Biden suggests vaccines will be available for every American ‘by the end of July'
US President Joe Biden hinted that every American will be able to get a vaccine against coronavirus if he wants one by the end of July. Speaking at a townhall event, Biden said “by next Christmas I think we’ll be in a very different circumstance God willing, than we are today". US remains the worst-affected nation in the world with more than 27 million infections and over 488,000 deaths as of February 17. Last week, the Biden administration said it had secured 200 million more doses of coronavirus vaccines, enough to inoculate every American adult. Urging all the Americans to get vaccinated, Biden said "the clear notion is if you’re eligible, if it’s available, get the vaccine.” Read here
New York sues Amazon, saying it inadequately protected workers
New York has filed a lawsuit against the e-commerce giant Amazon, citing the inadequate safety and protection for workers against the coronavirus, a charge denied by the company. The lawsuit also alleges that Amazon silenced workers when they complained about poor working conditions in the Covid including unclean buildings and poor contact tracing system. The case focuses on two Amazon facilities: a large warehouse on Staten Island and a delivery depot in Queens. Reacting to the suit, Amazon said that the company cared "deeply about the health and safety of its workers and the state attorney general’s filing presents an accurate picture of Amazon’s industry-leading response to the pandemic." Read here
South Africa asks Serum Institute to take back vaccines
South Africa's immunisation has hit a roadblock even before the vaccines were rolled out. On the day it received one million doses of Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccines from India's Serum Institute, data from a study by South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand and Oxford University showed that the shot offered limited protection against the South African variant, that is dominant in the country. Following the evidence, the African country has put on hold the use of Oxford vaccine. Now the country has asked the Serum Institute to take back the vaccine supplies. Another 500,000 shots were due to arrive in the next few weeks. South Africa has decided to start vaccinating health workers with Johnson & Johnson's vaccine in the form of an "implementation study" with researchers. Read here
New global Covid cases fell 16 per cent last week, says WHO
New coronavirus infection fell by 16 per cent last week, and deaths declined by about 10 per cent, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said in its weekly update. Nearly 2.7 million cases and 81,000 deaths were reported last week, according to the health body. The global case tally is nearing 110 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, with 2,418,416 deaths recorded since the start of the pandemic. Five of the six WHO moniored regions have registered a double-digit decline in new cases last week. Read here