Health News Roundup: Guinea declares new Ebola outbreak; Mexico gets AstraZeneca doses from India and more
Israeli study finds 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 cases with Pfizer vaccine Israel's largest healthcare provider on Sunday reported a 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 infections among 600,000 people who received two doses of the Pfizer's vaccine in the country's biggest study to date.Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 15-02-2021 02:31 IST | Created: 15-02-2021 02:28 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. administers 52.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, CDC says
The United States has administered 52,884,356 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Sunday morning and delivered 70,057,800 doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The doses are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines as of 6 a.m. ET (1100 GMT) on Sunday, the agency said.
Japan Health Ministry says it has approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine
Japan's Health Ministry said on Sunday it has officially approved Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine, the first such approval in the country as it steps up efforts to tame a third wave of infections in the run-up to the Summer Olympic Games. The move had been widely expected after a government panel recommended approval on Friday, at which point Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said Japan would give its final approval as soon as possible.
New Zealand locks down Auckland after 3 new local COVID-19 cases
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday announced a three-day lockdown in the country's biggest city Auckland, after three COVID-19 cases emerged, the first local infections since late January. Level 3 restrictions will require everyone to stay home except for essential shopping and essential work, Ardern said, repeating the strict approach the country has taken over the past year in virtually eliminating the pandemic.
Israeli study finds 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 cases with Pfizer vaccine
Israel's largest healthcare provider on Sunday reported a 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 infections among 600,000 people who received two doses of the Pfizer's vaccine in the country's biggest study to date. Health maintenance organization (HMO) Clalit, which covers more than half of all Israelis, said the same group was also 92% less likely to develop severe illness from the virus.
UK hits 15 million vaccinations as pressure builds to ease lockdown
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed a "significant milestone" on Sunday as data showed 15 million first doses of COVID-19 vaccinations had been delivered, fuelling calls for the government to start relaxing stringent lockdown measures. The vaccine programme is seen as one of few successes in the government's handling of a pandemic that has left the country with a higher death toll and worse economic damage than its peers. With a population of around 67 million, the United Kingdom's vaccination progress is among the fastest in the world.
Brazil confirms UK variant in two coronavirus patients
Brazil has confirmed two cases of the UK variant in the state of Goiás after sequencing test samples taken on Dec. 31, according to the state's health department. In a statement on Friday, the authorities said the two people who have caught the UK variant live on the outskirts of the federal capital Brasília.
Mexico gets AstraZeneca doses from India, expects more Pfizer, as it prepares for next phase
Mexico received a shipment of 870,000 doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine from India on Sunday, the government said, as the country prepares to prioritize older adults in the next phase of its vaccination campaign. Mexico is also expecting shipments to resume of vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech , with 494,000 doses due to arrive on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told a news conference.
Guinea declares new Ebola outbreak
Guinea declared a new Ebola outbreak on Sunday when tests came back positive for the virus after three people died and four fell ill in the southeast - the first resurgence of the disease there since the world's worst outbreak in 2013-2016. The patients fell ill with diarrhoea, vomiting and bleeding after attending a burial in Goueke sub-prefecture. Those still alive have been isolated in treatment centres, the health ministry said.
French hospitals to move into crisis mode from Thursday, report says
France's Health Ministry has asked regional health agencies and hospitals to enter "crisis organisation" to prepare for a possible surge in coronavirus cases as a result of highly contagious variants, Le Journal Du Dimanche reported. The move, which would echo measures taken in March and November when France went into lockdown, involves increasing the number of hospital beds available, delaying non-urgent surgery and mobilising all medical staff resources.
Czech government agrees last-minute COVID-19 lockdown deal
The Czech government reached a last-minute deal with regional governors on Sunday to call a new state of emergency for 14 days and avert a chaotic end to coronavirus lockdown measures. Without extraordinary powers, Prime Minister Andrej Babis's minority government would be unable to keep nationwide restrictions such as curfews, bans on public gatherings or the closure of shops and services.
(With inputs from agencies.)