Covid-19 has infected over 225M people and has claimed 4.6M lives. Here are virus-related developments for September 14:

A health worker talks to people as they wait to register next to a vaccine centre in the East Rand, South Africa, on August 30, 2021.
A health worker talks to people as they wait to register next to a vaccine centre in the East Rand, South Africa, on August 30, 2021. (Reuters)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Less than 3.5 % of Africans vaccinated against Covid

Less than 3.5 percent of Africans are vaccinated against Covid-19, far short of its official target of 60 percent, John Nkengasong, director of Africa's Centers for Disease Control, said.

World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the same briefing that the continent was being "left behind by the rest of the world" and that this would allow the coronavirus to keep circulating.

African Union special envoy, Strive Masiyiwa, called on IMF and the World Bank to put a mechanism in place allowing poor countries to access vaccines.

"We want to buy from the same manufacturers, but to be fair, those manufacturers know very well that they never gave us proper access," he said, adding "they had a moral responsibility to ensure that others also had access and we find this very sad. It's very sad. We could have addressed this very differently."

Turkey administers over 103.01M vaccine jabs

Turkey has administered over 103.01 million coronavirus vaccine jabs since the country launched an immunisation drive in January, according to new figures.

Over 51.98 million people have gotten their first Covid-19 vaccine dose, while more than 40.92 million are fully vaccinated, the Health Ministry said.

Separately, the ministry reported 27,802 new coronavirus cases, while as many as 276 more people lost their fight against the disease in the last 24 hours.

UK records 26,628 new cases, 185 deaths

UK has recorded 26,628 new cases and a further 185 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, government data showed.

More than 60 infected with Covid after partying in Germany

At least 63 people have tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a dance party in the western German city of Muenster, local media reported.

Authorities were surprised at the high number of infections as only vaccinated or recovered people – both widely believed to have immunity against the disease – were allowed to attend.

Nearly 380 people were at the club during the party, and so far 63 of them tested positive for Covid-19, public broadcaster WDR reported.

Many had only minor symptoms, however, according to the report.

Italy reports 72 deaths, 4,021 new cases

Italy has reported 72 coronavirus-related deaths against 36 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 4,021 from 2,800.

US says federal employees must be vaccinated by November 22

The Biden administration said most federal employees must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no later than November 22 as it drafts rules to require large employers to have their workers inoculated or tested weekly.

In guidance to federal agencies posted on a federal website, the Biden administration said agencies should move "expeditiously so that their employees are fully vaccinated as quickly as possible and by no later than November 22."

Singapore reports 837 new cases
Singapore's Health Ministry has reported 837 new Covid-19 cases, the highest since August last year.

Dutch ease Covid measures, introduce 'corona' pass

The Dutch government has announced it is easing Covid-19 restrictions and will introduce a "corona" pass showing proof of vaccination to go to bars, restaurants, clubs or cultural events.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said most social distancing requirements will be dropped from September 25. 

The measures that remain will be a mask requirement for public transportation and schools, and a recommendation that people work from home when possible.

Putin self-isolates after cases found in entourage

Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating as a precaution after several members of his entourage fell ill, but is "absolutely" healthy and does not have the disease himself, the Kremlin has said.

Putin, 68, will therefore not travel to Tajikistan this week for planned regional security meetings which he will take part in by video conference instead.

The Kremlin said Putin took the decision to self-isolate after he had met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Kremlin on Monday, in consultation with doctors.

Putin also met Russian Paralympians and travelled to western Russia on Monday to observe joint military drills with Belarus.

UK had right to end Valneva deal: minister

Britain's vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that the British government had the right to cancel a deal with French drugmaker Valneva to supply a vaccine and had told the company it had done so.

"There are commercial sensitivities around this but we have a right to cancel the Valneva vaccine and that's what we've informed the company we would do," Zahawi said.

Valneva said on Monday that Britain had ended a 1.4 billion euro ($1.65 billion) vaccine supply deal because it had alleged that the company was in breach of its obligations. 

New Zealand looks to boost vaccinations as new cases ease

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asked New Zealanders to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as it was the only way to beat the spread of coronavirus and see curbs lifted in the biggest city of Auckland.

Tuesday's 15 new infections in New Zealand were a drop from Monday's figure of 33, but about 1.7 million people will stay in lockdown in Auckland until next week, as the government battles to hold down a cluster of the highly infectious Delta variant.

"The vaccine is the best tool we have in our toolbox and our ticket to greater freedom," Ardern told a news conference. "The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer restrictions you have to have."

Auckland's lockdown has shut schools, offices and public places, with people allowed to leave home only for exercise or to buy essential items. In the rest of the country, the lockdown was lifted last week.

US administers 380.8M doses of vaccines - CDC

The United States administered nearly 600,000 doses of vaccines in the 24 hours through to Monday morning, taking the overall total to 380.8 million, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The agency said 209,701,005 people had received at least one dose while 178,982,950 people are fully vaccinated as of 6 a.m. ET on Monday.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech ,, as well as Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine.

About 1.82 million people received an additional dose of either Pfizer or Moderna's vaccine since Aug. 13, when the US authorised a third dose of the vaccines for people with compromised immune systems who are likely to have weaker protection from the two-dose regimens. 

Australia's Victoria reports easing in cases

Australia's Victoria state on Tuesday reported an easing in new infections as it looks to accelerate the vaccination rollout in Melbourne's hardest-hit suburbs, the state capital.

A total of 445 new locally acquired cases were detected, down from the year's high of 473 hit a day earlier. Two new deaths were reported.

Melbourne hopes to come out of an extended lockdown through higher vaccination rates after ditching a virus elimination strategy as officials struggle to quell an outbreak fuelled by the highly infectious Delta variant.

The federal government plans to move an additional 417,000 vaccine doses over the next three weeks for residents in Melbourne's north and west, where most new infections are being detected. Pop-up hubs will be set up in schools, community centres and places of worship.

Nearly half of Australia's 25 million population is in lockdown, including people in Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities, and the capital Canberra, as the country grapples with a third wave of infections.

Philippines eases virus lockdown in capital to spur economy

The Philippines will ease coronavirus restrictions in the capital Manila despite record infection numbers, officials have said, as it seeks to spur economic activity.

Restaurants, churches and beauty salons in the national capital region will open at lower capacities from Thursday to get tens of thousands more people back to work.

"We should strive for total health and this can only be realised by carefully balancing our response by considering both the health of our people and the economic health of the nation," President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque s aid.

Virus cases have surged to record levels, more than 140,000 cases in the past week, thanks to an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Metropolitan Manila will be placed on the second-highest alert under a new classification system that replaces guidelines that left many residents and business owners confused about which activities were allowed.

Study: mRNA vaccines not linked to miscarriages

Miscarriages do not occur more often in pregnant women who receive an mRNA vaccine, according to a new study. 

Researchers analysed data from eight US health systems on 105,446 women who were between 6 and 19 weeks into their pregnancies. Among them, 7.8% had received at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 6% had received at least one shot of Moderna's.

Overall, 13,160 women suffered miscarriages, but the risk within a month after vaccination was no different than among those who did not get vaccinated, according to a report published on Wednesday in JAMA

The researchers acknowledge that they may have been missing some data. For example, they did not know the women's previous pregnancy histories. Still, they conclude, their findings will help doctors counsel pregnant women in their decision-making about the vaccines.

Survey finds 1 in 10 kids have lingering symptoms

About one in 10 children had symptoms that remained after recovering from the virus, though that number dropped by more than half as the months passed, a Health Ministry survey shows.

Severe illness from the novel coronavirus is most common among adults, but there is a lack of data on the virus' impact on youths, who are far less prone to serious complications, the ministry said.

It carried out a phone survey in June among 13,834 parents of children aged 3-18 who had recovered from the virus, asking if their kids had lingering symptoms, including breathing issues, lethargy and loss of smell and taste.

The ministry said 11.2% of children had some symptoms after recovery. The figure declined to 1.8%-4.6% at six months from acute disease, with older kids suffering more.

The ministry did not make mention of vaccines or their impact. The survey was conducted around the time 12-15 year-old Israelis were just becoming eligible to be vaccinated.

School starts for 1M NYC kids amid new vaccine rules

School started for about a million New York City public school students in the nation's largest experiment of in-person learning during the pandemic.

The first day of school coincided with several milestones in the city’s pandemic recovery that hinge on vaccine mandates.

Nearly all of the city's 300,000 employees were required to be back in their workplaces, in person, as the city ended remote work. Most will either need to be vaccinated, or undergo weekly PCR testing to remain in their jobs.

The city was also set to start enforcing rules requiring workers and patrons to be vaccinated to go indoors at restaurants, museums, gyms and entertainment venues.

The vaccination requirement has been in place for weeks, but had not previously been enforced.

There will also be a vaccine mandate, with no test-out option, for teachers, though they have been given until Sept. 27 to get their first shot.

Unlike some school districts across the country that are still offering online instruction to families that prefer it, New York City officials provided no remote option despite the persistence of the highly transmissible delta variant.

Ukraine announces vaccine passports

Ukraine has decided to introduce "vaccine passports" verifying citizens' vaccination status, the health ministry said.

The passports will allow businesses such as cinemas, gyms, theatres and swimming pools to operate without social distancing requirements if all visitors and at least 80% of staff at the venues are at least partially vaccinated, the ministry said in a statement said.

Educational institutions can also operate without social distancing if all staff are fully vaccinated.

After a relative lull in the summer, infections have accelerated in Ukraine.

The government will likely tighten lockdown restrictions soon. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies