Covid-19 has infected more than 231M people and killed over 4.7M. Here are virus-related developments for September 24:
Friday, September 24, 2021
Russia reports record daily virus deaths
Russia has recorded its highest daily death toll following a spurt in cases linked to the Delta variant and a lacklustre vaccination drive.
A government tally reported 828 fatalities over the past 24 hours a day after Russia matched its previous record of 820.
The new figures bring Russia's total deaths to 202,273 – the highest toll in Europe.
Egypt approves one-dose Sputnik Light vaccine for use
Egypt has authorised Russia's single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which markets the shot abroad, said.
The country approved Russia's two-dose Sputnik V vaccine in February.
India's Shilpa Medicare to produce Cadila's shot
Indian drugmaker Shilpa Medicare Limited has said it had agreed to produce Cadila Healthcare Ltd's three-dose vaccine.
The country's health authorities had given emergency approval in August for Cadila's vaccine, the world's first DNA shot, in adults and children aged 12 years and above.
Cadila, which is expected to begin supplying its vaccine from next month, aims to make 100 million to 120 million doses of ZyCoV-D a year.
Italy backs shots for pregnant women from second trimester
Italy's National Health Institute has recommended that pregnant women should get vaccines after the first three months of their pregnancy.
The health authority said in a statement that it was advising women to receive two mRNA-based shots in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
It said its decision was due to growing evidence on the safety of vaccines during pregnancies for both the foetus and the mother.
China administers 2.191B vaccine doses
China has administered about 4.2 million new doses of vaccines, bringing the total number of doses administered to 2.191 billion, data from the National Health Commission showed.
Vietnam delays reopening resort island over low vaccination rate
Vietnam has pushed back a plan to re-open the resort island of Phu Quoc to foreign tourists until November, after failing to meet targets for inoculating residents due to insufficient vaccine supplies, state media reported.
The Southeast Asian nation, which is currently shut to all visitors apart from returning citizens and investors, has been struggling to speed up inoculations to help contain a spike in cases driven by the Delta variant in recent months.
Authorities had initially planned to allow vaccinated foreign tourists to start returning to Phu Quoc in October to revive the tourism sector and prop up the economy.
Study: Sinovac's shot highly effective against serious illness
Sinovac's vaccine is highly effective against serious illness, although rival shots from Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca showed better protection rates, a large real-world study from Malaysia has shown.
The latest data is a boost to the Chinese firm, whose vaccine has been under growing scrutiny over its effectiveness following reports of infections among healthcare workers fully immunised with the Sinovac shot in Indonesia and Thailand.
The study, conducted by the Malaysian government, found that 0.011 percent of about 7.2 million recipients of the Sinovac shot required treatment in intensive care units (ICU) for infections, health officials told reporters on Thursday.
WHO backs antibody treatment for high-risk patients
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the synthetic antibody treatment Regeneron for the virus, but only in patients with specific health profiles.
Persons with non-severe Covid-19 who are nonetheless at high risk of hospitalisation can take the antibody combo, as should critically ill patients unable to mount an adequate immune response, according to a WHO finding published in BMJ.
Regeneron is only the third treatment for the virus to be recommended by the global health authority, which added it to its "living WHO guideline" on drugs for Covid-19.
South Korea reports record high daily cases of 2,434 - KDCA
South Korea reported a new record high daily virus cases of 2,434, breaking the record set last month, as the country grapples with the worst-ever wave of infections since early July, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.
The mortality rate and severe cases remain relatively low and steady at 0.82 percent and 309, respectively, helped largely by vaccinations that prioritised older people at high risk of severe Covid-19, KDCA said.
Mexico reports 11,808 cases
Mexico's Health Ministry reported 11,808 new confirmed cases of the virus in the country and 748 deaths, bringing the total number of official infections since the pandemic began to 3,608,976 and the death toll to 274,139.
Health Ministry officials have previously said the real coronavirus numbers are likely significantly higher.
Brazil approaches 600,000 deaths in second-deadliest outbreak
Brazil has had 24,611 new cases of the novel virus reported in the past 24 hours, and 648 deaths from the virus, the health ministry said.
The South American country has now registered 21,308,178 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 592,964, according to ministry data, in the world's third-worst outbreak outside the United States and India and its second-deadliest after the United States.
As vaccination advances, the rolling 7-day average of deaths has fallen to less than one-fifth of the toll of almost 3,000 a day at the peak of the pandemic in April.
Melbourne cases linger near record levels as Australia hits vaccine milestone
Infections in Australia's Victoria state hovered near record levels as authorities stepped up the pace of vaccinations in hopes of easing restrictions with more than half the country's adult population fully vaccinated.
Australia is grappling with a third wave of infections from the highly infectious Delta variant that has led to lockdowns in its two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and the capital, Canberra, affecting nearly half the country's 25 million people.
Australia's New South Wales reports 1,043 new cases
Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state reported 1,043 new locally acquired cases of the virus, down from 1,063 a day earlier, as first-dose vaccination levels in the state's adult population neared 85 percent.
NSW also reported 11 new deaths from the virus, with 10 of them unvaccinated. A total of 1,186 cases are hospitalised, with 232 in intensive care, 110 of whom require ventilation.
CDC advisers back booster shots for those 65 and older, not for high-risk workers
A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel recommended a booster shot of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and some adults with underlying medical conditions that put them at risk of severe disease.
But the panel declined to recommend boosters for younger adults, including healthcare workers, who live or work in institutions with high risk of contracting the virus, which could narrow the scope of the US Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorisation issued on Wednesday.