Health News Roundup: Kono says inoculation pace to accelerate; Johnson urges caution as some lockdown measures ease and moreReuters | Updated: 29-03-2021 10:39 IST | Created: 29-03-2021 10:28 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Birx says COVID death toll in U.S. would have been mitigated with earlier action
Dr. Deborah Birx, who coordinated the White House coronavirus task force under President Donald Trump, believes the COVID-19 death toll in the United States would have been substantially lower if the government had responded more effectively. In an interview with CNN, parts of which were released before broadcast later on Sunday, Birx said there was an "excuse" for the initial surge of deaths last year as the government grappled with the start of the pandemic.
Japan vaccine czar Kono says inoculation pace to accelerate in May
Japan's vaccine minister, Taro Kono, said on Monday that the pace of inoculation in the country would accelerate in May, with 10 million doses expected to be imported every week that month. "Starting in May, there will be no bottleneck in supply," Kono told Reuters in an interview. Officially the minister in charge of administrative reform, Kono was tapped in January to lead Japan's COVID-19 vaccination push.
UK's Johnson urges caution as some lockdown measures ease
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Britons to be cautious as a stay-at-home order and some other lockdown measures are lifted in England, citing rising cases in other parts of Europe and the threat posed by new variants of the virus. The government will also set up a new Office for Health Promotion to help tackle obesity, improve mental health and promote exercise. Johnson himself said he was "too fat" when he became gravely ill with COVID-19 last year.
China reports 15 new COVID-19 cases vs 8 a day earlier
China reported 15 new COVID-19 cases in the mainland for March 28, up from eight a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Monday. The National Health Commission, in a statement, said all the new cases were imported infections originating from overseas.
Mexico says COVID-19 deaths likely 60% higher than confirmed toll
Mexico's death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is likely at least 60% higher than the confirmed number, putting it in excess of 300,000, according to government data. Updated figures https://coronavirus.gob.mx/exceso-de-mortalidad-en-mexico on excess mortality in a table published by Mexico's Health Ministry showed that by the end of the sixth week of this year, 294,287 fatalities "associated with COVID-19" had been registered on death certificates in Mexico.
Australia's third-largest city to enter three-day COVID-19 lockdown
Australian authorities announced a snap three-day COVID-19 lockdown in the northern city of Brisbane from Monday afternoon, as they attempt to stamp out an outbreak of the virulent UK variant of the virus. About 2 million people in the city, the country's third largest and the capital of Queensland state, will be required to stay home from 5 p.m. local time except for essential work, healthcare, grocery shopping or exercise.
Stranded at sea, coronavirus takes a toll on mental health of sailors
When Ritesh Mehra, 43, enlisted for a four-month stint as captain on a liquid gas tanker last July, he never expected to be stranded at sea until spring. "Twice it has happened that the ports are not allowing crew change," Mehra told Reuters via Zoom from the bridge of the 80,000 tonne ship docked outside the Indian port of Haldia.
Brisbane lockdown sends Australian sports teams scrambling
Australia's professional sports leagues scrambled to put contingency plans in place on Monday after Queensland authorities announced a snap three-day lockdown in state capital Brisbane to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. About 2 million people in Brisbane, the country's third largest city, will be required to stay home from 5 p.m. local time except for essential work, healthcare, grocery shopping or exercise.
South Korea's expert panel says J&J COVID-19 vaccine safe, effective for approval
A panel of South Korean advisers recommended a coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson was safe and effective, the food and drug safety ministry said on Monday, moving the single-dose shot a step closer to receiving regulatory approval. When granted a greenlight, the J&J vaccine will be the third COVID-19 vaccine authorized in South Korea, following ones from AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech, both of which require two doses.
New Abu Dhabi plant to produce COVID-19 vaccine from China's Sinopharm
A new pharmaceutical plant in Abu Dhabi will start making a COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm later this year under a joint venture between Sinopharm and Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42 (G42).
The plant, which is being built in the Khalifa Industrial Zone of Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), will eventually have a production capacity of 200 million doses a year with three filling lines and five automated packaging lines, a statement from the joint venture said on Monday.
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