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Covid-19 pandemic: Rush for test kits as Israel reopens schools, New Zealand battles Delta

ThePrint brings you some important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic.

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New Delhi: The Covid-19 pandemic continues to worry the world. The total number of cases touched 23,36,18,949 Wednesday, with 47,80,628 deaths. The infection has spread to over 200 countries and territories.

ThePrint brings you some important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic.

In Israel, with schools set to open Thursday, parents are busily looking for Covid testing kits for the mandatory rapid antigen tests. Meanwhile, infections have spiked in New Zealand, with the country struggling to contain the spread of the Delta variant. And almost 600 United Airlines staff are set to lose their jobs over vaccine refusal.

Also read: Why the pandemic’s invisible deaths needs to be counted

In Israel, parents rush to get Covid testing kits as schools reopen

With schools in Israel scheduled to reopen Thursday, parents are in a rush to get Covid-19 testing kits, The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

According to the education ministry, only 70 per cent of parents have made their children take the required rapid antigen tests.

The government has ordered that no student from preschool to sixth grade — totaling about 1.5 million — who are still not eligible for vaccinations, can return to school without a negative Covid test report.

According to the government’s guidelines, students over the age of 12 will be eligible for vaccinations during school hours, subject to parental approval, while those under the age of 12 will be asked to present a negative coronavirus test result on opening day.

According to a report in Haaretz, some 8,000 kids were found to be Covid positive earlier this month, when the government mandated rapid antigen swab tests before resuming schools.

Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency medical services, said Wednesday, “It will set up around 400 complexes with the testing kits so parents can come and collect them. Students who are not screened will be sent home. If parents cannot come to pick them up, they will be isolated in a room separate from the other children.”

Earlier this month, Pfizer had announced that it had applied for emergency use authorisation for its vaccine for young children, aged between five and 10 years, in the country.

Israel has reported 1,274,395 Covid-19 cases and 7,692 fatalities.

Also read: Mu — the latest SARS-CoV-2 ‘variant of interest’ first found in Colombia

New Zealand’s Covid infections jump as its battles Delta variant

New Zealand Wednesday reported 1,230 new coronavirus cases, the highest since 2 September, as it struggles to contain the highly infectious Delta variant from its shores, Reuters reported Wednesday.

According to the health ministry, the infections were “seated” in Auckland’s gang communities and among rough sleepers. The city reported 45 news cases Wednesday.

New Zealand almost eliminated the virus last year, until a Delta outbreak in August forced the government to declare a nationwide lockdown.

New Zealand has reported 4,248 Covid-19 infections and 27 deaths.

Also read: What’s the impact of Covid on mental health? Your hair holds the answer, new study says

593 United Airlines staff face termination for vaccine refusal

Around 593 US-based employees of the United Airlines who had not been vaccinated despite the company making it mandatory last month, will be fired from their jobs beginning next week, Al Jazeera reported Wednesday.

United Airlines in August became the first US carrier to make Covid-19 vaccinations a must for all domestic employees, who were required to submit their proof of vaccination by Monday (27 September) and have decided to begin the process of firing 593 employees who decided not to get vaccinated from Tuesday.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority,” Chief Executive Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart told employees in a statement.

Excluding the 2,000 employees who have sought an exemption on medical or religious grounds, the United said over 99 per cent of the company’s US-based employees have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

A company spokesperson also said that the airline plans to hire about 25,000 people over the next few years, and vaccination will be a condition of employment for all new hires.

The United States has reported 4,40,54,825 Covid cases and 7,11,222 deaths.

Also read: Coronavirus mutated same amount during pandemic as humans since Homo habilis walked earth

Despite vaccination success, Guam sees rise in cases & deaths

Covid cases and deaths have gone up again in Guam, despite a successful vaccination campaign, with 90 per cent eligible people having been fully vaccinated, The Guardian has reported.

The island has been seeing roughly 300 new cases or breakthrough infections in the last few weeks, reversing months of steady decline.

Early lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and high instances of co-morbidities are among the reasons experts have forwarded for the third Covid wave on the island.

According to official figures, till date, there have been a total of 14,705 reported cases, meaning nine per cent of Guam’s population of 1,60,000 had been infected with the virus. The number of deaths is 195.

Currently, 3,361 Covid-positive patients are in isolation.

What else are we reading:

Forget Pfizer, try Abdala: ‘poor’ countries turn to lesser-known Covid jabs: The South China Morning Post

Thousands of N.Y. Health Care Workers Get Vaccinated Ahead of Deadline: New York Times

Also read: How Covid is on its way to becoming just another virus


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