Covid-19 has killed more than 4.5M people and infected over 221M globally. Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments for September 7.

People walk along the South Bank, amid the coronavirus disease pandemic, in London, Britain, on August 7, 2021.
People walk along the South Bank, amid the coronavirus disease pandemic, in London, Britain, on August 7, 2021. (Reuters)

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

UK registers highest deaths since March

UK has reported 209 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, the highest daily total since March 9, government statistics showed.

Cases have been rising steadily since the start of August although death totals are impacted by irregular reporting patterns from hospitals over the weekend. 

Only 45 deaths were reported the day before.

There were 37,489 new cases reported, compared to 41,192 reported on previous day.

Sweden to remove most remaining pandemic restrictions this month

Sweden will push ahead with easing Covid-19 restrictions at the end of this month, removing most curbs and limits on public venues such as restaurants, theatres and stadiums, the government said.

"The important message is that we now take further steps in the return to normal everyday life," Health and Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren told a news conference.

Italy reports 71 deaths, 4,720 new cases

Italy has reported 71 coronavirus-related deaths against 52 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 4,720 from 3,361.

Singapore reports most cases in more than 1 year

Singapore's health ministry has recorded 328 new domestic coronavirus cases, the highest daily number of new infections in more than a year.

The city-state has been reporting more than 100 domestic cases daily over the past two weeks in a rise that has come as the country removes most restrictions as part of its phased reopening.

Get vaccine or please quit, Zimbabwe govt tells workers

Government workers in Zimbabwe who do not want to be vaccinated against Covid-19 should resign, its justice minister said.

Ziyambi Ziyambi said while Zimbabweans would not be forced to get vaccinated, those in the public service had a responsibility to protect the public by getting Covid-19 shots.

"We are not forcing you to be vaccinated but if you are a government employee, for the protection of others and the people that you are serving, get vaccinated," Ziyambi told private radio station ZiFM Stereo.

Indonesia approves J&J, Cansino vaccines for emergency use

Indonesia has approved the single-dose Covid-19 vaccines produced by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, part of Johnson & Johnson, and China's CanSino Biological Inc for emergency use, the country's food and drug agency said in a statement.

Indonesia records its lowest rate of positive tests

Indonesia's daily positivity rate dropped below the World Health Organization's (WHO) benchmark standard of 5% this week for the first time, an indicator the country's devastating second wave could be easing.

The positivity rate, or the proportion of people tested who are positive, peaked at 33.4% in July when Indonesia became Asia's coronavirus epicentre, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.

On Monday that rate fell to 4.57%, the lowest since March 2020, when Indonesia's first cases were reported, according to independent data initiative, Kawal.

A rate above 5% indicates is out of control, the WHO says.

Study: Mixing CanSinoBIO, Sinovac shots induces stronger response

A Chinese study looking at mixing vaccines showed that receiving a booster shot of CanSino Biologics’ vaccine after one or two doses of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine yielded a much stronger antibody response than using the Sinovac shot as a booster.

The study, among the first analyses in China combing different vaccines, comes as the country said it would use booster shots in specific groups amid concerns over vaccines’ waning protect ion over time.

Participants who received a CanSinoBIO booster dose three to six months after a second Sinovac shot showed a 78-fold jump on average in neutralizing antibody levels two weeks later, according to a paper published on Monday before a peer review.

By contrast, those who received a Sinovac booster shot showed a 15.2-fold increase in neutralizing antibody levels, researchers from local disease control authorities, CanSinoBIO and other Chinese institutions said in the paper.

One dose of Sinovac followed by a CanSinoBIO booster at intervals of one or two months led to a 25.7-fold increase in neutralising antibody levels, while two doses of Sinovac induced a 6.2-fold increase.
The study analysed data from about 300 healthy adults aged 18-59.

Hong Kong to reopen China border for some residents as rules ease

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that some residents from China and the former Portuguese colony of Macau will be allowed to enter the city without undergoing quarantine from September 15, relaxing strict border restrictions to curb.

Speaking at her weekly press conference, Lam said the government would let up to a total of 2,000 residents from both places enter the financial hub each day, subject to certain requirements such as a negative test prior to arrival.

Visitors would have to undergo 14 days of quarantine on return to the mainland or Macau.

Beijing-backed Lam has repeatedly said reopening the border with mainland China is a priority over boosting travel with the rest of the world, despite increasing calls to ease restrictions on arrivals from places such as Europe and the United States.

From Sept. 8, Lam said residents of Hong Kong would be allowed to return to the city from mainland China or Macau without undergoing quarantine, provided they do not arrive from high-risk areas.

The government has faced growing pressure from business lobby groups to open borders or risk losing executives and investment.

