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April 16, 2021

International update: Young adults previously infected with Covid-19 still at risk of catching disease again study says

By Paul Dennis

16 April

Global: The global Covid death toll is nearing the grim tally of 3 million with a figure of 2,985,407 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections exceed 138 million world wide.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 31.4 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 565,283 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Young adults previously infected with Covid-19 are still at risk of catching the disease again, according to a study of US military personnel that highlights the importance of vaccinating even those who have tested positive for the virus. About 10% of 189 people who had been infected once, most of them 18 to 20-year males, later became reinfected, according to a study of 2,346 US Marine Corps members published Thursday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal. The study took place between May and November 2020. Meanwhile, The US has found 5,800 “breakthrough” cases of Covid-19, in which a fully vaccinated person was infected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The nation has fully vaccinated more than 75 million people. Breakthrough infections occurred among all ages but more than 40% were 60 years and older. A third of the cases were asymptomatic, and almost two thirds were female. Seven percent were hospitalized and 1% died.

UK: A coronavirus variant with potentially worrying mutations that was first detected in India has been found in the UK. In total, 77 cases of the variant have been recorded in the UK up to 14 April, according to the latest update from Public Health England (PHE). Overall Covid-19 case rates have fallen in all regions of England.

France: France’s coronavirus death toll has passed 100,000. The country of 67 million is the eighth in the world to reach the symbolic six figure mark, and the third in Europe after the United Kingdom and Italy.

India: India’s daily coronavirus caseload has doubled in ten days, with a record 200,000 new infections logged Thursday as authorities grapple with shortages of vaccines, treatments and hospital beds.

Thailand: Thailand reported 1,543 new coronavirus cases, the sharpest increase since the start of the pandemic and the fourth record rise this week, amid a third wave of infections in the south-east Asian country.

Vaccine news

Global: The risk of blood clots among those who’ve been diagnosed with Covid-19 is higher than among those who’ve received vaccines against the disease, according to a new study from the University of Oxford. Covid patients saw a clot risk of 39 in a million. That compared with four in a million in mRNA vaccines like those developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SEor Moderna Inc., and five in a million people after AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine.

After Covid-19 vaccine production surpassed 1 billion doses this week, the world could produce the next billion in a little more than a month, according to a forecast from Airfinity Ltd., the London-based research company. At the same time, a delay to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine could push European Union efforts to vaccinate three-quarters of its population back to December, from the end of September, Airfinity estimates.

US: The US is preparing for the possibility that a booster shot will be needed between nine to 12 months after people are initially vaccinated against Covid-19, David Kessler, chief science officer for president Joe Biden’s Covid-19 response task force, said.

A hold on the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine in the US could stretch out for several weeks, according to the head of an advisory panel that is expected to make a recommendation about whether shots should resume. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is weighing the scientific evidence after reports that six people who received the vaccine subsequently suffered rare blood clots in the brain.

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is among a group of former world leaders and Nobel laureates calling on US President Joe Biden to waive intellectual property rules for Covid vaccines to accelerate global access to the jab.

Hong Kong: Authorities said the city’s vaccine scheme would be widened to include those aged between 16 to 29 years old for the first time, as they aim to boost the lacklustre demand for inoculations.

Japan: The Japanese government and Pfizer Inc. are working toward an agreement on supply of coronavirus vaccine after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga spoke with the pharmaceutical company’s CEO on a phone call during his visit to the US, FNN reported.

Philippines: The Philippines will start inoculating more people as vaccine supply increases in the coming weeks. Those eligible will include workers in supermarkets, banks, tourism, overseas Filipino workers, teachers, government workers, tax collectors, diplomats and media personnel. Previously, only health workers, people aged at least 60 years old, and those with comorbidities were inoculated.

Lockdown updates

Portugal: Most regions in Portugal will enter the third phase of easing the Covid-19 lockdown next week, but stricter rules will stay in place in municipalities where transmission rates remain high, prime minister Antonio Costa said.

Ireland: Ireland is on track to ease restrictions from 4 May to allow the phased reopening of all retail stores and hairdressers, and will also develop a plan for further reopenings in June and July, the deputy prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has said.

Germany: Health minister Jens Spahn has again urged the country’s 16 federal states to impose tougher restrictions quickly to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus and not to wait until a national law on measures is passed.

Japan: A senior member of Japan’s ruling party has said that cancelling the Tokyo Olympics “remains an option” if the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen.

Cambodia: Spiralling Covid-19 cases have put Cambodia “on the brink of death”, its premier Hun Sen has warned, as the country imposed lockdowns in the capital Phnom Penh and a nearby city.

Thailand: Thailand is set to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants and close schools for two weeks to stem a fresh outbreak that’s spread to most of the country and is threatening economic growth. The control measures dampened the annual Songkran festivities, when millions of Thais travel across the country for family reunions and holidays, for a second year and weakened private consumption and domestic tourism. An extended period of restrictions may delay plans to lure vaccinated tourists and further weaken an economic recovery that the Thai central bank says is contingent on return of foreign visitors.

Economy updates

China’s economy soared in the first quarter as consumer spending strengthened, suggesting a more balanced recovery after an investment and export-fueled rebound from last year’s coronavirus lockdowns. Gross domestic product climbed a record 18.3% in the first quarter from a year earlier, largely in line with the 18.5% predicted in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The figures are skewed by comparisons from a year ago when the economy was shut to curb the coronavirus outbreak. Retail sales beat expectations while industrial output moderated.

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