WHO expands vaccination center program
Global: The global death toll from Covid has passed 5.9 million, with the figure at 5,917,660 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections continued past 429 million to reach a global figure of 429,718,461.
The World Health Organization is expanding its messenger RNA vaccine hub program that bypasses major pharmaceutical producers. The WHO will open a new facility in South Korea to train workers from low- and middle-income countries to produce vaccines, treatments and other medicines.
A fourth dose of an inactivated Covid-19 vaccine, such as that from Sinopharma, does not offer additional protection against the omicron variant, according to a study by researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhau published in southern China. China. Morning post. The potency of the vaccine declines six months after a third injection, and giving a fourth does not help, according to the study. The researchers said different types of immunizations, such as an mRNA injection targeted at the variants of concern, would be a good option for a fourth injection, according to the report.
News by region
WE: Covid-19 infections have now topped 78.7 million. Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus deaths in the United States has risen to more than 941,000 according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
US health officials have said some people receiving Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccines should consider waiting up to eight weeks between the first and second dose, instead of the three or four weeks previously recommended.
The Pentagon is expected to approve the deployment of 700 to 800 unarmed National Guard troops to the nation’s capital, as convoys of truckers plan protests against pandemic restrictions next week.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he wants the city to move in the coming weeks toward phasing out rules that require people to show proof of vaccinations in restaurants, bars and other interior spaces. Adams said he didn’t want to act prematurely, but also wanted to get the city back to normal.
Covid-19 vaccines, drugs and testing put the US in a better position to lift restrictions such as masking that were passed to limit the spread of the virus, White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci has said. . Many states have already dropped mask-wearing rules, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials are set to update federal guidelines on masking as cases driven by the Omicron variant plummet across the country. country. Covid drugs like Pfizer Inc.’s Paxlovid that keep high-risk patients from being hospitalized and dying are becoming plentiful as production ramps up, Fauci said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “The Close.”
Los Angeles County will relax its mask mandate for certain indoor settings starting Friday. The mask requirement can be waived for businesses if customers and workers are fully vaccinated, or if they test negative for Covid-19, the county health department said.
Canada: Canada is lifting emergency powers it enacted more than a week ago to contain street protests against pandemic restrictions, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying the unprecedented authority is no longer needed.
Uruguay: Moderna Inc. has signed an agreement with a Uruguayan pharmaceutical company to expand its reach across Latin America. The Covid-19 vaccine maker announced on Tuesday the distribution agreement with Adium Pharma SA to market the vaccines in 18 countries in the region, including Brazil and Mexico. Plans will be supplied by Moderna’s factories in the United States and Europe, said Roman Saglio, business alliances manager for Latin America.
Caribbean: The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has warned that the Caribbean is falling behind in its efforts to fight Covid – as only 63% of its eligible population is vaccinated.
EU: Novavax said it had started shipping doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to member states of the European Union, with France, Austria and Germany set to be the first to receive injections.
Poland: Poland will lift most of its restrictions from March 1, but will continue with mandatory face coverings indoors and isolation rules.
Iceland: Iceland will lift all restrictions from Friday.
France: France reported 66,833 new cases of coronavirus and reported that 2,753 people are in the intensive phase with the coronavirus, a decrease of 89 from the previous day.
UK: The UK reported 39,656 new cases, down 41% from two weeks ago today. Another 164 people have died of Covid-related causes. NHS England has said patients will still be required to wear face masks in GP surgeries and hospitals.
Meanwhile, fraud and error have cost the UK government up to £16billion under Covid-19 emergency loan schemes, according to Parliament’s spending watchdog.
Italy: Italy will end its Covid state of emergency on March 31, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said. Italy reported 49,040 new coronavirus cases, down from 60,029 the previous day, as well as 252 coronavirus deaths, down from 322 the previous day.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong has reported a record 8,674 new Covid infections as the city-state prepares for mandatory testing for its residents.
Thousands of bars and restaurants in Hong Kong will close as some of the world’s toughest Covid restrictions, aimed at taming a record outbreak, deal a heavy blow to the once vibrant city’s economy. About 5,000 restaurants – nearly a third of Hong Kong’s restaurants – could close for months to cut costs, said Simon Wong, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Allied Trades. More than 1,200 have already suspended operations and 300 have closed permanently, he said. Social distancing rules, which closed hair salons, gyms and other venues while limiting restaurants to two customers per table, will last until at least April 20.
China: More than 200 people have been infected with the delta variant in the northern province of Inner Mongolia, while an outbreak of Omicron sparked by conference attendees in Wuhan has spread to Beijing and the eastern coastal city of Qingdao. Another 100 people are part of an Omicron cluster in the eastern biotechnology hub of Suzhou, where 11 foreign companies reported production disruptions due to newly detected infections among employees, authorities said.
Overall, a slew of outbreaks across the country, from megacities to murky border towns, have spawned more than 2,000 infections in the past two weeks as people returned to work after spending the Chinese New Year holiday. in their hometown. On Thursday, China reported a total of 109 nationwide Covid-19 infections.
Thailand: Thailand reported a record 23,557 new Covid-19 cases, surpassing the previous August peak. The government also reported 38 deaths in the past 24 hours.
South Korea: South Korea’s prime minister has called for calm after a record 170,000 Covid cases, amid warnings that the latest wave has yet to peak.
Meanwhile, South Korean officials have approved Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, expanding the country’s vaccination program in the face of a massive Omicron outbreak.
Singapore: Singapore’s plans to relax some virus rules in phases, which were originally scheduled to start on February 25 and March 4, will be delayed. The change, amid an increase in daily cases, is partly due to significant adjustments needed in different settings, the health ministry said on Thursday. The authorities will announce a new timetable shortly and the rules will be streamlined simultaneously. The country will stick to current processes in the meantime, he said.
Taiwan: Taiwan plans to shorten its quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days from March 7, and business travelers will be able to apply for special entry permits, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Thursday. . It also plans to relax some Covid controls from March 1, such as allowing people to remove their masks when exercising outside.
Australia: Western Australia’s largest remote Aboriginal community has been quarantined after registering 17 cases of Covid-19 since Wednesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported. The community of about 650 people has a double vaccination rate of about 90%.
Africa and Middle East
South Africa: The World Health Organization (WHO) has set up a center in South Africa to train low- and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines and is expanding its vaccine project to five more countries. WHO will transfer technology from its South African mRNA vaccine center to five other countries – Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Serbia and Vietnam – to give them a boost in making life-saving vaccines .