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Covid-19 pandemic — Abu Dhabi’s ‘green pass’ for malls, stores, tsunami lessons from Japan city

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: Coronavirus cases across the world have begun to decline as countries press the pedal on vaccination. There are currently over 17 crore cases and more than 37 lakh deaths, globally.

A rural city in Japan draws on tsunami lessons in rolling out Covid-19 vaccinations and an Israeli study finds widespread vaccination of adults helps protect unvaccinated children. We bring you some of the top stories on the pandemic from across the world.

Welsh universities witness record number of applications for nursing & medicine 

Universities in Wales have seen a record number of applications to study nursing and medicine this year with some applicants saying the pandemic encouraged them to apply, reports BBC.

There has been a 49 per cent increase in applications in Wales compared to last year. Some institutions closed applications early due to high demand. Meanwhile, Cardiff University saw a 15 per cent increase in applications to study medicine.

“I think for me the pandemic has certainly enhanced my decision to go into medicine,” said 18-year-old Rhys Thornett who is hoping to start studying medicine at Cardiff.

Across the UK, applications to study medicine have risen by around 20 per cent.

The UK has reported 45,42,986 Covid cases and 1,27,867 deaths.

Also read: Nagaland bats, Wuhan’s ‘Bat Lady’, US defence funds, lost ICMR probe — India’s virus mystery

Rural city in Japan draws from tsunami lessons for Covid-19 vaccinations

Soma, a rural city in Japan that was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, is racing ahead of most of the country in vaccinations by drawing on lessons from the previous disaster, reports Reuters.

Soma has inoculated 84 per cent of its elderly — compared to about 28 per cent nationwide.

Japan is racing to vaccinate the vulnerable elderly population ahead of the Olympics which is six weeks away. However, just 12 per cent of the population has received at least one shot.

Soma’s leaders and doctors, drawing on 2011 lessons, began drafting plans and running inoculation drills in December, much before vaccines were approved. The previous disaster also taught the city the importance of laying out and communicating clear plans, working closely with local medical professionals and gathering affected people in concentrated places.

It also helps that the city has a small population of 35,000.

Japan has reported 7,67,808 cases and 13,841 deaths.

Ex-French official who oversaw safety standards at Wuhan lab dismisses leak theory

Gabriel Gras, a former French government official, dismissed the theory that Covid-19 escaped from the institute, according to an exclusive report by the South China Morning Post.

Gras, a virology researcher and biosecurity expert, was hired as a technical expert at the French embassy in China. He oversaw the lab’s construction and accreditation by way of a collaboration between the French government and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

He stated he had “no doubt” about the lab’s safety and that it didn’t make sense for researchers to use a BSL-4 facility such as WIV to study a coronavirus due to cost and time considerations, as a BSL-3 laboratory was usually used.

China has been in the hot seat as the debate around the origin of the virus and a possible lab leak has been contested in recent days. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers from Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 to seek hospital care.

China has reported 91,359 cases and 4,636 deaths.

Also read: New atomic-scale 3D map of Covid virus protein could hold clue to preventing lung damage

Widespread vaccination of adults helps protect unvaccinated children: Israel study

According to new data from Israel, widespread vaccination can also protect people who are unvaccinated, reports The New York Times.

The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine Thursday, examined anonymised health records of members of Maccabi Healthcare Services, one of the four Health Maintenance Organisations in Israel.

It found that for every 20 percentage point increase in the share of 16- to 50-year-olds who were vaccinated in a community, the share of unvaccinated children under 16 who tested positive for the virus fell by half.

Israel has reported 8,39,630 cases and 6,428 deaths.

Abu Dhabi malls, supermarkets prepare to roll out ‘green pass’ measures

Abu Dhabi has announced that residents must have a ‘green pass’ to gain entry into most public places, reports Khaleej Times.

The public places include shopping malls, supermarkets, gyms, hotels, public parks, beaches, swimming pools, entertainment centres, cinemas, museums, and restaurants and cafes.

The green pass is one of three colour codes reflected on UAE’s Alhosn app in a bid to ease Covid restrictions for users. The other two colours are grey, which indicates PCR validity has ended and red, which indicates PCR test result is positive.

Shopping malls and supermarkets in Abu Dhabi have agreed to fully comply with the new green pass requirement, which will come into effect on 15 June and apply to those aged 16 years and above.

The UAE has reported 5,91,613 cases and 1,717 deaths.

What else are we reading:

Rural Philippines pays price for ignoring COVID warnings: Al Jazeera

How COVID forced the planet’s luckiest raincheck: The Sydney Morning Herald 

Also read: Boeing to test ‘Curtain of Air’ to fight Covid: What it is & how it can protect fliers


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