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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Covid-zero nations risk being stuck in limbo

The world's vaccine divide is powerful and painful, top Japanese expert warns of risks in holding Olympics, and other pandemic-related news across the globe

Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine

Akash Podishetty  |  Hyderabad 

Passengers arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport get checked for coronavirus flu. The virus outbreak is fanning fears of global isolation	Photo: Reuters

‘Covid-Zero’ countries are stuck in ‘Covid limbo’

Countries like Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, which have used strict border controls to keep Covid pandemic at bay successfully for more than a year, are struggling to reopen and are running the risk of being stuck in this cycle of shutting borders frequently. Slow vaccination drives are worsening the situation for them. Experts say the current model is not sustainable unless there are mass vaccinations at breakneck speed. Governments need to prepare their societies for some level of transmission, they say. "Betting on Covid zero was a gamble that paid off for many countries whose policies were based on an intolerance of the How tolerant of Covid cases societies are willing to be in exchange for greater freedoms, including the ability to travel abroad, should be debated and not decided exclusively by government officials." Read here

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 171,680,288

Global deaths: 3,691,680

Vaccine doses administered: 1,970,813,911

Nations with most cases: US (33,307,424), India (28,441,986), Brazil (16,720,081), France (5,739,995), Turkey (5,263,697).

Source: John Hopkins Research Center

Biden to begin vaccine donations abroad

The Biden administration is likely to announce the names of countries that will receive the first shipments of vaccines donated from the US stockpile, amid the risk that more variants will arise in nations lacking access to the shots, a Bloomberg report says. The White House, which has faced pressure from a range of countries to share its vaccines, has settled on its plan and an announcement is imminent. The planned recipients weren’t immediately disclosed. Read here

A return to normal? not for countries with Covid surges and few vaccines

In Colombia, nearly 500 people a day have died of the coronavirus over the past three weeks, the nation’s most dramatic daily death rate yet. Argentina is going through the “worst moment since the pandemic began,” according to its president. Scores are dying daily in Paraguay and Uruguay, which now have the highest reported fatality rates per person in the world. Deep into the second year of the pandemic, the world is dividing along a powerful, and painful, line: Those who have vaccines, and those who do not. Read here

Olympics will go ahead, says Tokyo Games chief, after Covid official voices concerns

The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee, Seiko Hashimoto, has said the Games will go ahead as planned, soon after the Japan’s top medical adviser said holding the event under current coronavirus conditions was “not normal”. Shigeru Omi, head of a panel of experts that has been advising the Japanese government on its Covid-19 response since the start of the pandemic, issued his strongest warning yet of the potential risks of holding the Games. Read here

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First Published: Thu, June 03 2021. 14:08 IST