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Covid-19: Workers flee Ho Chi Minh City as lockdown eases & S Korea to vaccinate pregnant women

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

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New Delhi: Coronavirus cases have risen to 236,602,658 across the world. While 213,735,148 people have recovered, 4,831,738 have succumbed to the pandemic, according to the latest Worldometer data. Several countries have, however, vaccinated a significant section of the population, helping curb the spread of the virus.

In Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City labourers have left for their homes, in fear of the Delta variant and lifting of lockdown restrictions, New Zealand faces a social crisis in the face of Covid, and South Korea begins inoculating pregnant women.

Labourers leave Ho Chi Minh City as lockdown eases

The lifting of a strict lockdown in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City has triggered an exodus of labourers headed back to their homes out of fear of being infected by the Delta variant. Authorities are worried about this causing a Covid surge because most of them live in rural areas where vaccination figures are low.

“The mass exodus, which began on Friday, has left local officials in the Mekong Delta region and the Central Highlands scrambling to track and quarantine the returnees, many of whom had weathered months of lockdown without work or sufficient food in Ho Chi Minh City and its surrounding provinces,” Al Jazeera reports.

Of the 1,60,000 people who have returned home, 200 have tested positive for Covid-19. Officials are buckling under the surge of incoming people as they screen and test for Covid and provide for food and accommodation.

Vietnam has recorded 8,18,324 cases and 19,979 deaths till now.

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

Covid deepens New Zealand’s social crises

Having been around for over a year, the coronavirus pandemic is now adding to New Zealand’s pre-existing housing affordability crisis and racial inequalities. Social scientists argue that with a slow return to normalcy and the lifting of restrictions, such issues will only deepen their hold on society.

This was an issue the government knew was long overdue. “Once the virus gets out and starts spreading, if you struggle to contain it, which they clearly are, it will find the most vulnerable communities, and once it makes its way into those communities it’s really hard to stop it,” Covid response minister Chris Hipkins had told The Guardian last month.

“An epidemic of literal disease can also interweave with epidemics that are social and environmental – of inequality, or of racism, or of housing unaffordability,” the British daily reports.

The country has reported 4,450 cases and 27 deaths till now.

South Korea to begin vaccinating pregnant women

In its drive to vaccinate 80 per cent adults by the end of the month, South Korea will now start taking reservations for the inoculation of pregnant women. Registration will open up Friday for the vaccination drive which is set to begin on 18 October. According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), Pfizer or Moderna shots will be administered.

“Health authorities see pregnant mothers as key to the campaign and sought to drum up participation through public notices and news conferences saying they have a greater possibility of serious illness and death if infected with COVID-19,” Reuters reports.

The KDCA noted that women with a shorter pregnancy than 12 weeks should consult their doctor before getting the shot, adding that of the 731 women who tested positive, 2 per cent of them developed serious cases.

The country has reported 3,23,379 cases and 2,536 deaths.

Saudi Arabia develops indigenous Covid-19 test

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority has approved the first indigenous Covid-19 test developed by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Launched by NoorDX, a KAUST start-up, the Covid-19 test was first performed on university president Dr Tony Chan.

“Saudi Arabia has used kits developed outside the country to meet demand, but in-house capability increases self-reliance while reducing waiting time and related costs. The result is an economical, single-step, multi use RT-PCR test priced significantly lower than previous tests,” Arab News reports.

Suadi Arabia has reported 547,357 cases and 8,730 deaths.

What else we are reading:

China’s coronavirus patients subject to abuse and bullying as new outbreaks emerge: South China Morning Post

Whistle-blower tells Congress that Facebook is not able to effectively police anti-vaccine misinformation: New York Times

(Edited by Paramita Ghosh)

Also read: Understanding human footprint on climate: Research for which 3 scientists got Physics Nobel


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