Health News Roundup: Locked-down Melbourne beefs up security as COVID-19 protesters gather; New Zealand says it may not get to zero COVID-19 cases again and more
The decision follows similar moves by other Latin American countries such as Ecuador and Chile, which are already giving a booster vaccine dose to people at risk, for instance, those with immunodeficiencies or the elderly. Northern Chinese city in semi-shutdown after first COVID-19 cases since February China's northeastern city of Harbin, population 10 million, went into semi-shutdown after reporting new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for the first time since early February.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Locked-down Melbourne beefs up security as COVID-19 protesters gather
Australia's Victoria State on Wednesday reported a jump in new COVID-19 infections as Melbourne braced for a third straight day of protests against lockdown restrictions, with police deploying in strength to disperse crowds. Protesters began gathering in the city center in separate groups as the state's Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton vowed to prevent more violent protests but declined to discuss the measures planned to control violence or unruly behavior.
New Zealand says it may not get to zero COVID-19 cases again
New Zealand may not get back to having zero coronavirus cases in the community, the director-general of health said on Thursday, as the country continues efforts to stamp out the infectious Delta variant of the virus. New Zealand eliminated COVID-19 last year and had been largely virus-free, barring a small number of cases in February, until the latest outbreak of the Delta variant erupted in August, prompting Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to order a nationwide lockdown.
U.S. to donate an additional 500 million COVID-19 vaccines
The United States plans to donate an additional 500 million COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE to nations around the world, lifting the total the country is sharing to more than 1 billion doses, according to a source familiar with the plans. President Joe Biden is hosting a virtual summit on COVID-19 on Wednesday and is likely to announce the new pledge then.
Lilly to supply up to 220,000 COVID-19 antibody combo doses to European countries
Eli Lilly on Tuesday announced a pact with the European Commission to supply up to 220,000 doses of its COVID-19 dual antibody cocktail to European countries for patients aged 12 years and older who are at a high risk of progressing to severe disease. The treatment, a combination of bamlanivimab and etesevimab, is meant for use in patients who do not require supplemental oxygen for COVID-19.
J&J says second shot boosts protection for moderate-severe COVID-19 to 94%
Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday the second shot of its COVID-19 vaccine given about two months after the first increased its effectiveness to 94% in the United States against moderate to severe forms of the disease. That compares to 70% protection with a single dose.
Colombian President Ivan Duque told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that the international community must equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines to avoid the creation of new, more fearsome variants of the coronavirus. The South American country is aiming to vaccinate at least 70% of its 50 million inhabitants. Production delays at vaccine manufacturers have left some Colombians waiting for doses in recent weeks.
Greece tests drone drug delivery for remote regions
Greece on Tuesday tested a drone to deliver medicines to isolated places in an environmentally friendly way, sending the unmanned vehicle to a 200-person village. The red drone with four rotor blades took off from the northwestern Greek city of Trikala and flew 3 kilometers (0.5 miles) to Leptokarya. It made two stops, landing outside a pharmacy and in a farmer's field.
Panama to give immunocompromised people third COVID-19 vaccine shot
Panama will offer a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to moderate and severely immunocompromised people starting this week, Health Minister Luis Sucre said on Tuesday. The decision follows similar moves by other Latin American countries such as Ecuador and Chile, which are already giving a booster vaccine dose to people at risk, for instance, those with immunodeficiencies or the elderly.
Northern Chinese city in semi-shutdown after first COVID-19 cases since February
China's northeastern city of Harbin, population 10 million, went into semi-shutdown after reporting new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for the first time since early February. Three of 16 new local cases reported in China for Sept. 21 were in Harbin, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Wednesday. The last reported locally transmitted cases in the city were on Feb. 4.
IMF calls for coordinated action, accountability in COVID-19 battle
The chief economist of the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday called for coordinated action and greater accountability to ensure that the world meets a target of vaccinating 40% of people in every country against COVID-19 by the end of 2021. India's decision this week to resume vaccine exports was "a very important part of the solution," but major economies also had to ratchet up vaccine deliveries to honor their pledges, Gita Gopinath told Reuters in an interview.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)