Covid-19 has killed more than 3.3M people and infected nearly 159M others globally. Here are all the coronavirus-related developments for May 10:

A man tries to console a family member who breaks down during the cremation of a person who died of Covid-19 in New Delhi, India on May 10, 2021.
A man tries to console a family member who breaks down during the cremation of a person who died of Covid-19 in New Delhi, India on May 10, 2021. (AP)

Monday, May 10:

WHO labels India strain as 'variant of concern'

A Covid-19 variant spreading in India, the B.1.617, appears to be more contagious and has been classified as being "of concern", the World Health Organization has said.

"There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility," and also possibly some increased resistance to vaccine protections, Maria Van Kerkove, WHO's lead on Covid-19, told reporters. 

"As such, we are classifying this as a variant of concern at the global level," she added.

Italy reports over 5,000 new cases

Italy has reported 198 deaths against 139 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 5,080 from 8,292.

Italy has registered 123,031 deaths since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.1 million cases to date.

UK reports over 2,000 new cases

Britain has reported a slight increase in daily cases but deaths remained low, with just four reported within 28 days of a positive test result.

Britain recorded 2,357 new cases compared with 1,770 a day earlier, official daily data showed.

Novavax developing combination flu, Covid vaccine

US biotech firm Novavax has said it had positive results from preclinical studies of a shot combining its influenza and Covid vaccine candidates.

The company said a study, which it has posted to a preprint server and will now undergo peer review, showed that the shot produced strong levels of antibodies against both diseases in ferrets and hamsters.

"Despite low rates during the Covid-19 pandemic, influenza remains a significant risk to global public health and the need for versatile, more effective vaccines is as important as ever, including against the flu," said Gregory Glenn, the company's president of R&D.

The new vaccine combines NanoFlu and NVX-CoV2373, which are separately in late-stage human trials. Neither have yet been approved.

AstraZeneca finally reaches EU vaccine shipping milestone

AstraZeneca Plc has delivered 50 million doses of its vaccine to European Union countries, according to EU's latest supply data, a milestone it was originally due to hit in January.

Repeated cuts to supplies, which contributed to delays in the EU's vaccination drive, pushed the European executive commission to sue the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker in late April in a bid to get more doses by mid-year.

AstraZeneca had shipped nearly 50 million doses as of May 7, an EU official told Reuters, citing the latest EU internal figures on vaccine supplies.

Covid jab maker BioNTech to build SE Asia manufacturing site

Covid jab maker BioNTech says it will build a Southeast Asia headquarters and manufacturing site in Singapore to produce hundreds of millions of mRNA-based vaccines per year.

Construction of the site will start this year, and it could become operational by 2023, the German company said in a statement.

"With this planned mRNA production facility, we will increase our overall network capacity and expand our ability to manufacture and deliver our mRNA vaccines and therapies to people around the world," said BioNTech chief executive Ugur Sahin.

Germany to make J&J's vaccine available to all adults

Germany is to make Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine available to all adults, Health Minister Jens Spahn said, adding that they will be able to receive the shot on the advice of a doctor.

Europe's drug regulator backed J&J's vaccine last month after examining cases of a rare blood clotting issue in US adults who received a dose. But it left it up to the European Union's member states to decide how to use it.

Germany's move to offer the J&J single-dose vaccine widely follows the lifting of restrictions last week on the AstraZeneca vaccine.

India's cases dip from peak

Calls grew for India to impose a nationwide lockdown as new coronavirus cases and deaths held close to record highs, increasing pressure on the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths reported by the health ministry were off a little from recent peaks, taking India's tally to 22.66 million with 246,116 deaths.

UAE adds Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka to travel curbs list

The United Arab Emirates will bar entry to non-UAE resident travellers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka starting on Wednesday to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus, it said.

The UAE last month banned entry to travellers from India to guard against the spread of the highly contagious Indian variant.

"Flights between the four countries will continue to allow the transport of passengers from the UAE to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka," the Gulf state's National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority said.

The ban includes transit flights coming from those countries. Transit flights to those countries can continue.

China to draw 'separation line' on Mount Everest peak

China will draw a “separation line” atop Mount Everest to prevent the coronavirus from being spread by climbers ascending Nepal's side of the mountain, Chinese state media reported.

