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Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th Sep 2022

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COVID-19 cases rise in England and Wales for first time in two months

COVID cases in England and Wales have risen for the first time in two months - marking an end to a steady fall since early July. The increase means the total number of infections in the UK has also gone up, but levels are estimated to have fallen in Scotland and Northern Ireland. About 927,900 people in private households across the country are likely to have tested positive for coronavirus in the week ending 14 September, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). That is up 5% from 881,200 for the week before
24th Sep 2022 - Sky News

NZ now flying blind on new Covid-19 variants - experts

University of Auckland microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles said while the reported numbers were murky due to reporting changes, it was doubtful only 94 people out of almost 70,000 travellers who arrived in New Zealand, had Covid-19. "I'm not a statistician, but that seems highly unlikely, versus a change in our protocol to require people to be tested." Wiles said border testing provided an early warning system of new variants entering New Zealand, and without this, variants would spread in the community before being noticed. "We'll be reliant on the tests that have been done in the community, or more increasingly the wastewater testing, looking for variants." A Ministry of Health spokesperson said arrivals are still given RAT kits on arrival and encouraged to test and report their results by phone.
24th Sep 2022 - 1News

Two-in-one jab for Covid-19 and flu could be available in late 2023: Moderna

Speaking during a virtual media roundtable event on Wednesday night, Moderna's chief medical officer Paul Burton said the quick turnaround is possible because of the flexibility of the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) platform. He said the mRNA platform allows the company to pivot to other diseases and produce new vaccines quickly, adding: "You can expect it (the jab for flu and Covid-19) in late 2023." Dr Burton also provided an update on Moderna's plans to set up a new subsidiary in Singapore, revealing that job offers for the team have been sent out and more will be disclosed in the coming weeks. Moderna had announced in February 2022 plans to set up a subsidiary here, which it said will add to the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer's presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
24th Sep 2022 - The Straits Times

Covid-19 Unemployment Fraud May Have Topped $45 Billion, Watchdog Estimates

Criminals potentially stole an estimated $45.6 billion by making fraudulent unemployment insurance claims meant for people laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic, a government watchdog said. The new tally is nearly three times last summer’s estimate of over $16 billion in fraudulent payments. More than half of the potential fraud identified between March 2020 and April 2022 stemmed from individuals filing for benefits in multiple states. Fraudsters also used the Social Security numbers of people who were dead or in prison, as well as suspicious email addresses, the Labor Department’s inspector general’s office said in a report released Thursday. More than 1,000 people have been charged with crimes involving unemployment insurance fraud since March 2020, the report said.
23rd Sep 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong Won't Return to Zero Covid Cases as City Weighs Easing

A Hong Kong health official said the Asian financial hub is unlikely to again see a day without any Covid-19 infections after keeping the virus largely at bay for the first two years of the pandemic. While cases won’t return to zero -- a feat the city managed for most of last year due to some of the world’s strictest quarantine policies -- the daily tally is likely to continue its downward trend, health official Albert Au said at a briefing on Thursday. “We expect coronavirus will linger in the community and will have certain transmissions,” he said. “Before the fifth wave, we could do Covid Zero. After the fifth wave, this is not necessarily feasible.”
22nd Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Hong Kong Reaches Consensus on Ending Hotel Quarantine

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee and his officials have reached a consensus on ending mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals, the South China Morning Post reported. The government plans to replace it with seven-day home monitoring, according to the report, citing unidentified people. The new arrangements would be announced after thorough preparation by government agencies, the report added.
21st Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

U.S. delivers over 25 mln COVID boosters; Moderna's shot in limited supply

The United States government has sent out over 25 million of the updated COVID-19 booster shots, mostly from Pfizer/BioNTech, as production of the Moderna shot continues to ramp up, a federal health agency said on Tuesday. Some U.S. pharmacies like CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance also reported on Tuesday that government supply of Moderna's updated shot remains limited, causing appointments for the product to vary across the country.
20th Sep 2022 - Reuters

Some People Are Finally Getting Their First Dose of a Covid-19 Vaccine

All together, the seven-day average for adults getting first shots each day ranged between roughly 15,000 and 18,000 in late August, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data can overestimate first-shot recipients, because there are times where the agency can’t link follow-up shots, including boosters, to people who received an initial series. The same effect can lead to an undercount of booster shots, according to the CDC. People who recently got the first jab cited a range of reasons. Some said they were ordered to do so, such as to start a new job or travel for a vacation. Others waited until a vaccine using a more-traditional technology, instead of the newer mRNA versions, became available. Some went ahead after getting sick with Covid-19, or after a family member vouched that the shots worked.
19th Sep 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Cost of Covid Zero Is Straining Municipal Finances Across China

China’s doubling down on its zero-tolerance stance toward Covid-19 is draining local-government coffers, posing a fresh threat to the economy and bond investors. Jilin province, in the northeast of the country, has warned of “increasingly outstanding conflicts” between spending and income. Finances at almost half of of its 60 county and district level governments are so tight they are exposed to “operational risks,” the provincial finance department said in its first-half budget execution report released last month
19th Sep 2022 - Bloomberg


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Sep 2022

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Singapore to begin giving Covid-19 vaccines to children under 5

Roll-out expected to be timed for end-October or early November given. Singapore’s ‘relatively low’ caseload, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung says City state also plans to introduce bivalent jabs targeting both the wildtype virus and its circulating variants, Ong adds
18th Sep 2022 - South China Morning Post

Desperation grows in hard-hit Chengdu’s indefinite Covid lockdown

China’s city of 21 million has endured heatwaves, power cuts, quarantine and a deadly earthquake, while panic also simmers in a neighbouring province
18th Sep 2022 - The Guardian

Less than 50 payments made for adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines

Less than 50 payments have been made to compensate Australians who have had adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines, representing a miniscule percentage of the total number of doses administered. Government Services Minister Bill Shorten seized upon the figures to criticise “fringe operators who spread misinformation” about COVID vaccines.
18th Sep 2022 - Sydney Morning Herald

Uyghurs living under COVID-19 lockdowns in Xinjiang face food shortages, family separations

Last week, at least 33 cities were reportedly put in lockdown as China continues to pursue its COVID-zero policy. But unlike lockdowns in other major cities in China, lockdowns in Xinjiang are rarely discussed publicly and face strict censorship on the Chinese internet. Chinese language media reported that censors in Xinjiang have been asked to "dilute discussions" about Ili's lockdown, by posting videos and pictures of "lifestyle, baby matters, and food". The Xinjiang lockdowns come as outgoing United Nations human rights commissioner Michelle Bachelet recently released a report detailing serious allegations of human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China's Xinjiang region.
16th Sep 2022 - ABC News

Australians might be ‘living with Covid’ but aged care residents are still dying with it. Where is the outrage and grief?

Across Australia, more than 3,000 people living in residential aged care have died with Covid-19 this year. This is three times more than in the first two years of the pandemic when tight lockdowns prevented families from spending precious time together and negatively impacted mental health, cognitive and physical wellbeing. To what end?
16th Sep 2022 - The Guardian

Nigeria Strikes Deal with Serum Institute of India

Nigeria will start building a vaccine plant by end of the year after signing a contract manufacturing agreement with the Serum Institute of India for local production of the jabs, the country’s health minister said. The country struck the deal with the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer on Wednesday, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said at a briefing in the capital, Abuja. The plant should be producing routine vaccines -- initially against polio, measles and yellow fever, among others -- by 2028, he added.
14th Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Japan Approves Pfizer, Moderna Covid Omicron Vaccine Boosters for Use

Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccines targeting the omicron variant were approved by Japan’s health ministry late Monday, paving the way for them to be rolled out in the world’s third-largest health-care market. The ministry endorsed the shots shortly after an expert panel advised deploying the boosters. Pfizer’s omicron booster can be administered to Japanese aged 12 and over, the panel advised, while Moderna’s should be limited to those 18 and above. Japan is the latest country to sign off on the targeted boosters following similar approvals by the US, UK and Australia in the past couple of months.
12th Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Gusher of pandemic aid averted global depression, but left a bad hangover

Economists around the world, from the most liberal free-spenders to fiscal conservative deficit hawks, largely agreed the coronavirus pandemic required a go-big, go-fast policy response to avoid an outright global depression.
12th Sep 2022 - Reuters on MSN.com

Covid-19 Illnesses Are Keeping at Least 500,000 Workers Out of U.S. Labor Force, Study Says

Illness caused by Covid-19 shrank the U.S. labor force by around 500,000 people, a hit that is likely to continue if the virus continues to sicken workers at current rates, according to a new study released Monday. Millions of people left the labor force—the number of people working or looking for work—during the pandemic for various reasons, including retirement, lack of child care and fear of Covid. The total size of the labor force reached 164.7 million people in August, exceeding the February 2020 prepandemic level for the first time. The labor force would have 500,000 more members if not for the people sickened by Covid, according to the study’s authors, economists Gopi Shah Goda of Stanford University and Evan J. Soltas, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
12th Sep 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

BOJ set to end COVID-relief scheme, but no change to loose policy

The Bank of Japan is expected to end as scheduled a pandemic-relief funding scheme this month and discuss adjustments to a policy guidance that flags the COVID-19 pandemic as the top economic risk, three sources familiar with its thinking say. A final decision will be made at the BOJ's policy meeting on Sept. 21-22, when the board will scrutinise data to ensure Japan's persistently high coronavirus cases do not lead to a sharp drop in economic activity, the sources said.
12th Sep 2022 - Reuters


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 12th Sep 2022

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Kim Jong Un suggests N.Korea may begin COVID vaccinations

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has suggested that the isolated country could begin COVID-19 vaccinations in November, state media reported on Friday. In a speech on Thursday to the North Korean national assembly, Kim cited World Health Organization warnings that the winter could see a resurgence in coronavirus infections. “Therefore, along with responsible vaccination, we should recommend that all residents wear masks to protect their health from November," he said, without elaborating.
9th Sep 2022 - Reuters

Long Covid Costs Australia Economy $3.6 Billion a Year: Report

Long Covid is costing the Australian economy the equivalent of $3.6 billion a year in lost output, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing an exclusive data analysis. Based on data from the country’s Treasury estimating some 31,000 workers called in sick because of the condition in June, the analysis by think tank Impact Economics and Policy found the economic cost came in at A$100 million ($68 million) a week, according to the AFR. That amounts to some A$5.2 billion on an annual basis.
10th Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Why China Is Still Imposing Lockdowns

The world has moved on from the coronavirus pandemic—except for China. Chinese leaders continue to lock down some of the country’s largest cities, spend millions of dollars on testing, and hunt down individual case after individual case. Nothing—neither a sinking economy nor the availability of vaccines and improved treatments nor the country’s growing isolation—has persuaded the leadership to change course. The latest wave of lockdowns has largely confined millions to their homes: Just two of those lockdowns, involving the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu and the tech hub of Shenzhen, affected a combined population roughly equivalent to all of Canada’s.
10th Sep 2022 - The Atlantic

State and Local Jobs May Take Until 2026 to Recoup Pandemic Losses

The sluggish recovery in US state and city employment has left payrolls hundreds of thousands of positions below pre-pandemic levels, a deficit that may take years to plug as the private sector lures away workers. State and local payrolls rose to about 19.4 million last month, the highest since March 2020, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday. However, that’s still roughly 650,000 less than the peak from right before Covid-19 struck, even after states and municipalities received hundreds of billions of dollars in federal stimulus to ease the pandemic’s blow.
9th Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

U.S. Plans Shift to Annual Covid Shots as New Boosters Roll Out

U.S. health authorities plan to recommend that people get Covid-19 boosters once a year, starting with the new shots now rolling out, a shift from their current practice of issuing new advice every several months. The annual cadence would be similar to that of flu shots, White House officials said, though elderly people and those with weakened immune systems may need more frequent inoculations. A shift to annual Covid-19 boosters would be a departure from current practice and comes after many people in the U.S. have ignored calls to get a first or second booster, partly due to fatigue with repeat inoculations.
6th Sep 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong Targets Removal of Hotel Quarantine Requirement

Hong Kong is targeting November to end hotel quarantine for visitors to the city, Bloomberg reports. Hong Kong has already reduced the hotel quarantine requirement from 21 days to 7 days to 3 days, although a further 4 days of “health monitoring” is still required during which people can leave their homes but may not enter high-risk premises like restaurants and bars. The end of hotel quarantine altogether is planned to occur ahead of a summit of global bankers and a popular international rugby competition later this year.
5th Sep 2022 - Regulation Asia

World's First Covid Vaccine You Inhale Is Approved in China

China became the first country to approve a needle-free, inhaled version of a Covid-19 vaccine made by Tianjin-based CanSino Biologics Inc., pushing the company’s shares up as much as 14.5% Monday morning in Hong Kong. China’s National Medical Products Administration approved CanSino’s Ad5-nCoV for emergency use as a booster vaccine, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Sunday. The vaccine is a new version of CanSino’s one-shot Covid drug, the first in the world to undergo human testing in March 2020 and which has been used in China, Mexico, Pakistan, Malaysia and Hungary after being rolled out in February 2021.
5th Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Moderna Sees Annual US Market for Covid-19 Shots Ranging Up to $13 Billion

Annual US sales of Covid-19 shots could be high as $12.9 billion, with health officials likely recommending an annual booster, vaccine maker Moderna Inc. said in a meeting with investors. Exactly how big the market will be for shots made by the company and its rivals depends on who keeps receiving boosters, Moderna said. It could be as little as $5.2 billion annually, depending on shots’ prices and how many people receive them, officials said Thursday in a meeting with investors in Boston.
8th Sep 2022 - Bloomberg


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 5th Sep 2022

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Locked-down Chengdu apologises after Covid testing system crashes

Chengdu authorities say sorry for long delays that forced people to wait in the rain late into the night. Transport hub ordered residents to test daily to try to keep a lid on coronavirus cases
4th Sep 2022 - South China Morning Post

China's Shenzhen to adopt tiered COVID measures; Chengdu extends lockdown

China's southern tech hub of Shenzhen said it will adopt tiered anti-virus restriction measures starting on Monday, while the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu announced an extension of lockdown curbs, as the country grapples with fresh outbreaks. Shenzhen, which went into a weekend lockdown on Saturday, announced a new round of COVID-19 testing, and vowed to "marshal all available resources, mobilise all forces, and take all possible measures" to stamp out the pandemic.
4th Sep 2022 - Reuters

‘Peak of Hong Kong Covid surge in sight,’ says top pandemic adviser

Professor David Hui urges parents to get their children inoculated, citing studies overseas indicating doses are safe. He suggests possibility of ‘3+4’ quarantine scheme for overseas arrivals to be eased to ‘0+7’ format in November if conditions are ideal
4th Sep 2022 - South China Morning Post

Shenzhen districts locked down as China battles COVID outbreaks

Most residents of the Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen went into a weekend lockdown on Saturday as mass COVID-19 testing kicked off in much of the city of 18 million people. The lockdown, and the suspension of bus and subway services, came into effect two days after city authorities said rumours about a lockdown were based on a "misinterpretation" of the latest COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
4th Sep 2022 - Reuters

Covid pandemic may be causing more deaths than Australia’s daily numbers suggest

Behind the daily death figures, there is a more complicated picture of the impact of Covid-19 in Australia that raises questions about whether Covid could be causing more deaths from ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and dementia. As cases exploded after the emergence of the Omicron variant, the number of Covid deaths similarly rose, with more than 80% of Australia’s total Covid deaths occurring in 2022.
3rd Sep 2022 - The Guardian

National health agency apologises over Covid vaccine ads it was ordered to remove

The nation's newly branded health authority has been ordered to remove or fix a misleading advertisement about vaccination against Covid-19 that ran across multiple media platforms. The Advertising Standards Authority complaints board received 44 complaints against Te Whatu Ora/Health New Zealand's Vaccinate for Life advertisements which ran across television, print and on billboards and mobile phones. In a statement to Open Justice, the health agency's National Immunisation Programme has apologised for any confusion or concern caused by the advertisements, which concluded in July. The programme's director, Astrid Koornneef, said while it was disappointed with the decision it accepted the authority's ruling, which related to one element of a wider vaccination campaign.
2nd Sep 2022 - New Zealand Herald

Walgreens Now Offering Appointments for Updated COVID-19 Pfizer and Moderna Boosters

Walgreens now offers updated COVID-19 Pfizer and Moderna boosters to eligible individuals aged 12 years and older following authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Scheduling an appointment is preferred and is available via the Walgreens app, 1-800-WALGREENS, or online at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine starting today for vaccinations. Additional appointments will be added daily as select Walgreens stores begin to receive the updated COVID-19 boosters.
2nd Sep 2022 - The Associated Press

North Korea COVID rules put pressure on women providing food - U.N. expert

North Korean women and girls face increased pressure in providing food for their families and the state under coronavirus measures even as closed border hamper market activity and push up prices, a U.N. expert said on Friday. Elizabeth Salmon, the new U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, expressed concern about the "disproportionate impact" of the isolated country's COVID-19 rules on women and girls as she wrapped up her first visit to South Korea since taking office last month.
2nd Sep 2022 - Reuters

EU states urged to roll out COVID booster shots to fend off winter infections

EU countries should start offering COVID boosters to their populations now to contain a fresh wave of infections expected this autumn and winter, the bloc's executive said in a document seen by Reuters on Friday ahead of its official release. The Brussels-based European Commission said more than 2,300 people still die of COVID in the bloc every week, while other negative health consequences of the disease include long-COVID symptoms and mental problems.
2nd Sep 2022 - Reuters

Explainer: Updated COVID vaccines are coming to U.S. Should you get one?

Updated COVID-19 booster shots for people aged 12 years and above to target the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants of the coronavirus are on the way after receiving the go-ahead from U.S. regulators. The green light for the use of Omicron COVID boosters from Pfizer Inc with German partner BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc will enable millions of the retooled shots to roll out by the end of the weekend
2nd Sep 2022 - Reuters


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 2nd Sep 2022

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Serious Covid case numbers declining

Small waves of new Covid-19 cases are being seen locally and globally but the number of severely ill patients and fatalities is not rising, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The number of severely ill patients and fatalities is stable worldwide and has been declining steadily in Thailand, CCSA spokeswoman Sumanee Watcharasin said on Thursday.
2nd Sep 2022 - Bangkok Post

Covid: All you need to know about Wales' autumn Coronavirus booster and flu vaccine programme

Wales' autumn Covid-19 vaccination programme will start to be rolled out across Wales from Thursday (September 1). Care home residents and staff will be the first to receive the vaccine in an attempt to protect the country's most vulnerable ahead of the winter months. Everyone who is eligible for the autumn booster will be invited for a vaccination by their health boards. Similarly to earlier in the pandemic, invitations will be issued in order of vulnerability, with everyone eligible being offered a booster vaccine by December.
1st Sep 2022 - ITV News

Covid-19 booster vaccines offered to healthcare staff and those with health conditions

Healthcare workers and people aged 12 to 49 with long term health conditions have been invited to make an appointment for their second Covid-19 booster jab by the Health Service Executive (HSE). HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said appointments are available from Thursday. “We know that those who have long-term health conditions are at greater risk from serious illness from Covid-19,” he said. “Getting a second booster vaccine now will help protect these people, particularly as we come in to the autumn. We are now also calling healthcare workers for their next Covid-19 booster.
1st Sep 2022 - The Irish Times

Hong Kong vaccine pass scheme to include 5-11 age group, official confirms

Details of new policy to be announced next week, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection says. Top minister will reveal a major NGO will join the government’s effort to boost inoculation rate among the elderly,
1st Sep 2022 - South China Morning Post

Covid-19 booster vaccination roll-out starts in Wales

The autumn Covid-19 booster roll-out has started in Wales as care home residents and staff become the first in line to get their next jab. The vaccine has been made available to all those eligible from September 1 as the Welsh Government looks to keep Covid rates down for the coming winter. Care home residents, frontline health and social care workers and all those aged over 50, will be called for a vaccination by their health boards. Invitations will be issued in order of vulnerability, with everyone eligible being offered a booster vaccine by the end of the year. The vaccines will be administered in a variety of settings including GP surgeries and vaccination centres
1st Sep 2022 - Wales Online

CDC's vaccine advisory committee scheduled to vote on new COVID-19 booster shots Thursday

The CDC's vaccine advisory committee is scheduled to vote on new COVID-19 booster shots Thursday. The FDA authorized Pfizer and Moderna's updated boosters Wednesday
1st Sep 2022 - YAHOO!News

Covid-19 booster available in NI in mid-September

Covid-19 booster vaccination programme in Northern Ireland is due to start on Monday 19 September. Care home residents and staff will be among the first to be offered the vaccine.. Many of those receiving the latest booster will get a new vaccine from Moderna,
1st Sep 2022 - BBC News

Queensland in 'new stage' of COVID-19 pandemic, changes to vaccine mandate, reliance on health directives and reporting flagged

Daily reporting of COVID statistics will be wound back from this weekend. A blanket COVID-19 vaccine mandate direction for private health care workers will be lifted National cabinet has agreed people who test positive for COVID will only be required to isolate for five days from September 9.
1st Sep 2022 - ABC News

Hong Kong leader proposes 'reverse quarantine' for China travel

Hong Kong hopes to introduce "reverse quarantine" for people going to mainland China as the financial hub seeks to open up to the neighbouring technology city of Shenzhen after months of restrictions, the city leader said on Thursday.
1st Sep 2022 - Reuters

Macau plans to gradually reopen the city to foreign travelers

Macau is planning to gradually reopen the city to foreign travellers from certain countries who meet its COVID-19 criteria, its government said on Thursday.
1st Sep 2022 - Reuters

Germany to start Omicron-adapted COVID vaccinations next week - minister

Germany can next week start using COVID-19 vaccines which have been adapted for the Omicron variant and got approval for use in the European Union on Thursday, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said. He said approval of the BA.1 vaccine was a quantum leap in the fight against the pandemic as vaccines were now available that work well against all previously known virus variants. "From next week, vaccinations can begin with the new doses. Now is the optimal time to close the gaps in vaccination for the autumn," he said in a statement.
1st Sep 2022 - Reuters


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 1st Sep 2022

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Covid Vaccines Are Free in the US Now, by Jan 2023 You May Have to Pay

The US government anticipates that it will stop purchasing and providing Covid-19 shots as soon as January due to a lack of funds, leaving Americans to obtain vaccines through insurers or pay for them out-of-pocket. US health officials convened a meeting of more than 100 representatives from drugmakers, state and local health departments, health providers and insurers on Tuesday to discuss the government’s plans to transition sales of Covid vaccines and therapeutics to the commercial market, according to Dawn O’Connell, who heads the Health and Human Services Department’s Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response.
31st Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Concern over fulfilling tougher 3-jab rule for full-day classes in Hong Kong

Scientia Secondary School head says race to fulfil criteria in two months is tight, and switching teaching models again will adversely affect learning. Head of the Subsidised Primary Schools Council Vu Im-fan echoes views on time frame, calls for more vaccination outreach services to boost rates
31st Aug 2022 - South China Morning Post

COVID-19 vaccine booster now available for Sask. kids 5-11, but some parents say it comes too late

Saskatchewan children from five to 11 years old are now eligible to receive their third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as long at least four months has passed since their previous shot — but with the school year about to start, some parents say the shots should have been made available sooner. "Too little, too late" said Carolyn Brost Strom. Her eight-year-old daughter was excited to start Grade 3 at her Prince Albert school, but now has a fever, sore throat and fatigue after testing positive for COVID-19. "It's disappointing to start the school year like this. We got the backpacks and everything done a few weeks ago, but it's all sitting there," Strom said. "She put her head under the pillow and started crying." The provincial government announced on Tuesday that booster appointments for five- to 11-year-olds would be available as of Wednesday.
31st Aug 2022 - CBC.ca on MSN.com

Is Japan gearing up for a full reopening after Covid-19?

Japan's ancient temples, tranquil hot springs, cherry blossoms and futuristic skyscrapers could soon be open for more people to enjoy again as the country has further eased Covid-19 restrictions. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that non-escorted visitors on package tours will be able to travel to Japan from next Wednesday. Speaking at an online press conference, he also said the daily arrival cap on visitor numbers would increase to 50,000 from the same date. That’s an increase from the existing 20,000 policy.
31st Aug 2022 - The National

COVID-19 isolation period shortened to five days

National Cabinet has agreed to shorten COVID-19 isolation requirements by two days for most workers. The AMA fears the reduced period could worsen workforce shortages. Pandemic payments will be reduced, and mask rules for domestic flights dropped
31st Aug 2022 - ABC News

Goldman Sachs to lift vaccination, Covid-19 requirements in most offices next month

Goldman Sachs said Tuesday it will lift all its Covid-19 requirements in most offices beginning Sept. 6, in response to new guidance from federal health officials. According to a memo obtained by CNBC, the bank will no longer require its workers to be vaccinated to enter its offices or to test and wear face coverings, except those in Lima and New York City. Unvaccinated employees in New York City will still need an approved religious or medical exemption to enter the bank’s office spaces, according to the memo.
31st Aug 2022 - CNBC

Antigua and Barbuda removes Covid-19 travel restrictions

Antigua and Barbuda is the latest Caribbean nation to remove all Covid-19-related entry restrictions. Arriving travellers by air no longer need to provide proof of vaccination or testing. All Covid-related curbs are also lifted for passengers arriving by yacht or ferry. Passengers arriving by cruise ship remain subject to the protocols placed on board by their cruise company, according to updated Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice.
31st Aug 2022 - Travel Weekly

Autumn Covid-19 booster jabs available in Jersey from September | ITV News

Islanders in Jersey who are eligible for a Covid-19 booster jab will be able to book another vaccination from tomorrow (Thursday 1 September). The extra dose of the vaccine is intended to protect the most vulnerable islanders during the autumn and winter months. The government's Autumn Booster programme is open to: Care home residents and staff; Health and social workers; All adults over the age of 50; Anyone aged under 50 who is clinically 'at risk', lives in the same home as someone who's immunosuppressed, or is a carer
31st Aug 2022 - ITV News

Hungary must act to get EU COVID-19 funds, says Czech minister

Hungary must take action on changing its rule of law before it can receive any European Union recovery funds, the EU affairs chief of the Czech government, which holds the bloc's rotating presidency, said in an interview on Tuesday. Hungary and Poland both have yet to receive billions of euros of post-COVID EU recovery funds as the governments have not met Brussels' demands on respecting the rule of law.
30th Aug 2022 - Reuters

North Korea's COVID restrictions intensify human rights violations - U.N.

Hungary must take action on changing its rule of law before it can receive any European Union recovery funds, the EU affairs chief of the Czech government, which holds the bloc's rotating presidency, said in an interview on Tuesday. Hungary and Poland both have yet to receive billions of euros of post-COVID EU recovery funds as the governments have not met Brussels' demands on respecting the rule of law.
30th Aug 2022 - Reuters


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 31st Aug 2022

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Goldman and Morgan Stanley Ease Covid Rules, Clearing Path to Desks

Two of Wall Street’s most prominent investment banks are removing some of the final hurdles to fully returning to offices following the Covid-19 pandemic. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which led Wall Street’s return to Manhattan towers by pushing employees to resume regular commutes last year, and Morgan Stanley both told staff that they will ease some of their remaining Covid-19 mitigation efforts after the Labor Day weekend. Goldman will let employees outside New York enter offices regardless of vaccination status, with no requirement to participate in regular testing or wear face coverings, according to a memo sent to staff.
31st Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

COVAX to send Mexico 10 mln COVID shots by Sept. 30, says official

The United Nations-backed COVAX vaccine program will send 10 million doses of Pfizer /BioNTech COVID-19 shots for children to Mexico by the end of September, a senior Mexican official announced Tuesday.
30th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Japan weighs September rollout for omicron-targeting COVID-19 shots

The Japanese government is considering a September start for new COVID-19 vaccines targeting the omicron variant, earlier than the initially planned mid-October rollout, sources said Tuesday. With the country now facing its seventh wave of COVID-19 infections, the government is hoping to introduce more effective vaccines. The improved vaccines developed by U.S. drugmakers Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. are currently being evaluated by Japanese authorities.
30th Aug 2022 - The Japan Times

U.S. Supreme Court's Sotomayor keeps New York City COVID vaccine mandate

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Monday declined to block New York City from enforcing its mandate that all municipal workers be vaccinated against COVID-19, rebuffing a police detective who challenged the public health policy. The liberal justice denied Detective Anthony Marciano's request for a stay of the vaccination requirement while an appeal over his claims continue in a lower court. A federal judge threw out Marciano's case in March.
30th Aug 2022 - Reuters

COVAX to send Mexico 10 mln COVID shots by Sept. 30, says official

The COVAX vaccine program will send 10 million doses of PfizerBioNTech COVID-19 shots for children to Mexico by the end of September, a senior Mexican official announced Tuesday. The confirmed dates for the shots' delivery comes a week after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would complain to the United Nations about the delayed shipment of vaccines the government had requested
30th Aug 2022 - Reuters Canada

U.S. to suspend free COVID-19 test orders next week

Starting next week, Americans will no longer be able to order free at-home COVID-19 tests from a website set up by the U.S. government due to limited supply arising from a lack of congressional funding. The COVIDTests.gov website, set up during the Omicron variant record surge in cases, helped U.S. households secure COVID-19 tests at no cost. President Joe Biden in January pledged to procure 1 billion free tests for Americans, including 500 million available through the website. However, ordering through the program will be suspended on Sept. 2.
30th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Goldman Sachs Ditches Covid-19 Protocols, Cites 'Significantly Less Risk of Severe Illness'

Goldman Sachs is getting rid of its Covid-19 protocols. The bank said employees can enter most of its offices regardless of vaccination status, and aren’t required to test for Covid-19 regularly or wear masks, according to a memo sent to Goldman employees Tuesday and viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The new rules are set to take place Sept. 6, the day after Labor Day. “With many tools including vaccination, improved treatments and testing now available, there is significantly less risk of severe illness,” Goldman said in the memo. The company cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently relaxed many pandemic precautions.
30th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Biden Administration to Pause Free At-Home Covid-19 Tests for Americans

The federal government plans to hit pause this week on a program that sends free at-home rapid Covid-19 tests to U.S. households. “Ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2 because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests,” said a post on COVIDTests.gov, the federal website where tests can be ordered. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the administration wants to be prepared for a potential rise in infections in the future.
29th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Can You Trust That Covid Test Result? What Five Tests in 24 Hours Taught Me

Testing discrepancies appear to be increasingly common with Omicron and its subvariants, so some common sense comes in handy. If you’re living with people with Covid-19 and feel symptoms develop, you’re likely developing Covid-19. So even if your tests say otherwise, stay home. For rapid antigen tests, serial testing is the name of the game. Test every day or every other day for up to a week if you can. Once you get a positive you can be confident in it, even if it’s a faint line.
29th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


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Latest Covid Boosters Are Set to Roll Out Before Human Testing Is Completed

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize new Covid-19 booster shots this week without a staple of its normal decision-making process: data from a study showing whether the shots were safe and worked in humans. The shots, modified to target the latest versions of the Omicron variant, won’t have finished testing in humans when the FDA makes its decisions. Instead, the agency plans to assess the shots using data from other sources such as research in mice, the profiles of the original vaccines and the performance of earlier iterations of boosters targeting older forms of Omicron. “Real world evidence from the current mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, which have been administered to millions of individuals, show us that the vaccines are safe,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a recent tweet. The FDA pointed to Dr. Califf’s tweets when asked for comment.
28th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

At Jackson Hole, World’s Central Bankers Gauge Economic Risks in Covid’s Wake

The world’s central bankers returned to Grand Teton National Park after a three-year, pandemic-induced hiatus with angst over inflation that has been at the highest levels since the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City began hosting its annual summer symposium there in 1982. Policy makers and economists signaled growing unease with the trade-offs they could soon confront, particularly if the forces that helped central banks bring down inflation and keep it low over the past three decades are unraveling. “For the first time in four decades, central banks need to prove how determined they are to protect price stability,” said Isabel Schnabel, who sits on the European Central Bank’s six-member executive board, during a panel that concluded the conference Saturday afternoon.
28th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Italian Man Diagnosed With COVID, Monkeypox, HIV at Same Time

A 36-year-old man in Italy appears to be the world’s first documented case of being diagnosed with COVID-19, monkeypox, and HIV at the same time this summer, according to a recent case report published in the Journal of Infection. His COVID-19 and monkeypox infections have cleared up without any issues, and he has been placed on HIV treatment. “Monkeypox virus and SARS-CoV-2 infections can occur simultaneously,” the study authors wrote. “Flu-like symptoms and SARS-CoV-2 positivity should not exclude monkeypox in high-risk individuals.”
27th Aug 2022 - WebMD


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Paraguayans skipping booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Paraguayan health authorities have expressed their concern over a slowdown in vaccination against COVID-19, with very few booster doses applied. According to official data released Saturday, 47% of the population still lacked the first doses since the start of the campaign in March 2021, while 53% were yet to take the third injection, although they have been available since October last year.
25th Aug 2022 - Uruguay News

Autumn Covid booster jabs: Who is eligible in Wales and how to book?

The autumn coronavirus booster vaccination programme is starting in Wales, with the first jabs being administered on September 1. The roll-out is designed to give extra protection to those who are at increased risk of serious illness if they contract the disease. The Welsh Government says it will also help protect the NHS over winter 2022-23, by easing pressure on the service.
25th Aug 2022 - ITV News

Covid-19 testing for people without symptoms to be ‘paused’

Covid-19 testing among NHS and care home staff with no symptoms in England is to be “paused” at the end of August, officials have announced. The Department of Health and Social Care said the decision to stop all “asymptomatic testing” comes as cases of the virus continue to fall. But the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said nurses “must continue to have access to free testing and high-quality personal protective equipment”.
25th Aug 2022 - MSN.com

Taxi and private-hire drivers surprised at change in mask-wearing rule, worried about Covid-19 transmission

In Singapore, in an advisory on its Facebook page, the Land Transport Authority encouraged drivers and passengers to continue wearing masks to protect one another. Ride-hailing operators Gojek and Grab echoed this call, saying drivers and passengers should mask up if they feel unwell. Grab also advised its drivers to wind down windows to improve ventilation if passengers are agreeable. However, drivers interviewed felt that many passengers will not heed this call.
25th Aug 2022 - The Straits Times

3 possible Covid-19 scenarios for Singapore in the months ahead

Singapore needs to be prepared for a possible Covid-19 wave at the year end, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Wednesday (Aug 24). A few scenarios were outlined by the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force on Wednesday at a press conference.
25th Aug 2022 - The Straits Times

Chinese city 'stretched to the limit' as millions wait in line for Covid tests in extreme heat

The Chinese metropolis of Chongqing has rolled out mass Covid testing in its central area amid a record heat wave, leaving millions of residents standing under the sun for hours as they struggle with extreme temperatures and power shortages. Stringent zero-Covid measures enacted by the southwestern mega city to contain an emerging outbreak are the latest hardship for residents already reeling from a crippling heat wave, a severe drought and blazing wildfires. Chongqing reported 40 Covid-19 infections Wednesday, bringing the total to 146 cases since mid-August.
25th Aug 2022 - CNN

Chinese State Media Defend Covid Zero, Warn Against 'Lying Flat'

China’s state media defended the country’s increasingly costly zero tolerance approach to Covid-19, saying inactivity from “lying flat” would be disastrous, as outbreaks in its tourism hotspots abate. The dynamic Covid Zero method created a safe and stable environment for China’s development and brings greater certainty to the world economy, the State Council-affiliated newspaper Economic Daily said in a column on Thursday. The recent damage to the country’s growth stems from Covid itself, not measures to contain it, the paper said.
25th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Explainer: Updated COVID-19 vaccines are coming in the U.S., should you get one?

The United States plans to roll out an updated COVID-19 booster vaccine to include Omicron subvariants of the coronavirus. Regulators are reviewing the shots and could give the go-ahead as soon as next week.
25th Aug 2022 - Reuters


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Hong Kong Could Tighten Social Distancing Restrictions If Covid Cases Worsen

Hong Kong health officials said tighter social distancing restrictions could be considered if rising Covid-19 cases worsen the pressure on the city’s health system. The city reported 7,884 new Covid-19 cases Wednesday, the highest number since the end of March. Increased hospitalizations have put pressure on the health-care system, prompting hospitals to scale back non-emergency services and the reopening of community isolation facilities. Expanding virus curbs would be seen as a step back for Asia’s financial hub, which has struggled to balance reopening its borders with mainland China and the rest of the world.
25th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Covid Incubation Gets Shorter With Each New Variant, Study Shows

The longer a virus can replicate inside a person before causing symptoms, the harder it can be to stop because of the greater potential for the infected to unknowingly spread it far and wide. Among Covid-19’s pernicious features, its incubation period is longer than many other respiratory viral infections, including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and rhinovirus. The good news is the interval between exposure and the development of symptoms appears to be narrowing. Scientists from Peking University and Tsinghua University in Beijing analyzed data from more than 140 studies to estimate the incubation period of Covid caused by different strains of SARS-CoV-2. It fell from an average of five days with an alpha infection to 3.42 days with omicron, according to a study published Monday in the journal JAMA Network Open
24th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Over 2 Million Americans Aren't Working Due to Long Covid, Says Brookings

Between two million and four million Americans aren’t working due to the long-term effects of Covid-19, according to a new Brookings Institution report released Wednesday. The inability to work translates to roughly $170 billion a year in lost wages, the report estimates. It follows a January Brookings Institution report that estimated long Covid was potentially causing 15% of the country’s labor shortage. The report estimates that roughly 16 million Americans of working age—between 18 and 65—have long Covid, which most groups and doctors define as wide-ranging symptoms that persist for months following an infection and can include shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and neurocognitive issues.
24th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Black Workers Seeing Above-Average Wage Gains After Pandemic Hit

After taking a bigger hit to employment at the start of the pandemic, US Black workers are now seeing above-average wage gains and moving into better-paying roles at higher rates than other groups, according to new research by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers. Many Black Americans benefited as the US labor market bounced back from the worst of the Covid-19 crisis in early 2020, when millions of people lost their jobs in a matter of weeks. During the recovery, some workers gained the leverage needed to switch jobs and ask for better wages, the researchers found.
24th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

New Covid Billionaire Emerges Even as World Moves On From Virus

The world is largely moving on from Covid, with Singapore scrapping indoor mask rules, Japan welcoming more visitors and employees returning to offices from Madrid to New York. But in China, where strict anti-pandemic policies remain in place, the health emergency just helped produce the country’s latest billionaire. Shares of Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare Co., a maker of medical imaging and radiotherapy equipment, have surged 60% since their Aug. 22 debut even with Wednesday’s slight decline, propelling the net worth of controlling shareholder Xue Min to $5.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The listing, which raised $1.6 billion, was the nation’s third-biggest offering of 2022.
24th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

UK Scraps Covid Tests for Asymptomatic as Cases Continue to Fall

The UK National Health Service said it will pause Covid-19 testing of staff without any outward symptoms as new infections decline and the country seeks to live with the virus. Asymptomatic staff testing, once considered a core component of the NHS’s pandemic infection prevention and control guidance, will be paused in most health-care settings, the UK Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement Wednesday. Routine asymptomatic testing will also be suspended in parts of the prison estate, some places of detention, and certain domestic abuse and homelessness settings, it said.
24th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

COVID-19: Booster vaccine shots for kids aged 5 to 11 in fourth quarter of the year

The Ministry of Health (MOH) added in a media release on Wednesday (24 August) that the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has also extended its authorisation of Moderna's Spikevax vaccine to very young children aged between six months and five years old. "A decision on the recommendation for vaccination of this age group is expected soon. If approved, we will time it together with the booster exercise for children aged 5 to 11, and administer them at the same centres for the convenience of parents," the ministry said in the media release. MOH will be setting up five dedicated vaccination centres across the island to administer booster doses for these children. Details will be announced at a later date.
24th Aug 2022 - Yahoo News Australia on MSN.com

Singapore eases Covid-19 restrictions, masks only on public transport

Singapore on Wednesday relaxed its social-mixing restrictions on COVID-19 and said that wearing masks won't be mandatory from August 29 except on public transport and hospitals as the daily hospital cases have halved in the country. Speaking at a press conference to announce the relaxation of the masks mandate, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said that masks will only be mandatory in two settings, the first being healthcare facilities, residential care homes and ambulances, as well as indoor premises within hospitals and polyclinics. And the second being public transport, the Channel News Asia quoted him as saying.
24th Aug 2022 - Business Standard

100,000 doses of Janssen’s COVID-19 delivered to Ukraine under COVAX initiative

A total of 100,000 doses of Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine – Ad26.COV2-S – have been delivered to Ukraine this month under the COVAX initiative, and distributed to 22 regions in the country by the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced. Additionally, more than 100 medical workers and trainers across Ukraine have been taught by WHO to conduct further training on the use of Ad26.COV2-S, and Ukrainian healthcare workers have received over 23,000 copies of guidance materials on the use of the vaccine. Ad26.COV2-S – also known as JNJ-78436735 or Jcovden – was approved for emergency use by WHO and registered in Ukraine in July 2021 for the vaccination of adults aged 18-years-old and over.
24th Aug 2022 - PMLiVE

COVAX offers Mexico 10 mln COVID shots for kids after president protests delays

The United Nations-backed COVAX vaccine program has offered Mexico 10 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shots for children after the country's president vowed to complain to the U.N. over delays, a senior Mexican official said on Tuesday. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador this week said Mexico was owed $75 million after it received less than half the 52 million vaccine doses it was allocated under the COVAX program, which aims to distribute shots equitably worldwide
24th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Singapore to drop most indoor mask requirements next week

Singapore will do away with requirements to wear masks indoors starting Aug. 29, as the country sees its COVID-19 situation stabilise further, the health minister said on Wednesday. For the first time in more than two years, people in the Southeast Asian city-state will no longer be required to wear masks indoors except on public transport and in high-risk settings like healthcare facilities. The health ministry also updated rules for non-vaccinated travellers, dropping a 7-day quarantine requirement starting next week.
24th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Covid-19 Booster Campaign Is Expected to Launch Next Month

The Biden administration has completed plans for a fall Covid-19 booster campaign that would launch in September with 175 million updated vaccine doses provided to states, pharmacies and other vaccination sites. The administration is procuring the doses, which drugmakers are updating to target the newest versions of the virus. The administration has also informed states, pharmacies and other entities they can begin preordering now through the end of August, according to the administration’s fall vaccination planning guide. Vaccines would be shipped immediately following an expected authorization by federal drug regulators, who still must review and sign off on the shots, and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which still must review the data and sign off on administering the shots.
24th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


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Malaysia reports 2078 new COVID-19 infections, 10 new deaths

Malaysia reported 2,078 new COVID-19 infections as of midnight Monday, bringing the national total to 4,759,830, according to the health ministry. There are 12 new imported cases, with 2,066 cases being local transmissions, data released on the ministry's website showed. Another 10 deaths have been reported, pushing the death toll to 36,155. The ministry reported 3,290 new recoveries, bringing the total number of cured and discharged to 4,685,979.
24th Aug 2022 - Xinhua

Fauci on COVID conspiracy theories: ‘What we’re dealing with now is just a distortion of reality’

Anthony Fauci, who on Monday announced that he is leaving the Biden administration, pushed back on conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic hours later, calling the claims “a distortion of reality.” “What we’re dealing with now is just a distortion of reality, conspiracy theories which don’t make any sense at all pushing back on sound public health measures, making it look like trying to save lives is encroaching on people’s freedom,” Fauci said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” False claims and criticisms, particularly about the origins of the COVID-19 virus, Fauci said, “impeded a proper response to a public health challenge” and continue to interfere with addressing public health issues.
23rd Aug 2022 - The Hill

Pfizer COVID shots appear 73% effective in children under 5

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was 73% effective in protecting children younger than 5 as omicron spread in the spring, the company announced Tuesday. Vaccinations for babies, toddlers and preschoolers opened in the U.S. in June after months of delay. Only about 6% of youngsters ages 6 months through 4 years had gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by mid-August, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Health authorities authorized tot-sized vaccine doses made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech based on a study showing they were safe and produced high levels of virus-fighting antibodies. But there was only preliminary data on how that translated into effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19.
23rd Aug 2022 - The Hill

Vaccine fatigue is real. These experts say messaging on COVID boosters should be clear

COVID-19 vaccines aimed at both the original strain and Omicron variants are expected in Canada this fall. But messaging on booster doses has been mixed across the country. Some experts like virologist Angela Rasmussen recommend getting the first available booster, while others like Manitoba's Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin say his province will wait to open up fourth doses for all adults until new bivalent vaccines are approved.
23rd Aug 2022 - CBC News

47% Of U.S. Adults Took An At-Home COVID-19 Test In The Past 3 Months, Survey Reveals

Despite the recent ease of COVID-19 restrictions, nearly half of U.S. adults (47%) say they took an at-home COVID-19 test at some point in the past three months after feeling sick, according to new data from the Forbes Health-Ipsos Monthly Health Tracker survey. Additionally, of the 1,120 U.S. adults polled between August 16 and 17, 65% stayed home or away from people they don’t live with if they felt ill, 44% isolated from people inside their household and 27% took a PCR COVID-19 test from a doctor or testing site. (Respondents could choose multiple answers.) If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as a cough, fever or chills, or just want peace of mind when traveling and gathering with others, there are many testing avenues available.
23rd Aug 2022 - Forbes

Japan to ease Covid entry requirements, raise cap on entrants

Japan is planning to stop requiring proof of a negative Covid-19 test result from entrants to the country as long as they have completed three rounds of vaccinations, while also raising the cap on those entering the country
23rd Aug 2022 - Bangkok Post

Japan weighs relaxing border rules on COVID -media

Japan may lift requirements for pre-departure COVID-19 tests for travellers and raise daily caps on entrants, domestic media have reported. Japan has some of the strictest pandemic border measures among major economies, requiring travellers to present a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of departure. The government may soon waive tests for vaccinated passengers, with the change taking effect in a few weeks, Nikkei reported late Monday. A daily cap of inbound travellers may be raised from 20,000 to 50,000 as early as next month, Fuji News Network said on Tuesday.
23rd Aug 2022 - Reuters

Thai cabinet approves 18.4 billion baht for NHSO COVID-19 medical expenses

The Thai cabinet approved an 18.447 billion baht budget for the National Health Security Office (NHSO) to cover medical expenses, medication, vaccines and equipment used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients between April 1st and May 15th. The NHSO has played a key role in arranging for COVID-19 patients to be treated in hospitals or in home isolation free of charge until they recover.
23rd Aug 2022 - Thai PBS World


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Changi Terminal 5: Pandemic-Proof Airport Closer to Reality in Singapore

Singapore will start work on a fifth terminal at Changi Airport -- regularly voted among the world’s best -- with a revised design that allows it to adjust capacity during a pandemic. The move comes as the city-state works to cement its place as Asia’s primary aviation hub, with rival Hong Kong still imposing Covid quarantines and other border restrictions. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong detailed the plans in his National Day Rally address Sunday. “In the longer term, air travel will keep growing because of the fast expanding middle-class in our region,” Lee said.
23rd Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Free Covid-19 booster dose campaign picks up pace in Maharashtra: Officials

The ongoing 75-day Amrut Mahotsav campaign across Maharashtra has picked up pace, with the state seeing more than 35 lakh precautionary doses for Covid-19 being administered. In Maharashtra, over 5 crore citizens are due for precautionary doses while 1.7 crore beneficiaries are yet to take the second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine. The campaign to administer the free precautionary (booster) dose was launched across the country on July 15 to encourage citizens to get vaccinated and ensure protection against Covid-19. State health authorities said they have been conducting special drives to create awareness about the importance of booster doses and encourage citizens above 18 to get the shot.
23rd Aug 2022 - The Indian Express

Omicron-specific Covid booster shots are just weeks away. Here's who will—and won't—be eligible

Newly updated Covid booster shots designed to target omicron’s BA.5 subvariant should be available within in the next three weeks. That begs an important question: Who’s going to be eligible to get them? The short answer: anyone ages 12 and up who has completed a primary vaccination series, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson tells CNBC Make It. It’s unlikely to matter whether you’ve received any other booster doses or not before, the spokesperson says — but if you’re unvaccinated, you won’t eligible for the updated formula until you complete a primary series with the existing Covid vaccines.
22nd Aug 2022 - CNBC

Brussels warns of Covid vaccination fatigue as it urges fresh drive for jabs

Brussels is warning of a vaccination “plateau” in the EU despite surging Covid-19 cases as it calls for member states to intensify campaigns ahead of the autumn and winter. EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said there was a risk that people were letting their guard down in the summer months and that health ministries need to do more to prepare for wider outbreaks despite understandable “fatigue” in populations about the pandemic.
22nd Aug 2022 - Financial Times

Paraguayans skipping booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Paraguayan health authorities have expressed their concern over a slowdown in vaccination against COVID-19, with very few booster doses applied. According to official data released Saturday, 47% of the population still lacked the first doses since the start of the campaign in March 2021, while 53% were yet to take the third injection, although they have been available since October last year. “We have a record of 1,766,882 people who have completed the six-month period since the second dose of the basic scheme and have not been vaccinated again against COVID-19,” said Héctor Castro, head of the Expanded Program of Immunization, who also pointed out that most people in that condition were aged below 40.
22nd Aug 2022 - MercoPress

North Korea imports of Chinese masks, gloves surged before declaring COVID victory

North Korea imported more than 1 million facial masks and 15,000 pairs of rubber gloves from China in July, shortly before declaring victory over COVID-19, Chinese trade showed on Saturday. Pyongyang last week declared victory over the coronavirus,
22nd Aug 2022 - Investing.com

If North Korea has Covid beat, why buy 1 million face masks from China?

North Korea imported more than 1 million facial masks and 15,000 pairs of rubber gloves from China in July, shortly before declaring victory over Covid-19, Chinese trade figures show. Pyongyang last week declared victory over the coronavirus, ending a little-detailed fight against "fever" cases that had risen to 4.77 million in the country of around 26 million people. It has registered no new such cases since July 29. Still, China exported 1.23 million facial masks to North Korea in July, worth $44,307, surging from 17,000 the previous month, according to data released by Chinese customs at the weekend.
22nd Aug 2022 - CNN

Moderna to supply 12 million doses of Omicron-targeted COVID shot to Canada

Moderna Inc will supply 12 million doses of its COVID-19 shot adapted to target the Omicron variant of the coronavirus to Canada, the company said on Monday. The Canadian government had entered into a supply deal with the company last year for supply of its COVID vaccine for 2022 and 2023, with the contract allowing access to new vaccine adaptations. Moderna and the Canada have agreed to convert six million doses of the company's COVID-19 vaccine, which targets the original virus, to an Omicron-containing bivalent vaccine.
22nd Aug 2022 - Reuters


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U.S. first lady Jill Biden tests negative for COVID

U.S. first lady Jill Biden tested negative for COVID-19 after isolating for five days following a positive test, the White House said on Sunday. "After isolating for five days and receiving negative results from two consecutive COVID-19 tests, the First Lady will depart South Carolina later today for Delaware," her spokesperson said in a statement.
21st Aug 2022 - Reuters

Jamie Oliver Reveals 'Deeply Scary' Long Covid Battle of Wife Jools

Jamie Oliver has praised his wife Jools calling her "an absolute superstar" after suffering from long Covid for two years. The celebrity chef, 47, who rose to fame on cookery show The Naked Chef, said his childrenswear designer wife had been "really affected" by the virus. He told the Daily Mail Weekend magazine: "She's had bad Covid and long Covid so she's been really affected by it, sadly.
20th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Thailand to Allow Foreign Tourists to Extend Stay as Covid Eases

Thailand will permit an extended length of stay for foreign tourists between October and March in a bid to support its economic recovery as pressures from Covid-19 ease. Foreigners from 18 territories coming to Thailand under the visa on arrival category will be allowed to double their length of stay for up to 30 days, Taweesilp Visanuyothin, a spokesman for Thailand’s main Covid task force said on Friday. Those from more than 50 places that currently get 30 days will be able to stay for up to 45 days.
20th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Spread of latest outbreak of COVID-19 contained in Hainan

The spread of the latest outbreak of COVID-19 in South China's Hainan province has been contained and the situation is taking a positive turn thanks to substantial progress in epidemic prevention and control, said local authorities. Signs of improvement have been seen in Sanya, at the southern tip of Hainan island and the epicenter of the latest outbreak, Li Wenxiu, deputy director with the Hainan Provincial Health Commission, told a news conference held in Haikou on Friday.
20th Aug 2022 - China Daily

Experts: COVID Lockdowns Likely to Exacerbate Chinese Repression in Xinjiang, Tibet

Fresh outbreaks of COVID-19 in Xinjiang and Tibet this month have turned China's two western frontier regions into lockdown zones. According to Chinese media, authorities divided the COVID-affected areas of the autonomous regions into high-, medium- and low-risk zones. Xinjiang reported its first COVID-19 outbreak July 31. One week later, on Aug. 6, Tibet announced some people had been infected. As of Thursday in Xinjiang, there were 329 high-risk, 138 medium-risk and 24 low-risk areas. On the same day, Chinese authorities in Tibet announced that there were 346 high-risk and 223 medium-risk areas.
20th Aug 2022 - Voice of America

U.S. Won’t Pay For Covid-19 Shots Soon. Here’s How It Could Work

The Department of Health and Human Services will hold a meeting later this month to pave the way for insurers and patients to pay for Covid-19 vaccines, antiviral treatments and tests, according to the Wall Street Journal. Stakeholders from across the healthcare industry will take part in the planning meeting, during which representatives from pharmacy chains, state health departments and drug producers are expected to begin laying out how insurance coverage and reimbursement would work with the shift, along with industry regulations.
19th Aug 2022 - Forbes

WHO recommends second COVID-19 booster for highest-risk groups

The World Health Organization’s immunization advisory group Thursday recommended a second COVID-19 vaccine booster for older people, health care workers, and people at high risk of developing severe disease. The advice mirrors that given by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which have called for second boosters to be given to people aged 60 and over, as well as those with medical conditions. The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) is recommending the extra jab in older people; health care workers; pregnant people; those with conditions that cause them to be immune-compromised and both people with comorbidities that put them at higher risk for severe disease.
19th Aug 2022 - POLITICO Europe

Covid-19 booster jabs to be rolled out in England from early September

Nurses will be offered a flu vaccination alongside a Covid-19 booster jab this autumn where possible, NHS England has said as it outlined details of the latest stage of the coronavirus vaccination programme. The autumn Covid-19 vaccination booster programme is to start in the week beginning 5 September, with care home residents and housebound people being given the jab by NHS staff. The National Booking Service will also open that week, allowing people aged over 75 and the most clinically vulnerable, to book a vaccination from 12 September. Individuals will be offered the new bivalent Moderna vaccine, which targets the original Covid-19 virus strain and the omicron variant, “where appropriate and subject to sufficient supply”
19th Aug 2022 - Nursing Times

North Korea's Kim praises military medics for frontline COVID fight in capital

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a ceremony to thank and praise military medics for spearheading the country's fight against the coronavirus in the capital Pyongyang, state media said on Friday. Thousands of medics of the Korean People's Army, who had been dispatched to the "emergency anti-epidemic front", were discharged after Kim declared victory over COVID-19 and eased restrictions last week
19th Aug 2022 - Reuters


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Covid-19 booster vaccine now available to those aged 55 and over

Appointments are now open for people aged 55 and over to book their next Covid-19 booster vaccine through the HSE or their own GP. This second booster vaccine will be available to those who have already received their initial vaccine course and one booster dose. According to the HSE, boosters protect against serious illness and increase Covid immunity. Those aged 55 and over can now make an appointment to receive their next dose. People can book an appointment online for a HSE vaccination clinic or check with participating GPs and pharmacies to receive their dose. People who are more than 16 weeks pregnant are also now invited to book their second booster dose at either a HSE vaccination centre or a GP/pharmacy.
18th Aug 2022 - Limerick Leader

Omicron Covid booster vaccine will be rolled out from 5 September and finish by December

More than 25 million people will get a dose of the new Covid-19 vaccine tailored against the Omicron variant by the start of December under plans announced by the NHS on Thursday. NHS England said the autumn boosters rollout would start from 5 September with care home residents the first group to be offered a jab by vaccinators who will visit their homes. From 12 September, anyone aged 75 or over, as well as health and care workers, can book in for a booster, with other age groups getting their vaccine in the coming weeks.
18th Aug 2022 - iNews

Quebec COVID-19 booster rates stay low as province launches new vaccination campaign

As Quebec prepares to launch a provincewide COVID-19 vaccination campaign ahead of a potential new fall wave, it's unclear whether it will be enough to prompt a pandemic-weary public to roll up their sleeves for another booster. As of Wednesday, only 56 per cent of Quebecers aged five and older had received a third vaccine dose -- a number that has hardly budged in months. Government officials have said that the low booster uptake is due to the fact that more than a million Quebecers have caught the novel coronavirus and consider themselves adequately protected. Health experts, meanwhile, say pandemic fatigue and government communication have also played a role.
18th Aug 2022 - CTV News Montreal

HHS says it plans to extend Covid-19 public health emergency

State and local public health officials — having not heard differently this week — are expecting the Biden administration to extend the Covid-19 public health emergency for another 90 days in mid-October. An extension would ensure expanded Medicaid coverage, telehealth services, boosted payments to hospitals and other pandemic measures remain in place beyond the midterm elections even as public health experts and lawmakers debate the merits of a PHE that was first declared in January 2020. “The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency remains in effect and as HHS committed to earlier, we will provide a 60-day notice to states before any possible termination or expiration," an HHS spokesperson told POLITICO. The administration has not notified groups, including the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Federation of American Hospitals and the American Public Health Association, that the PHE would end, a courtesy HHS has said it would issue 60 days before the Covid-19 declaration is terminated
18th Aug 2022 - Politico on MSN.com

Attitudes toward mandatory COVID-19 vaccination in Germany

It has become obvious that sufficiently high immunity to COVID-19 cannot be achieved in Germany through voluntary vaccination alone. On this background, Thomas Rieger and Carsten Schröder from the German Institute for Economic Research, Berlin, together with Christoph Schmidt-Petri from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, investigated the acceptance of a policy of general mandatory vaccination against COVID-19. The scientists also investigated the questions of which population groups are supportive of such a measure, which ones are opposed, and what their reasons are, respectively.
18th Aug 2022 - Medical Xpress

GPs call for 'urgent review' of autumn Covid booster campaign as funding cut back

GPs have called on NHS England and the Government to “urgently review” plans for the autumn Covid booster campaign amid fears they will be left paying for the programme out of their own pockets. The UK Health Security Agency announced it will offer a new Omicron-specific jab, by Moderna, to the over-50s, as part of its latest vaccination programme due to start in September. NHS England had been expected to announce details of the programme on Wednesday but it is believed to have been delayed because of a row between GPs and the Government over how it will be managed. The default contract for delivering vaccines this autumn has been cut from £12.58 per dose to £10.06, while a £10 supplement for them to give jabs in care homes and to other vulnerable groups has also been cut, the British Medical Association has said. Rising staffing and energy costs have also led to surgeries’ operating costs increasing significantly, leaving many wanting to opt-out of delivering more Covid jabs.
18th Aug 2022 - iNews

COVID-19 booster campaign to start on 5 September, NHS England says

The National Booking Service will open on 5 September to enable those aged over 75 and health and social care workers to book in for their jab, NHS England said in a letter to practices and health leaders. Those aged over 65, carers, household contacts of immunosuppressed people, pregnant women and those with an underlying condition that puts them at increased risk of COVID will be the next groups able to book appointments. NHS England said details on timings for this will be made in 'due course'.
18th Aug 2022 - GP Online

AU, others woo youths to boost COVID-19 vaccination by 70% in Africa

African Union (AU) has collaborated with Trace TV to engage the creative community in pushing its Bingwa Initiative geared at increasing COVID-19 vaccination across Africa by 70 per cent in 2023. The programme, which is also in partnership with the African Centre for Disease Control (CDC), GIZ and MasterCard, has public figures and social media influencers like The Pamilerin, Jenni Frank, Nigerian singer, Chike and comedian, Pencil, among others engaged to promote COVID-19 vaccination championed by African youths.
18th Aug 2022 - Guardian Nigeria

China’s zero-Covid policy is thwarting efforts to stabilise the economy

Beijing is trying to simultaneously pursue a zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19, reduce debt exposure and ease monetary policy to boost growth. These policies contradict each other, though, and draconian, growth-sapping lockdowns stand in the way of rebuilding consumer and investor confidence
18th Aug 2022 - South China Morning Post

Quarantine hotel rush: Hong Kong arrivals hit a high of more than 7,400, but tens of thousands of non-local students set to miss start of school year

Sunday’s figure of 7,428 airport arrivals was a new high in recent months under city’s eased ‘3+4’ travel rule, but this means competition is fierce for quarantine hotels. City records 5,162 new infections on Tuesday, including 272 imported cases and 11 related deaths
16th Aug 2022 - South China Morning Post


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Thailand health ministry to further downgrade COVID-19, reduce days for treatment

The Public Health Ministry of Thailand will ask the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to downgrade the status of the disease at its next meeting expected on
18th Aug 2022 - Philippine Daily Inquirer

Experts warn Omicron vaccine booster rollout will be slowed by Covid complacency, putting vulnerable at risk

Scientists fear complacency and Covid fatigue will reduce take-up the autumn booster campaign, putting the most vulnerable at greater risk of hospitalisation and death. Those people who are over 50 or clinically vulnerable will be offered a booster jab that has been specifically designed to tackle Omicron after the regulator gave Moderna’s new vaccine the green light on Monday. But there are fears that, with many people having had Covid at least once and surviving, and a high level of pandemic fatigue, the rate of take-up will be markedly lower higher than in previous booster campaigns.
17th Aug 2022 - iNews

Covid jabs will have to be tweaked annually like flu until universal vaccine is discovered

Covid vaccines are likely to become like influenza jabs, that are tweaked every year and offered to vulnerable people every autumn, according to a leading vaccine developer. Professor Robin Shattock of Imperial College London says “there are two approaches to next generation vaccines”; the annual flu jab approach and the Holy Grail of the one-vaccine-fits-all-variants approach. “In the same way that the influenza vaccine is updated every year and given to the vulnerable population, an annual vaccine could be given for Covid as well,” said Professor Shattock, a pioneer of the same RNA vaccine technology that is used by the Moderna and Pfizer jabs.
17th Aug 2022 - iNews

No plans for UK to order more supplies of AstraZeneca Covid vaccine

There are no plans to order further supplies of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for the UK, it has been revealed, as experts expressed hope that a new jab designed to target two variants will form the backbone of the autumn booster programme. Deemed a British success story, and estimated to have saved millions of lives worldwide, the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid jab played a key role early in the UK’s vaccination programme. But Prof Anthony Harnden, the deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), has suggested it is unlikely to be used in the future.
17th Aug 2022 - The Guardian

Quebec will offer 5th dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults as of Aug. 29

With the upcoming school year and the return to work looming for many Quebecers, the province is launching a new COVID-19 vaccination campaign. In his first appearance at a COVID-19 news conference in six months, Premier François Legault said life is almost back to normal thanks to the vaccine. He's urging people who have not had a dose in the past five months or more to get another shot. "More people will be inside, there will be more contagion," Legault said. "So it's a really good time to be launching a massive vaccination campaign."
17th Aug 2022 - CBC.ca

Wear masks on trains and buses and give every adult a Covid booster, says Tony Blair

The UK Government must be prepared to bring back compulsory masks on public transport in order to stop a significant winter wave of Covid-19, Tony Blair has warned. The former Prime Minister’s think tank, the Tony Blair Institute, called for a booster vaccine to be offered to every British adult over the autumn as part of its plan to avoid a meltdown of the NHS. Millions of people are on waiting lists while A&E waiting times are near an all-time high, according to the institute. In a new paper, a panel of doctors and other experts warns: “This winter will bring a perfect storm, resulting in unprecedented demand and reduced capacity, which will combine to create the worst winter crisis in the NHS’s history.”
17th Aug 2022 - iNews

BMA raises 'serious concerns' about GP workload and funding for autumn COVID boosters

The BMA has raised 'serious concerns' about the workload implications of this autumn's COVID-19 booster programme and argued that practices will be underpaid for the work they are doing.
17th Aug 2022 - GP Online

WHO releases interim statement on COVID-19 vaccination for children and adolescents

The World Health Organization (WHO), with the support of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), has released an interim statement on the role of COVID-19 vaccines in children and adolescents in the context of the continuing global disparities in vaccination. In the statement, it is concluded that before considering implementing primary vaccination series in children and adolescents, attaining high coverage of primary series – and booster doses as needed – in highest and high-priority-use groups must be pursued. WHO refers to the global inequity in vaccine rollout, with only 25% of older populations having received a complete primary series of COVID-19 vaccines in lower income countries – the very places where healthcare access is more limited.
17th Aug 2022 - PMLiVE

Biden administration will stop buying Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and tests as early as this fall, Jha says

The Biden administration has been planning for how to get past the crisis phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and will stop buying vaccines, treatments and tests as early as this fall, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said on Tuesday. "One of the things we've spent a lot of time thinking about in the last many months -- and we're going to continue this work, and you'll hear more from the administration on this -- is getting us out of that acute emergency phase where the US government is buying the vaccines, buying the treatments, buying the diagnostic tests," Jha said at an event sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
17th Aug 2022 - CNN


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What Is Bivalent Vaccine? New Moderna Omicron Covid Booster Explained

The new shot targets two separate strains of Covid-19 — the original version of the virus that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan along with the BA.1 subvariant, the earliest version of omicron. Other versions of omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, are now more prevalent, but the virus is evolving faster than new vaccines can be formulated and tested, and this is the closest match available that has received clearance. Moderna has another shot available that targets the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which has been ordered by the US, but not yet cleared.
17th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Marshall Islands, haven from Covid for two years, gets 3,000 cases in space of weeks

After dodging the Covid-19 pandemic for two years, the Marshall Islands is grappling to control the spread of infections, which have tripled since the first community transmissions were detected a week ago. The number of positive cases in the north Pacific nation, which has a population of about 60,000 people, has skyrocketed to more than 3,000 cases with four Covid-linked deaths and seven hospital admissions. One thousand cases were reported in the capital, Majuro, on Sunday, which was “almost double from the previous day”, said the health secretary, Jack Niethendal.
17th Aug 2022 - The Guardian

Has Covid-19 led to an increase in hepatitis cases in children? Here's what a doctor says

It is no secret that Covid-19 can cause other health complications in both adults and children. Almost three years into the pandemic now, doctors now have answers pertaining to health situations, specifically for kids. That brings us to the question of whether Covid can lead to an increase in hepatitis cases in children. According to Dr Bhavini Shah, the head of microbiology at Neuberg Supratech Reference Laboratories, there has been a spike in acute hepatitis among children across the world, including India, in recent times. “At the start of April 2022, health experts from around the world have been observing the unexplained outbreak of acute hepatitis in kids. India saw a kind of hepatitis in 37 children two to six weeks after Covid-19 infection during an outbreak of the Delta variant,” the doctor says.
16th Aug 2022 - The Indian Express

Public urged to get next-generation Covid vaccine

All over-50s are likely to be offered an updated coronavirus vaccine in a booster campaign due to begin within a month. Yesterday Britain became the first country to approve a jab that directly targets the Omicron strain of the virus, and officials are confident of having tens of millions of doses of next-generation vaccines ready for autumn. Half the population is being urged to have a fourth vaccination to reduce the risk of illness over winter and ease pressure on the NHS.
16th Aug 2022 - The Times

Covid vaccine: When can I get my booster jab?

