29 September

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed 4.7 million, with a figure of 4,765,604 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections exceed 232.7 million world wide.

Disruption to health systems in lower-income nations during the pandemic has caused an increase in deaths among women and children that’s more than double the toll from Covid-19, new research shows. The estimates highlight a crisis that’s threatening years of hard-fought progress in improving the health of women and children, according to the Global Financing Facility, launched in 2015 by the World Bank, United Nations and others.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 43 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has passed 693,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Meanwhile, United Airlines said on Tuesday nearly 600 US-based employees faced termination after failing to comply with the carrier’s vaccination policy. In early August, the company became the first US carrier to require Covid vaccinations for all domestic employees, requiring proof of vaccination by Monday.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s daily Covid cases jumped sharply to 45 on Wednesday – more than five times the previous day’s number. The rise comes after several days of about 12 cases a day, and around a week after the Auckland region lifted its strictest lockdown restrictions.

UK: In England more than one in ten secondary school pupils and over a third of school staff who had coronavirus have suffered long Covid symptoms, the latest figures suggest.

A chair will be appointed by Christmas to the UK public inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic and sessions should take place around the country, Boris Johnson has told the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group.

UK clinical trials for diseases other than Covid-19 fell significantly during the pandemic and are taking longer to recover than in some European countries, a blow to research on ailments such as cancer.

Romania: New Covid infections in Romania rose by a record high of 11,049 in the past 24 hours, its government said on Tuesday.

Vaccine news

US: The US Food and Drug Administration is leaning toward authorizing half-dose booster shots of the Moderna Inc. coronavirus vaccine, satisfied that it’s effective in shoring up protection, people familiar with the matter said. The authorization would set the stage to further widen the US booster campaign after earlier authorization of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE shot. About 170 million fully vaccinated people in the US received the Moderna or Pfizer shots, or 92% of the total inoculated so far.

Pfizer and BioNTech said they submitted initial data to US regulators about the use of their vaccine in children ages 5 to 11, coming a step closer to bringing shots to school-age kids.

People who got vaccine boosters after the shots were cleared for those with weakened immune systems had mostly mild to moderate reactions, according to the US CDC.

China: China supports waiving intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines, and is calling upon competent countries to play an “active” role in international cooperation, Xinhua reported, citing Chen Xu, head of the Chinese Mission to the UN Office at Geneva.

Pakistan: Pakistan is to start vaccinating children aged 12 and above after a decline in Covid deaths across the country.

Indonesia: Indonesia is finalizing a plan to offer free Covid-19 vaccine boosters to more than 114 million people in anticipation of an “inevitable” third wave of coronavirus outbreak.

Denmark: The Danish Health Authority said it expects to offer an extra vaccine to people older than 65, health workers, people with chronic diseases and anyone who initially received the shot from Johnson & Johnson. The rollout will be completed with vaccines from either Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, pending regulatory approval.

Lockdown updates

Scotland: Scotland will delay the enforcement of vaccine passports by introducing a two-week grace period for venues, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Turkey: Turkey will “never” close schools again despite the recent rise in coronavirus infections, its health minister Fahrettin Koca said today.

US: Wells Fargo & Co. will delay its return to office until 10 January 2022. This is the fourth time Wells Fargo has pushed back its return-to-office date in recent weeks. The firm originally laid out a plan to begin bringing workers back 7 September.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it mistakenly flagged Hong Kong as a growing risk for coronavirus when it raised its travel warnings for the city and Singapore earlier this week.

Economy updates

Global: The head of the UN has called on rich countries to step up efforts to protect workers hit by the Covid-19 pandemic with an additional $1tn (£736bn) injection of funds to avoid a twin-track recovery that widens the gap with the world’s poorest nations.

Australia: Australia’s federal government will start to withdraw support from the Covid-19 Disaster Payment when vaccination thresholds are reached, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in an emailed statement. The temporary payment for those who have lost work will begin to transition once a state or territory reaches 70% full vaccination of its population who are 16 years and older. At 80% vaccination rate, the temporary payment will step down over a period of two weeks before ending. The program has supported about 2 million Australians with over A$9 billion payments made since it was announced in June.