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Covid pandemic — Seoul to impose stricter curbs, first Delta Plus case found in Israel

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

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New Delhi: Covid-19 cases continue to rise across the world despite an ease in relaxations due to the spread of the new Delta variant. Currently, the total number of cases across the globe stands at 18,63,56,010 with over 40,26,894 deaths due to the virus.

South Korea is set to introduce the harshest Covid-19 restrictions in the capital city of Seoul and neighbouring regions amid a surge in fresh infections. Meanwhile, Pfizer plans to ask US regulators to authorise a third vaccine dose of its Covid vaccine as a booster shot and Cuba’s vaccine Soberana 02, which consists of a booster dose, delivers 91.2 per cent efficacy against Covid-19.

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

South Korea introduces the harshest Covid-19 restrictions 

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and its neighbouring regions will be put under the strictest possible Covid-19 restrictions from 12 July onwards amid a surge of fresh infections in the country.

According to a report in Reuters, South Korea Thursday reported its highest daily rise of 1,316 new Covid cases, an increase from Wednesday’s record of 1,275.

Under the two weeks of tougher curbs or level 4 restrictions, announced by Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum Thursday, people have been advised to stay home as much as possible and schools have been asked to switch to remote learning.

Social gatherings will also be restricted to two people after 6 pm from four earlier in the day and rallies have also been banned. Level 4 restrictions are the most severe level of curbs according to South Korea’s scale.

South Korea has reported 1,65,344 Covid-19 cases and 2,036 deaths in total.

Also read: Spectators banned at Tokyo Olympics as Japan capital sees fresh Covid surge

Cuba’s Covid vaccine Soberana 02 has 91.2% efficacy 

Cuba’s two-dose vaccine Soberana 02, delivered with a booster shot called Soberana Plus, has an efficacy of 91.2 per cent against Covid-19, reports The Rio Times.

Soberana 02 and Soberana Plus, developed by Cuba’s Finlay Vaccine Institute (IFV), are two of the five vaccine projects against the coronavirus being studied by Cuban scientific institutions.

The announcement came from state-run biopharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma, which oversees the Finlay Institute.

This is the second vaccine developed in Cuba. Last month, Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering (CIGB) produced the Abdala vaccine, which was found to have a 92.28 per cent efficacy against Covid-19.

While the Cuban homegrown vaccines’ efficacy claims have not been peer-reviewed yet, the trial results, if accurate, would catapult the US-boycotted Caribbean island nation into the select group of the US, Germany and Russia that produce vaccines with the efficacy of more than 90 per cent. This includes Novavax, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Sputnik V.

Cuba has registered 18,63,56,010 Covid cases and 40,26,894 deaths.

First Delta Plus case found in Israel 

A vaccinated passenger who arrived in Israel from abroad has been diagnosed with the country’s first case of the new coronavirus variant known as Delta Plus, reports Haaretz. 

Another person who came into contact with the infected passenger is currently awaiting a Covid-19 test result.

The Delta Plus variant is very similar to the more transmissible Delta variant but is still not clear if it’s more contagious or dangerous than the latter.

The Israeli government Wednesday mandated that all passengers arriving in Israel will be required to go into quarantine until they receive a negative Covid-19 test taken upon arrival.

This comes at a time when the number of serious coronavirus cases in Israel almost doubled in the past week and now stands at 46, according to data released by the health ministry Thursday.

Israel has reported 18,63,56,010 Covid cases and 40,26,894 deaths.

What else are we reading: 

Is COVID coming home? England at risk from Euro 2020 euphoria: Reuters 

Virus cases are surging at crowded immigration detention centers in the U.S.: The New York Times 

Also read: Can pandemic recovery put world on path to SDGs? Next 18 months key, says UN report


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