Britain appears to have just seen off its latest wave of Covid-19 infections, although experts continue to warn that another could arrive this autumn unless due care is taken. The country saw a 43 per cent spike in coronavirus cases at the beginning of June, seemingly caused by people coming together to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee over the course of a four-day weekend. Driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron – the strain that spread so rapidly across the UK in December 2021 and January 2022 before gradually falling away – cases continued to rise to a peak of around 4.6m cases in mid-July before gradually beginning to decline.
16th Aug 2022 - The Independent

Quebec kicks off new COVID-19 vaccination campaign, starting with long-term care homes

On Monday, Quebec started offering fifth doses of COVID-19 vaccine to residents of long-term care homes and private seniors' residences. The Health Ministry said it launched the new vaccine campaign for at-risk people because it expects infections to rise in the fall after schools reopen. It said the recommended interval between booster doses is at least five months. Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau has said the government will be intensifying its message around vaccination in the coming weeks, as the health system prepares for another COVID-19 wave. He has also said Quebecers should continue wearing masks in crowded places and at the onset of COVID-19 symptoms.
16th Aug 2022 - CBC.ca

West Lothian residents aged 65 and over in line for winter Covid-19 booster jab

West Lothian people aged 65 and over will be in line for a winter booster jab to protect the most vulnerable from Covid-19 and ease the pressure on hospitals. Letters with appointment times will begin landing on doormats in the coming weeks so NHS Lothian can get ahead of any potential surge in infections. The booster jabs will be given at the same time as the flu vaccine to those eligible where possible – evidence shows that administration of both vaccines together is a safe and efficient way to deliver maximum protection over the winter months. Frontline health and social care workers are also eligible for the winter booster jab, with the online portal to book vaccination appointments available from 22 August.
16th Aug 2022 - Daily Record

A complicated fall vaccine campaign: Updated Covid boosters, flu shots, and how to time the jabs

For the health officials who steer vaccination campaigns, it’s going to be a complicated fall. The U.S. plan to roll out updated Covid-19 boosters will not only coincide with the logistical tangle of the regular flu shot drive, but will also face questions about when people should get the new shots to provide themselves with the best protection through our third Covid winter. It’s a balancing act that health officials run into every year with flu. Vaccinating tens of millions of people takes weeks. People also need a few weeks after their shot for their immune systems to be fully primed. And yet, vaccinators don’t want to put shots in arms too early, either.
16th Aug 2022 - STAT News


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China Surveillance in Xinjiang, Tibet Used to Prevent Shanghai-Like Covid Unrest

To combat fresh outbreaks of Covid-19 in outlying areas like Xinjiang and Tibet, Chinese authorities are drawing on a security apparatus previously used to quell dissent against authorities in Beijing. Broad surveillance measures used over the years against Tibetan Buddhists and mainly Muslim Uyghurs, both minority groups in China, are helping enforce lockdown rules among people long at risk of arbitrary detention. That has helped ensure there’s no public displays of anger like those seen earlier this year during the monthslong lockdown in the financial hub of Shanghai. “It’s ironic but very convenient for the CCP that it first constructed Uyghur ethno-national identity as a religious extremist ‘thought virus,’ took draconian steps to eradicate it, and then a real virus came along for which similar techniques were useful,” said James Millward, professor of history at Georgetown University, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.
15th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Rollout of Covid-19 booster vaccines for over-60s and pregnant women begins

Pregnant women and people over 60 will begin receiving their second booster vaccination against Covid-19 from today. The Health Service Executive has urged those eligible to get the vaccine. Since last week, people who are over 60 and women who are pregnant have been able to book their appointments through the HSE. The injections are being administered at vaccination centres and at participating pharmacies around the country. HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry has urged those eligible to take up the offer.
15th Aug 2022 - RTE Online

Lancet study finds 40 percent of U.S. COVID-19 deaths were avoidable.

The report assailed Trump for his response to the pandemic, but emphasized that the disastrous response to the virus’s spread was the result of years of destructive public policy decisions on health that extended well beyond the Trump years. From the Lancet: Many of the cases and deaths were avoidable. Instead of galvanizing the U.S. populace to fight the pandemic, President Trump publicly dismissed its threat (despite privately acknowledging it), discouraged action as infection spread, and eschewed international cooperation. His refusal to develop a national strategy worsened shortages of personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests. President Trump politicized mask-wearing and school reopenings and convened indoor events attended by thousands, where masks were discouraged and physical distancing was impossible.
15th Aug 2022 - Slate

Scotland's winter Covid vaccine programme kicks off - list of people eligible

Letters inviting people for a Covid-19 winter booster jab will be landing on doorsteps this week. Those aged 65 and over and frontline health and social care staff will be first in line to receive appointment times in the post. The Scottish Government said the move is to protect the most vulnerable from the virus, and to ease the pressure on hospitals ahead of any potential surges in infections over the winter period.
15th Aug 2022 - Daily Record

Japan travel sector calls for ‘hugely damaging’ Covid-19 entry curbs to end as economy rebounds

Japan’s economy grew at an annualised rate of 2.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2022, with private consumption up 1.1 per cent, official data shows. Travel sector says the government should remove entry curbs immediately so more tourists can visit Japan and help boost the economy, spending.
15th Aug 2022 - South China Morning Post

Over 20 million COVID-19 jabs wasted — DOH

The Department of Health reported Monday that over 20 million donated and procured COVID-19 vaccine doses were wasted in the Philippines. A total of 20,660,354 COVID-19 vaccines were wasted as of August 12, Health Undersecretary Carol Tanio told the Senate committee on health and demography. Broken down, 6% of the donated COVID-19 jabs, 22% of the vaccines purchased by local governments, and 40% of the shots procured by the private sector had expired. Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, officer-in-charge of the DOH, said the 134 million vaccine doses procured by the national government did not have any wastage.
15th Aug 2022 - Philstar.com

CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan to ease rules for last four days of arrival COVID-19 protocol

Travelers arriving in Taiwan will face slightly less restrictive protocols on where they can stay starting Sept. 1, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Monday. After entering Taiwan and remaining in quarantine for the standard three days, travelers will be allowed to spend the four-day "self-initiated epidemic prevention" period on a one person to a room basis, and will not need permission to change locations, the CECC said. At present, arrivals must complete both the three- and four-day periods on a one person per residence basis (if home quarantining) and need to apply for permission from local authorities if they wish to spend the two periods at different locations. (Current quarantine rules)
15th Aug 2022 - Focus Taiwan

How to Assess Covid-19 Risks After Easing of CDC Guidelines

The easing of federal Covid-19 guidelines places responsibility ever more squarely on individuals to determine their own risk tolerance and behaviors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dropped a recommendation to quarantine after Covid exposure regardless of vaccination status and de-emphasized social distancing. The new guidelines largely mirror what much of the U.S. population has already been doing as vaccines, prior infection and treatments have reduced the risk of severe disease even as the virus continues to circulate at high levels in much of the country. Many employers hope the move will boost their return-to-work pushes. Many U.S. schools and colleges had already been eliminating Covid protocols as they prepare for students to return in the fall.
15th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


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Shanghai Schools to Reopen After Classes Suspended in March

Shanghai will reopen kindergartens, primary and secondary schools in September, almost six months after in-person classes were suspended, with strict measures in place to avoid the spread of Covid-19. Students and teachers must be in Shanghai for two weeks before schools start on Sept. 1, and take two nucleic acid, or PCR, Covid tests within three days before returning to campuses, the city’s education authority said in a statement on Sunday. They will also need to produce a negative test result everyday to attend classes as China continues to pursue a Covid Zero policy.
14th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Indoor mask rule stays as Covid-19 cases remain high even though peak of current wave has passed

There are no plans for now to relax Covid-19 rules, including the requirement that people wear a mask indoors, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). In response to queries, MOH on Thursday (Aug 11) said existing safe management measures will continue to stay in place, as the number of cases remain high. This is even as the latest wave of infections has passed its peak. An MOH spokesman said: "Cases are falling but remain high and pose risks. The Ministry of Health will continue to calibrate measures depending on the situation." On Thursday, 7,776 new Covid-19 cases were reported, down from a high of 16,870 on July 13, in cases largely fuelled by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants.
12th Aug 2022 - The Straits Times

Germany: EU could OK combined COVID-19 vaccines next month

Germany's health minister said Friday that European Union drug regulators may authorize the use of vaccines that are each effective against two variants of the coronavirus. German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said he expected the European Medicines Agency to meet Sept. 1 to consider a vaccine that would provide protection against the original virus and the omicron variant, also known as BA.1.
12th Aug 2022 - CTV News

CDC ends recommendations for social distancing and quarantine for Covid-19 control, no longer recommends test-to-stay in schools

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the nation should move away from restrictive measures such as quarantines and social distancing and focus on reducing severe disease from Covid-19. In new guidelines released Thursday, the agency no longer recommends staying at least 6 feet away from other people to reduce the risk of exposure -- a shift from guidance that had been in place since the early days of the pandemic. The shift is a sign of how much has changed since the beginning of the pandemic more than two years ago. Nearly the entire US population has at least some immunity through vaccination, previous infection or, in some cases, both. "The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years," Greta Massetti, who leads the Field Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at the CDC, said Thursday.
12th Aug 2022 - CNN

UK not buying AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 antibody drug over lack of data

The U.K. has no plans to buy doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 antibody therapy Evusheld that is designed to protect vulnerable people, arguing that the data for the drug is insufficient. “Following a robust review of the available data, our clinical experts advise there is currently insufficient data on the duration of protection offered by Evusheld in relation to the Omicron variant and the government will not be procuring any doses at this time,” a government spokesperson said. The injection is a combination of two antibodies and is designed to provide long-lasting protection against COVID-19. It was billed as a potential therapy to protect immunocompromised people, since they are unable to generate a strong immune response through vaccination.
12th Aug 2022 - POLITICO Europe

Washington state COVID safety rule for farmworkers upheld by appeals court

A U.S. appeals court on Thursday rejected a flower nursery's claim that a 2020 Washington state rule requiring agricultural businesses to take various steps to protect workers from COVID-19 was invalid. A unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state's rule, which required farms to provide face masks, conduct temperature checks and enforce social distancing, did not conflict with any federal regulations enforced by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (The rule was withdrawn last year.)
12th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Relaxed CDC Covid Guidelines Seen as Boost for Return to the Workplace

Federal health officials’ move this week to relax pandemic precautions gave business leaders the momentum many have been looking for to return to pre-Covid behaviors. The new guidelines, issued Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, generally bring the federal guidance in line with policies that had already shifted at companies, schools and public transportation, among other settings. The agency said it no longer recommends that people quarantine after being exposed to the virus, as long as they don’t feel sick, get tested after five days and wear a high-quality mask around others for 10 days. Many executives and city leaders who had been struggling to break pandemic work-from-home habits see this as a boost to their halting efforts to bring people back into the workplace. They say that previous CDC recommendations made it difficult to enforce their policies, since one exposure could send an entire team home.
12th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong Population Drops by Record as People Flee Covid Curbs

Hong Kong’s population dropped by a record as people fled strict Covid-19 restrictions that have hobbled the city as most other regions move on from the pandemic. The city saw a decline of 121,500 residents in the year ended June 30, leaving the population at about 7.29 million, according to government data released Thursday. That means the population fell 1.6%, marking the third straight year of declines and the biggest drop in at least six decades. A wide-reaching national security law may have also been a contributing factor.
11th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg


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More Covid jab venues to open for Hong Kong youngsters; city logs 4,376 cases

About 2,200 children have received Sinovac shots in past week since vaccination extended to those as young as six months. Health experts urge government to purchase BioNTech formula for toddlers to encourage vaccination of youngest residents.
11th Aug 2022 - South China Morning Post

Final call for AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab, only 8% of supply used

Under 9000 doses of the non-mRNA vaccine have been administered out of the 120,000 doses the country received for domestic use. Last week, health authorities updated their advice for people seeking AstraZeneca vaccines with the doses available until September 4. The remaining unused doses will reach their expiry date the following day, according to a spokesperson for Te Whatu Ora / Health NZ, though doses administered the day prior will remain effective. In a statement, the agency's national immunisation programme operations manager Rachel MacKay said there were efforts to get people who chose AstraZeneca to get up-to-date with their vaccines.
11th Aug 2022 - 1News

Let's talk about Covid-19 boosters

There's been a lot of talk about Covid-19 booster shots in recent weeks. It makes sense -- with colder months just around the corner in the northern hemisphere, public health authorities across the world are getting ready for a potential spike in coronavirus cases. Getting people at risk of severe disease boosted is a big part of the plan. But guidance on who, when and how depends largely on who you ask. Let's start with the basics: All adults should have had their first booster by now. The data shows clearly that an extra shot of an mRNA vaccine increases protection, including against severe disease. "If you are 18 and older and have not yet had any vaccines beyond your primary vaccination, you should get your booster now," said CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
11th Aug 2022 - CNN

Mask mandates return in New Delhi as COVID-19 cases rise

The Indian capital reintroduced public mask mandates on Thursday as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country. The New Delhi government reinstituted a fine of 500 rupees ($6) for anyone caught not wearing a mask or face covering in public. India's Health Ministry said 16,299 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours nationwide, with a positivity rate of 4.58%. Nearly 2,150 infections were reported in New Delhi. On Wednesday, New Delhi reported eight deaths due to the coronavirus, the highest in nearly six months. People in most parts of the country began discarding face masks as infections dropped following two devastating earlier waves of COVID-19. New Delhi’s top elected official, Arvind Kejriwal, said that COVID-19 cases were on the rise but there was no need to panic because most of the new cases were mild.
11th Aug 2022 - The Independent

New Covid vaccines targeted at Omicron may not be ready for autumn boosters

Next-generation Covid vaccines are in doubt for the autumn boosters campaign, as ministers and the NHS wait for regulators to sign off on new jabs targeted at the Omicron variant. Studies suggest that the new versions of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may reduce transmission of Covid-19 and prove more effective in preventing hospitalisation. But the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is still considering whether to approve jabs, and some insiders fear it may be too slow for the autumn vaccine rollout.
11th Aug 2022 - iNews

Delhi to enforce mask mandate again after spurt in COVID cases

New Delhi will enforce a mask mandate again after COVID-19 infections rose in the past fortnight, a government order showed on Thursday, though a similar order in April failed to improve compliance. People caught without masks in public in the Indian capital will have to pay a fine of 500 rupees ($6), the order dated Aug. 8 and shared with reporters on Thursday, said. Presently, mask-wearing is uncommon even in shopping malls and crowded markets.
11th Aug 2022 - Reuters

All go in health concerns as EU pushes for COVID and monkeypox vaccines and welcomes Digital Decade policy programme

The Commission welcomes the political agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the 2030 Policy Programme: Path to the Digital Decade. The programme sets up a monitoring and cooperation mechanism to achieve the common objectives and targets for Europe's digital transformation set out in the 2030 Digital Compass. This concerns the area of skills and infrastructure, including connectivity, the digitalisation of businesses and online public services as well as the respect of the EU's Digital rights and principles in achieving the general objectives. A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said: “The Digital Decade is about making digital technology work for people and businesses. It is about enabling everyone to have the skills to participate in the digital society. To be empowered. It is about empowering businesses. It is about the infrastructure that keeps us connected. It is about bringing government services closer to citizens. Europe's digital transformation will give opportunities for everyone.”
11th Aug 2022 - EU Reporter


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China facing increasing pressure in COVID-19 prevention, control: health official

With the resurgence of infections in neighboring countries, China's COVID-19 prevention and control efforts are facing increasing pressure, a health official said Wednesday. Nine provincial-level regions in China have each reported more than 100 COVID-19 cases since August, with over 2,000 infections in Hainan, said Mi Feng, spokesperson for the National Health Commission (NHC). The latest COVID-19 outbreak in Sanya, a coastal resort city in south China's Hainan Province, is still evolving at a high level, said Mi.
11th Aug 2022 - Xinhua

Australian state to hand out free masks to curb COVID-19 transmission

Authorities of the Australian state of Victoria have announced that free masks will be handed out to the community to curb the COVID-19 transmission. More than 3 million free N95 and KN95 masks would be given to the community through state-run testing sites and community health services across the state the next four to six weeks, said the announcement of the Victorian government on Tuesday. Every person that presents for either a free rapid antigen or PCR test will receive one box of 10 N95 masks, along with instructions on how best to wear them to reduce transmission.
11th Aug 2022 - Xinhua

Govt nod to Corbevax as precaution dose for adults vaccinated with Covaxin, Covishield

This means that those who have received Covishield or Covaxin as their first or second dose can take Corbevax as the third booster shot, officials said. According to the protocol until now, the third dose had to be the same vaccine that was used for the first and second doses.
11th Aug 2022 - The Indian Express

Novavax Rout Deepens to 87% From Peak After Covid-Shot Setbacks

The selloff in Novavax Inc. shares deepened on Tuesday, to erase $17 billion in market value from last year’s record high, after the Covid-19 vaccine maker slashed its revenue guidance. Novavax fell 30% on Tuesday, the most since February 2019, after slashing its guidance and missing second-quarter estimates. The stock has fallen roughly 87% from its February 2021 high amid regulatory delays and questions on demand for a vaccine that trailed competitors in reaching the market.
10th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Germany likely to impose mask mandate if Covid-19 spreads in winter

Germany is likely to introduce an indoor mask mandate if there is a significant increase in the number of cases of Covid-19 in the upcoming autumn and winter months, health ministers said at a meeting, though they differed over possible exemptions. The federal and state health ministers discussed draft legislation aiming to update regulations for dealing with the pandemic, dpa news agency reported. "It is clear that mandatory masks indoors should be the rule in the event of a tense pandemic situation," said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. Last week, Lauterbach and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann presented new coronavirus measures that would go into effect in the autumn.
10th Aug 2022 - Business Standard

Pharmacies to get £15 per consultation in pilot to tackle COVID-19 jab fears

Reported COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is “high for some groups in Tower Hamlets” and “significant numbers of residents remain unvaccinated”, the borough’s council revealed in the service specification. As of May 1, just 68% of those eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Tower Hamlets had received a first dose, with 61.7% of that group opting to have a second dose. Just 40.1% of those eligible have had a booster dose. “Evidence clearly indicates that patients value talking directly to a trusted health professional when considering whether or not to have a COVID-19 vaccine,” Tower Hamlets Council acknowledged. “Community pharmacists in Tower Hamlets are well placed to provide that support”.
10th Aug 2022 - Chemist+Druggist

COVID-19 Experts Urge Australians to Wear Masks Even as Latest Omicron Wave Passes

Australian health officials say there are encouraging signs that a wave of COVID-19 omicron variant infections is in decline. However, more than 4,000 Australians are hospitalized with the virus and an unknown number of others are suffering the effects of long COVID. COVID-19 no longer makes the headlines as it once did in Australia. Strict public health measures, including lockdowns, curfews, mask mandates and international border closures that were imposed during the pandemic have come to an end. The country is doing its best to live with the virus.
10th Aug 2022 - Voice of America - VOA News

Coronavirus: Hong Kong firms, schools urged to provide separate eating spaces for ‘amber code’ holders under eased quarantine rules

Health secretary says restaurant staff can discuss arrangements with bosses while education chief notes schools have basic pandemic guidelines to follow. Respiratory medicine expert warns that allowing those with amber codes into crowded venues may increase the chance of a superspreader event.
10th Aug 2022 - South China Morning Post


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Christmas could be in jeopardy for a third year as COVID-19 waves set to continue indefinitely, experts warn

Experts are warning waves of COVID to continue indefinitely. More than 65 per cent of Queenslanders aged 65 and older have received four doses of a COVID vaccine Experts say "variant-specific boosters" and nasal vaccines will be rolled out to the public in 2023
10th Aug 2022 - ABC News

Australia retires CovidSafe contact-tracing app that was barely used

Australia’s CovidSafe app is being decommissioned because it is no longer being used for Covid-19 contact tracing. The app cost around $75,000 a month to run and was touted by former prime minister Scott Morrison as an important measure on par with wearing sunscreen. It was barely used in the Delta and Omicron outbreaks despite more than 7 million Australians downloading it to help contact tracers, and since launching in April 2020, just 17 “close contacts” in New South Wales were found directly through the app that were not otherwise identified through manual contact-tracing methods.
10th Aug 2022 - The Guardian

School vaccine mandates for Covid-19 are not happening

One thing is clear: Almost none of them will be requiring vaccines. Just 31 percent of children between 5 and 11 in the US have been fully vaccinated, and 61 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds have been. (Only about 3 percent of children under 5 had received a first dose by July 20.) Still, no state in the country is planning to require student vaccinations, a marked turnaround from where things seemed to be headed last winter, when multiple states and school districts suggested vaccine mandates were coming soon. Only Washington, DC, has announced a mandatory school vaccine policy this fall, for students 12 and older. Other mitigation measures — from masks to ventilation — may also be on their way out. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will likely soon recommend easing school testing, quarantine, and social distancing requirements, CNN reported last week. (Many schools often disregarded CDC guidelines, but the update is a sign of how expectations have shifted.)
9th Aug 2022 - Vox on MSN.com

DOH: COVAX to replace all expiring, expired COVID-19 vaccine doses

The COVAX facility has committed to replace all expired and expiring COVID-19 vaccine doses in the country, including those procured by the private sector and the local government units, the Department of Health officer in charge Ma. Rosario Vergeire said on Tuesday. Vergeire made the remark when asked about updates as regards the P5.1 billion worth of vaccine doses which were procured by the private sector and which have expired. “We had an agreement with the COVAX facility, that these will all be replaced... Even those that have expired from the private sector and the local government units, the vaccines,” Vergeire said at a press briefing.
9th Aug 2022 - GMA News Online

Covid-19 mask use: 'It's just personal choice now', mayors say

Despite the government's plea for everyone to wear face masks indoors, mask wearing is hit and miss around the motu. Although there are some places where everyone is masked, in others there are no masks in sight. Some local leaders have been relaxed about it too, appearing without masks in social media posts and at council meetings.
9th Aug 2022 - RNZ

Here's How Hong Kong Health Code System for Travelers Will Work

Hong Kong will introduce a tiered health-code system reminiscent of what’s used in mainland China to facilitate a reduction in its deeply unpopular mandatory hotel quarantine. The new rules, which come into effect on Friday, will mean arrivals at Hong Kong’s international airport must spend three days in hotel quarantine -- down from seven. If they don’t test positive for Covid, they will then undergo four days of health monitoring, underpinned by a yellow health code that restricts entry into a raft of high-risk places. Meanwhile, anyone infected with the virus will receive a red code that means they must isolate.
9th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Covid Vaccine Maker Novavax Tumbles After Cutting Annual Sales Forecast 50%

Novavax Inc. shares had their biggest loss in more than three years as the drugmaker slashed its 2022 revenue forecast late Monday on disappointing demand for its Covid-19 vaccine that trailed competitors getting to market. Sales for the year will be as much as $2.3 billion, less than half the previous expected peak of $5 billion, the company said in a statement. Novavax also reported a second-quarter loss of $6.53 a share, wider than analysts’ average estimate of $5.24.
9th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Health experts urge making fourth COVID vaccine more available

As Mexico’s fifth wave of coronavirus infections continues, two health experts have criticized the federal government for its slow and limited rollout of fourth shots of COVID-19 vaccines. The government has offered second booster shots to seniors, people with existing medical conditions that make them vulnerable to serious illness and health workers, but not all younger adults have had access to a fourth dose. According to The New York Times vaccinations tracker, 72% of Mexicans (adults and children) are vaccinated and 63% are fully vaccinated, but only 44% have had additional shots. Most of the booster shots administered to date have been third doses. Francisco Moreno, an infectious disease specialist and head of COVID-19 care at the ABC Hospital in Mexico City, said that Mexico is behind where it should be in terms of fourth-dose coverage.
8th Aug 2022 - Mexico News Daily

Here’s How Hong Kong’s New China-Inspired Health Code Will Work

Hong Kong will introduce a tiered health-code system reminiscent of what’s used in mainland China to facilitate a reduction in its deeply unpopular mandatory hotel quarantine. The new rules, which come into effect on Friday, will mean arrivals at Hong Kong’s international airport must spend three days in hotel quarantine -- down from seven. If they don’t test positive for Covid, they will then undergo four days of health monitoring, underpinned by a yellow health code that restricts entry into a raft of high-risk places. Meanwhile, anyone infected with the virus will receive a red code that means they must isolate.
8th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg


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'People are underprotected': Dr Norman Swan on COVID booster shots

It looks like the latest COVID wave has peaked nationally although cases in NSW are still higher than elsewhere in the country. Dr Swan talks about the monkeypox vaccine rollout and the new COVID sub-variant.
8th Aug 2022 - ABC News

Japan to offer omicron COVID shots to people vaccinated at least twice

New COVID-19 vaccines considered effective against the omicron variant will be available to all people who have completed at least two inoculations from as early as mid-October, the government said Monday. The bivalent vaccines, so named for their combination of ingredients deriving from existing COVID-19 shots and from omicron's BA.1 subvariant, have been reported to provide some increase in neutralizing antibodies against the BA.5 subtype currently prevalent across the country. The plan, which has received approval from a health ministry panel, comes at a time when Japan is experiencing a seventh wave of infections fueled by the highly transmissible BA.5 subvariant, with its daily cases hitting an all-time high of about 250,000 last Wednesday.
8th Aug 2022 - The Japan Times

Hong Kong ‘may lower age threshold’ for getting fourth shot of Covid vaccine

Professor David Hui says expert panel will consider advising government to lower the age threshold for getting the fourth shot in autumn. City needs to stay on guard in case a new coronavirus strain surfaces in winter, he warns
8th Aug 2022 - South China Morning Post

What's the U.S. Plan for Updated COVID Vaccine Boosters?

While the U.S. may have led the charge to develop and deploy COVID vaccines, our efforts to get and stay fully vaccinated have not gone well. As the two-year anniversary of the country’s vaccine rollout fast approaches, the U.S. pandemic response seems stuck at a standstill while the coronavirus keeps adapting and spreading at a startling pace. The U.S. booster-shot drive has been a confusing mess from the start, and as of now, far too many Americans who are eligible for either their first or second booster have not gotten them, weakening the country’s wall of immunity that has so far prevented a big wave of hospitalizations and deaths despite a surge of new cases from more transmissible Omicron subvariants like BA.5. Increasing booster uptake, and expanding the protection those boosters offer by tweaking them for the new variants, is one way to reinforce the wall.
8th Aug 2022 - New York Magazine

BioNTech Promises Omicron Covid Vaccines for Fall Booster Campaigns

BioNTech SE dropped the most in more than three months as lagging Covid-19 vaccine orders held sales and profit short of analysts’ expectations. Revenue in the second quarter dropped by about 40%, BioNTech said on Monday. Diluted earnings per share were 6.45 euros, below the 7.44-euro average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. BioNTech and partner Pfizer Inc. are counting on an omicron-adapted vaccine to reinvigorate sales for the rest of the year. The first doses of a shot tailored for both the original coronavirus and the fast-spreading omicron BA.4/5 variant should be ready in October, in time for fall booster campaigns, BioNTech said. The companies will begin a clinical trial this month and manufacturing has already started. The biotech’s American depositary receipts fell as much as 9.4% in Germany, the most since April 19.
8th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Hong Kong Cuts Covid-19 Quarantine to 3 Days

The city’s government cut the Covid-19 quarantine period for inbound travelers to three days from seven, easing a restriction many saw as excessive but falling short of what businesses say is needed to restore the connectivity vital to its role as Asia’s leading global financial center. From Friday, travelers arriving in Hong Kong will be allowed to leave their quarantine hotels after three days, officials said at a briefing Monday. Over the following four days, they won’t be allowed into places now requiring a vaccine pass, such as gyms, bars and restaurants, but they will be able to go to work, shop at supermarkets and use public transport, provided they test negative for the coronavirus. The city has been caught between sticking to stringent antivirus controls in line with Beijing’s zero-Covid policy and trying to retain its appeal as an open and globally connected base for business.
8th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Macau returns to mass COVID testing after case in neighbouring Chinese city Zhuhai

Authorities in Macau instructed residents to conduct at least two days of COVID-19 tests after a person who travelled from the Chinese special administrative region to neighbouring city Zhuhai was found to have been infected with the virus. The move comes days after Macau started to unwind stringent anti-COVID rules, including the resumption of travel to Zhuhai without quarantine from Aug. 3. The Macau government said in a statement on Sunday that all of the city's 700,000 residents should take rapid antigen tests on Sunday and Monday and upload the results to a government website
8th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Hong Kong cuts COVID quarantine stay for incoming travellers

Hong Kong will shorten the COVID-19 hotel quarantine period for all arrivals to three days from seven, taking another step to gradually unwind stringent pandemic rules that have isolated the Asian financial hub. The measures will be effective from Friday, the city's leader, John Lee, told a news conference on Monday. Arrivals will need to self monitor for a further four days, during which they will be forbidden to enter such premises as restaurants and bars.
8th Aug 2022 - Reuters

North Korea to convene parliament, anti-epidemic meeting amid zero-COVID claim

North Korea will convene two key meetings, including one to review the country's anti-epidemic policy, in coming weeks, state media said on Monday, as it claims no new COVID-19 cases since late July. The North Korean Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), the isolated state's rubber-stamp parliament, will meet on Sept. 7 to discuss law on rural development and organizational matters, according to the official KCNA.
8th Aug 2022 - Reuters


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New Zealand allowed pharmacists to dispense COVID-19 antivirals and 'everyone realised it was a win'

There are calls for awareness of COVID antivirals and easier access to the treatments in Australia. Pharmacy experts suggest looking to New Zealand where the drugs are available without a prescription. As well as reducing the severity of disease, emerging research suggests the medications can help reduce the risk of long COVID
7th Aug 2022 - ABC News

While Covid-18 grabs global headlines and funding, HIV infections rise

While Covid-18 grabs global headlines and funding, HIV infections rise
7th Aug 2022 - News24

COVID in WA: New COVID cases drop below 3000

WA has recorded a dip below 3000 in daily recorded COVID cases — with 2,911 new infections to 6pm Friday night. Hospital admissions have remained steady at 346, with 14 people needing to stay in the intensive care unit. Two new virus-related deaths dating back to August 2 were recorded in today’s numbers. They were two men in their 80s. The new infection bring the State’s active caseload to 20,078, as WA marks 1,085,331 cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began. A total of 5,276 PCR tests were conducted at either State-
6th Aug 2022 - Perth Now

Most Covid-19 deaths in Delhi among those with comorbidities

With cases of Covid-19 on the rise again in the national capital – over 2,000 cases have been recorded over the last three days – the number of deaths with the infection are also on the rise. There have been 16 deaths in the first five days of August. Delhi reported 2,419 cases and a positivity rate of 12.9% on Friday, according to the government’s daily health bulletin. Most of the Covid-19 deaths recorded in the government’s health bulletin are of people who incidentally test positive for the infection, say doctors from big government hospitals. Two of the four haven’t seen a death yet as cases continue to increase.
6th Aug 2022 - The Indian Express

All Manitoba kids 6 months and older can get COVID-19 vaccine starting Friday

Articlee reports that all kids in Manitoba six months and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine starting Friday morning, the province says in a news release. Previously, only Indigenous kids and those with certain health conditions were eligible to get their shots. Parents and caregivers can start booking appointments for newly eligible kids at 9 a.m. Children need to be at least six months old at the time of their appointment, the release said. Health Canada approved the two-dose Moderna vaccine for kids ages six months to four years old in July. So far, Manitoba has gotten 14,900 doses, the release said. It's shipped more than 3,700 of them to regional vaccine sites and medical clinics and another 2,100 to First Nations medical leadership to distribute in their communities.
5th Aug 2022 - CBC.ca

U.S. administers over 7300 Novavax vaccine doses - CDC

The United States has administered more than 7,300 doses of Novavax Inc's COVID-19 shot, which health officials hope will convince more people to opt for vaccinations as it is based on a technology that has been in use for decades. Over 330,000 doses of Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed in the United States, and more than 2,300 people have been fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated on Thursday.
5th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Work stoppages and no chatting at lunch: Japan Inc grapples with COVID

Japanese companies are temporarily shutting offices or suspending production as they battle a record wave of COVID-19, disrupting businesses in a country that has until now weathered the pandemic better than most advanced economies. Automakers Toyota Motor Corp and Daihatsu Motor Co last week halted production line shifts because of employee infections. KFC Holdings Japan Ltd has had to shut some fast-food restaurants and move staff to fill gaps, while Japan Post Holdings Co has temporarily shut more than 200 mailing centres.
5th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Hong Kong to Announce Hotel Quarantine Cut as Soon as Monday

Hong Kong may announce a reduction in the amount of time international travelers need to spend in mandatory hotel quarantine as soon as Monday, according to people familiar with the matter, with discussions over the scale of the change still ongoing. While officials had anticipated making an announcement on Friday, it has been pushed back to Monday at the earliest since no firm decision has yet been made on the parameters of the cut, according to one person, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations.
5th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg


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Most kids in northeastern Ontario have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19

"So certainly we do have some work to do," said Kendra Brunet, the manager of COVID response for the Porcupine Health Unit. "But over the next few weeks we have several child and youth friendly clinics set up, as well as outdoor clinics so that we can get those vaccine rates up for the return to school," she said. Nastassia McNair, the manager of COVID planning for Public Health Sudbury and Districts, says based on the lower uptake for children, she'll be happy if they hit 30 or 40 per cent vaccine coverage for the newly eligible six months to five-years old group.
4th Aug 2022 - CBC.ca

Ventilation key to battling COVID-19, experts say, urging Australia to do more

Tasmanian schools are keeping windows and doors open as much as they can, despite winter weather. Indoor air quality expert Professor Lidia Morawska says consideration of ventilation is patchy across Australia. There are calls for mandated standards for indoor air quality
4th Aug 2022 - ABC News

Covid-19: 150 vaccine bookings made for children aged below three in first half hour of registration

One hundred and fifty bookings were made for Covid-19 vaccines for children aged between six months old and three years old within half an hour of registration opening, a government official has announced. Thursday was the first day that children as young as six months could receive a Sinovac Covid-19 jab. The government is in talks to obtain the “baby version” of the BioNTech vaccine – one-tenth of the adult dosage – from the pharmaceutical company.
4th Aug 2022 - Hong Kong Free Press

Second Covid-19 vaccine boosters, explained

Federal officials said that they weren’t yet changing the eligibility guidelines for a fourth dose. Currently, they’re recommended only for people over the age of 50 and people who are immunocompromised. Everyone else will likely have to wait until the fall to get the go-ahead from regulators. Some experts, though, think it might be worth getting a second booster now if you face a high risk of Covid-19 exposure or if your previous dose was ages ago. The rise of BA.5 has spooked many of them, despite evidence the virus causes less severe disease now than at any other point during the pandemic. And despite the surge in cases, death trends have hardly moved, indicating that the previous crop of vaccines is still doing its main job of preventing severe illness for most people.
4th Aug 2022 - Vox.com

North Korea marks end of first COVID wave, but risks persist

North Korea on Friday said all of its fever patients have recovered, marking the end of its first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, but challenges linger with economic hardships deepening and an unvaccinated population exposed to future resurgences, analysts said.
4th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Covid Study Gives 'Powerful' Clues to Pandemic's Lasting Impact

One in eight people recovering from Covid-19 had lingering symptoms due to the illness at least three months later in a study that provides greater clarity on the ailments triggered by the pandemic disease. Scientists used data from the Netherlands’ largest population-based cohort study to track long Covid problems, such as a loss of smell and chest pain. The proportion of participants who had one or more hallmark symptoms was 21% among those who caught Covid, compared with almost 9% in people who didn’t, leaving about 13% of patients with symptoms that can be attributed to the coronavirus, according to researchers at the University of Groningen.
4th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

'Permanent shock' to nursing homes? Facilities fail to replace workers who quit after COVID outbreaks

Before pandemic, 82% of facilities did not meet recommended staffing levels. Pay levels are low and competition from hospitals is steep. Industry says inadequate government funding impacts recruitment and retention
4th Aug 2022 - USA Today


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Evidence that university and college vaccine mandates reduce community COVID-19 cases

A new study co-authored by Michigan State University economics professor Scott Imberman, Ph.D., and doctoral student Wenjia Cao, found that university vaccine mandates were effective in reducing new COVID-19 cases in communities. Their research, "The Effect of Vaccine Mandates on Disease Spread: Evidence from College COVID-19 Mandates," will be published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, and is the first of its kind to provide direct evidence of the positive impact university and college vaccine mandates have had on community health outcomes. "While there is evidence that vaccines improve health outcomes for individuals, our analysis showed that college- and university-imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates also benefited the community beyond the campus," Dr. Imberman said.
3rd Aug 2022 - Medical Xpress

Covid drug Evusheld could protect the immunocompromised but the UK Government still hasn't procured it

Thousands still live in fear of the virus because their immune system doesn’t respond to vaccines. A drug to protect them, Evusheld, has been approved – but the Government has not procured it, despite patients’ pleas
3rd Aug 2022 - iNews

Poland to offer fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine to adults in September

Poland will allow a furth dose of coronavirus vaccine to be received by people aged over 18 in September, the health minister has announced. Since July 22, a second booster dose has been available for people in the 60-70 age group and an additional vaccination for people aged over 12 years with immune deficiency. Before, the fourth dose has been offered to everybody over 80.
3rd Aug 2022 - PAP.pl

SINOVAC COVID-19 Vaccine Approved for Use in Children Above 6 months of Age in Hong Kong

Sinovac Biotech Ltd. a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in China, announced that based on related clinical trials and studies of vaccination for local children and adolescents, the Health Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China has approved the Company’s COVID-19 vaccine (CoronaVac), intended for children aged 6 months to 3 years. The vaccination schedule for this age group follows the same vaccination schedule of older children.
3rd Aug 2022 - The Associated Press

Germany announces new coronavirus measures for fall, winter

The German government on Wednesday said basic coronavirus requirements would remain in place during the coming fall and winter, when experts expect COVID-19 cases to rise again as people spend more time indoors. Face masks and presenting proof of a negative coronavirus test will be mandatory from October until early April at hospitals, nursing homes and similar institutions with vulnerable people. Passengers on airplanes and making long-distance trips by train and bus also will have to wear masks during that period, as they do now.
3rd Aug 2022 - ABC News

EU signs joint procurement deal with Spain's HIPRA for COVID vaccines

The European Commission said on Tuesday it had signed a joint procurement contract with Spanish pharmaceutical firm HIPRA for the supply of its protein COVID-19 vaccine, which will be available if approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The European Union's executive said in a statement that 14 countries are participating in the agreement, under which they can purchase up to 250 million doses.
3rd Aug 2022 - Reuters


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Gilead quarterly profit falls as COVID antiviral sales decrease

Gilead Sciences Inc on Tuesday said its second-quarter adjusted profit fell due to higher research and royalty costs as well as a downturn in sales of its COVID-19 antiviral drug Veklury. Quarterly revenue, however, rose 1% to $6.3 billion, which was ahead of the average Wall Street estimate of $5.85 billion, according to Refinitiv data. The biotech company said adjusted quarterly profit fell 13% to $1.58 per share, which also topped the average analyst estimate of $1.52. Net income fell to 91 cents per share from $1.21 per share.
3rd Aug 2022 - Reuters

Cyprus signs up for new vaccine against Covid-19

Cyprus is one of 14 EU member states to sign up to a joint procurement contract with Spanish pharmaceutical firm Hipra for its protein vaccine against Covid-19. The agreement was signed on Tuesday under which the nations can purchase up to 250 million doses.
2nd Aug 2022 - Cyprus Mail

Midwives ask officials to justify ongoing Covid vaccine mandate

Health officials are being asked to reconsider the evidence used to ban midwives from working if they are unvaccinated against Covid-19. In a letter to Minister of Health Andrew Little and then-minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins, dated May 11 2022 and obtained under the Official Information Act, College of Midwives chief executive Alison Eddy urged the government "to ensure a robust evidence review is undertaken as soon as possible". She wanted the review to inform decisions about the future of the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers, "given the critical nature of the midwifery workforce shortages". "This review needs to quantify the threat posed by unvaccinated health care workers who have access to daily pre-work RATs (rapid antigen tests) and PPE (personal protective equipment), against the risks posed by a lack of qualified health practitioners available to provide essential maternity care."
2nd Aug 2022 - New Zealand Herald

Despite mild to moderate adverse events, COVID-19 vaccination recommended in United States for children aged 5 to 11 years

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children aged 5 to 11 receive the BNT-162b2 vaccination. In a recent study, investigators examined data from 3 United States safety monitoring systems to monitor adverse events in children aged 5 to 11. The data studied the test group for 6 weeks after they received the BNT-162b2 vaccination. Of the 8.7 million vaccines administered during this time, 42,504 children were involved in a safety findings test from v-safe, a smartphone system which, with permission, surveys for safety signals. An additional 4249 Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) reports were included in this data. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) created a survey system to monitor vaccine reactions in children. Parents voluntarily enrolled their children in these programs after the vaccination was injected. They then filled out health surveys throughout the testing period. The first of these, which were sent out during the first week, asked about system reactions and health impacts. Parents could describe the severity as mild, moderate, or severe. Throughout the testing period, more surveys were sent out with further questioning.
2nd Aug 2022 - Contemporary Pediatrics

Hong Kong lowers age for Sinovac vaccine shot to six months

Hong Kong on Tuesday reduced the minimum age for getting vaccinated with China's Sinovac COVID-19 shot to six months from three years after several young children became infected with the virus. Adults and children in the Asian financial hub, which retains some of the world's toughest COVID precautions, are required to have at least three coronavirus vaccine shots. "Recently a series of young children have been infected with the new coronavirus. The situation of severe illness and even death is of great concern," the government said in a statement announcing the reduction in age.
2nd Aug 2022 - Reuters

Commission buys COVID vaccine from Spain’s HIPRA

The European Commission has closed a deal for up to 250 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Spanish pharmaceutical company HIPRA, it announced Tuesday. The vaccine is still being assessed. The European Medicines Agency in March started a rolling review of the shot, which is designed to protect against both the Alpha and Beta variants of the coronavirus, and would be deployed as a booster. The Commission said that 14 countries are participating in the joint procurement. If the vaccine is approved, they will be able to put in orders on the terms negotiated by the Commission. Those terms were not disclosed.
2nd Aug 2022 - POLITICO Europe

B.C. to begin vaccinating kids under five against COVID-19 on Tuesday

When COVID-19 vaccinations open for young children on Tuesday, Tarin Springer and her 18-month-old son Flynn will be among the first in line. “We want him to be protected and help protect the community,” Springer told Global News. “We’ve had really good experiences, all of us being vaccinated, and we’ve been lucky not to get COVID so far. … We just want him to have the best protection possible.”
2nd Aug 2022 - Global News

EU signs joint procurement deal with HIPRA for COVID vaccines

The European Commission said on Tuesday it had signed a joint procurement contract with Spanish pharmaceutical firm HIPRA for the supply of its protein COVID-19 vaccine, which will be available if approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The European Union's executive said in a statement that 14 countries are participating in the agreement, under which they can purchase up to 250 million doses.
2nd Aug 2022 - Reuters


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Israel was a world leader in combatting COVID-19 with vaccines, now they're getting ready for monkeypox

The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox a global emergency. Israel was credited with having the world's fastest COVID-19 vaccine rollout in early 2021 It's now ordering large stockpiles of monkeypox vaccine to prevent the disease's spread.
2nd Aug 2022 - ABC News

Severe Covid cases, fatalities will gradually drop: govt

The numbers of daily Covid-19 cases - including severe cases - and fatalities are stable, and the numbers of severe cases and fatalities are likely to gradually fall in a few weeks, according to the Thai Department of Disease Control. Presenting an overview of Covid-19 in the country, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the department, said at the Public Health Ministry on Monday that the number of new Covid-19 cases remained high - at 201,554 over the past week.
2nd Aug 2022 - ฺBangkok Post

Japan debates change to COVID-19 measures amid hospital strain

Japan is considering altering its COVID-19 reporting protocols, including a potential change in the collection of infection numbers, in a bid to lessen the burden on hospitals as they strain under a resurgence of the coronavirus across the country, government sources have said. Medical facilities and public health centers currently cooperate to report the total COVID-19 cases to the government, but the change may limit the reporting of cases to designated establishments, the sources said Saturday. With the prevalent omicron variant having less risk of causing severe illness compared with previous strains, some government officials have questioned the need to report every case.
1st Aug 2022 - The Japan Times

Israel begins vaccinating children under 5 years against Covid-19

A nationwide vaccination campaign against Covid-19 for children aged between six months to five years was launched in Israel. The vaccination will provide children "with an important protection layer against serious illness and post-Covid symptoms," said a statement issued by the Israeli Health Ministry on Sunday evening. The vaccine is especially recommended for children at risk of severe Covid-19 illness due to underlying health conditions that impair the immune system, the Ministry added.
1st Aug 2022 - Business Standard

Hong Kong's COVID-19 advisory panel recommends vaccine for kids above six months-old - media

The Hong Kong government's COVID-19 advisory panel recommended on Monday to lower the minimum age for vaccines to six months from three years, public broadcaster RTHK reported.
1st Aug 2022 - Reuters

Covid: Families facing ‘postcode lottery’ of care home ‘lockdown’ restrictions

Families are still facing a “postcode lottery” of Covid restrictions in care homes, with some being forced to wear masks and see their loved ones through perspex screens, despite the official rules having been relaxed. Visits should be unrestricted unless there is a Covid outbreak in a home, when residents are allowed “to have one visitor at a time”, according to guidance from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). However, some homes are still imposing extra restrictions, leaving families at the mercy of individual providers.
1st Aug 2022 - The Independent

Biden Administration Plans to Offer Updated Booster Shots in September

The Biden administration now expects to begin a Covid-19 booster campaign with retooled vaccines in September because Pfizer and Moderna have promised that they can deliver doses by then, according to people familiar with the deliberations. With updated formulations apparently close at hand, federal officials have decided against expanding eligibility for second boosters of the existing vaccines this summer. The new versions are expected to perform better against the now-dominant Omicron subvariant BA.5, although the data available so far is still preliminary.
1st Aug 2022 - The New York Times

Three types of long COVID identified with different symptoms

There appear to be three different types of long COVID, each with their own symptoms, researchers have discovered. One group experiences neurological symptoms including fatigue, brain fog and headache, which most often affect those who contracted the virus when the Alpha and Delta variants were most prevalent, according to experts at King's College London. A second group suffers from respiratory issues, including chest pain and severe shortness of breath, which could point to lung damage. These symptoms were common among those infected during the first wave of the pandemic.
1st Aug 2022 - Sky News


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President Biden Tests Positive for Covid-19 Again

President Biden tested positive for Covid-19 again on Saturday morning in what his physician called a rebound case. Dr. Kevin O’Connor said in a letter made public by the White House that Mr. Biden isn’t experiencing any symptoms and is feeling well. Dr. O’Connor noted a small number of people who take the antiviral medication Paxlovid to treat Covid-19 sometimes test positive again for the virus in what public health officials call “rebound positivity.” The president first tested positive for Covid-19 on July 21 and tested negative on July 26 and the following days, according to the White House. In his initial bout of Covid-19, Mr. Biden experienced mild symptoms, including a runny nose, fatigue and a dry cough.
31st Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Biden again tests positive for COVID, says he feels fine

U.S. President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 again on Saturday in what the White House doctor described as a "rebound" case seen in a small percentage of patients who take the antiviral drug Paxlovid. Biden, 79, who emerged from COVID isolation on Wednesday after testing positive on July 21, said he was feeling fine. He will now return to strict isolation and will cancel planned trips to his home in Wilmington and work trip in Michigan, the White House said. Biden held public events on Wednesday and Thursday, but none on Friday.
30th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Netherlands to offer more COVID-19 boosters in September

Seeking to head off a fall COVID-19 surge, the government of the Netherlands said Friday that everyone age 12 years and over would be eligible for a vaccine booster shot in a campaign expected to start in September. The Dutch health ministry said in a statement that an advisory panel of experts recommended the new round of vaccinations “to maintain protection against serious illness and death, to ensure access to health care” and to prevent problems caused by issues such as staff shortages. The booster shots will be with updated vaccines if they are proven to offer better protection against new mutations of the coronavirus — and if the vaccines have received approval from the European Medicines Agency.
29th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

U.S. Reaches $1.74 Billion Deal With Moderna for Updated Covid-19 Shots

The Biden administration said it would spend $1.74 billion to buy 66 million doses of Moderna Inc.’s updated Covid-19 vaccine, as well as the option to purchase up to 234 million additional doses, as part of a fall booster campaign. The deal Friday, which follows an agreement to buy 105 million doses of updated vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE, is expected to give the federal government enough shots for a booster push as early as September. Under the latest deal, the U.S. government has the option to buy up to an additional 234 million doses from Moderna. The Food and Drug Administration would still need to authorize the shots, which the companies are modifying to provide stronger protection against the latest offshoots of the Omicron variant. The current vaccines help protect against severe illness and death but haven’t been as effective against Omicron as earlier strains of the virus. To prevent a wave of cases when the weather turns cold, the Biden administration has been laying the groundwork for a fall booster campaign.
29th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

U.S. government to buy 66 million doses of Moderna's new omicron COVID-19 vaccine

The Biden administration said Friday it has reached an agreement with Moderna to buy 66 million doses of the company's next generation of COVID-19 vaccine that targets the highly transmissible omicron variant, enough supply this winter for all who want the upgraded booster. The order of the bivalent shot follows the announcement last month that the federal government had secured 105 million doses of a similar vaccine from rival drugmaker Pfizer. Both orders are scheduled for delivery in the fall and winter, assuming regulators sign off on their effectiveness. The Pentagon said the Moderna contract was worth $1.74 billion.
29th Jul 2022 - CBS News

Netherlands to offer more COVID-19 boosters in September

Seeking to head off a fall COVID-19 surge, the government of the Netherlands said Friday that everyone age 12 years and over would be eligible for a vaccine booster shot in a campaign expected to start in September. The Dutch health ministry said in a statement that an advisory panel of experts recommended the new round of vaccinations “to maintain protection against serious illness and death, to ensure access to health care” and to prevent problems caused by issues such as staff shortages. The booster shots will be with updated vaccines if they are proven to offer better protection against new mutations of the coronavirus — and if the vaccines have received approval from the European Medicines Agency.
29th Jul 2022 - ABC News

U.S. sets $1.74 billion deal with Moderna for updated COVID vaccine

The U.S. government said on Friday it agreed to a $1.74 billion deal for 66 million doses of a Moderna Inc COVID vaccine updated for the Omicron subvariant for use in a fall and winter booster campaign, sending Moderna shares up 3%. Combined with 105 million doses the government already agreed to buy from Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE for $3.2 billion, the latest deal puts the U.S. booster dose supply at about 171 million shots.
29th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Queensland's COVID-19 plan isn't panning out the way authorities thought it would. Is it time to do more?

It has never been clearer that Queensland's days of being highly COVID cautious are over. As the sub-variant BA.5 drives up cases, hospitalisations and deaths, the state's leaders have repeatedly urged everyone to stay home if sick, get boosters and wear masks. But they've steered away from a return to restrictions or mask mandates. A shift in approach to an emphasis on "personal responsibility" was foreshadowed with the rollout of vaccines. There was also a belief that a combination of vaccination and infection would make "living with COVID" tolerable.
28th Jul 2022 - ABC News


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COVID-19 vaccine bookings open for young children under age of five in Ontario

Ontario parents can book COVID-19 vaccine appointments for their babies and preschoolers starting today. The province’s booking portal opened for pediatric vaccine appointments for children aged six months to under five years at 8 a.m. Families can also make appointments through health units using their own booking systems as well as some primary care providers and pharmacies.
28th Jul 2022 - The Globe and Mail

Almost 9pc have received second Covid-19 vaccine booster

The average percentage of people who have received a second Covid-19 vaccine booster is almost 9pc, new figures reveal. The figures from across the country’s Local Electoral Areas (LEAs) were released today by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The figures revealed that the average rate for a second booster shot was 8.7pc, with individual areas ranging from 2pc to 15pc.
28th Jul 2022 - Independent.ie

4 mn Indonesian medical workers to get 4th dose of Covid-19 vaccine

Four million medical workers will receive a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine amid increasing transmissions triggered by the virus' sub-variants in Indonesia, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said. Sadikin told local media on Wednesday that administering of the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine started in August 2021 and now it is the time for a new immunity shot, Xinhua news agency reported.
28th Jul 2022 - Business Standard

Hong Kong Covid Adviser Says Shots Safe, Effective for Toddlers

Hong Kong should make Covid-19 vaccines available for children under the age of three as soon as possible, as shots from BioNTech SE and Sinovac Biotech Ltd. safely and effectively protect them against the virus, a vaccination adviser to the government said. Hong Kong’s Covid-19 expert advisory panel will discuss toddler vaccination next week, said Lau Yu-lung, who is the chairman of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases. While the issue needs to be thoroughly discussed by the panel, he said he plans to do his best to convey his opinion.
28th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Covid-19: Everyone over age of 50 in Northern Ireland to be offered booster jab and flu vaccine this autumn

Everyone over the age of 50 in Northern Ireland will be offered a flu vaccine and Covid-19 booster jab this autumn. Health Minister Robin Swann said the measure was precautionary given the likely increase in infection as we enter the winter months. On Wednesday, the minister revealed lateral flow testing for those with Covid-19 symptoms in Northern Ireland is to continue into August, citing the rising level of cases of the virus both in NI and the UK as a whole.
28th Jul 2022 - Belfast Telegraph

Vaccinating children aged under 5 years against covid-19

The United States has joined a handful of countries recommending that children aged 6 months to 5 years should receive covid-19 vaccines, but it is uncertain if other countries will follow. What is the evidence behind the US’s recommendation, and how does the case for vaccinating children under 5 years differ from offering covid-19 vaccines to older children? Two vaccines have been authorised for under 5s in the US, based on data supplied by manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna.
28th Jul 2022 - The BMJ

China needs COVID strategy rethink to limit economic harm, IMF official says

China needs to rethink its zero-COVID policy to avoid more harm to the economy, as well as come up with a long-term solution to the crisis in the real estate sector, a senior International Monetary Fund (IMF) official said in an interview. The world's second-largest economy has been tweaking its stringent COVID-19 curbs while leaving residents and businesses facing uncertainty over the risk of future lockdowns
28th Jul 2022 - Reuters

China Covid Zero Success in Chongqing Shows Why Xi Keeps Lockdowns

Chongqing has logged just 165 cases of Covid since February 2021, the fourth-lowest of any province -- the manufacturing hub twice the size of Switzerland counts as its own municipality, as do only Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. The city hasn’t seen a major lockdown since early 2020, even as Beijing and Shanghai stay on high alert and more than 28 million people are living under citywide restrictions as of Monday, according to Bloomberg’s Lockdown Tracker. Thus, tourists continue to flock to Chongqing, to soak in its shimmering skyline, spicy hot pot and history as China’s capital during World War Two. And the city isn’t unique. Across China, many cities are business as usual, as the ruling Communist Party’s border curbs, mass testing drives and lockdowns stop the virus from a cross-country spread -- the nation of almost 1.4 billion reported 521 local cases for Wednesday.
28th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg


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Coronavirus vaccine can be obtained 3 months after recovery: official

The Ministry of Health and Population added the vaccine reduces the chances of infection with the virus and helps reduce serious complications when infected. Head of the Scientific Committee to Combat Coronavirus at Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population, Hossam Hosny, explained that the drugs included in the treatment protocol of the coronavirus and its variants are available in all hospitals and are dispensed free of charge.
27th Jul 2022 - Egypt Independent

Queensland COVID-19 surge sparks calls for improved PCR access amid RAT accuracy fears

Mass testing clinics and removing barriers to PCR testing could speed up access to antiviral medication, experts say. They are urging people who still feel sick despite having tested negative using a RAT to get a PCR swab. Pathology Technology Australia says people with false negative results may not be using RATs properly
27th Jul 2022 - ABC News

There's fresh focus on using masks to slow COVID-19. So can you reuse masks? And if so, what's the best way?

As Omicron variants of COVID-19 continue to fuel a rise in cases across Australia, there is renewed focus on masks as a simple way to prevent the spread of the virus. Australia's COVID-19 cases and death rates are now some of the highest in the world per capita, and the numbers are getting worse. It has led National Cabinet to strongly encourage the wearing of masks indoors, when appropriate, and authorities have warned Australia's current COVID-19 wave will likely peak in August. So with masks back in focus again, let's take a look at reusing them.
27th Jul 2022 - ABC News

A global effort to stop COVID-19 in Africa is underway–and it starts with health care workers

The latest wave of infections across the world provides us with yet another reminder the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. For many in developing countries, this will come as no surprise. While three in four people living in high-income countries have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccination rate falls to just one in six in low-income countries. This is particularly true in Africa, where less than a fifth of the continent’s population has been fully vaccinated. Africa’s vaccine rollout is lagging compared to wealthier regions even though there is an overabundance of supply across the globe. We need to recognize COVID-19 vaccine supply is not the only barrier to tackling the pandemic. For many African countries, the bigger issue is having enough trained health workers able to deliver life-saving vaccines into the arms of patients.
27th Jul 2022 - Fortune

North Korea holds mask-free veterans event after flagging near end of COVID crisis

North Korea has held a large mask-free public event for the first time since declaring a COVID-19 emergency in May, honouring veterans of the 1950-53 Korean war just days after saying its coronavirus crisis was nearly over. Photos released by state media on Wednesday showed thousands of participants at the annual ceremony without masks, including senior ruling Workers' Party officials and elderly uniformed veterans.
27th Jul 2022 - Reuters


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China continues to adapt border control to COVID-19 situation: authority

China's National Immigration Administration (NIA) will continue to adjust and improve entry-and-exit control measures in line with the changing COVID-19 situation to fully meet people's necessary need for cross-border travel, a spokesperson said Tuesday. The immigration administration work will also continue to facilitate enterprises' production and operation to promote the country's opening-up, as well as international exchanges and cooperation, said Zhang Ning, the spokesperson for NIA.
26th Jul 2022 - Xinhua

China’s Zero-Covid Policy Drags on Vaccination Drive

China’s sluggish progress in vaccinating the elderly and vulnerable against Covid-19 is impeding any departure from the cycles of mass testing and lockdowns that are hobbling the world’s second-largest economy. While the government stepped up efforts to raise inoculation rates in recent months, tens of millions of Chinese over 60 remain entirely unvaccinated against Covid-19, and many more have yet to take booster shots needed to protect against the Omicron subvariants now fueling outbreaks. Officials have tried to overcome skepticism and inertia against vaccination, particularly among the elderly, by revealing that top Chinese leaders have taken domestically developed shots and lashing out at what they called irresponsible rumors alleging serious side effects from vaccines.
26th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

EU states should act now for COVID-19 waves in winter-official

EU member states should start preparing now for a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in autumn and winter, the bloc's health chief said on Monday, saying there had been a "worrying increase" in outbreaks. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides also warned there was no room for complacency, saying the pandemic was not over. "Unfortunately the pandemic has shown a worrying increase in several countries," she told Cyprus state radio.
26th Jul 2022 - Reuters

China Covid Cases Rise as Shenzhen Flare Up Ensnares BYD, Huawei

China’s Covid-19 infections rebounded, with an increase in cases in the south threatening the operations of industry giants including BYD Co. and Huawei Technologies Co. Nationwide, cases were 868 for Monday, CCTV reported, up from 680 a day earlier. Attention is shifting to the southern manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, where 19 local cases were detected and authorities have ordered some of China’s biggest firms to operate within a “closed loop” system for seven days, raising concerns about disruptions to global supply chains. The city government asked its 100 biggest companies, including iPhone maker Foxconn and oil producer Cnooc Ltd. to restrict operations only to employees living within a closed loop or bubble, with little to no contact with people beyond their plants or offices.
26th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Omicron BA.5 makes up 82% of COVID variants in U.S., CDC says

The BA.5 subvariant of Omicron was estimated to make up 81.9% of the circulating coronavirus variants in the United States for the week ended July 23, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday. This was higher than the 75.9% prevalence estimated in the preceding week. BA.5 has been driving a surge of new infections globally and has shown to be particularly good at evading the immune protection afforded either by vaccination or prior infection.
26th Jul 2022 - Reuters

China Approves First Homegrown Antiviral Pill to Combat Covid

China approved its first homegrown Covid antiviral, as regulators cleared a medicine from Genuine Biotech that was previously used to treat HIV. The National Medical Products Administration gave the nod to Azvudine from the Henan-based drug company for adults with moderate Covid-19 disease under an emergency use authorization, according to a statement by the agency on Monday. The drug will compete with Pfizer Inc.’s Paxlovid, which was approved in China in February shortly before the country experienced its worst outbreak of the pandemic.
25th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg


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China's Shenzhen orders big firms such as Foxconn into closed loop to curb COVID

The Chinese city of Shenzhen told 100 major companies including iPhone maker Foxconn to set up "closed-loop" systems as it battles COVID-19, according to a document attributed to the local government circulating online on Monday. While Reuters could not independently verify the document, a notice at a Shenzhen office of oil giant CNOOC Ltd seen by Reuters said that the building would be closed for seven days until July 31, with staff to work from home and continue with daily COVID testing.
25th Jul 2022 - Reuters

‘Exhaustion and burnout’: states look to boost volunteer numbers as demand increases

Unlike many others at the organisation, the pair are continuing their volunteer work well after lockdowns have ended. “It’s given me a purpose and the best thing is I met my nextdoor neighbours,” Bergman says. Hazels agrees that their friendship has been a “lovely” outcome of her volunteering experience. “We laugh, and we have fun, and we’re all doing a good thing,” she says. They were drawn to volunteering during Melbourne’s early Covid restrictions, as it was a permitted activity that allowed them to escape lockdowns.
25th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

China tries to boost vaccine rate with show of confidence from leaders

While other world leaders were photographed being vaccinated to boost take-up rates, Beijing had previously stayed silent on the topic. Zeng Yixin from the National Health Commission says party and state leaders have ‘a high level of trust in the vaccines produced by our country.’
25th Jul 2022 - South China Morning Post

Covid in China: Xi Jinping and other leaders given domestic vaccine

President Xi Jinping and other top politicians have been given domestically produced Covid vaccines, China has said. The news was released as part of a campaign to increase vaccination rates, especially of boosters. The deputy head of China's National Health Commission, Zeng Yixin, said it showed the leadership's confidence in the Chinese vaccines. Health information about these figures is not usually shared with the public. Mr Zeng said the country's leaders had "all taken the home-grown Covid-19 vaccination jabs".
25th Jul 2022 - BBC News

North Korea pushes traditional medicine to fight COVID-19

As a medical student in North Korea, Lee Gwang-jin said he treated his fevers and other minor ailments with traditional herbal medicine. But bad illness could mean trouble because hospitals in his rural hometown lacked the ambulances, beds, even the electricity at times needed to treat critical or emergency patients. So Lee was skeptical when he heard recent North Korean state media reports that claimed such so-called Koryo traditional medicine is playing a key role in the nation’s fight against COVID-19, which has killed millions around the world. “North Korea is using Koryo medicine a lot (for COVID-19) … but it’s not a sure remedy,” said Lee, who studied Koryo medicine before he fled North Korea in 2018 for a new life in South Korea. “Someone who is destined to survive will survive (with such medicine), but North Korea can’t help others who are dying.”
25th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

China Covid Cases Drop as Macau, Shanghai Ramp Up Mass Testing

China’s Covid-19 cases fell to the lowest in a week, even as officials in the financial hub of Shanghai and the gaming enclave of Macau ramped up mass testing. China reported 680 cases for Sunday, down from 869 on Saturday and the lowest daily tally since July 17. Still, authorities continue to roll out testing blitzes to catch flareups and stamp out outbreaks. In Macau, all residents must perform daily rapid Covid tests on themselves and report the results to the government for the next week, with mass laboratory tests slated for the coming weekend.
24th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th Jul 2022

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Covid-19 Lab Companies Retrench as Rapid Tests Take Over

More people checking for Covid-19 infections are choosing rapid, at-home antigen tests over PCR tests processed at laboratories, making variant-driven waves harder to track and helping to spur a retrenchment in testing capacity that labs had built up over the pandemic. U.S. laboratories currently have the capacity to process the results of about 62 million PCR tests for Covid-19 a month, which is half of what it was in March, researchers at the consulting firm Health Catalysts Group estimate, after demand dropped and government funding diminished. Some laboratories and diagnostic companies have laid off employees or reassigned them to other tasks. SummerBio LLC, a startup that once processed some 100,000 PCR tests a day, is halting production, putting equipment in storage and laying off some 100 workers. One of its bigger clients, the Los Angeles Unified School District, shifted in June from weekly PCR testing to at-home tests.
24th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Covid hits a third of Australia’s aged care homes as 6,000 residents infected

Aged care providers are calling for urgent action to protect residents and staff from a winter Covid-19 wave which is hitting more than one-third of the country’s facilities. The Aged and Community Care Providers Association said 6,000 residents and 3,400 staff were infected in 1,013 facilities as of Thursday. The association’s interim chief executive, Paul Sadler, said 10 to 15% of staff were already isolating or quarantining at home, and the coming weeks will put intense pressure on aged care residents and workers.
24th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

Singapore reports 7889 new COVID-19 cases

Singapore reported 7,889 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total tally to 1,652,981. Of the new cases, 804 cases were detected through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and 7,085 through ART (antigen rapid test) tests, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health. Among the PCR cases, 763 were local transmissions and 41 were imported cases. Among the ART cases with mild symptoms and assessed to be of low risk, there were 6,829 local transmissions and 256 imported cases, respectively.
23rd Jul 2022 - Xinhuanet

China Says Xi, Other Leaders Got Local Shots in Rare Disclosure

China said all its leaders received locally-made Covid-19 shots, the first time a confirmation was made in the absence of a vaccine mandate for the country with the world’s strictest controls against the virus. The Chinese leadership is “highly confident” in domestic vaccines, National Health Commission official Zeng Yixin said at a briefing on Saturday. The department also addressed concerns surrounding the shots, saying the vaccines won’t trigger illnesses such as leukemia and diabetes.
23rd Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

South Australian COVID-19 acute commander appointed as new measures taken to free up hospital beds

A record number of people with COVID-19 are in South Australia's hospitals. New wards for patients with the virus are opening in Adelaide hospitals. Agency and student nurses will be recruited to replace some of the 1,200 infected SA Health staff.
22nd Jul 2022 - ABC News

Covid-Hit LA on Track to Reinstate Indoor Mask Mandate Next Week

The Los Angeles health authority cautioned that an indoor masking mandate is on track to be reimposed next week, even for the fully vaccinated, unless Covid-19 cases take a sharp drop. A universal mandate will be put in place across the US’s most-populous county after a “high” level of community-transmission for two straight weeks. If the current trends hold, a new mandate would go into effect on July 29, according to Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director.
21st Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Opinion | China's 'zero covid' policy has been a nightmare for U.S. diplomats

For the past two years, U.S. diplomatic personnel in China have been forced to confront the risk of being detained or separated from their family members for either testing positive for the coronavirus or being deemed a “close contact” of someone who has. In fact, 16 U.S. diplomatic personnel or their family members have been sent, against their will, to Chinese government medical quarantine centers since the pandemic began, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing confirmed to me.
21st Jul 2022 - The Washington Post


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China Perspective Podcast: Is China back to square one in fight against Covid?

