Fiji has announced plans to make the coronavirus vaccine compulsory for all workers as it battles a runaway outbreak of the Delta variant. The Fijian Prime Minister has also issued a blunt message, and has clearly stated ’no jabs, no jobs.’ Frank Bainimarama said all public servants in the South Pacific nation of 930,000 must go on leave if they have not had their first injection by August 15.
In a report titled ’The Hunger Virus Multiplies,’ Oxfam said Thursday that 11 people die of hunger each minute and that the number facing famine-like conditions around the globe has increased six times over the last year. The organization also said the death toll from famine outpaces that of COVID-19, which kills around seven people per minute.
Pfizer is reportedly in the process of developing a Covid booster shot in order to protect against the more contagious ’Indian’ Delta variant. The drug making firm and its partner, BioNTech, said adding a third jab to the two-dose vaccination could provide the ’highest levels’ of protection against all variants, including Delta. Clinical trials for the booster shot could start as early as August.
More than nine out of 10 Americans who died from Covid-19 in the US in June were unvaccinated, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert of the country. Maryland reported that 100% of those who died from Covid in June had not been vaccinated, while more than 93% of those with new cases or who were hospitalized were similarly unprotected.
Africa recorded more than 251,000 new Covid cases in the week ending July 4, a 20% increase from the prior week and a 12% increase from the January peak. Malawi, Senegal and 14 other African countries are currently registering an uptick in cases. Less than 2% of all people have been inoculated due to a slow international vaccine rollout that has left poorer nations waiting for the lifesaving shots
The global death toll from COVID-19 eclipsed 4 million as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread. The US has the world’s highest reported death toll, at over 600,000, followed by Brazil. The mutant delta version of the virus, first identified in India, has set off alarms around the world, spreading rapidly even in vaccination success stories like the US, Britain and Israel.
California has seen a rise in new Covid infections, with health experts warning that the more transmissible Delta variant, which was first identified in India, fast gaining ground in the state. For the week-long period ending Tuesday, California saw an average of approximately 1,143 new Covid-19 cases a day. The increase started shortly after California’s reopening on 15 June.
Essential workers who helped New York City through the COVID-19 pandemic were honored Wednesday with a parade up Broadway. The parade stretched from Battery Park to City Hall, led up Broadway in lower Manhattan by grand marshal Sandra Lindsay, a health care worker who was the first person in the United States to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot.
Michael Ryan, the emergencies program head of the World Health Organization said that countries with low COVID-19 vaccination rates, combined with the lifting of restrictions, was a ’toxic mixture.’ While this was time for extreme caution, Ryan also said each nation had to make its own decisions about what precautions to take against COVID-19 and the lifting of restrictions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that the Indian Delta variant of the coronavirus is currently the dominant strain in the United States, and makes up more than 50 percent of all new cases. The CDC has also urged that those who have not gotten themselves vaccinated should do so at the earliest, given the spread of the new variant which is more transmissible.
As Sydney struggles to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus, residents will have to remain in lockdown for another week, with schools also remaining close next week. The New South Wales government said it had made the ’difficult decision’ as it battles the highly transmissible Delta strain. Australia has recorded 910 deaths and fewer than 31,000 cases since the pandemic began.
President Biden announced that his admin would step up efforts to get Americans vaccinated against Covid with a new program that would go ’door to door, literally knocking on doors,’ urging people to get the shots. Those knocking on the doors will offer information about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Biden stressed that unvaccinated Americans are ’putting their communities at risk.’
Germany announced that it will be lifting a Covid-related travel ban on people from the UK and four other variant-hit countries. The restrictions will be relaxed from Wednesday, and also applied to people from Portugal, Russia, India and Nepal. Officials said those who are fully vaccinated will not be required to quarantine. Non-vaccinated people will be required to quarantine for up to 10 days.
Thousands of people in India have been jabbed with fake COVID-19 vaccines in a scam that charged desperate people between $10 and $17 per dose. About 2,500 people received fake vaccines at 12 sites outside Mumbai, and the scammers netted about $28,000 in total. 14 people have so far been arrested for alleged cheating and attempts at culpable homicide.
France has warned that the country could see another spike in COVID-19 cases by the end of July due to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, which was first identified in India. The Delta variant currently accounts for 30 per cent of new infections in the country. Several countries, including Britain and Russia, have already seen alarming jumps in new cases because of the variant.
The office of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge reported that she is self-isolating and has cancelled her engagements after someone she came into contact with subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. The Duchess had been due to attend an event to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of Britain’s National Health Service on Monday with William, who is not required to self-isolate.
President Biden touted the nation’s progress against the Covid pandemic Sunday as he and first lady Jill Biden hosted their biggest party yet at the White House marking the July Fourth holiday. ’Today, all across this nation we can say with confidence America is coming back together,’ Biden said. ’We are closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus,’ he added.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious diseases expert of the nation said that about 99.2 per cent of recent COVID-19 deaths in the United States involved unvaccinated people. ’It’s really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable,’ Dr. Fauci further stressed. He also expressed confidence that the country does ’have the tools to counter’ the pandemic.
President Joe Biden has said that while the United States has Covid-19 ’on the run’, the latest variant, delta, which was first identified in India, is of particular concern among those who remain unvaccinated. Mr. Biden issued this warning as his goal of 70 percent US adults receiving at least one shot of the vaccine by the Fourth of July holiday looks set to fall short.
More than 6,200 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Thailand, with the number of cases setting a record for the third straight day, health authorities in the country reported. There are increasing concerns about shortages of treatment facilities and vaccine supplies in the Asian nation. 41 deaths were also reported in Thailand, bringing the total toll from the coronavirus to 2,181 in the country.
A new wave of the COVID-19 is sweeping across the African continent, driven in large parts due to the spread of the Delta variant, which was first identified in India. The new surge has led to a sharp increase in new cases, hospital admissions and deaths in many African nations. The WHO said that South Africa is leading the new surge in Africa, where case numbers are doubling every three weeks.
India crossed 400,000 deaths due to the coronavirus on Friday. The number, while significant in magnitude, is thought to be a vast undercount because of a lack of testing and reporting. More than half of India’s reported coronavirus deaths — the third most of any country — have occurred over the past two months as the Delta strain wreaked havoc in the nation.
The Portuguese government announced that a night-time curfew will be imposed in several Portuguese municipalities, including the capital Lisbon and the city of Porto, as the government struggles to contain an increase in the cases of the coronavirus. The 11pm to 5am curfew, which starts on Friday, will be in place in 45 high-risk municipalities. Cases in Portugal jumped by 2,449 on Thursday.
California on Thursday scheduled a Sept. 14 recall election that could drive Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office. The recall election is being seen as the result of a political uprising largely driven by angst over state coronavirus orders that shuttered schools and businesses and upended life for millions of Californians. The date was set by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, a Democrat.