Covid-19 news: WHO monitoring ‘mu’ variant in Colombia and Ecuador

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By Michael Le Page , Clare Wilson , Jessica Hamzelou , Sam Wong , Graham Lawton , Adam Vaughan , Conrad Quilty-Harper and Layal Liverpool

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Vaccinations successful Bogota, Colombia.

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Latest coronavirus quality arsenic of 12pm connected 1 September

Mu variant identified successful Colombia whitethorn beryllium much resistant to vaccines

A caller coronavirus variant, named mu, has been designated a variant of involvement by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Mu, oregon B.1.621, was archetypal identified successful Colombia and cases person been recorded successful South America and Europe. The WHO’s weekly bulletin connected the pandemic said the variant has mutations indicating “potential properties of immune escape”, meaning current vaccines would beryllium little effectual against it, but that much studies would beryllium needed to analyse this further.

“Since its archetypal recognition successful Colombia successful January 2021, determination person been a fewer sporadic reports of cases of the mu variant and immoderate larger outbreaks person been reported from different countries successful South America and successful Europe,” the bulletin said. “Although the planetary prevalence of the mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is presently beneath 0.1%, the prevalence successful Colombia (39%) and Ecuador (13%) has consistently increased.”

There are presently 4 coronavirus variants of concern, arsenic deemed by the WHO, with the alpha variant seen successful 193 countries, beta successful 141, gamma successful 91 and delta successful 170 countries, portion mu is the 5th variant of interest.

Other coronavirus news 

One successful 7 children and young radical infected with the coronavirus whitethorn inactive person symptoms 15 weeks later, according to preliminary findings from the world’s largest survey connected agelong covid successful children. Researchers surveyed 3065 radical successful England aged 11 to 17 who tested affirmative for the microorganism betwixt January and March and a matched power radical who tested negative. Unusual tiredness and headaches were the astir communal persistent complaints.

The UK volition property connected with plans to present vaccine passports for nightclubs from the extremity of September, Downing Street has confirmed. The proposals person antecedently been met with disapproval from politicians connected some sides arsenic good arsenic leaders successful the nighttime clip hospitality industry. The strategy would spot members of the nationalist required to amusement impervious of their vaccine presumption to summation introduction to nightclubs and immoderate different settings.

Ireland has announced plans to extremity astir each coronavirus restrictions connected 22 October. Vaccine certificates volition nary longer beryllium required to participate bars and restaurants and determination volition beryllium nary limits connected radical attending indoor oregon outdoor events. Some restrictions volition beryllium relaxed earlier, with cinemas and theatres capable to unfastened astatine 60 per cent capableness connected 6 September and workers opening to instrumentality to workplaces connected 20 September.

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Previous updates

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Pupils successful Scotland instrumentality to school.

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31 August

Covid-19 surge successful Scotland “a cautionary tale” arsenic schools reopen successful England

Students are being encouraged to instrumentality twice-weekly lateral travel tests to assistance forestall a surge successful covid-19 transmission arsenic the caller schoolhouse twelvemonth begins crossed the UK.

In England and Wales, rules concerning look masks, societal distancing and “bubbles” person been relaxed, though immoderate schools are choosing to support other precautions successful place. 

The UK’s acquisition secretary, Gavin Williamson, says it is not conscionable a substance for schools. “Parents excessively person a work to marque definite that their children are tested regularly,” helium wrote successful a Daily Mail article.

Scotland has seen a sharp emergence successful covid-19 infections with cases having doubled each week since 9 August, erstwhile astir restrictions were eased. The surge is thought to beryllium partially fuelled by children returning to schoolhouse much than 2 weeks ago. On Sunday, 7113 cases were reported successful Scotland, the highest regular fig ever.

“Scotland is proving to beryllium a cautionary communicative of what happens erstwhile restrictions are dropped & past schools reopened without capable mitigations erstwhile R is already supra 1 (which is wherever we are successful England),” Deepti Gurdasani, an epidemiologist astatine Queen Mary University of London, wrote connected Twitter. “We tin expect worse successful England successful the adjacent future.”

The Welsh authorities has announced it volition wage for 30,000 c dioxide sensors and 1800 ozone disinfecting machines to amended information successful schools, colleges and universities.

Other coronavirus news

A caller variant of the coronavirus known arsenic C.1.2 has present dispersed to astir provinces successful South Africa and 7 different countries successful Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania. The variant is inactive occurring astatine a overmuch little complaint than the delta variant successful South Africa, researchers say. Scientists person not yet determined however the variant compares with others and it has not been listed arsenic a variant of involvement oregon interest by the World Health Organization. However, researchers accidental it contains respective mutations that person been linked to accrued transmissibility and little sensitivity to antibodies. 

A caller vaccine developed by South Korean steadfast SK Bioscience has begun a late-stage objective proceedings involving 4000 volunteers worldwide. The vaccine is being combined with an adjuvant – a cause that boosts the immune effect – produced by GlaxoSmithKline, and volition beryllium compared with AstraZeneca’s vaccine successful the trial. 

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A pistillate receives the AstraZeneca Covid19 vaccine.

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27 August

Study compares hazard of humor clotting problems aft covid-19 corruption and vaccination

The hazard of humor clotting problems is overmuch higher aft covid-19 corruption than aft receiving a covid-19 vaccine, according to probe from the University of Oxford.

The study, published successful the British Medical Journal, looked astatine much than 29 cardinal radical aged 16 oregon older who had a archetypal dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca oregon Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine successful England betwixt December 2020 and April 2021. It focused connected the risks of humor clots and thrombocytopenia, a information involving debased levels of platelets – cells that assistance the humor clot.

Their findings suggest the hazard of thrombocytopenia successful idiosyncratic with the coronavirus is astir 9 times higher than successful idiosyncratic who has had 1 dose of the Oxford jab. They estimated that successful 10 cardinal radical vaccinated with this jab, determination would beryllium 107 further cases of thrombocytopenia successful the 28 days post-vaccination, compared with 934 successful vaccinated radical infected with the virus.

The investigation recovered an relation betwixt vaccination with the Pfizer jab and an accrued hazard of stroke, but the hazard was much than 10 times greater aft corruption with the virus. There were an estimated 143 other cases of ischaemic changeable per 10 cardinal radical wrong 28 days of the Pfizer vaccine, compared with 1699 cases wrong 28 days of a affirmative covid-19 test.

For cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, a benignant of humor clot successful the brain, arsenic good arsenic different types of humor clot, the risks were besides overmuch higher aft covid-19 than aft either jab.

Other coronavirus news

Around fractional of each radical hospitalised with covid-19 inactive person astatine slightest 1 persistent grounds aft 1 year, according to a survey of 1276 patients from Wuhan, China. Around a 3rd of participants experienced shortness of enactment aft 1 year. Fatigue and musculus weakness affected astir fractional of participants aft 6 months, but fell to 1 successful 5 aft 12 months. 

Seven destinations have been added to the UK’s greenish database for travel, meaning radical arriving from those places volition not person to quarantine. The Azores, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland volition beryllium redesignated from 30 August. Thailand and Montenegro volition beryllium moved to the reddish list, meaning returning UK residents indispensable quarantine successful a edifice for 11 nights connected arrival.

Lockdown volition beryllium relaxed successful astir of New Zealand from 1 September, premier curate Jacinda Ardern has announced, but stringent restrictions volition stay successful Auckland and Northland. The changes successful astir of the state mean businesses tin run for online orders and contactless services, but nationalist venues stay closed. Nearly 350 radical person been infected successful the latest outbreak. “We whitethorn beryllium seeing the opening of a plateau of cases, but caution is inactive required,” Ardern said.

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A doc draws up the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

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26 August

English wellness providers readying for imaginable vaccine rollout arsenic pupils instrumentality to schools

The National Health Service successful England is preparing for the imaginable rollout of vaccines to 12 to 15-year-olds from 6 September, according to media reports. NHS trusts are being told they indispensable person plans acceptable by 4pm connected Friday, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The Department of Health has said nary decisions person yet been made to widen the vaccine programme to younger people, but said they “continue to program for a scope of scenarios”. So far, vaccines person been offered to radical aged 16 and supra and children aged 12 to 15 with a high-risk information oregon a susceptible household member. The Joint Committee connected Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is inactive deliberating connected broadening the rollout further. Children aged 12 and implicit are already being vaccinated successful the US, Canada, France and the Netherlands.

“Either you’re going to beryllium exposed to covid without immoderate extortion oregon you tin beryllium exposed and person a vaccine. And we should beryllium offering teens that vaccine truthful they person that extortion earlier going backmost into schools,” Devi Sridhar astatine the University of Edinburgh told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

While younger radical are much apt to acquisition myocarditis, a uncommon bosom broadside effect, aft receiving immoderate of the covid-19 vaccines, a survey successful the US released earlier this period recovered that myocarditis is much communal aft coronavirus corruption than vaccination

Other coronavirus news

Japan has suspended the use of 1.63 cardinal doses of Moderna’s covid-19 vaccine aft reports that immoderate vials had been contaminated with “particulate matter”. Japan and Moderna accidental the determination is simply a precaution and that nary information oregon efficacy issues person been identified. According to a wellness ministry official, Takeda, the pharmaceutical institution that is distributing the Moderna shots successful Japan, archetypal learned of the contented connected 16 August, but did not notify the authorities until 25 August, due to the fact that it needed clip to find retired which vials were affected and wherever they had been distributed.

Trials person shown that a booster changeable of Johnson & Johnson’s covid-19 vaccine produces a big summation successful antibody levels, the institution has announced. The J&J vaccine has been administered arsenic a azygous dose since it was approved for exigency usage successful the US successful February. Trial volunteers who received a 2nd dose six to 8 months aft the archetypal saw antibody levels emergence 9 times higher than 28 days aft the archetypal shot, the institution said.

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Covid passes: How are they used, are they ethical and bash they work?Previous updates

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A doc injects the Pfizer Covid 19 vaccine.

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25 August

More UK information suggest efficacy of 2 vaccines wanes implicit time

The extortion provided by 2 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines starts to wane wrong six months, caller probe suggests. The Pfizer jab was 88 per cent effectual astatine preventing covid-19 corruption a period aft the 2nd dose, but aft 5 to six months the extortion decreased to 74 per cent, according to investigation from the Zoe Covid survey involving much than 1.2 cardinal participants successful the UK. With the AstraZeneca vaccine, extortion dropped from 77 per cent 1 period aft the 2nd dose to 67 per cent aft 4 to 5 months. “In my opinion, a tenable worst-case script could spot extortion beneath 50 per cent for the aged and healthcare workers by winter,” said Tim Spector, pb idiosyncratic connected the Zoe Covid Study.

The study’s findings are successful enactment with different recent analysis, which recovered that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine wanes successful effectiveness by astir a 5th each period aft the 2nd dose, and that some vaccines are little effectual successful older property groups.

Another study, published arsenic a preprint this week by The Lancet, recovered that 2 successful 5 radical who person impaired immune systems person a “low oregon undetectable” antibody effect aft being treble vaccinated. The researchers from the Universities of Glasgow and Birmingham said their results enactment giving a 3rd dose of coronavirus vaccine to radical who had nary oregon little level antibody responses.

More coronavirus news

A US quality study ordered by president Joe Biden has been incapable to find whether the SARS-CoV2 microorganism arose people oregon escaped from a lab, according to The Washington Post. Intelligence agencies volition question to marque parts of the study nationalist wrong days, officials acquainted with the substance told the newspaper.

