Coronavirus has killed more than 3.8 million people and infected over 176 million globally. Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments for June 12:

A health worker holds up a bottle of a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccine centre in Rome's Auditorium, February 15, 2021.
A health worker holds up a bottle of a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccine centre in Rome's Auditorium, February 15, 2021. (AP)

Saturday, June 12

EU aims to export 700M vaccine doses by year end

The European Union aims to export 700 million doses of vaccines by the end of 2021, the bloc's chief executive said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc had so far contributed $3.63 billion to Covax - a vehicle backed by the World Health Organization to secure doses for lower-income countries - and exported 350 million shots, half of its production.

"Our goal: 700 million doses exported by end of year," von der Leyen wrote on Twitter from the G7 summit in the United Kingd om. 

More than five million infections in Africa

More than five million people have contracted the Covid-19 virus in Africa since it emerged in China in late 2019, data compiled by AFP from official sources showed.

A total of 5,008,656 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in 54 countries and territories, including almost 109,800 in the past seven days, for a daily average of 15,680.

More than 134,000 people have died, and the daily average of around 320 represents an increase of 16 percent from the comparable figure a week ago.

Turkey reports over 6,000 cases

Turkey has reported 6,076 new coronavirus cases, including 503 symptomatic patients, over the last 24 hours. The number of new cases on Friday was 6,261. 

The country's overall case tally is over 5.32 million, while the nationwide death toll has reached 48,668 with 75 new fatalities. 

Copa America says 12 cases among Venezuela players, staff

Twelve people from the Venezuelan national football team, including players and staff, have tested positive for Covid-19, officials said, a day before they play the opening match of the Copa America against hosts Brazil.

Afghanistan shuts all schools amid surging infections

Afghanistan has announced the nationwide closure of all educational institutions amid surging coronavirus infections and deaths in the country.

According to the Health Ministry, all kindergartners, high schools as well as universities and religious seminars would remain closed for at least two more weeks as the county's fragile health system grapples with mounting third wave of the pandemic.

Saudi Arabia bars foreign travellers from Hajj

Saudi Arabia has restricted the annual Hajj pilgrimage to its own citizens and residents for the second year running in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the state Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Only people aged between 18 and 65 who have been vaccinated or immunised against the virus, and are free of chronic diseases, will be able to take part, the ministry that manages the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca said in a statement carried by SPA.

It also set a maximum of 60,000 participants.

Vietnam approves Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine 

Vietnam has approved the vaccine jointly made by Pfizer and BioNTech for domestic emergency use, the government said.

It is the fourth vaccine to be endorsed in the Southeast Asian country that is tackling a new outbreak.

Vietnam, which has previously approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, Russia's Sputnik V and China's Sinopharm vaccine, said it is seeking to procure 31 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech version for delivery in the next quarter.

Moscow residents told to stay off work

Moscow's mayor has effectively declared a public holiday for all of next week to combat a surge in cases.

Sergei Sobyanin announced the decision, saying it would not affect organisations that maintain the Russian capital's infrastructure, the military, and other strategically important enterprises.

Monday is anyway a public holiday, and the mayor told people to also stay off work for the rest of the week.

Russia tests vaccine as nasal spray for children

Russia has tested a nasal spray form of its Covid-19 vaccine that is suitable for children aged 8-12, and plans to launch the new product in September, the scientist who led the development of the Sputnik V vaccine said.

Alexander Gintsburg, who heads the Gamaleya Institute that developed Sputnik V, said the spray for children used the same vaccine "only instead of a needle, a nozzle is put on", the TASS news agency reported.

The children's shot is expected to be ready for distribution by September 15, Gintsburg was quoted as saying during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

India cuts taxes on medicine, equipment

India has cut taxes on medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators and drugs used to treat infections, after widespread criticism over healthcare costs during a devastating second wave of the virus in April and May.

The government cut taxes on medical grade oxygen, ventilators, the remdesivir antiviral drug, diagnostic kits, pulse oximeters and hand sanitizers to 5 percent from 12-18 percent with immediate effect.

The new levies will be in place until the end of September, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, adding it would include taxes on electric furnaces in crematoriums and ambulances.

UK records 7,738 cases

Britain reported 12 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test and a further 7,738 cases of the virus, official government data showed.

That compared to 17 deaths and 8,125 cases reported a day earlier.

Russia reports 13,510 new Covid-19 cases in sharp uptick

Russia has reported 13,510 new cases, the fifth day of a sharp rise that has taken the daily infection tally to a three-month high.

The announcement came a day after Moscow's mayor said he was expecting to see a peak in infections in the capital in June or July.

The new cases reported in the last 24 hours brought the national tally to 5,193,964. The government's virus task force said 399 more people had died, pushing the national death toll to 126,073.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate tally and has said that Russia recorded around 270,000 deaths related to the virus between April 2020 and April 2021.

China administers total of 863.51 mln doses of vaccines as of June 11

China administered about 18.2 million doses of vaccines on June 11, according to the data from the National Health Commission. 

The total number of doses administered so far in China now stands at 863.51 million.

Turkey administers over 33M vaccine shots to date

Turkey has administered over 33M doses of vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in mid-January.

More than 19.39 million people have received their first doses, while 13.61 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry data.

The country's overall case tally is nearly 5.32 million, while the nationwide death toll has reached 48,593 with 69 new fatalities.

UN secretary-general on 'war' against virus

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has welcomed commitments by the US and Britain to share millions of vaccine shots with struggling countries but said it wasn't enough.

"We need to recognise that we are at war with a virus, a virus that is very dangerous that is causing tremendous suffering," Guterres told reporters at a virtual briefing, as three days of talks got underway in Cornwall, southwest England.

Group of Seven leaders brought pledges to share vaccine doses and make a fairer global economy to the seaside summit.

Guterres said to defeat the virus, countries producing vaccines need to form an emergency task force to coordinate an effective response to the virus. 

Mexico says Covid-19 has affected a fourth of its population

About a quarter of Mexico's 126 million people are estimated to have been infected with the coronavirus, the health ministry has said, far more than the country's confirmed infections.

The 2020 National Health and Nutrition Survey (Ensanut) showed that about 31.1 million people have had the virus, the ministry said in a statement, citing Tonatiuh Barrientos, an official at the National Institute of Public Health.

The estimate was given as the country recorded 3,282 new cases and 243 more fatalities, taking its total number of confirmed infections to 2,448,820 and the death toll to 229,823.

India registers 4,002 deaths

India has recorded more than 4,000 new deaths, according to the Health Ministry.

It said 4,002 deaths were registered, taking the total to 367,081.

The country also saw 84,332 new cases in the last 24 hours, it lowest in 70 days. Infections now stand at 29.3 million.

India announced on June 10 a total of 6,148 deaths – the highest number of fatalities in a single day since the start of the pandemic. Health officials, however, said the spike was because of northern Bihar state revising its death toll.

A statement late Friday said the number of vaccine doses administered reached 249,316,572.

India has the second-highest number of infections in the world after the US.

It is third behind only the US and Brazil in fatalities.

Taiwan reports 250 cases

Taiwan has reported 250 new domestic infections, down from the previous day's figure of 286.

Australia's Victoria state reports 1 new case

Australia's Victoria state, which emerged from a strict lockdown earlier this week, has recorded one new community case of the virus, the government said via Twitter.

Investigations are underway as to how the person contracted the infection, authorities said.

The outbreak, which triggered the two-week snap lockdown late last month, has now seen 91 cases since May 24.

Brazil looks at extending expiry date of J&J vaccines

Brazil's health regulator Anvisa has met with representatives of Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen to discuss extending the expiry date of a batch of 3 million doses of its vaccine bought by the South American nation.

The batch of vaccines expires on June 27.

Janssen is proposing extending the expiry to four-and-a-half months from three at present, as approved on Thursday by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Anvisa said in a statement.

The health regulator is expected to follow the FDA's approval. A decision will come next week, Anvisa said.

The vaccines are the first batch of Janssen's single shot that Brazil hopes to receive to speed up its slow vaccination program. The country is facing the third-deadliest coronavirus outbreak outside of the United States.

Brazil signed a deal with Janssen to receive 38 million doses for delivery in the last quarter of this year, but Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga announced on Thursday that a first batch would arrive earlier. He did not say when.

California to lift most of state’s virus rules

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order that will lift most of the state’s coronavirus rules.

The order Newsom signed on Friday takes effect on Tuesday. It will end the state’s stay-at-home order and its various amendments.

Starting on Tuesday, there will be no capacity limits or physical distancing requirements for businesses. Fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in most places.

Newsom said he will not end the statewide declaration of emergency. That ensures the governor has the power to alter or suspend state laws in the future.

That has angered Republican lawmakers who say the declaration is unnecessary.

Argentina issues emergency approval to China's single-dose Cansino vaccine

Argentina has approved the emergency use of the single-dose vaccine developed by Cansino Biologics Inc, aiming to bolster its portfolio of the critical jabs as the country faces a harsh second wave of the disease, further complicating its recovery from a lengthy recession.

The health ministry said in a statement that Argentina had signed an agreement for the delivery of 5.4 million doses of the vaccine, adding delivery would "advance depending on their availability."

At present, Argentina with a population 45 million, is reporting the third highest number of new infections each day behind India and Brazil, according to Reuters data, and has registered a total of almost 85,000 deaths from the disease and 4.1 million cases.

Using a combination of the Russian-developed Sputnik V vaccine, the vaccine by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm and another developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, it has so far inoculated 12.6 million people with at least one dose and 3.2 million people with two, with the pace picking up in recent months as vaccine delivery has accelerated.

US administers 306.5 mln doses of vaccines - CDC

The United States has administered 306,509,795 doses of vaccines and distributed 373,413,945 doses in the country as of Friday morning, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

Those figures were up from the 305,687,618 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by June 10 out of 372,830,865 doses delivered.

The agency said 172,758,350 people had received at least one dose, while 142,095,530 people were fully vaccinated as of Friday.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, as well as Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine as of 6:00 am ET on Friday.

Brazil reports 85,149 new cases and 2,216 deaths 

Brazil has had 85,149 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, and 2,216 deaths, the Health Ministry has said.

The South American country has registered 17,296,118 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 484,235, according to ministry data, in the world's third worst outbreak outside the United States and India and its second-deadliest.

Novavax says vaccine candidate shows immune response against Beta variant

Novavax Inc has said its vaccine candidate showed immune response and protection against the SARS-CoV-2 Beta variant, which was originally identified in South Africa, in three animal and human studies.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies