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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 10th Mar 2021

Five Minute Briefing

Expanding vaccine manufacturing capabilities moves centre stage globally

‘More jabs, more jobs’: OECD boosts forecast for global growth
‘More jabs, more jobs’: OECD boosts forecast for global growth
The OECD is feeling a whole lot better about the global economy’s prospects this year, but warns that prospects for sustainable growth “vary widely between countries” and sectors. In its latest Economic Outlook released on Tuesday, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) boosted its forecast for global economic growth this year to 5.6 percent – more than a full percentage point higher than its December estimate.
Covid-19 vaccines and stimulus plans will aid global growth, says OECD
The west’s leading economic thinktank has sharply upgraded its forecasts for global growth this year as a result of successful vaccine programmes and fresh stimulus packages to combat Covid-19. In an interim outlook, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said it expected the world economy to expand by 5.6% this year – up from 4.2% three months ago – and to recover the ground lost since the start of the pandemic by the middle of the year. Laurence Boone, the OECD chief economist, said: “The world economy is doing a bit better. Firms have adjusted and some countries have accelerated vaccinations and so are reopening their economies. I don’t want to sound overoptimistic because a lot of the predictions are based on the assumption that vaccination will accelerate and that the race between vaccines and the virus will be won by the vaccines.”
Vaccine manufacturing supply becoming key
Johnson & Johnson runs into vaccine supply issues in Europe, threatening second-quarter delivery pledge: Reuters
Johnson & Johnson execs have assured investors and officials that the company is "comfortable" hitting its vaccine delivery targets. But with its U.S. rollout underway, the pharma giant has run into some supply problems in Europe, Reuters reports. J&J’s shot isn’t yet authorized in Europe, but the company has been gearing up to supply a promised 55 million doses during the second quarter—and now it's hitting some snags, an official involved in supply talks told the news service. The shot is expected to win an EU authorization in the coming days, Reuters reports, and vaccinations in the bloc could start next month.The company notified European officials last week that it was “under stress” to meet the goal because of shortfalls in the supply of production materials, the source told Reuters. J&J might still be able to meet its target, the official added.
Covid-19: Less than half of expected vaccines to be delivered in first quarter
Ireland is set to receive less than half the deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines it originally expected in the first three months of the year, as supply issues continue to impede the State’s Covid-19 vaccination programme. The shortfall is due to slower-than-expected delivery of doses by the three companies with authorised vaccines: Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. Delivery dates for shipments of the vaccines have changed on more than 20 occasions in the past two months.
‘Justifiably unhappy’: Bosnia FM slams lack of COVAX vaccines
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s foreign minister has voiced anger over the fact that her country has yet to receive any of the promised vaccines from the European Union-backed COVAX scheme, saying Bosnians are “justifiably unhappy”. “We expect COVAX to fulfil its contractual obligations,” Bosnian foreign minister Bisera Turkovic told a news conference during a visit to the German capital, Berlin on Tuesday. he said Bosnia had met its obligations and paid for more than 1.2 million doses through the international COVAX scheme, a global vaccine-sharing effort, but “not a single dose” has arrived to date. “Our citizens are justifiably unhappy,” Turkovic told reporters, speaking alongside German foreign minister Heiko Maas. “Every day counts. We’re talking about people’s lives,” she said, in remarks translated to German.
Most adults in rich nations face long wait for vaccine, distributor warns
Kuehne+Nagel says production capacity is main limitation to supply of Covid-19 shots. Kuehne+Nagel is also distributing jabs for Covax, a programme backed by the World Health Organization that is providing vaccines free to dozens of developing countries. Kuehne+Nagel shipped the first batch of Covax vaccines — 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot — to Ghana in recent weeks. “I don’t want to talk about hearsay or the feedback we get, but I would not expect it to be realistic that more than 30-50 per cent of people [would be] vaccinated in the western world before summer next year,” Trefzger said. Two or three years was an “ambitious timeframe” to distribute doses to vaccinate a majority of those in poorer countries globally, he said.
Swiss company to produce Russian Sputnik coronavirus vaccine in Italy
The Russian Direct Investment Fund is set to cooperate with Swiss-based Adienne Pharma & Biotech for Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine production in Italy, chief executive of RDIF Kirill Dmitriev said.
Vaccination successes and failures
Coronavirus: Israel celebrates 5 millionth coronavirus vaccination
Israel's leaders Monday celebrated the country's 5 millionth coronavirus vaccination on the same day the government began vaccinating Palestinian labourers who work in the country. The time lag has drawn international criticism and highlighted global disparities. There was no indication the two events were co-ordinated, but their split-screen quality offered a stark contrast between Israel's world-leading vaccination blitz and the plight of 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Progress in places like Israel, the United States and Britain has heightened concerns among human rights advocates of driving a wider gap between wealthy countries and those that can't afford pricey vaccination programs.
Gibraltar, a vaccine champion, launches 'Operation Freedom'
The compact, high-density geography that is blamed — together with new virus variants — for the surge of infections has also been key to Gibraltar’s successful vaccination campaign, with word-of-mouth facilitating the rollout. The recent easing of restrictions — what Gibraltar authorities have dubbed “Operation Freedom” — also owes much to the steady delivery of jabs from the U.K. By the end of March, Gibraltar is on track to have completely vaccinated all residents over 16 and its vast imported workforce, Health Minister Samantha Sacramento told The Associated Press. That’s over 40,000 people. Only 3.5% have so far rejected the vaccine. But Gibraltar’s struggle to regain normality is only just starting. It still faces the many challenges of reopening in a globalized world with unequal access to vaccines and new virus variants emerging. Sacramento has been working on contingency plans, including topping up vaccinations with a booster.
