Health News Roundup: Brazil sets record daily COVID-19 death toll; A dozen Bangkok hospitals suspend COVID-19 testing and moreDevdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 09-04-2021 10:42 IST | Created: 09-04-2021 10:29 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Japan to add Tokyo, other areas to COVID-19 'quasi-emergency' state
Japan aims to place Tokyo under a new, month-long "quasi-emergency" state to combat surging COVID-19 case numbers, a minister said on Friday, less than a month after the capital and host of the Summer Olympics lifted a broader state of emergency. In a meeting with experts, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura proposed a month of targeted restrictions in Tokyo, like reduced business hours for bars and restaurants, along with 24 days of curbs for Kyoto and Okinawa, starting on April 12. That would take the period of restrictions through Japan's annual "Golden Week" holiday season from April 29 to May 5.
Vaccine rollout in England prevented 10,400 deaths by end-March, study says
England's fast rollout of COVID-19 vaccines prevented over 10,000 deaths of people aged 60 and older by the end of March, according to an analysis by Public Health England. England experienced a peak in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in January, but the toll would have been even worse without the rapid vaccination program that began on Dec. 8, according to the study.
India to review COVID-19 vaccines after blood clot warning - report
A government panel of experts is investigating for any domestic cases of blood clotting, even mild ones, as a side effect of the two COVID-19 vaccines being administered in India, financial daily Mint reported on Friday, citing two people aware of the development. India is currently administering AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, which is manufactured by the Serum Institute and branded Covishield, and a shot developed by Bharat Biotech called COVAXIN.
China repeats call to resist 'vaccine nationalism', pledges to keep monetary support
China urged the international community to resist "vaccine nationalism" and to coordinate policy to make vaccines accessible for developing countries in order to contain the pandemic and for the sake of the global economy. Yi Gang, Governor of the People's Bank of China, said in a statement delivered to the International Monetary Fund's steering committee on Thursday that the pick-up in global growth was "slow and uneven", and a fair distribution of vaccines was key to achieving a sustainable recovery.
Exclusive: French health body to say mRNA vaccine should be used as second dose after AstraZeneca
France's top health body will on Friday say that recipients of the first dose of AstraZeneca's traditional COVID-19 vaccine who are under 55 should get a second shot with a new-style messenger-RNA vaccine, two sources aware of the plans said on Thursday. Reuters had reported on Wednesday that the Haute Autorite de la Sante (HAS), in charge of setting out how vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) should be used in France, was contemplating this possibility.
South Korea orders closure of nightclubs, karaoke bars amid concern over fourth COVID-19 wave
South Korea will reimpose a ban on nightclubs, karaoke bars, and other nightly entertainment facilities, authorities said on Friday, after the number of new coronavirus cases surged, fanning fears over a potential fourth wave of outbreaks.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-Kyun announced the curbs, which take effect on Monday for three weeks after daily new case counts climbed to a three-month high in recent days. The current 10 p.m. dining curfew and ban on gatherings of more than four people will be maintained, he said.
Britain reassures on AstraZeneca after advising under-30s take other vaccines
British officials and ministers sought to shore up confidence in AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, saying advice that most people under 30 should be offered alternative shots was not unusual and would not impact the pace of rollout. A pharmacist whose brother died from a brain blood clot linked to the AstraZeneca shot was among those calling for people to keep getting it, saying the doses would save lives.
Australia has doubled its order of the Pfizer Inc COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, as the country raced to overhaul its inoculation plan over concerns about the risks of blood clots with the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine. Until late Thursday, Australia based its vaccination program largely on an AstraZeneca shot, with an order for 50 million doses - enough for the required two shots for its entire 25 million population - to be made domestically by biopharma CSL Ltd.
Brazil on Thursday set a daily record of 4,249 COVID-19 deaths, with overwhelmed hospitals running low on supplies and the Senate about to open an investigation into the response of the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the pandemic from the start. Brazil is nearing the single-day record that the United States registered on Jan. 20 of 4,405 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brazil's outbreak is spiraling out of control, with vaccines in short supply and Bolsonaro fighting lockdowns.
A dozen Bangkok hospitals suspend COVID-19 testing amid shortages
At least 12 hospitals in Thailand's capital, Bangkok, said as of Friday they were suspending testing for COVID-19 due to high demand and shortage of supplies, amid a new spike in cases. The hospitals issued notices on their social media and on messaging apps this week, some saying the suspension would last only a few days and others giving no date for resumption of tests.
(With inputs from agencies.)