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City in Amazon runs out of oxygen, Erdogan gets Sinovac jab & other Covid news

As the Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of letting up, ThePrint highlights the most important stories on the crisis from across the globe.

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New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate countries across the world — the latest count being over 9.3 crore cases and more than 20 lakh deaths.

A Brazilian city is airlifting Covid-19 patients to Brasilia after its oxygen supply ran out. Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was vaccinated with the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine Thursday.

ThePrint brings you the most important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic and why they matter.

Amazon city airlifts patients after running out of oxygen supply

Dozens of Covid-19 patients are being airlifted out of the Brazilian city Manaus in Amazonas, which is the Amazon rainforest’s biggest city, after its oxygen supply ran out and the health system collapsed under a massive virus surge, reports The Associated Press. 

“All of the world looks at us when there is a problem as the Earth’s lungs,” Amazonas Governor Wilson Lima was quoted as saying, alluding to the Amazon rainforests, “Now we are asking for help. Our people need this oxygen.”

The city has been forced to transport 235 patients who need oxygen support but are not in ICUs to Brasilia. Relatives of patients have also taken to social media to appeal for oxygen supply.

Manaus authorities have also asked the federal government led by President Jair Bolsonaro to step up relief efforts and send the required oxygen supply to the city.

Brazil has reported 83,26,115 cases of Covid-19 and 2,07,160 deaths so far.

Also read: Why many Asian countries are being cautious on Covid vaccines

Turkish President Erdogan takes Sinovac vaccine

Amid growing concerns over the varying efficacy results that Sinovac is producing in different trials, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan got injected with the vaccine Thursday to kickstart the country’s vaccination programme, reports Daily Sabah. 

While walking out of Ankara City Hospital after his inoculation, Erdogan was quoted as saying, “We want to vaccinate all of our citizens as soon as possible”. The President said 30 million doses of Sinovac are expected to come from China.

While Sinovac saw a promising 91.25 per cent efficacy in an interim study conducted on 29 cases in Turkey, a late-stage clinical trial conducted in Indonesia concluded the vaccine had a 65.3 per cent efficacy rate. The vaccine has produced only 50.4 per cent efficacy in a trial conducted in Brazil.

Turkey has reported 23,64,801 cases of Covid-19 and 23,495 deaths so far.

Swedish govt losing popularity over Covid mishandling

An opinion poll conducted this week noted that Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s Social Democrats have significantly lost their popularity due to the mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic, reports Politico Europe. 

Löfven was heavily criticised by the opposition leader Ebba Busch who said the government’s strategy to keep all public places like shops, borders and schools open was flawed from the very beginning. She alleged the government deliberately took decisions that would lead to higher infection rates.

Sweden did not impose a lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 and this led to a massive surge of the virus in the country.

Last Friday, the Swedish government was finally granted powers by Parliament to shut private businesses like shops and gyms. However, now a week later, no such decision has been taken by the government, even though Sweden has one of the fastest rates of infection in Europe.

Sweden has reported 5,18,783 cases of Covid-19 and 10,185 deaths so far.

Also read: A year after Covid, China’s economic growth accelerates as rest of world struggles

As tennis players arrive for Australian Open, stranded Victorians fume 

The Australian state of Victoria, host to tennis grand slam Australian Open, has achieved a nine-day run of zero locally reported coronavirus cases, reports The Age. 

However, Martin Foley, Victoria’s Minister of Health is still not allowing citizens stranded in red zones such as Sydney or Brisbane to travel to the state.

“I understand the frustrations and the dislocation this is causing, but even more so I understand the frustration and dislocation that another cluster outbreak in Victoria would cause,” he said.

But even as many citizens have been kept out of the state, tennis players arrived in two busloads at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Melbourne for the Australian Open Friday. And this hasn’t gone down well with the Victorians stranded in other states.

“Nobody is getting an answer as to why the tennis players can come in but nobody else can,” a Melbourne-based businessman John Frostell, who is stuck in Sydney, was quoted as saying.

Australia has reported 28,665 cases of Covid-19 and 909 deaths so far.

Canadians indulged in risky behaviour during holidays, poll shows 

Despite surging cases and tighter government restrictions in place, Canadians did not conduct themselves with caution and indulged in risky behaviours during the holidays, according to a national survey, reports The Globe and Mail. 

The rate at which people indulged in social activities between 17 December and 5 January was higher when compared to the country’s first lockdown in April.

While mask-wearing is the norm now in the country, other preventative measures like maintaining a distance of 2 metres or frequent hand washing were not followed as stringently, according to the survey.

This survey was conducted by the Innovative Research Group and had a sample size of 3,046 adults.

Canada has reported 6,88,891 cases of Covid-19 and 17,538 deaths so far.

What else we are reading: 

Thailand offers its lush golf courses as quarantine centres to woo tourists: The Straits Times. 

Islamabad sees downward trend in Covid-19 cases: Dawn

Also read: China denies entry to 2 WHO members who tested positive for Covid antibodies


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