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Covid-19: Delta variant causes surge in isolated Alaska, and Israel’s new vaccine pass rules

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

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New Delhi: More than a year and a half after the global Covid-19 outbreak, cases continue to rise across countries, touching 23,57,30,316 infections and 48,16,122 deaths Monday.

Countries are focusing on boosting vaccination efforts to offset surges in infections and to prevent future waves of the virus.

The isolated US state of Alaska has witnessed a surge in cases brought on by the Delta variant after successfully keeping the virus at bay for months, while Israel has introduced new eligibility rules for its vaccination pass.

ThePrint brings you more details about some of the latest important global stories on the pandemic.

Delta surges in Alaska, doctors treating those likely to survive

The US state of Alaska, located to the north-west of Canada and once shielded from the raging pandemic, is now witnessing a surge of infections brought on by the Delta variant, reports The New York Times.

Patients are trapped in remote communities and doctors are prioritising treatment based on who is most likely to survive.

In the early days of the pandemic, Alaska’s natural isolation, along with strict testing protocols for people arriving from outside, shielded the state from Covid-19.

However, the state activated crisis standards for 20 health care facilities, covering larger cities such as Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau and smaller ones Saturday. ‘Crisis standards of care’ refers to the substantial change in usual healthcare operations and the level of care it is possible to deliver in the event of a major health disaster.

Dr Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, was quoted as saying, “Our goal has always been to avoid having systems overwhelmed…And right now we have systems overwhelmed.”

She added that a draft statewide mask mandate had been drawn up early in the pandemic but it was never put into place.

The US has recorded 4,45,18,437 cases and 7,19,933 deaths, so far.

Also read: Don’t have to wait for widespread Covid vaccination to reopen schools, World Bank says

Children aged 12 to 15 in Wales to get vaccine by October-end

All children between the ages of 12 and 15 in Wales will be offered a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of October when half-term concludes, reports BBC.

“Some studies show one in seven children who have been infected with the virus are thought to have also developed long Covid,” said Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan.

“We have provided resources and information to help this age group make an informed choice about vaccination. I encourage parents, guardians, children and young people to discuss the vaccination together,” she added.

In the past two days, reports have emerged that schools in Wales have witnessed more than 10,000 cases among pupils and staff since the start of the term.

The UK has recorded a total of 79,00,680 cases and 1,36,953 deaths.

New eligibility rules for Israel’s vaccination pass

The eligibility rules for Israel’s proof of vaccination pass, termed the ‘Green Pass’, have been changed, reports Haaretz.

From Sunday, all Green Passes currently in use were meant to expire, and those eligible for new passes had to get them reissued. However, due to technical glitches in the health ministry’s website, several people could not get their passes renewed and the government has now allowed them to remain in effect for the next few days.

Some changes in the eligibility rules have also been issued. To get a pass, citizens must have received their third jab (booster shot) of the Covid-19 vaccine or their second dose in the past six months.

According to the new rules, some 1.6 million Israelis, who are entitled to receive the third dose of the vaccine but are yet to get jabbed, will by default become ineligible for the new green pass.

Israel has recorded 12,90,129 cases and 7,821 deaths.

Also read: UK to abolish 10-day quarantine rule ​for almost all countries: Report

Australia’s Delta outbreak levelling off

Australia’s Delta outbreak appears to have levelled off as vaccination rates inch closer to national targets, Health Minister Greg Hunt said Monday.

According to a report in Reuters, the Australian government aims to lift all Covid-19 restrictions when 80 per cent of the population above 16 is fully vaccinated. It expects to reach that target in mid-November.

Meanwhile, states like Victoria continue to battle a surge in cases. The state reported 1,377 new infections Monday, up from 1,220 Sunday, but less than the record high of 1,488 Saturday.

The capital, Melbourne, is in its sixth lockdown, and is currently the city under the longest lockdown in the world.

Australia has reported 1,13,411 cases and 1,346 deaths.

What else are we reading:

‘Highly disproportionate’: Australia’s casual workers bear brunt of job losses amid lockdowns: The Guardian

Coronavirus: vaccines, declining antibodies and the immune memory: South China Morning Post

Also read: India could have seen 29 lakh excess deaths during Covid, says preprint by US-UK team


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