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Australian authorities say we need to assume the UK variant of COVID-19 will become the dominant strain. This is where the virus has spread so far | Instant News


It’s been about five weeks since the UK’s Minister of Health announced a new strain of coronavirus.

Since then, the UK’s COVID-19 variant has spread to at least 45 countries and prompted new lockdowns and restrictions across Australia.

Like the nationwide lockdown in March last year, this is designed to provide breathing room for authorities trying to contain the spread.

This is the extent to which the variants have spread, and how the Australian authorities are dealing with the problem.

Where has the British coronavirus variant spread so far?

So far, 45 countries have detected a British variant of the coronavirus, according to cov-lineages.org, which, among other things, tracks the global spread of the new COVID-19 strain.

Thirteen countries have recorded community transmission of the COVID-19 variant, according to the study can be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the previous strain.

Cases have been recorded in European countries including Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Outside Europe, local transmissions have been recorded in the United States, Canada, Israel and in the Philippines.

The first case detected in the United States occurred on December 29, in a man with no travel history.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, there are 63 recorded cases nationwide.

The states with the most variance cases include California with 33 recorded cases, Florida with 22 cases, and Colorado, where the strain was first detected, has three recorded cases.

These are not the total variant cases circulating in the US, only those found in the analysis of positive samples. It happened as the US recently hit a record 300,000 new COVID-19 cases recorded in a day.

‘We have to assume that this strain will become the dominant strain’

Increased transmission of this new strain is thought to increase the number of cases in the UK.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “This tension is likely to occur [the] the more dominant viral strain globally “.

NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the same thing, although he didn’t think the strain should be considered a “British strain”.

“We have to assume that this strain will become the dominant strain and it is important to continue to reassess our arrangement, remain vigilant and for the near future keep our masks in that indoor setting,” he said.

“I also want to emphasize that we should not link this variant with one country because the so-called British strain now exists in 30 countries.”

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Thanks to deep pockets, Germany is getting an extra coronavirus shot – POLITICO | Instant News


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In terms of EU vaccine solidarity, Germany wants to enjoy the cake as well as eat it.

While Berlin is championing co-purchase of the coronavirus bloc vaccine while holding the rotating presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2020, it concurrently enters into additional agreements with vaccine producers – including BioNTech / Pfizer and CureVac – for extra doses. And now they are buying additional vaccines that other EU countries don’t want.

Germany, a country of 83 million people, said it got 94 million doses of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine, 64 million from the EU and 30 million from separate bilateral deals. In addition, Berlin will buy doses that other countries don’t buy, by securing it 50 million of the 160 million doses of Moderna – much more than the pro-rata allocation.

Countries may eventually choose to buy less vaccines – and Germany’s approach to buying more also seems to be gaining in popularity. France, too, has started buying some of the remaining doses, said Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the delegation minister in charge of industry, Thursday.

Even so, the German action was technically a violation of the Commission’s vaccination strategy, because the block agreed to allocate the coronavirus vaccine based on population and did not talk bilaterally with companies that were negotiating. But a Commission official said it was in the “spirit of the EU vaccine agreement” because an additional German dose would be given after the Commission’s supplies.

The Commission official added that the EU will purchase “a large number of additional doses” from the upcoming BioNTech / Pfizer, reported between 50-100 million.

Others weren’t sure. Massimo Galli, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the Sacco Hospital in Milan, called it “wrong, and not a pleasant thing to hear,” while Dutch MEP Mohammed Chahim calling it “pure vaccine nationalism”.

The German government has also spent the past week under criticism at home. Both politicians and the media have blamed the federal government, particularly German Health Minister Jens Spahn, for failing to get sufficient doses, calling the EU purchase a “disaster”.

The problem, however, is that many EU countries are betting big that Oxford / AstraZeneca – the cheapest vaccine the Commission has secured, for less than € 2 – will be the first to get regulatory approval, and they don’t want to rely on a more expensive, more complex mRNA vaccine. , said three EU diplomats.

One of these diplomats said Germany was encouraging EU countries to purchase another 100 million doses of BioNTech vaccine in September after initial discussions concluded. However, EU countries refused because they thought the vaccine was too expensive and difficult to store. Germany then signed its own agreement for an additional 30 million doses.

BioNTech’s vaccine is the second most expensive in the EU portfolio at € 12 per dose, while Moderna is the most expensive at almost € 15, according to the price list was published accidentally in December.

“Not all member countries have a good financial condition,” explained the second European Union diplomat.

The third diplomat added that the dry ice needed for the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine “seems like a hassle”, while Germany is “lobbying for more doses.”

One for all, all for one?

The German mRNA bet may pay off, as it will get a total of nearly 100 million doses of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine. The government says it will get 64 million doses from EU procurement and another 30 million doses on top of the EU vaccination strategy. (The commission will not confirm these figures.)

Meanwhile, Germany’s population size should mean receiving about 30 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine; instead, the government says it buys extra doses from EU countries that have not booked their full allocations expensive punch.

It is uncertain which country did not purchase their full order, as neither the Commission nor Moderna will confirm how many doses each country ordered. Calculations by POLITICO, using publicly available figures, suggest that some EU countries may have purchased smaller doses than they should have purchased – although not all information is clear or up to date.

Poland, for example, will only order 6.6 million Moderna vaccines even though it qualifies for more than 13 million doses. Bulgaria received 500,000 doses, about two million less than it could have bought.

Slovenia has secured just 26,000 doses, while it is entitled to over 600,000. Greece also bought less than the allowable share, buying 1.8 million doses when it could rake in an additional two million. Additionally, Belgium has ordered two million doses of Moderna’s vaccine when its population allows it to get around four million.

Neither of these countries has confirmed whether an unclaimed dose will be used in Germany.

When asked in December whether the additional deal violates strategy, Spahn said the country only approaches BioNTech (and CureVac) “after EU procedures have been agreed. [and] when it became clear that 27 member countries would have vaccines that reflected their needs. “

“We thought we would find a bigger number, but there really wasn’t a greater need from member states at that stage,” added Spahn.

There are still issues about how much the Commission will know, and when.

As of this week, they did not recognize the bilateral agreements EU countries have with vaccine manufacturers – even as Denmark followed Germany’s lead and ordered another 2.6 million BioNTech / Pfizer vaccines in December.

On Wednesday, the Commission recognized Berlin’s separate agreement with BioNTech but said it was understanding that the dose would come from the Commission’s top-up of 100 million in December.

However, on Thursday, a Commission official acknowledged the existence of a separate German agreement.

And on Thursday evening, the French government said it would also get an extra dose by buying leftovers from other countries. “We do have a strategy for the second round where we can take more [doses] or not. We were able to do it in certain cases, “Pannier-Runacher told reporters.

Pannier-Runacher declined on Thursday to communicate dosage amounts, saying the government wanted to have “institutional and European” communication on this.

The deals and small purchases underline how some EU countries are unwilling to pay more for mRNA vaccines. In November, Bulgarian media reports that the country doesn’t even want to buy vaccines that require ultra-cold storage. It then changed course and signed all EU vaccine deals. Government officials also have expressing concern that Bulgaria will actually have too many vaccines through the EU mechanism.

Countries have “some regrets now,” said the EU’s third diplomat, which is why they are “desperate to get more … now”.

Other countries aren’t really ready to use it yet, so they’re waiting for the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine to be approved this spring – “they’ve invested a lot” in that one, said the EU’s second diplomat.

The third EU diplomat acknowledged that the vaccine strategy was not “a viable international agreement, [but] more than a man’s deal. “So,” there is no way to sanction anyone. And [the Commission is] trying to make it look right now. ”

The diplomat added that this was not a problem: “As long as the EU contract is delivered as promised, that’s okay.”

Zia Weise, Elisa Braün, Cornelius Hirsch, Nette Nöstlinger, Merlin Sugue, Sarah Wheaton, Lili Bayer, Sofia Diogo Mateus, Eline Schaart and Mari Eccles contributed reporting.

This article is a part of POLITICOPremium policy service: HealthCare Pro. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharmaceuticals and more, our specialist journalists continue to provide you with topics that drive the health care policy agenda. Email [email protected] for a free trial.

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All passengers from the UK who will be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival between 8 January-30 January: Ministry of Health | Instant News


All passengers arriving from the United Kingdom (UK) between January 8 and January 30 will undergo a self-paid Covid-19 test on arrival, the health ministry said in a standard operating procedure (SOP) issued on Saturday.

In addition, every passenger arriving from the UK must carry a negative Covid-19 report from tests conducted 72 hours prior to travel, the SOP stated.

India has suspended all flights to and from the UK from 23 to 31 December to check the spread of a mutated and more contagious variant of the coronavirus found there. Later, the suspension was extended to January 7.

Only 30 flights per week will operate between India and the UK when services resume from January 8 and these arrangements will continue until January 23, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday.

“The airline ensures the availability of negative test reports before allowing passengers to board the plane,” said the Health Ministry’s SOP.

