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June 1, 2021

International updates: Global Covid infections exceed 170 million

By Paul Dennis

1 June

Global: The global Covid death toll is still rising with a figure of 3,550,007 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University . Meanwhile, infections exceed 170 million world wide.

The World Health Organization announced a new naming scheme for coronavirus variants using the Greek alphabet. The scientific names used to date “can be difficult to say and recall, and are prone to misreporting,” the organization said in a statement. “As a result, people often resort to calling variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatizing and discriminatory.”

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 33.2 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 594,568 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Beds in US hospitals occupied by Covid-19 patients on 28 May held steady at 3.67%, the least since March 14, 2020, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services. The hospitalization rate was little changed from the day before and hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients totaled 25,393.

Argentina: Argentina reported 28,175 new Covid-19 cases Monday, for a total of 3.8 million, according to the country’s evening report. It reported 638 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 78,093.

Brazil: Brazil reported a confirmed 30,434 new Covid cases in the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data. The country’s coronavirus death toll rose by 860 in the past 24 hours to 462,791.

Peru: Peru, already one of the world’s hardest-hit countries during the pandemic, updated its official death toll from Covid-19 on Monday, adding more than 110,000 fatalities than previously reported.

Vaccine news

Global: The heads of the International Monetary Fund , the World Health Organization , the World Bank and the World Trade Organization called for a “stepped-up coordinated strategy, backed by new financing, to vaccinate the world,” in an editorial published in the Washington Post. The call, issued before the G-7 meeting next week, aims to boost vaccinations in developing countries.

Germany: Germany has pledged to crack down on fraud in coronavirus test centres, after evidence that some have been claiming for more tests than they have carried out.

EU: The EU, UK and Japan have continued to voice doubts at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) about a proposed intellectual property waiver on Covid-19 products such as vaccines.

UK: Scientists are urging the government to speed up second doses of Covid vaccines and delay a decision on easing lockdown restrictions in England on 21 June in an effort to tackle the creeping spread of new cases.

France: France has opened up vaccines to all adults a week before Germany, as Europe rushed to avoid another wave of infections caused by new virus variants.

Hong Kong: Total bookings for coronavirus vaccine appointments, which include first and second doses, surged to the highest in nearly two months after Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced a new campaign to boost the city’s sluggish inoculation rate by September.

Denmark: Denmark’s government has asked the national health authority to review whether the country can resume use of AstraZeneca ’s Covid-19 vaccine, and include Johnson & Johnson in its inoculation program, after initially judging they were too risky, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke tells state broadcaster DR. J&J was removed from the Danish vaccine program in May, amid concerns it was linked to blood clots. Denmark suspended AstraZeneca ’s vaccine in April.

Myanmar: Myanmar will continue to push for Covid-19 vaccination after cases soared in the last week of May, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports. The country is set to administer more than 800,000 doses of AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines in 15 provinces.

Lockdown updates

Philippines: The Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, has prolonged partial Covid curbs in the capital and nearby provinces until mid-June to contain infections.

Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel is ready to allow Germany’s controversial lockdown law to lapse, the latest sign that the pandemic is releasing its grip on Europe’s largest economy.

Turkey: Restaurants and cafes in Turkey, which have been effectively closed for weeks except for takeaway and delivery, in a partial easing of lockdown measures will be allowed to open in June from 7 am until 9 pm except for Sundays, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after a Cabinet meeting on Monday. Gyms and parks will also reopen in June.

Vietnam: Vietnam has announced the suspension of incoming international flights to its capital and tightened restrictions in its biggest city. The inbound flight suspension to Hanoi will apply from 1-7 June.

France: Travellers from the UK will have to provide “compelling reasons” to enter France from Monday, as French authorities tighten curbs to halt the spread of the Indian Covid variant.

EU: The European Commission has proposed that all EU countries gradually ease travel measures over the summer.

Argentina: Next month’s Copa America football tournament will take place in Brazil after original host Argentina pulled out after a surge of Covid-19 cases.

Thailand: Thailand’s Covid-19 task force overturned Bangkok’s plan to relax restrictions on 1 June as the capital struggles to contain its worst wave of coronavirus infections.

Japan: Some members of the Japanese government’s coronavirus expert panel warned that it would be “difficult” to hold the Tokyo Olympics this summer if the capital’s virus situation remains at the highest of four levels, the Asahi newspaper reported. Meanwhile, the first group of foreign athletes arrived in Japan on Tuesday for training ahead of the Games, Kyodo said. The Australian women’s softball team flew in to Narita airport, and are fully vaccinated.

Economy updates

Malaysia: Toyota and Honda will close shut down production in Malaysia on Tuesday as the country enters a pandemic lockdown, Nikkei reports, without citing where it obtained the information. Toyota will halt production and sales starting Tuesday, Nikkei reported, while Honda will close two plants during the lockdown.

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