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August 9, 2021

International update: Israel administers booster shots as Covid cases surge

By Paul Dennis

9 August

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed the grim milestone of 4 million, with a figure of 4,293,914 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections have passed 202 million world wide.

Israel: A third of Israeli adults over the age of 60 have already received a coronavirus booster shot, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday, as the country struggles to contain a surge in infections.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 35.7 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has passed 616,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Iran: Iran’s daily deaths surpassed 500 for the first time since the pandemic began, surging to a record 542 over the last 24 hours, the health ministry reported. The country also reported its highest-ever daily case count at 39,619, its fourth record for daily new infections this month. Iran now has 94,015 deaths with more than 4.1 million known cases.

Russia: Deaths in Russia remain near last month’s record high, with 787 people dying from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the country’s response center said Sunday. The seven-day moving average has been at 790 for the past four days. That brings the total death toll to 164,881, the task force said in a statement. That’s far lower than Federal Statistics Service data, which show almost 316,800 deaths through the end of June, including cases where the virus was an indirect cause. In the past 24 hours, 22,866 cases of the coronavirus were registered, compared with 22,320 the previous day, taking the total to 6.45 million, the response center said.

Malaysia: Malaysia announced a slight drop in new daily Covid-19 infections on Sunday with 18,688 cases, after 19,257 on Saturday and a record high of 20,899 on Friday. Malaysia’s health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a tweet the country has now had 1,262,540 infections.

Germany: Germany reported 3,127 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, prolonging a trend of rising infections that started about one month ago.

UK: The UK has recorded 27,429 new coronavirus cases and a further 39 deaths in the latest 24 hour period, bringing the total deaths to 130,321, government figures show.

Philippines: The Philippines’ health ministry recorded on Sunday 9,671 new coronavirus cases and 287 additional deaths, the biggest single-day rise in the country’s death toll since 9 April.

DRC: Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo said the coronavirus outbreak had eased in many parts of the country but remained worrying in the economic capital of Lubumbashi where not wearing a mask will now be punishable by up to seven days in jail.

Vietnam: Vietnam’s health ministry reported 9,690 coronavirus infections on Sunday, a record daily increase.

Vaccine news

EU: AstraZeneca has started to ship its vaccine from a British factory to the European Union, the Telegraph newspaper reported, in a move could improve the company’s troubled relations with Brussels.

US: The director of the National Institutes of Health said he supported vaccine mandates, given the renewed viral surge that has pushed new cases back to an average of more than 100,000 a day. “We ought to use every public health tool we can when people are dying,” Francis Collins said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I understand how that can sometimes set off all kinds of resistance. But isn’t that a shame?” he added. “I mean, how did we get here? Why is it that a mandate about a vaccine or wearing a mask suddenly becomes a statement of your political party?”

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten called for support for vaccine mandates among teachers, after previously said that vaccinations must not be “coerced.” She said members have “stepped up,” with 90% of teacher members already vaccinated. An affiliate of the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers represents 1.7 million members nationwide.

Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious-disease doctor, said Covid-19 vaccine booster shots should be given “reasonably soon” to people with weakened immune systems. When asked if other groups should get booster shots, Fauci said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ready to give such recommendations “as soon as” they see clear evidence to do so from the data.

Ghana: Ghana took delivery of 177,600 J&J single-shot vaccines on Saturday, through an arrangement by the African Union. The first shipments form part of the 6.4 million vaccines to be sent to members of the regional bloc this month, the AU’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust said in an emailed statement.

Lockdown updates

US: The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was canceled for a second year because of Covid-19, organizers announced on Sunday, as Louisiana weathers the nation’s worst per capita outbreak of the virus.

Tesla will require workers at its battery plant in Reno, Nevada to wear masks indoor, whether vaccinated or not, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A group of parents in Florida asked a judge to block an executive order by Governor Ron DeSantis that bans school districts from imposing mask requirements when classes resume in the fall. The lawsuit, filed Friday in state court in Florida, comes amid a fierce national debate about whether children in schools should wear masks as the delta variant of the coronavirus sweeps the country and case counts rise. The lawsuit argues that DeSantis’ order violates a provision of the state constitution that requires public officials to ensure schools are safe for students.

UK: The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care has dialed back requirements for staff to begin returning to the office next month, the Guardian newspaper reported. Staff were told this week that the department had scrapped plans requiring them to be in the office at least four to eight days per month from September.

Australia: In Australia, south-east Queensland has emerged from lockdown just as Cairns residents begin one, as the state grapples with a Covid-19 outbreak.

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