It said adequate arrangements had to be made for passengers who would await their RT-PCR tests or results at the airport.

“Passengers who test positive must be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate (isolation) unit coordinated by their respective state health authorities,” said the SOP.

If genome sequencing reveals a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, patients will continue to be in a separate isolation unit, he said.

The patient will be tested on the 14th day after testing positive and he will be kept in an isolation facility until his sample tests negative, he added.

If a passenger tests positive for Covid on arrival, the passenger sitting in the same row, three rows at the front and three rows at the back will also be subject to institutional quarantine at a separate quarantine center, the SOP said.

Passengers found to be Covid-negative after tests carried out at the airport will be notified of the 14-day home quarantine and the state or district governments concerned should regularly follow up with them, he said.

“The state / UT (union territory) government concerned was asked to set up a help desk at the airport to facilitate the implementation of the SOP,” he added.

The presence of a new variant of the British virus has been reported by Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.

Scheduled international passenger flights have continued to be suspended in India since March 23 due to the pandemic.

However, airlines have been allowed to operate special international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission since May this year and under a bilateral air bubble pact since July.

India has formed air bubble pacts with 24 countries, including the UK.

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India records 29 cases of the UK variant of Covid-19 this week: A timeline – india news | Instant News


India has seen 29 cases of the new coronavirus variant, which is spreading rapidly across Britain and other countries, within five days of tracking its first such infection. The genome of the new British variant of Sars-CoV-2 – B.1.1.7, which is much more contagious, has prompted comprehensive contact tracing for joint travelers, family members and others of those who have traveled to the UK last time. 38 days.

From 25 November to 23 December 2020, at midnight, approximately 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK. All these passengers were tracked and carried out by the state RT-PCR tests to detect Covid-19.

Countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore have also reported cases of the new variant so far.

The following is the timeline for tracking the new Covid-19 variants in the country:

– Tuesday: India reports its first six cases of the UK variant of Covid-19

India on Tuesday noted the first six cases of the British coronavirus variant among travelers returning from the UK, prompting the government to impose stricter precautions and speed up contact tracing for shared passengers.

The new British variant genome was detected in three samples at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences Hospital (NIMHANS) Bengaluru, two at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad and one at the National Institute of Virology (NIV). ) Pune, said the health ministry.

Also read: 14 day travel history, mandatory RT-PCR test for those arriving in India from UK

– Wednesday: India detects 14 more cases of the UK’s Covid-19 variant

Another fourteen people tested positive for hyper-infectious, a mutant strain of the coronavirus in India, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday, bringing the tally of such cases in the country to 20.

Four of the new patients were from Delhi, officials in the capital confirmed.

Of the 14 new cases as of Wednesday, eight were detected at the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in Delhi, four at NIMHANS in Bengaluru, and one each at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) in Delhi and the National Institute. from Biomedical Genomics (NIBG) in Kalyani West Bengal.

– Thursday: Five more cases of the infectious virus push India’s number to 25

India on Thursday noted five new cases of the mutated coronavirus disease pushed the number of cases to 25, the health ministry said.

Of the five new cases, four have been tracked by the National Institute of Virology in Pune and the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi. The infected people have been physically isolated in state health facilities.

“As many as 25 cases of British mutant virus were detected in India after genome sequencing. Four new cases were found by NIV, Pune and one new case was sequenced at IGIB, Delhi. All 25 people are in physical isolation in health facilities, ”said the health ministry.

Read also |The UK’s Covid-19 variant is growing rapidly, affecting more people under 20: Study

– Friday: 4 more positive tests for the British strain of Covid-19 in India, tally up to 29

As many as 29 people in the country have now tested positive for the new British variant of Covid-19 four were added to the list on Friday, said the Union’s health ministry.

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Covid 19 coronavirus: Why is Australia falling behind in the Covid-19 vaccine race | Instant News


As the UK, US and countries such as Israel, Bahrain, Denmark and China rapidly implement immunization programs against the coronavirus, Australians are wondering about their postponement of the Covid-19 jab.

As 2020 ends, and the new year opens with a focus on mass vaccinating against the coronavirus, questions are raised why Australia won’t do it until at least March, and maybe later.

In comparison, the UK started its Pfizer vaccine vaccination in early December and launched the AstraZeneca vaccination on Monday, with the hope of immunizing two million people a week.

The US started inoculations in December, despite falling short of its initial target of giving people 20 million doses by the end of 2020.

Under Operation Warp Speed, more than 14 million doses have been distributed, with 2.79 million people arriving for injections by December 30.

Israel leads the way in the per capita Covid-19 vaccine, with more than 800,000 of Israel’s roughly nine million population having received injections, and plans to vaccinate 25 percent of Israelis by the end of January.

The next highest per capita vaccine launch was Bahrain, followed by the UK, US, Denmark, Canada and China which as of December 31 had delivered 4.5 million doses.

People are being vaccinated for Covid-19 in countries such as Kuwait, Russia, Mexico, Portugal, Italy and Chile.

The delay in launching Covid injections in Australia will be exacerbated by the approval of the vaccine required by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Dr Norman G Einspruch, 88, received the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital, in Miami.  Photo / AP
Dr Norman G Einspruch, 88, received the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital, in Miami. Photo / AP

Some fear slowness will eat into Australia’s real advantage of having low coronavirus counts.

If a vaccine was available here earlier, it could be used to control the outbreak by, say, residents of Sydney Northern Beaches being immunized to contain clusters.

Despite assurances from Health Minister Greg Hunt that vaccine development is underway, the Australian Government is unlikely to start immunizing healthcare workers and seniors until at least March.

Hunt said he spoke with the local head of pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca recently and confirmed that the Australian Government’s vaccine supplies must complete the final assessment of the TGA in the coming weeks and that Australians should be fully vaccinated by October 2021.

“We expect the final data to be considered in late January, early February from AstraZeneca.”

Hunt also said that the Government has finalized its contract with Pfizer and expects its assessment to be completed by the end of next month.

The Federal Government signed an agreement for nearly 54 million doses of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, with 20 million to be produced in Australia in 2021 by CSL.

The UK has started immunizations in the hope that swift action will help it stem a spike in infections driven by the highly contagious British variant of the virus.

It was the first to approve an injection developed by Pfizer of the United States and Germany’s BioNTech, with the result that hundreds of thousands of people had been vaccinated in the UK even before EU countries and the US began administering it last month.

Australia’s acting chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, told the media on December 30 that the country’s vaccination plan was “on target”.

“We will continue with all these preparatory stages, which include procuring vaccines, ensuring that those deliveries come when they need to be here, that our regulators continue to work during this period and await further information from both AstraZeneca and Pfizer in the coming days.”

Professor Kelly said there was still not “full approval” anywhere in the world for a Covid-19 vaccine, and only emergency use was occurring in parts of the world where it was needed.

“They are very limited and we are now within a few weeks of dealing with the situation in the UK, in the US and elsewhere.

“[We] looking closely at what is happening regarding, first, the planned rollout and how it works, what we can learn from this, but especially the safety concerns that may arise with an increase in the number of vaccines already given in other countries. part of the world. “

But as other countries continue their vaccination programs, Australians may become more frustrated with the lack of injections available.

Zeynep Kallmayer receives the first Corona vaccination in Frankfurt, Germany.  Photo / AP
Zeynep Kallmayer receives the first Corona vaccination in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo / AP

Figures compiled by Our World in Data, a website published by the University of Oxford, place Israel in the lead in vaccination doses administered per 100 people.

But it is lagging behind China, the US and Britain in the total number of vaccinations given through Thursday.

On the Oxford University vaccination map, countries like Australia, along with India, African countries, most of Southeast Asia and Brazil are blank – meaning they don’t have any vaccinations at all.

The Australian government could give final approval for the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine by the end of January, according to AstraZeneca Australia.

A company spokesman told SBS World News that the Government had indicated the vaccine could get final approval on January 31, with launch in March.

But on New Year’s Day, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there would be no “shortcut” to the speed of getting a vaccine into Australia.

“There has not been approval given in further jurisdictions for the AZ vaccine; there is an emergency authorization given,” he said.

“But this is a country like England, where there are hundreds of people dying every day.

“Australia is not in that situation, so we are taking care to ensure that we mark all Iss and we cross all Tss to make sure this vaccine is safe, and can be distributed throughout the Australian population.

“We are moving immediately to do that, we are moving fast to do that, but we are not taking shortcuts.

“We’re very thorough about this, because that’s what Australians deserve, and it’s important from a public health point of view in ensuring public confidence in how vaccines are distributed.”

The advantage of the AstraZeneca vaccine is that the dose does not have to be stored at temperatures as low as Pfizer, making distribution easier and cheaper.

Dr. Timothy Quinn receives the first round of Pfizer Covid vaccination in Mississippi.  Photo / AP
Dr. Timothy Quinn receives the first round of Pfizer Covid vaccination in Mississippi. Photo / AP

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