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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Africa deaths may be higher than official count

Singapore suspends Malaysia biz bubble, Biden vaccine plan struggles to meet campaign pledge, much of Western Australia goes under five-day lockdown and other pandemic-related news across the globe

Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine

Akash Podishetty  |  Hyderabad 

The research by Boston University School of Public Health, which hasn't yet been peer-reviewed, suggests many African deaths have not been registered

Singapore suspends Malaysia business bubble for 3 months

Singapore has put off the agreed quarantine-free business travel arrangement with Malaysia for three months, citing the alarming resurgence in cases. The move reiterates once again how difficult it is to reopen borders for nations that are struggling to keep the virus under control. Singapore's similar arrangements with South Korea and Germany have also been suspended. Malaysia reported a record 5,725 new confirmed cases on Friday, taking total infections there beyond 200,000. Singapore has contained the outbreak relatively well, but the constant influx of cases among foreign travellers is threatening the locals. Read here

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 102,974,263

Change Over Yesterday: 341,343

Global deaths: 2,228,203

Nations with most cases: US (26,186,817), India (10,757,610), Brazil (9,204,731), United Kingdom (3,828,183), Russia (3,808,348).

Source: John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Vaccine rollout under Biden struggles to live up to campaign pledge

Biden had pledged a concerted effort against the pandemic in the run up to his presidency, sharply attacking his predecessor Trump for botching up both, the response and the vaccination programme. But there seem to no radical changes since he has taken over. Biden promised to vaccinate 100 million in his first 100 days in office, something that is possible even at the pace achieved during the Trump administration. Some members of Biden’s team have now warned that the public should not expect a step-change in the rate of vaccinations any time soon. At the heart of Biden's plan against is better coordination between states and federal administration, something Trump failed to do. Biden team has also promised to use the National Gaurd in vaccine distribution, but is not planning to use them for administering shots. Read here

Covid deaths in Africa higher than official count, Zambia study suggests

Contrary to the popular view that Africa has escaped the worst of the pandemic, a new study of Zambain corpses reveals the death count could be higher than the official count, and the same could be the case elsewhere in Africa. The research by Boston University School of Public Health, which hasn't yet been peer-reviewed, suggests many deaths have not been registered. Researchers took nose and throat swabs from the bodies of the recently deceased at a morgue in Lusaka, and found a far higher incidence of Covid-19 than expected. Of 364 bodies tested, Covid-19 was detected in 70. Read here

Much of Western Australia goes into five-day lockdown

Amid fears that a hotel quarantine guard has tested positive for highly contagious new coronavirus variant, Western Australia has announced lockdown in many parts of the state including Perth, Peel region and state's south-west region. Victoria and South Australia has shut their borders to the affected areas. Schools were due to return on Monday but will now remain closed; masks will become mandatory during the lockdown; and venues including bars, pubs, clubs, gyms and places of worship will need to close. Restaurants and cafes will be limited to takeaway service. Elective surgery has also been suspended. Read here

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First Published: Mon, February 01 2021. 13:40 IST