A team of Tibetan mountaineering guides will set up the separation line at the peak before climbers attempt to reach the summit from the Chinese side, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

It was not clear what the separation line would be made of. The climbers ascending the north side of the mountain from China will be prohibited from crossing the line or coming into contact with anyone or any objects on the south (or Nepalese) side, it said.

Ireland eases pandemic restrictions

Ireland has lifted domestic travel restrictions and began a phased reopening of non-essential retailers in the most significant loosening of pandemic curbs so far this year.

After more than five months of severe restrictions, a ban on travel between counties was finally lifted to allow citizens to move freely throughout the Irish republic.

Meanwhile hairdressers and other personal services, as well as non-essential shops, were permitted to trade once again on an "appointment only" basis.

Galleries, museums, libraries and other cultural attractions were also allow ed to unlock their doors to the public.

Taiwan to quarantine all pilots of largest airline

Taiwan will quarantine all pilots for its largest carrier China Airlines Ltd for 14 days as it tries to stop an outbreak of Covid-19 among its crew, effectively grounding the airline, the health minister said.

While Taiwan has generally kept the pandemic well under control due to early prevention with only sporadic domestic cases, since last month it has been dealing with an outbreak linked to China Airlines pilots and an airport hotel where many of them stayed. There have been 35 confirmed infections so far in the outbreak.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters the only way to break what they believe is a chain of transmission at the carrier is to quarantine all China Airlines pilots currently in Taiwan, and send into quarantine those who return to Taiwan.

"This will have a big impact on China Airlines, on its passenger and freighter flights, and for the crew too. But for the safety of the whole community we cannot but make this decision," he said.

The move effectively amounted to a 14 day grounding for the airline, Chen added, and the pilots will only be allowed out of quarantine once they have tested negative.

Around 20 people in France detected with Indian variant

Around 20 people in France have been currently detected with the variant of Covid-19 first found in India, French Health Minister Olivier Veran told LCI TV.

The World Health Organisation has described the Indian variant as a "variant of interest", suggesting it may have mutations that would make the virus more transmissible, cause more severe disease or evade vaccine immunity.

Brazil registers 38,911 new Covid-19 cases, 1,024 deaths

Brazil has recorded 38,911 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 1,024 fatalities, the Health Ministry said.

That raised the total number of confirmed cases in Latin America's largest country to 15,184,790, and the official death toll to 422,340.

England to ease coronavirus restrictions further 

England will press ahead with plans to ease virus restrictions further on May 17, including allowing people to meet indoors, thanks to favourable data on infections and vaccines, the government said.

The country is in the process of gradually lifting its latest lockdown over a period of months, in line with a four-step plan unveiled in February.

Under Step 3 of the plan, as outlined when it was first announced, people will be allowed to meet up indoors for the first time in months, in groups of up to six people or two full households together.

Pubs, cafes, and restaurants will be able to host customers indoors, also for the first time in months and subject to certain rules. Other indoor entertainment, hospitality, and sports venues will also be able to resume activity.

China reports 11 new virus cases

China reported 11 new virus cases, down from 12 cases a day earlier, the national health authority said.

The National Health Commission, in a statement, said all of the new cases were imported infections originating from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 18 from 10 cases a day earlier.

The total number of confirmed virus cases in Mainland China now stands at 90,769, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,636.

New South Wales sees no particular concern in new cases

The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) tried to reassure residents that new virus cases due to be reported are of no particular concern, as authorities hunt for the missing link in a case that has reinstated restrictions in Sydney.

NSW state Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said ahead of the release of the latest coronavirus case numbers at 0100 GMT that there was "nothing particularly of concern" about them. NSW has recorded no new cases for the past three days.

Australia's most populous state on Sunday extended social distancing curbs by a week after authorities failed to find a transmission path between an infected overseas traveller and a resident in his 50s who tested positive last week.

Qatar to gradually lift coronavirus measures

Qatar decided on gradually lifting coronavirus-related measures in four phases starting the first phase on May 28 and the fourth on July 30, the state news agency said, citing a health ministry statement.

The duration of each phase will be at least 3 weeks with a continuous assessment of national indicators to determine moving from one phase to another.

The first phase will allow a maximum of five vaccinated people to meet indoors with reopening mosques for daily and mass prayers with some restrictions.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies