Health News Roundup: More data needed on UK COVID-19 variant; UK vaccination rate hits record daily high and more
The number of people at the Humboldt hospital infected with the more infectious B117 variant was likely to rise further in the coming days, a spokeswoman of public hospital operator Vivantes told Reuters. Germany expects AstraZeneca to deliver 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in February Germany expects British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc to deliver 3 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in February despite the company's latest production problems, Health Minister Jens Spahn told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 24-01-2021 10:38 IST | Created: 24-01-2021 10:32 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. health officials: More data needed on UK COVID-19 variant warning
The United States is closely watching the more infectious variant of COVID-19 after British officials warned that it may also be more deadly, two top U.S. health officials said on Saturday, cautioning more data is needed. Officials are somewhat more worried about a separate variant from South Africa, although it has not yet been identified among U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's top COVID-19 medical adviser, also said.
UK vaccination rate hits record daily high, total deaths at 97,329
Britain vaccinated 478,248 people in the 24 hours to Saturday with a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, a daily record according to government figures, as the total death toll from the virus nears the 100,000 mark, standing at 97,329. Government data showed that the total number of people who have had a first dose of the vaccine now stands at 5.86 million.
French COVID-19 intensive care numbers down for first time in two weeks
The number of people with coronavirus in French intensive care units fell by 16 to 2,896 in data released on Saturday, the first decline in two weeks after a period of sharp rises. The number of people in intensive care is a key measure of a health system's ability to cope with the pandemic.
Italy says delays in vaccine supplies unacceptable
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte lashed out at suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday, saying delays in deliveries amounted to a serious breach of contractual obligations. Italy will have to rethink its whole vaccination programme if supply problems persist, a senior health official warned on Saturday, after Rome was forced to cut its daily rollout of COVID-19 shots by more than two thirds.
Italy's Lombardy spars with government over virus data mishap
Italy's Lombardy region and the central government exchanged blame on Saturday over the release of COVID-19 data that wrongly condemned the region to stricter restrictions. Lombardy, the country's wealthiest and most productive area which includes the fashion capital Milan, was forced to close most shops a week ago after being classed "red" under Italy's system of tiered restrictions.
Don't talk on the subway, say French doctors, to limit COVID-19 spread
Passengers on public transport systems should avoid talking to one another or on the phone in order to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus, the French National Academy of Medecine said. "The mandatory wearing of masks on public transport, where social distancing is not possible, should by accompanied by one very simple precaution: avoid talking and making phone calls," the academy said in a statement.
U.S. CDC says 41.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed, 20.5 million administered
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had administered 20,537,990 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 41,411,550 doses. The tally of vaccine doses are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, the agency said.
German hospital under quarantine over more infections coronavirus variant
German health authorities put a Berlin hospital under quarantine after 20 patients and staff members tested positive for a more infectious variant of the coronavirus discovered in Britain and spreading fast around the world, officials said on Saturday. The number of people at the Humboldt hospital infected with the more infectious B117 variant was likely to rise further in the coming days, a spokeswoman of public hospital operator Vivantes told Reuters.
Germany expects AstraZeneca to deliver 3 million
COVID-19 vaccine doses in February Germany expects British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc to deliver 3 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in February despite the company's latest production problems, Health Minister Jens Spahn told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. AstraZeneca informed European Union officials on Friday it would cut deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine to the bloc by 60% to 31 million doses in the first quarter of the year due to production problems, a senior official told Reuters.
Hong Kong locks down thousands for compulsory COVID-19 testing
Hong Kong's government locked down an area of Kowloon peninsula on Saturday after an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, saying 10,000 residents must stay home until they have been tested and the results largely determined. The first such measure the city has taken since the pandemic began has occurred in the densely populated neighbourhoods of Jordan that is home to many ageing, subdivided flats in which the virus could spread more easily.
(With inputs from agencies.)