Health News Roundup: India's daily COVID-19 deaths rise by record 4,205; Taiwan warns on rising COVID-19 risk, stocks tank and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
'Want the COVID-19 vaccine? Have a U.S. visa?' Latinos travel north for the shot
"Want the COVID-19 vaccine? Have a U.S. visa? Contact us," reads a travel agency advertisement, offering deals to Mexicans to fly to the United States to get inoculated. From Mexico to far-flung Argentina, thousands of Latin Americans are booking flights to the United States to take advantage of one of the world's most successful vaccination campaigns, as rollouts in their own countries sputter.
The White House on Tuesday announced a series of steps aimed at boosting U.S. COVID-19 vaccination rates, including a partnership with ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft, as it seeks to achieve President Joe Biden's July 4 reopening deadline. The latest actions also include vaccination sites at community colleges, among other efforts, the White House said in a statement.
Scores of bodies are washing up on the banks of the Ganges as Indians fail to keep pace with the deaths and cremations of around 4,000 people a day from the novel coronavirus. India currently accounts for one in three of the reported deaths from coronavirus around the world, according to a Reuters tally, and its health system is overwhelmed, despite donations of oxygen cylinders and other medical equipment from around the world.
Australia tracing source of COVID-19 case in Victoria state
Authorities in Australia's second-most populous state warned on Wednesday the next few days would be critical to preventing a coronavirus outbreak after a man in his 30s tested positive a day earlier for COVID-19. The unidentified man was the first locally transmitted case in Victoria state in more than two months. Health officials said it was most likely he contracted the virus while serving his 14-day hotel quarantine in neighboring South Australia state.
Japan prepares to vaccinate its Olympians, Paralympians
Japan is gearing up to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to around 2,500 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and support staff, using shots donated for the Games amid public anger over the slow pace of the country's vaccine rollout. With fewer than three months until the Olympics begin, Japan is struggling to contain a surge in coronavirus cases and a majority of the population want them cancelled or postponed for a second time.
Pfizer asks UK regulator to approve vaccine for teenagers
Pfizer Inc has submitted data on its COVID-19 vaccine among 12- to 15-year olds to Britain's health regulator, a company spokesman said on Tuesday, paving the way for its authorization to inoculate children in the country. "I can confirm we've submitted data on the efficacy of the vaccine in 12 to 15 years olds for review by U.K. MHRA," the spokesman told Reuters by email.
Brazil buys 100 million more doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine
Brazil's Health Ministry on Tuesday announced it had signed a deal for Pfizer to deliver an additional 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, doubling the number of shots from the company. The additional shots will be delivered between September and December, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Taiwan warns on rising COVID-19 risk, stocks tank
Taiwan may raise its COVID-19 alert level in the "coming days", Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said on Wednesday, warning of an extremely serious situation on the island which has so far controlled the pandemic well, sending the stock market tanking. On Tuesday, Taiwan announced plans to restrict public gatherings as a result of a cluster of six new cases with no clear infection source, an unusual outbreak for the island that had kept a tight lid on community outbreaks.
India's daily COVID-19 deaths rise by record 4,205
India on Wednesday posted a record rise in deaths from COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, pushing its total fatalities past the 250,000 mark. Deaths from COVID-19 swelled by 4,205, while daily coronavirus cases rose by 348,421, with India's overall caseload now surging past 23 million, according to health ministry data.
Georgia among first U.S. states to provide COVID-19 shots to kids under 16
When the state of Georgia made COVID-19 vaccinations available to children as young as 12 on Tuesday, Atlanta residents Jenny and Jeffrey Brower rushed to schedule an appointment for their twin 13-year-old girls. As Georgians, they were among the lucky ones. Providers in their state, along with those in Delaware and Arkansas, were already offering Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine to adolescents aged 12 to 15 - just a day after U.S. regulators authorized it for emergency use in that age group.
(With inputs from agencies.)