The premier curate of Vietnam, Pham Minh Chinh, has written to the caput of the World Health Organization to impulse its vaccine sharing programme COVAX to prioritise Vietnam “in the fastest mode and with the largest measurement possible.” After successfully containing the microorganism for astir of past year, the state is present facing a situation driven by the delta variant. Only 2 per cent of its colonisation is afloat vaccinated. In the past 2 days, China and the US person announced they volition donate 2 cardinal and 1 cardinal vaccine doses to Vietnam, respectively.

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Crowds astatine the 2021 Boardmasters festival.

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24 August

Thousands of radical trial affirmative aft attending euphony and surfing festival

Almost 5000 coronavirus cases are suspected to beryllium linked to Boardmasters, a euphony and surfing festival that took spot earlier this period successful Cornwall, UK. Health officials said 4700 radical who tested affirmative for the microorganism confirmed they had attended the festival oregon had connections to it. The cases are dispersed crossed the state but astir 800 are surviving successful Cornwall, a Cornwall Council authoritative said.

Boardmasters was held betwixt 11 and 15 August successful the Newquay area. The covid-19 argumentation connected its website said each ticket-holders aged 11 and implicit would beryllium asked to show their covid-19 presumption done the NHS Covid Pass app earlier entering. This meant attendees had to supply impervious of a antagonistic lateral travel trial taken wrong 24 hours of accomplishment astatine the festival gates, impervious of being vaccinated with some doses (with the 2nd received astatine slightest 14 days earlier the festival), oregon impervious of a anterior corruption confirmed by a PCR trial astatine slightest 10 days and up to 180 days earlier.

People who camped astatine the festival had to instrumentality a 2nd lateral travel trial during the lawsuit connected 13 August and log their results successful the NHS Covid Pass app. Face masks were not compulsory but were encouraged.

Other coronavirus news

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has go the archetypal covid-19 jab to get afloat approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The vaccine has been successful usage since December 2020, erstwhile the FDA granted it exigency usage authorisation for radical aged 16 and over. It has already been administered to much than 204 cardinal radical successful the US. President Joe Biden said helium hoped the determination would promote those who person not been vaccinated to travel guardant for their shots. Several large employers, including the Pentagon, responded by announcing caller requirements for their workers to beryllium vaccinated.

The fig of patients with covid-19 successful infirmary successful England has deed 6000 for the archetypal clip successful much than 5 months. The figure, which is simply a snapshot of patients arsenic of 8am connected 23 August, is up 11 per cent connected the erstwhile week. Patient levels person not been this precocious since 14 March, according to information published by NHS England. An mean of 100 deaths per day from covid-19 person been recorded successful the UK implicit the past week, different fig past seen successful March.

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A antheral uses a lancet to prick the extremity of his finger.

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23 August

Antibody investigating programme to cod information connected immune responses and vaccine effectiveness

The UK is launching an antibody investigating programme for radical who person contracted the coronavirus. The programme, which plans to connection tests to thousands of adults per day, aims to amended our knowing of however overmuch extortion antibodies springiness america pursuing covid-19 corruption and vaccination.

Antibodies are proteins produced by the assemblage to support against viruses and different invading microbes. Antibody testing tin springiness an denotation of however beardown someone’s immune effect is, but they bash not definitively amusement whether idiosyncratic is protected against infection.

From Tuesday, anyone implicit 18 from immoderate of the 4 UK nations tin opt successful to the programme erstwhile taking a PCR test. Of those who spell connected to trial affirmative for coronavirus, up to 8000 volition beryllium sent 2 digit prick antibody tests to implicit astatine location and nonstop backmost for analysis. The archetypal indispensable beryllium taken arsenic soon arsenic imaginable aft the affirmative result, and the 2nd indispensable beryllium taken 28 days later.

The UK Health Security Agency, which is moving the programme, volition usage the results to show levels of antibodies successful affirmative cases crossed the UK. The Department of Health and Social Care says it volition beryllium the archetypal clip antibody tests person been made disposable to the wide public, and the strategy could besides supply insights into whether immoderate radical bash not make an immune response. The information volition beryllium utilized to pass the government’s ongoing attack to the pandemic and springiness further penetration into the effectiveness of vaccines against caller variants.

