The novel coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 3.7 million lives and infected at least 172 million people around the world. Here are updates for June 3:

An elderly patient receives a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, at a clinic at Orange Farm, near Johannesburg on June 3, 2021.
An elderly patient receives a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, at a clinic at Orange Farm, near Johannesburg on June 3, 2021. (AP)

Thursday, June 3

WHO: Africa not ready for imminent third wave

With vaccine deliveries at a near-standstill and lacking key resources in frontline care, Africa is poorly prepared for the third wave of the pandemic, the UN has warned.

"Many African hospitals and clinics are still far from ready to cope with a huge rise in critically ill patients," the World Health Organization's regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said.

"The threat of a third wave in Africa is real and rising," she said.

US to give 80M vaccine doses to nations, 75% via Covax

US President Joe Biden has unveiled his plan for the first of 80 million vaccine doses being distributed globally, with 75 percent of shots disbursed via the Covax program.

Of the first tranche of 25 million doses, the White House said about 19 million will go to COVAX, with approximately 6 million for South and Central America, 7 million for Asia and 5 million for Africa. The doses mark a substantial — and immediate — boost to the lagging COVAX effort, which to date has shared just 76 million doses with needy countries.

Overall, the White House aims to share 80 million doses globally by the end of June, most through COVAX. But 25 percent of the nation's excess will be kept in reserve for emergencies and for the US to share directly with allies and partners.

UAE, Bahrain make Pfizer/BioNTech shot available to those who got Sinopharm vaccine

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have made the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine available as a booster shot to those initially immunised with a vaccine developed by the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).

The Gulf states, which have vaccinated large portions of their populations, initially started inoculating residents and citizens with the Sinopharm shot before later introducing other vaccines.

Bahrain is currently fighting its biggest wave of infections, while the UAE is recording nearly twice as many cases as it was seven months ago.

Greece starts vaccine campaign at asylum-seeker facilities

 Greek authorities have launched a vaccination campaign for tens of thousands of asylum-seekers living in government-run facilities, starting with the islands of Lesbos, Chios, and Samos.

Health Ministry officials said the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine was being used for the program, which is scheduled to expand to other Greek islands and the mainland starting later this week.

UK mandates quarantine on return from Portugal

Portugal has been removed from England's so-called green travel list allowing quarantine-free travel between the two countries, the UK government said in a move slammed by Britain's tourism sector.

The move could prove highly disruptive to thousands of British holidaymakers, after Portugal was the only European nation placed on the green list when it was first unveiled last month.

A popular summer destination for Britons, from Tuesday at 4 am (0300 GMT) Portugal will be on the amber list, which requires travellers to quarantine at home for 10 days on their return and take several Covid-19 tests.

WHO: 'Exponential' rise in virus cases in DR Congo capital

The UN's health agency has said it detected a surge late last month in cases in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"An exponential rise in the spread of SARS-Cov-2 virus has been recorded in Kinshasa," the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a weekly report.

Pakistan province blocks salary for unvaccinated employees

The head of a Pakistani province has ordered that government employees who refuse to be vaccinated would not be paid from next month.

Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah announced the move after meeting with health officials to discuss the first cases of the delta variant detected in the province, which includes the megacity of Karachi.

Belarus registers Russia's Sputnik Light vaccine for use

Belarus has registered Russia's Sputnik Light vaccine for use, the first dose of the two-component shot, the Minsk health ministry said.

Italy reports over 1,900 new cases 

Italy has reported 59 deaths against 62 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 1,968 from 2,897.

Italy has registered 126,342 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 4.23 million cases to date

 Turkey reports over 6,600 new cases

Turkey has registered a total of 6,602 cases, including 563 symptomatic patients, across the country in the past 24 hours, the country's Health Ministry announced.

Turkey's overall case tally is now over 5.27 million, while the nationwide death toll reached 47,882, with 114 more fatalities over the past day.

Watchdog: Kids risk generational catastrophe from virus

The pandemic has severely affected children's rights worldwide, with young people risking a generational catastrophe if governments do not act, a rights group said in an annual survey.

Millions of children have missed out on education because of the virus restrictions while there will be a long term impact in terms of their physical and mental health, Dutch NGO KidsRights said as it launched its annual ranking.

The survey ranks Iceland, Switzerland and Finland as best for children's rights and Chad, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone as the worst, out of a total of 182 countries.

India reports 134,154 new cases over past 24 hours

India has announced 134,154 new infections over the past 24 hours, while deaths from the virus rose by 2,887.

The country's total caseload now stands at 28.4 million, while total fatalities are at 337,989, according to data from the health ministry. 

Meanwhile, Indian government said it has inked a deal with domestic vaccine maker Biological-E for 300 million vaccine doses for $205.62 million.

The vaccine, which is currently undergoing phase-3 clinical trials, will likely to be available in the next few months, the health ministry said in a statement.

