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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Israel to secretly fund vaccines for Syria

Second wave tests Germany's patience, Eswatini King recovers from Covid with Taiwan's help, Vaccinations begin in Australia and other pandemic-related news across the globe

Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine

Akash Podishetty  |  Hyderabad 

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel PM
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel PM

Israel agrees to secretly fund vaccines for Syria

Israel has secretly agreed to fund the supply of vaccines to rival state Syria as part of the prisoner swap deal, according to a report in The New York Times. In a rare moment of cooperation, the two nations which have fought several wars, agreed to a prisoner swap of Israeli woman held captive for crossing over illegally into Syria. In exchange, two Syrian shepherds held by Israel will be released. Under the secret deal, Israel will also pay Russia, which acted as the mediator, to send its Sputnik V vaccines to the Syrian regime, an official who is familiar with the negotiations was quoted as saying. However, the Israeli government and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied any funding to Syria for vaccines and said no Israeli vaccines were being sent. Read here

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 111,085,606

Global deaths: 2,460,726

Nations with most cases: US (28,077,609), India (10,991,651), Brazil (10,139,148), United Kingdom (4,117,739), Russia (4,105,424).

Source: John Hopkins Research Center

Patience is one of the casualties of Germany’s second wave

Much to the envy of its neighbours, Germany, with its effective tracing and testing systems, has contained the first wave of quite well. The country’s death and infection rates were among the lowest in the European Union. However, as the second wave dragged on and with more than two months of lockdown, Germans ran out of patience and got tired of waiting for vaccines, compensation from the government, or even a return to normalcy. Germany has floundered on the vaccination front, along with other European nations. It was slow to get off the block and start inoculations, and only 3.5 per cent of its citizens have received their first shots, and roughly 2 per cent have been fully immunised. Read here

Eswatini King recovers from Covid with Taiwan's help

The king of Eswatini, a land-locked country in southern Africa, has recovered from the infection after getting help from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who sent antiviral medication to help King Mswati III recover. "I am grateful to the president of the Republic of China on Taiwan for sending through this medication to treat me," the king said using the island's formal name. Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is Taiwan's only remaining diplomatic ally in the continent, and Taiwan has provided great economic and other aid during the current crisis. Read here

Vaccinations begin in Australia

Led by prime minister Scott Morrison, Australia vaccinated a small group of people with Pfizer jabs, in an exercise said to be the "curtain raiser" before formal start of the roll-out to the general public. The government said the prime minister getting the shot is intended to build public confidence in the safety of the vaccines. Morrison received the vaccine at a televised event in Sydney. The formal vaccine rollout will start on Monday. Read here

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First Published: Sun, February 21 2021. 14:47 IST