Other coronavirus news

UK wellness curate Sajid Javid has promised to ace down connected “cowboy” behaviour by companies who instrumentality vantage of holidaymakers with misleading prices for coronavirus investigating kits. Javid highlighted 82 backstage question investigating firms, who marque up astir 18 per cent of those connected the authorities website, who volition beryllium issued with a two-strike warning and could beryllium struck disconnected the authoritative gov.uk list. A caller Department of Health and Social Care reappraisal discovered they were displaying little prices connected the gov.uk tract than radical would person to wage successful world erstwhile they get to the checkout. 

Taiwan has begun rolling retired a homegrown vaccine with objective trials yet to beryllium completed and nary information disposable connected the vaccine’s efficacy. Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen was among the archetypal to person the vaccine developed by Medigen. The authorities has ordered an archetypal 5 cardinal doses. So acold astir 40 per cent of Taiwan’s colonisation has received astatine slightest 1 dose of either Pfizer oregon Moderna vaccines.

New Zealand has extended its lockdown, with restrictions acceptable to stay crossed the state until Friday and successful Auckland until astatine slightest 31 August. Thirty-five caller cases were recorded today, bringing the fig of existent infections to 107. 

illustration of monoclonal antibodies

A monoclonal antibody (mAb oregon moAb) is an antibody made by cloning a unsocial achromatic humor cell.

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20 August

Ronapreve, the archetypal cause designed specifically to tackle covid-19, gets approval

The UK has approved the archetypal attraction to usage artificial antibodies to forestall and combat the coronavirus. According to The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the cause whitethorn beryllium utilized to forestall covid-19 infection, dainty acute symptoms of the illness and trim the likelihood of being admitted to infirmary owed to the virus. Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary, said that helium hoped it would beryllium rolled retired to patients soon.

Trials of the drug, called Ronapreve, took spot earlier wide vaccination and earlier the emergence of microorganism variants. The drug, antecedently known arsenic REGN-Cov2, was fixed to erstwhile US president Donald Trump erstwhile helium was admitted to infirmary with covid-19 past year.

Ronapreve, developed by pharmaceutical firms Regeneron and Roche, is fixed either by injection oregon infusion and acts astatine the lining of the respiratory system, wherever it binds tightly to the microorganism and prevents it from gaining entree to the cells, the MHRA said. It consists of monoclonal antibodies, proteins produced successful the laboratory that mimic antibodies recovered successful the immune system.

Other coronavirus news

Another antibody cause developed by AstraZeneca reduced the hazard of processing symptomatic covid-19 by 77 per cent successful objective trials, the institution has announced.

Javid has said helium is assured a coronavirus booster run tin commencement adjacent period crossed the UK, nevertheless the authorities is waiting connected last proposal from the Joint Committee connected Vaccination and Immunisation, earlier giving further details. The JCVI met connected Thursday and had been expected to sermon the imaginable for boosters for the astir vulnerable. But officials told the PA quality bureau that boosters had not been discussed astatine the meeting, though they would not corroborate what was spoken about.

Lockdown has been extended successful Sydney, Australia, until the extremity of September and a nightly curfew volition beryllium introduced from 23 August successful the 12 worst-affected assembly areas, covering 2 cardinal residents.

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man receiving covid vaccination

A antheral receives a covid-19 vaccination successful Los Angeles, California.

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19 August

Third doses of covid-19 vaccines volition beryllium rolled retired to combat delta variant surge successful US

The US volition commencement making booster vaccines disposable connected 20 September, health officials person announced. The shots volition beryllium offered to radical who had their 2nd dose 8 months earlier, initially focusing connected healthcare workers, nursing location residents and older people, who were among the archetypal to beryllium vaccinated.

“It’s the champion mode to support ourselves from caller variants that whitethorn arise,” president Joe Biden told reporters astatine the White House connected Wednesday. “It volition marque you safer and for longer. It volition assistance extremity this pandemic faster.” 

However, the World Health Organization has urged affluent countries and vaccine manufacturers to prioritise distributing vaccines to low- and middle-income countries earlier pushing up with 3rd doses astatine home. 

Biden besides announced that his medication would marque vaccination of employees a information for nursing homes to person Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Other coronavirus news

The UK’s Joint Committee connected Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is gathering contiguous to sermon a imaginable booster run and which radical mightiness “really need” a 3rd dose of a coronavirus vaccine, a authorities technological advisor said.

Adam Finn, a subordinate of the JCVI, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I deliberation there’s capable evidence, and I deliberation we’ll beryllium imminently deciding, that determination volition beryllium immoderate radical who volition request a 3rd dose, peculiarly radical who we cognize are precise improbable to beryllium good protected by those archetypal 2 doses. But I deliberation we bash request much grounds earlier we tin marque a steadfast determination connected a overmuch broader booster programme.”

Finn besides told BBC Breakfast: “I deliberation it’s little wide truly whether a 3rd dose successful a much wide way, for benignant of each radical supra a definite age, is truly going to marque precise overmuch difference.”

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Vaccine evidence: A UK study has recovered that extortion from the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines wanes implicit time. Both vaccines supply bully extortion against symptomatic infections by the delta coronavirus variant, but are astir 15 per cent little effectual against delta than against the alpha variant. The findings besides connote that vaccinated radical who bash get infected mightiness beryllium conscionable arsenic infectious arsenic unvaccinated people.

The ventilation problem: Maximising airflow successful nationalist spaces is important to chopped covid-19 transmission, but questions stay astir what exertion to usage and however effectual it needs to be. 

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Taranaki Street successful Wellington, New Zealand, during the archetypal time of a nationalist lockdown.

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18 August

Ten cases confirmed successful outbreak of delta variant successful Auckland

New Zealand has begun a nationwide lockdown successful a bid to incorporate the delta variant of the coronavirus. So acold 10 cases person been confirmed successful the outbreak, but modelling suggests the numbers could emergence to betwixt 50 and 100. “From the acquisition of what we’ve seen overseas, we are perfectly anticipating much cases,” premier curate Jacinda Ardern said. The level 4 alert, the highest level, means radical different than indispensable workers tin lone permission location for groceries, healthcare, covid-19 tests and exercise. The lockdown volition screen the full state for astatine slightest 3 days, and stay successful spot successful Auckland for a week. New Zealand had been escaped of section covid-19 infections since February, and lone 21 per cent of the full colonisation has been afloat vaccinated.

Other coronavirus news

The politician of Texas, Greg Abbott, has tested positive for covid-19, his bureau has announced. Abbott is afloat vaccinated and not showing immoderate symptoms, and helium is receiving a monoclonal antibody treatment, according to a statement. Abbott has restricted the grade to which section authorities successful Texas tin mandate covid-19 vaccination and the wearing of look masks. On Monday, helium attended a Republican enactment lawsuit with a assemblage of hundreds. Texas is presently a hotspot successful a covid-19 surge taking spot successful the confederate US, driven by the delta variant. Yesterday the US recorded much than 1000 covid-19 deaths for the archetypal clip since March, according to a Reuters tally.

Vaccine supplies are urgently needed successful southeast Asia, the Red Cross has warned. The portion has recorded 38,522 deaths successful the past 2 weeks, astir doubly arsenic galore arsenic North America. Indonesia is 1 of the worst-affected countries, with an mean of 1466 deaths a time during the past week. “We fearfulness that arsenic the microorganism spreads from cities to determination and agrarian areas that galore much lives volition beryllium mislaid among the unvaccinated,” said Alexander Matheou, Asia Pacific Director of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies successful a statement.

See erstwhile updates from June to July 2021May 2021, April-March 2021, February 2021, January 2021, November/December 2020, and March to November 2020.

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