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June 18, 2021

International update: UK Covid cases pass 11,000 per day again

By Paul Dennis

18 June

Global: The global Covid death toll is still rising with a figure of 3,842,439 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections exceed 177.5 million world wide.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 33.5 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has passed the grim milestone of 600,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Nepal: Nepal significantly reduced coronavirus infections after its worst outbreak, which overwhelmed the country’s medical system, but is in desperate need of vaccines, according to its health minister.

India: India’s life insurers are seeing a surge in claims due to the pandemic as the virus continues to ravage lives and livelihoods. Private insurer Kotak Mahindra Life expects to incur a loss in the June quarter due to a significantly higher-than-expected surge in claims during the second wave. Life Insurance Corp., the country’s largest insurer, saw such claims rising by more than a third in the nine months through December 2020 from the first wave of the pandemic.

Colombia: May soon surpass 100,000 deaths from Covid-19 as the government tries to balance protecting its citizens from the pandemic with reopening large swathes of the economy so that they can work and earn money for food.

Africa: Covid cases rose by more than a fifth week-on-week, pushing infections to more than 5 million, WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said on Thursday. The spike in infections should push countries and governments into “urgent action” to expand vaccinations and inoculate priority groups, she said.

UK: The UK recorded the most coronavirus cases in a day since mid-February, amid warnings the current wave of infections driven by the highly transmissible delta variant may still be weeks from peaking. More than 11,000 new cases of the disease were reported on Thursday, along with 19 deaths, according to the Department Health. A study by Public Health England showed infection rates increasing across all age groups, but are highest among people aged 20 to 29.

Vaccine news

Global: AstraZeneca can charge a higher price for its Covid-19 vaccine in dozens of poor countries once the pharmaceutical company decides the pandemic has ended, according to a copy of its contract with Oxford University seen by the Guardian.

Denmark: Will administer Covid-19 vaccines for those aged 12 to 15, broadcaster TV 2 reported, citing sources. Danish health authorities are due to hold a news briefing to about using the vaccines on that age group later today, amid concerns there is limited information about possible side-effects to children who have nothing to gain from such a move.

Thailand: AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing partner in Thailand has missed a delivery target in the country and shipments to other Southeast Asian nations have been delayed, the latest setback for a shot that was meant to be the backbone of the global inoculation effort. Thailand was slated to receive and administer 6 million AstraZeneca doses in June, but health authorities this week said they would be distributing only about 3.5 million this month.

Taiwan: Will receive a second batch of 240,000 Moderna vaccines on Friday and another 410,000 doses will arrive in coming days, Taipei-based Apple Daily reported, without saying where it got the information. Taiwan has a contract with Moderna for 5.05 million doses and received 150,000 of them in late May.

US: The US recorded 2.05 million vaccinations on Thursday, the highest since 22 May according to data collected by the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. The seven-day average, now at 1.33 million doses, has been rising since a trough the first week in June but remains far below a peak of more than 3 million in mid-April. Meanwhile, The US eased trade restrictions on Iran, Venezuela and Syria, temporarily allowing expanded exports of equipment and services to help stem the Covid-19 pandemic as part of the Biden administration’s review of sanctions that could be hindering the global response.

The US will invest $3.2 billion into developing antiviral medicines to combat Covid-19 and other viruses with pandemic potential, the Health and Human Services Department said Thursday.

Gambia, which started its vaccination campaign against the coronavirus in March, has already run out of AstraZeneca shots.

Lockdown updates

Wales: Is delaying further easing of coronavirus restrictions for four weeks after seeing a spike in cases of the Delta variant of the disease first identified in India.

Germany: Will reopen its borders later this month to non-EU nationals who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, the government announced Thursday.

Portugal: Travel in and out of the Lisbon metropolitan area is to be banned over coming weekends as Portuguese authorities respond to a spike in new Covid-19 cases in the region around the capital, officials announced.

Austria: Announced that revellers will be allowed to hit the dance floor legally again from next month as nightclubs reopen, in line with a broader easing of measures.

France: The tourism sector is taking a further step toward normality with the reopening of Disneyland Paris, two weeks after the country reopened its borders to vaccinated visitors from across the world.

Philippines: The Philippines allowed more doctors and nurses to leave for overseas jobs, a week after halting deployments when it hit a government-imposed limit. The government’s Covid-19 task force raised the annual cap for overseas deployment of newly-hired health workers to 6,500 from 5,000, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

Japan: The Japanese government and Olympic organizers are making final arrangements to set a cap of 10,000 spectators for the Tokyo games, the Yomiuri newspaper reports, citing several unidentified officials.

US: BlackRock Inc. is adjusting its plans for US employees to return to the office, allowing only fully-vaccinated workers to come back to work starting next month. The world’s biggest asset manager said that US-based employees who’ve been inoculated can resume in-person work in July and August if they’d like to, according to a memo from the New York-based company. Unvaccinated staffers are not allowed in the office as of then, the memo said. Meanwhile, Bank of America Corp. expects all of its vaccinated employees to return to the office after Labor Day in early September, and will then focus on developing plans for returning unvaccinated workers to its sites.

UK: British officials are considering plans to open up international travel for passengers who have been fully vaccinated. Under the policy, which is still being discussed inside government, people who have received both doses of Covid vaccines would not need to quarantine on returning from medium-risk countries on the so-called amber list.

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