Peruvians to pick new president amid pandemic

Peruvians are set to pick a new president amid a relentless pandemic that has even pushed cemeteries in the South American nation beyond capacity.

The polarising runoff election on Sunday between rural teacher Pedro Castillo and career politician Keiko Fujimori comes on the heels of the Peruvian government's admission that the pandemic's death toll is at least 2.5 times higher than previously acknowledged.

The jump brings the estimated total to more than 180,000 deaths.

Both Castillo and Fujimori have promised vaccines for all Peruvians.

The country has tallied more than 1.9 million cases and has only fully vaccinated about 3.7% of its 32.5 million residents, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University.

Germany records 4,640 more cases

The number of confirmed cases in Germany has increased by 4,640 to 3,692,468.

The reported death toll rose by 166 to 88,940, the data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

Olympics chief says cancellation unlikely as 10,000 volunteers quit

The Tokyo Olympics chief has said the Games would only be cancelled in extreme circumstances as organisers revealed 10,000 volunteers had quit over the virus fears, a sexism row and scheduling problems.

Exactly 50 days before the opening ceremony, Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto said the show would go on unless the pandemic stops a majority of teams from travelling.

The 2020 Games, due to open a year late on July 23, remain beset by doubts and low public support as Japan battles a fourth virus wave with much of the country, including Tokyo, under a state of emergency.

Taiwan health ministry to get about $2.9M boost to fight virus

Taiwan's health ministry will receive an extra $2.87 billion in spending to fight the pandemic, including buying vaccines, the government said, detailing a stimulus package approved this week.

Taiwan's parliament approved on Monday an extra $15.20 billion in spending to help the economy deal with the virus' impact, as the island curbs business activity to counter a spike in domestic infections.

The new money is in addition to previous stimulus spending worth $15.20 billion, and the funding will run until June 30 of next year.

Taiwan's Cabinet said the money for the health ministry would go toward buying and testing vaccines, medicines and to help improve monitoring and testing for the virus.

Taiwan has millions of vaccines on order, but has so far only vaccinated about 3% of its 23.5 million people, mostly with just the first shot.

US Food & Drug Administration calls for vaccine scrutiny

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca to assess any potential health risks from minor cross contamination of their vaccines manufactured by contractor Emergent BioSolutions, according to Politico.

In March, Emergent’s Baltimore facility  contaminated 15 million Johnson & Johnson in an accident that introduced the active ingredient of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. The plant stopped producing vaccines in April and has since been under FDA investigation. 

The agency has no announced that it cannot rule-out the possibility of low-level contamination in either vaccine.

Australia's Victoria state posts lowest daily case rise in a week

Australia's second-most populous state Victoria has reported its lowest rise in new cases in more than a week, a day after a snap lockdown in state capital Melbourne was extended for another week.

Melbourne is seven days into a hard lockdown, now scheduled to run until June 10, spurred by the latest outbreak of a virus variant first detected in India, which authorities said is highly contagious and could become uncontrollable.

Though Victoria's daily cases have remained in the single digits for a week now, officials fear even minimal contact could help spread the virus variant.

Lockdown rules in regions outside Melbourne will be eased from Thursday night due to zero cases, although curbs on house gatherings will remain and masks must be worn indoors.

Brazilians bang pots in protest as another 2,500 die of virus

Pot-banging protests erupted across several cities in Brazil  as President Jair Bolsonaro addressed the nation, just days after protestors took to the streets across the country over his handling of the pandemic, which has so far killed almost half a million people here.

The last few days have been rocky for the government of the right-wing leader, whose popularity had already been flagging amid persistently high daily deaths and cases.

On Wednesday alone, almost 100,000 Brazilians came down with the coronavirus and 2,507 died, according to government data.

The South American country has now registered 467,706 total coronavirus deaths and 16,720,081 total confirmed cases. 

Also in the evening, the nation's Health Ministry revised down the number of vaccines it will receive in June by about 4 million doses.

Biden to announce details of global distribution of 80M vaccines

President Joe Biden will announce within days the details of a plan to export 80 million vaccine doses to other countries "without any political strings attached," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"In a few short days, in fact possibly as early as tomorrow, the president is going to announce in more detail the plan that he put together to push out 80 million vaccines around the world," Blinken said at the US embassy in San Jose on his last day of a Latin American visit.

Biden recently announced a plan to release 20 million more doses over six weeks, bringing the total earmarked for shipping out by the end of June to 80 million.

US Science chief wants next pandemic vaccine ready in 100 days

The new White House science adviser wants to have a vaccine ready to fight the next pandemic in just about 100 days after recognising a potential viral outbreak.

In his first interview after being sworn in, Eric Lander painted a rosy near future where a renewed American emphasis on science not only better prepares the world for the next pandemic with ready-to-go vaccines, but also changes how medicine fights disease and treats patients, curbs climate change and further explores space. 

Source: TRT World