New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate countries across the world — the latest count being over 11.3 crore cases and more than 2.5 lakh deaths.
Africa will pay more for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine than other shots, four in five of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are yet to be used in the European Union and US state governors look to relax restrictions as cases decline.
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Africa pays more for Russian Covid vaccine than ‘western’ jabs
The African Union is paying three times the cost for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine than it is for the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Novavax shots, reports Financial Times.
The price per dose of 300m shots of Sputnik V is $9.75. Meanwhile, the Union will pay $3 for the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines. According to the report, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) had said that the cost of Sputnik V is “two times lower than that of other vaccines with similar efficacy rate”.
“In addition to 300m Sputnik V doses, the AU says it has acquired provisional orders for 670m doses of other jabs,” the report states.
Africa has reported over 43,33,259 cases and 1,07,908 deaths.
Four in five Oxford vaccine shots delivered to EU not yet used
Four out of five of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are yet to be used, reports The Guardian.
“Using data extracted from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and other official sources, it is estimated that 4,849,752 of the 6,134,707 doses distributed among the 27 member states have not yet been administered,” it notes.
The slow administration of the vaccine is likely to have resulted from the decision by authorities in France, Germany, Poland and Italy to recommend the use of the vaccine for people under 60.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had also remarked to a newspaper about how the vaccine was being rejected by people.
“There is … currently an acceptance problem with the AstraZeneca vaccine. AstraZeneca is a reliable vaccine, effective and safe, approved by the European Medicines Agency and recommended in Germany up to the age of 65 years,” she is quoted as saying.
The European Union has reported 2,17,65,152 cases and 5,31,869 deaths.
US governors relax restrictions as infection numbers go down
State governors in the US have begun relaxing restrictions following the decline in cases, reports The New York Times.
“But the rules are being eased much the same way as they were imposed: in a patchwork fashion that largely falls along party lines,” the report notes.
While most Republicans have been leaning towards rollbacks, Democrat governors have been more cautious.
It quotes the remarks of Republican governor of Texas Greg Abbott who said, “We’re working right now on evaluating when we’re going to be able to remove all statewide orders, and we will be making announcements about that pretty soon.”
The US has reported 2,90,52,262 cases and 5,20,785 deaths.
Brazil death toll tops 2,50,000, virus still running rampant
In Brazil, the death toll has surpassed 2,50,000, the world’s second-highest after the US, reports the Associated Press.
Miguel Lago, executive director of Brazil’s Institute for Health Policy Studies, is quoted as saying, “Brazil simply didn’t have a response plan. We’ve been through this for the last year and still we don’t have a clear plan, a national plan.’’
At least 12 Brazilian states are in the midst of a second wave, it notes, and epidemiologists have said that it is only going to get worse.
Even though states of Sao Paulo and Bahia have introduced night time curfews, experts fear that the move might be too little too late.
Brazil has reported 1,03,93,886 cases and 2,51,661 deaths.
Hong Kong expects around 20 new cases, works to contain expanding cluster
Hong Kong is expecting 20 new coronavirus cases after a cluster emerged in a restaurant from the Tsim Sha Tsui area, reports the South China Morning Post.
The Centre for Health Protection said that seven of the eight infected patrons had been at the restaurant on 19 February.
“A compulsory testing order was issued on Wednesday to anyone who had visited the restaurant between February 18 and 24,” the report states.
Hong Kong is also expecting the BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to arrive Saturday. The vaccine was originally set to arrive on Thursday but could not be shipped from Germany as procedures for export had “yet to be completed”.
Hong Kong has reported 10,927 cases and 198 deaths.
What else we are reading:
Japan’s android pets ease coronavirus isolation: The Straits Times
Exhausted by COVID-19 fight, Portuguese nurses want pay not applause: Reuters