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International update: Nearly 900 twice vaccinated people among Seychelles 2,486 new Covid cases

By Paul Dennis

11 May

Global: The global Covid death toll is still rising with a figure of 3,303,888 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections are nearing 159 million world wide.

The World Health Organization considers a highly contagious Covid variant spreading in India as a “variant of concern” at the global level, according to Maria Van Kerkhove, the group’s technical lead for Covid-19. The WHO will provide more details in a report on Tuesday, Van Kerkhove said in a news briefing on Monday. She called for more targeted sequencing to be done to track the variant.

US: US Covid -19 infections have passed 32.7 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 582,153 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Seychelles: Seychelles, which has vaccinated the largest proportion of its population of any country against Covid-19, said active cases of the disease more than doubled in the week to 7 May. The health ministry of the archipelago off Africa’s east coast said in a statement on Monday that 2,486 people currently have Covid-19 and of those, 37% have received two doses of vaccine. The number of active cases rose from 1,068 a week earlier. Of those in the country who have taken two doses, 57% were inoculated with Sinopharm shots and the rest with Covishield, a vaccine made in India under license from AstraZeneca Plc.

France: The French prime minister Jean Castex has said that France was “emerging on a long-term basis” from the Covid-19 crisis as the country records 3,292 new Covid-19 cases and 292 deaths – the lowest figures this year.

Argentina: 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.

Singapore: Singapore’s decision to test all hospital staff follows the the emergence of a cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which has since grown to be the country’s largest, with 43 linked cases. There are presently 11 active clusters nationwide, the Ministry of Health said in a statement on Monday.

Vaccine news

Global: Novavax Inc. has said the development of its Covid-19 vaccine is slower than previously anticipated and does expect to file for regulatory approval until the third quarter of 2021.

US: 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.

Meanwhile, US regulators authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12.

Los Angeles, the most populous county in the US, is likely to achieve herd immunity by mid-to late-July if the brisk pace of vaccinations continues, health officials said.

New York is setting up vaccination sites at Grand Central, Penn Station and other mass transit stops, and will offer free Metropolitan Transportation Authority rides for everyone who gets a shot.

Bali: Bali has secured nearly 2 million doses of Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines so far, with another 500,000 arriving later this month and more to come in June and July, Governor Wayan Koster said late Wednesday.

Japan: Governors in Japan have drafted a recommendation that calls on the central government to consider declaring a nationwide state of emergency, Asahi newspaper reported without attribution. The officials called the national virus situation grave and urged the government to take immediate actions beyond the current measures to “to defeat covid variants that are rampant.”

Lockdown updates

China: Hong Kong’s government won’t push ahead with a requirement that all foreign domestic workers must be vaccinated against Covid-19 before applying for or renewing work visas, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said. The proposal had been critizised for stigmatizing and singling out the city’s roughly 380,000 foreign domestic workers. Domestic workers must, however, undergo a second round of mass Covid testing by 30 May if they’re unvaccinated. Lam also said schools can start to operate half-day in-person classes at full capacity from 24 May.

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