given full access to original data and samples in China. This is because the US intelligence community acknowledged its agencies had two theories on where Covid-19 originated, with an element embracing a possible laboratory accident as the source of the pandemic. The US President Joe Biden said he is likely to release a report detailing the US intelligence community’s findings on the origins of Covid-19 in full.

Sweden to Ease Corona Restrictions

Sweden will go forward with its plan to ease some of its Covid curbs from June 1, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said.

Germany Will Make Enough COVID Vaccines to Supply Doses to All Children above 12

Germany plans to make enough Covid vaccine doses available to offer a first shot to all children aged 12 and over by the end of August, a draft health ministry document showed.

Friday 27th May

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Restricted in Belgium to Citizens Aged over 41

07:20 Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot Covid vaccine is to be limited in Belgium to people aged 41 and over, authorities said following the death of a woman who received the jab.

Switzerland Lifting Curbs on Indoor Restaurants and on Working Areas

Switzerland is to re-open indoor restaurants and people will no longer be required to work from home, the government announced, saying it was lifting restrictions faster than previously planned.

China Accuses the US of Spreading Conspiracy Theories

China accused the US of ‘spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation’ after Health Chief Anthony Fauci said he was no longer convinced the coronavirus originated naturally, propelling the theory that it emerged from a Wuhan laboratory back into mainstream debate.

The EU Commission Requested a Court Order for AstraZeneca to Deliver Millions of Vaccines

The European Commission demanded an urgent court order requiring AstraZeneca to deliver millions more vaccines to the bloc or face a hefty fine, in a case that may reflect its anger more than its need for doses.

Slovakia Has Authorised the Russian Sputnik V COVID Vaccine

Slovakia became the second EU country to authorise the use of the Russian-made Sputnik V Covid vaccine, which has not yet been approved by the bloc’s drug regulator.

France to Impose Quarantine of Travellers Coming from the UK

France will impose a compulsory quarantine on travellers arriving from the UK because of growing concerns over the spread of the Indian variant of the coronavirus, the government’s spokesman has said.

Whistleblower Groups Urge WHO to Investigate Supposed Falsified COVID Data from Italy

Whistleblower protection groups urged the World Health Organization to launch an independent review into the case of an Italian researcher who reported being pressured to falsify data in a now-spiked WHO report into Italy’s coronavirus response.

The Zambian President Bans Campaign Rallies, Ahead of Elections

Perhaps conveniently for an incumbent candidate, Zambian President Edgar Lungu banned campaign rallies ahead of elections scheduled for 12 August, saying large gatherings risked spreading the Covid-19 virus.

Russian Vets Have Started Vaccinating Cats against Corona

Vets in several parts of Russia reportedly started vaccinating cats against Covid-19. Russia in March said it had registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine for animals. Only two animals in Russia, both cats, have so far tested positive for the virus.

Thursday 27th May

1/4 of Million Hospital Staff Claimed COVID for Absence, but Only 77,000 Caught COVID

07:30 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.

The Number of COVID Patients in ICUs in France Is Falling

The number of people with Covid-19 in intensive care units in France fell by another 49 to 3,447 on Tuesday, while the overall number of people in hospital with the virus fell by 271 to 19,430.

Biden Administration Confirms Its Support for Tokyo Olympic Games

The Biden administration has reaffirmed its support for Tokyo’s plan to hold the Olympic Games this summer despite a new wave of coronavirus cases and the US urging its citizens to avoid all travel to Japan.

Poland Plans to Launch a Lottery to Urge More People to Get Vaccinated

Poland will launch a lottery with prizes of as much as 1m zlotys ($273,000) to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, the minister in charge of the immunisation programme has said.

UK Trade with the EU Drops at Start of 2021 Compared to 3 Years Ago

UK trade with the EU collapsed by nearly a quarter at the start of 2021 compared with three years before as Brexit and Covid-19 disruption hit exports, while China replaced Germany as the biggest single import market, according to official figures.

Wednesday 26th May

India’s Migrant Workers at Risk of Exclusion from Vaccination

07:30 Many of India’s 140 million migrant workers are at risk of being left out of the country’s vaccination programme, experts have warned, despite being at high risk of illness.

Bahrain Announces Highest Daily COVID Deaths

Bahrain reported its highest daily number of coronavirus deaths on Monday, with 23 further deaths registered amid a spike in cases.

China Denies US Intel Report That Wuhan Lab Staff Fell Ill with COVID Symptoms

China has vehemently denied a Wall Street Journal report citing US intelligence materials that said several members of staff at a key virus laboratory in Wuhan had fallen ill shortly before the first patient with Covid-like symptoms was recorded in the city on 8 December 2019.

Brazil Cities Report a Shortage of Vaccine

One in five Brazilian cities reported a shortage of Covid-19 vaccine doses last week, according to a survey of the country’s municipalities.

Taiwan Records Six New Corona Deaths

Taiwan has recorded six new deaths from Covid-19 and several hundred more cases in the continuing outbreak. It is the second day in a row of six recorded deaths from the outbreak.

61 Additional COVID Deaths in Malaysia

Malaysia has reported 61 further coronavirus deaths, which is its highest daily toll since the pandemic began. The south-east Asian country, which has a population of around 32 million, also registered 6,509 new positive cases, taking its total since the pandemic began to 518,600.

Sri Lanka Lengthens Travel Ban

Sri Lanka has extended its ongoing travel ban for another two weeks as health experts warn of a possible breakdown of the country’s health system due to rampant coronavirus infections.

Malta Has Successfully Vaccinated around 70% of Its Adults

Malta has vaccinated up to 70 percent of the adult population with at least one dose of the vaccine, the first country in the EU to reach this goal.

Tuesday 25th May

All Corona Restrictions May Be Removed in the UK

06:10 The possibility of all safety restrictions being lifted in the UK next month is “looking good”, the Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency has said.

Bahrain Suspends Travel from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal

Bahrain is to suspend entry for India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal from 24 May.

Daily Death Toll in France Dropped to Seven Month Low

France’s daily Covid-19 death toll fell to a seven-month low of 70, while the seven-day average for new cases fell below the 13,000 level for the first time since 2020.

Israel Is Endling Its Local Corona Curbs

Israel will end local Covid-19 restrictions following its vaccine rollout that has nearly stamped out new infections, the country’s health minister said.

The US Has Delivered More Than 285 Million Vaccine Doses

The US had administered 285,720,586 vaccine doses as of Sunday morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

Monday 24th May

Northern Ireland Will Add Portugal, Israel and Gibraltar to Its Green List

Northern Ireland’s devolved government has agreed to add Portugal, Israel and Gibraltar to its “Green list” for international travel, according to a letter to lawmakers seen by Reuters.

The EU Has Decided upon a Deal for COVID Certificates

The EU has reached a deal on Covid certificates designed to open up tourism across the bloc this summer, the center-right European People’s Party said.

Canada Renews Non-essential Travel Restrictions to the US

Canada announced it is renewing non-essential travel restrictions along the US border until 21 June.

Japan Approves Modern and AstraZeneca Vaccines

Japanese regulators recommended the approval of Covid vaccines developed by Moderna Inc and AstraZeneca PLC.

South Korea Is Conducting Clinical Trial by Mixing AstraZeneca and Pfizer Vaccines

South Korea has said it will conduct a clinical trial that mixes Covid vaccine doses developed by AstraZeneca Plc with those from Pfizer Inc and others.

Dogs Can Detect COVID in Humans Better than Lateral Flow Tests

Dogs are better at detecting Covid-19 in humans than many fast lateral flow tests, a French study found.

Friday 21st May

Berlin Is Slowly Reducing Corona Curbs

07:25 Berlin joins the growing number of regions in Germany, slowly emerging from the restrictions put in place to break a third wave of the pandemic in March.

Saudi Arabia Launches Online Immunisation Registration Portal for Airlines Operating in the Kingdom

Saudi Arabia has launched an online portal for airlines operating in the kingdom to register immunisation data for all foreigners travelling to the Gulf Arab state.

Malawi Destroys Almost 17,000 AstraZeneca Vaccine Expired Doses

Malawi destroyed nearly 17,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that had expired in mid-April, as the health minister blamed ‘propaganda’ for the reluctance of residents to receive the jab.

The US Is Donating Vaccines through WTO for Poorer Countries

The United States will donate a significant number of vaccines through the World Health Organisation COVAX scheme to distribute doses to poorer countries. Additionally, Covid-19 infections have dropped significantly across the Americas, with the most dramatic improvement in the US due to mass vaccination.

Argentinian Cemetery, Crematorium and Funeral Workers Threaten National Strike

The workers union representing cemetery, crematorium and funeral workers has threatened a national strike in Argentina if it does not reach a deal with the government on vaccines.

Pfizer Will Begin Vaccine Production in Ireland

Pfizer to begin vaccine production in Ireland after investing $40m in a vaccine centre that will create 75 jobs, the US drugmaker said in a statement.

Iceland’s Eurovision Entry Has Been Withdrawn as a Group Tested Positive for Corona

Iceland’s Eurovision entry, Dadi og Gagnamagnid, has pulled out of the live event this weekend after a group member tested positive for Covid-19.

Tanzania to Start Reporting Data on Corona

A year after the late Tanzanian president John Magufuli denied the existence of coronavirus in the country, the government will start reporting the disease’s prevalence.

Egypt Plans to Extend COVID-19 Safety Measures

Egypt will extend coronavirus safety measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, including early closing hours for shops, until the end of May.

The UK Is Studying If Third Corona Vaccine Dose Will Extend Immunity

The UK has launched a study exploring whether a third dose or ‘booster’ shot of the coronavirus vaccine would be a safe and effective way of extending immune protection against Covid-19.

Thursday 20th May

Ukraine Health Minister Dismissed Due to Criticism over Vaccination Effort

07:00 Ukrainian lawmakers have voted to dismiss the health minister who has faced criticism for the slow pace of the nation’s coronavirus vaccination effort, AP reports.

Argentina Recorded 745 New Deaths in One Day

Argentina reported a record one-day coronavirus death toll of 745 on Tuesday as the country is hit by a second wave of infections that has brought the number of positive tests recorded in a 24-hour period to 35,543.

Bahrain Plans to Vaccinate Adolescents

Bahrain will vaccinate adolescents aged 12-17 with two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, state news agency BNA said, citing the country’s national medical taskforce for combatting the coronavirus on Tuesday.

The Mexican President Stated Citizens Will Receive at Least One Covid-19 Vaccine Shot by October

Mexico aims to ensure its population has had at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot by October, before the onset of colder weather, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Tuesday.

Kuwait Announced Commercial Flights to Certain Countries Will Be Departing Only

Kuwait’s cabinet said on Tuesday that direct commercial flights for India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka are limited to departing flights only, while cargo flights will continue, until further notice, the cabinet wrote on Twitter.

Sudan Puts Curbs on All Travellers from India in the Last Two Weeks

Sudan will restrict all travellers who have visited India within the prior two weeks, the country’s health emergency committee said in a statement. India’s Covid-19 caseload topped 25 million on Tuesday, and there are concerns about the spread of a new, highly infectious variant, B.1.617, first found there.

Covid-19 Vaccines Exported from India Are Being Halted

An extended halt to exports of Covid-19 vaccines from India risks undermining vaccination efforts already underway in Africa, according to one of the continent’s top health officials.

Two Tower Blocks in Germany Have Been Quarantined as Woman Diagnosed with Indian Variant

Residents of two tower blocks in Germany have been put under quarantine after a woman was diagnosed with the infectious Covid Indian variant, an official said.

Malaysia Reports 47 New Covid-19 Deaths

Malaysia reported 47 new coronavirus deaths, a new record in fatalities for a second successive day.

Singapore Authorises Pfizer Vaccine for Young Teenagers

Singapore has authorised the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds in order to extend protection to more groups.

Wednesday 19th May

CDC Announces Masks No Longer Required for Vaccinated Americans

07:00 Fully vaccinated Americans no longer have to wear a mask in most settings, the Center for Disease Control said on Thursday. Joe Biden called it “a great day for America in our long battle against coronavirus.”

Cases of Indian Corona Strain Doubles in the UK in a Week

UK cases of an Indian variant have more than doubled in the past week, according to Public Health England data. Figures published on Thursday evening show there are 1,313 cases of the VOC-21APR-02 variant in the country, up from 520 the previous week. Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, said it was a variant of concern. “We are anxious about it,” he said when asked by reporters.

French Health Authorities Report 19,461 New Corona Cases on Thursday

French health authorities reported 19,461 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, representing a weekly rise of less than two percent for the first time in almost a year, Reuters reports. The total number of hospitalisations for the disease fell by 598, decreasing for the 10th day in a row to 23,656, the lowest since October 31.

The Philippines Intends to Reduce Restrictions in the Capital

The Philippines is set to ease some coronavirus restrictions in the capital and nearby provinceswith daily infections well down from a peak six weeks ago.

The UAE Approve the Pfizer Vaccine for Children

The United Arab Emirates has approved the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for children, the government announced.

The Prime Minister of Spain Stated Herd Immunity on Track

Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, said the country is on track for herd immunity, predicting 33 million people will be vaccinated by mid-August.

A South African Report Suggests More Than 133,000 Citizens Have Died from Corona

A South African report into excess deaths over the past year suggests more than 133,000 people in the country have died from Covid, far more than the official tally of nearly 55,000.

Friday 14th May

The Netherlands Plans to Reduce Restrictions Next Week

07:10 The Netherlands expects to further relax coronavirus restrictions next week, giving the green light to sex workers and zoos so long as cases keep falling, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Tuesday.

Major US Airlines and UK Carriers Are Urging Governments to Reopen Transatlantic Travel

Major US airlines have weighed in alongside UK carriers to urge the reopening of transatlantic travel, calling on governments in Washington and London to arrange a summit as soon as possible.

McDonald’s Are Promoting Vaccination Info on Coffee Cups

Burger chain McDonald’s has announced it is partnering with the White House to promote vaccination information on its coffee cups. Separately, Joe Biden announced on Tuesday a new program with Lyft and Uber which will offer free rides to anyone going to a vaccination site to get vaccinated.

Buenos Aires’ Teachers Demand Classes Return to Virtual Learning

Teachers in Buenos Aires are demanding a return to virtual learning due to the increase in cases of coronavirus since the return of students.

Brazil Records More Than 72,715 Confirmed Covid-19 Cases in 24 Hours

Brazil recorded 72,715 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 2,311 deaths from Covid-19, the health ministry said on Tuesday. Additionally, Brazil’s federal government on Tuesday nationally suspended the vaccination of pregnant women with the AstraZeneca shot, after an expectant mother in Rio de Janeiro died from a stroke possibly related to the inoculation.

Thursday 13th May

Covid-19 Variant from India Is Found in 44 Countries

The India variant Covid-19 has been found in dozens of countries all over the world, according to the World Health Organization’s weekly update on the pandemic. The UN health agency said the B.1.617 strain had been found in “44 countries in all six WHO regions.” The number of deaths from Covid in India rose by another record amount in the last 24 hours. Fatalities were up by 4,205, the health ministry said, while daily coronavirus cases rose by 348,421.

Taiwan May Have to Close Shops Due to a Cluster of Six Cases of Covid

Taiwan may be forced to raise its Covid-19 alert level in ‘coming days’, the health minister said on Wednesday. It could mean the closure of shops dealing in non-essential items after a cluster of six cases was discovered a high number on the island which has kept infections very low throughout the pandemic.

Major US and UK Airlines Are Urging Governments to Reopen Transatlantic Travel

Major US airlines have weighed in alongside UK carriers to urge the reopening of transatlantic travel, calling on governments in Washington and London to arrange a summit as soon as possible.

Pfizer Requests Permission from UK Regulator to Use Vaccine on Minors

Pfizer has asked the UK medical regulator for permission to use its Covid-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds in Britain, the Telegraph reported on Wednesday.

Americans Offered Free Taxis to Entice Vaccination

Americans will be offered free taxis to vaccination centres in order to convince them to have a dose of the treatment. Joe Biden announced the scheme with Uber and Lyft on Tuesday.

A New Corona Outbreak in Australia Blamed on Individual Returning Home to Melbourne

A fresh outbreak in Australia has been blamed on a man who had completed hotel quarantine in South Australia. Officials in neighbouring Victoria said on Wednesday that the man tested positive after returning home to Melbourne. Additionally, the virus has cost Australia A$311bn (£171bn), according to Tuesday’s federal budget, thanks to the massive cost of health and job support schemes.

Brazil Signed Deal for Additional 100 Million Pfizer Doses

Brazil has signed a deal for Pfizer to deliver an additional 100m doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, doubling the number of shots from the company. The health ministry recorded 72,715 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 2,311 deaths.

Canadian Province, Ontario States Blood Clots Caused by AstraZeneca Vaccine Are Not So Rare

The Canadian provinces of Alberta and Ontario said on Tuesday they would stop offering first doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, with Ontario citing evidence that the risk of rare blood clots is somewhat higher than previously estimated.

Wednesday 12th May

The WHO Said the B.1.617 Variant from India Is More Transmissible

07:00 The World Health Organization has said the B.1.617 variant spreading in India shows signs of being more transmissible and is now being treated as a variant of global concern.

US Health Authorities Approve Pfizer Vaccine for Emergency Use on Children

US health authorities have approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for emergency use in adolescents. US regulators authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12.

The Malaysian Government Will Enforce a National Lockdown Due to Rising Covid-19 Cases

Malaysia’s government has announced that it will impose a national lockdown in response to rising cases. All social gatherings will be banned and schools closed.

WHO Chief Advises Public Health Facilities to Prepare for a Corona Strain That Evades the Vaccine

WHO Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that public health capacities must be strengthened to prepare for the possibility of vaccine-evading Covid-19 variants.

France Records Lowest Covid-19 Infections for 2021

France records its’ lowest case figures of 2021. The country records 3,292 new Covid-19 cases and 292 deaths.

University Students in New York Are Required to Get Vaccinated to Attend Classes

University students at the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) must get vaccinated against Covid-19 to attend classes during the fall semester.

Argentina Confirms Its First Cases of Corona Variants

Argentina’s health ministry confirmed its first cases of the Covid-19 variants first discovered in India and South Africa in three travellers returning from Europe.

Novavax Inc Stated Its Covid-19 Vaccine Development Is Slower than Expected

Novavax Inc has said the development of its Covid-19 vaccine is slower than previously anticipated and does not expect to file for regulatory approval until the third quarter of 2021.

Tuesday 11th May

Boris Johnson Is Planning Timetable for Lifting All Restrictions in England

09:25 The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is to set out a timetable on Monday for lifting coronavirus restrictions in England. He is expected to say friends and family will be able to hug and mix indoors from next week, while cinemas and museums can reopen. It comes despite growing concerns over the spread of the India coronavirus variant.

China Will Create Corona ‘Separation Line’ on Mount Everest

China will set up a ‘separation line’ on the peak of Mount Everest to avoid possible Covid-19 infections by climbers from virus-hit Nepal, state media reported, after dozens were taken ill from the summit’s base camp.

Opposition to Prime Minister of India Calls for National Lockdown Order

Members of India’s opposition have called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order a national lockdown as the country’s official death toll to date hits 238,270.

Dr Fauci States “No doubt” the US Has Undercounted Fatal Cases

Anthony Fauci says there’s “no doubt” the United States, which has reported the world’s worst overall Covid-19 death toll, has been undercounting fatal cases.

The EU Has Not Renewed Its Contract for AstraZeneca

The European Union has not yet renewed its contract for the supply of AstraZeneca vaccines beyond June and is not certain it will, the bloc’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton said, a day after a new contract with Pfizer is announced.

Monday 10th May

Denmark Uses ‘Corona Pass’ for Access to Gyms, Theatres and Cinemas

06:05 Denmark has eased more Covid restrictions with a ‘corona pass’. Gyms, theatres and cinemas opened on Thursday as part of the country’s Covid-19 relaxation programme.

Support Grows for Vaccine Patent Waivers despite Germany

Support for vaccine patent waivers grows across the globe despite Germany’s opposition.

England’s CMO States Covid May Never Be Eradicated

England’s Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty has said that Covid-19 is unlikely ever to be eradicated, and the outlook for the pandemic remains ‘pretty bleak’ in the medium term.

The WHO Warns of New Corona Wave Coming from Africa

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned of a new wave of Covid-19 infections in Africa due to delayed vaccine supplies, a slow rollout and new variants.

The US CDC Has Conducted Close to 252 Million Vaccinations

The United States has administered 251,973,752 doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the country and distributed 324,610,185 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday.

Brazil Records 73,380 New Infections, with a Total above 15 Million

Brazil registers 73,380 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases above the 15 million mark.

Friday 7th May

Germany’s Constitutional Court Rejected Appeals against Governments Night Curfews

07:05 Germany’s constitutional court said on Wednesday it rejected emergency appeals against the government’s decision to impose night curfews in areas with high Covid-19 infections, Reuters reports.

French Government Eases Curbs on Lockdown

The number of new Covid-19 infections in France is rising much more slowly and hospitalisations declined on Wednesday, in the first week after the French government eased its third nationwide lockdown.

Serbia’s President Introduces Cash for Covid Jab Taken before May End

Serbia’s President said his country would pay each citizen who gets a Covid jab before the end of May, in what could be the world’s first cash-for-jabs scheme, AFP reports.

The US Claims They Support Waiving Intellectual Property Protections for Covid Vaccines 

The US supports waiving intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines, US trade representative Katherine Tai said, Reuters reports. Negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive intellectual property protections for jabs will take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issue, a Biden administration official added.

Alberta Intend to Offer Covid Vaccines to Children Aged 12 and Above

Alberta will become the first Canadian province to offer Covid vaccines to everyone aged 12 and over from 10 May, premier Jason Kenney said. Canada is authorising the use of Pfizer Inc’s Covid vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 15, the first doses to be allowed for people that young, the federal health ministry said.

Egypt Enforces Stores, Malls and Restaurants to Close Early from Thursday

In Egypt, the closing hours of stores, malls and restaurants will be brought forward to 9 pm to help contain the coronavirus for two weeks from Thursday, the prime minister said.

Tourists to Italy No Longer Require to Self Quarantine

Italy will allow tourists to enter quarantine-free as soon as this month, the Prime Minister, Mario Draghi announced.

Variant Diagnosed in India Detected in Kenya

A Covid variant first diagnosed in India has been detected in Kenya, the health ministry confirmed.

Norway Commence Vaccine Certificates from June

Norway will introduce verifiable vaccine certificates from early June, allowing holders to use them for admittance to events held in Norway, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said.

Sebastian Coe, the World Athletics President States Tokyo Olympics Will Happen in July

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has reiterated that the Tokyo Olympics will take place in July despite the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Japan.

Thursday 6th May

Japan May Extend Lockdown in Tokyo and Other Cities

06:30 Japan is considering extending the lockdown currently in place in Tokyo and other cities, according to Japanese media. The capital city is under a 17-day state of emergency until next Tuesday along with Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo. But, the Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga will meet ministers today to discuss an extension, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.

Madrid’s Anti-lockdown Leader, Isabel Díaz Ayuso Has Won the Election

The rightwing, anti-lockdown leader of Spain’s Madrid region has won a snap election dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. Isabel Díaz Ayuso has won popularity as Madrid became one of the few large European cities in Europe that has kept bars, restaurants and theatres open since the national lockdown ended in June 2020.

G7 Countries Intend to Plan to Send Vaccine Supplies to Poorer Countries

The G7 countries will try to agree on a plan to send more vaccine supplies to poorer countries as foreign ministers wrap up three days of talks in London today. Measures could include exporting surplus doses and increasing production.

Australia’s Controversial Ban on Flights to India Is Working

Australia’s Prime Minister said the country’s controversial “pause” on flights to India is working, with case numbers in its quarantine holding centre falling. Scott Morrison’s comments came as the UN said the ban raised “serious human rights” issues. The policy prevents Australians returning home from India, enforced with the threat of fines and even jail time.

Surge Testing for Identifying Covid-19 Variants Is Not Being Conducted in England

Surge testing is not being carried out in England for coronavirus variants first detected in India, despite the government claiming it would be deployed, the Guardian has learned.

The President of Brazil Ignored Advice That His Response to Corona May Lead to Disaster

Brazil’s President ignored warnings that his Covid response would lead to a disaster, a parliamentary inquiry has heard. A former Health Minister said Jair Bolsonaro had understood that ignoring scientific advice could cause death on an ‘enormous scale’.

US Birth Rate Has Dropped to Its Lowest in 50 Years

The birth rate in the United States has seen its biggest fall for nearly 50 years, according to government data to be published on Wednesday, with the economic uncertainty of the pandemic believed to have contributed to a fall in pregnancies.

Hong Kong Intends to Lift Ban of Flights from UK and Ireland

Hong Kong will lift its ban on flights from the UK and Ireland this week if the local coronavirus situation and other ‘relevant overseas places’ does not change, our correspondent in Taiwan.

Wednesday 5th May

The US Sees New Infections Fall to 50,000 for Last 7 Days

06:35 In the US, the seven-day rolling average of new cases has fallen below 50,000 for the first time since October. The CDC recorded the average as of 2 May as 48,164.

US Air Travel Attains Highest Numbers in a Year

Air travel in the US has hit its highest mark in more than 13 months. Nearly 1.67 million people were screened at US airport checkpoints on Sunday, which is the highest number since mid-March of last year, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

EU Plans to Provide Access to Vaccinated Travellers by June

The EU will reopen to holidaymakers from countries with low Covid infection rates, such as the UK, and to anyone who has been fully vaccinated, by the start of June under a European Commission plan.

Pfizer to Be Distributed to 12 to 15-Year-Old Adolescents in the US

The US Food and Drug Administration is preparing to authorise the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine for adolescents between ages 12 and 15 years by early next week, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing federal officials familiar with the agency’s plans.

Greece Reopens Restaurants and Cafes after 6 Months

In Greece, restaurants and cafes reopened their terraces on Monday after six months of being shut down, with customers flocking in to soak up the sunshine.

Tuesday 4th May

Britain Increases Support for India

Britain will send another 1,000 ventilators to India, the government announced on Sunday, stepping up its support as India’s healthcare system struggles to cope with the surge of positive Covid-19 cases.

Saudi Arabia Plans to Open All Borders

Saudi Arabia to open land, sea and air borders as of 17 May, the interior minister announces on Twitter.

A Curfew to Be Enforced in Oman

Oman to ban the movement of people and vehicles from 7 pm to 4 am from May 8 to May 15, the state news agency said.

South Africa Receives First Delivery of Pfizer Vaccines

South Africa to get the first delivery of its 4.5 million Pfizer coronavirus vaccines as the country begins to increase its vaccination efforts.

Liverpool Conducts an Irregular Social Science Covid Experiment at a Music Festival

The English city of Liverpool hosted a one-off music festival to test whether significant events spread Covid-19. Nearly 5,000 people took off their masks and ditched social distancing rules in the name of science and music.

India Had a Record Number of Deaths on Sunday

India recorded a number of deaths on Sunday. New coronavirus cases fell slightly on Sunday but deaths due to the infection jumped by a record 3,689, with one more state going into lockdown as the nation’s healthcare system struggles to cope with a massive caseload.

High School Students to Be Offered Corona Vaccinations

Secondary school pupils in England will be offered Covid-19 vaccinations from September under plans being developed by the NHS, according to The Sunday Times. It reports that “core planning scenario” documents compiled by NHS officials include the offer of a single dose of the Pfizer jab to children aged 12 and over when the new school year starts.

New Pilot Scheme Could Prevent Self Quarantine Rules

A major new pilot scheme could see the end of people in England having to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone who has Covid. The government-backed research will trial giving people daily lateral flow tests for seven days instead of asking people to quarantine for 10 days.

The UK Foreign Secretary Urges British Public to Be Patient

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has urged the British public to keep their resolve for the ‘last lap’ of the fight against coronavirus, saying there is only “a little bit more time” until all legal restrictions on social interaction are removed.

Urgent Action Required to Provide Oxygen for Critically Ill Covid-19 Patients

Campaigners call for urgent action to prevent oxygen shortage in Covid-hit countries. They warn that scenes in India of families desperately searching for oxygen for critically ill Covid patients will be repeated in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and other countries in Africa and around the world unless a significant international effort is made to ensure all countries have good oxygen supplies.

Monday 3rd May

Brazil’s Death Toll Passes 400,000

06:25 Brazil on Thursday registered a further 3,001 Covid-19 fatalities, taking its official death toll since the start of the pandemic past 400,000, the health ministry said, second only to the death toll of the United States.

The WHO Advises EU Governments Dangers of Easing on COVID Too Soon

The World Health Organization has warned European governments that relaxing Covid restrictions too soon could cause cases to spiral again, potentially triggering a wave of new infections as seen in India.

The French President Has Revealed Plans to Ease Its Lockdowns

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, unveiled a roadmap on Thursday for a progressive unwinding of France’s lockdown over the next two months.

Thailand Increases Curbs to Slow Its Biggest Outbreak

Thailand has added more measures to contain its biggest Covid outbreak yet, including a nationwide requirement to wear masks in public and a ban on dining at restaurants in and around its capital, Bangkok.

Italy Lengthens Covid Constraints on Travellers from EU Countries

Italy has extended Covid restrictions already in place on travellers from other European countries for 15 days, the health ministry said.

Romania Announces Its Initial Case of Corona Strain from India

Romania has reported its first case of a Covid variant first identified in India, according to its health ministry.

The Irish Foreign Minister States Plans to Reopen Retail Stores Will Occur

Ireland will press ahead with plans to reopen all retail stores, personal services and non-residential construction in May with hotels, the foreign minister said.

Friday 30th April

India Reaches Its Highest Covid-19 Cases and Deaths

07:05 India suffered its worst day yet of the pandemic, as both new Covid-19 cases and deaths break previous records. Crematoriums in Delhi have become so overloaded with bodies that they are running out of both space and wood, and are being forced to build makeshift funeral pyres on spare patches of land.

The Philippines President Extends Curbs in the Capital and Four Provinces Nearby

The Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte extended restrictions in the capital region and four nearby provinces for another two weeks. From 1 May, non-essential movement, mass gatherings and dining in restaurants will remain banned in Metro Manila and in the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite. The country is battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia, with hospitals and medical workers in Manila overwhelmed, while authorities face delays in the delivery of vaccines.

Roughly 30 Million Africans in the Sahel and Lake Chad Region Will Require Humanitarian Help

Almost 30 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection in the Sahel and the Lake Chad basin in 2021 amid a deepening crisis, a report by the UN Office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (Unocha) has estimated. Poverty, the climate emergency, armed conflicts, chronically high food insecurity and malnutrition have all contributed to the worsening crisis, and across the region Covid-19 is compounding acute needs.

Access to EU for British and Europeans Travellers Once Bloc Agree on Travel Pass Logistics

British and European travellers should be able to visit EU countries this summer but may have to deal with multiple potentially unconnected health certificates unless the bloc can agree on the cost, privacy and technical aspects of a common pass.

Italy Introduces Entry Ban on Tourists Travelling from Bangladesh

Italy has imposed an entry ban on travellers from Bangladesh in a move aimed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infections from the country, which has been hit hard by the virus. Restrictions will be imposed on returning residents.

The UK Has Arranged 60 Million Doses of Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine

The UK has secured 60m doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be used for booster shots later this year, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock said. He said the extra doses would be used alongside other approved vaccines in “protecting the progress that we have made.” Additionally, progress with the UK’s vaccine rollout should limit the damage from any third wave of Covid-19 infections, one of England’s top doctors, Jonathan Van-Tam, said, adding that there would likely still be bumps in the road in the coming year.

Thursday 29th April

Dr Fauci Stated Crisis in India Requires Richer Countries to Donate Vaccines and Medical Equipment

06:15 Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s leading expert on infectious diseases, has told the Guardian that the India crisis shows a global response is needed whereby richer countries could make vaccines and other medical equipment available to poorer ones.

Crematoriums in New Delhi Forced to Construct Makeshift Funeral Pyres

Crematoriums in the capital New Delhi are being forced to construct makeshift funeral pyres as they struggle to cope with the huge number of victims of the devastating wave. The country is braced for another record number of Covid cases on Wednesday after setting new records for the past week. The World Health Organization has blamed India’s crisis on a ‘perfect storm’ of factors such as mass gatherings, low vaccination rates and more contagious variants.

Biden Says Fully Vaccinated People Could Now Go Outside without a Mask

US president Joe Biden has hailed the country’s ‘stunning progress’ in fighting the virus and said fully vaccinated people could now go outside without wearing a mask – but not in crowds.

Brazil Has Begun a Parliamentary Inquiry into the President’s Poor Response to the Pandemic

Brazil’s congress has launched a parliamentary inquiry into president Jair Bolsonaro’s poor response to the pandemic has begun. His opponents have called it a “death committee.”

Boris Johnson Was at Odds with Advisers over 2nd Nationwide Lockdown Last Year

British prime minister Boris Johnson was at odds with his advisers over implementing a second nationwide lockdown late last year, new accounts of the turbulent period suggest. One dose of a Covid vaccine can halve transmission of the virus, according to a study by Public Health England.

Fiji Goes into Lockdown Due to Indian Variant

Parts of Fiji have gone into lockdown after an outbreak of the Indian variant in the Pacific nation. The Health Chief says he fears a “Covid tsunami.”

Wednesday 28th April

The WHO Provides Support to India’s Desperate Situation

06:55 The WHO says it is “doing everything we can, providing critical equipment and supplies,” to India as its Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters the situation there was “beyond heartbreaking.” The organisation said it was sending oxygen, mobile field hospitals and laboratory supplies and had transferred more than 2,600 experts from various programmes, including polio and tuberculosis, to work with Indian health authorities.

France Takes Action and Britain Pledges to Assist India in Its Critical Situation

France said it would send eight oxygen production units as well as oxygen containers and respirators to India. Additionally, Boris Johnson pledged Britain would do “all it can” to help India.

Thailand’s PM Was Fined for Not Wearing a Mask

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was fined for not wearing a mask after new restrictions came into force to try to halt an outbreak that saw deaths hit a record single-day high on Tuesday (15 deaths) for the third time in four days.

New Covid-19 Infections in Germany Increase by 10,976

Germany’s coronavirus cases rose by 10,976 on Tuesday, according to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

Tokyo to Open Mass Vaccination Centre Next Month

Japan will open a mass vaccination centre in central Tokyo next month, officials said on Tuesday, part of the country’s bid to speed up its Covid-19 inoculation campaign as the Olympic Games looms.

Tuesday 27th April

Foreign Govts. Are Providing Emergency Resources to India with Overwhelming Corona Numbers

07:45 Foreign governments are deploying resources to India, as the nation of 1.3 billion people struggles to cope with a growing Covid-19 crisis during which infections and deaths have hit record highs. The UK said it would send more than 600 pieces of equipment – including ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks – to India while the EU and US also said they would rapidly deploy resources there. India recorded 349,691 fresh cases and 2,767 deaths in the last 24 hours – the highest since the start of the pandemic.

Greece Has Detected a Case of Corona That Drove India’s Explosion in Infections

Greece today became the latest European nation to say it has detected a case of the Covid-19 variant that has helped drive the explosion in infections in India. The virus strain was detected in a foreign woman aged 33 who lives in the Athens area and had travelled to Dubai on 4 April.

A Fire at a Hospital South East Baghdad Killed 82 People on Saturday

A fire on Saturday at a hospital in South East Baghdad that had been equipped to house Covid-19 patients killed 82 people and wounded 110 more, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said that the fire at the Ibn Khatib hospital in the Diyala Bridge area of the Iraqi capital is believed to have occurred after an accident caused an oxygen tank to explode.

Coronavirus Fatalities at 3,100,569 since the Outbreak Began

Coronavirus has killed at least 3,100,659 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

Spanish Man Charged with Purposefully Trying to Infect Colleagues with Covid-19

A Spanish man with Covid symptoms who coughed on work colleagues and told them “I’m going to give you all the coronavirus” has been charged with intentionally causing injury after allegedly infecting 22 people. Police said none of those infected at his workplace on the island of Mallorca required hospitalisation.

Thailand Announces Highest Corona Fatalities to Date

Thailand has announced its highest number of coronavirus deaths, for the second consecutive day. It reported 2,438 new coronavirus cases and 11 new deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 55,460 and fatalities to 140 since the pandemic started last year.

Monday 26th April

Britain Identifies 55 Cases of Indian Covid Variant

06:40 Britain found 55 more cases of the B.1.617 Covid variant first detected in India in the latest weekly figures, Public Health England said.

The French PM Stated Travel Restrictions to Be Lifted on 3 May

French Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed that domestic travel restrictions will be lifted on 3 May and that secondary schools will reopen that same day. France is due to impose a 10-day quarantine starting from Saturday for travellers from Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and India.

168 Cases of Blood Clots Were Recorded in the UK from AstraZeneca Vaccine

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said there had been 168 cases up to 14 April of blood clots with low platelet counts in the UK in people who had had the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

European Commission Urges EU Capitals to Take Legal Action against AstraZeneca

EU capitals have been asked by the European Commission to back legal action against AstraZeneca by the end of the week over an alleged breach of its contractual obligations to supply member states with its Covid vaccine. Earlier on Thursday, a commission spokesperson confirmed legal action had not been launched against the company, following comments by Ireland’s health minister Stephen Donnelly.

9,000 Additional Corona Infections in the Netherlands on Thursday

New coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose by more than 9,000 in 24 hours on Thursday, the highest level since early January, figures show.

Friday 23rd April

Biden Hails the US 200 Million Vaccine Milestone

06:30 President Biden hailed the US milestone of 200m vaccines delivered before the end of April, meeting the ambitious goal he set for his first 100 days in office.

Thailand Reports Its Highest Fatalities in One Day, Seven Corona Deaths

Thailand has reported seven new deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday, its highest number of fatalities in a single day since the pandemic started, authorities said, as the country deals with its biggest coronavirus outbreak yet.

Fake Doses of Pfizer Vaccine Were Seized in Mexico and Poland

The US drugmaker Pfizer on Wednesday confirmed that suspect doses of its coronavirus vaccine that were seized in Mexico and Poland were fake, with doses going for as much as $1,000 a shot, according to US media.

French-Austrian Vaccine ‘Valnera’ in Latest Testing Stage

French-Austrian vaccine developer Valneva on Wednesday announced that it had launched a Phase 3 trial of its candidate vaccine against Covid-19 – the last testing stage before seeking regulatory approval.

Corona Infections Infections in Germany Increased by 29,518 Yesterday

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 29,518 to 3,217,710, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Thursday. The reported death toll rose by 259 to 80,893, the tally showed.

Thursday 22nd April

The European Medicines Agency States the Overall Benefits of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Outweigh the Risks

08:30 The European Medicines Agency has stated that the overall benefits of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine outweigh any risks after eight cases of unusual blood clots, including one death, were reported in the US out of 7 million people vaccinated. The EU drug regulator also said a warning about very rare blood clots should be added to the label of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after finding a “possible link” between the shot and the clots.

The Netherlands Plans to Resume Use of Johnson &Johnson Vaccine on Wednesday

The Netherlands will resume its use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine from Wednesday, Dutch health minister Hugo de Jonge has announced following the European drug regulator’s statement earlier on Tuesday.

Health Officials in Spain Reject Proposal to Extend Times between 1st and 2nd Vaccine Doses

Spanish health officials have rejected a proposal to widen the interval between first and second vaccine doses, Reuters reports, citing an announcement on Cadena Ser radio on Tuesday.

Yemen Began Distribution of Its Vaccine on Tuesday

Yemen started its vaccine rollout on Tuesday, with government-held areas in the war-torn country administering the first doses three weeks after initial supplies arrived.

The US Warns Citizens against Travelling to India

The US has warned against travel to India, where cases are rising to staggering levels and a new coronavirus variant has been detected.

Indian Authorities Plan a Strict Lockdown This Week in Maharashtra

Authorities will impose a strict lockdown this week on India’s western state of Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in India’s latest coronavirus wave, Reuters reports two senior ministers as saying.

Sweden Intend to Distribute a Different Vaccine for 2nd Dose after Receiving AstraZeneca

Sweden will give people under 65 who have had an initial AstraZeneca vaccine dose a different vaccine for the second dose, the country’s health agency said on Tuesday.

Wednesday 21st April

Ireland Records Three Cases of Corona Strain Previously Detected in India

06:45 Ireland has recorded its first three cases of a coronavirus variant first detected in India, a senior health official said on Monday in a statement.

Greece Postpones Rollout of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Awaiting European Medicines Agency Approval

Greece has suspended its planned rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine pending review by the European Medicines Agency on 20 April.

India Approves Citizens from 18 and Above Can Receive Vaccine

India will let all citizens aged 18 and over get coronavirus vaccinations from 1 May, the government said on Monday, as cases there surge to record highs.

Four Corona Deaths Reported in the UK on Monday

The UK reported four coronavirus deaths on Monday, the country’s lowest figure since September, government statistics show.

Oxford University Launches a Study to Re-infect Ex-Corona Patients

The University of Oxford has launched a study wherein participants who have previously had Covid-19 are reinfected with the coronavirus.

The US Expands Vaccine Distribution to 16 Years and Above

The US has expanded its vaccine eligibility to everyone aged 16 years and above, the country’s health agency said on Monday.

The Head of WHO States The World Can Control the Pandemic

The Head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the world has the means to bring the global Covid-19 pandemic under control in the coming months provided countries work “consistently and equitably”.

The Democratic Republic of Congo Begins Vaccine Rollout after Delays Due to Safety Concerns

The Democratic Republic of Congo has launched its vaccine rollout via the Covax scheme after it was delayed for more than a month over concerns about the AstraZeneca jab’s safety.

Austria Awaits European Medicines Agency Approval before Using Russian Vaccine

Austria will not use Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine until the European Medicines Agency approves it, chancellor Sebastian Kurz has said.

Tuesday 20th April

50% of All US Adults Have Received a Covid-19 Vaccine

07:05 Half of all adults in the US have received at least one Covid-19 shot, the government announced Sunday, while nearly one-third of all adults (32.5%) have been fully vaccinated.

Dr Fauci Expects the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Suspension to Be Removed

Dr Anthony Fauci expects the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to be resumed in the US after it was temporarily suspended, he said.

Turkey Records a Spike in Corona Fatalities Reaching 318 Deaths

Turkey recorded a further 318 deaths from Covid-19 in the space of a day, its highest daily total so far, data from the Health Ministry showed on Sunday, as well as 55,802 new infections.

Canada’s PM Remarked That Federal Healthcare Workers Will Be Sent to Ontario for Support

The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau said on Sunday he would send federal healthcare workers to help Toronto and the province of Ontario battle its third wave of infections that has forced shutdowns of schools and businesses.

India’s Health Ministry Stated More Hospital Bed to Be Freed

More hospital beds will be freed for Covid-19 patients, India’s health ministry said Sunday, as states appealed for additional supplies of oxygen and treatment drugs amid a worsening wave of infections gripping the country.

The UK Has Recorded only 10 Further Deaths within 28 Days of Positive Covid Tests

The UK recorded 10 further deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test on Sunday, the lowest death toll since September, as well as 1,882 new infections.

The UK Patient Backlog May Take up to Five Years to Clear

A ‘huge’ backlog of patients in English hospitals caused by the coronavirus pandemic could take up to five years to clear, NHS Providers has said. Around 4.7 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of February – the highest figure since records began in August 2007 – according to data from NHS England.

The Saudi State Announced Muslims Heading to Mecca for Umra Must Be Vaccinated

Muslims hoping to perform the Umra pilgrimage to Mecca must be vaccinated against coronavirus, Saudi state TV said on Sunday.

Monday 19th April

New Corona Strain Found in the UK

A coronavirus variant with potentially worrying mutations that was first detected in India has been found in the UK. In total, 77 cases of the variant have been recorded in the UK up to 14 April, according to the latest update from Public Health England (PHE). Overall Covid-19 case rates have fallen in all regions of England.

France’s Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses 100,000

The country of 67 million is the eighth in the world to reach the symbolic six-figure mark, and the third in Europe after the United Kingdom and Italy.

Portugal Reducing Curbs on Lockdowns New Week

Most regions in Portugal will enter the third phase of easing the Covid-19 lockdown next week, but stricter rules will stay in place in municipalities where transmission rates remain high, prime minister Antonio Costa said.

The US Prepares a Possible Booster Shot for 9 to 12 Months after Vaccine

The US is preparing for the possibility that a booster shot will be needed between nine to 12 months after people are initially vaccinated against Covid-19, David Kessler, Chief Science Officer for President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 response task force, said.

India’s Daily Infections Has Doubled in 10 Days

India’s daily coronavirus caseload has doubled in 10 days, with a record 200,000 new infections logged Thursday as authorities grapple with shortages of vaccines, treatments and hospital beds.

Friday 16th April

The EMA Stated It Was Analysing Rare Blood Clots in Women After Receiving Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

07:05 The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it was reviewing cases of rare blood clots in women who had taken Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine after US federal health authorities recommended pausing the use of the shot. Johnson & Johnson has made the decision to “proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe”, the company said.

Canada Recorded Its First Case of Blood Clotting with AstraZeneca Vaccine

Canada said it had recorded its first case of blood clotting with low platelets after someone received the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, according to a health ministry statement. The person, who was not identified and who received the inoculation produced at the Serum Institute of India, is at home and recovering. Additionally, Canada is to reinstate enhanced screening measures for travellers who have been in Brazil in the previous 14 days, Reuters reports.

A Supreme Court Justice in Brazil Orders Health Regulator to Decide the Approval of Russian Vaccine 

A Brazilian Supreme Court justice has ordered health regulator Anvisa to decide within 30 days whether it would approve the emergency import of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine by the government of Maranhao state, Reuters reports.

South Africa Has Suspended Rollout of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

South Africa has temporarily suspended the rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, its health minister said on Tuesday, after US federal health agencies recommended pausing its use because of rare cases of blood clots.

The Turkish President Announced New Restrictions for the First Two Weeks of Ramadan

Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan announced several new restrictions and a “partial closure” for the first two weeks of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to curb a rise in coronavirus infections.

Wednesday 14th April

The UK Reports 3,568 New Covid Infections

06:30 The UK has reported the highest number of new Covid-19 cases since 1 April on Monday, with 3,568 new cases reported. A further 13 people were reported as having died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19, taking the total number of deaths on the measure to 127,100.

Tougher Covid Restrictions to Be Imposed in Turkey to Battle 3rd Wave

Turkey’s coronavirus taskforce will recommend a tougher set of restrictions as the country battles its third wave, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Monday in comments reported by Reuters.

South London Is Conducting Surge Testing as New South African Variant Detected

Authorities are rolling out surge testing in parts of south London after cases of the South African Covid-19 variant were detected.

Ontario Is Moving to Remote Learning due to Rising Infections

The Canadian province of Ontario is shutting schools and moving to remote learning due to rising infection levels, premier Doug Ford said on Monday. He did not say when pupils would return to in-person teaching, Reuters reports.

Ireland Limits AstraZeneca Use to People over 60

Ireland will only administer the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to people over 60, the country’s chief medical officer said Monday, after it was linked to rare blood clotting cases, according to AFP.

Bucharest Reports 3 Covid Patients Died on Monday as Oxygen System Failed

Three Covid-19 patients died on Monday in an intensive care unit in Bucharest after the oxygen supply system failed, the emergency situations department (DSU) said in a statement reported by AFP.

England’s Vaccine Rollout Ahead of Schedule, over 50’s Can Now Receive It

All over-50s in England have been offered a coronavirus vaccine a few days before the mid-April deadline set by the government – meaning the second phase of the rollout to younger cohorts can now begin.

Brazil Supreme Court Plans to Approve Congressional Inquiry into Pandemic

Brazil’s Supreme Court is set to approve a congressional inquiry into President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic but will leave the Senate to decide when it takes place, a source told Reuters.

Confusion and Complacency in Addressing Corona Delays End

Confusion and complacency in addressing Covid-19 means the pandemic is a long way from being over, but it can be brought under control in months with proven public health measures, the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Japan Expands Vaccine Programme to Residents over 64

Japan has expanded its vaccination programme to people aged over 64, amid concern that the country is entering a fourth wave of coronavirus infections.

Tuesday 13th April

France Will Distribute the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson Vaccine to over 55

07:45 France will make vaccinations with the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs available to all citizens over the age of 55 on Monday.

The Czech Republic Reducing Curbs and Curfew

The Czech Republic’s state of emergency and the associated ban for people to move outside their home districts will end at midnight from Sunday to Monday, alongside the scrapping of a night curfew and a partial reopening of schools, Czech Radio reports.

Italy Reports Lower Infections

Italy reported 331 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday, compared with 344 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 15,746 from 17,567 the day before.

The UK Administers a Further 586,339 Vaccines

The UK has distributed a further 586,339 Covid-19 vaccines, according to daily data published on Sunday. The UK has now given 32.12 million people a first dose of the vaccine and 7.47 million a second dose, putting it on track to start reopening its economy.

The Dutch Keep Restrictions in Place until 28 April

The Dutch government on Sunday dashed hopes of an early easing of lockdown, saying a night-time curfew and other restrictions would remain until at least 28 April as daily infections rose to a two-week high.

80% of Sicilians Refuse AstraZeneca Vaccine

About 80% of Sicilians are refusing to be inoculated against Covid-19 with the AstraZeneca vaccine, Sicily’s governor said on Sunday.

China Has Admitted Domestically Produced Vaccine Efficacy Low

China’s top disease control official has admitted that the efficacy of the country’s domestically produced vaccines is low as it emerged the authorities are considering mixing them to try to offer greater protection against coronavirus.

Mexico Reports 1,793 New Corona Infections

Mexico’s government reported 1,793 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 126 more fatalities, according to new data from the health ministry, bringing the total to 2,280,213 infections and 209,338 deaths.

Monday 12th April

South Korea to Reintroduce Ban on Nightclubs

07:35 South Korea will reimpose a ban on nightclubs, karaoke bars and other nightly entertainment facilities, as cases grow. “Signs of a fourth wave of epidemics that we had so striven to head off are drawing nearer and becoming stronger,” said Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun.

Tokyo Presses Central Govt for Permission for Emergency Measures

In Japan, Tokyo has asked the central government for permission to implement emergency measures to curb a surge in a rapidly spreading and more contagious coronavirus variant, just over three months before the start of the Olympics.

France’s Health Body Advises Messenger RNA Vaccine as Second Dose to Astra-Zeneca

France’s top health body is reportedly set to announce today that recipients of a first dose of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine who are under 55 should get a second shot with a new-style messenger-RNA vaccine.

Thailand Reports 559 New Infections and 1 Death

The bad news from Thailand continued on Friday, as the southeast Asian nation reported 559 new coronavirus cases and one new death. At least 12 hospitals in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, said as of Friday they were suspending testing for Covid-19 due to high demand and shortage of supplies, amid a new spike in cases.

Friday 9th April

The Brazilian President Insists There Would Be ‘No National Lockdown’

07:00 Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has insisted there would be “no national lockdown,” ignoring growing calls from health experts a day after the nation saw its highest number of coronavirus deaths in 24 hours since the pandemic began. Brazil has also recorded its first confirmed case of the highly contagious coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa.

Angela Merkel Is in Favour of Increasing Virus Restrictions

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is in favour of tightening virus restrictions for a short period to stem rising case numbers, her spokeswoman said. AFP reports that Merkel backs calls for a “short national lockdown”, Ulrike Demmer said, noting that the country’s health system was under growing pressure.

The Belgian Govt Stated AstraZeneca Vaccine to Be Administered to People over 55

The Belgian government has said it will restrict access to the AstraZeneca vaccine to just those people over 55 in light of the European medicines agency’s advice that blood clots are a potential side-effect of the jab.

South America Is Now the Biggest Concern for Covid

South America is now the most worrying region for Covid-19 infections, as cases mount in nearly every country, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

The French Health Ministry Announced ICU Covid Patients Reach New Record

The French health ministry reported on Wednesday that the number of people in intensive care units with Covid-19 increased by 103 to a new 2021 record of 5,729 people.

UK Govt Vaccination Body States Adults under 30 Should Have Alternative Vaccines to AstraZeneca

Adults under 30 should be offered an alternative vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca jab if there is one available in their area, and they are healthy and not at high risk of Covid, the UK government’s vaccination advisory body said.

EU Drug Regulator to Begin an Investigation on Clinical Trials of Sputnik V Vaccine

The EU drug regulator will begin an investigation next week on whether clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine followed global clinical and scientific guidelines, the Financial Times reported. But, the official Twitter handle for Sputnik V called the FT report “fake” and “incorrect.”

Moderna CMO Says Booster Shot against Covid Variants by the End of the Year

Moderna Inc’s Chief Medical Officer, Tal Zaks said the company should be able to provide a booster shot for protection against variants of the coronavirus by the end of this year, Reuters reports.

Thursday 8th April

The IMF Has Upgraded Australia’s Post Covid Economic Outlook

15:50 The International Monetary Fund has upgraded Australia’s post-Covid economic outlook but warns that recovery from recession still depends on the rollouts of coronavirus vaccines.

In Australia, the Morrison Govt. Defends Its Bungled National Vaccine Rollout

A whopping 3.1m of the 3.8m AstraZeneca doses Australia pre-purchased from European suppliers have not been delivered.

Health Minister Greg Hunt Says Australia Has Reached 920,334 Vaccinations

Australia has hit 920,334 vaccinations, health minister Greg Hunt says (but, for context, Australia had planned to have 4 million people vaccinated by the end of March). Around 3,000 general medical practices are administering the vaccine.

NSW Govt. Plans to Open a Vaccination Hub in Homebush, Sydney

The NSW government will open a vaccination hub in Homebush, in Sydney’s inner west, capable of administering 30,000 doses a week to assist the federal government in the vaccine rollout.

Wednesday 7th April

The UK PM Confirms the Reduction of Curbs on Lockdown

07:20 The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed it will move to the second stage of its lockdown lifting from next week, as non-essential shops, pub gardens and hairdressers will reopen.

296 More Covid Deaths in Italy

Another 296 people have died in Italy, bringing its death toll to 111,326. New infections fell from 18,025 to 10,680.

Saudi Arabian Authorities Announced Umrah Pilgrimage for Vaccinated and Immune Visitors

Authorities in Saudi Arabia said only people who have been vaccinated or had the virus will be able to do the umrah pilgrimage later this month.

Spain’s Infection Rate Is Again on the Rise

The infection rate in Spain has risen again to an average of 163.4 per 100,000 over the last fortnight, as it reported 85 more deaths.

Goldman Sachs Workers Return to Office This Week

Up to 200 workers at Goldman Sachs’ office in London will return to the office this week.

The US Has Administered More Than 167 Million Vaccines So Far

The US has now administered 167,187,795 vaccines and distributed a total of 207,891,395 to clinics, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has reported.

Mexico Reports 252 Additional Deaths on Monday

Mexico’s government reported another 252 more deaths on Monday. It means that 204,399 have now died from the virus.

The UK Plans to Stop Providing Under 30 Years Olds the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine

People aged under-30 in the UK may stop being given the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine over concerns about rare blood clots.

Paris Investigation Begins after TV Exposé Reveals Luxury Dinners despite Pandemic

An investigation has been launched in France after a TV exposé revealed ‘clandestine’ luxury dinners in Paris despite the pandemic.

Tuesday 6th April

Portugal Extends Restrictions on Travel

07:45 Portugal has extended restrictions on travel via land and sea to Spain that had been due to end this weekend until April 15 as it works to contain the spread of Covid-19.

India’s Richest State Will Impose Strict Curbs from Monday

India’s richest state, Maharashtra, said it would impose stringent Covid-19 restrictions from Monday as there has been a rapid rise in infections. The state will shut down malls, cinema halls, bars and restaurants from Monday evening and impose a complete lockdown on weekends.

Bangladesh Announces 7 Day Lockdown from Monday

Authorities in Bangladesh have announced a seven-day lockdown from Monday, with non-essential retail and transport services shut. There were 7,087 new cases reported on Sunday – the highest since the start of the pandemic – taking the infection toll to just under 640,000.

Kuwait Citizens Are Being Prioritised for Vaccines Leaving Foreigners Struggling to Access Doses

In Kuwait, citizens are being prioritised for vaccination while the foreign nationals who make up 70% of its population struggle to access doses.

Colombia Will Impose Curfews as Cases Rise

Colombia is set to impose curfews depending on regional intensive care unit occupancy levels as cases rise in the Andean country. The government has already introduced weekend curfews and warned people against travelling during the Easter break.

Peru Reports Record Daily Deaths on Saturday

Peru has reported a record number of daily coronavirus deaths, with 294 fatalities registered. The figure, which was recorded on Saturday, tops the previous record of 277 deaths reported in August.

Monday 5th April

India Pause on Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine May Be Catastrophic for Africa

08:00 India’s temporary hold on the Covid-19 vaccine, Oxford/AstraZeneca, will undermine Africa’s vaccination plans and potentially have a “catastrophic” impact, the head of the continents disease control body said on Thursday.

Four Weeks Lockdown in Ontario to Begin on Saturday

The Canadian province of Ontario will enter a lockdown for at least four weeks on Saturday.

Mounted Police Charge Crowd in a Brussel’s Park Friday

Police on horseback charged a crowd of people gathered in a Brussels park on Friday for a fake concert announced on social media as an April Fool’s Day prank.

Record Burials Cause Sao Paulo to Speed up Efforts to Empty Old Graves

Brazil’s biggest city sped up efforts to empty old graves to make room for Sao Paulo’s record daily burials this week. They also registered 91,097 new cases of Covid-19 and 3,769 deaths, the health ministry reports.

Ireland Adds Visitors from 26 Countries to Mandatory Quarantine

The Irish government has added 26 countries to a list of states subject to mandatory hotel quarantine on arrival.

Madagascar Joins COVAX Vaccine despite Months of Resistance

After months of resistance from the President, Madagascar joins the COVAX vaccine sharing programme, the health minister announced on Thursday, following a recent pledge to rollout Covid-19 jabs.

Friday 2nd April

France Imposes Nationwide Month Long Lockdown

08:00 France has imposed a nationwide month-long lockdown to curb a rising third wave of coronavirus. Schools will close for at least three weeks, workers will work from home, and travel within the country will be banned for a month after Easter. “We will lose control if we do not move now,” President Emmanuel Macron said.

Johnson & Johnson States a Batch of its Vaccines Has Failed Quality Standards

Johnson & Johnson has said that a batch of its Covid-19 vaccines failed quality standards and cannot be used. The drugmaker did not say how many doses were lost, and it was unclear how the problem would impact future deliveries.

Keir Starmer Expresses Scepticism about the Domestic Covid Passport Scheme

Keir Starmer has dealt a blow to government hopes of pushing through a domestic Covid passport scheme, expressing scepticism about the idea and saying the “British instinct” could be against them.

Mandatory Vaccinations Required in Italy for Health Workers

Italy has made coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for all health workers, in a potentially controversial move aimed at protecting vulnerable patients and pushing back against significant ‘no-vax’ sentiment in the country.

A New Covid Strain Has Been Detected in Brazil, Similar to the South African Strain

Brazil has detected a new Covid variant in São Paulo state that is similar to the one first seen in South Africa, it was reported earlier.

Stillbirths and Maternal Deaths Have Risen by 33% since the Pandemic Began

Rates of stillbirth and maternal death rose by about one-third during the coronavirus pandemic, with the impact most acute in poor and developing countries, a study published in the Lancet Global Health journal reported.

Finland Withdraws a Proposal to Confine People to Their Own Homes

Finland’s government has withdrawn a proposal to confine people largely to their own homes in several cities to help curb the spread of Covid, the prime minister said.

62 Cases of a Blood-Clotting Condition Are Being Investigated by Europe’s Drug Regulator

Europe’s drug regulator is investigating 62 cases worldwide of a rare blood clotting condition which has prompted some countries to limit the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine, its chief said in a briefing.

Sweden Postpones Easing Off Covid Restrictions

Sweden’s government will postpone a planned easing of some Covid restrictions until at least 3 May amid a severe third wave, the Prime Minister said.

Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg Urged German Leaders to Add Tougher Lockdown Rules

The premiers of two southern German states badly hit by the pandemic (Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg) urged leaders in the rest of the country to reintroduce tougher lockdown measures to try to contain the third wave of infections.

Israel Awaits FDA Approval to Administer Pfizer Vaccine to 12 to 15-Year-Olds

Israel plans to administer the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech Covid vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds upon FDA approval, the Health Minister said after the manufacturer deemed the shots safe and effective on the cohort.

Thursday 1st April

Greece Reports Highest Daily Infection Rate

07:15 Greece reported 4,340 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, its highest daily tally.

The WHO Team Investigating Origin of Corona Cited Problems Accessing Data

The World Health Organization team probing the new coronavirus’s origins cited problems accessing raw data, the health agency’s chief said.

Germany Advises People Below 60 Should Not Receive Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine

Germany’s standing vaccination commission (Stiko) has recommended that no-one aged under 60 should be given Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, according to a report in Augsburger Allgemeine.

The Corona Cases in the Netherlands Continue to Increase Despite Lockdown

In the Netherlands, despite the lockdown, new Covid cases increased for a seventh consecutive week, health authorities said earlier.

ICU Treatment for Covid Patients in Sweden Increased 9%

The number of people in Sweden needing intensive care as a result of Covid-19 infection increased 9% compared to last week, health officials said.

Berlin Hospitals Stopped Administering AstraZeneca Vaccine to Female Patients Below 55 

Berlin’s state hospital groups Charite and Vivantes stopped giving female staff under the age of 55 shots of AstraZeneca vaccine following further reports of a rare brain blood disorder. They also stopped giving women under 55 shots of the vaccine.

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Wednesday 31st March

Tighter Corona Restrictions Imposed in Turkey for Ramadan

12:25 Turkey imposed tighter measures against coronavirus during Ramadan, citing the rising number of high-risk cities across the country. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a full weekend lockdown was to be in place during the month of Ramadan, restaurants would only serve as delivery and take-out, and a nationwide curfew from 9 pm to 5 pm would continue.

Highest Recorded Number of Covid ICU Patients in France

France recorded the highest number of people in intensive care units with Covid-19 since the second lockdown in November and the number of people in hospital with the disease rose by over 600 in a day, the biggest jump in more than four months.

Canada Plans to Pause Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine for People Under 55

Canada is to pause the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for people under the age of 55 pending a new analysis of the shot’s benefits and risks based on age and gender, health officials said.

Merkel Threatened to Centralise Germany’s Pandemic Response

Angela Merkel threatened to centralise Germany’s pandemic response as several of the country’s federal states refuse to implement an emergency brake mechanism on easing restrictions in spite of rapidly rising infection rates. “We need action in the federal states,” the German leader said. “We need to take the appropriate measures very seriously. Some states are doing it; others are not yet doing it.”

Pakistan President Tests Positive for COVID

Pakistan’s President, Arif Alvi, tested positive for Covid-19, he said on Twitter on Monday, after receiving his first dose of a vaccine. It came as Pakistan imposed a partial lockdown in several more high-risk areas in the capital, Islamabad, and elsewhere in the country after the positivity rate from coronavirus infections jumped to over 11%.

Ethiopia Plans to Receive 300,000 Vaccines from Sinopharm

Ethiopia on Monday said it would receive 300,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses from China’s state-backed China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) on Tuesday. Ethiopia is struggling to administer shots and tame infections, which have risen to the highest number of new cases in the last week of any country on the continent.

The UK Is Considering How to Share Surplus Vaccines

The UK does not have a surplus of Covid-19 vaccines to share with other countries but will consider how to share any future surplus if there is one, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said.

WHO Said Long-Awaited Report Will Be Released on Tuesday

The World Health Organization said that a long-awaited report into the origins of Covid-19 following a mission to China where the virus first emerged will be released publicly on Tuesday, but that further study is required. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “As I have said, all hypotheses are on the table and warrant complete and further studies.”

Saudi Arabia Reduces Curbs for Vaccinated People

Saudi Arabia said it would allow people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to attend sporting events at stadiums at a capacity of 40%, starting on 17 May. Face masks and social distancing would be required, the sports ministry said.

Tuesday 30th March

Brazil Recorded 44,326 New Daily infections and 1,656 Daily Deaths

Brazil recorded 44,326 new coronavirus cases and 1,656 further deaths, Reuters reports. The total number of cases has surpassed 12.53m while the number of fatalities is over 312,000.

Kosovo Has Received Its First Shipment of Covid Vaccines

Kosovo received its first shipment of Covid-19 jabs on Sunday through the UN-backed Covax scheme to help poorer nations.

Over 30 Million of the UK Population Have Received 1st Dose of Vaccine

More than 30 million people in the UK have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. A total of 30,151,287 people between 8 December and 27 March received their first jabs – around 57% of all UK adults, the country’s Department of Health and Social Care announced.

Covid Patients in Intensive Care in France Rose to New High This Year

The number of Covid-19 patients in France’s intensive care units has risen to a new high for this year, health ministry data showed on Sunday, as doctors warned the third wave of infections could soon overwhelm hospitals. There were 4,872 ICU patients being treated for Covid-19, close to a November peak during France’s second wave of the virus. However, the number of new infections fell by around 5,600 to 37,014.

The UK Culture Secretary Refused to Guarantee No Further Lockdowns

The UK’s culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, refused to guarantee that there would be no further lockdowns, saying, “You can’t rule things out.” Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show before the minister, Prof Mark Woolhouse said that another lockdown should be regarded as “a failure of public health policy,” underlining that government has the knowledge to avoid that route.

Plans to Vaccinate 200,000 People in South Africa Daily

South Africa plans to vaccinate up to 200,000 people daily from mid-May, according to a report in the South African Sunday Times newspaper. So far, only 231,605 people have been vaccinated.

Indian Authorities Impose a Curfew on Maharashtra

Authorities imposed a nighttime curfew on India’s western state of Maharashtra after the state capital, Mumbai, reported a record daily rise in cases. The state-wide curfew, which is between 8 pm and 7 am, begins on Sunday and will be in force until 15 April.

President Macron Has Said France’s Vaccination Will Catch up with the UK Soon

President Emmanuel Macron said France’s vaccination rollout will have caught up with the UK’s “in a few weeks” amid tensions over vaccine supplies.

Sweden Unable to Meet Full Vaccination Target by 30 June

Sweden will not meet its target of fully vaccinating all adults by 30 June, the country’s vaccine coordinator said, citing delays in deliveries. He said it may take “a couple of weeks into July” before the goal is reached.

Malta Is Increasing Curbs or Gatherings to Avoid a Surge at Easter

Malta tightened its coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings on Sunday as it sought to avert a surge in infections over Easter. The limit on the number of people from different households who can meet outdoors has been reduced from four to two.

Monday 29th March

EU Leaders Respond to EU Commission on Potentially Blocking Vaccine Exports

07:20 EU leaders have given a luke-warm response to plans by the European Commission to potentially block vaccine exports to highly vaccinated countries. In a statement issued after the EU virtual summit, the leaders failed to offer their support for the commission approach, instead of saying they blacked “global value chains” and reaffirmed that: “companies must ensure predictability of their vaccine production and respect contractual delivery deadlines.” Additionally, the EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen advocated support for the plan to block vaccine exports if necessary: “While remaining open, the EU needs to ensure Europeans get a fair share of vaccines,” she tweeted.

Germany Will Likely Declare France a High-Risk Covid Zone

Germany is expected to declare France a high-risk zone for coronavirus on Friday. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 21,573 to 2,734,753, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

More Than 40,000 People in England Were Infected When Treated in Hospital

In England, more than 40,600 people have been likely infected with coronavirus while being treated in hospital for another reason, raising concerns about the NHS’s inability to protect them.

Joe Biden Doubles His Vaccination Goal to 200 Million

Joe Biden announced he had doubled his administration’s vaccination goal to 200m shots during his first 100 days as president (up until 29 April).

Australia Reported First New Corona Infection in a Week

Australia on Friday reported its first locally acquired coronavirus case in more than a week, prompting authorities in Queensland to place restrictions on hospitals, retirement homes and disability centres.

Moderna Delays a Shipment of Almost 600,000 Doses Destined for Canada

Moderna has delayed the shipment of 590,400 doses of its vaccine that were due to arrive in Canada this weekend, the federal procurement minister said on Thursday.

Colombia Approves Emergency Use of Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccine

Colombia has approved the emergency use of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot Covid-19 vaccine, the director of food and drug regulator INVIMA said as part of a government address on Thursday.

Friday 26th March

EU Leaders to Hold Virtual Summit on Corona Starting Today

07:05 A European Union summit is due to begin tomorrow and continue on Friday will be held via video conference due to the increase in coronavirus infections across Europe. The EU’s 27 leaders are due to discuss the vaccine export ban, how to speed up vaccinations across the bloc, as well as industrial policy and relations with Turkey and Russia, according to a draft final summit statement seen by Reuters.

30 Million Corona Infections in the US as Race to Vaccinate

US cases top 30 million as states race to vaccinate. The United States crossed 30 million coronavirus cases on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as states accelerate the vaccination process by lowering age limits.

India Describes New Variant as ‘Double Mutant’

A new coronavirus variant, described as ‘double mutant’, reported in India. India has reported a new variant of the coronavirus as it struggled with the highest single-day tally of new infections and deaths this year. The variant, described by officials as a ‘double mutant’, has been found in more than 200 samples in the hardest-hit western state of Maharashtra, which is home to India’s financial capital of Mumbai.

AstraZeneca Has Released Vaccine Trial Results for Publication

AstraZeneca publishes full vaccine trial results. AstraZeneca has published its most up-to-date vaccine results, saying the vaccine is 76% effective at preventing symptomatic illness, citing a new analysis of results for its major US trial. Earlier this week, AstraZeneca released more data to support its vaccine efficacy. The interim results from the phase 3 clinical trial of more than 32,000 people found the vaccine was 79% effective against the symptomatic disease, and 100% effective against severe disease and death.

Canada States AstraZeneca Vaccine Is Safe Adding Blood Clot Warning

Canada says AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine safe but adds blood clot warning. Canada’s health department on Wednesday continues to back AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine even as it updated its label to provide information on rare blood clots associated with a low platelet count following an immunisation shot.

Olympic Torch Relay in Tokyo Show a Sign of Hope in Japan

Tokyo Olympic torch relay begins as a sign of hope in Japan amid Covid curbs. The official countdown to the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games has begun as the first group of runners carried the Olympic torch through Fukushima, in the first test of measures that organisers insist will ensure a ‘safe and secure’ event in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Education Inequalities in the UK Brought to Light by Covid Have No Quick Fix

Education inequalities exposed by Covid have no quick fix. Educational inequalities and deprivation have ‘mushroomed’ during the pandemic to such an extent that children in England need long-term aid rather than ‘quick’ initiatives, according to a wide-reaching survey of school and council leaders.

New Covid Variants Might Put France on UK’s ‘Red List’

The UK could add France to ‘red list’ over variants, says Johnson. Britain could shortly place France on a travel ‘red list’ and tighten Channel border controls due to the risk of new coronavirus variants, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday.

India Attains Highest Daily Infections in Five Months

India added 53,476 Covid infections overnight, the highest daily rise since 23 October, the health ministry data showed on Thursday. India has 11.8 million cases, the third-highest amount behind the United States and Brazil. The country reported 251 new deaths, taking the overall tally to 160,692, the data showed.

Thursday 25th March

Hong Kong Suspends Distribution of Pfizer Vaccines

07:55 Hong Kong has suspended the use of the Pfizer vaccine Wednesday after its Chinese distributor informed the city that one batch had defective bottle lids.

EU Tightens Export Regulations on Vaccines to Prevent One-Way Flow

EU to tighten export rules to stop the one-way flow of vaccines. The European Commission will tighten its export guidelines on Wednesday to prevent what it sees as an unfair one-way flow of vaccines, according to a draft seen by AFP.

EU Finalises Regulation Report to Reduce Vaccine Exports

EU finalising regulation to reduce vaccine exports for six weeks – report. The EU is in the process of finalising emergency legislation that will give it the power to “curb exports for the next six weeks of vaccines manufactured within the bloc,” the New York Times reports.

Brazil Records Highest Daily Deaths

Brazil suffered a record 3,251 Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, as President Jair Bolsonaro prepared to address the nation after swearing in his fourth health minister since the country’s snowballing coronavirus pandemic began last year.

New US Surgeon General Will Focus on Covid, Opioids

The Senate confirmed a soft-spoken physician as President Joe Biden’s Surgeon General stated on Tuesday. While Dr. Vivek Murthy says ending the coronavirus pandemic is his top priority, he has also raised concerns over a relapsing opioid overdose crisis.

Brazil’s Crisis with Covid Continues

Brazil Covid crisis: fury after Bolsonaro says people will soon lead ‘normal lives’. Loud protests have erupted across Brazil as the country’s Covid-sceptic President, Jair Bolsonaro, struggled to defend his handling of the pandemic and claimed citizens would soon be able to resume their ‘normal lives’ despite the soaring death toll.

The UK NHS Suffers as Covid Continues Disruption

NHS hit by Covid disruption as cancer referrals plunge. The Covid pandemic is casting a wide shadow over the nation’s health, according to new data revealing a dramatic drop in urgent referrals for suspected cancers in England, and plummeting quality of life among patients awaiting hip and knee surgery in the UK.

Wednesday 24th March

Europe Believes Herd Immunity Can Be Achieved by July

Europe can achieve herd immunity by July: EU commissioner. Europe could have herd immunity against Covid-19 by July, a European Union commissioner has said. The note of optimism comes even as several European countries have started reimposing restrictions as they contend with surging coronavirus infections, and after mixed messaging on the safety of a key jab.

Germany May Extend Curbs to April

Germany is considering extending restrictions into April, with a memo suggested it should be lengthened because of rising infection rates driven by virus variants.

Highest Daily Infections Reported in Chile

Chile reported its highest daily count of new coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic despite widespread restrictions and widely praised progress on vaccinations.

South Africa Sells 1 Million AstraZeneca Vaccines to the African Union

South Africa has sold 1m AstraZeneca vaccine doses to the African Union, the health ministry announced on Sunday in a statement reported by AFP after it suspended its rollout of the jab.

The EU Rebuffed UK Calls to Ship AstraZeneca Vaccines from Europe

The European Union is rebuffing British government calls to ship AstraZeneca Covid vaccines produced in a factory in the Netherlands, an EU official said on Sunday. Former EU member Britain has so far administered many more vaccines than EU countries in proportion to the population.

Papua New Guinea Cover Cases Triple in Number

Covid cases in Papua New Guinea have tripled in a month as doctors warn of ‘danger days’ ahead. Papua New Guinea has reported a record number of Covid-19 cases over the weekend as doctors warn that the hospital system is on the brink of being overwhelmed and more people could die outside emergency rooms.

New Zealand and Australia to Begin Quarantine Free Travel Bubble

The New Zealand government has held off on announcing a start date for quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern says the government intends to announce a start date on 6 April.

Taiwan Has Begun the Rollout of Astrazeneca Vaccines

Taiwan began administering the AstraZeneca vaccine today after it received nearly 120,000 doses earlier this month through the World Health Organisation’s Covax problem.

India Reports New Daily High of COVID Death Toll since January

India reported 212 new Covid deaths on Monday, the most since early January, while infections jumped by 46,951, the highest since early November. Total deaths have now swelled to 159,967 and infections to 11.65 million, the highest in the world after the United States and Brazil.

Wales Plans to Lift Ban on Selling of Non-essential Items

The ban on supermarkets in Wales selling non-essential items is being lifted from Monday as the country slowly moves out of lockdown. All non-essential retail was ordered to close on Christmas Eve last year as Wales entered alert level 4, but shops selling essential items such as food could remain open.

Monday 22nd March

Paris and Other Local Regions under Limited Lockdown

07:05 French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday announced a limited month-long lockdown for Paris and several other regions to combat surging Covid-19 cases, AFP reports, while insisting the measures would be less strict than in the past.

India Reporting Its Highest Infections since November

India reported 39,726 new coronavirus cases on Friday, its highest since 28 November, when more than 41,000 cases where confirmed. The worst-hit states, such as western industrialised Maharashtra, adopted fresh curbs to restrain the spread of the disease.

Biden Announced the US Will Reach 100m Vaccinations on Friday

With the US closing in on President Joe Biden’s goal of injecting 100 million coronavirus vaccinations weeks ahead of his target date, the White House announced Thursday the nation is now in a position to help supply neighbouring countries, such as Canada and Mexico with millions of lifesaving shots.

Cuba Approves Second Homegrown Vaccine

Cuba’s drug regulatory authority on Thursday approved a second Covid vaccine candidate for late-stage clinical trials as the country races to secure a homegrown shot to quell its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic and sell abroad.

Most EU Countries Are Resuming AstraZeneca Vaccine

European countries to resume AstraZeneca jabs after ‘safe’ verdict. Leading EU countries said Thursday they would resume AstraZeneca vaccinations after the European medical regulator said the jab is “safe and effective” and not associated with a higher blood clot risk after days of commotion around the shot.

Norway and Sweden Wait for Its Own Guidance on AstraZeneca

Norway and Sweden to wait before using the AstraZeneca vaccine again, even though it has been declared safe by Europe’s medical regulator. The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) said that after an investigation the AstraZeneca vaccine was ‘safe and effective’ and not linked to an increased risk of blood clots. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said it “took note” of the EMA’s finding, but deemed it “premature” at this point to come to a final conclusion. The NIPH said it would issue its own guidance at the end of next week.

The Second Highest Daily Corona Death Toll in Brazil

Brazil registered its second deadliest day in its Covid pandemic, with 2,724 deaths, according to the Health Ministry on Thursday. The country had 86,982 new cases. The country is facing a dangerous new shortage of staff in intensive care units. Additionally, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that the replacement of his health minister will take effect on Friday with publication in the official gazette, as the country had its second-worst day of deaths caused by Covid.

The First Local Case Confirmed in China Since 14 February

China reported 11 new Covid cases on 18 March, up from six cases a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said on Monday. The National Health Commission, in a statement, said one of the cases was a locally transmitted infection in Shaanxi province, marking China’s first local Covid case since 14 February Reuters reports. The other 10 cases were infections that originated from overseas.

The Philippines Have Approved Emergency Use of Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine

The Philippines has approved Russia’s Sputnik V Covid vaccine for emergency use, the country’s Food and Drug Administration said on Friday.

Friday 19th March

The Delay of England’s Winter Lockdown May Have Caused 27,000 More Deaths

Delaying the winter lockdown caused up to 27,000 extra deaths in England, the Resolution Foundation thinktank has claimed as it accused the government of a ‘huge mistake’ which should be central to any public inquiry into the UK’s handling of the pandemic.

Pressure Mounts on EU Regulator to Provide AstraZeneca Vaccine Safety Report

Europe’s medicines regulator is under mounting pressure to clear up safety concerns over the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine as experts warned that arguably political decisions to pause it in many countries risked seriously delaying the continent’s already sluggish vaccination drive.

COVID Infections in Brazil Reaches New High above 90,000

Brazil cases topped 90,000 for the first time. Brazil on Wednesday registered an unprecedented 90,303 new coronavirus cases, a day after the country reported a fresh record for deaths related to the virus, Reuters reports. Infections now total 11,693,838. Deaths rose by 2,648, the second-highest tally after the record reported on Tuesday, bringing the total to 284,775.

China’s State Media Appear Concerned over COVID Narrative Ahead of Who Report

Chinese state media are doubling down on Beijing’s narrative about the origins of the Covid-19 ahead of the much-anticipated release of the World Health Organization’s findings. Liang Wannian, who led the Chinese side of the joint WHO investigation in January, told the Global Times that China did not find evidence of the virus earlier than December 8, 2019.

Poorest Countries Will Suffer Most Financially Due to COVID

Poorest countries will suffer most from the Covid downturn, the UN said. The poorest and most vulnerable countries will be the biggest losers from a pandemic downturn that will leave the global economy nursing $10tn (£7.2tn) of losses by the end of the year, according to the UN.

Tokyo State of Emergency Will Be Lifted on Sunday

The Japanese government’s advisory panel on coronavirus countermeasures on Thursday approved a plan to let the state of emergency expire in the Tokyo area as scheduled on March 21, Economy Minister, Yasuhisa Nishimura said.

The Elderly Are More Likely to Catch Covid a Second Time

Older people who have recovered from Covid cannot assume they are immune from a second attack, according to a new study that shows the under-65s are much less susceptible to reinfection.

Indian State of Maharashtra Accounts for 65% of New Daily Cases

India reported 35,871 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest in more than three months, with the worst-affected state of Maharashtra alone accounting for 65% of that.

Blanket Orders to Not Resuscitate Were Imposed on English Care Homes

Blanket ‘do not resuscitate’ orders imposed on English care homes, finds CQC. Blanket orders not to resuscitate some care home residents at the start of the Covid pandemic have been identified in a report by England’s care regulator.

UK Foreign Secretary Said EU Threat to Block Exports of Vaccine Needs ‘Some Explaining’

The British Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab, said on Wednesday that the European commission’s threat to ban exports of Covid-19 vaccines cut across previous assurances, adding that the Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, needed to explain herself.

NHS Chiefs Fear Trouble Ahead over COVID Backlog

Hospital bosses are bracing themselves for a clash with ministers over how quickly they can clear the backlog of NHS care that built up during the pandemic.

Tanzania’s President, John Magufuli, Died Aged 61

Tanzania’s President, John Magufuli, one of Africa’s most prominent Covid-19 deniers, has died after a two-week absence from public life which prompted speculation that he had contracted the disease. Magufuli’s death was announced on Wednesday by the country’s Vice-President, Samia Suluhu, who said the president died of heart failure. He was 61.

Quarantine-Free Travel between Australia and New Zealand by the End of April

Quarantine-free travel to Australia from New Zealand could be in place by the end of April, Radio New Zealand reports. Ministers are working on the proposal, which could be put to Cabinet as soon as Monday. Deputy prime minister Grant Robertson says he is “very optimistic” about the travel bubble being opened soon.

Taiwan to Begin AstraZeneca Rollout

Taiwan could begin distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine next Monday, according to its Central Epidemic Command Center, following the arrival of the first batch of nearly 200,000 doses earlier this month.

Thursday 18th March

The UN Stated the Pandemic Could Have Contributed to Additional Child Deaths and More

07:35 The UN says the coronavirus pandemic may have indirectly contributed to around 228,000 additional child deaths in 2020, 11,000 maternal fatalities and 3.5m unwanted pregnancies in South Asia.

Trump Is Urging Citizens to Get Vaccinated

Former US President Donald Trump has again urged people to get vaccinated against coronavirus, saying he would recommend vaccination to “a lot of people that don’t want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me.” Polls show that more than 40% of Republican voters say they will probably or definitely get vaccinated.

Infections in India Soar to Highest Number to Date

India’s daily cases jumped by 28,903 on Wednesday, which was shown in the data from the health ministry, with the highest increase since 13 December, taking the total to 11.44 million. 

Vietnam’s Vaccine, Nanocovax Has Projected Availability for Q4 of 2021

Vietnam’s domestically developed Covid-19 vaccine, called Nanocovax, is expected to be available by the fourth quarter of this year, the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

Vaccinated Pregnant Women Might Pass Protection onto their Unborn Children

Pregnant women vaccinated against Covid-19 could pass along protection to their babies, according to a new study in Israel. The authors noted the small size of the study (20 women) and said further research was necessary to gauge the effect of vaccination at different stages of pregnancy, and the safety and efficacy of the different vaccines now available.

The Philippines Enforce a Travel Ban on Foreigners and Returning Citizens

The Philippines’ coronavirus task force said it will suspend the arrival of foreigners and some returning citizens as the country battles a renewed surge in Covid cases and increasing infections of new variants. The travel ban announcement comes as two cases of a new coronavirus strain first reported in the Philippines were found in England.

Australia Supports Papa New Guinea with 8,000 Covid Vaccines

Australia will immediately provide 8,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses and critical health equipment to Papua New Guinea (PNG) due to the spike in new coronavirus infections in the country, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. He also said he will request AstraZeneca and European authorities release 1 million doses of the vaccine that had been contracted for shipment to Australia, to PNG.

French Health Authorities Investigate New Covid Variant Undetectable by Nasal Tests

In France, health authorities say they are investigating a new coronavirus variant found in the western Brittany region. The variant appears to be more difficult for nasal tests to detect, however for now it does not appear to be more dangerous or contagious.

Wednesday 17th March

The WHO Will Meet to Discuss Concerns of Blood Clot Fears from Astrazeneca/Oxford Vaccine

07:50 World Health Organization vaccine safety experts will meet on Tuesday to discuss the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine after a number of countries temporarily suspended it over blood clot fears. The WHO, AstraZeneca, and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have all insisted the shot is safe, and that there is no link between the vaccine and reported blood clots.

Germany, Italy and France Also Suspend Astrazeneca Vaccine Due to Safety Concerns

The three largest EU nations, Germany, Italy and France, joined others in suspending the AstraZeneca shot Monday, dealing a blow to the global immunisation campaign against a disease that has killed more than 2.6 million people. Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Latvia, Indonesia and Venezuela have also temporarily suspended the jab.

Australia Will Continue to Use Astrazeneca

Australia has said it will continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine. The country’s Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, said in an emailed statement the government remained confident in the vaccine as there was no evidence that it caused blood clots though the side-effects reported would be investigated as a ‘precautionary measure’.

Canada PM Spurs Citizens to Take AstraZeneca Vaccine

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, on Monday, urged citizens to get the AstraZeneca shot after reports of hesitancy based on the suspensions in Europe.

The Thai PM Received His Jab of AstraZeneca Vaccine on Tuesday

Thailand’s Prime Minister received a shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Tuesday, as much of Asia shrugged off concerns about reports of blood clots in some recipients in Europe, saying that so far there is no evidence to link the two. “There are people who have concerns,” Thai Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, said after he received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. “But, we must believe doctors, believe in our medical professionals.”

The UK Cancer Mortality Rate Is Expected to Rise Due to Pandemic Issues

The UK’s cancer death rate could rise for the first time in decades if urgent action to address problems stemming from the pandemic is not taken, cancer charities have warned. “We are calling on the government to invest more money in ensuring the backlog of cancer cases is reduced and eliminated,” said Michelle Mitchell, the Head of Cancer Research UK.

India Reports above 20,000 Infections per Day for Six Days

India reported 24,492 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the sixth straight day of more than 20,000 infections, as curbs to try to stop the spread were expanded in parts of the country that have recorded a surge, including Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Oslo Closes Secondary Schools as COVID Numbers Rise

The Norwegian capital, Oslo closed secondary schools on Monday and restricted the number of visitors to homes to two, as Covid case numbers rise. Schools for younger children in the worst-hit districts will close and kindergartens will be closed during the Easter holidays except for children of essential workers.

Tuesday 16th March

AstraZeneca Has Found ‘No Evidence’ of Blood Clot Risk

07:55 AstraZeneca Plc said on Sunday a review of safety data of people vaccinated with its Covid vaccine has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.

The Netherlands Has Halted Its Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine Causing Delays

The Netherlands suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, forcing the cancellation of 43,000 appointments. The Dutch health authorities will be forced to cancel 43,000 vaccination appointments due to the government’s decision to halt the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for at least two weeks, news agency ANP reported Sunday.

Protests Occurred in Jordan’s Cities against Covid Curbs due to Lack of Hospital Resources

Protests erupted across many of Jordan’s cities and provincial towns against the government’s coronavirus restrictions, a day after oxygen ran out at a state hospital leading to the deaths of at least six Covid patients, witnesses said on Sunday.

Piedmont, Italy Announced It Has Halted Using Batch of AstraZeneca Vaccine Shots

Italy’s northern region of Piedmont said on Sunday it would stop using a batch of AstraZeneca coronavirus shots after a teacher died following his vaccination on Saturday.

Australia’s Labor Party States It Must Assist Papa New Guinea with Vaccines

Australia’s Labor party says the government must provide PNG with Covid vaccines amid the alarming outbreak. Labor has called on the Morrison government to provide emergency medical assistance to Papua New Guinea, including providing doses of the Covid vaccine for the country’s health workers, as concerns escalate about the growing number of cases in the Pacific nation.

Singapore and Australia Discuss Potential Air Travel

Singapore and Australia are discussing an air travel bubble with each other to eliminate the need for quarantine as they look to reopen borders mostly shut for nearly a year because of the coronavirus crisis.

Japan Is Evaluating to Have 50% of Olympic Spectators

Japan is considering limiting spectators at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics to half of the venue capacity because of coronavirus risks, the Sankei newspaper said on Sunday. For large venues, the limit could be 20,000, but more spectators may be allowed if the situation improved, it added.

Monday 15th March

Brazil Recorded 2,000 Additional Deaths for the Second Day

07:05 Hospitals in Brazil’s main cities are reaching capacity, health officials warned, as the country recorded the world’s highest Covid death toll over the past week, triggering tighter restrictions on Thursday in its most populous state.

New Zealand Reduces Alert Level in Auckland

New Zealand city of Auckland to move to alert level one from midday today. Auckland will move to alert level 1 from midday today, bringing it in line with the rest of the country, as the government declares the February outbreak to be contained.

Portugal Reduces Lockdown Restrictions

Portugal to ease lockdown rules. Portugal’s government announced it would start to gradually ease its strict rules from next week, Reuters reports, nearly two months into a lockdown imposed in mid-January to tackle what was then the world’s worst coronavirus surge.

Vaccination Program in the US Ahead of Schedule

Biden says the US is on track to vaccinate 100m people by the 60th day in office. In a primetime address, US President Joe Biden has said “We’re actually on track to reach this goal of 100 million shots on my 60th day in office,” noting that the US will likely surpass the president’s initial goal of 100m ‘shots in arms’ within his first 100 days in office.

Australia Persists with Astrazeneca Roll-Out

Australia will continue to roll-out AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine as there is no evidence of a link to blood clots, despite some European countries suspending its use. Denmark, Norway and Iceland on Thursday suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine following reports of the formation of blood clots in some people who had been vaccinated.

Thai Government Cancel Scheduled AstraZeneca Vaccines

Thai PM, cabinet cancel Friday’s scheduled AstraZeneca vaccinations. The response in Thailand has been different from Australia’s, with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and members of his cabinet cancelled on Friday plans to receive AstraZeneca vaccine shots after the country delayed use of the vaccines over reports of blood clots in some European nations, a health official said.

Friday 12th March

2000 Daily Deaths, a New Record in Brazil

07:50 Brazil’s 24-hour death toll has for the first time passed 2,0000, as the world’s second worst-affected country in terms of the total lives lost sees records tumble. Another 2,286 Brazilians had lost their lives in the 24 hours to Wednesday. The latest high, which followed a record 1,972 deaths on Tuesday, took the South American country’s total death toll to more than 270,000, second only to the US.

Biden Vows Surplus Vaccines in the US to Be Shared with other Countries

Biden pledges to share surplus vaccines with the rest of the World. US president Joe Biden has pledged surplus vaccines will be shared with the rest of the world after he announced the purchase of an additional 100m Johnson & Johnson doses.

South Korea Uses AstraZeneca Vaccine to People 65 Plus

South Korea extends the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 65 and over. South Korea will extend vaccination for people aged 65 years and older with AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to ramp up its immunisation drive, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a government meeting on Thursday.

Rich Developing Nations Wrangle over COVID Vaccine Patents

Richer members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) blocked a push by over 80 developing countries on Wednesday to waive patent rights in an effort to boost production of Covid vaccines for poor nations.

UAE Informs Staff Get Vaccinated or Pay for Regular Corona Tests

Dubai Officials in UAE have told employees to take a free coronavirus vaccine or pay for tests to prove they are not infected with the deadly disease, cautioning that an unvaccinated workforce could create operational issues.

3,000 Nurses Dead Globally Leads to Potential Exodus from Profession

3,000 nurses dead, Covid exodus looming: global federation. At least 3,000 nurses have been killed by Covid-19, the global nurses’ federation said Thursday as it warned of a looming exodus of health workers traumatised by the pandemic, AFP reports. Exactly one year since the World Health Organization (WHO) first described Covid-19 as a pandemic, the International Council of Nurses said burn-out and stress had led millions of nurses to consider quitting the profession.

AstraZeneca Vaccine Suspended by Five Countries

Five countries suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Austria’s national medicines regulator has suspended use of a batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine after four patients were diagnosed with dangerous blood clotting conditions after receiving the jab, PA reports. Four other countries – Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia – have suspended its use to allow time for the EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) to conduct an investigation.

Australian Hospital Under Intense Pressure as of Covid Infections

Covid cases put Australian Hospital under extreme pressure. An influx of Covid-19 patients from Papua New Guinea has sparked a ‘code yellow’ emergency at the Cairns Hospital in Australia, the ABC reports. The internal emergency declaration triggers strategies to help the hospital cope when it nears capacity. The six Covid-19 patients are all being treated in isolation and came from hotel quarantine.

Taiwan Discusses Securing Safe Travel with Several Countries

Taiwan in travel bubble talks. Taiwan officials have revealed they have been in talks since last year with several countries about the possibility of forming travel bubbles. It did not make it clear whether all the discussions were still going on, given some of the countries had seen recent resurgences of Covid cases.

Australian Deadline for October Appears to Refer to First Dose Only

Opposition senators are probing health department officials the government’s commitment that Australian adults would be ‘fully vaccinated’ by October. In fact, the health department secretary, Brendan Murphy’s, evidence today is that every adult will have received the first dose of AstraZeneca, but maybe not everyone will have had the second dose.

Thursday 11th March

UK Ministers Requested to Defend £20bn Test and Trace System Cost

07:30 There is no evidence to show that the government’s £22bn test-and-trace programme to combat Covid-19 in England contributed to a reduction in coronavirus infection levels, parliament’s spending watchdog has concluded.

Overseas Fans Face Ban from Tokyo Olympics

Japan’s government has decided to stage the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators because of fears among the population over the potential spread of Covid-19, the Kyodo news agency has reported, citing officials with knowledge of the matter.

Shortage of Doses in Indian State Lead to Scaled-Down Vaccinations

Big Indian state scaled-down vaccinations, citing shortage. The Indian state of Rajasthan said on Tuesday it had started limiting Covid vaccinations to its major hospitals due to a shortage of doses, despite an assurance from the federal government that supplies were adequate.

Brazil Is Suffering Record Death Tolls

Brazil registered 1,972 new Covid deaths in a single day on Tuesday, a national record, according to the health ministry. The country had 70,764 new cases of coronavirus, reaching a total of 11.12 million infections. Brazil had 168,370 coronavirus deaths.

Palestinian Intensive Care Units at 100% Capacity

Palestinian hospitals are overfull and intensive-care units operating at 100% capacity with coronavirus patients in some areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has said.

Johnson &Johnson Are ‘Under Stress’ to Meet EU 2nd-Quarter Vaccine Supply Goal

Johnson & Johnson has told the European Union it is facing supply issues that may complicate plans to deliver 55m doses of its Covid vaccine to the bloc in the second quarter of the year, an EU official told Reuters.

Wednesday 10th March

Pfizer and BioNTech SE Vaccines May Offer Protection against Brazil Variant

07:25 The Covid vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE suggests it offers strong antibody protection against the new variant of the coronavirus spreading rapidly in Brazil, according to a laboratory study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Monday.

The US Airlines Request Biden to Back New Covid Travel Restrictions

Major US aviation, travel and aerospace groups on Monday joined airline unions in urging the Biden administration to help establish temporary Covid health credentials to boost travel, which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The $1.9 Trillion US Coronavirus Bill to Be Discussed in the Senate by Wednesday

The US House will take up Senate’s $1.9tn coronavirus bill by Wednesday – Pelosi. The US House of Representatives will take up by Wednesday the Senate version of the sweeping $1.9tn coronavirus relief package backed by President Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday.

Consumer Spending Boom ‘Implausible’

A Post-Covid consumer spending boom ‘implausible’, said a Treasury official. The prospects for a consumer spending boom after lockdown have been downplayed by a senior Treasury official, amid warnings that wealthier families have saved more than low-paid workers during the pandemic.

China’s Vaccine Is Said to Be Effective against Brazil Strain

China’s Sinovac jab is effective against Brazil variant, a preliminary study suggests. Preliminary data from a study in Brazil indicates that the Covid-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd is effective against the P1 variant of the virus first discovered in Brazil, a source familiar with the study told Reuters on Monday.

Japan Has Made a Syringe That Draws 7 Doses from Pfizer Vaccine Vials

Japan’s Terumo says it has made a syringe to draw 7 doses from Pfizer vaccine vials. Japan’s Terumo Corp said on Tuesday it has developed a new syringe that can get seven doses out of each vial of Covid vaccine made by Pfizer Inc, at least one more than accessible with existing syringes, Reuters reports.

Tunisia Is Set to Receive First Coronavirus Jabs

Tunisia said Monday the first coronavirus vaccines were set to arrive to start mass inoculation in the North African nation using Russia’s Sputnik V jabs.

Greece Mourns Its Youngest Victim of Covid

Greece on Monday mourned a 37-day-old baby, the youngest among the country’s nearly 6,800 Covid-19 victims, AFP reports. “Sadly today we had the pandemic’s youngest victim in our country, an infant that spent 17 of its 37 days fighting the coronavirus,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted. “Today, grief is unbearable,” he said.

Holland’s Covid Curfew Has Been Extended

The Dutch Covid curfew was extended, with exceptions for its coming up elections. The Netherlands will extend its controversial coronavirus curfew until March 31 with exceptions for a general election next week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Monday.

Tuesday 9th March

England’s Schools Reopen on Monday to Begin Ease on Restrictions

07:15 Schools in England are reopening on Monday for all children under the first step to ease restrictions, but secondary schools can stagger the return of students over the week to allow for mass testing. It comes as the UK recorded its lowest daily death toll on Sunday (82) since October.

Vietnam Begins Its Vaccination Programme with Healthcare Workers

Vietnam has launched its vaccination programme with healthcare workers first in the queue, as the country looked set to contain its fourth outbreak of the coronavirus since the pandemic began. Monday’s shots were part of Vietnam’s first batch of 117,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived late last month.

Slovakia Is Suffering the World’s Highest Death Rate

Slovakia, a country suffering the world’s highest mortality rate from Covid-19, has received a donation of 15,000 coronavirus vaccine doses from France, Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič said on Sunday.

Norway Expects Tighter Restrictions to Fight Latest Numbers in Infections

Norway will probably need stronger restrictions to combat the latest resurgence in coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a televised speech on Sunday. “Ahead of us is another hill to climb, probably with tighter national measures before we can ease and then lift the restrictions,” Solberg said.

The US Target of 100 Million Vaccinations on Schedule for Biden’s First 100 Days

The US is approaching Joe Biden’s target of 100m vaccinations in his first 100 days in office, with 90,351,750 doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of Sunday morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The vaccine doses are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.

In Excess of a Thousand Clubbers in Amsterdam Were Given a Release from the Lockdown

More than a thousand clubbers in Amsterdam were given a short break from lockdown as part of a trial investigating how large events can operate safely amid the pandemic.

German MP Resigns as His Company Profited Excessively through Deals for Face Masks

A German MP has announced his resignation after it was revealed that his company had made hundreds of thousands through deals to procure face masks.

Teargas Used in Athens against Protestors on Sunday Night

Police used teargas against protesters in Athens on Sunday night after footage of an officer beating a man during a coronavirus lockdown patrol went viral.

Monday 8th March

WHO Will Scrap Interim Report on Virus Origins

07:20 WHO to scrap interim report on virus origins – report. The Wall Street Journal reported that a World Health Organization team investigating Covid’s origins is planning to scrap an interim report on its recent mission to China amid mounting tensions between Beijing and Washington over the investigation and an appeal from one international group of scientists for a new inquiry.

The Tokyo State of Emergency Is Being Extended

Japan to extend Tokyo state of emergency. The Japanese government plans to extend a state of emergency for Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures to combat Covid until March 21, two weeks longer than originally scheduled, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Friday.

UK Scientists Are Investigating New Corona Strain

New coronavirus variant under investigation in the UK. Scientists have identified 16 cases of a new coronavirus variant in the UK, Public Health England announced. Cases of the variant, referred to as VUI-202102/04, were first identified on 15 February. The variant, which is understood to have originated in the UK, was designated a “variant under investigation” on 24 February.

The UK Survey Shows Parents Concern of Effect of Corona on Children

Survey shows UK parents’ concern over Covid effect on children’s activity. More than two-thirds of UK parents believe their children have become less active during the pandemic, new research has found, placing more pressure on schools before their reopening next week.

Italy Is Being Urged to Prioritise Vaccinations for Italian Priests

Calls grow to prioritise Italy’s priests for Covid vaccination. Calls are growing in Italy to prioritise the vaccination of priests against Covid-19 as the death toll among members of the clergy, many of whom have assisted and comforted the sick since the beginning of the pandemic, approaches 270.

Australia Says Italy’s Block on AstraZeneca Vaccine Frustrating but Not Crucial

The Australian government on Friday expressed frustration at Italy’s decision to block a shipment of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine but stressed it would not affect the rollout of Australia’s inoculation program.

China Plans to Develop Vaccines against Major Infectious Diseases

China pledges to develop vaccines to cope with major infectious disease, part of its flurry of efforts to boost the competitiveness of its manufacturing sector, the government said on Friday in its development plan for 2021-2025.

Vaccinations in Vietnam to Be Launched on Monday

Vietnam to launch vaccinations on Monday. Vietnam will launch its Covid vaccination campaign on Monday, the country’s health minister said, after the country received the first batch of 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last month.

Covid Surges as Papau New Guinea Hospitals Run out of Funding

Papua New Guinea hospitals run out of funding as Covid cases surge. Papua New Guinea is battling to control a surge in coronavirus cases across the archipelago, just as hospitals are shutting their doors because they have run out of money. The country’s crowded capital, Port Moresby, is the epicentre of the latest outbreak.

Australia Warns Covid Vaccines Sold Online Are Likely to Be Scams

Australia warns of Covid vaccines being sold on darknet likely to be scams. Three major Covid-19 vaccines are being advertised for sale on the darknet – the part of the internet not visible to search engines and which requires specialised software to access, an analysis of 15 marketplaces has found.

Auckland Lockdown to Be Lifted on Sunday

Jacinda Ardern announces Auckland’s Covid lockdown will lift on Sunday. Auckland’s seven-day lockdown is due to lift on Sunday morning after no new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the community on Friday.

FOMO May Be Boosting Global Corona Acceptance

‘Fear of missing out’ boosting global acceptance of Covid jab. An international survey shows vaccine confidence is already on the rise even though relatively few countries have launched public awareness campaigns, with the fear of missing out on a jab suggested as one driver.

South Korea Have Approved the Pfizer Vaccine

South Korea’s drug safety ministry said on Friday it has granted final approval for the use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.

Friday 5th March

Countries with Overweight Adults Have Corona Death Rates 10 Times Higher

07:25 Covid death rates 10 times higher in countries where most adults overweight. Countries with high levels of overweight people, such as the UK and the US, have the highest death rates from Covid-19, a landmark report reveals, prompting calls for governments to urgently tackle obesity, as well as prioritising overweight people for vaccinations.

England’s Infections Are Not Dropping as Hoped and May Be on the Increase

The prevalence of Covid infections in England has dropped since January, but the rate of decline has slowed and cases might be on the rise in some areas, researchers at Imperial College London said on Thursday.

Brazil Suffers Another Day of Record Covid deaths

Brazil has suffered yet another day of record Covid losses with at least 1,910 new fatalities reported in the crisis-stricken South American country. On Wednesday evening the National Council of State Health Secretaries said those deaths took the country’s total death toll to 259,271 – about 10% of the global total. A record 1,726 deaths were reported on Tuesday.

South Africa and China Seize Fake Covid-19 Vaccines

Fake Covid-19 vaccines were seized in South Africa, China: Interpol. Police in China and South Africa have seized thousands of fake doses of Covid-19 jabs, global police organisation Interpol said on Wednesday, warning this represented only the “tip of the iceberg” in vaccine-related crime.

Greece Is Extending Its Lockdown to 16 March

Greece prolonged its lockdown to 16 March after reporting the highest number of new cases recorded so far in 2021. Health officials reported 2,702 new infections and 40 deaths on Wednesday.

Germany to Relax Covid Restrictions

Germany announced that it will relax Covid curbs. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday unveiled plans to gradually ease coronavirus curbs in Europe’s top economy.

Thursday 4th March

168 Million Children Worldwide Have Missed School for a Year

07:25 Worldwide, more than 168 million children have had their schools completely shut for almost a year, according to UNICEF, due to coronavirus lockdowns. One in seven children – 214 million – have missed more than three-quarters of in-person learning.

Brazil Recorded National Daily Record Death Toll as Its Variant Evades Immunity

Brazil registered a national record daily death toll. Brazil on Tuesday posted a national single-day record for Covid deaths with 1,641 people dying from the disease, according to Health Ministry data. A highly transmissible Covid9 variant that emerged in Brazil and has now been found in at least 20 countries can re-infect people who previously recovered from the disease, scientists said on Tuesday. The previous single-day high of 1,595 Covid deaths was recorded in late July 2020. Brazil faces a new peak in coronavirus cases and the hospital system is pushed to the brink of collapse.

Biden Announces the US ‘on Track’ for Sufficient Vaccines for All Adults by May

Joe Biden has said that the US expects to have enough coronavirus vaccines for all adults by the end of May, two months earlier than anticipated, as his administration announced that the drugmaker Merck would help produce Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved shot.

Texas Governor Lifts Mask Mandate

The Texas governor lifted the mask mandate and declared: “It’s time to open 100%. With less than 7% of Texans fully vaccinated and another Covid-19 surge potentially imminent, Texas is flinging open businesses to full capacity while simultaneously ending its highly politicized mask mandate,” the state’s governor, Greg Abbott, announced on Tuesday.

Chinese Delegates to Propose Vaccine Passports at Annual Meetings

Some delegates attending the annual meetings of the Chinese parliament and its advisory body due to begin this week will propose issuing Covid vaccine passports and recognising such passports globally that they say will restore some normality, boost international tourism and economic exchanges, the Global Times reported on Wednesday.

Auckland in Lockdown despite No Cases for Second Day

There were no new Covid cases in Auckland for the second day. New Zealand’s government has said it is still too early to make a decision on extending Auckland’s lockdown, despite the city recording no new community cases of coronavirus for a second consecutive day.

Nigeria and Angola Receive Vaccine in Time to Fight Africa Virus

Africa virus fight boosted as jabs reach Nigeria and Angola. Millions of coronavirus shots from the global Covax scheme have arrived in Nigeria, Angola and Kenya as African countries ramp up their vaccine rollouts.

Wednesday 3rd March

China Stated It Plans to Vaccinate 40% of Its Population by June

Health experts in China say their country is lagging in its coronavirus vaccination rollout because it has the disease largely under control, but plans to inoculate 40% of its population by June.

France and Germany Struggle to Sell AstraZeneca Vaccine

Already facing a daunting Covid vaccination challenge, French and German authorities are fighting to convince more people that a jab from the pharma giant AstraZeneca is just as effective as others.

WHO Warns Covid-19 Will Not Be Done This Year

The World will not be done with Covid-19 this year, the WHO warned. It is unrealistic to think the world will be done with the Covid-19 pandemic by the end of the year, the World Health Organization warned on Monday.

Trump Received Vaccine before Leaving the White House

Donald and Melania Trump received the coronavirus vaccine before leaving the White House, according to multiple news reports on Monday. Citing unnamed advisers, the New York Times, CNN and other outlets reported that while other officials, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the former Vice-President Mike Pence, chose to get their shots publicly to encourage confidence in the vaccines, the Trumps opted to quietly get vaccinated in January. There was no detail on which shot they received or how many doses they had been given.

Fauci Announced the US Must Maintain Two-Dose Strategy

Fauci said the US must stick with two dose strategy for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The United States must stick to a two-dose strategy for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid vaccines, top US infectious disease official Anthony Fauci told the Washington Post newspaper. Fauci said that delaying a second dose to inoculate more Americans creates risks.

Infections Increased Last Week, First Time in Seven Weeks

New infections rose last week for the first time in seven weeks. More from the World Health Organization: The WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said new case numbers rose last week in Europe, the Americas, Southeast Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. The number of new coronavirus infections globally rose last week for the first time in seven weeks.

The Philippines Confirms Its First South African Variant Case 

The Philippines has documented six cases of the South African coronavirus variant, its health ministry said on Tuesday, raising concern among its experts that the current vaccines might be less effective.

The US Has Downplayed Sharing COVID Vaccines with Mexico

The Biden administration on Monday downplayed the prospect of sharing coronavirus vaccines with Mexico, saying it is focused first on getting its own population protected against a pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.

Japan Stated to China Stop Doing Anal Cover Tests on Our Citizens

Stop doing anal Covid tests on our citizens, Japan told China. Tokyo has requested Beijing to stop taking anal swab tests for Covid-19 on Japanese citizens because the procedure causes psychological pain, a government spokesperson has said.

Concern Warranted over UK Data on Long Covid in Children

Data on long Covid in UK children is cause for concern. Scientists have warned that emerging data on long Covid in children should not be ignored given the lack of a vaccine for this age group, but cautioned that the evidence describing these enduring symptoms in the young is so far uncertain.

Fossil Fuel Emission May Surpass pre-Covid Levels

The world has only a few months to prevent the energy industry’s carbon emissions from surpassing pre-pandemic levels this year as economies begin to rebound from Covid-19 restrictions, according to the International Energy Agency.

Tuesday 2nd March

Increase Seen in Covid-19 Vaccine Acceptance

07:30 Covid vaccine acceptance has risen in some countries: study. Willingness to get a Covid-19 vaccine is on the rise compared to last year, a survey of six industrialised countries published on Monday showed. More people in the United Kingdom, the United States and even vaccine-sceptical France now accept the idea of getting a coronavirus jab. The survey also covered Germany, Japan and Sweden where a similar trend was clear, it said.

Covid Vaccinations Began on Monday in the Phillippines

The Philippines kicked off its Covid vaccination programme on Monday, with health workers the first to be inoculated in a delayed campaign as the country tries to secure supplies to address one of Asia’s most stubborn coronavirus epidemics.

Ardern under Pressure over Latest Auckland Lockdown

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has expressed frustration over rule-breaking by people implicated in the recent cluster of coronavirus cases, leading to further restrictions for Auckland.

India’s PM Was Inoculated on Monday with Home-Grown Vaccine

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was inoculated with the first dose of a home-grown coronavirus vaccine on Monday, kicking off an expansion of the country’s immunisation campaign that began in mid-January with healthcare workers, Reuters reports.

South Africa Has Downgraded Coronavirus Alert Level

South Africa’s coronavirus alert level has been downgraded from three to one following a fall in infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced, with the change coming into effect at midnight.

AstraZeneca Has Sold Stake in Moderna for $1 Billion

AstraZeneca has sold its Moderna stake for over $1bn – report. AstraZeneca Plc has sold its 7.7% stake in Moderna Inc for more than $1bn after the US biotechnology company’s shares soared on the back of its coronavirus vaccine breakthrough.

Oslo Increasing Restrictions after Surge of Infections

The Norwegian capital Oslo is ramping up its coronavirus restrictions after a surge in infections connected to the more transmissible variant first detected in the UK.

Virus Variant Originating in Brazil Are Being Found in the UK

Cases of the virus variant first detected in Brazil have been discovered in the UK for the first time, Public Health England has said. Three cases have been found in England and three in Scotland. Officials will begin surge testing in the South Gloucestershire postcodes of BS320, BS328, BS329, BS345 and BS346 tomorrow.

Nigeria to Receive First Batch of Vaccines

Nigeria will receive its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines this week, with nearly 4m of its 16m vaccines due to arrive in Africa’s most populous nation via the Covax scheme.

Monday 1st March

The French PM, Jean Castex Warns Govt Will Impose New Cover Measures

08:05 The French prime minister, Jean Castex, has warned the government will impose new Covid measures, including weekend lockdowns in Paris and 19 other regions, from the start of March if signs of the coronavirus accelerating persist. France has also agreed with Germany to require coronavirus tests for workers commuting across their shared border.

South Korea Has Launched Its Vaccination Campaign

The first injections of the AstraZeneca’s vaccine were given to nursing home workers and patients across the country.

Japan to Decide If It Will Relax State of Emergency

Japan will decide on whether to relax its state of emergency in five prefectures on Friday, a week ahead of schedule, after a dramatic fall in new cases across the country.

The Queen Stated Her Vaccine “Didn’t Hurt at All”

The Queen has said her Covid vaccine “didn’t hurt at all” and urged those wary of receiving the vaccine to “think about other people”. The 94-year-old was vaccinated along with her husband Prince Philip in January, telling health officials leading the rollout in a video call that she now felt “protected”.

The European Commission President Warns against Fatigue in the Member States

The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has warned against virus fatigue in member states. At a virtual summit, she reassured EU leaders over vaccine distribution, saying she would ban vaccines from leaving the EU if suppliers filed to deliver again.

Biden Announced 50 Million Vaccine Shots in 37 Days

In the US, Joe Biden has hailed the 50m coronavirus vaccine doses given since he took office, but warned that the country must not relax. “We’re halfway there: 50 million shots in 37 days,” Biden said, referring to his ambition of 100m doses in his first 100 days as president. “That’s weeks ahead of schedule.”

New Zealand Reports One New Community Covid Case

New Zealand has reported one new community case of Covid-19, though the infected person has been in quarantine since February 23. The latest Auckland outbreak, now a dozen people strong, has seen Australia declare the city a “hotspot” and close its borders to New Zealand citizens. Air New Zealand has halted all flights to Australia until Sunday, pending review.

Friday 26th February

Toronto Cancels All Large Outdoor Events in July

07:55 Canada’s largest city Toronto is cancelling all large in-person, city-permitted outdoor events through July as the country seeks to stave off a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

New Covid Variant Hits the Streets of New York

A new coronavirus variant is on the rise in New York City, researchers said on Wednesday. The new variant, known as B.1.526, was first identified in samples collected in New York in November, and by mid-February represented about 12% of cases, researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, said on Wednesday.

Highest Corona Cases Reported in India in Almost a Month

India reported 16,738 new coronavirus infections, health ministry data showed on Thursday, for the highest daily jump since January 29, according to a Reuters tally. More than half came from the western state of Maharashtra, India’s richest and home to its financial capital of Mumbai, which reported a record high of 8,807 cases on Wednesday.

Care Home Firm Has Introduced New Work Policy ‘No Jab, No Job’

One of the UK’s largest care home firms introduced a ‘no jab, no job’ policy. One of the UK’s largest care home operators has instituted a no jab, no job policy for new staff amid ongoing concern about vaccine take-up among care workers.

California Vaccine Sites Witness Priority Abuse

California vaccine sites are seeing misuse of codes meant to prioritise Black and Latino residents. Access codes meant to give Californians of colour priority access to Covid-19 vaccine slots have been getting passed around among other residents in the state, allowing some to cut the line and get appointments otherwise meant for Black and Latino residents.

Sinopharm Vaccine Is Reportedly 72.5% Effective

China’s Sinopharm vaccine 72.5% effective, company says. China is moving ahead with two more Covid vaccines in the regulatory process, one from state-owned company Sinopharm and another from a private company CanSino.

Pfizer Vaccine Is 94% Effective

Pfizer vaccine found 94% effective in landmark real-world study. The first big real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be independently reviewed shows the shot is highly effective at preventing Covid-19.

Split over Vaccine Passports in EU States

EU states split over vaccine passports, to debate the issue on Thursday. EU leaders will on Thursday debate the issue of certificates of vaccination for EU citizens who have been vaccinated against Covid.

Qantas Will Resume International Flights from October

Australian airline Qantas to resume international flights from October. Australian airline Qantas is preparing to resume regular international flights from late October, in line with Australia’s projected vaccine rollout.

Olympians from Australia Are Being Encouraged to Take Vaccine

Australia’s Olympians to be encouraged to take vaccine but Games will be ‘safe’. Australia’s Olympics athletes will not be required to have a Covid-19 vaccination but will be encouraged to do so as planning ramps up for July’s delayed Tokyo Games.

Thursday 25th February

EU to Receive Only 50% of Promised Doses from AstraZeneca

07:20 AstraZeneca to deliver less than half promised doses to EU in second-quarter – report. AstraZeneca Plc has told the European Union it expects to deliver less than half the Covid vaccines it was contracted to supply in the second quarter, an EU official told Reuters on Tuesday. Contacted by Reuters, AstraZeneca did not deny what the official said, but a statement late in the day said the company was striving to increase productivity to deliver the promised 180 million doses.

WHO States Corona Virus Deaths Have Dropped 20% in the Last Week

The World Health Organization said global deaths from coronavirus-related complications have declined by 20% in the last week, with cases dropping for the sixth consecutive week worldwide. Deaths have been falling for three consecutive weeks.

Japanese Regions Are Looking to End the State of Emergency

Japan regions are pushing to end the state of emergency as virus infections fall. Regional authorities in Japan have urged that emergency pandemic measures be lifted before the scheduled date of 7 March, as new coronavirus cases trend lower, the economy minister said, adding that the government would consult experts before it agreed.

Australian Doctor Fails to Give Correct Vaccine Dosage Due to Lack of Training

An Australian doctor has been stood down after an 88-year-old man and a 94-year-old woman were each given four times the recommended dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

A New Zealand High School Closed After Another Case of Covid

One of New Zealand’s largest high schools has closed again after another student and two siblings tested positive for Covid. Health authorities have been trying to test and contact-trace all 1,500 students, but were unable to find and test a small number of pupils and their families.

Thailand Has Received Its First Batch of Covid Vaccines

Thailand received its first 200,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac, the country’s first batch of coronavirus vaccines, with inoculations set to begin in a few days.

The US to Vote on Covid Relief Bill on Friday

The US House of Representatives will vote on Friday on legislation to provide $1.9 trillion in new coronavirus relief, Representative Steny Hoyer, the chamber’s No 2 Democrat, said.

Singapore Discusses Vaccine Certificates to Resume Global Travel

Singapore is discussing the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates with other countries, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, calling it a necessary step towards resuming global travel.

Ireland Opens Schools Despite Lockdown Extension

Ireland is to start reopening some schools next week but is extending other lockdown restrictions until April to prevent another explosion in Covid-19 cases.

Wednesday 24th February

Over 500,000 People Have Died of Coronavirus in the US

07:45 More than half a million people have died of Covid-19 in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country had recorded more than 28 million cases and 500,071 lives have been lost as of Monday afternoon. In a sombre address to the nation as the US surpassed half a million coronavirus deaths on Monday, Joe Biden urged the country to unify in its battle against the virus. Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said political divisiveness contributed significantly to the stunning US coronavirus death toll.

Italy May Have Misled the WHO on Readiness to Face Pandemic

Italy allegedly misled the World Health Organization on its readiness to face a pandemic less than three weeks before the country’s first locally transmitted coronavirus case was confirmed.

Syria Authorises Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine

Syria has authorised the use of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, its embassy in Moscow said Monday. The country is the latest to approve the Russian vaccine, named after the Soviet-era satellite. Sputnik V was registered in August before clinical trials were underway, which left experts wary.

Boris Johnson Expresses Hope to Return to Normal by End of June 

British Prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday set out a four-step plan to ease coronavirus restrictions, expressing hope that life could get back to normal by the end of June.

Austria Is Betting on Millions of Tests to Contain Covid-19

While Austria has struggled to contain the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, it is fast emerging as a world leader in testing as a way to reopen schools and businesses.

The Who Agreed to No-Fault Compensation for Covid Side Effects

The World Health Organization has agreed to a no-fault compensation plan for claims of serious side effects in people in 92 poorer countries due to get Covid vaccines via the Covax sharing scheme, resolving a big concern among recipient governments.

Guinea to Launch Ebola Vaccination Drive

Guinea will launch an Ebola vaccination drive Tuesday after a flight delayed by a Saharan dust storm arrived carrying thousands of jabs, as the West African country fights to stamp out a resurgence of the deadly virus.

Tuesday 23rd February

Corona Death Toll in Africa Surpasses 100,000

07:40 Africa’s reported Covid death toll surpassed 100,000 on Friday, which is a fraction of those reported on other continents but is rising fast as the second wave of infections overwhelms hospitals. The continent’s reported deaths, at 100,354, compare favourably with North America, which has registered more than half a million, and Europe, which is approaching 900,000, a Reuters tally shows.

Japan Confirms Another New Strain from Overseas, Immigration Centre Reports Infections

Japan confirmed a new variant of Covid, and an infection cluster emerged at a Tokyo immigration facility, presenting new challenges as the country tries to overcome a third wave of the pandemic. The new strain appears to have originated overseas but is different from other types that have been found sporadically in Japan, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Richer Nations Stockpile Extra Vaccines with Poorer Countries Fighting over Supplies

Rich nations stockpiling a billion more shots than needed. Rich countries are on course to have over a billion more doses of Covid vaccines than they need, leaving poorer nations scrambling for leftover supplies as the world seeks to curb the coronavirus pandemic, a report by anti-poverty campaigners found on Friday.

Worldwide Infections Dropped to the Lowest Numbers since October

Reported daily coronavirus infections have been falling across the world for a month and on Tuesday hit their lowest since mid-October, figures that suggest the seasonality of the virus show. Reuters: But, optimism over a way out of the crisis has been tempered by new variants of the virus, raising fears about the efficacy of vaccines.

Hong Kong Vaccinations Begin Next Week

Hong Kong will start its public free vaccination program next week, after authorising emergency use of the Chinese vaccine, Sinovac. Online reservation for the voluntary vaccinations will open on 23 February, with vaccination starting from 26 February.

One New Local Covid-19 Case Confirmed in New Zealand

New Zealand confirmed one new locally transmitted case of coronavirus on Friday, which was linked to the existing cluster in its biggest city Auckland. The new case was a household contact of some of the previously reported cases, the Ministry of Health said in a statement. Additionally, it said there were three new cases in managed isolation facilities at the border.

Fauci Hopes for Post-Pandemic Normal by Christmas

TopUS infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci on Thursday said that a post-pandemic return to ‘normal’ could come by the end of the year, aligning his forecast with a Christmas target US President Joe Biden set earlier this week. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), had guided Americans to the long-sought return to something approaching normal life in early Autumn.

Algeria Receives Donation of 200,000 Chinese Covid jabs

Beijing will gift Algeria 200,000 Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines, the Chinese Ambassador to Algiers said Thursday, boosting supplies in the North African nation, AFP reports. Ambassador Li Lianhe told the official APS news agency that Beijing will “continue to provide the support and necessary backing” Algeria needs.

Israel Extends Its Border Closure to 6 March

Israel said Thursday it will extend the closure of its airports and land borders for 14 more days in a bid to stem the coronavirus pandemic. A joint statement from the Prime Minister’s office and the Health Minister said the country’s borders will remain closed until March 6, except for urgent reasons. Israel had suspended international flights on January 24 before closing the border crossings with Jordan and Egypt.

Israeli Study Finds First Shot of Pfizer Vaccine to Be 85% Effective

An Israeli study found the Pfizer vaccine 85% effective after the first shot. The first dose of Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine is 85% effective, a study of healthcare workers at an Israeli hospital has found, potentially fuelling a debate over the recommended two-dose schedule as governments try to stretch out supplies, Reuters reports.

20% of Australians Unlikely to Get Vaccine

More than one in five Australians say they will ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ not be vaccinated against coronavirus, with the spike in vaccine hesitancy potentially spelling trouble for the rollout.

Friday 19th February

US Agents Seized 10m Fake N95 Masks

07:40 US federal agents have seized more than 10 million fake 3M brand N95 masks in recent weeks, the result of an ongoing investigation into counterfeits sold in at least five states to hospitals, medical facilities and government agencies.

China’s Sinovac Vaccine Has Been Fast-Tracked for Approval in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s government on Thursday approved the Chinese-made Sinovac coronavirus vaccine for emergency use after a panel of experts fast-tracked its recommendation despite the drug’s comparatively low efficacy.

India to Make Covid Tests Mandatory for Passengers from the UK, South Africa or Brazil

India will make Covid molecular tests mandatory for people arriving directly or indirectly from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil in a bid to contain the spread of more infectious virus variants found in those countries.

The UN Has Urged for a Global Effort for Corona Vaccination with 130 Countries Waiting to Receive Doses

The United Nations on Wednesday led calls for a coordinated global effort to vaccinate against Covid-19, warning that gaping inequities in initial efforts put the whole planet at risk. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced alarm that just 10 nations have administered 75 percent of doses so far – and 130 countries have received no doses.

Demand for UK nursing degrees has risen by a third

The Covid pandemic has inspired a new generation of students to become nurses, with a third more applying to study the subject at university than last year, though professional leaders say the rise only brings numbers back to the level of five years ago.

Australia to Begin First Vaccinations from Monday at Elderly Care Homes

Australia will begin its first coronavirus vaccinations from Monday in about 240 aged care homes across more than 190 locations around the country. The rollout will begin with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine due to join the rollout from early March.

Corona Infection in England Has Fallen by Two-Thirds

Covid infections in England fall by two-thirds but spreading fastest among young, a study suggests. The React 1 study from Imperial College London points to the third national lockdown having significantly curbed the spread of the coronavirus despite the emergence of new variants.

Winter Storms in the US Causes Delays and Cancellations for Covid Vaccinations

Devastating winter storms sweeping the US have injected confusion and frustration into the Covid-19 vaccination drive, snarling deliveries and forcing the cancellation of thousands of shots around the country. Across a large swath of the US, including deep south states such as Georgia and Alabama, the snowy and slippery weather either led to the closing of vaccination sites outright or held up necessary shipments, with delays expected to continue for days.

BioNTech Says It Will Provide Vaccines to Taiwan

Germany’s BioNTech SE plans to provide Covid vaccine to Taiwan, the company said, after the island complained the firm in December pulled out of a deal to buy 5 million doses at the last minute, possibly due to Chinese pressure.

Thursday 18th February

The WHO Said New Covid-19 Cases Globally Fell 16% Last Week

The number of new cases of Covid-19 reported worldwide fell by 16% last week to 2.7 million, the World Health Organization said. “The number of new deaths reported also fell 10% week-on-week, to 81,000,” the WHO said late Tuesday in its weekly epidemiological update, using figures up to Sunday.

The Who Expects the First Covax Deliveries in Late February

The Covax facility, the global Covid-19 vaccine procurement and distribution effort which aims to ensure poorer countries are also able to access doses, said its final shipment list for the first deliveries would be issued next week, following the WHO giving the green light to the AstraZeneca jabs.

Biden Has Laid out Plans for Addressing Next Stage of Pandemic

Joe Biden laid out his plans for fighting the next stage of the coronavirus pandemic in a primetime town hall on Tuesday, pledging to make 600m doses of the Covid-19 vaccine available by the end of July, saying teachers should be moved “up the hierarchy” of the vaccine queue, and predicting most elementary schools would reopen by the end of his first 100 days in office.

South Africa Stated on Tuesday It Will Offer Doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine to African Union

South Africa said Tuesday it would offer its doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to the African Union after scrapping their use due to efficacy concerns. The country suspended its vaccine rollout – meant to begin with the AstraZeneca shots earlier this month – after a study found the jab failed to prevent mild and moderate illness caused by a variant found in South Africa.

S. Korean MP Claims That N. Korea Has Attempted to Steal Corona Information

A South Korean MP claimed that North Korea attempted to steal information about coronavirus vaccines and treatments. Ha Tae-keung said he had been told during a closed-door briefing by the National Intelligence Service this week that “North Korea tried to obtain technology involving the Covid vaccine and treatment by using cyberwarfare to hack into Pfizer”.

Authorities Unable to Explain New Covid Variant Detected in Australia

Australian health departments have failed to publicly explain the presence of a “worrying” variant of Covid-19 in Australia identified by UK researchers from a global genomic database of samples.

In 2020 US Airline Traffic Dropped to Its Lowest Level Since 1984

US passenger airline traffic fell 60% in 2020 to the lowest number since 1984, the US transportation department said. In total, there were 368 million passengers in 2020, down from 922.6 million in 2019. The previous yearly low was 351.6 million in 1984, the department said.

Snowstorm halts Greek Vaccination Drive

A snowstorm of rare vigour and durability has forced the Greek government to delay the country’s Covid-19 vaccination drive after citizens were advised to remain at home. Inoculation centres, including mega facilities capable of vaccinating up to 20,000 people a day, were ordered to close as the unusually cold front swept across Greece.

Brazil’s Environment Minister Tests Positive for Covid

Brazil’s environment minister has tested positive for Covid-19, the ministry announced in a statement. Ricardo Salles is, at least, the 15th member of the Bolsonaro administration to be diagnosed with the illness so far.

Wednesday 17th February

The UK Is Considering Distributing Excess Vaccine to Other Countries

The UK will look at making excess doses of coronavirus vaccinations available to other nations after it has vaccinated its adult population, vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Monday. “My priority is to make sure I vaccinate the UK adult population as quickly as we can and then if there are any excess doses, we will look at how we make those excess doses available to other countries,” Zahawi told LBC radio.

UK Bars and Pubs Continue to Pose Risks

Bars and pubs in the UK continue to pose a risk for the spread of Covid despite best efforts to make premises safe, researchers have said. Hospitality venues were told to shut up shop in March 2020 as the first UK lockdown was announced. However, as restrictions were eased venues were once again allowed to trade.

South Africa Asks Serum Institute of India to Take Back 1m Vaccine Doses

South Africa has asked the Serum Institute of India to take back 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine that the company had sent in early February, The Economic Times reported on Tuesday. Last week, South Africa’s Health Minister said the government may sell doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine after the country paused its rollout following a small clinical trial that showed it offered minimal protection against mild to moderate illness from the 501Y.V2 coronavirus variant dominant in the country.

Andrew Cuomo Insists There Was No Cover-up of Covid-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes

Andrew Cuomo insisted New York did not cover up nursing home Covid-19 deaths. Under fire over his management of the coronavirus’ lethal path through New York’s nursing homes, Andrew Cuomo insisted Monday the state did not cover up deaths – but the governor acknowledged that officials should have moved faster to release some information sought by lawmakers, the public and the press.

Three Sailors on USS Theodore Roosevelt Have Tested Positive for Covid

Three sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for Covid, the Navy said Monday, less than a year after a massive outbreak on the ship sidelined it in Guam for nearly two months.

Syringe Shortage Hampers Japan’s Vaccination Roll-Out

Fears are growing in Japan, where an inoculation drive against Covid-19 will begin on Wednesday, that millions of doses of Pfizer vaccine could be wasted due to a shortage of special syringes that maximise the number of shots used from each vial.

Mexico Has Begun Vaccinating Senior Citizens

Mexico began vaccinating senior citizens in more than 300 municipalities across the country Monday after receiving some 860,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Most of the effort was concentrated in remote rural communities, but in a few far-flung corners of the sprawling capital, hundreds of Mexicans over age 60 lined up before dawn for the chance to get vaccinated.

Major Land Borders Are Reopened in South Africa

South Africa reopens major land borders. South Africa has reopened its major land borders with neighbouring countries after closing them last month to prevent the spread of coronavirus, AP reports. At least 20 border posts reopened Monday, with officials saying steps will be taken to avoid tightly-packed crowds of travellers gathering at the immigration posts which would spread the virus.

New Zealand Reported Zero New Cases Overnight

New Zealand has recorded no new cases of Covid-19 overnight, either in the community or in managed isolation. It follows a testing blitz after three people tested positive for the UK variant on the weekend. Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, is current at level 3 restrictions, requiring people to stay at home. The rest of the country remains on level 2, which includes the return of social distancing rules, caps on gathering and increased mask-wearing.

WHO Has Approved the AstraZeneca Vaccine for Emergency Use

The World Health Organization has approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus jab for emergency use, meaning the vaccine can be rolled out globally and participate in the Covax programme that aims to bring vaccines to poorer countries.

Tuesday 16th February

New Zealand Is Hit by UK Covid Strain

07:20 Aucklanders awoke on Monday to a new lockdown, hoping the short and sharp three-day restrictions ordered by Jacinda Ardern arrest the spread of Covid-19. The prime minister said genomic testing had shown that the three community cases were the UK variant of Covid-19, the first to be detected in the country.

Daily US Covid Cases Fall Below 100,000

Average daily new coronavirus cases in the US have dipped below 100,000 for the first time in months, but experts cautioned on Sunday that infections remain high and precautions to slow the pandemic must remain in place.

Australia Receives First Vaccine Doses

Australia’s coronavirus vaccine rollout will begin next week after the first doses of the Pfizer jab arrived in Sydney, AAP reports. More than 142,000 doses are being taken to a secure location and batches will be assessed for damage and quality in the coming days.

First Vaccine Doses Arrive in New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern said the first vaccine doses arrived in the country on Monday morning. After being checked for quality assurance, inoculations will begin on Saturday, starting with border workers.

South Korea Excludes People Aged 65 and over from AstraZeneca Vaccine

South Korea to exclude people over 65 from AstraZeneca vaccines. South Korea will initially exclude people aged 65 years and older from inoculation with AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine because of a lack of data proving its efficacy in the elderly, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Monday.

Israeli Study Suggests Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine Provides 94% Protection

An Israeli study of more than half a million fully vaccinated people indicated the Pfizer/BioNTech jab offered 94% protection against Covid-19, according to the country’s largest healthcare provider.

Suspension of Quarantine Free Travel with New Zealand

Australia suspended quarantine-free travel with New Zealand after it locked down Auckland following the detection of three new community cases.

1,000 People Flout Restriction in Belgrade Nightclub

Around 1,000 people have been caught flouting restrictions in a Belgrade nightclub, Serbia’s interior ministry said on Sunday. The country’s coronavirus restrictions allow gatherings of up to five.

Brazil Reports Two Confirmed Cases of UK Covid Strain

Brazil has confirmed two cases of the UK variant in the state of Goiás after sequencing test samples taken on 31 December, Reuters reports, citing the state’s health department. It did not say if these are the first cases of the variant detected in Brazil.

