Coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 4.5 million people and infected over 219 million globally. Here are the coronavirus-related developments for September 2:
Thursday, September 2, 2021
J&J vaccines made in Africa will stay in Africa
The African Union’s envoy has said vaccine doses produced by a plant in South Africa will no longer be exported to Europe after the intervention of South Africa’s government.
Strive Masiyiwa told reporters that South African drug manufacturer Aspen, which has a contract with Johnson & Johnson to assemble the ingredients of its vaccine, will no longer ship vaccine doses out of the continent and that millions of doses warehoused in Europe will be returned to the continent.
“That arrangement has been suspended,” he said, adding that J &J doses produced in South Africa “will stay in Africa and will be distributed in Africa.”
He said the issue had been “corrected in a positive way,” with Aspen’s arrangement with Johnson & Johnson changing from a contract deal to “a licensed arrangement” similar to the production in India of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Masiyiwa said the Aspen product will be “African branded.”
Johnson & Johnson was criticised heavily for shipping doses to countries in Europe, which have already immunised large numbers of their people and have even donated vaccines to more needy countries .
Africa has fully vaccinated under 3% of its 1.3 billion people. Vaccine production within the continent is seen as key to meeting the stated target of vaccinating 60% of the people.
The continent has reported more than 7.8 million cases, including 197,150 deaths.
Norway to offer vaccines to children aged 12 years and older
Norway will begin to offer vaccines to children aged 12 to 15, Prime Minister Erna Solberg has said.
The country is currently seeing a rapid rise in infections, particularly among the young.
Some 72% of all Norwegians have now received a first dose of vaccine and 57% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the Institute of Public Health.
Bulgaria imposes new restrictions to curb surge in cases
Restaurants and bars in Bulgaria will have to close at 10 pm from September 7, while indoor sports competitions will be held without spectators, the health minister said, as the Balkan country braces for a surge of new infections.
Bulgaria, the least vaccinated country against the virus in the European Union, has seen a spike in infections in recent weeks, mostly of the highly infectious Delta variant.
On Thursday alone the country of 7 million people registered some 1,745 new cases, bringing its tally of active infections to some 32,192.
Some 18,950 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic, with 54 more deaths reported on Thursday in the country with the highest mortality rate in the European Union, figures from Our World in Data showed.
Thailand cites positive results from Sinovac-AstraZeneca vaccine formula
Thailand has said that its vaccine regimen of China’s Sinovac followed by British AstraZeneca was safe and successfully boosted immunity among its first 1.5 million recipients.
Thailand in July became the first country in the world to mix a Chinese vaccine and a Western-developed vaccine as cases and deaths in the country surged and the government struggled with vaccine supplies.
“The cross formula has been injected to over 1.5 million people and it is safe. Please don’t say things that would create concern,” senior health official Supakit Sirilak told a news conference.
He said Thailand, which has been manufacturing the AstraZeneca vaccine, would no longer be giving two doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac.
India reports 47,092 new cases, biggest daily rise in two months
India has reported 47,092 new infections in the past 24 hours, a government statement said, the biggest single-day rise in two months.
Man arrested after New Zealand quarantine escape
A man in New Zealand who had tested positive for the virus faces criminal charges after he escaped from an Auckland quarantine hotel and returned home, according to authorities.
In New Zealand, people who test positive for the virus are routinely required to isolate in hotels run by the military. Authorities believe the man escaped early Thursday and was on the run for about 12 hours before police — dressed in full protective gear — arrested him about 10 kilometers (6 miles) away.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told reporters it wasn’t yet clear how the man escaped the hotel, although closed circuit cameras showed a man hiding in a bush when a security guard walked past.
Under a new law passed last year, the man could face a fine or up to six months in jail if found guilty of failing to comply with a health order. New Zealand is currently battling an outbreak of the delta variant in Auckland.
Australian doctors warn health system may ‘capsize’ when curbs ease
Australian doctors have warned the country’s hospitals are not ready to cope with the government’s reopening plans, even with higher vaccination rates, as some states prepare to move from a virus suppression strategy to living with the virus.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) said the health system was in danger of being locked into a “permanent cycle of crisis” and has called for new modelling to check if staffing levels in hospitals can withstand an expected surge in cases when lockdown rules ease.
“If you have opened up and you haven’t looked at the safety nets or the life rafts that we’ve got, we might end up actually trying to push more people on the life rafts and capsizing them,” AMA Vice President Chris Moy told broadcaster ABC.
Brazil reports 737 new deaths
Brazil has recorded 27,345 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 737 deaths from Covid-19, the Health Ministry said.
Brazil has registered more than 20 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 581,150, according to ministry data.
Cuba’s vaunted health system straining under cases
Cuba’s vaunted public health system, which boasts more doctors per capita than any other country, has been pushed to the brink in recent months by the arrival of the coronavirus Delta variant.
In a country long left relatively unscathed by the global pandemic, doctors are now battling to get their hands on oxygen and drugs, and patients can wait up to 24 hours for a hospital bed.
Despite having rolled out its own, home-grown vaccines – Latin America’s first – Cuba has seen infections sky-rocket since July, especially in remote parts of the country, and deaths have soared too.
New Zealand says case drop shows lockdown working against Delta
New Zealand reported a drop in new cases of virus, which authorities said was a sign that the lockdown enforced nationwide was working in limiting the spread of the infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Authorities reported 49 new cases, all in the epicentre of Auckland, taking the total number of cases in this outbreak to 736.
“The latest lower number is encouraging and does show that our alert levels 4 lockdown is working even against the Delta,” the Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said in a news conference.
Helped by tech giants, BioNTech vaccines finally reach Taiwan
The first batch of BioNTech SE’s vaccine has arrived in Taiwan, after months of heated political and diplomatic wrangling and helped by the involvement of two of the world’s most important tech firms.
Taiwan has blamed China, which claims the island as its own territory, for nixing an original order from the German firm earlier this year – charges Beijing has angrily denied.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies