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April 12, 2021

International update: Concerns over post vaccination infections as global Covid cases pass 136 million

By Paul Dennis

12 April

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed 2.9 million. Meanwhile, infections have passed 136 million world wide, according to analysts at Johns Hopkins University.

US: US Covid -19 infections exceed 31 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is more than 562,000 according to analysts at Johns Hopkins University. The US added almost 67,000 cases on Saturday, broadly in line with the country’s seven-day rolling average. Another 728 deaths from Covid-19 were reported nationwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. California’s deaths rose 105 to 59,218, as Covid-19 fatalities edge closer to the 60,000 mark. The state reported 4,954 new cases, bringing the total to 3.6 million. Like hard-hit Michigan, California has been pushing for more vaccinations to combat the outbreak even as its positive test rate continued to decline, falling to 1.6% as of Sunday. Almost 22.8 million shots have been administered, with more than 70% of those 65 and older having received at least one dose.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken renewed US calls for China to provide a fuller accounting of the origins of the Covid-19 virus, saying Chinese secrecy meant the virus “got out of hand faster and with, I think, much more egregious results than it might otherwise.”

Indoor dining once a person is vaccinated is “still not okay for the simple reason that the level of infection, the dynamics of infection, in the community are still really disturbingly high,” US health official Anthony Fauci said on The Mehdi Hasan Show on MSNBC. Fauci continued to urge caution even by those who have been vaccinated, for instance by avoiding crowds. He also said people who have gotten the jabs should still wear masks “until we show definitively that a person who’s vaccinated does not get a sub-clinical infection and can spread to others.”

Italy: 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.

Mexico: 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.

India: India reported a record 168,912 new Covid-19 cases Monday with the total tally pushing past 13.5 million, potentially on track for the grim milestone of overtaking Brazil as the second-worst-hit nation. Brazil is yet to report Monday numbers. India has seen more than 170,000 casualties and administered 104.5 million vaccinations so far, according to data from its health ministry. After months of reporting ebbing daily surge in cases earlier this year, the South Asian nation is again facing an escalating health crisis amid a nastier second wave of infections which has begun to overwhelm hospitals, trigger vaccine supply shortages and forced some states to impose partial lockdowns.

India has prohibited exports of the drug Remdesivir, used to treat Covid-19, as the country registered a record number of daily new coronavirus cases. The government took the step amid a sudden spike in demand for the injection, the health ministry said in a statement on Sunday, adding that “there is a potential of further increase in this demand in the coming days.”

UK: The UK reported 1,730 new cases on Sunday, the lowest since Sept. 2. Infections have dropped 30% over the past week. Another seven people died within 28 days of a positive test. Figures are usually lower on Sundays, and fatalities are up 2.4% for the week. With more than 32 million first vaccine doses given, and almost 7.5 million people fully inoculated, the government is hoping the gradual easing of lockdown won’t lead to an increase in cases.

Canada: Ontario reported a record 4,456 new cases on Sunday and 1,513 hospitalizations. Canada’s most populous province is in the midst of a four-week emergency lockdown imposed April 3 amid a spread of virus variants and a slow rollout of vaccines across Canada.

Iran: Iran’s deaths from Covid-19 reached the highest in four months with 258 fatalities over the last 24 hours. The number of new cases rose by 21,063 overnight, just short of a record 22,586 infections set earlier this week. The country now has 64,490 deaths and more than 2 million cases.

Vaccine news

Singapore: A fully vaccinated migrant worker has tested positive for Covid-19 in Singapore, the Ministry of Health announced in an overnight statement, the only new case discovered in the city-state as of noon on Sunday. “This case is a reminder that it is possible for vaccinated individuals to get infected,” the ministry said, adding that the man had likely been asymptomatic but with a positive serology test because he had already produced antibodies.

France: France, which had a slow start to its inoculation rollout, will make vaccinations with the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs available to all citizens over the age of 55 on Monday.

UK: 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.

China: 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.

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

Philippines: The Philippines is expecting 500,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines this month. An initial 20,000 doses will be shipped in the coming weeks to test if the nation can handle logistics, said vaccine czar Carlito Galvez. The Southeast Asian nation also received 500,000 doses from Sinovac on Sunday, and is expecting another 3 million through May.

Japan: Japan’s vaccination drive finally kicks into gear Monday around four months after the start of inoculations in the US and the UK, a slow rollout that has generated further criticism of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s handling of the pandemic. The doses for people 65 and over are the first vaccinations for members of the public in Japan after priority was given to inoculating front-line medical staff first.

Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he won’t set a new target date for all Australians to receive their first Covid-19 vaccine dose, as health concerns about the AstraZeneca Plc shot and European export restrictions delay the rollout.

Lockdown updates

Czech Republic: 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.

Netherlands: 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.

India: Chief executive officers of companies in India are against more lockdowns and are instead working with the government to vaccinate their employees, according to a survey conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

France: “It’s too early to say yet when it’ll be possible to resume travel to Europe,” French Junior Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune said on RTL radio on Sunday. “Hopefully it’ll be possible this summer. We’re doing everything we can to restore travel within France before the summer to start with, then in Europe, and then more globally, but it’s impossible to give more precise a timetable.”

Economy updates

US: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the US economy is at an “inflection point” with stronger growth and hiring ahead thanks to vaccinations and powerful policy support, but that Covid-19 remains a threat. “The principal risk to our economy right now really is that the disease would spread again. It’s going to be smart if people could continue to socially distance and wear masks,” Powell told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in an interview conducted Wednesday.

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