Japan orders 150M doses of Novavax

Japan has agreed to buy 150 million doses of Novavax's vaccine, with Japanese firm Takeda expecting to manufacture the formula for distribution early next year, the drugmaker said Tuesday.

The cost of the deal was not announced, and it is contingent on the vaccine being approved in Japan. Takeda will be in charge of carrying out local clinical trials.

So far, Japan has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca jabs, though the latter is being administered in a limited fashion.

Unlike the mRNA products from BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna and Curevac, Novavax's two-jab vaccine relies on a more traditional technique, using proteins to carry fragments of the coronavirus rendered harmless to produce an immune reaction.

This means it does not have to be stored in ultra-low temperatures, potentially giving it a logistical edge.

India reports 31,222 new cases; deaths rise by 290

India reported 31,222 new cases in the past 24 hours, a government statement said on Tuesday, taking the total to 33.1 million.

Daily deaths rose by 290 to 441,042. 

Vietnam jails man for five years for spreading virus

A Vietnamese man has been sentenced to five years in jail for spreading the virus after he breached home quarantine rules.

Le Van Tri was convicted of "spreading dangerous infectious diseases to other people" after he travelled to his home province Ca Mau from coronavirus hotspot Ho Chi Minh City in July, according to a report on the website of the provincial People's Court.

The 28-year old was accused of breaching a 21-day home quarantine regulation in the southern province, which had a lower case rate than Ho Chi Minh City, and he tested positive for Covid-19 on July 7.

"Tri's breach of the home medical quarantine regulation led to many people becoming infected with Covid-19 and one person died on 7 August 2021," according to the court report.

State media said eight people became infected because of Tri.

Cuba becomes first country to vaccinate toddlers

Cuba became the first country in the world to vaccinate children from the age of two, using homegrown jabs not recognised by the World Health Organisation.

The island state of 11.2 million people aims to inoculate all its children before reopening schools that have been closed for the most part since March 2020.

The new school year started on Monday, but from home via television programs, as most Cuban homes do not have internet access.

Having completed clinical trials on minors with its Abdala and Soberana vaccines, Cuba kicked off its inoculation campaign for children on Friday, starting with those 12 and older.

It has now started distributing jabs in the 2-11 age group in the central province of Cienfuegos.

Australia's Victoria state reports 246 local cases

Australia's Victoria state reported 246 new locally acquired cases, the same number as a day earlier, as authorities struggle to contain an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant.

Of the new cases, 90 are linked to the current outbreak, the state's health department said. 

New Zealand reports slight rise in new  cases

New Zealand reported a slight rise in new locally acquired cases on Tuesday ahead of relaxing restrictions in all regions outside Auckland, its largest city.

New Zealand detected 21 new local cases, all in Auckland, up from 20 a day earlier.

Authorities said schools, offices and businesses can reopen outside Auckland from Wednesday but masks will remain mandatory in most public venues while gathering will be limited to 50 people indoors and 100 in outdoors.

Peru to build plant to make Sputnik V vaccine

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo said that the government has reached an agreement with Russia to install a plant to produce the Sputnik V vaccine.

Castillo did not provide further information on the timeline for the installation or production targets during a speech broadcast on national television, but added that the health minister would provide further information. 

Peru signed a contract to buy 20 million doses of Sputnik V in July. 

China reports 36 new cases on Sept 6 vs 18 a day earlier

China reported 36 new cases on the mainland, up from 18 a day earlier, the national health authority said.

None of the new infections were locally transmitted. 

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, stood at 10 on September 6, all of which were imported from abroad. That compared with 18 the day before.

The total confirmed cases in mainland China are at 95,064, with the death toll unchanged at 4,636.

Mexico reports 5,127 new cases, 330 more deaths

Mexico's health ministry on Monday reported 5,127 new confirmed cases in the country and 330 more deaths, bringing the total number of official infections since the pandemic began to 3,433,511 and the death toll to 263,470.

Health ministry officials have previously said that the real numbers are likely significantly higher. 

Brazil reports 9,154 new coronavirus cases, 182 deaths

Brazil recorded 9,154 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, along with 182 deaths, the Health Ministry said.

Brazil has registered more than 20 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 583,810, according to the ministry's data.

EU drugs agency starts evaluating results of BioNTech booster shots

The European Medicine Agency (EMA) has started to evaluate the result of booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The EMA’s Committee for Human Medicine will assess the data on booster shots administered six months after the second dose for people older than 16 years, the EU agency said in a press statement.

The evaluation is based on the results of clinical trials involving 300 adults with healthy immune systems who received a third dose around six months after they were fully vaccinated.

The EU drugs agency expects the results to be published within a few weeks.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies