Covid-19 has infected more than 254M people and killed over 5.1M worldwide. Here are the coronavirus-related developments for November 16:

Pfizer announced a deal to make its prospective antiviral Covid-19 pill available more cheaply in less wealthy countries.
Pfizer announced a deal to make its prospective antiviral Covid-19 pill available more cheaply in less wealthy countries. (Getty Images)

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Pfizer to allow generic versions of its Covid pill in 95 countries

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc has said it will allow generic manufacturers to supply its experimental antiviral Covid-19 pill to the world's least wealthy countries through a licensing agreement with international public health group Medicines Patent Pool.

The voluntary licensing agreement between Pfizer and the MPP will allow the UN-backed group to grant sub-licences to qualified generic drug manufacturers to make their own versions of the pill. 

Pfizer will sell the pills to manufactures under the brand name Paxlovid.

UK reports 217 deaths

The United Kingdom has reported 37,243 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 compared with 39,705 a day earlier, official daily data showed.

The daily death toll stood at 214 compared with 47 a day earlier, measured by deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

Portuguese PM warns restrictions may return as cases rise

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has said that authorities in one of the world's most vaccinated nations may bring back some measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the run-up to the holiday season as infections soar across Europe.

The number of new cases has been gradually rising over the past month in Portugal, reaching a two-month daily high of 1,816 infections on Saturday.

Germany records 265 deaths

Germany has reported 32,048 new cases of Covid-19 and 265 virus-related deaths, as more federal states announced tougher restrictions for unvaccinated people.

For the first time in the coronavirus pandemic, Germany’s active cases have risen to a record high of 463,100 this week, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

Authorities in the eastern state of Thuringia announced tougher measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, bringing in new restrictions for unvaccinated people.

According to the 2G rule, only those who are vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed to access restaurants, bars or cultural events. The rule will also apply to hairdressers, gyms and dance events.

Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia also announced that it will impose the 2G rule for leisure facilities.

Brazil to offer Covid-19 booster shot to everyone older than 18

Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga has said the government will offer Covid-19 booster shots to everyone older than 18.

Queiroga said the booster shots will be available five months after the second vaccine dose, and there were enough doses for the entire population.

Positive virus tests reach weekly high in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has recorded its highest weekly number of positive coronavirus tests over the last seven days, and lawmakers discussed legislation as cases continued to soar to limit unvaccinated people from using the country's covid pass system.

The country's public health institute reported that the number of positive tests rose by 44 percent to 110,558, the highest weekly total since the pandemic began. 

Hospital admissions for Covid-19 patients rose 12 percent and admissions to intensive care units by 3 percent, it said.

The institute said 173 people died of Covid-19 during the past week, bringing the Netherlands' death toll in the pandemic to 18,785.

Russia resumes flights with more countries amid covid surge

Russia will lift the remaining restrictions on flights to Cuba, Mexico and Qatar, and increase the number of flights to Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Vietnam as of December 1.

In all, Russia so far has resumed flights with over 60 countries. 

The announcement comes as Russia's daily coronavirus cases and Covid-19 deaths remain at record highs.

Russia reported 36,818 new confirmed cases and 1,240 deaths.

Ukraine offers payments for jabs amid record deaths

Ukraine has reported record daily Covid-19 deaths, as authorities struggle to boost the country's vaccination rate amid rising coronavirus infections.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised to pay $38 (1,000 hryvnias) to each Ukrainian who gets vaccinated starting December 19.

The government plans to allocate $113.8 million (3 billion hryvnias) to the incentive program this year and the same amount in 2022.

Belgium to make shots mandatory for health workers

Health workers in Belgium who don't want to get vaccinated against Covid-19 will face losing their jobs.

Amid a surge of new cases that has led hospitals to reserve half of their ICU beds for patients, Belgium's federal government finalised a draft bill late to make vaccination of health care workers mandatory.

Japan to ease quarantine for people jabbed with J&J 

Japan intends to ease quarantine rules by the end of November for people inoculated with Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Nikkei daily reported.

Japan last week took a first step in its planned phased re-opening of borders, which centres on business travellers.

Myanmar to reopen land borders with China, Thailand 

Myanmar set to reopen its land borders with China and Thailand from next month due to improvements in its vaccination rate, its information ministry said.

The reopening, for which no specific date was set, would be followed by resumption of air travel in the first quarter of next year, the ministry said in a statement.

Pfizer to conduct trials of antiviral pill in Russia

Russia has granted approval for Pfizer Inc to conduct clinical trials in Russia of its experimental antiviral pill to treat Covid-19, a state registry of medicines showed.

The trials conducted on 90 people located in home-like conditions with someone who has symptomatic Covid-19 began on November 12 and will continue until March 2023, the registry's website said.

Russia to lift ban on flights to Brazil, Argentina, and others

Russia set to lift its ban on flights to countries including Bangladesh, Brazil, Mongolia, Costa Rica and Argentina from December 1, the government coronavirus task force said.

The government stopped normal commercial flights abroad when the pandemic struck last year, but it has since been gradually relaxing the restrictions. The flight bans dealt a heavy blow to Russia's airlines.

Czechs report more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases

The Czech Republic has reported 11,514 new cases for November 15, the fifth time daily infections have topped 10,000 in past seven days, health ministry data showed.

Hospitalisations grew to 4,296, including 635 people in a serious condition, according to the figures.

South Korea records highest single-day critical cases

South Korea has reported nearly 500 serious patients, a record-high since the pandemic outbreak in the country, local media said.

According to the Seuol-based Yonhap News Agency, the country recorded 2,125 new cases in the past 24 hours, including 495 patients who are hospitalised in serious condition.

India's daily cases fall below 9,000

India's daily cases has fallen below 9,000 as the country registered 8,865 new infections in the last 24 hours.

According to a Health Ministry statement, Tuesday's daily count was the lowest in 287 days. 

The country's total number of cases has now reached 34.4 million and the death toll stands at 463,852, including 197 new fatalities.

Brazil registers 63 deaths

Brazil registered 63 deaths and 2,799 additional cases, according to data released by the nation's Health Ministry.

The South American country's coronavirus death toll is second in the world only to the United States, but the pandemic has abated significantly in recent months, as it has in much of Latin America.

Brazil has now registered a total of 611,346 deaths and 21,960,766 total confirmed cases. 

Mexico reports 775 cases

Mexico's health ministry reported 775 new confirmed virus cases and 57 more fatalities, bringing the country's overall death toll from the pandemic to 291,204 and the total number of cases to 3,846,508.

Officials have said the ministry's figures likely represent a significant undercount of both cases and deaths. 

AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine supply hits 2B doses

Two billion doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine have been supplied worldwide, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker and its partner said, in just under a year since its first approval.

The shot, which is the biggest contributor to the COVAX vaccine sharing scheme backed by the World Health Organization, is being made in 15 countries for supply to more than 170 countries, London-listed AstraZeneca and Oxford University said in a joint statement.

Russian premier says cases declining but situation still tense

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that the incidence rate of coronavirus cases has declined in a number of regions but the situation with the virus in the country is still tense.

The number of cases has been declining after the introduction of non-working days in the country “on the instructions of the head of state,” Mishustin said.

However, the situation remains tense a s daily figures are still high, he said at a government meeting in Moscow.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies