Coronavirus pandemic has killed over 3.75 million people and infected over 174 million globally. Here are the updates for June 8:

An Israeli youth receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the central Israeli city of Rishon LeZion on June 6, 2021.
An Israeli youth receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the central Israeli city of Rishon LeZion on June 6, 2021. (AP)

Tuesday, June 8:

Pfizer to test jab in larger group of children below 12

Pfizer Inc has said it will begin testing its vaccine in a bigger group of children under age 12 after selecting a lower dose of the shot in an earlier stage of the trial.

The study will enroll up to 4,500 children at more than 90 clinical sites in the United States, Finland, Poland and Spain, the company said.

White House seeks longer shelf life for J&J shots

A top White House official has urged state governors to work with the US Food and Drug Administration to extend the shelf life of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine as millions of unused doses nationwide near expiration.

"I would encourage every governor who has doses that they worry may be expiring to work with the FDA directly on the proper storage procedures as they continue to examine processes that will allow them to poten tially last longer," White House Covid-19 Advisor Andy Slavitt said on a press call.

The FDA is working on plans to safely store the unused J&J vaccines, he added.

Malaysia goes mobile with mass vaccine rollout

Malaysia has gone mobile with its mass immunisation drive, with the rollout of the first of 40 vaccine trucks set to hit the highways in the coming months.

Malaysia is battling its worst outbreak, with a per-capita infection rate higher than anywhere else in Southeast Asia following records in new daily cases and deaths on multiple days last month.

The government aims to deploy vaccination trucks to areas where people might have difficulty getting to immunisation centres.

Turkey reports over 6,500 new cases

Turkey has registered total of 6,609 cases, including 557 symptomatic patients, were confirmed across the country in the past 24 hours, the country's Health Ministry announced.

Turkey's overall case tally is now over 5.30 million, while the nationwide death toll reached 48,341, with 86 more fatalities over the past day.

Italy adds 1,800 new infections

Italy has reported 102 deaths against 65 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 1,896 from 1,273.

Italy has registered 126,690 deaths since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eight-highest in the world. 

The country has reported 4.24 million cases to date.

UK registers 13 more deaths

Britain has reported 6,048 more cases and 13 further deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to official data.

The number of people who have received the first dose of a vaccine rose to 40,573,517, the figures showed. 

EU regulator to give verdict on Moderna shot for teens in July

Europe's drug regulator has said it expects to give a verdict on the use of Moderna Inc's vaccine in 12- to 17-year olds next month, following an application by the drugmaker.

A European Medicines Agency (EMA) committee would speed up assessment of data submitted with the application, the regulator said, adding that a delay would happen if the EMA required any additional information.

World Bank opposes vaccine intellectual property waiver 

World Bank President David Malpass has said that the bank does not support waiving intellectual property rights for vaccines, out of concern that it would hamper innovation in the pharmaceuticals sector.

Malpass, asked during a media call about new World Bank economic forecasts whether he supports WTO negotiations for a vaccine waiver, said: "We don't support that, for the reason that it would run the risk of reducing the innovation and the R&D in that sector."

South Africa's health minister on special leave over graft allegations

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has put his Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on special leave, after allegations his department irregularly awarded a Covid-19-related contract to a communications company controlled by his former aids.

Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will serve as acting Minister of Health until further notice, Ramaphosa's office said in a statement.

Foundation to spend $1.3B to vaccinate Africans

One of the world's largest foundations has said it will spend $1.3 billion over the next three years to acquire and deliver vaccines for more than 50 million people in Africa. 

It’s a first-of-its-kind effort for a Western nonprofit to bolster Africa’s lagging vaccination campaign amid widespread fears of a third wave of infections on the continent.

The announcement from the Toronto-based Mastercard Foundation, which has more than $39 billion in assets, comes days after the World Health Organization said Africa was encountering an alarming mix of a spike in virus cases and “a near halt” of vaccine shipments.

Vietnam begs public for 'vaccine fund' donations after virus surge

Vietnam, once a model for its successful handling of the pandemic, has started asking for public donations to buy vaccines as it struggles to contain a new coronavirus wave.

The Southeast Asian country has vaccinated only about one percent of its population of nearly 100 million, and authorities have become increasingly alarmed by a recent spike in cases.

Since last week, mobile phone users have received up to three text messages urging them to contribute to a Covid-19 vaccine fund, while civil servants have been encouraged to part with a day's pay.

Some residents, fearful of the virus' impact on Vietnam's economy, one of the few in the world to expand last year, told AFP they support the fundraising drive.

Nguyen Tuan Anh, a civil servant, said he had sent around $50 via bank transfer and SMS payment, as vaccines would mean "Vietnam's economy will be stable and develop again".

Across the country, tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs, according to state media.

Nepal resumes vaccinations with doses from China

Nepal resumed its stalled vaccination campaign with 1 million doses given by China after the Himalayan nation made international pleas for help.

Thousands of 64-year-old people lined up at vaccination centres even before they opened. People ages 60-63 are scheduled to be eligible for shots in coming days.

Nepal’s vaccination campaign began in January but stalled when neighboring India suffered a coronavirus surge and banned exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine it produces. Nepal had received 1 million AstraZeneca doses donated by India and paid for 2 million more but never received half the shipment.

That left 1.4 million people over age 65 who had received an initial dose of AstraZeneca vaccine uncertain if they would receive their second shot.

Tokyo 2020 may ask for further vaccine donations for Olympics

The Tokyo 2020 organising committee may seek further vaccine donations ahead of the Olympic Games scheduled this summer, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said following an executive board meeting.

Muto also said that neither a further postponement nor a cancellation of the Summer Games were discussed at the meeting.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which were postponed once due to the coronavirus pandemic, are set to start on July 23. 

Kuwait approves Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine

Kuwait has approved the vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, the state-news agency KUNA reported.

It is the fourth vaccine approved by Kuwait after those of Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna.

Russia reports 9,977 new cases, 379 deaths

Russia reported 9,977 new cases, including 3,817 in Moscow, taking the official national infection tally to 5,145,843.

The government coronavirus task force also said that 379 people had died of coronavirus-related causes in the last 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 124,496.

The state statistics service, which keeps its own records, said on Friday that around 270,000 people had died and related causes from April 2020 to April 2021.

Indian daily cases dip below 100K after 2 months

India's daily coronavirus infections have dipped below 100,000 for the first time in more than two months as an overall downturn prompts some states to ease restrictions.

The 86,498 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total past 29 million on Tuesday, second only to the United States, which has more than 33 million. The Health Ministry also reported 2,123 new fatalities in the past 24 hours, raising the overall death toll to 351,309. Both figures are believed to be vast undercounts.

India peaked at adding more than 400,000 cases a day in May, but new infections and deaths have declined across the country since then.

China administered total of 794.13M doses of vaccines as of June 7

China administered about 16.3 million doses of vaccines on June 7, bringing the total number administered to 794.13 million, data from the National Health Authority showed on.

Taiwan warns of vaccine delays, cases stabilise

Taiwan's health minister warned of further delays to getting more vaccines but said the government was doing all it could to get them, as he reported a stabilisation of new infections.

Taiwan has been struggling to speed up its vaccination programme while it deals with a spike in domestic cases, with only about 3 percent of its 23.5 million people having received at least one shot.

The government had said it aimed to get 2 million more doses by the end of this month, apart from an almost similar number donated by Japan and the United States, but Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said there were problems getting the vaccines.

"We hope that by the end of August, 10 million vaccines will reach Taiwan," Chen added, reiterating a previous timetable.

Taiwan has 10 million doses on order from AstraZeneca and more than 5 million from Moderna, plus about another 5 million from the COVAX global sharing scheme.

Olympic media movement to be closely monitored during Games

Media covering the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be closely monitored to ensure they do not leave pre-registered areas such as hotels and sports venues, Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto said.

She spoke of clarifying countermeasures relating to media covering the Games in opening remarks ahead of a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting.

With Japan still struggling to contain a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Summer Games had seen opposition from the public over concerns that the sporting event could lead to more infections and overload medical facilities. 

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 1,204 

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 1,204 to 3,702,688, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 140 to 89,384, the tally showed. 

Pakistan records lowest daily number of new cases since March

Pakistan registered 1,383 new infections, its lowest single-day tally since March following a downward trend in the ongoing third wave of the pandemic, according to the Health Ministry.

The country also reported 53 new fatalities from the virus, taking the death toll to 21,376.

On March 8, the South Asian country recorded 1,353 infections.

The country's overall caseload has reached 935,013, with 867,447 recoveries.

The total number of active virus cases in the country is 46,190.

Early US report concluded Covid-19 may have leaked from Wuhan lab

An early report on the origins of Covid-19 by a US government national laboratory concluded the hypothesis claiming the virus leaked from a Chinese lab in Wuhan is plausible and deserves further investigation, The Wall Street Journal has reported, citing people familiar with the classified document.

The study was prepared in May 2020 by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and was referred by the State Department when it conducted an inquiry into the pandemic's origins during the final months of the Trump administration, the report added. 

Brazil sees over 1,000 new deaths 

Brazil had 37,156 new cases of coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 1,010 deaths from Covid-19, the Health Ministry said.

The South American country has now registered 16,984,218 cases since the pandemic began while the death toll has risen to 474,414, according to ministry data.

Mexico reports 881 new coronavirus cases

Mexico reported 881 new confirmed cases and 34 more fatalities, bringing total infections to 2,434,562 and the death toll to 228,838, according to Health Ministry data.

Separate government data recently published suggests the real death toll may be at least 60 percent above the confirmed figure. 

Haiti postpones constitutional referendum

Haiti has announced that it will postpone a constitutional referendum that had been scheduled for June 27 due to the coronavirus pandemic but did not give a new date for the vote.

The decision was motivated by "difficulties" the electoral council faced as it tries "to assemble and train all the temporary staff for the realisation of the poll," said an official statement. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies