Britain aims to offer all adults a first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July, PM Boris Johnson said on Saturday. Johnson is to set out a roadmap Monday to ease England’s third national lockdown, having met a target to vaccinate 15M Britons from higher-risk categories by mid-February. Johnson cautioned that there was a need to avoid complacency, and lockdowns would only be lifted slowly.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been received by Australian PM Scott Morrison as inoculations are being prepared by the country this week. His jab was televised so as to increase the confidence of the public in the vaccine rollout. At least 60,000 doses are expected to be administered this week in Australia. Anti-vaccination demonstrators gathered against the launch of the vaccination on Saturday.
President Joe Biden travelled to Michigan where he visited a Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant. The visit to the plant comes in the backdrop of winter weather causing COVID-19 vaccine delays. Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla joined Biden along with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, with Bourla announcing that Pfizer would be more than doubling their production capacity in the next couple of weeks.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has suggested a ’full investigation’ into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes. The NY Governor is facing scrutiny over his administration’s handling of nursing home data and an alleged cover up of deaths. Governor Cuomo, meanwhile, said that nursing homes were only supposed to take patients if they could handle it.
Yoshihide Suga, the Prime Minister of Japan announced that the Group of Seven leaders gave unanimous support for his bid to hold the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Japan, however, is currently struggling to contain the coronavirus and to inoculate its citizens swiftly. Originally scheduled for 2020, the Tokyo Olympics were delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Extreme winter weather has dealt a major setback to President Joe Biden’s planned swift rollout of coronavirus vaccines in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. The delay in the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine comes just as the national vaccination campaign was hitting its stride. Pfizer’s CEO also said he would double their production capacity in the next couple of weeks.
Health officials in Canada said tough public measures should be maintained to prevent new variants of COVID-19 from triggering a third wave. The statement comes from the government in the backdrop of some major provinces relaxing restrictions. Ontario, which is the most populous province, has gradually allowed shuttered businesses to reopen, and also diluted limits on the size of public gatherings
Phase 3 trials of coronavirus vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer have shown that the vaccines are 95% effective at preventing a COVID-19 infection. Both vaccines have shown that side effects to them in people are rare. The most common side effects that do occur are headaches, chills, and fevers. The experience has been compared to a ’severe hangover’ by one clinical trial volunteer.
According to sources, The Duke of Edinburgh is set to remain in the hospital for another week for ’observation and rest’. After feeling unwell, Prince Philip was admitted to King Edward VII’s hospital after he walked unaided into the medical center. The reasons for his emergency admission have not been disclosed but it has been claimed that the reason is not coronavirus related.
Two Florida women dressed up as ’grannies’ in a botched attempt to pass as old enough to be eligible for COVID-19 jabs. The pair, aged 34 and 44, had valid vaccine cards after having their first shots, but were denied their second ones. The two women were turned over to police. Officers said they were asked to issue trespass warnings and no other action was taken.
President Joe Biden is set to attend his first meeting with G7 leaders on Friday to discuss plans to defeat the coronavirus, reopen the world economy and counter challenges posed by China. Biden intends to ’declare that America is back and the transatlantic alliance is back.’ On China, the US plans to keep tariffs imposed by the Trump administration in place for now.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently leading efforts to fend off accusations that the world’s richest countries are hoarding COVID vaccines. Mr. Johnson pledged at a G7 summit that the UK will donate surplus doses to poorer countries and cut to 100 days the time it takes to produce new jabs. Russia and China have recently decided to send their vaccines direct to Africa.
US President Biden is expected to announce Friday that the US is sending $4B to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, to support Covax, the global initiative to develop and distribute COVID-19 vaccines to lower income countries. $2B in funding will go out immediately. Biden will make the announcement during an appearance at a virtual meeting of G7 leaders.
A bunch of President Joe Biden’s allies are reportedly planning on launching a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting key policies of the new administration, including efforts to combat COVID-19. The group’s working name is ’Building Back Together’, and it will not ’replicate’ or ’duplicate’ existing advocacy organizations, but seek to build larger coalitions to promote Biden’s policies.
The Vatican has issued a decree that all its employees must be inoculated against Covid-19. It said if they refuse to do so, they may lose their job at the Holy See. The Vatican City, which is the world’s smallest sovereign state, employs several thousand people, most of whom live outside the walled 100-acre city and inside Italy proper. Most of those living inside the city are elderly.
The FBI and the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York have begun an investigation into how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration handled Covid-19 patients in nursing home, several media outlets reported. Cuomo has been accused of hiding the actual number of Covid-19 deaths in New York’s nursing homes by initially saying 8,500 people have died when the number was nearly 15,000.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped to 861,000 last week, the US Department of Labor announced. It was 848,000 the week prior to that. This was unexpected as the pandemic is slowing down since its post-holidays peak. The total number of workers claiming for jobless aid in the country due to the pandemic now stands at around 78.9 million.
As Texas faces extreme winter weather which has also disrupted power supply, residents are being provided shelter by Jim McIngvale, the owner of Gallery Furniture, in Houston. McIngvale, who is also known as ’Mattress Mack’ said that he was just doing his part to help. He has previously opened the store as a shelter after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and during the COVID19 pandemic, too
President X Jinping-led China’s communist government has defended its use of Facebook and Twitter in its Covid-19 campaign after a report detailed that Beijing used the popular social media platforms to spread disinformation about the origins of the novel coronavirus. China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, while skirting the report’s contents, said Beijing too had the right to use social media.
A new CDC report has found that the life expectancy in US has dropped by a staggering one year during the first half of 2020 as Covid-19 caused its first wave of deaths. The report, published by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, showed life expectancy drop from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.8 years in the first half of 2020. Black people saw the highest drop of 2.7 years in expectancy.
The California State Legislature passed a bill on Tuesday that would require all active registered voters receive a ballot in the mail before the election even if they did not ask for one. Lawmakers’ goal is to slow down the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging people to vote by mail instead of doing so in person. The State Legislature did the same thing last year, as well.
US President Biden spoke Wednesday with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu affirming the US-Israel alliance and discussing Iran, regional diplomacy and the coronavirus pandemic. The conversation ended a lengthy stretch without a call after Biden took office. Both parties reported favorably.’ It was a good conversation,’ Biden told reporters. In a tweet, Netanyahu said the call was ’friendly and warm.’
Tens of thousands of American troops are refusing to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. The Pentagon said only about two-thirds of US troops who have been offered the Covid-19 vaccine have accepted the jab. However, it said unvaccinated troops are still deployable because of safety precautions the military undertook before vaccines were developed.
A new mutation of the highly contagious Covid-19 variant that was first discovered in the United Kingdom has been found in the US, the CDC said. Revealing this at a White House media briefing, Dr Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, said the first case of the B117 variant with the E484K mutation – known as the ’Bristol variant’ ¬ has been identified, but declined to specify where it was found.