The Straits Times' China bureau chief Tan Dawn Wei chats with Money FM 89.3's Elliott Danker. They discuss the Covid-19 situation in China, with case numbers increasing once again. Also, highlights from Chinese Premier Xi Jinping visit to Xinjiang last week and the possibility of China stumbling into its own mortgage crisis.
21st Jul 2022 - The Straits Times

Tokyo Covid-19 cases top 30000 for 1st time, Japan urges high vigilance

Japan's top government spokesman on Thursday (July 21) called for the highest vigilance against Covid-19 infections as the nation's capital, Tokyo, reported 31,878 cases of daily infections, surpassing the 30,000 mark for the first time. "Nationwide, new infections have reached the highest level ever," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a regular news conference. "We need to keep a close eye on the infection situation going forward, including the issue of access to medical services, with the highest vigilance." In response to the surge of infection cases, the Tokyo metropolitan government on Thursday raised the alert level for the medical system to the most serious on its four-level scale.
21st Jul 2022 - The Straits Times

China's top Covid official denies authorities are easing controls

Some moves by Beijing in recent weeks - including shorter quarantine requirements for inbound travellers and allowing more international flights - have raised hopes that the country will move away from its zero-Covid approach. But Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan said: "The latest Covid-19 control playbook is not about relaxing rules, but about precision, which requires greater efforts to grasp prevention and close loopholes." Speaking on a visit to Hebei province earlier this week, she warned officials they need to act swiftly to stop outbreaks spreading in the run up to the Communist Party congress, the country's main political event of the year.
21st Jul 2022 - ฺBangkok Post

Ontario to open pediatric COVID-19 vaccine bookings starting July 28

Ontario parents will be able to book COVID-19 vaccinations for infants and preschoolers starting next Thursday. Health Minister Sylvia Jones said the lower-dose Moderna shot for children aged six months to under five will give young family members protection against COVID-19. “Getting vaccinated remains the best defence against COVID-19,” she said in a written statement. “I encourage parents with questions to reach out to their health care provider, the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre or the SickKids COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service to make an informed choice for their family.”
21st Jul 2022 - The Globe and Mail

COVID-19 vaccine bookings for children under five opening in Ontario next week

Just a week ago, Health Canada approved Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for infants and preschoolers, marking the first vaccine approval for the age group in the country. The child-sized vaccine dose is one-quarter the size of the adult quantity. Over the next several days, pediatric vaccines will be distributed across the province and will be available through public health unit clinics, as well as participating pediatricians, primary care providers and pharmacies.
21st Jul 2022 - CTV News


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 21st Jul 2022

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Australians urged to wear masks and work from home amid Covid-19 surge

It's been eight months since Sydney was released from its last lockdown, and in that time, Australia has slowly been shedding many of its Covid-related mandates. Mask wearing is required only in a handful of places, returning to the office has been encouraged, and domestic and international travel are back on the cards. But amid attempts to return to normalcy, a third wave of Omicron is giving cause for concern. In a joint press conference with health minister Mark Butler, chief medical officer Paul Kelly strongly advised that employers allow their employees to work from home where feasible, and to reinstate mask wearing in the workplace. "There were 300,000 cases or thereabouts reported over the last seven days, and I think the CMO and I are pretty confident that the real number is likely more than double that," said Butler.
20th Jul 2022 - Time Out

China’s Covid slowdown raises spectre of middle-income trap

Ahead of this year’s 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, we take a look at how the country is responding to three potential traps highlighted by President Xi Jinping in the past decade. In the third of a three-part series, we examine the middle-income trap and the hurdles China’s economy must clear to escape it. Chinese officials like to use numbers to describe the country’s economic miracle. So that is what Han Wenxiu, a senior official with the Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission, did when he summarised almost a decade of achievements under President Xi Jinping in mid-May.
20th Jul 2022 - South China Morning Post

CDC stops monitoring COVID-19 cases on cruise ships

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has discontinued a program that tracked cases of COVID-19 aboard cruise ships in the U.S. and reported the findings to the public. The initiative, called the COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, ended Monday, according to the government agency. "CDC will continue to publish guidance to help cruise ships continue to provide a safer and healthier environment for passengers, crew and communities going forward," the agency said on its website.
20th Jul 2022 - CBS News

Illinois governor tests positive for COVID-19; symptoms mild

Article reports that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office announced Tuesday that the Illinois governor has tested positive for COVID-19. Pritzker is experiencing mild symptoms and has been prescribed the anti-viral medication Paxlovid, according to a statement from his office. He is working from home. The Democrat undergoes a routine COVID-19 testing regimen and received the positive result after he was notified that several close contacts had contracted the illness. Pritzker is vaccinated and has received two booster shots. He has long urged everyone to be vaccinated and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for staying healthy and stopping the spread.
20th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

Australians urged to work from home as COVID hospital cases surge

Australians have been urged to work from home and wear masks indoors as the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 nears record levels. The country is in the midst of a third wave of coronavirus, driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, and earlier this month broadened access to second booster shots to deal with the surge in cases. Daily cases climbed to 50,248 on Tuesday, the highest in two months. Some 5,239 Australians are currently in hospital with COVID-19, just short of the record 5,390 recorded in January. “We need to do some things differently at least for a short period of time,” Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told ABC Radio on Wednesday, as he predicted the number of people admitted to hospital will soon hit an all-time high.
20th Jul 2022 - Al Jazeera English

China rules out ‘excessive stimulus’ to save economy, but Li Keqiang vows to refine coronavirus policy

Premier Li Keqiang tells World Economic Forum that China will not employ large-scale stimulus to hit economic growth targets, but will adjust coronavirus policy. His comments to international business leaders come amid fresh concern about the economic toll of zero Covid and frustration among foreign firms in China.
20th Jul 2022 - South China Morning Post

City of London Bankers Trigger Nearly 650 Covid Restrictions Breach Alerts

The City of London’s banks and asset managers notified the UK’s financial regulator of more than 700 incidents of non-financial misconduct by senior staff during the pandemic, including more than 600 breaches of Covid restrictions. The Financial Conduct Authority was notified of 194 incidents of non-financial misconduct by bankers belonging to its senior managers and certification regime, and another 552 by staff at fund managers from the start of 2020 to September 2021, according to a Freedom of Information request by Following the Rules, a financial regulation podcast. Those included 646 episodes tied to Covid breaches as well as 44 counts of bullying and 66 linked to racism. The FCA has disclosed it has opened five investigations into non-financial misconduct in 2019 and none in 2020.
19th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Most Popular U.S. Cities Amid the Pandemic Now Have the Highest Inflation Rates

U.S. cities that have seen the largest influx of new residents over the course of the pandemic now also have the highest inflation rates, according to a report from Redfin released Tuesday. “A place’s popularity has a big impact on how much its local prices go up,” Redfin deputy chief economist Taylor Marr wrote in the report. “An influx of people moving into a place like Phoenix or Tampa [Florida] pushes up demand for everything from housing to food to fuel, which pushes up prices in all those areas and ultimately contributes to overall inflation.”
19th Jul 2022 - Barron's

Scars of COVID persist for sickest survivors, their families

Freddy Fernandez almost wasn’t here, on his couch in his Missouri home, his baby on his lap, gnawing on the pulse oximeter that he uses to check his oxygen levels after a months-long bout with COVID-19. Months after being warned that her partner might never hold his daughter, Vanessa smiles as the girl works to cut two teeth on the device that Freddy wears like a necklace, a blue ribbon tied around it. Freddy spent five months hospitalized a four-hour drive away from the couple’s home in the southwest Missouri town of Carthage on the most intense life support available. The 41-year-old father of six nearly died repeatedly and now he — like so many who survived COVID-19 hospitalizations — has returned home changed.
19th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press


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Where is Ireland now with Covid?

Since the start of the pandemic, Ireland has seen 1.6 million PCR confirmed cases. But the real figure is much higher. There has also been 7,571 Covid-19 deaths according to the official data. The current daily reported figures are about 1,200 PCR positive cases and 2,500 self-administered antigen tests being positive. But because the criteria for PCR testing changed a few months ago and there is a lot of self-administered antigen testing, the true number of daily case numbers is much higher than official data, possibly three or more times higher. We all became used to almost nightly NPHET briefings and a flurry of transmission data. NPHET is no more. Some of the data now available is provided weekly, some daily and in truth gives a limited picture of transmission levels.
17th Jul 2022 - RTE.ie

Czechs to start offering second COVID booster shots

The Czech Republic will begin offering a second COVID-19 boosters from July 18, recommending the shot for people over 60 and those in risk groups, the Health Ministry said on Friday. Boosters will however be available to anyone over 18 and are voluntary, the ministry said. "I want everyone who is interested to have access to vaccination," Health Minister Vlastimil Valek said.
16th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Australia reinstates COVID quarantine pay amid fresh Omicron wave

Australia will reinstate support payments for casual workers who have to quarantine due to COVID-19, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Saturday, as a fresh wave of Omicron-driven infections sweeps the country.
16th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai Continues to Lock Down Areas Even as Cases Stabilize

Shanghai’s latest Covid-19 outbreak appears to be stabilizing, with most new cases already in government-mandated quarantine, but authorities are taking no chances, still locking down areas of the city and housing compounds as infections arise. The financial center recorded 45 infections for Thursday, down from 47 on Wednesday. While daily cases have jumped from single digits last week, they are no longer rising precipitously, and all the latest cases were already in isolation.
16th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

COVID-19: Autumn booster and flu jab to be extended to over 50s to reduce hospital admissions

A COVID-19 booster will be offered to all over 50s in the autumn as part of plans to increase protection from respiratory illnesses and "keep greater numbers of people out of hospital". Scientific advisers on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended the extra dose is offered ahead of the winter, in guidance published on Friday. Care home residents and staff and front-line health and social care workers are also eligible. The jabs are also being recommended for people aged between five and 49 who are in clinical risk groups, including pregnant women, and household contacts of people with immunosuppression.
15th Jul 2022 - Sky News

UK Covid-19 vaccine boosters to be expanded to all over-50s

Uk government said it is offering Covid-19 booster shots to the over 50s this fall in an effort to combat the number of deaths and hospitalisations,
15th Jul 2022 - The Financial Times

Australia gov't faces pressure to reinstate COVID quarantine pay amid fresh wave

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called a snap meeting of federal and state leaders next week as he faces pressure to reinstate compensation pay for casual workers forced to isolate due to COVID-19 amid a fresh wave of infections. A renewed surge in cases fuelled by the BA.4/5 Omicron coronavirus variants have put Australia's health system on alert with the total number of people admitted to hospitals from COVID-19 not far away from record levels seen earlier this year.
15th Jul 2022 - Reuters

SINOVAC COVID-19 Vaccine Is Authorized for Emergency Use in Kids Aged 3-5 In Brazil

Sinovac Biotech Ltd., a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in China, announced that its COVID-19 vaccine (CoronaVac) has been approved by the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) for emergency use in children from 3 to 5 years old on 13 July. These children will receive the same dose that is already applied to minors aged 6 to 17 years and adults and there is no restriction on the application for immunosuppressed children aged 3 to 5 years. This authorization was given under comprehensive evaluations based on analysis results from all available data on the vaccine and its use in children. Analysis relied on information submitted by the Butantan Institute, with research data from Chile, where the vaccine is already used in this age group, research results on Covid-19 vaccination in Brazil, opinions from invited medical societies, real-life evidence, and published scientific literature data.
15th Jul 2022 - Korea Newswire


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Masks could return to Los Angeles as COVID surges nationwide

Nick Barragan is used to wearing a mask because his job in the Los Angeles film industry has long required it, so he won't be fazed if the nation's most populous county reinstates rules requiring face coverings because of another spike in coronavirus cases across the country. “I feel fine about it because I’ve worn one pretty much constantly for the last few years. It’s become a habit,” said Barragan, masked up while out running errands Wednesday. Los Angeles County, home to 10 million residents, is facing a return to a broad indoor mask mandate later this month if current trends in hospital admissions continue, county health Director Barbara Ferrer said this week.
15th Jul 2022 - The Independent

U.S. FDA classifies recall of GE's ventilator batteries as most serious

U.S. health regulators on Tuesday classified the recall of some backup batteries of GE Healthcare's ventilators, which the company had initiated in mid-April, as the most serious type, saying that their use could lead to injuries or death. The CARESCAPE R860 ventilator's backup batteries, including replacement backup batteries, were recalled as they were running out earlier-than-expected, which could cause the device to shut down preventing the patient from receiving breathing support, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
14th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Free Covid Booster Dose For All Adults From Friday For The Next 75 Days

In India, all adults will be able to get free booster doses of the coronavirus vaccine at government centres under a special drive over the next 75 days from Friday, officials said on Wednesday. Aimed at improving the third-dose coverage, the drive will be held as part of the government's 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of India's Independence.
14th Jul 2022 - NDTV

Canada's Ontario to offer second COVID booster dose to all adults

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, said on Wednesday that it would offer a second COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to everyone aged 18 and older from Thursday. "As we continue to manage COVID-19 for the long term, we're expanding second booster doses and extending the availability of free rapid antigen tests to give people the tools they need to stay safe and to ensure Ontario stays open," Ontario's Health Minister Sylvia Jones said in a statement.
14th Jul 2022 - Reuters Canada

Some Chinese cities order more frequent COVID testing as cases creep higher

Several Chinese cities have doubled down on COVID-19 testing, ordering residents to have their mouths swabbed more often, with some punishing people who skip tests, as authorities try to stop the virus from spreading while the case numbers are still small. In June, several cities had relaxed testing requirements as the outbreaks suffered in spring began to subside, but an uptick in infections this month, fuelled by an Omicron subvariant, have forced a few areas to quickly tighten rules
14th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Some Beijing travelers asked to wear COVID monitoring bracelets, sparking outcry

Some Beijing residents returning from domestic travel were asked by local authorities to wear COVID-19 monitoring bracelets, prompting widespread criticism on Chinese social media by users concerned about excessive government surveillance. According to posts published on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning on microblogging platform Weibo, some Beijing residents returning to the capital were asked by their neighbourhood committees to wear an electronic bracelet throughout the mandatory home quarantine period.
14th Jul 2022 - Reuters.com

Colleges Serving Low-Income Students, HBCUs Get $198 Million in Covid-Relief Funds

In the US, the Education Department awarded nearly $198 million in Covid-19 relief funds to 244 colleges and universities serving large numbers of students who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Almost 90 percent of the money will go toward historically Black colleges and universities, universities with high rates of minority enrollment and institutions serving large populations of low-income students, including community colleges.
14th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

New Zealand announces free masks, tests as health system struggles with COVID

The New Zealand government on Thursday announced free masks and rapid antigen tests as it tries to stem the spread of COVID-19 and relieve pressure on the country's health system which is dealing with an influx of COVID and influenza patients. There has been a significant jump in the number of new COVID cases in New Zealand in the past couple of week and authorities are forecasting that this wave of Omicron might be worst than the first
14th Jul 2022 - Reuters.com


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Free Covid booster doses for 18-59 age group from July 15 at govt centress

People in the 18-59 age group can get free precaution doses of the Covid vaccine at government vaccination centres under a 75-day special drive likely to begin from July 15, the government said on Wednesday. The drive, aimed at boosting the administration of Covid precaution doses, will be held as part of the government's Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India's Independence, it said. Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur told reporters the Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to mark the 75th anniversary of India's Independence.
13th Jul 2022 - Business Standard

Get COVID-19 booster now if eligible, ECDC boss urges

Countries should start boosting older people a second time with COVID-19 shots, the head of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Wednesday, stressing that waiting for new variant vaccines in the fall could be too late. “The risk for people is now,” said Andrea Ammon, director of the ECDC, referencing the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the European Union driven by the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 strains. “If I get offered this vaccine now, I will take it now,” she told members of the European Parliament's special committee on COVID-19. She underlined that the existing vaccines continue to offer protection against severe disease and death against these variants.
13th Jul 2022 - POLITICO Europe

S. Korea expands booster shots as COVID-19 cases creep up

Health officials in South Korea are expanding their booster shot programme to adults 50 and over as COVID-19 cases creep up again across the country.
13th Jul 2022 - ABC

Covid-19: Free masks and RATs but traffic light setting expected to stay orange

The Government is expected to make it easier to get free masks and rapid antigen tests (RATs), with concerns many cases of Covid-19 are going untested and unreported. Covid-19 Response Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall is set to announce an update to the Government’s Covid-19 plan and guidelines on Thursday afternoon. Stuff understands Verrall will outline plans for the Government to provide free masks and Covid-19 tests. Verrall had already outlined plans to deliver 50 free masks to every school child in years 4-7.
13th Jul 2022 - Stuff

New format of digital COVID-19 certificate to be available Thursday

Taiwan will start offering on Thursday a new format of its digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate, which can be used in countries including the United States, Canada, Japan, and Australia, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday. The new format follows the SMART Health Cards framework launched by the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI), which Taiwan joined on May 20, CECC official Pang Yi-ming said at a press briefing. According to the VCI website, SMART Health Cards are issued by the governments of 24 U.S. states and territories, Canada, Japan, and Sydney, Australia, among others.
13th Jul 2022 - Focus Taiwan News Channel

S. Korea expands booster shots as COVID-19 cases creep up

Health officials in South Korea are expanding booster shots to adults 50 and over as COVID-19 cases creep up again across the country. The 40,226 new cases reported Wednesday marked the country’s highest daily jump in more than two months, although hospitalizations and deaths remain stable. Baek Gyeongran, South Korea’s top infectious disease expert, attributed the rising case counts to people’s waning immunities following vaccinations and prior infections and a major removal of social distancing measures since April as the nation wiggled out of an omicron surge. Health workers are also witnessing a “rapid spread” of BA.5, which is seen as the most transmissible variant of omicron yet, Baek said.
13th Jul 2022 - The Independent

Australia athletes barred from other Commonwealth Games venues over COVID risk

Australian athletes will be banned from supporting their team mates at other Commonwealth Games events at Birmingham due to the risk of COVID-19 transmission, team chef de mission Petria Thomas said. They will also have to wear face masks when not in their rooms or exercising at the July 28 - Aug. 8 Games as part of team health protocols. "Our primary focus is that we can get our athletes to the starting line and they are performance ready,” Thomas told News Corp media on Wednesday.
13th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Experts rue simple steps not taken before latest COVID surge

With new omicron variants again driving COVID-19 hospital admissions and deaths higher in recent weeks, states and cities are rethinking their responses and the White House is stepping up efforts to alert the public. Some experts said the warnings are too little, too late. The highly transmissible BA.5 variant now accounts for 65% of cases with its cousin BA.4 contributing another 16%. The variants have shown a remarkable ability to get around the protection offered by infection and vaccination. “It’s well past the time when the warning could have been put out there,” said Dr. Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, who has has called BA.5 “the worst variant yet.”
13th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

Amid COVID worries, fist bumps for Biden — with exceptions

The White House said President Joe Biden would try to limit physical contact during his Middle East trip because of concern about rising COVID-19 cases — but the president swiftly reverted to his old-school, back-slapping ways after landing in Israel on Wednesday. He doled out a few fist bumps after stepping off the plane but then threw an arm around Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and shook hands with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The issue of contact is arising amid intense speculation about Biden’s upcoming meeting with leaders in Saudi Arabia and whether he will shake hands with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who U.S. intelligence officials said probably sanctioned the killing of a critic. The ostensible COVID-19 rule could give Biden cover to avoid a potentially problematic image with the crown prince.
13th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

White House officials push boosters as BA.5 surge intensifies

At a briefing today, Ashish Jha, MD, the White House committee's coordinator, said officials have been closely tracking the rapidly evolving BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which are the most transmissible forms of Omicron and can evade protection from earlier infection and vaccines. He and his team, however, emphasized that the vaccination can still protect against severe outcomes. Jha said if people haven't gotten a vaccine dose in 2022, it's time to get one now. "It could save your life," he said. He acknowledged that some people may be holding off on getting boosted, anticipating a rise in COVID activity in the fall, while others might be waiting for an Omicron-specific booster. Jha said getting boosted now won't preclude people from getting another dose in the fall or winter when the Omicron-specific version is expected to be available. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said proportions of BA.4 and BA.5 are increasing, especially, with the two related subvariants making up about 81% of circulating viruses, up significantly from about 70% last week
12th Jul 2022 - CIDRAP


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Xi Jinping's Covid-Zero Policy Meets Red Line at Vaccine Mandates

China’s first attempt at a vaccine mandate was abruptly scrapped last week within days of being announced by municipal officials in Beijing. The plan to stop people entering public venues without proof of vaccination sparked an outcry online, with Chinese social media users calling it an illegal cap on their freedoms and questioning how effective the vaccines were against immune-evasive variants. Vaccine mandates have emerged as a surprise red line for the ruling Communist Party, which up until a few years ago controlled citizens’ reproductive rights through its one child-policy and is steaming ahead with other controversial virus curbs, such as widespread tracking of individuals through their phones, mass testing and border curbs.
12th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

COVID-19: Hong Kong leader defends plans for health codes to tackle coronavirus amid privacy concerns

Hong Kong leader John Lee has defended the city's plan to introduce health codes to combat COVID, amid privacy concerns over the system used in mainland China. The proposed approach would restrict the movement of certain people, with those infected receiving a red code and those under hotel quarantine getting a yellow code. Mr Lee, who spoke at a regular news conference on Tuesday, said the plan is part of the city's objective to adopt "precise strategies to minimise the scope of restrictions".
12th Jul 2022 - Sky News

White House to prioritize vaccine boosters, testing to combat Omicron subvariant

The White House said on Tuesday it will ensure Americans continue to have easy access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and testing to contain the fast-spreading Omicron BA.5 subvariant that now makes up a majority of U.S. cases. Health officials say there are indications the subvariant might be better at escaping immunity, including from prior infections. BA.5 is estimated to account for 65% of the coronavirus variants circulating in the United States as of last week, said Rochelle Walensky, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
12th Jul 2022 - Reuters

U.S. orders 3.2 million doses of Novavax COVID vaccine

The U.S. government will get 3.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax Inc once the shot has been authorized by the regulators, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the company said on Monday. The shot will be made available for free in the country after it gets authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommendation.
12th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Unnerved Shanghai residents brave stifling heat for mass COVID tests

Shanghai residents queued up in sweltering heat for compulsory mass testing for COVID-19 on Tuesday, as persistent small outbreaks fuelled anxiety in a city that is still recovering from the painful two-month lockdown lifted a few weeks ago.
12th Jul 2022 - Reuters on MSN.com

China tells local governments to drop COVID tests on some goods

China's health authority said on Tuesday that local governments no longer need to test some imported goods for the coronavirus, in a move aimed at reducing the cost of its strict COVID-19 prevention measures. China began testing the packaging of chilled and frozen food imports for the virus in June 2020, after a cluster of infections among workers at a wholesale food market in Beijing. Six months later, Beijing also advised testing on ambient products too, even as scientists said the risk of coronavirus infection through contact with contaminated surfaces was low.
12th Jul 2022 - Reuters

US officials working on a plan to allow second Covid-19 boosters for all adults

US health officials are urgently working on a plan to allow second Covid-19 boosters for all adults, a senior White House official confirmed to CNN on Monday. The US Food and Drug Administration is making it a high priority, the official said. Second boosters have been authorized for adults 50 and older, as well as some people with weakened immune systems, since late March. But younger adults are eligible for only one booster shot, which was authorized in November.
12th Jul 2022 - CNN

Hong Kong to electronically tag Covid patients as it adopts China’s health code system

Hong Kong will mandate electronic tracking bracelets for people in home isolation and bring in a China-style electronic health code system as part of fresh measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The quarantine bracelets, to be introduced on Friday, will be mandatory for people who have tested positive and are quarantining at home to ensure they do not leave the building during their isolation period. “We have to make sure that home isolation is more precise while being humane,” Lo Chung-mau, the city’s new health secretary said, announcing the new requirement on Monday. Breaching a mandatory quarantine order in Hong Kong carries a fine of up to HK$25,000 ($3,200) and up to six months in jail.
12th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

Covid cases set to hit new record as experts call for return of free testing and school air filtration systems

Covid cases are about to hit a new record after daily symptomatic infections reached 348,001 – just a few hundred below the previous high in March. Cases have more than tripled in the last six weeks, largely because of the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which are much better at overcoming immunity built up from vaccinations and prior infections. But public and government behaviours are also playing a key role, with many acting as if the pandemic is over when that is far from the case, scientists say. This has enabled cases to soar from 114,030 on 1 June to 348,001 on Saturday 9 July – barely a thousand daily infections below the record 349,011 set on 31 March, according to the ZOE Covid study app.
12th Jul 2022 - i on MSN.com

H.K. May Loosen Quarantine by November, Health Chief Tells SCMP

“Is nothing required any more? I think that would be a bit tough,” Lo said in the interview. “At least PCR testing is needed. But does quarantine have to be confined to a fixed location?” He floated a scenario where arrivals could be subject to PCR testing and prohibited from attending high-risk venues like bars. The city is also planning a China-like health code system to manage social distancing. A yellow code will allow people to go to work but prohibit them from high-risk places like aged-care homes or venues where masks are removed.
12th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg


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Indonesia Requires Covid Test From Travelers Without Booster Vaccine

Indonesia will reimpose a Covid-19 testing requirement for travelers who haven’t received their booster vaccine in order to curb a resurgence in cases. Starting from July 17, domestic travelers who have received their booster shot are not required to take the test prior to departure, the Transport Ministry said in a statement. The rest must prove a negative rapid antigen test result at least 24 hours before departing or a negative PCR test within 3 days before leaving, according to the statement published on the ministry’s website. People are still required to wear a mask in crowded areas, especially in cities where infection rates are higher.
11th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Are states ordering enough COVID vaccine doses for children under 5?

Since the COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for children under age 5 last month, states have been able to pre-order doses directly from the federal government. Roughly 300,000 children between ages six months and four years have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is equivalent to about 1.5% of the roughly 19.5 million children in the United States who recently became eligible.
11th Jul 2022 - ABC News

EU backs second COVID booster for over-60s, before variant-adapted vaccines are ready

European Union health agencies on Monday recommended a second COVID-19 booster for everyone over 60, as well as medically vulnerable people, amid a new rise in infections and hospitalisations across Europe. While existing coronavirus vaccines continue to provide good protection against hospitalisation and death, vaccine effectiveness has taken a hit as the virus has evolved. EU health agencies have since April recommended a second booster only for those older than 80 and the most vulnerable.
11th Jul 2022 - Reuters

More than 1bn Covid vaccine jabs wasted in pandemic, data analysis suggests

More than 1bn Covid vaccine jabs wasted in pandemic, data analysis suggests
11th Jul 2022 - Financial Times

EU urges second COVID-19 boosters for people ages 60 to 79

The European Union said Monday it's “critical” that authorities in the 27-nation bloc consider giving second coronavirus booster shots to people between the ages of 60 and 79 years and other vulnerable people, as a new wave of the pandemic sweeps over the continent. "With cases and hospitalizations rising again as we enter the summer period, I urge everybody to get vaccinated and boosted as quickly as possible. There is no time to lose,” European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said in a statement. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency said that the second boosters can be given at least four months after the first booster.
11th Jul 2022 - The Independent

Hong Kong to make COVID-19 app more like mainland China to curb infections

Hong Kong will update an app it uses for COVID-19 tracking to bring it more in line with mainland China, by requiring people to register by name and by adopting a traffic light colour code to restrict movement of infected residents and close contacts. Previously, users were not required to register with their personal details, and the app was used to enter venues and display vaccination records. Announcing the changes at a news conference on Monday, Lo Chung-Mau, the city's new health secretary, said that he hoped the app would be updated soon and that it would help to enforce quarantine orders for people required to isolate at home.
11th Jul 2022 - Reuters

South Korea's president suspends informal media briefings, citing COVID

South Korea's president will suspend informal media briefings that he has held nearly every day since taking office in May, his office said on Monday, citing rising numbers of COVID-19 infections as a survey showed a fall in his approval ratings. The end of the free-wheeling briefings, which broke with years of tradition as President Yoon Suk-yeol sought to step up transparency, also comes amid growing questions over scandal and party turmoil.
11th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai plans more COVID testing amid fresh curbs across China

Multiple Chinese cities are adopting fresh COVID-19 curbs, from business halts to lockdowns, to rein in new infections, with the commercial hub of Shanghai bracing for another mass testing effort after finding a highly-transmissible Omicron subvariant. The tough curbs by local governments follow China's "dynamic zero-COVID" policy of promptly stamping out all outbreaks at a time when much of the world co-exists with the virus.
11th Jul 2022 - Reuters


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Covid-19 cases in Singapore likely to peak in a week or sooner: Experts

Singapore's Covid-19 cases are likely to peak in a week or even sooner, experts here said, as the nation weathers through yet another infection curve. The week-on-week infection ratio - which refers to the ratio of community cases for the past week, over the week before - is falling. This means that Covid-19 cases are increasing at a slower rate. "It does not mean that the epidemic is declining, but it does mean that the peak is approaching," said Associate Professor Alex Cook, vice-dean of research at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.
11th Jul 2022 - Straits Times

Macau Shuts Casinos as City Enters Weeklong Lockdown

The gambling enclave of Macau will enter a citywide lockdown early Monday, as authorities seek to contain a spiraling Covid-19 outbreak. Aside from essential services such as supermarkets, healthcare facilities and restaurants selling takeaway, all other businesses have been ordered to shut for a week, with residents required to stay at home. City officials urged the public not to panic-buy food, asking people to make purchases at staggered times to enable social distancing in queues. The order, issued Saturday by the territory’s chief executive, Ho Iat-seng, comes as Macau struggles to contain an outbreak that had already shuttered venues such as cinemas, salons and swimming pools. The Chinese gambling hub has recorded hundreds of cases in recent weeks, its worst-ever outbreak after keeping to China’s zero-Covid strategy for most of the pandemic.
10th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Long Covid Is an Elusive Target for Big Pharma

Pharma companies do hold many assets worth testing. One example is Pfizer’s antiviral pill, Paxlovid. A growing body of research suggests that reservoirs of the virus remain in some people’s bodies beyond the acute phase, possibly leading to long Covid. A recent Harvard study showed that the spike protein from the virus lingered in the blood of 65% of the long Covid patients they tested for as long as 12 months after they were first diagnosed. “It’s a total game-changer. If we can measure this stuff, then we can test antiviral approaches to see if it helps,” says Steven Deeks, an HIV expert who is studying long Covid at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Deeks, like other researchers, has been calling on Pfizer to undertake a Paxlovid clinical trial for long Covid patients; yet a spokeswoman says the company is still “considering what a study may entail.”
10th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

New mask mandates all but ruled out around Australia as Covid cases surge

Medical experts have criticised federal and state governments for “inconsistent” messaging around the looming winter virus wave, with new face mask rules all but ruled out nationwide. It comes as trade unions launch a fresh appeal to the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, to reverse the decision to scrap paid leave for Covid-positive people forced to isolate, calling on the Labor government to reinstate the allowance until isolation rules change. “We have a population believing, and governments delivering, that Covid is in the rear-view mirror, that we’re over the worst of it, that it’s time to do away with any of the measures and move on with life,” said infectious disease expert Prof Brendan Crabb, the CEO of the Burnet Institute.
8th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

Uruguay suspends COVID vaccination for children under 13

Uruguay stopped administering coronavirus vaccine to children under age 13 after a judge ordered on Thursday that all inoculations in that age group halt until officials present documents relating to contracts signed with vaccine manufacturers. Judge Alejandro Recarey issued the injunction under a petition filed by a lawyer who represents a group of anti-vaccine activists. The vaccinations in children under 13 had been on a voluntary basis, and the government said it will appeal the decision. Alvaro Delgado, the secretary of the presidency, characterized the halt as a threat to public health.
8th Jul 2022 - ABC News

Australians aged 30 and older are eligible for fourth COVID-19 booster. What do we know about it and when can you get it?

As health authorities attempt to ward off a surge in Omicron cases, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has expanded the eligibility of a fourth COVID-19 vaccine to people over 30.
8th Jul 2022 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Africa CDC says it has signed MOU with Pfizer for COVID pill

Africa's top public health body said on Thursday it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Pfizer for countries on the continent to receive supplies of the Paxlovid pill to treat COVID-19. Data from a mid-to-late stage study in November last year showed the antiviral medication was nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalisations and deaths compared to a placebo, in adults at high risk of severe illness.
8th Jul 2022 - Reuters

China COVID monitoring app cuts travel history scrutiny

China's national authorities are reducing scrutiny of citizens' travel history for COVID-19 monitoring, requiring that a mandatory mobile app shows the previous seven days of travel, down from 14, an adjustment likely to boost domestic tourism. The app, whose name translates to itinerary card, helped authorities to identify whether people visited areas with COVID infections, and to decide whether they should be tested for the virus or possibly placed in quarantine.
8th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Millions tested in Shanghai as China grapples COVID resurgence

Millions of people in Shanghai queued for a third day of mass COVID-19 testing on Thursday as authorities in several Chinese cities scrambled to stamp out new outbreaks that have rekindled worries about growth in the world's second-largest economy. Unless local officials succeed in preventing the virus from spreading, they could be compelled to invoke prolonged, major restrictions on residents' movement, under China's "dynamic zero COVID" strategy.
8th Jul 2022 - Reuters


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COVID and bust: China's private health system hurt by tough coronavirus controls

On March 24, a court in the central Chinese city of Fuyang announced that a $1.5 billion hospital built just four years earlier had filed for bankruptcy because it was unable to pay its debts. For most of the last two years, the Fuyang Minsheng Hospital had been fully involved in mass coronavirus vaccination and testing programmes in the city, training almost 100 staff to perform throat swabs and setting up mobile vaccination facilities to go to schools and workplaces, at the order of city officials. The diversion of resources into what China calls its 'zero-COVID' approach to contain and eliminate the virus forced the hospital to suspend many services it relied upon for revenue, sealing its financial failure.
7th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Macau shuts popular shopping mall in race to contain COVID outbreak

Macau shut down a popular shopping mall adjacent to MGM China's casino resort on the city's main peninsula after several COVID-19 infections were found, as authorities raced to the biggest outbreak yet in the world's biggest gambling hub. One Central shopping mall will be shut for one week, while more than a dozen other zones or buildings, have also been ordered to close, authorities said.
7th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Covid-19: Bristol hospital trust brings back mask wearing

In Bristol, a city hospital trust has re-introduced mask-wearing after a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases. North Bristol NHS Trust, which runs Southmead Hospital, says the measure applies to staff, patients and visitors in clinical areas. Two Gloucestershire Hospitals have also re-introduced masks for visitors, as have health boards that operate in Somerset and Wiltshire. The latest UK figures show an estimated 2.3 million people have the virus.
7th Jul 2022 - BBC News

Australians over 30 to be offered fourth dose of Covid vaccine

Australians over 30 will be offered a fourth dose of Covid vaccine from Monday, as health authorities battle a winter wave of Omicron cases. An additional booster shot for people aged over 50 has been “highly recommended” by Australia’s technical advisory group on immunisation, Atagi, but the federal government is still urging millions of eligible Australians who have not yet had their third dose to roll up their sleeves. Atagi has also called for greater use of face masks, warning more vaccine doses may only play a “limited” role in reducing hospital admissions and case numbers.
7th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

Hospital trusts bring face masks back after Covid cases rise

Face masks have been reintroduced at some hospitals in Derbyshire after a spike in Covid patients. Mandatory face masks were dropped in non-clinical areas at the Royal Derby and Chesterfield hospitals last month. However, they have now been brought back by the two trusts that run the hospitals. There are 111 Covid-19 patients at the Royal Derby Hospital - one in intensive care - and 44 patients with Covid at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
7th Jul 2022 - BBC News

Hong Kong Suspends Its Covid Flight Ban Policy

Hong Kong will stop banning routes for airlines that bring in too many passengers with Covid-19, suspending a policy that has been heavily criticized by businesses and travelers for snarling plans and leaving people stranded. The flight ban was one of many strict Covid-control policies that have left the Asian financial center more isolated from a world that is moving on from pandemic restrictions. Other travel-deterring controls including long hotel quarantines and tough testing requirements for boarding flights will remain in place, but the suspension of the flight ban beginning Thursday removes a hurdle.
7th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Australia expands fourth COVID dose rollout amid fresh Omicron threat

Australia said on Thursday it would expand the rollout of the fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines from next week as it battles a steady rise in hospital admissions fuelled by the highly transmissible new Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5. The new subvariants have now become the dominant coronavirus strains in several countries, with pandemic experts warning they could lead to more hospitalisations and deaths because they spread more quickly than other coronavirus variants.
7th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Beijing mandates COVID vaccines to enter some public spaces

The Chinese capital has issued a mandate requiring people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before they can enter some public spaces including gyms, museums and libraries, drawing concern from city residents over the sudden policy announcement and its impact on their daily lives. The health app that shows a person’s latest PCR test results has been updated to make it easier to also access their vaccination status, according to Li Ang, a spokesperson for Beijing’s municipal health commission.
7th Jul 2022 - Associated Press

Hong Kong's Hotel Quarantine System Buckles Under China Demand

The non-resident rule has also prompted Chinese travelers to use Hong Kong as a gateway to the mainland, where international flight connections are scarce as President Xi Jinping tries to shut out the virus. Monthly mainland Chinese arrivals at Hong Kong airport jumped nearly 11,000% between April and June to 30,222 -- accounting for one-third of airport passengers last month. In that environment, travelers are struggling to book quarantine rooms, scalpers are entering the market and properties have raised their own prices. Foreign business chambers last month told the Liaison Office, Beijing’s main body overseeing Hong Kong, the city must end quarantine to remain a finance hub, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.
7th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg


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More Queenslanders could receive fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Fourth doses of a COVID-19 vaccine could soon be rolled out to more people in Queensland as the state records more cases of the virus.
6th Jul 2022 - Nine News Australia

