Health News Roundup: Thousands protest in Vienna against mandatory vaccination; Australia's daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100,000 and more
Supplies to poorer nations have long been very limited because of lack of vaccines, as wealthier states secured most of the doses initially available from December 2020. Philippines confirms community transmission of Omicron, cases hit record The Philippine health ministry confirmed the local spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant around Manila on Saturday, as infections hit a record high for a third straight day.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Thousands protest in Vienna against mandatory vaccination
Thousands of people took to the streets of Austria's capital on Saturday to protest against government plans to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all next month. "The government must go!" crowds chanted at one rally in central Vienna in what has become a routine Saturday event.
Australia's daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100,000
Australia's daily coronavirus infections on Sunday fell below 100,000 for the first time in five days, amid expectations that the Omicron wave had neared its peak in New South Wales, the worst-hit state. A total of 85,824 cases were reported by midday, down from the pandemic high of more than 150,000 hit on Thursday, with infections steadily falling since then. Northern Territory, which has been reporting cases in the hundreds, and largely virus-free Western Australia are due to report later.
England opens COVID booster jab programme to 16- and 17-year olds
England's health service said it will expand its COVID-19 booster vaccination program to include 16- and 17-year-olds from Monday. Until now, booster jabs have been limited to 16- and 17-year-olds most at risk from the coronavirus.
Iran reports its first three deaths from Omicron coronavirus variant
Iran's health ministry reported the country's first three deaths from the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday. "The number of patients with Omicron in the country has reached 1,162 and ... one death has been reported due to Omicron in each of the cities of Tabriz, Yazd and Shahrekord, and one critically ill patient is hospitalized in Ahvaz," ministry spokesman Mohammad Hashemi told state broadcaster IRIB.
Global vaccine-sharing programme reaches milestone of 1 billion doses
The COVAX global vaccine-sharing programme has delivered 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, one of the organisations which manages it said on Saturday. Supplies to poorer nations have long been very limited because of lack of vaccines, as wealthier states secured most of the doses initially available from December 2020.
Philippines confirms community transmission of Omicron, cases hit record
The Philippine health ministry confirmed the local spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant around Manila on Saturday, as infections hit a record high for a third straight day. "We are seeing community transmission of the Omicron variant in the capital region," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a public briefing.
U.S. CDC urges Americans to wear 'most protective mask you can'
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday revised its guidance for Americans on wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, recommending donning "the most protective mask you can" while stopping short of advocating nationwide usage of N95 respirators. The CDC, an agency critics have accused of offering shifting and confusing guidance amid the pandemic, clarified on its website "that people can choose respirators such as N95s and KN95s, including removing concerns related to supply shortages for N95s."
Japan's southern prefecture of Okinawa reported record daily numbers of COVID-19 cases on Saturday, fueled by the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Okinawa, which hosts 70% of U.S. military facilities in Japan, said it recorded 1,829 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.
Brazil registers 48,520 new cases of coronavirus and 175 deaths-health ministry
Brazil had 48,520 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours and 175 deaths from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Saturday. The South American country has now registered 22,975,723 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 659,934, according to ministry data.
Peru urges vaccine sellers to extend expiration dates to cut risk of losses
Peru's Health Minister Hernando Cevallos has called on COVID-19 vaccine companies to extend expiration dates past the current three months to reduce the risk of losing doses. Cevallos said in a telephone interview on Saturday that the government had asked one of the laboratories that supplies vaccines to Peru to deliver them with expirations of up to six months. But he said the laboratory refused, saying that the expiration dates were pre-set.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)