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June 7, 2021

International update: Global Covid infections pass 173 million

By Paul Dennis

7 June

Global: The global Covid death toll is still rising with a figure of 3,726,458 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University . Meanwhile, infections exceed 173 million world wide.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 33.3 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 597,628 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

US hospitalizations continue to fall, with 3.17% of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients on 4 June, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services . That percentage dropped from 3.67% on 28 May and is the lowest since 14 March, 2020.

UK: The UK recorded 5,341 cases on Sunday, an increase of 2,101 on last Sunday when 3,111 cases were reported.

Ministers are ‘absolutely open’ to delaying the 21 June reopening date in England if the Delta variant worsens, the health secretary said.

Fiji: Fiji recorded a surge in Covid-19, with 83 new cases reported on Sunday from the day before, according to the Fiji Times . The new tally is a record high for the Pacific Islands nation, where only 0.33% of the population have been fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Vaccine news

US: About 1.6 million doses of vaccine were recorded in the US on Sunday, a day after the total rose to more than 300 million, according to data collected by the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. The number was almost half a million more than the previous day, which contrasts with a decline since vaccinations peaked in mid-April.

President Joe Biden has set a goal for 70% of all adults to get at least one dose by July 4. That number is now 63.5%, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Israel: Sunday is the first day for 12-16-year-olds in Israel to get vaccinated, after 55% of the population have so far received two doses in the country.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s vaccination rate picked up last week, with a record 31,400 people receiving their first doses on Saturday. The increase came after the government announced a campaign to accelerate inoculations by September and as major companies and restaurants started offering incentives including cash payouts and extra time off.

Thailand: Thailand is launching its mass vaccination drive, with a target of inoculating 70% of its residents before the end of this year to prepare for a reopening of tourism in 2022.

China: At least 70% of China’s “target population” is expected to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by year-end, Xinhua reported, citing Zeng Yixin, vice head of the National Health Commission. Recent local Covid infections suggest that China still faces a severe situation in pandemic control.

China authorized the emergency use of Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s coronavirus vaccine for children, becoming the first major country to grant approval for those as young as three. The move comes amid reports that young people with the disease could be as infectious as adults. Singapore, Hong Kong and some U.S. states have so far authorized the use of Covid-19 vaccines against children 12 years and above.

Meanwhile, a worker at Shenzhen Yantian Port was confirmed to be infected. The outbreak at the key port risks adding delays in shipping goods from one of the busiest ports in the world.

Taiwan: Taiwan was promised 750,000 vaccine doses from the US, as it battles a viral surge and what it says are China’s efforts to block a deal for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The pledge came on a visit Sunday by three US senators, Democrats Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Christopher Coons of Delaware, and Republican Dan Sullivan of Alaska.

Lockdown updates

Morocco: Morocco will reopen its airports to international traffic starting from 15 June to help the return of its nationals living abroad.

Brazil: Staff of a senate committee investigating the handling of the pandemic in Brazil have said that the Copa America football tournament should not be held amid the world’s second-deadliest outbreak and must be postponed.

Canada: Canada has granted an exemption to virus border restrictions to National Hockey League teams, allowing them to go back and forth with the US during the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The announcement means the Canadian team that makes it to the ice hockey league’s semi-finals will be able to play games in its home arena. Players and team staff will have to remain in a bubble and avoid contact with the general public.

Uganda: Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, re-imposed a strict lockdown that included the closure of schools and the suspension of inter-district travel.

Taiwan: Taiwan’s government decided to extend an island-wide soft lockdown by another two weeks, the Cabinet said in a statement on its website. Taiwan has had 11,298 confirmed cases as of Sunday, including 10,100 local cases and 260 deaths, according to a separate statement from Taiwan Centers for Disease Control.

India: The Indian state of Maharashtra, which contains Mumbai, has set a five-level plan to ease restrictions based on the positivity rate and the availability of oxygen beds in various districts.

Japan: Japanese voters are split over whether the Tokyo Olympics should be held as planned from July or canceled, according to a nationwide poll conducted by the Yomiuri from 4 June to 6 June. Half were for having the games while 48% said they should be canceled; the breakdown was 39% vs. 59% in a survey taken last month. Some 63% said they thought coronavirus prevention measures in place for athletes and staff visiting from abroad were insufficient.

Japan intends to issue Covid-19 vaccine passports this summer to inoculated residents traveling abroad to boost travel and other economic activities, Nikkei reported. An inter-agency team is discussing a plan to issue a paper certificate this summer for businesspeople and others, followed by a digital version by the end of the year, the newspaper said, without disclosing where it got the information.

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