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April 7, 2021

International update: Global Covid death toll passes 3 million as infections rise past 132 million

By Paul Dennis

7 April

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed the grim tally of 3 million according to Reuters. Meanwhile, infections have passed 132 million world wide.

US: US Covid -19 infections have passed 30.8 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is more than 556,000.

Brazil: Brazil’s coronavirus catastrophe has deepened further after more than 4,000 daily deaths were reported for the first time since the outbreak began in February last year.

France: France’s health ministry reported on Tuesday that the number of people in intensive care with Covid-19 had increased by 193 in the space of 24 hours to 5,626, the highest number for almost a year.

Turkey: Turkey recorded 49,584 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Tuesday, the highest level since the start of the pandemic.

Canada: Canada’s Covid-19 hospitalisations are surging, intensive care beds are filling up and coronavirus variants are spreading as a third wave of the pandemic sweeps across much of the country, the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said on Tuesday.

India: India reported a record number of new infections, adding 115,736 cases in a day and pushing the total past 12.8 million. The Asian nation has the third-largest outbreak and is closing on Brazil to reclaim a spot as the second-worst hit country. Deaths rose to 166,177, according to health ministry data. More than 87 million have received a vaccination shot.

South Korea: South Korea added 668 new coronavirus cases, the largest daily increase in 13 weeks, raising its total to 106,898. The number of people given a first dose of vaccine topped 1 million, with only 33,000 having received the second shot in a nation of more than 50 million people. The government may tighten social distancing rules when it reviews the measures later this week.

Vaccine news

Global: The World Health Organization (WHO) expects there will be no reason to change its assessment that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 outweigh any risks, its regulatory director said on Tuesday.

It is a travesty that some countries still have not had enough access to vaccines to begin inoculating health workers and the most vulnerable people against Covid-19, the head of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

US: President Joe Biden said he wants all American adults eligible for a coronavirus vaccine by 19 April, two weeks earlier than his previous goal. All but two states are already set to meet that goal, with Oregon and Hawaii having planned to open up vaccines to all non-minors on 1 May. Biden said there will be no more confusing restrictions. But the president added it’s not time to celebrate yet and the fight against the virus isn’t over because new variants are still spreading quickly. “The pandemic remains dangerous,” Biden said.

Indonesia: Indonesia has reported its first case of a more transmissible new variant of the coronavirus known for reducing vaccine protection, but the government on Tuesday said vaccines being used in the country could withstand the mutation.

UK: A vaccine trial into the safety and efficacy of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine in children has been paused while the UK medicines regulator investigates a possible link to rare blood clots in adults who had the jab.

The UK will begin rolling out the Moderna vaccine on Wednesday, around two weeks earlier than expected, bolstering Britain’s Covid-19 immunization program amid concerns over AstraZeneca Plc’s shot and a shortfall of doses this month. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Moderna shot would first be offered in west Wales. It’s the third approved vaccine to be offered in Britain, alongside shots from AstraZeneca and partners Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. The UK has ordered 17 million doses of Moderna’s two-shot vaccine, enough for 8.5 million people.

Antibodies to the Covid-19 virus persist for at least six months after patients receive the second dose of Moderna Inc.’s vaccine, according to a new analysis of lab results from 33 healthy adults in the drugmaker’s phase one trial. Moderna’s shares jumped.

Mexico: Mexico’s health agency Cofepris approved the Covaxin shot from India’s Bharat Biotech for emergency use against the coronavirus, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter. Mexico has now approved six Covid-19 vaccines, Ebrard said, naming AstraZeneca, CanSino, Covaxin, Pfizer, Sinovac and Sputnik V. The country has administered more than 9.6 million shots so far.

Lockdown updates

Thailand: Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said he’s concerned about a new wave of Covid-19 infections sweeping the nation’s capital and hinted at fresh controls to stem the outbreak that’s forced the closure of dozens of nightlife venues. The government may unveil more measures later on Wednesday, Prayuth said, urging people to be more cautious about the latest outbreak.

China: Beijing is putting up color-coded signs on buildings in its financial district to indicate what percentage of workers inside have received Covid-19 vaccines, a move aimed at accelerating the Chinese capital’s immunization rollout amid intensifying government pressure. The financial district is leading the campaign to ‘green code’ its buildings, putting up green circular signs that indicate more than 80% of those working in the building have been vaccinated. Yellow notices are for those with 40% to 80% immunization rates, while red logos indicate fewer than 40% of people are protected.

US: The US government won’t issue so-called vaccine passports, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, though the Biden administration plans guidance for companies developing the credentials. The administration doesn’t want vaccine passports “used against people unfairly” and will provide guidance “that will look like an FAQ” for private-sector development of the credentials, she said at a briefing.

US cruises could resume by mid-summer with restrictions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday after Carnival Corp., the largest operator, threatened to relocate ships to other markets.The industry has been pressuring the agency, saying it’s restricting their return to the seas even as other hospitality industries like hotels and theme parks reopen. Earlier Tuesday, Carnival threatened to move some US ships to other ports, more than a year after the industry essentially went on hiatus.

California officials plan to fully reopen the economy on 15 June – if the pandemic continues to abate – after driving down coronavirus case loads in the most populous US state. Capacity limits on restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses will be lifted, Secretary of Health and Human Services Mark Ghaly said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Economy updates

Global: China will drive global economic growth as the world recovers from the pandemic, contributing more than one-fifth of the increase in the world’s gross domestic product in the five years through 2026, according to Bloomberg calculations based on IMF forecasts. Global GDP is expected to rise by more than $28 trillion over the period, after falling $2.8 trillion last year in the biggest peacetime drop since the Great Depression. The US and India will be the second and third-biggest contributors to growth in the period, according to the IMF, which warned that growth may be unevenly spread, with developing economies expected to have bigger losses and slower recoveries.

“Income inequality is likely to increase significantly because of the pandemic,” the Fund said in its World Economic Outlook report. “Close to 95 million more people are estimated to have fallen below the threshold of extreme poverty in 2020 compared with pre-pandemic projections.”

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