HSE lowers Covid-19 vaccine delivery forecast for fourth time
The head of the Health Service Executive has said 1.1 million Covid-19 vaccines will be delivered to Ireland in the first three months of the year, the fourth time the forecast has been reduced. Up to 17 changes have been made to the vaccine rollout, thereby impacting on the number of doses administered, HSE chief executive Paul Reid told the Oireachtas health committee. Between changes to the operating plan, deliveries, prioritisation of groups and sequencing of patients, there have been 15 to 17 alterations to the plan, he said.
U.S. administers 92.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines: CDC
The United States has administered 92,089,852 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Monday morning and delivered 116,378,615 doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The tally of vaccine doses are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech PFE.N vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Monday, the agency said. According to the tally posted on March 7, the agency had administered 90,351,750 doses of the vaccines and delivered 116,363,405 doses.
Coronavirus vaccine rollout in Wales reaches one million dose milestone
One million people across Wales have had at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, the Welsh Government has said. This means almost 40 per cent of the adult population now have a level of protection from Covid-19. Data released today shows 1,007,391 people - or four in 10 adults - have received at least their first dose. The data also shows 192,030 have also had their second dose, equating to 1,199,421 doses administered altogether within the first 13 weeks of Wales’ vaccination programme.
Brazil presses for Pfizer, AstraZeneca shots to bolster slow vaccine rollout
Brazil’s government on Monday pressed Pfizer Inc for earlier delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and sought to buy more AstraZeneca shots from other countries, as a deadly second wave of cases adds urgency to a lethargic vaccine rollout. President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the gravity of the novel coronavirus and questioned the “rush” for vaccines, took part personally in a video call with executives at Pfizer, reaching a spoken agreement to buy their vaccine. The government is also seeking out more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from other countries, a state governor told journalists, after Brazil’s health minister said that India had halted a shipment of 8 million doses.
Coronavirus vaccine rollout in Wales reaches one million dose milestone
One million people across Wales have had at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, the Welsh Government has said. This means almost 40 per cent of the adult population now have a level of protection from Covid-19. Data released today shows 1,007,391 people - or four in 10 adults - have received at least their first dose. The data also shows 192,030 have also had their second dose, equating to 1,199,421 doses administered altogether within the first 13 weeks of Wales’ vaccination programme.
Vaccination passports and tourism
China launches ‘virus passport’
China has launched a health certificate programme for Chinese citizens travelling internationally, one of the first countries in the world to issue a “virus passport”. The digital certificate, which shows a user’s vaccination status and virus test results, is available for Chinese citizens via a programme on Chinese social media platform WeChat that was launched on Monday. The certificate is being rolled out “to help promote world economic recovery and facilitate cross-border travel”, a foreign ministry spokesman said. The certificate, which is also available in paper form, is currently only for use by Chinese citizens and is not yet mandatory.
Greece gives green light for tourists from May 14: Holiday hotspot will reopen to international visitors who are vaccinated or can show proof of a negative Covid test, minister says
Greece plan to reopen to Brits from mid-May if they have negative Covid test. Greece will reopen borders on May 14, three days before Brits can travel abroad. The Greek tourism minister also said tourists will be subject to random tests
Italian hospital overrun by cases
Provincial Italian hospital overrun by virus variant
The 160-bed hospital in the Po River Valley town of Chiari has no more room for patients stricken with the highly contagious variant of COVID-19 first identified in Britain that has put hospitals in Italy’s northern Brescia province on high alert. That history was repeating itself one year after Lombardy became the epicenter of Italy’s pandemic was a sickening realization for Dr. Gabriele Zanolini, who runs the COVID-19 ward in the M. Mellini Hospital in the once-walled city that maintains its medieval circular street pattern. “You know that there are patients in the emergency room, and you don’t know where to put them,” Zanolini told The Associated Press.
Modelling still suggests surge at end of year
"All the modelling" suggests new Covid-19 surge in 2021, Chris Whitty tells MPs
England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty told MPs today that modelling suggests there will be a renewed Covid-19 surge in 2021. Professor Whitty highlighted modelling data considered by the Sage scientific panel which suggests that even under the most optimistic set of assumptions, at least a further 30,000 Covid-19 deaths could occur. He told MPs that the new surge will "find the people who either have not been vaccinated or where the vaccine has not worked." Downing Street stressed the lockdown will be eased "gradually" after the warning from Professor Whitty. The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We are gradually in a very cautious way moving through the road map so that we have the time between steps to look at the impact lifting restrictions has had.
COVID- 19: Speeding up easing lockdown risks leaving the country 'flying blind', govt chief scientific adviser warns
Speeding up the easing of lockdown could leave the country "flying blind" to the risks of another surge in cases, the government's chief scientific adviser has warned. Sir Patrick Vallance told a group of MPs the five-week gap between each step of easing restrictions was needed to evaluate the impact on infections and transmission. He was echoed by Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, who said "big blocks of risk are being taken" every time measures are relaxed.
Global herd immunity some time in 2022 says Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates says global COVID herd immunity could be reached in 2022 but US is only half way there
Melinda Gates appeared on CNBC on Monday afternoon to discuss COVID She said rollout of the vaccine in poorer countries would not be until late 2021 Gates said she was optimistic about developments in pharmaceutical research So far 60 million people in the US have had their first shot: 18.1% of population It means that around 40 per cent of the population are now considered immune Experts believe that herd immunity is reached at 70-85 per cent of population