World Coronavirus Dispatch: UK, EU deliver setbacks to AstraZeneca shot
Japan may prioritise Olympic athletes for vaccination, New Zealand suspends travel from India, and other pandemic-related news across the globe
Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine
AstraZeneca faces new setbacks in UK and European Union Britain said it would curb the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in adults under 30 because of the risk of rare blood clots, a blow to the efforts of scores of countries reliant on the vaccine to stamp out the coronavirus pandemic amid a global surge in cases. Adding to the unease, the European Medicines Agency outlined a “possible link” between the vaccine and rare clots, even as it said that Covid-19 remained the far greater threat, leaving decisions about how to use the vaccine in the hands of the 27 member states of the European Union. Taken together, the decisions represented a considerable setback for the AstraZeneca shot, which has been seen as the principal weapon in the battle to reduce deaths in the vaccine-starved global south. Read more With virus’s origins still murky, the WHO and its critics look to next steps The joint international and Chinese mission organised by the World Health Organization on the origins of Covid released its report last week, suggesting that for almost every topic it covered, more study was needed. What kind of study and who will do it, is the question. The report suggested a probable origin of the coronavirus in bats. It concluded that the most likely route to humans was through an intermediate animal, perhaps at a wildlife farm.
Critics of the report have sought more consideration of the possibility that a laboratory incident in Wuhan could have led to the first human infection. A group of scientists and others who have been meeting online to discuss the possibility of a lab leak released an open letter this week, detailing several ways to conduct a thorough investigation. Read more Japan ‘considering vaccinating Tokyo Olympic athletes before rest of population’ The Japanese government is considering prioritising Covid-19 vaccines for athletes taking part in the Olympics and Paralympics, which start at the end of July, according to a report in the local media. Japan’s vaccination drive is far behind that of most major economies, with only one vaccine approved and roughly 1 million people having received a first dose since February, even as the country struggles with a rising number of new cases. The report provoked outrage on social media, with many commentators noting that the original government plans for vaccinations gave priority to medical workers, elderly people and those with chronic conditions, with ordinary citizens unlikely to get theirs before the summer. Read more New Zealand suspends travel from India after jump in Covid-19 cases New Zealand has temporarily suspended entry for all travellers from India, including its own citizens, for about two weeks, following the spike in positive coronavirus cases arriving from the South Asian country. The move comes after New Zealand recorded 23 new positive coronavirus cases at its border on Thursday, 17 of which were from India. “We are temporarily suspending entry into New Zealand for travellers from India,” the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said in a news conference in Auckland. India is battling a deadly second wave of Covid-19 with daily infections this week passing the peak of the first wave seen last September. Read more
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First Published: Thu, April 08 2021. 14:05 IST