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Covid-19 pandemic: Brussels seeks EU unity over AstraZeneca, push for J&J vaccine in Hong Kong

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 Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the world. The latest count being more than 13,37,32,378 cases and 29,02,047 deaths.

We highlight some of the important stories from around the world.

Healthcare experts in Hong Kong are advising the government to replace AstraZeneca vaccine procurement with Johnson & Johnson. Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro dialled Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to speak about the purchase and production of the latter’s Sputnik-V vaccine in Brazil.

Corruption allegations spark concerns over aid to South Sudan 

When the pandemic first hit the globe, it was feared that South Sudan may be one of the hardest hit countries in the world owing to its broken healthcare system and famine threat. In light of the same, the European Union, the United States and the World Bank contributed $100 million to help South Sudan’s Covid response.

However, “familiar patterns of alleged profiteering emerged after the first cases were reported”, reports Al Jazeera.

A black market for Covid-19 tests came up in the country. Further, a contract was awarded to a company to set up a hospital which still remains empty.

Edmund Yakani, head of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation, said, “Every time there is a crisis, the government ignores its citizens, relies on international aid, (and) doesn’t help its own people.”

South Sudan has recorded 10,297 cases of Covid-19 and 113 deaths.


Also read: Is AstraZeneca-Covishield vaccine safe? Answers to key questions


Brussels urges unity over AstraZeneca for public confidence 

As many as 27 member states of the European Union have been urged by Brussels to increase public confidence regarding the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine amid findings that blood clots are a rare-side effect of the jab, reports The Guardian.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which released these findings, also asserted that the benefits of the Oxford vaccine outweighed the risks associated with it.

“Despite the conclusion, about 17 member states have put restrictions on its use, with Belgium being the latest to say it will only administer the jab to over 55 in the next month,” said the report.

Europe has recorded 4,08,54,884 cases of Covid-19 and 9,37,582 deaths.

Bolsonaro calls Putin, seeks to buy & make Sputnik 

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro called Russian President Vladimir Putin to speak about the purchase and production of Russian-made Sputnik-V vaccine in Brazil, reports Folha De S Paulo.

On 27 March, Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency, called Anvisa, had reported that “it had stopped analysing the request for emergency use of the Russian vaccine due to the lack of data required for the evaluation”.

However, the President maintained that discussions are in place with authorities like Anvisa on how to effectively import Sputnik-V.

Brazil has recorded 1,31,97,031 cases of Covid-19 and 3,41,097 deaths.


Also read: AstraZeneca clot worries are complicating the race to vaccinate the world


Experts in Hong Kong want J&J vaccine to replace AstraZeneca

Healthcare experts in Hong Kong are advising the government to replace AstraZeneca vaccine procurement with Johnson & Johnson, reports South China Morning Post. This is amid concerns that the AstraZeneca vaccine could potentially cause blood clots.

The move came after Hong Kong recorded 10 Covid-19 cases, out of which eight of these infections were imported.

“Professor David Hui Shu-Cheong, a respiratory medicine expert from Chinese University and government pandemic adviser, suggested local authorities dump their entire order of 7.5 million AstraZeneca shots,” said the report.

Hong Kong has reported 11,540 cases of Covid-19 and 205 deaths.

What else we are reading:

‘Vaccine policy is economic policy’, IMF chief stresses: Al Jazeera 


Also read: Why India sees a return of Covid-19 surge and faces a vaccine crisis


 

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