Controversy over WHO investigation

There is growing controversy over a World Health Organization investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic after one of its members said China had refused to hand over key data, and the US national security adviser said he had “deep concerns” about the initial findings.

Monday 15th February

Joe Biden Has Confirmed Ordering 200 Million Additional Corona Vaccine Doses

US President Joe Biden has confirmed the US has ordered 200m more doses of coronavirus vaccine. He said, “my predecessor did not do his job” in scaling up the country’s vaccine rollout and urged Americans to “mask up.”

The Brazilian Amazon Covid Strain Is Potentially Three Times More Contagious

The Brazilian Amazon variant of the coronavirus disease may be ‘three times’ as contagious as other strains, the country’s Health Minister has said.

Germany Will Ban Travel from Czech Border Regions

Germany will ban travel from Czech border regions as well as Austria’s Tyrol over a troubling surge in infections of more contagious coronavirus variants.

WHO Director-General Rejects Comments by Expert Team

The director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, appears to have rejected comments made on Tuesday by the team of experts studying the origins of the Covid-19 virus after they said it was “extremely unlikely” that it leaked from a Wuhan virology laboratory and “isn’t a hypothesis we suggest implies further study.” Tedros said, “I want to clarify that all hypotheses remain open and require further study.”

Portugal Is Extending Lockdown until March

Portugal has extended a lockdown until 1 March or perhaps later to tackle its worst surge of Covid-19 infections since the pandemic began.

Ireland Will Extend Lockdown until April

Ireland, which, according to the latest official figures, has recorded 3,794 Covid related deaths, is set to extend its lockdown until April, prime minister Micheal Martin has said.

Angela Merkel Defends Germany’s Lockdown Extension Decision

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has defended her government’s decision to extend Germany’s lockdown into March by highlighting the ‘very real danger’ of a third wave driven by Covid mutations.

The Philippines Will Receive 600,000 Vaccine Doses Donated by China

The Philippines is poised to receive 600,000 doses this month of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine donated by China, a portion of which will be used to inoculate military personnel.

Friday 12th February

The US Could Have Prevented 40% of Covid Deaths

08:05 The US could have averted 40% of deaths from Covid-19, had the country’s death rates corresponded with the rates in other high-income G7 countries, according to a Lancet commission tasked with assessing Donald Trump’s health policy record. The commission condemned Trump’s response to Covid, but emphasised that the country entered the pandemic with a degraded public health infrastructure.

US CDC Study Reveals Two Masks Are More Effective against Corona

A study by the US CDC has shown wearing two masks can ‘substantially reduce’ exposure to Covid-19. The report found that in the lab tests with dummies, “exposure to infectious aerosols decreased by about 95% when they both wore tightly fitted masks.”

Asthma Drug Can Significantly Reduce Risk of Covid

A cheap and widely available asthma drug called budesonide appears to significantly reduce the risk of people getting seriously ill with Covid-19 if it is taken within the first week of developing symptoms.

Ski Resorts in Lombardy, Italy Are Being Reopened

Italy is reopening its ski resorts in Lombardy, the region worst hit by the coronavirus. Lifts will resume operating from 15 February, which will mark the return of skiing for the first time this year.

WHO States Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine for All Ages

The WHO says that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be given to adults of all ages after some countries decided not to give the dose to those aged over 65 over doubts about its effectiveness.

Malaysia Is Extending Free Vaccines to All Foreigners Residing There

Malaysia will extend its free vaccination programme to all foreigners residing in the country, including students, refugees and undocumented migrants, the government said on Thursday.

Mexico Has Inked Emergency Authorisation of China’s Sinovac Vaccine

Mexico has signed an emergency use authorisation for China’s Sinovac vaccine, according to the country’s Deputy Health Minister.

Thursday 11th February

WHO Member Tweets “Please Don’t Rely Too Much on US Intel”

07:15 A member of the WHO mission to China exploring the origins of the coronavirus pandemic took a swipe Wednesday at US intelligence on the issue, after the State Department cast doubt on the transparency of their probe. Briton Peter Daszak said in a tweet as the mission ended: “Please don’t rely too much on US intel: increasingly disengaged under Trump & frankly wrong on many aspects.”

Estonia Coordinating on Pilot Project with WHO on Vaccine Passports

Estonia is working on a pilot project with the World Health Organisation on how globally recognised electronic vaccine certificates – so-called ‘vaccine passports’, might work.

New Zealand Plan to Administer Pfizer and BioNTech Corona Vaccines

New Zealand will administer the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines to quarantine personnel, frontline health workers and airline staff after the government formally approved its use on Wednesday.

Annual Covid Vaccinations Are Likely Ahead

People may need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 annually for the next several years, Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive, Alex Gorsky told CNBC on Tuesday, due to mutations to the virus.

Russia Sends 100,000 Doses of Sputnik V Vaccine to Venezuela

Venezuela will receive the first 100,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine next week, President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday.

Lambeth Council in London Requests Residents to Take Cover Test

In London, Lambeth council is asking some residents to take a coronavirus test after the variant first identified in South Africa was detected in the local area.

Increase on Curbs in Athens Region

The Athens region will enter a stricter coronavirus lockdown from Thursday, Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said, with schools and non-essential shops closed.

Spain Reaches Highest Daily Death Toll to Date

Spain has now recorded more than 3 million Covid cases, while also registering 766 deaths over the past 24 hours – the highest daily death toll of the current third wave.

94% Rollout of Vaccine for the Navajo Nation So Far

The Navajo Nation’s vaccination rollout continues to surpass the broader United States, Al Jazeera reports, having distributed 94 per cent of the doses it has received.

Wednesday 10th February

WHO Announces Not to Dismiss AstraZeneca Vaccine

07:15 The World Health Organization insisted Monday that the AstraZeneca vaccine was still a vital tool in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic after South Africa delayed the start of its inoculation programme over concerns about its efficacy against a virus variant.

Higher Covid Mortality in Ethnic Minorities in England

A new sweeping analysis in England shows that between the first and second waves of the pandemic in 2020, death rates in black communities improved, but continued to remain high in people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds.

Russia’s Official Covid Death Toll Is Less Than Half Actual Number

Russia has recorded a dramatic increase in mortality in 2020 fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data published by the Rosstat agency. The figures showed that between April, when the pandemic hit Russia, and December the country saw 162,429 coronavirus-related fatalities. However, as of Monday, the official total released by Russia’s health officials stood at only 77,068 virus deaths on the Johns Hopkins University tracker, the figure is listed as 75,828.

Five Jailed in China for Dereliction of Duty over Covid Outbreak in Shandong Prison

Five people including three officials have been jailed in China for dereliction of duty over an outbreak in a Shandong prison which saw more than 200 inmates infected in February 2020.

UK Scientists and MPs Push for Border Curbs

Scientists and senior MPs have renewed calls for sweeping border curbs to protect the UK’s vaccination programme against new variants as Boris Johnson prepared to introduce tougher measures and Britain saw internal infections fall.

Facebook Bans Vaccine Misinformation Following Years of Unfounded Health Claims on Its Site

Facebook has banned misinformation about all vaccines following years of harmful, unfounded health claims proliferating on its platform. As part of its policy on Covid-19-related misinformation, Facebook will now remove posts with false claims about all vaccines, the company announced in a blogpost on Monday.

Easter Island Began Vaccinating on Monday after More Than 300 Days and No Infections

Authorities on Easter Island began vaccinating residents on Monday, distributing 1,200 doses on the first day, AFP reports. Situated 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles) off Chile’s coast, the island – renowned for its ancient, giant humanoid monoliths – has not reported a single coronavirus case in more than 300 days.

Israel and Greece Have Agreed Tourism Deal on Vaccinated Citizens

Israel and Greece agreed a tourism deal Monday that will allow coronavirus-vaccinated citizens of the two countries to travel between them without limitations once flights resume.

EU Chief Urges States to Donate Vaccines to Ukraine

The European Commission Chief said on Monday she had called on EU member states to donate some of their coronavirus jabs to Ukraine, as it prepares to launch its vaccination campaign.

Tuesday 9th February

The US Has Surpassed 27 Million Covid Cases

07:25 The US has passed 27m cases of coronavirus, as Joe Biden warned that it would be ‘very difficult’ for the country to achieve heard immunity by the end of the summer.

WHO Panel to Discuss Efficacy of AstraZeneca Vaccine

A World Health Organization panel is due to meet to discuss the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday, the use of which has been suspended in South Africa over concern over its efficacy in over-65s.

The Majority of Japanese Are Opposed to Olympics This Summer

A majority of Japanese remain opposed to holding the Olympics this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic but the ratio lowered significantly from recent polls, a Yomiuri newspaper poll showed on Monday. A combined 61% want the Games to be postponed or cancelled altogether. However, that is around 20% points lower than recent opinion polls.

South Korea Has Reported the Lowest Daily Infections since Late November

South Korea reported the lowest daily number of new coronavirus cases since late November as the government slightly eased social distancing restrictions in the face of growing criticism from businesses impacted by the rules.

Panama Intends to Acquire 8 Million More Vaccine Doses

Panama has sought to acquire more than 8 million coronavirus vaccine doses to inoculate about 80% of the Central American nation’s residents, Health Minister Luis Sucre said on Sunday.

China Reported 14 New Covid-19 Infections

China reported 14 new mainland Covid-19 cases on 7 February, official data showed on Monday, which is up slightly from a day earlier. All new cases originated from overseas.

Monday 8th February

With Only 66% Effectiveness, Johnson & Johnson Has Applied for Approval in the US for Its Vaccine

07:50 Johnson & Johnson has applied in the US for emergency use authorisation for its single-dose vaccine. The drugmaker’s application to the Food and Drug Administration follows its 29 January report in which it said the vaccine had a 66% rate of preventing infections in its large global trial.

British Ministers Accused of Dragging Their Heels on New Coronavirus Quarantine Hotels

British ministers have been accused of being too slow to act after it was disclosed new coronavirus quarantine hotels will not come into force until mid-February. From 15 February, travellers returning to the UK from ‘red list’ countries will have to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days. Labour said it was “beyond comprehension” that it was taking so long to get the scheme up and running.

South Korea Surpasses 80,000 Infections

South Korea has passed 80,000 infections as the government weighs whether to tighten coronavirus restrictions ahead of next week’s lunar new year celebrations.

Above 40,000 Covid Deaths Recorded in the US in Last Two Weeks

The US has recorded more than 40,000 deaths from Covid in the past two weeks, with concerns growing that parties linked to this Sunday’s culmination of the football season, the Super Bowl, may lead to another spike in infections.

Mexico Is Running Out of Vaccines

Mexico is reported to be running out of vaccines, as the government vaccine registration website crashed for the third day in a row. Mexico has received only about 760,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and has only about 89,000 of those left, many of which are earmarked for second shots. It expects to get more Pfizer doses by mid-month, and as many as 400,000 Sputnik shots by the end of February, but they will not be enough to vaccinate even the country’s 750,000 frontline health workers and represent a drop in the bucket for Mexico’s population of 126 million.

New Zealand Stated on Friday It Will Begin Receiving Refugees Again

New Zealand said on Friday it will start receiving refugees again this month, nearly a year after it shut its borders to stop the spread of Covid-19. A group of 35 refugees will arrive in February, with about 210 refugees expected to enter the country by 30 June, Immigration New Zealand officials said.

China Is Donating 100,000 Corona Vaccine Doses to the Congo Republic

China will donate 100,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to the Congo Republic and forgive $13m in public debt, its ambassador to the country said. The ambassador, Ma Fulin, announced the measures after a meeting with Congo’s President, Denis Sassou Nguesso. He did not say which Chinese-developed vaccine would be provided, but the doses are enough to vaccinate 50,000 of Congo’s 5.1 million people. Ma said the Chinese government would also forgive all public Congolese debt that came due before the end of 2020, an estimated $13m.

Friday 5th February

Canada Will Receive A Huge Haul of Vaccines for Poor Countries

07:05 Canada is set to receive a significant haul of vaccines over the next months through a platform designed to maximise supply to poor countries, according to a new forecast, despite reserving the most doses-per-person in the world through direct deals with pharmaceutical companies. The Globe and Mail report that Canada will be the only G7 country worldwide to accept vaccines from the scheme.

Oxford Trial to Test Efficacy of Mix of Covid Vaccines

Volunteers are being sought for a world-first trial to establish the efficacy of giving people a first dose of one vaccine and a second dose of a different vaccine. The trial, which is being run by Oxford University and is funded by the government’s vaccine taskforce, has been described by ministers as “hugely important.”

Care Homes Continue to Break Corona Rules

Care homes still breaking Covid rules despite fatal outbreaks, inspectors say. Care homes in England operated by profitable chains have been branded unsafe by inspectors, who found serious failures in efforts to control the spread of coronavirus in its latest wave.

Total US Corona Deaths Surpass 450,000

The United States – the worst-affected country worldwide in terms of both the number of coronavirus cases and the number of people who have died in the pandemic, has passed a death toll of 450,000, according to Johns Hopkins University as it approaches a staggering half a million lives lost. The Biden administration has warned that the US toll could pass 600,000 before the virus is under control.

500 Tennis Players in Australia Are Put in Covid Isolation

Australia puts 500 tennis player staff into coronavirus isolation. More than 500 tennis players and officials were ordered into isolation in the Australian city of Melbourne on Thursday as authorities reintroduced coronavirus restrictions after a worker at a quarantine hotel tested positive for the virus.

New Community Corona Case Identified in New Zealand

New Zealand identifies new community case. A new community case of Covid-19 has been identified in New Zealand: a close contact of two recent cases, who has been self-isolating. The new case is the mother of the toddler (known as Person C) who tested positive for Covid-19 after quarantining at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland. Person B, her partner, also tested positive.

Mexican President in ‘Excellent Health’ after Covid Diagnosis

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is in ‘excellent’ health and is virtually free of Covid-19 symptoms, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Wednesday. Lopez Obrador has been recovering from the virus since announcing on 20 January he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Brazil Plans to Purchase 30 Million Sputnik V, Covaxin Shots

The Brazilian government announced Wednesday it was negotiating the purchase of 30 million coronavirus vaccine doses from Russia and India after regulators made it easier for the treatments to win emergency-use authorisations.

US CDC Announces Schools Can Reopen

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asserted on Wednesday that US schools can safely reopen even if teachers have not received the coronavirus vaccine, while the top US infections expert supported the idea of wearing two face masks.

A Pfizer/BioNTech Jab Gives ‘90% Immunity’ from Covid after 21 Days

One dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine gives people about 90% protection from Covid by 21 days, according to an analysis of Israel’s mass vaccination programme.

South Korea PM Orders Revamp of Social Distancing Rules

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Thursday ordered a revamp of social distancing guidelines in a bid to win greater public support for efforts to stop local transmission of the new coronavirus.

The UK plans Announcement on Quarantine for Travellers

Britain’s health minister will make an announcement on further plans to order hotel quarantine for some travellers on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Thursday 4th February

The Majority of Covid Patients Develop Antibodies Providing Protection for at Least Six Months

07:35 Majority of Covid patients develop antibodies that protect from reinfection for at least six months. The vast majority of people who contract coronavirus develop antibodies that may help protect them against reinfection for at least six months, researchers say. Blood samples collected from more than 20,000 UK residents between June and November 2020 revealed that 99% of those who tested positive had antibodies for at least three months, with 88% having them for the full six months studied.

WHO Team Visits Chinese Virus Lab in Wuhan

World Health Organization inspectors visited a laboratory in China’s Wuhan city on Wednesday that American officials suggested could have been the source of the coronavirus. The inspection of the Wuhan virology institute, which conducts research on the world’s most dangerous diseases, will be one of the most-watched stops on the team’s probe into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid Vaccine Nationalism is Harmful to the World

Covid-19 vaccine nationalism is harmful to all, the World Health Organization Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. He said weak cooperation between nations is a major barrier to achieving worldwide vaccination at the scale needed to end the pandemic.

Australia’s Economy Is Predicted to Recover by Middle of the Year

Australia’s economy is expected to recover to its pre-pandemic size by the middle of this year – six to 12 months early – the Reserve Bank governor has revealed. On Wednesday, Philip Lowe released the bank’s revised projections showing a faster than expected recovery during the Covid-19 recession is expected to translate to the growth of 3.5% this year and next, with unemployment set to fall to 6% in 2021.

New Zealand Has Given Provisional Approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been provisionally approved for use in New Zealand, where the government will begin vaccinating frontline healthcare and border workers in the coming months. Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, said the approval was a positive step in the country’s fight against Covid-19, of which there have been fewer than 2,000 cases nationally:

Emmanuel Macron Makes Vaccine Pledge ‘End of Summer’

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that all of his countrymen who want a vaccine will be offered one “by the end of the summer”. He told the TF1 channel that 80% of care-home residents – some 500,000 people – would be vaccinated by early March. The number of patients in hospital with coronavirus in France is at its highest since November. The health ministry reported 28,029 people were in hospital with the virus and 3,270 in intensive care. Both numbers set new 2021 highs.

Angela Merkel Welcomes Russian and Chinese Vaccines

Merkel said all approved vaccines welcome after Russian Sputnik posted strong data. Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has said: “all vaccines” approved by the EU’s medicines regulator are welcome, including Russian and Chinese shots, Reuters reports. In a TV interview, she said Germany welcomed the strong data from trials of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

Mexico Has Approved the Russian Sputnik V Coronavirus

Mexico on Tuesday approved Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in the country, one of the worst-hit by the pandemic, following the release of positive trial results. The move is a boost to the Latin American nation’s efforts to keep its immunisation program on track in the face of limited supplies from other manufacturers.

US Treasury Secretary and The World Bank Stress Poorer Countries Need Access to the Vaccine Improved

Treasury, World Bank stress need to improve vaccine access for poorest countries. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and World Bank President David Malpass on Tuesday stressed the need to coordinate in responding the global pandemic, improving vaccine access for the poorest countries, and combating climate change.

Wednesday 3rd February

Varied Locations in China Will Suspend Religions Gatherings for Chinese New Year

07:15 Many places in China plan to suspend religious gatherings during the upcoming Spring Festival holidays to control the coronavirus outbreak, the Global Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Only 5.4% of Vaccine Recipients in The US Are Black Americans

Black Americans make up only 5.4% of Covid-19 vaccine recipients, CDC finds. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found only 5.4% of coronavirus vaccine recipients were black, in its first analysis of how vaccines were given out among different demographic groups in the first month of US distribution.

Division Remains Between Biden and Republicans over Covid Relief

Biden and Republicans agreed to further Covid relief talks but deep divisions remain. Ten Republican senators have agreed to carry on talks with the White House in an attempt to negotiate a bi-partisan coronavirus relief package, after a two-hour meeting with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Monday night ended short of a breakthrough.

China Reports Lowest Cases in a Month

China reported the fewest new coronavirus cases in a month as imported cases overtook local infections, official data showed on Tuesday, suggesting the country’s worst wave since March 2020 is being stamped out ahead of a key holiday. Thirty cases were reported in the mainland on 1 February, the National Health Commission said in a statement, down from 42 cases a day earlier and marking the lowest total since 24 cases were reported on 2 January.

Chinese Police Bust Fake Vaccine Ring

Chinese police arrested more than 80 people and confiscated over 3,000 fake doses of Covid-19 vaccine as part of a campaign to combat vaccine-related crimes, state news agency Xinhua reports.

Vaccine Doses Arrive in South Africa

The first vaccine doses have arrived in South African, where President Cyril Ramaphosa hailed their arrival on Monday as a chance to ‘turn the tide’ on a disease that has devastated the country.

The EU Has Curbed Rules on Visitors

The European Union tightened its rules for visitors from outside the bloc, specifying that they would only be allowed in freely from countries with very few coronavirus cases and almost none of the more transmissible variants.

Tuesday 2nd February

Expert Warns the US of Virulent UK Strains

08:40 An expert warned the US to brace for virulent Covid strain. A leading infectious disease expert predicted on Sunday that the deadlier British variant of Covid-19 will become the dominant strain of the virus in the US and could hit the country like a hurricane.

Chicago Schools Postpone Classes over Covid Safety Plan

Chicago Public Schools on Sunday delayed the resumption of in-person classes for thousands of elementary and middle school students by at least a day as the district and teachers failed to reach an agreement on a Covid safety plan.

Japan Expects Extension of State of Emergency in Tokyo

Japan is expected to extend a state of emergency this week for Tokyo and other areas as hospitals remain under pressure despite a decline in cases from their peaks, local media reported on Monday.

Health Authorities in Taiwan Battle Corona Outbreak around a Taoyuan Hospital

Taiwan health authorities are still battling an outbreak centred around a Taoyuan hospital, which claimed the first Covid-related death almost nine months on Friday. The woman in her eighties was a relative of another confirmed case. Authorities said she presented with Covid-like symptoms on Thursday and was taken to hospital. A test returned a negative result for Covid, but she passed away on Friday night. She had chronic kidney disease and other underlying health issues.

Hong Kong Continues ‘Ambush Lockdowns’ on Housing Blocks

As Hong Kong continues to fight its widespread outbreak, authorities have employed a new tactic in response to clusters of infection in residential housing blocks. Since last week, police have launched four ambush-style lockdowns, arriving unannounced at buildings to immediately prevent anyone from leaving and to run mandatory testing.

NHS Is offering Covid jab to Older Residents in England

The NHS has said official figures are expected to confirm on Monday that it has offered a coronavirus vaccine to every older care home resident across England. In another milestone for the vaccine programme, coming after it set a new daily record of almost 600,000 people being inoculated against Covid-19 on Saturday, nurses, GPs and other NHS staff have offered the jab to people living at more than 10,000 care homes with older residents.

Pakistan Receives First Batch of Vaccine Doses

Pakistan received its first batch of Covid vaccine doses, 500,000 from China’s Sinopharm, on Monday, Health Adviser Faisal Sultan said in a statement released on Twitter. “Thank God, the first batch of Sinopharm vaccine has arrived! Grateful to China and everyone who made this happen,” he said. “I salute our frontline healthcare workers for their efforts and they’ll be first to get vaccinated.”

Ghana Tightens Restrictions as Cases Climb

Ghana has reimposed a ban on social gatherings as the number of Covid-19 cases spiral in the West African nation, the president announced Sunday. Schools reopened in January after a 10-month closure, but President Nana Akufo-Addo said a return to stricter measures was needed. “Our hospitals have become full, and we have had to reactivate our isolation centres,” he said.

Israel Extends Lockdown as Corona Variants Offset Vaccination Drive

Israel extended a national lockdown on Sunday as Covid variants offset its vaccination drive and officials predicted a delay in a turnaround from the ongoing crisis.

EU Intends to Vaccinate 70% of Adults by End of Summer

AstraZeneca will increase its coronavirus vaccine deliveries to the EU by 30%, European Commission Chief, Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday as the bloc sought to claw back time lost rolling out the jabs. The aim was still to vaccinate 70% of adults in the EU by the end of summer, she added.

WHO Due to Visit Hubei CDC

A World Health Organization-led team investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic was due on Monday to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Hubei province, the central Chinese region where the outbreak emerged in late 2019. The team has already visited the Huanan food market in Wuhan.

Perth Enforces Lockdown over One Case

About 2 million Australians begun their first full day of a strict coronavirus lockdown on Monday following the discovery of one case in the community in Perth, capital of Western Australia state, but no new cases have since been found.

Monday 1st February

Binding Orders Hold-Up Delivery of AstraZeneca Vaccine in Europe

08:05 The European Union’s contract with AstraZeneca for its Covid-19 vaccine contains binding orders, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday, demanding a plausible explanation from the drugmaker for delivery hold-ups. “There are binding orders and the contract is crystal clear,” she said.

Fire Kills Four Patients in Romanian Covid Hospital

A fire has killed four patients in a Covid-19 hospital in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, the second such tragedy of the pandemic.

The Novavax Vaccine, 89.3% Effective

Novavax Inc has said its coronavirus vaccine is 89.3% effective in preventing Covid-19 in a trial conducted in the United Kingdom, and was nearly as effective in protecting against the more highly contagious variant first discovered in the UK, according to a preliminary analysis. A mid-stage trial of the vaccine in South Africa, where a troubling new variant of the virus is common, showed 60% effectiveness among people who did not have HIV.

The French Health Ministry Said Supplies of the Moderna Vaccine Reduced by 25%

France’s health ministry has announced supplies of the Moderna vaccine expected during February will be reduced by 25%. Elsewhere, a shortage of vaccines has forced Paris and two other regions, that together account for a third of the French population, to postpone giving out some first doses.

Daily Corona Infections in France Have Dropped Considerably in 24 Hours

French health authorities reported 23,770 new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours on Thursday, down from 26,916 on Wednesday. The country’s Covid-19 death toll rose by 344 to 74,800, the world’s seventh-highest, after an increase of 350 on Wednesday.

Global Tourism Cost in Excess of a Trillion Dollars

The coronavirus crisis cost the global tourism sector $1.3tn in lost revenue in 2020 as the number of people travelling plunged, the United Nations has said, calling it “the worst year in tourism history”.

Friday 29th January

England’s Covid Cases Must Fall to Ease NHS Pressure

08:05 Cases of coronavirus have started to decline in England but must fall faster to relieve pressure on the NHS, scientists behind a Covid infection survey have warned.

Pfizer’s Vaccine Almost as Effective against South African Mutations

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine appeared to lose only a small bit of effectiveness against an engineered virus with three key mutations from the new coronavirus variant found in South Africa, according to a laboratory study conducted by the US drugmaker, Reuters reports.

The White House States: ‘Great Concern’ over ‘Misinformation’ of COVID Origin from China. 

The US wants a “robust and clear” international probe into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in China, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, has said. Speaking to reporters, she said it was “imperative we get to the bottom” of how the virus appeared and spread. She highlighted “great concern” over “misinformation” from “some sources in China”.

Swimming Qualification Event for Tokyo Olympics Postponed until May

The artistic swimming Olympics qualification event, due to be held in Tokyo in March, has been postponed until May because of novel coronavirus restrictions in Japan, Reuters reports. Tokyo 2020 organisers and Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) announced on Thursday that the tournament, which also doubles as a test event for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, will now take place 1-4 May.

Mexico Announces Its Highest Daily New Corona Infections on Wednesday

Mexico posted its highest one-day total of newly confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday, with 27,944 infections, and a near-record 1,623 confirmed deaths. That brings the country’s total so far to just over 1.8 million cases and 153,639 deaths. However, Mexico has an extremely low rate of testing, and estimates of excess deaths suggest the real toll is over 195,000.

Vietnam Reports Its First Cases in Months

Vietnam has reported its first cases of community transmission in months after two infections were detected in the northern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh, just weeks before the Lunar New Year holiday. While the new case numbers are very small, they have caused concern in Vietnam, which had gone 55 days without any local infections.

Health Leaders Say Covid Deniers Are Putting Lives at Risk

Hospital incursions by Covid deniers are putting lives at risk said health leaders. Lives are being put at risk and the care of patients disrupted by a spate of hospital incursions from Covid-19 deniers whose online activity is channelling hatred against NHS staff, say healthcare and police chiefs. In the latest example of a growing trend, a group of people were ejected by security from a Covid-19 ward last week as one of them filmed staff, claimed that the virus was a hoax and demanded that a seriously ill patient be sent home

WHO Says Covid ‘War’ Can Be Won

Humanity is not losing the war against the Covid-19 pandemic and will eventually conquer the virus, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Madrid Health Authorities Halt Vaccinations Due to Supply Issues

Authorities in the Madrid region of Spain said Wednesday they have suspended new vaccinations against the coronavirus for at least two weeks because of a shortage of jabs, while another region, Catalonia, warned its supply was running out.

New Zealand Is Increasing Covid Test Centres as Quarantine Hotel Closes

Extra Covid testing centres have been set up overnight in Auckland as health officials raced to trace contacts of two fresh cases in New Zealand and closed down the quarantine hotel believed to be at the centre of this week’s outbreak.

Serena Williams Praises Australia’s Strict Quarantine Procedures

Former tennis world No 1 Serena Williams has praised Australia’s ‘insane’ quarantine procedures ahead of the Australia Open. In an interview with late-night US TV host, Stephen Colbert the 23-time grand slam champion said Australia was “doing it right” when it came to border controls.“Yeah, it’s super, super strict but it’s really good. So Australia right now has, the last I heard, they had zero cases of Covid,” she said, eliciting a “wow” from Colbert.“Unbelievable, right? The whole country. So that is really amazing.

Thursday 28th January

UK Hotel Quarantine System to Target Travellers from High-Risk Locations

07:50 A hotel quarantine system targeted at arrivals from high-risk countries will be announced by the home secretary, Priti Patel, on Wednesday, after ministers met to sign off the more targeted approach.

Australia Recorded 10 Days with No Local Covid Cases

Australia recorded a 10th straight day of no new local cases on Wednesday, allowing its most populous state of New South Wales to relax coronavirus restrictions after controlling a fast-spreading cluster.

Returnees Test Positive after Finishing Quarantine in Same New Zealand Hotel

Two more returnees who stayed at the same New Zealand hotel at the same time as Sunday’s coronavirus case have tested positive after finishing their quarantine. The two people are asymptomatic and had already completed their managed isolation at Auckland’s Pullman hotel and returned two negative tests, the Department of Health said. It is yet to be confirmed if they are recent or historic infections and further testing is urgently being carried out.

Germany Considering Stopping Most Flights

The German government is discussing reducing to almost zero the number of flights into Germany in an effort to prevent more virulent mutant Covid variants gaining a foothold in Germany, the interior minister, Horst Seehofer, told Bild newspaper.

100 Million Corona Cases Worldwide

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world on Tuesday passed 100 million since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, at least 2,153,477 people have lost their lives to Covid-19. The official number of cases represents just a fraction of the real number of infections around the world. Many countries were late to implement systematic testing, and some continue to test only the most seriously ill.

Total Lockdown Ordered in 10 States across Peru

Peru orders total lockdown across 10 states as second wave bites. President Francisco Sagasti of Peru on Tuesday night announced a total lockdown of the capital and nine other regions following a significant increase in Covid cases, which he said had pushed hospitals close to collapse.

Most Poorer Countries Are Unlikely to Gain Mass Immunisation until 2024

Most poor countries will not achieve mass Covid-19 immunisation until at least 2024 and some may never get there, according to a new forecast, which maps a starkly divided world over the next few years in which a handful of developed countries are fully vaccinated while others race to catch up.

WHO Experts Should Meet Wuhan Families Stifled by Chinese Government

Let WHO experts meet Wuhan families, says coronavirus victim’s son. A relative of a coronavirus victim in China is demanding to meet a visiting World Health Organization team, saying it should speak to affected families who say their voices are being stifled by the Chinese government.

Germany Is Deliberating Cancelling Most Inbound Flights

The German government is discussing reducing to almost zero the number of flights into Germany in an effort to prevent more virulent mutant Covid variants gaining a foothold in Germany, the interior minister, Horst Seehofer, told Bild newspaper.

Biden Vows to Vaccinate 300 Million Citizens in the US by Early Fall

Biden vows to vaccinate 300m people in the US by end of summer or early fall. The administration’s immediate plan is to accelerate vaccine distribution to deliver roughly 1.4m shots a day and 10m doses a week for the next three weeks, as part of the White House’s earlier-stated ambition to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days.

Wednesday 27th January

Joe Biden Warns of 600k Deaths before the US Turns the Corner

07:15 US President Joe Biden warned the nation was going to be “in this for a while” and could see between “600,000 and 660,000 deaths before we begin to turn the corner in a major way.” The US toll is currently just over 420,000.

Indonesia Surpasses 1 Million Milestone of Covid Infections

Indonesia is set to officially surpass one million coronavirus cases on Tuesday, a grim milestone for the Southeast Asian nation that has struggled since last March to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control.

Australia Expects the Astrazeneca Doses in March despite EU Threats

The Australian government expects doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be rolled out in March and that there will be no shortfalls, despite threats by the European Union to block exports of the vaccine due to a lack of supply.

California Eases Restrictions by Allowing Restaurants Outdoor Dining

California eased strict stay-at-home orders on Monday, allowing restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining and greater social mixing as state public health officials cited slowing rates of coronavirus infections and hospitalisations.

Minnesota Lab Confirmed the First US Corona Case Associated with Brazil Variant

Laboratory testing by the Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed the first known coronavirus case in the United States associated with a more contagious variant of the novel coronavirus originally seen in Brazil, the agency said on Monday.

China Authorities Stopped Wuhan Doctor from Sounding Alarm on Covid

A doctor from the Wuhan hospital hit hardest by the Covid-19 epidemic has said he and colleagues suspected the virus was highly transmissible in early January last year, weeks before Chinese authorities admitted it, but were prevented from warning anyone.

Mexico’s Death Toll Has Surpassed 150,000

Mexico’s official death toll from the coronavirus passed 150,000 on Monday following a surge in infections in recent weeks that has stretched the health system in the capital to the limit and led to the president contracting Covid.

WHO Warns the Distribution of Vaccine between Rich and Poor Nations Could Cost the Global Economy Trillions

The Covid-19 vaccine divide between rich and poor nations is worsening by the day, the World Health Organization warned on Monday, insisting the failure to distribute doses fairly could cost the global economy trillions of dollars.

Moderna Believes Its Vaccine Protects against British and South African Strains

Moderna said on Monday it believes its coronavirus vaccine protects against the British and South African variants, although it will test a new booster shot aimed at the South Africa variant after concluding the antibody response could be diminished. Britain’s health minister and health officials have said they believe the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines being rolled out in the country work against the UK variant.

Tuesday 26th January

Mexico’s President Has Tested Positive for Coronavirus

07:10 Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has become the latest world leader to contract Covid-19. “I’m sorry to inform you that I’ve been infected,” the 67-year-old politician announced on Twitter on Sunday evening.

Turkey Receives 6.5 Million Additional Vaccine Doses

Turkey received 6.5 million further doses of the coronavirus vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech on Monday, CNN Turk and other media reported, allowing its nationwide rollout to continue. An initial consignment of 3 million doses previously arrived in Turkey and it has so far vaccinated 1.245 million people, mostly health workers and elderly people, according to health ministry data.

China Reported a Spike in Infections

China reported a climb in new Coronavirus cases driven by a spike in infections among previously symptomless patients in northeastern Jilin province, official data showed on Monday. The total number of confirmed cases in the mainland rose to 124 on Jan. 24 from 80 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said in a statement, amid the worst wave of new infections China has seen since March 2020.

Hong Kong Lifted Lockdown in Kowloon after Testing about 7,000 People

The Hong Kong government lifted a lockdown in an area of Kowloon district in the early hours of Monday after testing about 7,000 people for coronavirus to curb an outbreak in the densely populated area.

New Zealand Authorities Identify New Case of South African Variant of Covid-19

New Zealand authorities have said a new case of Covid-19 that emerged outside quarantine appeared to be the South African variant. Health officials said on Monday that they believed the infected woman, aged 56, contracted the virus from an infected person on the same floor of the Pullman hotel in Auckland where they were both quarantining.

Travel Bubble between Australia and New Zealand Has Been Suspended for 72 Hours

Amid concern the single case of community transmission in New Zealand is of the South African variant, Australia’s federal health minister, Greg Hunt, has announced the Australian government will suspend the travel bubble with New Zealand for 72 hours.

Pfizer COVID Vaccine Approved for Australia Rollout

In Australia, the Pfizer vaccine has met strict standards for safety, quality and efficacy, a statement from the prime minister’s office said on Monday, and the vaccine has been approved for rollout in Australia for people age 16 years and older.

Biden Will Formally Reinstate Cover Travel Restrictions

US president Joe Biden on Monday will formally reinstate Covid travel restrictions on non-US travellers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders, according to two White House officials. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the order, also confirmed Sunday that South Africa would be added to the restricted list because of concerns about a variant of the virus that has spread beyond that nation.

Israel ‘Closes Skies’ to Air Travel to Prevent Virus Spread

Israel on Sunday announced a week-long ban on most incoming and outgoing flights in a bid to slow the spread of new coronavirus variants. The measure will begin at midnight from Monday into Tuesday and remain in effect until Sunday, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

World Nears 100m Milestone in Corona Infections

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has passed 99 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, as the total moves rapidly towards a shocking 100 million people infected with Covid-19 in just over a year. The current total is 99,105,389 infections. At least 2,127,206 people have died. On average, around 650,000 coronavirus cases have been reported daily in the last week.

Netherlands Anti-curfew Protests Spark Clashes with Police

Protests against a curfew to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the Netherlands degenerated into clashes with police and looting in cities across the country Sunday, authorities and reports said.

Monday 25th January

South Africa Will Pay 2.5 Times More Than Europe for Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Vaccine

07:10 South Africa will buy doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine at a price 2.5 times higher than most European countries, the health ministry said Thursday. The continent’s worst virus-hit country has ordered at least 1.5 million shots of the vaccine from the Serum Institute of India, expected in January and February.

PCR Tests Mandatory for Arrivals in France

French President Emmanuel Macron told his European Union counterparts France would make PCR tests compulsory for all travellers into France from Sunday, including from fellow EU countries, his office said on Thursday.

EU Introduces ‘Dark Red’ Travel Zones for Hotspot Areas

Covid hotspots the European Union will be labelled ‘dark red’ zones, and travellers from those areas will be required to take a test before departure and undergo quarantine, citing the chief of the bloc’s executive.

First South African cabinet minister dies from corona

South Africa’s president announced on Thursday that Jackson Mthembu had died from the coronavirus, becoming the first cabinet minister to succumb to the disease.

Beijing Conducts Mass Corona Testing as Cases Drop

Beijing launched mass coronavirus testing in parts of the city on Friday, while Shanghai was testing all hospital staff, as China battles the worst outbreak since March 2020. China reported a slight decline in new daily cases on Friday: 103 from 144 cases a day earlier.

Mexico Announces New Pandemic Daily High

Mexico posted new one-day highs for the pandemic Thursday, with 22,339 newly confirmed coronavirus infections and 1,803 deaths from Covid recorded for the previous 24 hours. The recent surge in cases has swamped hospitals. Mexico City is the country’s epicentre of the pandemic, and its hospitals are at 89% capacity, while nationwide 61% of hospital beds are filled.

Japan Is Under ‘Real Pressure’ Affecting Tokyo Olympics

The pandemic is placing ‘real pressure’ on preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, the Australian prime minister has said after a report claimed the Japanese government had privately concluded this summer’s Games will have to be cancelled.

ICU Admissions in Spain Rise 60% in Two Weeks

Spain ICU admissions rise by 60% in a fortnight. Over the past fortnight, the number of people going to hospital rose by 82% while intensive care admissions increased by 60%, prompting some regions, such as Valencia to set up field hospitals.

Supply Delay Threatening Australia’s Rollout of Vaccine

Supply delays could threaten the start of Australia’s Covid vaccine rollout. The Australian government has left states and territories in the dark about how many Pfizer vaccines Australia will receive by mid-February, as other countries face supply issues.

New James Bond Film ‘No Time to Die’ Is Being Delayed Again

James Bond film ‘No Time To Die’ has been delayed again as Hollywood grapples with the continued disruption caused by the pandemic. Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007 will now arrive on 8 October, the official Bond Twitter account announced. It had been set to be released in April following multiple pandemic-enforced delays.

Friday 22nd January

Biden Retracts Trump’s Letter to Leave WHO

07:35 US President Joe Biden has signed a letter retracting Donald Trump’s decision to leave the World Health Organization, which would have been effective in July this year. On 6 July 2020, the Trump formally notified the WHO of the country’s withdrawal, despite widespread criticism and an almost complete lack of international support for the move in the midst of a pandemic.

Dr Rochelle Walensky Is the New US CDC Chief

A new US CDC chief was sworn in. Dr Rochelle Walensky, 51, an infectious-diseases specialist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, was sworn in Wednesday as the new head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She takes the helm at a time when the country’s death toll has eclipsed 400,000 and continues to accelerate.

London Buses Are Being Converted into Ambulances

London buses are being turned into ambulances to ease Covid strain. NHS staff are preparing to transport patients using two London buses that have been converted into makeshift ambulances, in another sign of the strain Covid is putting on the capital’s health services.

Corona Cases Are No Longer Falling in England

Covid cases may have stopped falling, major English survey shows. Cases of coronavirus may no longer be falling across England, according to a major survey that raises concerns over whether lockdown measures can contain the new variant, as the UK reported a record daily number of deaths. Boris Johnson described the 1,820 deaths reported on Wednesday as “appalling”, as he warned: “There will be more to come.”

Australia Records Fourth Day of Zero Covid Cases

Australia recorded a fourth day of zero coronavirus cases on Thursday, prompting the chief of the country’s most populous state to call for a special travel ‘bubble’ with Pacific island nations.

Covid Vaccines May Need Redesigning Due to New Variants

Coronavirus vaccines may need to be redesigned this year to boost protection against a new variant that emerged rapidly in South Africa, research suggests, while past Covid sufferers may not be protected against reinfection.

Indonesia Will Begin Distributing Vaccines from Late April

Indonesia plans to start giving the general public Covid-19 vaccinations sometime between late April to May, health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Thursday.

Thursday 21st January

The New UK Covid Strain Found in 60 Countries

The UK coronavirus strain has been detected in at least 60 countries, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, 10 more than a week ago. With the global death toll now well past two million, and new variants of the virus causing deep concern, countries across the world are grappling with how to slow infections until vaccines become widely available.

London Missed out on Early Share of Vaccine

Sadiq Khan: London missed out on an early share of the vaccine. A simplistic formula used to distribute coronavirus vaccines that did not take into account the size of GP practices has meant fewer people receiving one in London, according to the mayor, Sadiq Khan.

The New South African Corona Strain Reported in 23 Countries

The new South African strain has now been reported in 23 countries and territories, the WHO also announced in its weekly update. Like the UK strain, it is believed to be more infectious.

Beijing Steps Up Covid Measures

China’s capital Beijing said on Wednesday it will investigate all individuals who entered the city from abroad from 10 December and shut down a subway station after reporting the biggest daily jump in new cases in more than three weeks.

Biden Held Vigil for 400,000 American Corona Victims

Joe Biden memorialised the more than 400,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19 during a vigil in Washington DC late Tuesday afternoon, as many Americans took to social media in collective mourning.

Mexico Reports New Highest Daily Covid Infections

Mexico reported its highest daily death toll since the coronavirus pandemic began, with 1,584 deaths confirmed Tuesday. There was also a near-record one-day rise in new virus cases of 18,894. Mexico has seen almost 1.67 million confirmed coronavirus infections and almost 143,000 test-confirmed deaths related to Covid-19. With the country’s extremely low testing rate, official estimates suggest the real death toll is closer to 195,000.

Wednesday 20th January

COVID Deaths Rise as Winter Surge Drags the US Toll toward 400,000

08:25 Coronavirus deaths are rising in nearly two-thirds of American states as a winter surge pushes the overall toll toward 400,000 amid warnings that a new, highly contagious variant is taking hold.

California Records More Than 3M Infections

California has become the first US state to record more than 3 million known infections, as it grapples with an unprecedented surge of cases that have left hospitals overwhelmed.

China and WHO Made Mistakes in Containing COVID Outbreak, Says Panel

 An independent panel has said that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January 2020 to curb the initial Covid-19 outbreak and criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for not declaring an international emergency until 30 January.

US Calls China for WHO Investigators to Have Better Access in China

The US called on China to grant greater access to the WHO team of investigators in China. The United States said China should allow the WHO team to interview “caregivers, former patients and lab workers” in the central city of Wuhan. The team of WHO-led independent experts is holding teleconferences with Chinese counterparts during a two-week quarantine before starting work on the ground.

Political Row Brewing Regarding Travel Bans Rescinded by Trump

A political row is brewing after Donald Trump announced he would rescind Covid travel bans on most non-US citizens arriving from Brazil and much of Europe, including the UK, effective 26 January. A spokesperson for Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated as the new US president on Wednesday, said the new administration “does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26”. “In fact,” wrote Jen Psaki on Twitter, “we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19.”

All Passengers Entering New Zealand Require Negative Cover Test Result

New Zealand has imposed a blanket testing regime for all flights arriving internationally, with passengers now required to return a negative Covid test result before departure.

25% of UK Youth Feel ‘Unable to Cope’ in Pandemic

One in four UK young people have felt ‘unable to cope’ in the pandemic. Young people are in danger of giving up on their futures and on themselves, with a quarter saying they feel unable to cope with life, one of the UK’s leading charities has said. The Prince’s Trust long-running annual survey of young people’s happiness and confidence returned the worst findings in its 12-year history.

Nightly Curfews Imposed in Bogota for Almost Two Weeks

Colombia’s capital Bogota will impose nightly curfews for almost two weeks, Mayor Claudia Lopez said on Monday, while the whole city will enter yet another full quarantine this weekend. Nightly curfews first started last week and continued until Sunday. However, they will begin again from Tuesda

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