Health News Roundup: Japan begins COVID-19 vaccination in 'first major step' to halt the pandemic; WHO says is sequencing the Ebola virus to identify the strain and more
New Zealand releasing Auckland from brief COVID-19 lockdown New Zealand will lift a COVID-19 lockdown of its largest city of Auckland and ease restrictions across the rest of the country from midnight on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.Reuters | Updated: 17-02-2021 10:44 IST | Created: 17-02-2021 10:29 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
New Zealand releasing Auckland from brief COVID-19 lockdown
New Zealand will lift a COVID-19 lockdown of its largest city of Auckland and ease restrictions across the rest of the country from midnight on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. Auckland's nearly 2 million residents were plunged into a snap three-day lockdown on Monday after a more contagious COVID-19 variant that first emerged in Britain was detected in a family of three.
Japan begins COVID-19 vaccination in 'first major step' to halt the pandemic
Japan launched its COVID-19 inoculation drive on Wednesday, administering the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine to Tokyo hospital workers, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attempts to beat the odds and host the Olympics this summer. Workers at Tokyo Medical Center were among the first of some 40,000 medical professionals targeted to receive the initial shipments of the vaccine. They will be followed by 3.7 million more medical personnel, then 36 million people aged 65 and over.
UK calls for conflict zone ceasefires to roll out vaccines
Britain will on Wednesday call for a United Nations resolution to help negotiate ceasefires so that people in conflict zones can be vaccinated against COVID-19, saying member states have a moral duty to protect the vulnerable. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will chair a virtual meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to discuss the threat facing the more than 160 million people living in areas of instability and conflict, such as Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia.
WHO says is sequencing the Ebola virus to identify the strain
The World Health Organization is starting gene sequencing of Ebola samples from both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea to learn more about the origins of new outbreaks and identify the strains, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday. Margaret Harris also told a Geneva briefing that health authorities had identified close to 300 Ebola contacts in the Congo outbreak and around 109 in the Guinea one.
U.S. administers 55.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines - CDC
The United States has administered 55,220,364 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Tuesday morning and delivered 71,657,975 doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The tally of vaccine doses is for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, the agency said.
New COVID-19 cases in the U.S. fall for the fifth week in a row
The United States last week reported a 23% drop in new cases of COVID-19 and a 16% fall in the number of people hospitalized with the virus, with both figures declining for a fifth week in a row. The progress against the virus, however, is threatened by several new variants, experts said, adding that face masks and social distancing measures were still very much needed.
Victoria state to end snap lockdown, allow fans at Australian Open
A five-day snap lockdown in Australia's Victoria state will end on Wednesday, officials said as they reported no new cases in a cluster linked to a quarantined hotel in the city of Melbourne. State Premier Daniel Andrews said most mobility restrictions will be lifted at midnight, but masks will remain mandatory both indoors and outdoors when social distancing rules cannot be followed.
South Korea warns against lax distancing as daily COVID-19 count hits one-month high
South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Sye-Kyun on Wednesday warned against loosening enforcement of social distancing rules after the number of new coronavirus cases hit the highest levels in nearly 40 days. The government relaxed distancing curbs starting this week, after getting on top of the third wave of COVID-19 outbreaks that peaked at about 1,200 daily cases in late December.
Mexico surpasses 2 million coronavirus cases; more than 175,000 deaths
Mexico's total number of coronavirus cases crossed 2 million with another 8,683 cases recorded on Tuesday, the health ministry said. The country's tally of infections now stands at 2,004,575. Mexico also reported 1,329 additional fatalities, bringing the total to 175,986 deaths.
'We are like captives': life in Britain's quarantine hotels
Mohamed Noor faces 10 days in COVID-19 quarantine in a hotel room near London's Heathrow Airport after falling foul of new border controls because of a flight delay. "I don't have a book. I don't have a Koran. I don't have nothing here," Noor, a 55-year-old Muslim, said by phone after his arrival on Monday, a day later than planned, landed him with a 1,750-pound ($2,400) bill.
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