7 October

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed 4.8 million, with a figure of 4,828,370 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University . Meanwhile, infections exceed 236.5 million world wide.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 44 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has passed 707,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

After complaints to US regulators about false positives from a startup’s at-home Covid-19 test, the Australian company investigated and recalled hundreds of thousands of kits sold through stores and online, the US Food and Drug Administration said. Ellume Ltd. late last week announced a voluntary recall of about 195,000 tests that remained unused. Around 427,000 total tests were affected by a test component that left them more likely to return a false positive, a company spokeswoman said.

The Biden administration will announce a $1 billion purchase of rapid at-home tests on Wednesday, an additional investment geared at expanding the availability of such products in the coming months, a White House official said. Along with the authorization of another at-home test product earlier this week, the $1 billion investment and earlier outlays should put the country on track to quadruple rapid testing by December, the official said.

UK: The UK government has lifted its advice against non-essential travel to 32 countries and territories, including Bangladesh, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana and Malaysia. The UK will stop advising Britons to avoid all but essential travel to non-red list countries on Covid-19 grounds except in “exceptional circumstances”.

Destinations including Brazil, Mexico and South Africa are expected to be moved off the red list on Thursday, meaning passengers returning from them will not have to isolate in a hotel.

Meanwhile, the UK reports 39,851 new Covid cases and 143 deaths.

Brazil: An investigation is underway in Brazil after allegations emerged claiming a hospital chain tested unproven drugs on elderly Covid-19 patients without their knowledge. The Brazilian agency that regulates health insurance plans made the allegations against Prevent Senior, a major healthcare chain serving tens of thousands of patients in the Sao Paulo area, during a Senate inquiry on Wednesday. The country reported 530 Covid deaths on the same day.

Turkey: Turkey reports record number of daily coronavirus cases, surpassing 30,000 on Wednesday, the highest number of infections since 30 April.

Russia: Russia reports record number of daily Covid deaths with 929 coronavirus-related deaths recorded on Wednesday, the largest single-day death toll since the pandemic began.

Wales: Wales to go ahead with the introduction of a Covid pass for nightclubs and big sporting events.

Romania: Romania reported the highest number of deaths since the start of the pandemic and President Klaus Iohannis described the country’s situation as a “catastrophe.” About 331 people died in the past 24 hours, with almost 15,000 people testing positive since Tuesday. Romania has no available intensive-care beds, with doctors saying they have to treat patients in ambulances or in the hallways.

Vaccine news

Israel: Immunity provided by the Covid-19 vaccine from partners Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE weakens significantly within months, with men having less protection than women, according to research that supports the use of booster doses. Protective antibodies decreased continuously during the six months after the administration of the second dose of the vaccine, according to a study of about 5,000 Israeli health workers, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The levels fell first at a sharp pace and later at a more moderate one.

US: Data that may show the safety and effectiveness of mixing and matching boosters of different Covid-19 shots are under review by US regulators, presidential adviser Anthony Fauci said. A study of adults who received booster doses of different Covid-19 vaccines than their original shots has been completed, Fauci said in an interview on Bloomberg Television ’s “Balance of Power with David Westin,” and the data have been presented to the US Food and Drug Administration. The National Institutes of Health study looked at the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of mixing and matching of the three US authorized vaccines for booster purposes.

Canada: Justin Trudeau unveiled a vaccine mandate for federally regulated industries in Canada, following through on an election pledge he made during his successful bid for a third term. The prime minister and his deputy, Chrystia Freeland, announced new rules Wednesday requiring passengers age 12 or older on planes, trains and cruise ships within the country to be fully vaccinated as of 30 October. Individuals who are in the process of being inoculated will be able to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test to travel during a transition period, which will end of 30 November.