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Covid-19 pandemic: US senator targets show for vaccine activism, Israel eyes Pfizer pills deal

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

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New Delhi: The number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in many parts of the world. The total number of cases worldwide is over 250,613,820, while the number of deaths due to the virus stands at 5,064,655.

A US senator has condemned a children’s TV show for advocating vaccines and Israel eyes a deal with Pfizer for Covid-19 antiviral pills.

US senator condemns ‘Sesame Street’ for advocating vaccines

Texas senator Ted Cruz and other Republican politicians in the US have condemned Bid Bird, a muppet character on the widely popular American children’s television show ‘Sesame Street’, reports The Guardian.

After the US approved Covid-19 vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11, this weekend, Sesame Street, in collaboration with CNN journalist Erica Hill and American neurosurgeon Dr Sanjay Gupta, deployed its characters to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated.

On Saturday, the official Twitter handle of Big Bird tweeted, “I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy.”

To this, Cruz replied: “Government propaganda … for your 5 year old!” On Monday, he further tweeted, “Libs are really triggered by Big Bird.”

Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe also alleged the post was an attempt at “brainwashing children”. 

The US has registered 47,336,577 cases and 775,218 deaths.

Also read: Covid 19: UK gives the nod for oral pill, China on high alert for February’s Winter Olympics

Israel eyes deal with Pfizer for Covid-19 antiviral pills

Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday that he instructed health officials to consider purchasing Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral pills, reports Haaretz.

“If the drug will be approved,” Bennett said, “it will be another significant tool to manage the pandemic.” This comes ahead of Israel’s coronavirus task force’s final review of the recommendation to vaccinate children aged five to eleven years.

Meanwhile, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Friday that Pfizer is in discussions with 90 countries over its new Covid-19 pill.

Israel has registered 1,333,989 cases and 8,122 deaths.

Northern Ireland’s health minister sues singer over Covid restrictions chant

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann has initiated legal proceedings against Grammy-winning singer Van Morrison for criticising him over the handling of Covid-19 restrictions, reports BBC.

Swann’s lawyer said proceedings were “at an advanced stage” with a hearing expected in early 2022.

At a cancelled concert in Belfast in June before 140 people, the singer chanted that Swann “is very dangerous”. This came after four gigs by the singer, known for hits like ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, were cancelled last-minute. The singer was joined on stage for the chant by Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Ian Paisley.

Responding to the latest legal proceedings against the singer, Paisley has said: “What was parody, comedy, banter and sarcasm should not be blown out of all proportion.”

The UK has registered 9,301,909 cases and 141,805 deaths.

Hong Kong civil servants could face stricter testing protocols

Unvaccinated civil servants in Hong Kong could soon face weekly Covid-19 testing, while those who are fully vaccinated might be nudged to take a booster jab, reports the South China Morning Post.

This will be a step up for unvaccinated civil servants who are currently required to take a test every two weeks. On Sunday, Hong Kong confirmed a Covid-19 case of a woman who arrived from the UK on 1 November and was found to be carrying a mutant strain of the virus.

The government is currently working towards having 70 per cent of the population vaccinated with at least one shot, which is the minimum requirement to reach herd immunity.

Hong Kong has registered 12,369 cases and 213 deaths.

What else are we reading:

Japan has zero daily COVID-19 deaths for first time in 15 months: Reuters 

Can Covid Jump From Pets to Humans?: Bloomberg

Also read: Covid-19 pandemic: Netherlands to restore restrictions, Hong Kong plans booster shots





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