Covid-19: Gap between second shot of vaccine and precautionary dose reduced to six months

The Union health ministry on Wednesday reduced the mandatory gap between the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and the precautionary shot to six months from the earlier interval of nine months, ANI reported. Since April 10, all adults in India have been allowed to take the precautionary shot – a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine. In a letter to all states and Union Territories, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Wednesday wrote that the decision to reduce the gap between the two doses was taken by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.
6th Jul 2022 - Scroll.in

After the long wait, US parents seeking under-5s’ vaccine face yet more hurdles

Ashley Comegys, a parent of two young children in Florida, was ecstatic when the Covid vaccines were authorized for children above the age of six months in the US. “We’ve been waiting for this for so long,” she said. “We can finally start to spread our wings again.” But then she learned that Florida had missed two deadlines to preorder vaccines and would not make them available through state and local health departments, delaying the rollout by several weeks and significantly limiting access. “Rage does not adequately describe how I felt that they were basically inhibiting me from being able to make a choice to protect my children,” Comegys said.
6th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

COVID-19 boosters 'a matter of urgency' says Prime Minister as infections rise to highest level since February

Mr Albanese says the pandemic "isn't over" and encouraged eligible Australians to get their booster shot. ATAGI will announce its recommendations on fourth doses for the over-50s on Friday, according to Health Minister Mark Butler. More than 3,700 Australians are in hospital with COVID-19, the most since February
6th Jul 2022 - ABC News

Shanghai, Beijing order new round of mass COVID-19 testing

Residents of parts of Shanghai and Beijing have been ordered to undergo further rounds of COVID-19 testing following the discovery of new cases in the two cities, while tight restrictions remain in place in Hong Kong, Macao and other Chinese cities. Shanghai has only just emerged from a strict lockdown that confined most of its 24 million residents to their homes for weeks and the new requirements have stirred concerns of a return of such harsh measures. The latest outbreak in China's largest city, a key international business center, has been linked to a karaoke parlor that failed to enforce prevention measures among employees and customers, including the tracing of others they came into contact with, according to the city health commission. All such outlets have been ordered to temporarily suspend business, the city's department of culture and tourism said.
6th Jul 2022 - The Independent

Cyprus brings back face masks a month after scrapping them

Cyprus ordered the reintroduction of face masks to combat COVID-19 on Wednesday, just over a month after scrapping the requirement, as infections spiked again. The requirement to wear a face mask in indoor areas comes into effect on Friday, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela said. Health experts recommended the step after a spate of infections from people who were not taking the proper precautions, the Cypriot official said after a cabinet meeting.
6th Jul 2022 - Reuters

China allows AstraZeneca's COVID preventive drug in southern city

AstraZeneca Plc's antibody cocktail for COVID-19 prevention has been cleared for use in a medical tourism zone in China's southern province of Hainan ahead of national approval, local media said on Tuesday. China allows early use of new medical products in the special zone in Qionghai city as a part of several preferential policies granted to the area to promote medical services to visitors from both home and abroad.
6th Jul 2022 - Reuters

China's first COVID-19 vaccine mandate to be introduced in Beijing

Beijing will introduce a vaccine mandate for certain venues - the first of its kind in China since the start of the pandemic, as the country deals with the recent arrival of the highly contagious Omicron BA.5 variant. The Beijing Health Commission announced that from next week anyone entering libraries, museums, cinemas, art galleries, sports and fitness venues, entertainment venues or any crowded places in the capital "must be vaccinated". China has so far resisted mass vaccine mandates as part of its pursuit of "zero-COVID", instead relying on strict lockdowns, contact tracing, automatically tracking people's travel history and mass PCR testing to try to stamp out outbreaks as they arise.
6th Jul 2022 - Sky News

US Pandemic Checks Had No Lasting Impact on Poor, Study Shows

“These results suggest that the cash allowed participants to spend more money, improving objective financial outcomes for the few weeks immediately following the transfer and then dissipating thereafter,” wrote the researchers, led by Ania Jaroszewicz at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences. The survey covered three groups: the first received a one-time payment of $500, the second got $2,000 and the third nothing.
6th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

China's Shanghai announces two new rounds of mass COVID testing

The city of Shanghai on Tuesday announced two new rounds of mass COVID-19 testing of most of its 25 million residents over a three-day period, citing the need to trace infections linked to an outbreak at a karaoke lounge. The city government said on its official WeChat account that all residents in nine of the city's 16 districts would be tested twice from Tuesday to Thursday. People in parts of three other districts would also have to undergo tests.
5th Jul 2022 - Reuters

China's Shanghai announces two new rounds of mass COVID testing

The city of Shanghai on Tuesday announced two new rounds of mass COVID-19 testing of most of its 25 million residents over a three-day period, citing the need to trace infections linked to an outbreak at a karaoke lounge. The city government said on its official WeChat account that all residents in nine of the city's 16 districts would be tested twice from Tuesday to Thursday. People in parts of three other districts would also have to undergo tests.
5th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Ireland expects to run 'extensive' autumn COVID vaccine campaign

Ireland expects to run an extensive vaccine drive against COVID-19 and flu ahead of a potentially worrying winter surge that could lead to the reimposition of mask wearing in certain settings, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday. Ireland dropped all COVID-19 curbs earlier this year after having one of Europe's toughest lockdown regimes. While infections are on the rise again, Varadkar said the current wave seemed to be peaking and the number of hospitalised patients was expected to start falling in the next two to three weeks.
5th Jul 2022 - Reuters


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Atagi considers fourth Covid vaccine doses as Omicron subvariants drive surge in cases

Australia’s independent expert advisory group on vaccines is meeting to discuss fourth Covid-19 booster doses, as Omicron subvariants drive a rise in infections, leading some premiers to urge people to wear masks more widely. The BA.4 and BA.5 strains of Omicron are becoming the dominant strains of Covid-19 in Australia, overtaking the BA.2 strain. A preliminary analysis estimates BA.4 and BA.5 to be about 36% more infectious than BA.2. This infectiousness is driving a new wave of disease, however, there is no indication the variants are more severe. While Covid-19 vaccines do protect well against severe disease and death from the variants, they do not appear to be as effective at stopping infection and symptoms when it comes to the BA.4 and BA.5 strains.
5th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

South Australia pushes federal government to reduce restrictions on COVID-19 antivirals

COVID-19 antivirals can only be prescribed to certain groups of people. SA's Health Minister wants doctors to be more free to decide who gets them. A surge in COVID-19 cases is expected throughout Australia this winter
5th Jul 2022 - ABC News

Covid-19: GPs are asked to opt into next vaccination phase this autumn

General practices that wish to continue giving covid booster vaccinations from September have until 14 July to sign up, NHS England has said. In guidance setting out expectations for the autumn booster campaign it also states that general practices choosing to provide vaccinations must have sufficient workforce capacity to keep delivering other services. The updated enhanced service—now “phase 5” of the vaccination campaign—will start on 1 September and will initially run to 31 March 2023, but it could be extended by as much as six months depending on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. GPs will continue to be paid £10.06 for each vaccine administered and £10 for each housebound patient.
5th Jul 2022 - The BMJ

Covid-19: Further vaccinations likely in Northern Ireland in autumn

Some groups of people are likely to be offered further Covid-19 vaccinations this autumn, Northern Ireland's chief scientific advisor has said. Prof Ian Young said it would apply to vulnerable people and those aged over 65, while health and social care workers would also be offered it. The most recent population survey estimated that one in 25 people in Northern Ireland had Covid. The current wave is being driven by the ba4 and ba5 variants of the virus. Speaking to BBC News NI's Talkback programme, Prof Young said that past vaccines continued to provide protection against severe illness. "Unfortunately, however, with the new variant, ba4 and ba5, people can become re-infected with those, even when they've been vaccinated," he said.
5th Jul 2022 - BBC News

Hong Kong considers shorter COVID quarantine for travellers -Lee

Hong Kong will look into shortening COVID-19 quarantine requirements for travellers, while still aiming to curb the spread of the virus and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed, the city's new leader John Lee said on Tuesday. Lee spoke at his first weekly news conference as the city's chief executive after being sworn in on Friday by China's President Xi Jinping following celebrations marking 25 years since the former British colony's return to Chinese rule.
5th Jul 2022 - Reuters

China's Shanghai announces two new rounds of mass COVID testing

The city of Shanghai on Tuesday announced two new rounds of mass COVID-19 testing of most of its 25 million residents over a three-day period, citing the need to trace infections linked to an outbreak at a karaoke lounge. The city government said on its official WeChat account that all residents in nine of the city's 16 districts would be tested twice from Tuesday to Thursday. People in parts of three other districts would also have to undergo tests.
5th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Ireland sees 'extensive' autumn COVID-19 vaccine campaign -deputy PM

Ireland expects to run an extensive vaccine drive against COVID-19 and flu ahead of a potentially worrying winter surge that could lead to the reimposition of mask wearing in certain settings, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday. Ireland dropped all COVID-19 curbs earlier this year after having one of Europe's toughest lockdown regimes. While infections are on the rise again, Varadkar said the current wave seemed to be peaking and the number of hospitalised patients was expected to start falling in the next two to three weeks.
5th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Omicron sub-variants BA.4, BA.5 make up 70% of COVID variants in U.S. - CDC

The fast-spreading BA.4 and BA.5 sub-lineages of Omicron are estimated to make up a combined 70.1% of the coronavirus variants in the United States as of July 2, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday. BA.4 and BA.5 made up 52% of U.S. variants for the week of June 25. They were added to the World Health Organization's monitoring list in March and designated as variants of concern by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
5th Jul 2022 - Reuters

CureVac files patent lawsuit in Germany against BioNTech over mRNA technology

CureVac has filed a patent lawsuit in Germany against BioNTech over its use of mRNA technology, marking one of the first known cases of a company going to court amid the fierce competition to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus. The German-based biotech company is seeking "fair compensation" from BioNTech and two subsidiaries for infringement of its intellectual property rights, it said on Tuesday.
5th Jul 2022 - Reuters


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Australia is heading for its third Omicron wave. Here's what to expect from BA.4 and BA.5

Australia is heading for its third Omicron wave in the coming weeks, as BA.4 and BA.5 become the dominant COVID strains. BA.4 and BA.5 are more infectious than previous COVID variants and subvariants, and are better able to evade immunity from vaccines and previous infections. So we’re likely to see a rise in case numbers. So what are BA.4 and BA.5? And what can we expect in this next phase of the pandemic?
5th Jul 2022 - The Conversation

Indonesia Pushes for Covid Boosters With Cases at Two-Month High

Indonesia will ask people to show proof of a third Covid-19 vaccine shot to access crowded areas as the government banks on inoculation to manage an increase in cases. The government seeks to encourage people to get their booster shots, said Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin in a Monday briefing. Previously, limiting entry to shopping malls and public areas to those who are fully vaccinated has helped to quicken inoculation, he added. Southeast Asia’s largest economy extended limits on businesses’ capacity and opening hours through Aug. 1 for islands outside of Java and Bali as coronavirus cases pick up. It hasn’t announced measures for Java and Bali yet. The country has been reporting more than 2,000 new infections each day, the most since early April, as neighbors Singapore and the Philippines also grapple with a resurgence.
4th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

What’s the UK’s booster policy ahead of a feared autumn Covid wave?

The current UK wave of Covid is expected to peak in the coming weeks, but another wave is anticipated in the autumn as people move inside with the colder weather. The government’s independent vaccine advisory group, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), has recommended that the NHS and care homes prepare for an autumn booster campaign, which is likely to start in September. On top of Covid, public health officials fear flu may bounce back hard and early this year, given the experience in Australia, making vaccinations for both flu and Covid a high priority in the autumn.
4th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

UK scientists warn of urgent need for action on vaccines to head off autumn Covid wave

Health authorities need to act urgently to prepare for an autumn that could see further waves of Covid-19 cases spreading across the UK. That is the clear warning from scientists and doctors after last week’s figures revealed another dramatic jump in cases. More than 2 million people across Britain were found to be infected for the week ending 24 June, a rise of more than 30% on the preceding week. And while most experts said they expected the current wave – driven by the Omicron BA4 and BA5 variants of the virus – to peak in a few weeks, they also warned that it will inevitably be followed by another wave this autumn. “Our current planning assumptions are that we will see at least one wave [of Covid] in the autumn-winter period once we have got through the current wave that we’re in right now,” said Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency.
4th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

Doctors urge Ontario to open 4th doses of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults

Some doctors are calling on Ontario to allow all adults to get a second booster of a COVID-19 vaccine this summer, something that the province is currently limiting to only a portion of the population. Around 7.4 million Ontarians have received one booster, and nearly 90 per cent of those shots were administered at least five months ago, according to Public Health Ontario data. Studies have shown the COVID-19 boosters begin to lose some effectiveness four months after being administered, leading to growing calls for Ontario to widen eligibility for a second booster, equivalent to a fourth dose of vaccine.
4th Jul 2022 - CBC.ca

New clinic to provide COVID-19 prevention treatment for immunocompromised patients

A COVID-19 prevention clinic will administer an injection to immunocompromised people. The national COVID-19 death toll has passed 10,000. A health expert says Australia needs a pandemic "attitude change"
4th Jul 2022 - ABC News

Practices have until 14 July to sign up for autumn COVID-19 booster campaign

The ES, which runs from 1 September 2022 until 31 March 2023, indicates that the booster programme will operate in a similar way to previous phases of the vaccination campaign. Practices will be expected to work in a 'PCN grouping' to deliver the vaccinations at scale. GP practices do not have to be a member of a network to sign up to the ES, but they will be expected to collaborate with other practices and networks, the ES says. In a key change from previous phases of the vaccination programme, the ES specifies that practices 'must ensure that they have in place suitable arrangements to prevent the disruption of other services or obligations' under their contract'.
4th Jul 2022 - GP Online

Germany's Scholz sees no COVID-related school closures, lockdowns

Germany will not shut schools and non-essential businesses again if the COVID-19 infection rate rises again later this year but protective masks would play a bigger role, Chancellor Olaf Scholz told broadcaster ARD on Sunday. The infection rate in Germany has been on the rise for the past month, reaching close to 700 new cases per 100,000 residents this week, after falling below 200 in late May, but Scholz said that vaccinations should help limit what measures will be needed to curb the spread of the virus.
4th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Macron appoints COVID minister to be new face of government policy

President Emmanuel Macron on Monday urged his ministers to "hang in there", be ambitious and show a willingness to compromise after he carried out a limited reshuffle that saw no opponents join his camp as he seeks a workable majority in parliament. Key roles such as the prime minister and finance minister remained unchanged in the reshuffle that signalled no policy changes and was criticised by the opposition as being tone-deaf.
4th Jul 2022 - Reuters

German health minister in move to boost use of COVID treatment Paxlovid

Germany's health minister said on Sunday he will push for more prescriptions of Pfizer's oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid by family doctors to reduce severe cases of the disease. "A system involving family doctors will be prepared to administer this far too rarely-used COVID life saver more routinely," he wrote on Twitter on Sunday, adding that sufficient stockpiles were available.
3rd Jul 2022 - Reuters


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A Clunky, Reusable Mask May be the Answer to N95 Waste

The pandemic has generated a bevy of painful lessons about the importance of preparing for public health emergencies. From the Trump administration’s tepid early response to the C.D.C.’s bungled coronavirus testing rollout and its mixed messaging on masking, quarantining and the reopening of schools, the federal government has been roundly criticized for mishandling a health crisis that has left one million Americans dead and dented public faith in a once-hallowed institution.
3rd Jul 2022 - The New York Times

GSK's New Vaccine Hire Looks Beyond Covid in Quest for Next Hit

GSK Plc is planning to launch a Covid shot that comes almost two years after Pfizer Inc. took the world by storm. For Phil Dormitzer, it’s a reminder of why he was hired at the UK drugmaker: to help return its immunization business to the top after it stumbled during the pandemic. Dormitzer, who left Pfizer to become GSK’s global vaccine research chief, will need to move beyond the Covid shot and deliver some breakthroughs to challenge his former employer and other rivals. The pressure is on as the British company prepares to spin off its consumer unit this month. “The focus on vaccines is huge right now,” Dormitzer said in an interview from outside Boston, where he’s based. “After the separation of the consumer-health business, it will be an even more prominent part of the overall organization.”
3rd Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Novavax expects COVID vaccine targeting Omicron in fourth quarter

Novavax Inc said on Friday it expects to provide a COVID-19 vaccine targeting Omicron in the fourth quarter as it accelerates development of shots to protect against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. The U.S. FDA on Thursday recommended COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers change the design of their booster shots beginning this fall to include components tailored to combat the currently dominant Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
3rd Jul 2022 - Reuters

WHO urges Southeast Asia to scale up Covid vaccination rate as case rise

Amid an incessant rise in Covid cases, the World Health Organization called on countries in the South-East Asian region to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination coverage today. While significant progress has been made in the region towards vaccinating populations against COVID-19, several countries missed the global target to fully vaccinate 70 per cent of their total population with all primary doses of the vaccine by June end responsible for various regions witnessing a surge in cases. "We know that the current COVID-19 vaccines provide high levels of protection against severe disease and death for all variants. We must focus on rapidly achieving high vaccination coverage prioritizing health workers, older adults, those with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women. The pandemic is not over yet, we must scale up our efforts to protect communities," said Regional Director, WHO (South-East Asia), Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh in an official statement.
1st Jul 2022 - Business Standard

PHA urges public to come forward for spring booster of Covid-19 vaccine

The Public Health Agency is asking those with a weakened immune system to book in for their Covid-19 vaccines, warning that the virus "is still out there". All individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are being advised to receive a spring booster dose of the vaccine, typically six months after their last dose. Health officials say the vaccine offers the "best defence against becoming seriously unwell, staying out of hospital and passing on the virus to loved ones and others around you". In an open letter to the public from the PHA, it's been confirmed that the spring booster vaccination programme will shortly be coming to an end.
1st Jul 2022 - Belfast Live

Japan eases travel advisory for China, others as COVID risk fades

The Japanese government said on Friday it had lowered its infectious diseases-related travel advisory from "do not make non-urgent trips" to "travel with caution" for China, India and 32 other countries, as risks posed by COVID-19 infections eased. Other countries on the list includes South Korea, Italy, Germany and France.
1st Jul 2022 - Reuters

Omicron-based coronavirus booster shots will roll out this fall

This fall, vaccine makers will begin rolling out coronavirus booster vaccines better tailored to fight the current phase of the pandemic. Two days after outside experts voted in favor of a new vaccine adapted to protect against omicron, the Food and Drug Administration announced that the fall shots would include a component from BA.4 and BA.5, the omicron subvariants gaining ground in the United States. The change shows the FDA trying to be more nimble in efforts to keep up with a changing virus. The precise formula has not been tested in people yet, but studies showed that vaccines tuned to fight a previous version of omicron modestly increased the short-term immune response in people compared with more shots of the original. The agency will depend in part on that data as it reviews the new vaccines.
30th Jun 2022 - The Washington Post

UK Sees ICU Admissions Rise Among Elderly as Covid Cases Climb

UK hospital admissions linked to Covid are climbing again as omicron subvariants cause new outbreaks across the country. England’s hospital admission rate for the week through June 26 stood at 11.11 per 100,000 people, jumping nearly 40% from 7.98 in the previous week, according to the UK Health Security Agency, with intensive-care cases spreading among older age groups. “We continue to see an increase in Covid-19 data, with a rise in case rates and hospitalizations in those aged 65 years and over, and outbreaks in care homes,” said Mary Ramsay, director of clinical programs at the agency.
30th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

What's Going On With Covid Vaccines For Children Under 5 In The UK?

Children over the age of six months and under the age of five will now be offered the Covid vaccine in the US, but will the UK follow? The US Food and Drug Administration’s outside advisory committee voted unanimously to recommend the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for kids under five across America, after data found both vaccines to be safe and effective. Both jabs will be rolled out in the US shortly. The Pfizer vaccine will cover children aged six months through to four years old, whilst the Moderna vaccine will cover children aged six months through to five years old.
1st Jul 2022 - HuffPost UK


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China summer railway travel expected to rebound as COVID curbs ease

As China loosens its months-long COVID-19 curbs, railway travel is expected to see an uptick in passengers just in time for the summer transport season, which starts on July 1. By Aug. 31, the number of passenger trips on China's railway network is expected to reach 520 million, and 10 million on peak days. The national railway is also opening new stations such as the Xiangwan section of the Zhengzhou-Chongqing high-speed railway, the Puzheng section of the Jizheng high-speed railway, the Heruo Railway, and the Beijing Fengtai Station.
1st Jul 2022 - Reuters

Parents of young kids feel 'left behind' as they await COVID-19 vaccine

Some Canadian parents say they've been left behind as they wait on Health Canada to authorize vaccines for children under five years old. "It's upsetting to see the whole world moving on and forgetting about all of the littles, basically," said Jaimie-Lyn Oldfield from Kingston, Ont. She said her family has made sacrifices to protect her nearly three-year-old daughter Rosslyn from contracting COVID-19. "We hardly see her grandparents," she said. "Everyone else got vaccinated and it's really disheartening and upsetting when they're like 'OK, we're going to remove all of these masking mandates.'"
30th Jun 2022 - CBC.ca

At the current rate, SA will hit its Covid-19 vaccination target in about September 2028

Covid-19 vaccination levels are dropping fast, putting South Africa's herd immunity target well out of reach. People are reading the end of pandemic restrictions as a signal that vaccination is no longer required, say government monitors. On Wednesday, less than 6,000 people received a first jab. At that rate, it will take until just about September 2028 to reach the 67% coverage target. That is not counting getting people to show up for booster shots – or the continuing slowdown in the vaccination rate.
30th Jun 2022 - Business Insider South Africa

Israeli health officials green light COVID vaccinations for young children

All members of the health ministry's expert advisory board agreed that the vaccine is safe for children under the age of five, though some experts cautioned that only those with underlying health conditions should be vaccinated
30th Jun 2022 - Haaretz

Covid-19 traffic light setting remains at orange, reinfection rules changed

Minister for Covid-19 Response Ayesha Verrall has confirmed that the country will stay at the orange traffic light setting. The Government also announced on Thursday that the advice for Covid reinfection has changed, with people experiencing symptoms more than 29 days after previous infection advised to isolate and test. The previous window was 90 days. People with symptoms after 29 days who test positive will be required to isolate for seven days Verrall also announced that there would be 50 child-size masks made available for every year 4 to year 7 student from now until the end of the year. This is in addition to a previously announced policy of free flu-jabs for children aged 3-12
30th Jun 2022 - Stuff

Health Minister launches review of former government's COVID-19 vaccine deals, existing supplies

The review will look at current vaccine supply deals. Mr Butler says it will also look forward to what Australia will need over the next few years. The government wants the review done in weeks, not "many months"
30th Jun 2022 - ABC News

COVID-19 boosters recommended for the fall, Canada's vaccine advisory body says

People at high risk of severe disease from COVID-19 infection should be offered a booster shot this fall, regardless of how many boosters they've previously received, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said on Wednesday. That group includes everyone age 65 and older, NACI's updated guidance said. Everyone else — age 12 to 64 — "may be offered" the additional doses in the fall, NACI said. NACI said it will provide recommendations on the type of booster to be given when evidence about multivalent vaccines — which prime the body's defences against multiple variants, including Omicron and its subvariants — becomes available. "Manufacturers are working on new COVID-19 vaccines, including multivalent vaccines and vaccines specifically targeting VOCs [variants of concern], although their exact characteristics and timing of availability in Canada are not yet known," NACI said
30th Jun 2022 - CBC News

Pfizer signs new $3.2 billion COVID vaccine deal with U.S. government

Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE said on Wednesday they signed a $3.2 billion deal with the U.S. government for 105 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine, which could be delivered as soon as later this summer. The deal includes supplies of a retooled Omicron-adapted vaccine, pending regulatory clearance, according to Pfizer. Drugmakers have been developing vaccines to target the Omicron variant that became dominant last winter.
30th Jun 2022 - Reuters

US buys 105 million COVID vaccine doses for fall campaign

U.S. health officials said Wednesday they have agreed to purchase another 105 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in anticipation of a fall booster campaign. The $3.2 billion deal announced by the Biden administration comes as federal scientists consider how to update the vaccines to better protect Americans from the rapidly evolving virus. Federal officials said the purchase agreement includes the option to purchase a total of 300 million doses, including a mix of doses for both adults and children. The first shots would be delivered by early fall, pending a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to authorize new versions of the shots. A decision is expected from the FDA in the coming days following a Tuesday meeting in which outside advisers recommended modifying the vaccines to better target the omicron variant.
30th Jun 2022 - The Associated Press

US secures more Lilly COVID-19 antibodies for $275M, but with pandemic funding uncertain this may be a swan song

Developing an antibody treatment that is effective against the omicron variant of COVID-19 has paying off for Eli Lilly. But the company may soon lose its primary customer—the U.S. government. Wednesday, Lilly revealed a purchase agreement with the U.S. to provide 150,000 doses of bebtelovimab for $275 million. Based on current demand, the supply should carry the U.S. through to the end of August, the company said. But Lilly also warned that this could be the last shipment of COVID antibodies to the U.S. as the government is close to exhausting its pandemic relief funds.
30th Jun 2022 - FiercePharma


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Ireland puts army on standby to help at Dublin airport amid COVID surge

Ireland agreed on Tuesday to put the army on standby to help with security at Dublin airport should staffing be hit by a resurgence of COVID-19 during the rest of the busy summer travel period. Ireland's main airport is one of many around Europe that has struggled to hire staff fast enough to deal with a sharp rebound in travel, although it has had relatively few issues since more than 1,000 passengers missed their flights in a single day last month
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters

EU chief can't find texts with Pfizer chief on COVID-19 vaccine deal

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is no longer in possession of text messages that she exchanged with Pfizer chief Albert Bourla to seal a COVID-19 vaccine deal, the Commission said in a letter published on Wednesday. In an interview in April 2021, von der Leyen revealed she had exchanged texts with Bourla for a month when they were negotiating a massive vaccine contract. But in response to a public access request by a journalist because of the importance of the deal, the Commission did not share the texts, triggering accusations of maladministration by the EU's ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly. "The Commission can confirm that the search undertaken by the President's cabinet for relevant text messages corresponding to the request for access to documents has not yielded any results," the EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova said in the letter to the ombudsman, an EU watchdog.
29th Jun 2022 - The Jerusalem Post

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Should Your Young Kid Get? That Depends, Doctors Say

COVID-19 vaccines for some of the youngest children in the U.S. are now rolling out, and parents are faced with a new question: Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech? Both of the mRNA shots—which are now authorized for kids ages 6 months and up—are effective at preventing severe illness, and they both help prevent symptomatic infections. They offer vital protection in this age group, even for kids who have already recovered from COVID-19. The vaccines “provide protection against a broader variety of variants than [a previous] infection, which generally provides protection mostly against the variant that you had,” says Dr. Alissa Kahn, a pediatric hematologist and oncologist in Paterson, N.J.
29th Jun 2022 - TIME

Kids' vaccines are 'a game changer,' experts say—here's what else needs to happen to end the Covid pandemic

For months, the country has been waiting on a pandemic turning point — and it might be here, in the form of kids under age 5 becoming eligible for Covid vaccines. Just don’t expect it to make Covid disappear overnight, experts say. Covid vaccines for small children are “absolutely a game changer for some families,” Andrew Noymer, an associate professor of population health and disease prevention at the University of California, Irvine, tells CNBC Make It. ”[But] this isn’t the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle, unfortunately.”
29th Jun 2022 - CNBC

Defectors in Seoul send balloons carrying medicine to COVID-19-struck North Korea

A North Korean defector group in Seoul claimed on Tuesday to have launched air balloons carrying medical supplies near the inter-Korean border. The Fighters for Free North Korea, an activist group of North Korean defectors who send anti-propaganda leaflets across the border, said they flew 20 air balloons carrying 50,000 pain relief pills, 30,000 vitamin C and 20,000 N-95 masks. Dispatching unauthorized materials at the border is against the law in South Korea.
29th Jun 2022 - ABC on MSN.com

China's Xi says COVID strategy is 'correct and effective'

Chinese president Xi Jinping said the ruling Communist Party's strategy to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic was "correct and effective" and should be firmly adhered to, the official news agency, Xinhua, said on Wednesday. China, with its large population, would have suffered "unimaginable consequences" had it adopted a strategy of "lying flat", the agency quoted Xi as saying during a visit on Tuesday to the central city of Wuhan where the virus was first reported.
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Taiwan to receive first doses of Novavax COVID vaccine this week

Taiwan will take delivery of its first doses of the Novavax Inc COVID-19 vaccine this week, received under the COVAX sharing scheme, the government said on Wednesday. Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Centre said the 504,000 doses would arrive on Thursday at Taipei's main international airport. Taiwan is scheduled to receive 2.268 million doses of the Novavax vaccine in batches this year through the COVAX mechanism, it added.
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters

China removes indication of travel through COVID-hit cities on mobile app

A state-mandated Chinese mobile app that shows whether or not an individual has travelled in a city with COVID-affected areas will no longer specify such travel history, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Wednesday. The asterisk mark indicating an individual has travelled in a city with COVID-19 cases will no longer appear on the app as part of efforts to make domestic travel more convenient, the ministry said.
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Norway recommends booster COVID shot to those aged 75 and older

Norway recommends a booster COVID-19 vaccine dose to those who are 75 years and older in response to a rising number of cases, the government said on Wedneday. Local municipalities should also plan to be able to offer a booster jab, which for most people would mean a fourth shot, to citizens from 65 years and up and to people with an underlying disease, from Sept, 1, it added.
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Eli Lilly to supply additional doses of COVID antibody drug to U.S.

Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday it will supply additional doses of its COVID-19 antibody drug to the U.S. government in order to meet demand through late August. As per the modified supply agreement with the government, Lilly will provide an additional 150,000 doses of bebtelovimab for about $275 million. The drug has also shown effectiveness against the Omicron variant. The FDA authorized the drug earlier this year for emergency use in patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progression to severe disease, including hospitalization or death.
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters


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Covid: 'Significantly' fewer primary pupils to be vaccinated

There has been a significant increase in the proportion of primary school parents who say they are “unlikely” to have their child vaccinated for Covid-19, a new survey has found. The figures have been published as experts warn the UK is experiencing a “fifth wave” of Covid, as infection rates climb, driven by new variants of Omicron. The latest data from the School Infection Survey (SIS) shows that the proportion of primary school pupils who were not vaccinated and whose parents said they were “unlikely” to agree to their child being vaccinated in future has risen from 24 per cent in December 2021 to 36 per cent in March 2022.
28th Jun 2022 - TES

Amref and AstraZeneca launch clinics to support Kenyan COVID-19 vaccinations

The mobile clinics will support communities with limited or no access to vaccines and other health services. Amref Health Africa and AstraZeneca – in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Kenya – are launching a fleet of mobile vaccination clinics in an effort to protect last-mile communities from the pandemic. Ten movable clinics will bring COVID-19 vaccines and other health services into hard-to-reach communities across Kenya, increasing vaccine access and general uptake in Kenya. As of June 2022, only 31.4% of the adult population in Kenya were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while Africa’s average vaccination rate is 17.7%, lagging behind other world regions. Each mobile clinic aims to vaccinate 70-100 people every day – reaching up to 1,000 people per day, once all ten mobile clinics are fully operational.
28th Jun 2022 - PharmaTimes

EU countries prolong COVID-19 certificates amid rising cases

European Union countries approved Tuesday extending the use of COVID-19 certificates by one year until the end of June 2023 as cases of the deadly virus start to grow again ahead of the summer holiday season. Aimed at facilitating travel across the 27-nation bloc during the pandemic, the certificates entered into force in July last year and have been a successful tool to help EU citizens move in the region in coronavirus times without restrictions such as quarantines. EU countries have issued nearly 2 billion certificates. The document attests that a person has been vaccinated against coronavirus or that they have a recent negative test result or have recovered from the infection. The European Council said the regulation can be lifted earlier. But after most EU countries removed coronavirus restrictions over the past months in light of the improved health situation, a recent increase in infections fueled by new variants is leading governments to rethink their strategies.
28th Jun 2022 - The Associated Press

Covid-19: Rise in cases prompts 'stay home if unwell' advice

People are asked to stay home if unwell because of suspected rises in Covid-19 cases. Health bosses in Devon and Cornwall say official data suggests between 2.2% and 2.7% of people in the counties have the virus. People are being reminded to protect themselves and others, and remember the virus "is very much still here"
28th Jun 2022 - BBC News

France asks citizens to wear masks again in public transport

French people should start wearing masks again in crowded areas, especially in public transport, as France has to deal with a new wave of COVID-19 infections fuelled by new variants of the disease, Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon said on Monday. "I'm not saying it should be mandatory but I do ask the French people to put the mask on in public transport," she told RTL, adding it was a "civic duty" to do so.
28th Jun 2022 - Reuters

China reduces quarantine for people arriving from abroad

China on Tuesday announced an easing of its quarantine requirement for people arriving from abroad but stopped short of lifting what remains a stringent COVID-19 policy compared to most other countries. Anyone coming from outside the country will be required to stay in a quarantine hotel for seven days, followed by three days of home quarantine, the National Health Commission said in its latest pandemic response plan. The previous plan called for 14 days in a hotel plus seven days of home quarantine. Some cities, including Beijing, have already reduced the hotel requirement to seven or 10 days in recent weeks, according to Chinese media reports. China has kept tight restrictions on international travel under a “zero-COVID” strategy that seeks to keep the virus out and stop any infections from spreading through lockdowns and mass testing.
28th Jun 2022 - The Associated Press

As COVID fears ebb, Japan readies for tourists from abroad

The rickshaw men in Tokyo are adding English-speaking staff, a sure sign Japan is bracing for a return of tourists from abroad. Japan’s border controls to curb the spread of coronavirus infections began gradually loosening earlier this month. That’s great news for Yusuke Otomo, owner of Daikichi, a kimono rental shop in Asakusa, an old district of Tokyo famous for its temples, quaint restaurants and rickshaw rides. He can barely contain his excitement. “Those were a hard three years. But we managed to endure until today. And after such an experience, to think people from abroad can finally come back is simply thrilling,” Otomo told The Associated Press.
28th Jun 2022 - The Associated Press

Are pockets of Covid in the gut causing long-term symptoms?

Since the early days of the pandemic it has been clear some people shed genetic material from the virus in their stools for months after catching Covid-19. The findings were initially regarded as a curiosity, but there is mounting evidence to support the idea that persistent pockets of coronavirus – in the gut, or elsewhere – may be contributing to long Covid. Earlier this month, Prof David R Walt and colleagues at Harvard Medical School announced that they had detected Sars-CoV-2 proteins – most commonly the viral spike protein – in the blood of 65% of the long Covid patients they tested, up to 12 months after they were first diagnosed. Though small and preliminary, the study provides some of the most compelling evidence yet for the idea that reservoirs of the virus could be contributing to people’s long-term ill health. “The half-life of spike protein in the body is pretty short, so its presence indicates that there must be some kind of active viral reservoir,” Walt said.
28th Jun 2022 - The Guardian


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Children to get free flu vaccines, second Covid-19 booster eligibility expanded

Health Minister Andrew Little said the government was expanding access to the flu vaccine after noticing an increase in pre-schoolers hospitalised with the illness. "We're making free flu shots available to another 800,000 New Zealanders, including children, more of whom are having to go to hospital," Little said. "Free flu shots are already available for everyone over the age of 65 and those at risk of becoming seriously ill or who have underlying conditions. "This season we ordered 40 per cent more vaccines. We've already seen more than one million New Zealanders get a flu shot, but with significant pressure on our health system we're ramping up efforts to get as many people vaccinated as possible."
27th Jun 2022 - RNZ

Kuwait mulls optional fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Kuwait is expected to soon introduce an optional fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine. According to local newspapers, the Ministry of Health is set to make an official statement on the availability of the fourth dose of the vaccine. The fourth dose, in accordance with regulations, will be provided to groups most vulnerable to infection, who are suffering from chronic diseases, elderly. The dose will be for those who wish to be vaccinated. The booster dose is given to avoid complications when infected. It is important to follow precautionary measures and continue to adhere to health instructionsm, the ministry reminded. The government in May announced the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. Travellers to the country are no longer needed to take a PCR test or provide proof of vaccination.
27th Jun 2022 - Gulf News

More free COVID-19 rapid tests for kids to be handed out in July

The government will provide more free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests in July for children under the age of 7 years, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Monday. Starting July 1, families with children born on or after Sept. 2, 2015 will be eligible to collect the free tests at any of the approximately 5,000 designated pharmacies participating in the government's rapid test rationing program. Five free rapid tests will be allocated for each child in the under-7 age category, the CECC said, adding that parents must show the child's health insurance (NHI) card at the pharmacy. In the first round of free test distribution in June, some 780,000 families with children under the age of 7 years received free rapid test kits, accounting for 60 percent of the eligible age group, according to the CECC.
27th Jun 2022 - Focus Taiwan News Channel

Covid-19: Hong Kong extends social distancing rules to July 13, as experts call for border restrictions to be eased

Hong Kong’s current social distancing rules will be extended until July 13, the government has announced. “In view of the latest epidemic trend and given that the effective period of the measures in the coming cycle will span to the next government term, having consulted the Chief Executive-elect’s Office and with its consent, the Government decided to extend the existing social distancing measures for 14 days with effect from June 30,” the government said in a press release on Monday.
27th Jun 2022 - Hong Kong Free Press

Should you get a COVID-19 booster shot now or wait until fall? Two immunologists help weigh the options

While COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death, it has become clear that the protection offered by the current vaccines wanes over time. This necessitates the use of booster shots that are safe and effective in enhancing the immune response against the virus and extending protection. But when to get a first or second booster, and which shot to choose, are open questions. Many people find themselves unsure whether to wait on new, updated formulations of the COVID-19 vaccines or to mix and match combinations of the original vaccine strains. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, uses its knob-shaped spike protein to gain entry into cells and to cause infection. Each of the existing and upcoming vaccines relies on emulating the spike protein to trigger the immune response. However, each vaccine type presents the spike protein to the immune system in different ways.
27th Jun 2022 - The Conversation

US Covid-19 vaccine rollout for under-fives must overcome hesitancy

For some American families, it was a much-anticipated and badly needed victory: Covid vaccines for children under five began rolling out in the US last week. “I’ve already been waiting a year and a half since I got my first dose, and that’s been intolerable,” says Dr Roby Bhattacharyya, an infectious diseases doctor at Massachusetts general hospital and parent of a four-year-old who received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday. But others still have questions as America’s problem with vaccine hesitancy has not gone away. Less than one in five families want to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible, while the majority say they want to “wait and see” first. Only 18% of parents plan to have their children under five vaccinated right away, while 38% want to see how the vaccine rollout goes, according to an April survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). Another 11% say they will only get their kids vaccinated if they are required to, while 27% say they definitely won’t do it
27th Jun 2022 - The Guardian

Casino hub Macau launches third round of COVID testing as infections rise

Macau launched a third round of mandatory COVID-19 testing for its more than 600,000 residents on Monday, in a push to curb a rise in infections in the world's biggest gambling hub. Authorities in Macau have locked down multiple buildings and put more than 5,000 people in quarantine in the past few days, the city's government said. Health authorities said 38 new COVID cases were recorded on Sunday, taking the total number of infections to 299 in the latest outbreak.
27th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Warnings of mental health crisis among ‘Covid generation’ of students

The pandemic has had a lasting legacy on the mental health of the “Covid generation” of students, exacerbating rates of anxiety, depression and self-harm and resulting in a “significant rise” in young people struggling at university, experts have said. UK universities have reported that more students are experiencing mental health problems in the aftermath of the pandemic, and that this is expected to continue with the cohort arriving in September, whose school experience was heavily disrupted by the pandemic. The president of the National Union of Students, Larissa Kennedy, said she was “deeply concerned” by the student mental health crisis, which was “getting worse”, with NUS research suggesting “the majority of students are burdened by anxiety”.
27th Jun 2022 - The Guardian


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Shanghai businesses struggle to get back on their feet after Covid-19 lockdown

SHANGHAI - Weeks after emerging from a two-month lockdown, Shanghai's small and medium businesses have a lot of catching up to do. But some are still wary about ordering workers back to the office, fearing that the emergence of a Covid-19 cluster would result in lengthy quarantines and more business disruptions.
27th Jun 2022 - The Straits Times

Moderna seeking Hong Kong regulatory approval for Omicron-targeted Covid-19 booster

Patrick Bergstedt, US company’s senior vice-president of commercial vaccines, says discussions with city government at advanced stage, but no green light given yet. Company has plans to share access to its mRNA technology, set up clinical collaborations with Hong Kong universities
27th Jun 2022 - South China Morning Post

Hong Kong’s Struggle to Lure Bankers Dims Its Role as a Global Finance Hub

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament was for years a highlight on Asia’s networking calendar for global bankers and their clients. Now, organizers are pushing for a downsized version of the event this fall, reflecting the challenge the city faces to maintain its status as Asia’s leading financial hub. The Hong Kong Rugby Union is still waiting for government approval for its proposed “closed loop” for the 16 teams and support staff, modeled on the system used at the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this year that sealed off athletes and other participants from the public, said Robbie McRobbie, its chief executive. With seven days of quarantine for all arrivals, organizers are resigned to holding this year’s tournament while missing the thousands of overseas visitors who in years past thronged the three-day event, which coincided with major business conferences and meetings.
27th Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

London's Prime Shopping Street Has a Case of Long Covid

Regent Street, London’s premier shopping thoroughfare, is struggling to shake off the lingering effects of Covid-19. Store vacancy levels, at a record 12%, are almost twice what they were at the end of 2019, while asking rents for the best space on the street have fallen by more than 30% during the pandemic, according to Savills Plc. Shoppers who stroll along the curving avenue, passing through Oxford Circus and Piccadilly in London’s West End, may notice the absence of familiar brands. J Crew, Brooks Brothers, Desigual and Zara Home all closed stores during the two years of on-again off-again lockdowns that battered brick-and-mortar retailers and accelerated a shift to online shopping.
26th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

China's Economy Improves in June From Lockdown-Induced Slump

China’s economy showed some improvement in June as Covid restrictions were gradually eased, although the recovery remains muted. That’s the outlook based on Bloomberg’s aggregate index of eight early indicators for this month. The overall gauge returned to the neutral level after deteriorating for two straight months.
26th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Argentines not too keen on taking Covid-19 booster shots

Argentine health authorities have reported that. although the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, fewer people showed up for their boosted dose of vaccine, due to a false low-risk perception which makes coverage not sufficient. While over 82% of the population has taken a full two-shot scheme, additional jabs have been skipped persistently despite the increase in the number of cases during May. Scientists insist these injections are the best way to prevent infection, severe symptoms, and possible death. “The low compliance of the population to get the fourth dose has a lot to do with the messages that have been installed in relation to covid during these last months.
25th Jun 2022 - Uruguay News

Pandemics don't have neat endings

From the plague to polio, history shows that pandemics refuse to end neatly. Covid-19 is no exception. Following a surge in infection rates as Omicron variants spread, the UK is preparing to include people over the age of 50 in its autumn booster jab campaign. Recent British government plans had stipulated that only care home residents, the over-65s, frontline health and social workers and vulnerable younger people would be eligible for the next round of vaccines. In Hong Kong, two officials falling ill with Covid has raised doubts over President Xi Jinping’s expected July visit to the territory.
25th Jun 2022 - Financial Times

Advice on fourth COVID shot for many Australians may be delayed

Australia’s vaccine advisory panel is considering delaying a recommendation that more people get a fourth COVID booster shot until a better Omicron-targeting vaccine is available. Omicron sub-variants, including BA.4 and BA.5, are fast becoming the dominant COVID-19 variants in Australia and there is growing concern the sublineages are becoming more effective at reinfecting people.
25th Jun 2022 - Sydney Morning Herald

Shanghai’s Covid Lockdown Legacy: Confusion, Despair, Departure

Elizabeth Liu began to sob at the dinner table one evening in late March. She had just returned from the daily Covid-19 test that was the only time her family could leave their 10th-floor Shanghai apartment. That was when Mrs. Liu realized that the mental toll of living under China’s zero-Covid policies had become unbearable. It was also when she and her Singaporean husband agreed that by year’s end, they would leave the city where they’d met and which is the only home their four children—aged two to 12—have known. “It had just been building, this sense of anxiety and stress,” said the 39-year-old Texan, who moved to China in 2005 and Shanghai two years later. “It got to the point where I just thought: I want to get on a plane and I don’t care who comes with me.”
25th Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Essential workers in Hong Kong still not paid Covid-19 emergency support cash

Amy, a cleaner, who asked not to use her real name, has said she waited months for an emergency Covid-19 payment. Photo: Jonathan Wong. Amy, a cleaner, who asked not to use her real name, has said she waited months for an emergency Covid-19 payment. Photo: Jonathan Wong. A 62-year-old contract cleaner and breadwinner for her family has still not got a special Hong Kong government Covid-19 subsidy three months after she asked her employer to submit a claim. Amy* said she had to continue to work as a cleaner at a private company in Tai Po through the fifth wave of infections, despite soaring numbers of confirmed cases. She said it was some comfort that the government promised a HK$10,000 (US$1,282) subsidy for essential workers who had contributed to the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, which had to be applied for through employers. But Amy added that, despite asking her employer about the payment in early April, the firm had still not submitted a claim on her behalf.
25th Jun 2022 - South China Morning Post

Covid-19 ‘magic mirror’ reflects widening fissures in Chinese society

“Covid-19 is a magic mirror that reveals the monster within” was a popular saying in China in the early days of the pandemic. It was used by the Chinese foreign ministry in reference to the United States to suggest that Covid-19 had uncovered America’s long-standing social problems. Whoever coined the saying was certainly very astute. But I wonder how many people in China at the time realised that one day the mirror could be turned on themselves. What would they see? What demons might be revealed? I have lived in China all my life. I am part of a generation that has seen outstanding improvements in this society. It seemed to us that things could only get better, and if there were any challenges along the way, there was nothing that we as a country could not get through by working together.
25th Jun 2022 - South China Morning Post

Some Chinese cities relax COVID testing mandates

Several Chinese cities have scrapped or relaxed their COVID-19 testing mandates after China emerged from its worst regional outbreaks, with officials told not to cause too much disruption to people's lives while staying vigilant about the virus.
24th Jun 2022 - Reuters


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UK Covid Cost: Government Spends £376 Billion on Pandemic Response

The coronavirus pandemic, marked by an ambitious vaccine rollout, has cost the UK government an estimated £376 billion ($459 billion). The figure released Thursday by the National Audit Office has increased by £6 billion over the last ten months, with much of the expense going to support train traffic even as passenger numbers dwindled. The amount -- more than the annual gross domestic product of a country like Austria -- grew amid measures to administer vaccines, test and trace contact cases, and alleviate pressure on hospitals by improving patient discharge. The cost is estimated to be similar in neighboring France after governments across Europe opted to strain their finances to support the economy through the crisis.
24th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Shanghai's fashion stores struggle to clear lockdown stock hangover

Almost a month since Shanghai lifted its strict COVID-19 lockdowns, fashion retailers are stuck with piles of unsold stock as cautious consumers stay away from the commercial hub's glitzy shopping districts. Curbs to stop the virus in Shanghai, China's fashion capital, ground the city of 25 million to a halt in April and May, leaving clothing and beauty product displays in stores untouched and containers of imported apparel stranded at port.
24th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Biden team launches all-out push to vaccinate youngest children

The Biden administration pushed American families to immunize infants and small children for COVID-19 on Thursday, deploying ads intended to tug at heartstrings as it contends with Republicans and parents who are leery or outright opposed to shots for children as young as 6 months. The Department of Health and Human Services released a 30-second ad urging parents to protect children 4 and younger, who became eligible for shots this week, while the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said COVID-19 has been one of the top five causes of death in children since the start of the pandemic.
23rd Jun 2022 - Washington Times

Why the timing of your next COVID shot is so important

The timing of your next COVID-19 vaccine may be more important than ever, as highly contagious Omicron subvariants are on the rise in Canada and waning immunity from previous vaccination and infection threatens to fuel another surge. Canada is once again a hotbed for variants, with BA.2.12.1 now making up more than 40 per cent of COVID cases, while BA.4 and BA.5 are quickly gaining ground at more than 10 per cent combined in late May — a major jump from less than one per cent weeks earlier.
23rd Jun 2022 - CBC News

Over-60s urged to coronavirus vaccine top-up as new cases mount

Healthcare minister Ernst Kuipers has called on the general public to stick to the basic coronavirus rules and urged the over-60s who have not yet had a second booster vaccination to come forward. So far, just 40% to 59% of people entitled to a fourth vaccination (herhaalprik) have taken up the offer, depending on where they live. Extra measures to control the spread of the virus are not yet needed, the minister told reporters after a meeting of cabinet ministers which was called to discuss the rising infection rate.
23rd Jun 2022 - DutchNews.nl

GP contract for autumn COVID-19 booster campaign due shortly

GP practices in England will be invited shortly to sign up for the COVID-19 autumn booster campaign after NHS England confirmed it would offer a fixed payment per jab with a supplement for housebound patients.
23rd Jun 2022 - GP Online

U.S. delivers 2.7 mln COVID vaccine doses for kids under five to administration sites

The United States has delivered about 2.7 million doses of COVID vaccines for children below five years to administration centres while another one million shots will reach the sites soon, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday. Vaccine delivery to administration sites began on Friday, immediately after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)granted the emergency-use authorization, the federal agency said.
23rd Jun 2022 - Reuters

Denmark to offer fourth COVID vaccine dose to people over 50 years

Denmark plans to offer a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose in the autumn to those who are over 50 years old, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Wednesday as she announced a strategy to curb the spread of the disease over the coming months. Although COVID infections are still at low levels, Denmark has seen an increase in the number of cases after the new BA.5 subvariant of Omicron, which seems to spread more quickly than other variants, became dominant in the Nordic country.
23rd Jun 2022 - Reuters

South Africa repeals COVID rules as fifth wave fades

South Africa has repealed COVID-19 rules that made masks mandatory in indoor public spaces, limited the size of gatherings and imposed entry requirements at its borders, the health minister said on Thursday. South Africa has recorded the most coronavirus cases and deaths on the African continent, with over 3.9 million confirmed infections and more than 101,000 deaths. Minister Joe Phaahla said authorities had noted a decline in cases, hospitalisations and reported deaths and concluded that a limited fifth wave was dissipating.
23rd Jun 2022 - Reuters

Austria Ditches Vaccine Mandate After Omicron Alters Calculus

Austria will scrap a law requiring coronavirus vaccinations, ending a controversial rule that was never fully implemented after social opposition and new virus variants forced the government to backtrack. Lawmakers are set to vote on ending the mandate as soon as Thursday, before an initial suspension was set to expire in August. The rule was no longer proportionate, failed to convince vaccine skeptics and wasn’t necessary in light of recent waves of the virus, Health Minister Johannes Rauch told reporters in Vienna Thursday.
23rd Jun 2022 - Bloomberg


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Manitoba government launches survey on COVID-19 immunization plans for children under 5

Manitoba is seeking input on its plans to vaccinate children under the age of five against COVID-19. Vaccines for children aged six months to four years old could be approved by Health Canada this summer. In anticipation of this, the province has launched a survey asking for feedback on how the rollout should look, particularly from parents with children in this age group, says a news release form the province.
22nd Jun 2022 - MSN.com

Moderna will make Covid-19 vaccines in UK for the first time as it plans mRNA factory

Covid jabs firm Moderna is opening the first ever factory making mRNA vaccines in the UK, the Government has announced. The company will make the next generation of coronavirus jabs, protecting against multiple variants, as well as new vaccines against illnesses such as flu.
22nd Jun 2022 - iNews

Moderna to build new vaccine facility in Britain

U.S. biotech firm Moderna will build a new research and manufacturing centre in Britain to develop vaccines against new COVID-19 variants, other respiratory illnesses and help improve readiness for any future pandemics. The agreement will see Moderna make a minimum R&D investment of 1.1 billion pounds ($1.35 billion), Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said, adding it would have the capacity for 250 million vaccines a year if needed.
22nd Jun 2022 - Reuters

Denmark to offer fourth COVID vaccine dose to people over 50 years

Denmark plans to offer a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose in the autumn to those who are over 50 years old, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Wednesday as she announced a strategy to curb the spread of the disease over the coming months. Although COVID infections are still at low levels, Denmark has seen an increase in the number of cases after the new BA.5 subvariant of Omicron, which seems to spread more quickly than other variants, became dominant in the Nordic country.
22nd Jun 2022 - Reuters

Government’s Moderna partnership to bring over £1 billion investment

A new Government partnership with vaccine manufacturer Moderna will bring over a billion pounds in investment in mRNA research to the UK, the Health Secretary has said. The US pharmaceutical giant announced on Wednesday plans to open a new research and manufacturing centre in the UK. The new mRNA Innovation and Technology Centre will develop vaccines for a wide range of respiratory diseases, including Covid vaccines that can protect against multiple variants
22nd Jun 2022 - Yahoo Finance

Parents Struggle to Secure Covid-19 Vaccine Appointments for Young Kids

Anna Carvill had one thing on top of her to-do list this week: get a Covid-19 vaccine appointment for her 2-year-old son. She managed to get an appointment for Thursday at a mobile clinic in downtown Boulder, Colo. Vaccines became available Monday. She is one of millions of parents and caregivers who are seeking to get their children under 5 vaccinated against Covid-19. “We want him to be as protected as he can as soon as possible,” Ms. Carvill said. Federal health authorities on Saturday recommended Moderna Inc.’s two-dose vaccine as well as a three-dose regimen by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for children as young as 6 months. It was a moment some parents and caregivers had been eagerly awaiting, yet some of them haven’t managed to book appointments for their children, while others are holding off.
22nd Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

COVID-19: Infections rise by nearly half a million in a week

COVID-19 cases have surged by nearly half in a week, official figures show. Last week, an estimated 1,415,600 people had coronavirus in the UK, up 425,800 or 43%. This is the highest estimate for infections since the start of May, but is still well below the record high of 4.9 million at the end of March. Cases rose in all four nations of the UK - and increased across all age groups. In England, around one in 50 people had the virus, according to the coronavirus infection survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
22nd Jun 2022 - Yahoo UK & Ireland


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U.S. factories pop up to make medical gloves, spurred by pandemic

Rising from a muddy field on the outskirts of the small town of Fayette, Alabama is a bricks-and-mortar symbol of the global COVID pandemic: A new glove factory. When completed in 2024 the complex, owned by Japan’s SHOWA Glove Co will be able to produce about 3 billion medical-grade nitrile gloves a year from its dozen massive new, five-stories-tall, automated assembly lines. That may seem like a lot but is only a small slice of the over 100 billion consumed in the United States annually.
22nd Jun 2022 - Reuters

'Don't delay any more': 80000 seniors urged to take booster shots with possible new Covid-19 wave

Seniors who have taken their vaccine booster shots are three times less likely to die or become severely ill from Covid-19, compared with those in the same cohort who had only two shots, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Monday (June 20). Seniors with all three shots have a three in 1,000 chance of these negative outcomes, while those with two shots have a 10 in 1,000 chance of this happening. Those who remain unvaccinated are at the highest risk, with a 40 in 1,000 chance of death or critical illness requiring intensive care. "It makes a difference whether you have taken zero, one, two or three shots," Mr Ong said in a video clip uploaded on TikTok, where he urged the elderly to get their shots ahead of the next Covid-19 wave.
21st Jun 2022 - The Straits Times

'Should all Koreans receive 4th Covid-19 vaccine shot?'

The quarantine authorities are considering expanding the fourth Covid-19 vaccine shots to all people based on domestic quarantine situations and research results at home and abroad, officials said Tuesday. "If the immunity level falls quickly, a virus resurge can also come quickly. However, we could put off the resurge depending on the immunity level," said Lim Sook-young, a senior official at the Central Disease Control Headquarters (CDCH). "I think the strategy for vaccination is very important." In preparation for strains that may become prevalent in the second half of the year, the government will respond and prepare by focusing on how to implement vaccination, inject therapeutic agents at the right time, and develop strategies to strengthen surveillance for new variants, Lim added. The authorities confirmed a positive antibody rate of 94.9 percent through a survey but expected the immune effect to decline in the fall, making additional vaccination inevitable.
21st Jun 2022 - KBR

U.S. to begin vaccinating young children against covid

Eighteen months after a New York nurse received the first U.S. coronavirus vaccination, immunizations became available Tuesday for about 19 million children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, the last group of Americans to be afforded that protection. Pediatricians, drugstores, hospitals and community vaccination centers began to administer first doses of two vaccines to children: the Pfizer-BioNTech product to children ages 6 months through 4 years; and the Moderna vaccine to children 6 months through 5 years old.
21st Jun 2022 - The Washington Post

Covid-19 vaccinations begin for US children under 5

Dr. Sarah Schaffer DeRoo described in one word how she felt after getting her 7-month-old son vaccinated against Covid-19: thrilled. Her active baby boy sat in her lap at a vaccine clinic hosted by Children's National Hospital in Washington, DC, while receiving his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine. The shot was administered in his thigh. He cried for a few seconds but then his attention turned toward a golden retriever that was on site as a comfort dog provided by the hospital. "I'm feeling really thrilled that we have this opportunity," DeRoo, a pediatrician at Children's National Hospital in Washington, DC, told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux on Tuesday about her son's vaccination.
21st Jun 2022 - CNN

'It always wins': North Korea may declare COVID-19 victory

It's only been a month since North Korea acknowledged having an COVID-19 outbreak, after steadfastly denying any cases for more than two years. But already it may be preparing to declare victory. According to state media, North Korea has avoided the mass deaths many expected in a nation with one of the world's worst health care systems, little or no access to vaccines, and what outsiders see as a long record of ignoring the suffering of its people. Daily updates from official media make it appear inevitable that the nation will completely defeat a virus that has killed more than 6 million people around the world. According to the official tally, cases are plummeting, and, while 18% of the nation of 26 million people reportedly have had symptoms that outsiders strongly suspect were from COVID=19, less than 100 have died.
21st Jun 2022 - The Independent

U.S. COVID vaccine rollout for young children will pick up pace

The United States has begun distributing COVID vaccines for children as young as six months around the country, and availability of the shots will improve in the coming days, according to White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha. U.S. regulators authorized Moderna Inc's (MRNA.O) two-dose vaccine for children aged six months to five years and the Pfizer (PFE.N)-BioNTech (22UAy.DE) three-shot regimen for children aged six months to four years late last week.
21st Jun 2022 - Reuters


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Biden adviser Jake Sullivan tests positive for COVID-19

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan tested positive on Saturday for COVID-19, according to the White House. Sullivan typically has frequent contact with President Joe Biden but last was in contact with the president early in the week, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Sullivan had been keeping his distance from Biden after “a couple” of people he had been in close contact with had tested positive for the virus, the official said. Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokeswoman, said Sullivan “is asymptomatic and he has not been in close contact with the president.”
19th Jun 2022 - The Associated Press - en Español

Can China revive its COVID-hit economy?

The Chinese government has announced a 33-point stimulus plan to put the economy back on track. China has been the biggest source of global economic growth for the past 20 years. And it has long defied predictions it would soon hit a wall. But, strict COVID lockdowns, a crackdown on tech companies and a real estate slump are challenging the world’s second-largest economy’s expansion. Many financial institutions predict growth will fall well short of Beijing’s target of about 5.5 percent this year, for the first time in decades. Elsewhere, the United Kingdom plans to scrap parts of the post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union. But, can it do so? And how will businesses be affected?
19th Jun 2022 - Al Jazeera English

West Australian aged care visitor limits expected to remain for some time, despite COVID-19 restrictions easing

Aged care visitor limits are among the last remaining COVID restrictions. Visitors are capped at two people each day, impacting larger families. A major aged care provider expects the limits will be in place for a while longer
18th Jun 2022 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

China turns Winter Olympics villages into quarantine camps to stamp out new COVID-19 outbreaks, report says

Villages that housed athletes at the Beijing Winter Games being used as COVID-19 quarantine camps. Hundreds have been sent to Olympic villages after an outbreak in Beijing's entertainment district. Olympic villages offer ideal infrastructure for quarantine, the Financial Times reported.
18th Jun 2022 - Business Insider on MSN.com

U.S. envoy to China expects 'zero COVID' policy to persist into 2023

The United States' ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, said on Thursday he expects Beijing's "zero COVID" policy to persist into early 2023, and that U.S. businesses were reluctant to invest in the country until restrictions ease. The re-emergence of infections in China's capital Beijing has raised new concerns about the outlook for the world's second largest economy, which had recently emerged from a long lockdown that shook global supply chains in its most populous city and commercial hub, Shanghai.
18th Jun 2022 - Reuters

German health minister pushes fourth COVID shot ahead of autumn wave

There will not be another attempt to make COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory, said German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, while making the case for more people to get a second booster shot. Anyone who is often in contact with others and wants to protect themselves and others should consider a fourth shot, regardless of age, said Lauterbach. Some 80% of Germany's over-60s have not had their fourth COVID-19 shot, he added.
18th Jun 2022 - Reuters

FDA Authorizes First Covid-19 Vaccines for Young Children

U.S. health regulators cleared for use Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE and from Moderna Inc. in children as young as 6 months. Some 1½ years after first authorizing the shots for people of older ages, the Food and Drug Administration on Friday expanded use of the vaccines to the nearly 20 million children in the U.S. from 6 months to under 5 years. A national campaign to vaccinate the young children is expected to kick off as soon as Monday, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off in the coming days.
18th Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

White House clams up on Biden COVID-19 testing regimen

In an abrupt change of course, the White House is now declining to comment on the frequency of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 testing regimen, even as it maintains that it would inform the public if he were to ever test positive for the coronavirus. Since Inauguration Day, the White House had frequently answered questions from reporters about when Biden, 79, last tested negative for the virus. Now, the White House says its policy is not to answer those questions. “I’m telling you he has a regular cadence," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday, refusing to say what day he last tested negative. "I just don’t have a date to share with you, but he does have a regular weekly cadence.”
17th Jun 2022 - The Independent

FDA authorizes coronavirus vaccine for young kids with shots likely next week

More than a year and a half after the oldest Americans gained access to coronavirus vaccines, the nation’s youngest citizens are poised to start getting shots next week, a move made possible when federal regulators Friday authorized vaccines for children as young as 6 months. For many parents and pediatricians, the Food and Drug Administration clearing of two vaccines — one by Moderna and the other by Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech — comes as a huge relief. Friday’s emergency-use authorizations arrived two days after a panel of external advisers unanimously recommended that the agency greenlight vaccines for the last age group eligible for a shot of protection against the virus. “Many parents, caregivers and clinicians have been waiting for a vaccine for younger children and this action will help protect those down to 6 months of age,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said in a statement. “
17th Jun 2022 - The Washington Post

U.S. FDA opens way to COVID vaccines for kids under 5, CDC up next

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5, opening the door to vaccinating millions of the country's youngest children once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees. The FDA authorized Pfizer-BioNTech's, COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6 months to 4 years and Moderna Inc's shot for those 6 months to 17 years. Pfizer's is already authorized for those over the age of 5.
17th Jun 2022 - Reuters


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1,967 new Covid cases, 19 more deaths

The country registered 19 more Covid-19 fatalities and 1,967 new cases during the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry announced on Friday morning. This compared with the 17 coronavirus-related fatalities and 2,153 new cases reported on Thursday morning. There were 1,966 local cases and one imported case. On Thursday, 2,123 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovering from the coronavirus while 21,030 others were receiving treatment (down from 21,205 on the previous day).
17th Jun 2022 - ฺBangkok Post

Swiss COVID-19 vaccine purchase plan fails to pass parliament

The Swiss parliament failed to finance the government's plan to buy COVID-19 vaccines in 2023, forcing the cabinet to try to renegotiate contracts with Moderna and Pfizer/Biontech for millions of doses. With the two houses of parliament split over the funding request, budget rules required the adoption of the cheaper version of draft legislation, the SDA news agency said in a report posted on parliament's website.
16th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Parents Anxious to Vaccinate Young Children Describe an Agonizing Wait

A committee of experts advising the F.D.A. voted on Wednesday to recommend that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna pediatric coronavirus vaccines be authorized for young children. If the rest of the regulatory process moves swiftly, children could begin getting the shots as soon as next week. Most parents are not so eager to get their young children vaccinated, surveys have found. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey this spring found that about two in five parents said they planned to wait and see how the vaccine works for others before deciding what to do. And 38 percent said they would definitely not get their children vaccinated, or would do so only if required. A number of parents who wrote that they were in no rush to get their children vaccinated said it was because the children had already been infected with the virus. But at Wednesday’s F.D.A. committee meeting, a Moderna official said the company’s study found that young children who got Omicron and were vaccinated had greater levels of protection, a conclusion backed by outside research.
16th Jun 2022 - The New York Times

Florida didn't pre-order any COVID-19 vaccines for younger kids, DOH says

Officials from the Florida Department of Health said the state didn't pre-order any COVID-19 vaccines for kids under the age of 5. They say it's up to individual doctor's offices and pharmacies to make their own orders.
16th Jun 2022 - YAHOO!News

China top Covid-19 fighter calls for all-in-one data portal like Europe’s EpiPulse

Two-and-a-half years after China's first Covid-19 cases, leading epidemiologist Liang Wannian has proposed the setting up of an EU-like integrated monitoring and early reporting system for a speedy response to future outbreaks. The current data collection process is "complex and fragmented", said Liang, head of China's Covid-19 response team, as he called for the different monitoring systems to be rolled into an all-in-one network. This would cover not only human health data but also animal farm and waste water monitoring inputs, to help identify novel pathogens and provide seamless access to data on a single platform.
16th Jun 2022 - MSN.com

Victorian COVID-19 vaccine mandate rationale 'unclear' given dropped mask rules, expert tells committee

An expert has told a Victorian parliamentary inquiry it is "unclear" why broad vaccine mandates have remained in place when effective rules on masks have not, as another warned COVID-19 was on track to become one of the leading causes of death in Australia this year. Victoria's pandemic oversight committee is examining the state's vaccine mandate and its impact on workers and the spread of COVID-19.
16th Jun 2022 - ABC.Net.au

U.S. FDA advisers back COVID vaccines for children as young as 6 months

Advisers to the U.S Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday unanimously recommended the agency authorize COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech for millions of the youngest American children. The committee's recommendation is an important step toward immunizing children under the age of 5 and as young as 6 months old who have not yet been eligible for the shots.
16th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai orders mass COVID testing each weekend until end-July

Shanghai will require all of its 16 districts to organise mass COVID testing for residents every weekend until the end of July, a city official said on Wednesday. Zhao Dandan said that said that all districts will organise "community screenings" each weekend. Should a district find any community transmission during the week, it will be required to conduct a full screening during which all residents will be subjected to "closed management" movement restrictions until testing is over, he added.
16th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Coronavirus: some patrons of Hong Kong bars adopt happy-go-lucky attitude in response to new rapid testing rule

Some patrons of Hong Kong’s best-known nightlife districts have been ignoring a new rapid Covid-19 test requirement for entry to premises, while the city recorded more than 1,000 cases for the second day in a row. A visit by the Post to Lockhart Road in Wan Chai found several customers did not show negative rapid antigen test (RAT) results to staff in at least five venues, as required under the new rule that took effect from 5am on Thursday. Employees at each venue were not seen asking patrons to comply with the measure.
16th Jun 2022 - South China Morning Post


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Full COVID-19 vaccination still required for Hajj, says ministry

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said that full immunization with one of the approved COVID19- vaccines is still required for those planning to perform Hajj this year. The confirmation comes less than 24 hours after the Saudi authorities announced the lifting of various COVID-19 preventative measures, including the requirement to wear face masks in closed places. The ministry reaffirmed that all those intending to perform Hajj this year must have completed their immunization program with one of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the Public Health Authority. This vaccine requirement is listed on the electronic registration portal for this year’s Hajj, which will accommodate 1 million pilgrims.
15th Jun 2022 - Arab News

Pfizer already agreed to delay supply of COVID-19 shots to EU, now the bloc wants more

Last month, in response to a decrease in demand, Pfizer and its COVID-19 vaccine partner BioNTech agreed to delay supplies of their shot to the European Union. Jabs due to be shipped from June to August would instead be sent in September and the fourth quarter. Now, four weeks later, the bloc is putting heat on Pfizer to further restrict supplies, Reuters reports. This move comes two weeks after the EU reached an agreement with Moderna to postpone its scheduled delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. Responding to a request for comment, a Pfizer spokesperson referenced a previous statement it issued following last month's agreement with the EU.
15th Jun 2022 - FiercePharma

FDA Advisers Review Pfizer, Moderna Covid-19 Vaccines in Young Children

Health experts advising U.S. health regulators backed giving Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE and from Moderna Inc. to children as young as 6 months old. The panel voted 21 to 0 in a pair of votes on Wednesday in support of expanding access to the vaccines. The positive recommendations will likely lead soon to expanding the U.S. Covid-19 vaccination campaign to the 19.6 million children from 6 months to under 5 years of age, one of the last groups of people in the U.S. waiting for shots. The Food and Drug Administration, which doesn’t have to follow the panel’s recommendations but usually does, is expected to authorize the shots within days. Vaccinations could begin as early as June 21, according to the Biden administration.
15th Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

