Tag Archives: Health / Medicine

Brazil is facing a virus mutation that is three times as infectious as the health minister | Instant News


BRASILIA, February 25 (Reuters) – Brazil is facing a new stage of the coronavirus pandemic with a mutated variant of the virus that is three times more contagious, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said on Thursday, as the country hit a quarter million deaths.

Pazuello said the government has distributed between 13 million and 14 million doses of the vaccine and plans to inoculate half of the country’s 210 million population by mid-year. Brazil is negotiating to buy all the vaccines it can, and Congress is considering legislation that would allow the government to buy injections from Pfizer and its Janssen subsidiary Johnson & Johnson. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Britain downgraded its COVID-19 alert status as pressure on hospitals eased | Instant News


LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s chief medical officer lowered its COVID-19 alert level on Thursday, citing a gradual drop in pressure on healthcare.

“Following the advice of the Joint Biosecurity Center and based on the latest data, the four British Chief Medical Officers and the UK NHS National Medical Director agree that the UK’s level of alertness should move from level 5 to level 4 in all four countries,” the UK health ministry said in a statement.

Public health services in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland operate separately in most cases.

“Health services in four countries remain under significant stress with high patient numbers in hospitals, but thanks to community efforts we are now seeing numbers continue to decline,” added the medic.

Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken

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Primark UK expects strong trading when shops reopen their financial heads | Instant News


LONDON, February 25 (Reuters) – Associated British Foods expects fashion chain Primark to trade strongly in the UK as shops are allowed to reopen following the COVID-19 lockdown, its chief financial officer said on Thursday.

“We know that people will welcome us back,” John Bason told Reuters.

He noted that in Austria, where Primark stores reopened three weeks ago, year-over-year like-for-like sales have been positive.

Earlier, AB Foods warned it would lose 1.1 billion pounds ($ 1.6 billion) worth of sales from closing its Primark stores in the first half to February 27. The company expects to lose another 480 million pounds in the second half. (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kate Holton)

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Astrazeneca denies shortage of vaccine shipments to EU, Italy – paper | Instant News


FILE PHOTO: Oxford / AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine box pictured in a refrigerator at the NHS mass coronavirus vaccination center at Robertson House in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England January 11, 2021. Joe Giddens / Pool via REUTERS // File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) – AstraZeneca will deliver 180 million COVID-19 vaccines to Europe in the second quarter, of which 20 million to Italy, the head of its unit in Italy was quoted as saying on Thursday, dismissing reports of possible shortages.

Lorenzo Wittum, CEO and chairman of Astrazeneca in Italy, told the daily Il Corriere della Sera in an interview that Italy would receive more than 5 million shots by the end of March, less than the 8 million previously agreed, bringing the total to 25 million. dose in June.

Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing an EU official who was directly involved in talks with the Anglo-Swedish drug maker, that AstraZeneca expects to deliver less than half of the COVID-19 vaccines it contracts to supply to the European Union in the second quarter.

Wittum also said pharmaceutical companies were considering the possibility of administering a third dose and were working on a new version of the vaccine.

Reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia, editing by Agnieszka Flak

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Youngsters can sing again as Switzerland starts to emerge from lockdown | Instant News


ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss youth will be able to sing again from March 1, the government on Wednesday, when it announced the first stage of its careful easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

The cabinet, aware of the impact of lockdown and social distancing on children’s psychological health, said it was allowing sports and cultural activities for under 20s to continue, raising the age limit from 16.

Choirs of children and youth will be able to practice and organize events, even without an audience.

Switzerland said in December it was banning singing to check the spread of the coronavirus.

The government confirmed initial plans to reopen shops, museums and libraries, and allow outdoor gatherings of up to 15 people.

“We believe that the opening is not only reasonable but desirable and important,” Health Minister Alain Berset told a news conference in Bern.

As neighboring countries take a tougher line, the cabinet has tried to walk the political strings between health experts supporting tougher restrictions and struggling businesses calling for an economic reopening as the number of infections falls.

“The frustration is understandable. We all want to live normal lives as quickly as possible, “said President Guy Parmelin, but added that the government also needed to keep the virus situation under control.

Health authorities have reported here more than 552,000 cases and more than 9,200 deaths in Switzerland and neighboring Liechtenstein since the pandemic broke out in February 2020.

Schools and many ski lifts are open, but restaurants and cultural establishments remain closed.

The next reopening stage is planned for March 22 if the pandemic path allows, the government said. It will decide what steps to take next on March 19.

“When (the situation) improves, things can go really fast,” said Berset.

The government had said last week it would begin loosening up if the cantons agreed.

Edited by Michael Shields

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