EU governments pressure manufacturers to renegotiate contracts for COVID-19 vaccines

Pressure on COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers is being mounted as European Union (EU) governments are in a push to renegotiate contracts, with a caution issued by EU officials that millions of vaccine doses could be wasted. When vaccines became available earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, countries vied for supply contracts. However, as the need for vaccines begins to slow in Europe, some countries want to amend their contracts to reduce spending and to prevent receiving more vaccines than are needed. During the most acute phase of the pandemic, the European Commission and EU governments agreed to buy huge volumes of vaccines, mostly from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, amid fears of insufficient supplies
15th Jun 2022 - PMLiVE

North Korea COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Facing Challenges

As North Korea faces a rising number of COVID-19 cases, simply having vaccines may be insufficient to roll out a countrywide immunization process that experts say needs to be accompanied by adequate cold storage units and trained medical and technical staff that the nation lacks. Pyongyang announced on Tuesday that "more than 32,810 fevered cases" were detected in the country from June 12 to 13, through its state media Korea Central News Agency (KCNA). The total, "since late April," surged past 4.5 million as of June 14, added the KCNA.
15th Jun 2022 - VOA Asia

WTO draft IP deal on COVID vaccines 'very good', UK minister says

Britain, one of the main opponents to waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, praised a draft agreement and expressed hope a deal would be reached at the World Trade Organization (WTO) this week. India, South Africa and other developing countries have sought a waiver of IP rights for vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for over a year, but faced opposition from countries with major pharmaceutical producers, such as the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
15th Jun 2022 - Reuters

U.S. FDA panel weighs COVID vaccines for children as young as 6 months

Advisers to the U.S Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday unanimously recommended the agency authorize COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE for millions of the youngest American children. The committee's recommendation is an important step toward immunizing children under the age of 5 and as young as 6 months old who have not yet been eligible for the shots.
15th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Pfizer gives up on Paxlovid in less vulnerable COVID patients after data fail to impress

Pfizer’s Paxlovid has proven useful in COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease. But the antiviral drug may not help less vulnerable patients. Pfizer has stopped enrollment into the EPIC-SR trial that’s been evaluating Paxlovid in standard-risk patients, the company said Tuesday. These include unvaccinated adults without additional risk and vaccinated people who have at least one risk factor for progressing to severe disease. The clinical trial previously flopped on its primary goal, showing the Pfizer antiviral was no better than placebo at sustaining symptom relief for four consecutive days. Now, the company is calling it quits on the study after finding it hard to read any signs of potential benefit because of an already low rate of hospitalization or death in the standard-risk population.
15th Jun 2022 - FiercePharma


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Israel offers third COVID vaccine for children 5 to 11

Only a small percentage of children aged 5 to 11 will actually be eligible to receive the additional dose, as 76 percent of children this age have not been vaccinated at all. In addition, among those who were vaccinated, many have received the second dose in the last three months. Children from 5 to 11 have the lowest vaccination rate among the Israeli population, much more so than children age 12 to 15 – of which 42 percent have yet to be vaccinated. Among teenagers aged 16 to 19, 22 percent are unvaccinated.
14th Jun 2022 - Haaretz

Russians Inoculated With Expired Coronavirus Vaccine

Patients in Moscow are being inoculated with expired Russian coronavirus vaccines, The Moscow Times’ Russian service reported, citing sources and eyewitnesses. Epidemiologists say that the expired vaccines aren’t dangerous, but are ineffective against Covid-19. Russia has about 30 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines that are currently past their use-by date and worth more than 23 billion rubles ($398 million), sources at the country’s Health Ministry told The Moscow Times’ Russian service. The Health Ministry has not officially commented on the reports, although it has previously issued orders to extend vaccine shelf life and approve the use of these doses.
14th Jun 2022 - The Moscow Times

Canada poised to lift COVID-19 vaccine mandates for planes, trains: sources

Unvaccinated Canadians can board a plane or passenger train in the country once again. Ottawa announced Tuesday it is suspending its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for air and rail travellers with infections rapidly declining across Canada. It will take effect on June 20. Since Oct. 30, 2021, those over the age of 12 who were not inoculated were barred from boarding a plane or train, and most of them were no longer allowed to show a negative COVID-19 test as a substitute for vaccination. Roughly 81 per cent of the entire population is vaccinated against COVID-19, government data shows.
14th Jun 2022 - Global News

FDA advisers to weigh expanding Covid-19 vaccines to younger children

Several months after older children became eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19, the United States might be just days away from offering vaccines to those younger than 5. The US Food and Drug Administration's independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is set to meet Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss amending the emergency use authorization (EUA) of Moderna's and Pfizer/BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccines to include younger ages. Children under 5 -- about 18 million people -- are the only US age group that isn't eligible to get a Covid-19 vaccine.
14th Jun 2022 - CNN

EU states step up pressure on Pfizer to cut unneeded COVID vaccine supplies

European Union governments are intensifying pressure on Pfizer and other COVID-19 vaccine makers to renegotiate contracts, warning millions of shots that are no longer needed could go to waste, according to EU officials and a document. During the most acute phase of the pandemic, the European Commission and EU governments agreed to buy huge volumes of vaccines, mostly from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech amid fears of insufficient supplies.
14th Jun 2022 - Reuters

World Bank approves $474 million loan to South Africa for COVID vaccines

The World Bank has approved a loan of 454.4 million euros ($474.4 million) to help South Africa fund COVID-19 vaccine purchases, the bank and South Africa's National Treasury said in a statement. South Africa has recorded the most coronavirus cases and deaths on the African continent, with over 3.9 million confirmed cases and more than 101,000 deaths. It initially struggled to secure vaccines due to limited supplies and protracted negotiations, but it is now well-supplied with doses.
14th Jun 2022 - Reuters

China's '618' shopping festival to test COVID-hit shoppers' urge to splurge

China is set to get a picture of how the country's zero-COVID-19 policy and slowing economy have impacted shoppers' urge to splurge, as e-commerce platforms gear up to report takings from the mid-year "618" shopping festival this weekend. Held in the run-up to June 18, 618 is China's second-largest shopping event by sales after Nov. 11's Singles Day, with bargain-hunters holding off purchases in anticipation of discounts spanning a range of brands.
14th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Moderna to invest 500 mln euros in Spain, PM Sanchez says

Moderna plans to invest around 500 million euros ($520.60 million) in a new laboratory in Spain to boost its production of vaccines, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday. Sanchez wrote on his Twitter account that he had a meeting with Moderna vice president, Dan Staner, and heard about the drugmaker's expansion plans in the country. Spanish pharmaceutical group Rovi agreed early in the year a 10-year extension to its deal with Moderna to manufacture future drugs developed with the mRNA technology used for the U.S. company's coronavirus vaccine.
14th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Poland changes judiciary law, demands EU release COVID funds

Poland has replaced a controversial body that disciplined judges with a new accountability panel to resolve a long-running dispute with the European Union over the country’s judicial independence. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s ruling party, said on Tuesday that he hoped the bloc would have a “proper” reaction to the move. The EU has frozen billions of euros of pandemic funds for Poland over criticism of its rule of law record. Kaczynski insisted that Poland has met the EU’s demands for changes to the regulations on the judiciary. “I hope the reaction will be proper and in line with the [EU] treaties,” Kaczynski said, reiterating his long-term view that EU bodies have been violating the bloc’s treaties in their approach to Poland.
14th Jun 2022 - Al Jazeera English


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Canada urged to support COVID-19 vaccine patent waiver

Advocates for vaccine equity are calling on the Canadian government to join the push for a patent waiver to help in the global fight against COVID-19, just as the World Trade Organization opens high-level talks on this and other issues.
13th Jun 2022 - CTV News

‘Covid not over yet, increase vaccinations for schoolkids': Mandaviya to states

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya interacted with health ministers of states and Union territories and urged them to focus on increasing Covid-19 vaccination coverage for schoolchildren, precaution dose for the elderly and strengthening genome sequencing, the health ministry said. “Covid-19 is not over yet. With rising Covid-19 cases in some states, it is important to be alert and not to forget Covid-appropriate behaviour,” Mandaviya told the states at the review meeting. Highlighting increased case positivity in some districts and states and reduced Covid-19 testing, Mandaviya said increased and timely testing will enable early identification of cases and help to curb the spread of the infection among the community. “He urged states/UTs to continue and strengthen the surveillance and focus on genome sequencing for identifying new mutants/variants in the country. He stated that the five-fold strategy of test, track, treat, vaccination and adherence to Covid Appropriate Behavior (CAB) needs to be continued and monitored by States/UTs,” the ministry said in a statement.
13th Jun 2022 - Hindustan Times

‘Immunity is waning’: Andrews seeks fourth shot for hospital workers

Premier Daniel Andrews will push the federal government for fourth-dose coronavirus vaccines for all healthcare workers employed in hospitals across the state. There are no plans to mandate a fourth dose. The premier’s aim is to ensure a second booster is available to healthcare workers once immunity wanes from their third dose.
13th Jun 2022 - The Age

Amid fourth wave scare, Centre warns 'Covid-19 not over yet'; urges States to focus on vaccination

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya urged States/UTs to strengthen the surveillance and focus on genome sequencing for identifying new Covid-19 mutants/variants in the country.
13th Jun 2022 - India.com

Saudi Arabia eases mask mandate as first Hajj pilgrims arrive

Saudi Arabia has lifted a mask mandate for indoor spaces even as COVID-19 infection numbers steadily climb past 1,000 new cases a day after reaching double-digit lows just two months ago. Monday’s move comes as the kingdom prepares to welcome around 850,000 pilgrims from abroad to participate in the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
13th Jun 2022 - Al Jazeera English

Mandatory COVID-19 tests every few days becoming the norm for people in China

Many larger Chinese cities have normalised regular COVID-19 testing as part of the country's COVID-zero policy. Tens of thousands of testing booths are being built so that residents always have one within a 15-minute walk. Economists estimate the testing regime could cost $354 billion per year
13th Jun 2022 - ABC.Net.au

Beijing tests millions to stem 'developing' COVID cluster at 24-hour bar

Authorities in China's capital Beijing raced on Monday to contain a COVID-19 outbreak traced to a 24-hour bar known for cheap liquor and big crowds, with millions facing mandatory testing and thousands under targeted lockdowns. The outbreak of 228 cases linked to the Heaven Supermarket Bar, which had just reopened as restrictions in Beijing eased last week, highlights how hard it will be for China to make a success of its "zero COVID" policy as much of the rest of the world opts to learn how to live with the virus.
13th Jun 2022 - Reuters

United Airlines cites jump in global travel searches after U.S. ends COVID testing

Saudi Arabia has lifted a mask mandate for indoor spaces even as COVID-19 infection numbers steadily climb past 1,000 new cases a day after reaching double-digit lows just two months ago. Monday’s move comes as the kingdom prepares to welcome around 850,000 pilgrims from abroad to participate in the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The first batch of foreign pilgrims since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic began arriving from Indonesia earlier this month. Masks will still be required at Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, where pilgrims gather for worship, according to the new rules. Organisers of events and festivals can continue to require masks if they wish.
13th Jun 2022 - Reuters


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Canada to suspend random COVID testing to reduce airport wait times

Canada is suspending random COVID-19 testing at all its airports for the rest of June to ease the long wait times that travelers have encountered in recent weeks, a government statement said on Friday. The random testing will be discontinued from Saturday and will resume "off-site" on July 1, the statement said. Random testing was blamed by some industry officials for lengthening already long wait times at airports. Toronto's Pearson airport has had planes stuck at gates and hours-long security lines because of staffing shortages.
12th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Covid Testing No Longer Need for Flying. Airlines May Not Be Ready

Airlines have been petitioning for months to ease a pandemic-era restriction on arrivals from abroad. Now that the White House has lifted mandatory Covid testing for inbound passengers, the industry may rue having its collective wish granted just ahead of the busiest time of year for travel. As of June 12, travelers by air will join those at land ports of entry in no longer needing to submit negative Covid test results. That rule has depressed traffic and delayed a recovery for long-haul international service, airline lobbyists and the U.S. Travel Association have told the Biden administration repeatedly. But no more mandatory tests may presage an upswell in demand the industry is ill-prepared to handle. The situation in Europe -- where mandatory testing was abandoned as early as January in the UK -- isn’t encouraging.
12th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Capacity limits, COVID-19 tests no longer needed at nightlife establishments from Jun 14

Nightlife establishments with dancing among patrons will no longer be subjected to a capacity limit from Jun 14. Patrons will also no longer need to obtain a negative antigen rapid test (ART) result to enter the venue, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (Jun 10), adding that this move will "rationalise the rules" for nightspots with other social settings. However, vaccination-differentiated safe management measures will continue to apply, with operators still required to conduct such checks to ensure that only fully-vaccinated people enter these settings. Enforcement officers may carry out random checks to ensure that operators comply, said MOH.
10th Jun 2022 - CNA

People aged 50 and above may get second COVID-19 booster at vaccination centres with mRNA shots: MOH

People aged 50 to 59 who want to get their second COVID-19 booster shot may do so from Friday (Jun 10) by walking into any vaccination centre offering mRNA vaccines, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). This is an expansion from the 60-79 age group that the ministry previously offered second booster shots to. The expert committee on COVID-19 vaccination has since assessed that people aged 50 to 59 who wish to take their second booster may also do so about five months after their first booster shot. “This is in view of data indicating that the risk of severe COVID-19 increases in the age group of 50 to 59 as well,” said MOH. "This is also around the age when chronic diseases start to set in."
10th Jun 2022 - CNA

Ontario planning COVID-19 boosters for fall, most mask mandates ending Saturday

After years of daily COVID-19 data reporting from the province, Public Health Ontario (PHO) is moving to a weekly reporting system. In a news release issued late Friday afternoon, the province announced the change comes into effect as of June 11. Ontario will publish the latest COVID-19 data each Thursday, starting on June 16. "PHO will continue to monitor trends and determine if any additional changes to reporting are needed, including to frequency and content, in the coming weeks and months," the statement reads. Data will still be available through the province's Open Data Catalog, it notes, but it will not be on the provincial website.
10th Jun 2022 - CBC.ca

Covid-19 vaccine in prison: a not-to-be-missed opportunity to promote access to vaccination in adolescents

Covid-19 vaccination campaigns for adolescents have been taking place in many countries for some months. The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunisation have called for vaccine prioritisation within countries to take into account the needs of those groups that, due to underlying social, ethnic, geographic, or biomedical factors, are at greater risk of getting infected or suffering most severe consequences from covid-19. Since the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is considerably higher in prisons and detention facilities than elsewhere, adolescents who are detained in juvenile institutions should be prioritised for vaccination. Detained adolescents often come from marginalised groups of society with a considerable burden of ill health rooted in poverty and discrimination, and with limited access to healthcare. The benefits of vaccinating adolescents in juvenile institutions include the direct benefits to their health and the indirect benefit of reducing onward transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within the prison community, including among prison staff, and in the community they belong. Furthermore, the implementation of the covid-19 vaccine in juvenile institutions is essential to upholding the principle of equity of care and to guarantee the right to health for those deprived of liberty, leaving no one behind
10th Jun 2022 - The BMJ

International travellers to the US no longer need negative Covid-19 test

The US is ending the requirement for international travellers arriving in the country to take a Covid test within a day before boarding their flights. The move is one of the last remaining federal coronavirus restrictions still in place in the US and will end on Sunday. The US will review the policy every 90 days.
10th Jun 2022 - ITV News

U.S. to drop COVID testing for incoming international air travelers

The United States late Friday rescinded a 17-month-old requirement that people arriving in the country by air test negative for COVID-19, a move that follows intense lobbying by airlines and the travel industry. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky issued a four-page order lifting the mandate, effective at 12:01 a.m. ET (0400 GMT) Sunday, saying it is "not currently necessary."
10th Jun 2022 - Reuters

US Ends Covid-19 Test Requirement to Enter Country

The Biden administration is lifting its requirement that all travelers test negative for coronavirus before flying to the US, amid pressure from airlines that viewed the measure as excessive and blamed it for depressing ticket purchases. The change will take effect just after midnight on June 12 and be reassessed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 90 days, according to a senior administration official who requested anonymity to detail the plan before it was formally announced. Airline shares rise on prospect of eased test requirement. Mandate could be revived if troubling virus variant emerges
10th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg


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India's Covid Cases Almost Double in a Week to Three Month High

India’s daily Covid-19 infection rate almost doubled in a week, prompting a revitalization of the country’s lethargic booster shot campaign, as well as some state governments and air authorities to bring back mandatory mask wearing. The country added 7,240 cases on Thursday, according to health ministry data, the biggest single-day surge in more than three months after the densely-populated country eased movement restrictions and reopened schools and offices. So far hospitalizations remain low and 69% of India’s 1.4 billion people have been administered at least two Covid shots, though so far only 3% have had a booster dose, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker.
10th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Covid Flares Again in Shanghai, Putting Areas Back in Lockdown

Shanghai will lock down seven city districts this weekend to mass test millions of people as Covid-19 cases continue to emerge in the community, risking more disruption for residents and businesses that have just exited a grueling two-month shutdown. Authorities said late Thursday they would lock down the Pudong, Huangpu, Jing’an, Xuhui, Hongkou, Baoshan and Minhang districts of Shanghai, with residents to be tested for the virus -- a key tool in China’s Covid Zero arsenal. It comes after infections found in the community rebounded to six on Thursday, from zero the day before.
10th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

BioNTech to soon start mRNA vaccine factory construction in Rwanda

COVID-19 vaccine maker BioNTech said construction of an mRNA vaccine factory to enable African nations to jump-start their own manufacturing network would start on June 23 in Rwanda. The groundbreaking ceremony in the capital city of Kigali is to be attended by Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, further heads of African states, as well as representatives from the European Union and the World Health Organization, the biotech firm said in a statement on Thursday. The German company's modular factory elements, to be assembled in Africa to so-called BioNTainers, would be delivered to the Kigali construction site by the end of 2022, it added. The company, which developed the western world's most widely used COVID-19 shot with U.S. partner Pfizer, earlier this year mapped out a plan to enable African countries to produce its Comirnaty-branded shot under BioNTech's supervision
10th Jun 2022 - Reuters

U.S. Orders Millions of COVID-19 Vaccines for Youngest Children

Millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been ordered for small children in anticipation of possible federal authorization next week, White House officials say. The government allowed pharmacies and states to start placing orders last week, with 5 million doses initially available—half of them shots made by Pfizer and the other half the vaccine produced by Moderna, senior administration officials said. As of this week, about 1.45 million of the 2.5 million available doses of Pfizer have been ordered, and about 850,000 of available Moderna shots have been ordered, officials said. More orders are expected in the coming days.
9th Jun 2022 - Time

Little-Kid Vaccines Missed Their Pandemic Moment

When Kishana Taylor enrolled her 3-year-old son, John, in preschool last fall, she figured COVID-19 immunizations for kids under-5 would arrive before the start of classes. Since then, she has delivered fraternal twins, now almost six months old—and there are still no vaccines for her kids. After John caught the coronavirus, he and his siblings had to duel the virus entirely unprotected, a reality that Taylor, a virologist at Rutgers University, never wanted them to face. “The only reason we put John in public school was because I thought he was getting a vaccine,” she told me. “I would have made different decisions, if we had known it was going to be put off this long.”
9th Jun 2022 - The Atlantic

US diverts COVID-19 funds to secure vaccines amid stalemate

The Biden administration said Wednesday that a funding crunch is forcing it to divert more than $10 billion in coronavirus relief from test procurement and other efforts as it tries to come up with money to secure the next generation of vaccines and treatments for some high-risk Americans. The White House said it has been left with “no choice” but to cut back on orders of at-home rapid tests that have supported a domestic manufacturing base for the easy diagnostic tests. It also is scaling back funding for research and development of new COVID-19 vaccines and limiting orders of personal protective equipment in an effort to maintain some stockpiles of vaccines and treatments for Americans heading into the winter.
9th Jun 2022 - The Independent

Biden administration lays out its plan for Covid-19 vaccinations for children under 5

The White House has announced a highly anticipated Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan for children under 5. The administration "has made 10 million vaccine doses available for states, Tribes, territories, community health centers, federal pharmacy partners, and others to pre-order," according to a White House fact sheet shared with CNN Wednesday. It is partnering with those entities to ship and distribute vaccines across the country following next week's meeting of the US Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisers -- who will review data on these vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna -- and expected authorization from the full FDA. The first vaccinations could start "as early as the week of June 20 —with the program ramping up over time as more doses are delivered and more appointments become available," according to the fact sheet. CNN previously reported Covid-19 vaccination shots for the youngest Americans could begin as soon as June 21.
9th Jun 2022 - CNN

Shanghai to conduct mass COVID testing in 7 of its 16 districts at weekend

The Chinese commercial hub of Shanghai will carry out mass testing for COVID-19 in seven districts over the weekend, a local health official said on Thursday. The districts to be tested are Pudong, Huangpu, Jingan, Xuhui, Hongkou, Baoshan and Minhang, the deputy director of Shanghai's health commission, Zhao Dandan, told a media briefing. Shanghai, a city of 25 million people, has a total of 16 districts.
9th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Virus testing the new normal as China sticks to ‘zero-COVID’

Thousands of coronavirus testing sites have popped up on sidewalks across Beijing and other Chinese cities in the latest development in the country’s “zero-COVID” strategy. Lines form every day, rain or shine, even where the spread of the virus has largely stopped. Some people need to go to work. Others want to shop. All are effectively compelled to get tested by a requirement to show a negative test result to enter office buildings, malls and other public places. Liu Lele, who works for a live-streaming company, has no problem getting tested regularly but said the daytime operating hours don’t always fit his schedule. “Sometimes I get held up at work,” he said after finishing a test Thursday near Beijing’s historic Bell and Drum towers. “I wish there were sites open 24 hours or not closing until 7 or 8 p.m.”
9th Jun 2022 - The Associated Press

New vaccine may be option for troops with religious concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine that could soon win federal authorization may offer a boost for the U.S. military: an opportunity to get shots into some of the thousands of service members who have refused other coronavirus vaccines for religious reasons. At least 175 active duty and reserve service members have already received the Novavax vaccine, some even traveling overseas at their own expense to get it. The vaccine meets Defense Department requirements because it has the World Health Organization’s emergency use approval and is used in Europe and other regions. The Food and Drug Administration is considering giving it emergency use authorization in the U.S.
9th Jun 2022 - The Associated Press


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What are the entry requirements for France?

On 31 March 2022, the French government relaxed Covid border restrictions to allow unvaccinated travellers entry to the country for leisure and work purposes. Previously, only vaccinated travellers were permitted entry for leisure and work, while unjabbed travellers could only visit the country if they had a compelling reason. Unvaccinated travellers should provide proof of a negative PCR test, taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in France, or an antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before arrival. They will no longer need to quarantine for seven days on entering the country. Rules for vaccinated travellers were also relaxed. They no longer need to submit a sworn declaration form stating that they show no Covid symptoms. They are only required to present proof of vaccination.
9th Jun 2022 - Evening Standard

White House warning of 'unacceptable tradeoffs' on Covid-19 response amid congressional inaction

The White House issued a new warning to Congress Wednesday on the continued urgent need for Covid-19 funding, highlighting new "unacceptable tradeoffs" as it reallocates and reprioritizes remaining funding toward new vaccines in the absence of congressional action. "Due to a lack of additional funding," a White House official told CNN in a statement, the Department of Health and Human Services "is now forced to pull funds from other essential elements of our response to meet some basic Covid-19 response needs." The official continued, "This will allow the US to get in line to procure some additional lifesaving vaccines for the fall, including next-generation vaccines if available, and procure additional lifesaving treatments."
8th Jun 2022 - CNN

COVID in California: Vaccines for kids under 5 could come as soon as June 21

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee on Tuesday recommended the agency grant emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine made by Novavax. If approved, it would become the fourth coronavirus vaccine available in the U.S., along with the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson versions. California’s chief justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, has tested positive for COVID-19 and has mild symptoms, court officials say.
8th Jun 2022 - San Francisco Chronicle

Dogs to sniff out COVID-19 in patients and visitors at Adelaide's Lyell McEwin Hospital

Dogs will be used to sniff for COVID-19 among patients and visitors at the Lyell McEwin Hospital. Patients and visitors to the emergency department will still have to undergo more mainstream testing. The hospital has faced criticism for its COVID-19 policies
8th Jun 2022 - ABC News

US diverts COVID-19 funds to secure vaccines amid stalemate

The Biden administration said Wednesday that a funding crunch is forcing it to divert more than $10 billion in coronavirus relief from test procurement and other efforts as it tries to come up with money to secure the next generation of vaccines and treatments for some high-risk Americans. The White House said it has been left with “no choice” but to cut back on orders of at-home rapid tests that have supported a domestic manufacturing base for the easy diagnostic tests. It also is scaling back funding for research and development of new COVID-19 vaccines and limiting orders of personal protective equipment in an effort to maintain some stockpiles of vaccines and treatments for Americans heading into the winter.
8th Jun 2022 - The Associated Press

Novavax shares jump as FDA panel backs COVID vaccine

Shares of Novavax Inc surged nearly 20% on Wednesday after advisers to the Food and Drug Administration overwhelmingly backed the use of its COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the shot a step closer to a U.S. launch. The stock tumbled about 20% on Friday after the heath regulator's reviewers flagged concerns of a type of heart inflammation following the vaccination, adding uncertainty over the outcome of Tuesday's meeting.
8th Jun 2022 - Reuters


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French medics protest hospital crisis, deepened by COVID

Health workers protested Tuesday around France to demand more hiring and better salaries in public hospitals, after years of cost cuts that left medics submerged when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and are now forcing emergency rooms to cut services. Nine unions and collectives organized a day of protest, including a demonstration outside the Health Ministry in Paris and in dozens of other towns and cities, to call the government’s attention to growing concerns about staff shortages. President Emmanuel Macron has promised a rethink of the public hospital system and commissioned an urgent review by July 1. Protesters hope to pressure the government as France heads into two rounds of legislative elections starting Sunday.
8th Jun 2022 - The Independent

Hong Kong School, Bar Clusters Send Cases to Six-Week High

Hong Kong reported a surge of Covid-19 cases in local schools, shutting some classes and sending the number of new infections to a six-week high. The city had 204 cases from schools, bringing total infections on Monday to 543, the most since April 22. Some classes will be suspended until next week, health official Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a briefing. There were also 31 new cases linked to bar clusters, adding to the more than 200 cases originating at a handful of nightclubs in the financial hub’s Central district.
8th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Beijing, Shanghai Reopenings Speed Up: China Lockdown Tracker

China’s worst Covid-19 outbreak is ending, with cases continuing to fall, all major cities loosening restrictions and daily life mostly returning to normal. Infections are trending down nationwide, thanks to the ebbing outbreaks in Shanghai and Beijing. Of China’s top 50 cities by economic size, none currently have widespread restrictions in place. Tianjin hasn’t reported any local cases for the past 3 days and most public transport has resumed, while Beijing is resuming dine-in services and reopening parks and entertainment venues.
8th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Novavax says COVID vaccine for U.S. to be manufactured by India's Serum

Novavax Inc said on Tuesday that its COVID-19 vaccine initially available in the United States, if authorized, will be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. "So all vaccines that are being distributed globally commercially are being made in a single facility by our partners (the Serum Institute in India) that includes the vaccines which are being deployed around the world as well as the ones that will be initially deployed in the U.S.," said Chief Medical Officer Filip Dubovsky.
8th Jun 2022 - Reuters

El-Sisi launches initiative to provide 30 million coronavirus vaccines to African countries

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has announced an Egyptian initiative to provide 30 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to African countries, in coordination with the African Union. During his participation in the dialogue session of the African health medical conference and exhibition “African Health ExCon,” El-Sisi said that “the capabilities of Egypt are available to the African brothers.” El-Sisi was speaking at the launch of the conference, held at the Egypt International Exhibition Center (Al-Manara Center for International Conferences) in the Fifth Settlement in New Cairo.
7th Jun 2022 - Arab News

Don't Wait to Get Your Kid Vaccinated

Ocwieja knows that her excitement puts her in a minority. An April poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that less than a fifth of parents of kids under 5 are eager to vaccinate them right away; of the rest, about half say they definitely won’t sign their children up for shots, or will do so only if required. Plenty of parents still harbor worries over the shots’ safety, fretting that the injections might be more dangerous than the disease. And many who watched their kids contract the coronavirus, sometimes repeatedly, no longer feel much urgency about tacking on immunization—especially now that American society has opened back up, and nearly all mitigation measures have been dropped, signaling that the crisis has passed.
7th Jun 2022 - The Atlantic

China offers Covid vaccine insurance to win over jab sceptics

China has devised a new incentive to boost elderly vaccinations to levels that could finally allow the country to relax its zero-Covid strategy and revive the economy: insurance packages for people worried about jab-related side effects. Dozens of cities across the country have begun offering people aged 60 and older free insurance that pays out up to Rmb500,000 ($75,000) if they fall ill — or worse — because of Covid-19 vaccines. The packages also promise payouts to families if it can be proven that a loved one’s death was related to receiving a jab. In Beijing alone, about 60,000 seniors have signed up for the coverage since April.
7th Jun 2022 - Financial Times

Children’s COVID-19 vaccinations stall, as experts warn of health threat

COVID-19 vaccination rates for children have stalled due to bookings being disrupted by illness and isolation rules, as experts urge parents to complete their child’s course alongside their flu shot. Just eight Sydney councils have more than half of primary school-aged children vaccinated against COVID-19, data published by the federal government this week shows, with kids in the city’s south-west least likely to have completed their shots.
7th Jun 2022 - Sydney Morning Herald

Analysis: China's consumers keep their wallets in lockdown as COVID curbs ease

China is moving to spur spending that was depressed by COVID curbs in some of its biggest cities, but piecemeal measures such as vouchers, subsidies for car buyers and digital yuan payments have been modest compared with other big global economies. Policymakers have instead stuck to their preferred approach to stimulus, which focuses on businesses and infrastructure.
7th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Novavax’s Covid-19 Vaccine Backed by FDA Advisers

Vaccine experts advising the Food and Drug Administration endorsed Novavax Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine, voting overwhelmingly that the shot’s benefits outweighed its risks. The outside panel’s 21-0 vote, with one abstention, on Tuesday moves the shot one step closer to becoming available in the U.S. The FDA must next make a decision on authorizing the vaccine, after months of manufacturing-related delays and an agency review that found the shots effective but raised a safety concern. An FDA decision could take weeks. FDA staff said, in their review of Novavax’s application, that the agency must sign off on the company’s latest manufacturing processes.
7th Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


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UK shoppers cut spending by most since COVID lockdown in 2021

British shoppers facing a surge in inflation cut their spending in May by the most since the country was in a coronavirus lockdown in early 2021, according to a survey published on Tuesday. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said total retail spending was 1.1% lower than a year earlier, the biggest fall since January last year and representing an acceleration from April's 0.3% decline.
7th Jun 2022 - Reuters

J&J Says It Plans to End Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Deal With Emergent BioSolutions

Johnson & Johnson said Monday it planned to terminate its Covid-19 vaccine supply deal with contract manufacturer Emergent BioSolutions Inc., as both companies accused each other of breaching the agreement. J&J informed Emergent last week of its plan to terminate the 2020 manufacturing agreement “based on Emergent’s breaches, including failure to supply Covid-19 vaccine drug substance,” J&J said in a written statement. J&J provided a formal notice of termination and breach to Emergent on Monday, J&J said. The contract disclosure Monday came after Emergent BioSolutions said in a securities filing that it had sent a notice of material breach of the agreement to J&J.
6th Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

COVID-19 increases risk of psychiatric diagnoses in the months after infection, OSU study finds

A recent Oregon State University study found that COVID-19 patients had a roughly 25% increased risk of developing a psychiatric disorder in the four months following their infection, compared with people who had other types of respiratory tract infections. The findings support previous research on psychiatric disorders among post-COVID patients, though the current study found a smaller effect than the earlier studies, said co-author Lauren Chan, a Ph.D. student in nutrition in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences. For the current study, published in World Psychiatry, researchers used data from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) to match 46,610 COVID-19 positive individuals with control patients who were diagnosed with a different respiratory tract infection so they could compare how COVID specifically affected patients’ mental health.
6th Jun 2022 - Oregon State University

Pfizer to spend $120 mln to boost U.S. COVID pill manufacturing

Pfizer Inc said on Monday it would spend $120 million to expand manufacturing of its COVID-19 antiviral treatment at its Michigan plant, as demand ramps up. Use of the pill, Paxlovid, authorized to treat newly infected, at-risk people to prevent severe illness, has soared recently as infections rise. Biden administration officials have pushed for the wider use of Paxlovid, which the government distributes for free
6th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Egypt to provide 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to African nations: Sisi

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday announced an initiative to grant 30 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to African countries, as part of cooperation efforts between Egypt and African countries. Sisi’s statement came during the opening activities of the first African medical conference and exhibition – “Africa Health ExCon” – held at Egypt International Exhibition Center (EIEC) in al-Manara International Conference Center. The conference was launched in the presence of the Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Acting Minister of Health and Population Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, and some ministers and senior statesmen.
6th Jun 2022 - Egypt Independent

COVID mRNA vaccines can be quickly updated for new variants. So, where's my Omicron booster?

Since Omicron was declared a variant of concern at the end of November, it quickly swept the globe, becoming the dominant COVID variant in many countries including Australia. It's the latest in a growing line of variants, and probably not going to be the last. Yet every one of the hundreds of millions of approved mRNA vaccines administered around the globe were made to their original recipe, which was based on the COVID virus that first emerged in Wuhan. One of the most promising aspects of the new mRNA COVID vaccines is their ability to be rapidly adjusted for maximum protection in the face of new variants. So where's my Omicron booster?
6th Jun 2022 - ABC News

East European countries ask EU to reopen vaccine contracts

A group of ten Eastern European countries have petitioned the European Commission to renegotiate coronavirus vaccine contracts, in a letter seen by POLITICO that cites an oversupply of doses and the need to protect state finances. Contracts should be able to be terminated "if they are no longer needed from a health and epidemiological perspective," reads one of the letter's demands. In other cases, it should be possible to reduce the number of doses that are ordered so that they better reflect the demand for shots. The letter was sent Friday night and is addressed to EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. Poland led the initiative, and the letter was also signed by Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. A number of countries in Eastern Europe had previously raised concerns that existing coronavirus vaccine contracts, signed at the height of the pandemic when the EU was under intense public pressure to procure jabs,