SÃO PAULO – Brazil’s health authority, Anvisa, said it seriously doubted the safety and efficacy of Sputnik V, blaming Russia’s inexperience and defensiveness for making it difficult to approve the Covid-19 vaccine for use in Latin America’s largest country.
Anvisa blocks Russian fire approval for emergency use last week, even as hard-hit Brazil faced a severe shortage of the Covid-19 vaccine, caused concern around the world, with more than 60 countries having approved the use of Sputnik.
Anvisa’s medicine and biological products manager, Gustavo Mendes, said in an interview on Monday that Brazil feared the vaccine could contain particles of the active adenovirus, which causes the common cold, which could make recipients sick.
Mr Mendes said Brazil also had doubts about the methodology used in the Sputnik clinical trial and whether the batch of doses Brazil would receive would be identical to the injections tested in the trial.
“It’s a question of safety and efficacy,” said Mendes, saying that Anvisa had faced intense pressure from the public to approve the injections, with more than 2,000 people dying each day from the disease in Brazil.
“They told us ‘People are dying, this vaccine can save lives,’ but with the many questions and doubts we have, it’s not clear if this vaccine will really provide any protection,” said Mendes.
Both Chile and Colombia have sought further information from Brazil about the possible Sputnik problem following last week’s Anvisa decision, he said.
Anvisa could still approve the injection if its maker, Russia’s state-owned Gamaleya Research Institute, provided more information to prove the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, or adjust the manufacturing process, Mendes said.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund, which manages gunfire sales abroad, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Russia has previously dismissed Brazil’s concerns, accusing Anvisa of acting politically on Washington’s orders to discredit the vaccine.
—Georgi Kantchev in Burgas, Bulgaria, contributed to this article.
Why did the Biden administration restrict travel from India?
The US suspended nearly all travel from India from May 4 during the devastating wave of Covid-19 that has broken a global record for new cases. The country of around 1.3 billion people has seen an increase in infections of more than 1 million in the past week alone, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to over 18 million. The death toll has surpassed 200,000 and is expected to be much higher. The surge came as the Indian government relaxed restrictions and struggling to vaccinate its population, with a variant that could potentially function as an accelerator.
When did the US-India travel ban start?
The travel ban took effect May 4. Those who are exempted will still be allowed to travel to the US after the restrictions are put in place. The travel ban is not limited until it is lifted by President Biden.
Is everyone prohibited from traveling to the US from India?
Travel restrictions will not apply to US citizens or permanent residents and their spouses. Other individuals who may qualify for exemptions include humanitarian workers, certain journalists and academics, and students starting studies in the fall, according to a State Department decree. The exceptions reflect other countries affected by the pandemic-related travel restrictions. Most other travelers who have been in India during the 14 day period prior to their attempted entry to the US will be banned.
Do people who are still allowed to travel to the US from India face any conditions when they arrive?
Individuals exempt from travel restrictions still have to meet other US requirements for international travelers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently require that all air travelers bound for the US have evidence of a negative Covid-19 test no later than three days prior to arrival, regardless of vaccination status. Travelers are then asked to take the test again three to five days after their arrival in the US and self-quarantine.
How many airlines and airlines operate between the US and India?
and Air India are the two airlines currently offering non-stop flights between the US and India. United operates four round-trip flights between the two countries every day. Air India in April had between three and six flights scheduled every day, according to Cirium, a flight data provider.
What if you already booked a flight from India?
Unless travelers are among the exemptions outlined by the US government, they will be barred from entering the country after May 4 even if they have already booked tickets. A United spokesman said in a statement that the airline would comply with the new restrictions and would issue refunds to travelers who had booked flights and were barred from entering the US.
Have other countries prohibited travel from India?
More countries have effectively banned travel from India during the surge. The list includes the UK, Canada, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. Several governments have urged their citizens to avoid all travel to India or increase quarantine requirements for those arriving from the country.
How many people travel from India to the US each year?
Indians made about 1.5 million visits to the US in 2019, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.
Which other countries face travel restrictions or restrictions on the US?
Since the start of the pandemic, the US has banned most travelers from the UK, European Union, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, China and Iran. The US recently relaxed travel restrictions for some international students, academics and journalists.
The Uber Eats platform has strengthened its profile with grocery delivery through Cornershop in addition to recent acquisitions of food delivery competitor Postmates and alcohol delivery platform Drizly.
Maybe food delivery companies are rushing to explore new verticals because they have to. A published study indicates a great headwind is coming. The paper, written by Elliot Shin Oblander, doctoral candidate in marketing at Columbia Business School, and Daniel McCarthy, assistant professor of marketing at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, looks at what would happen to US food delivery sales if Covid-19 was not there for. measure the impact of a pandemic.
Sales for the US food delivery business were approximately $ 51 billion last year, an increase of $ 28 billion from 2019, according to the authors. Using credit card data, geolocation and restaurant lists, they found that about $ 19 billion, or about 70%, of last year’s growth, was “purely due to the pandemic.” If a pandemic does not occur, sales growth in 2020 will slow more than half compared to the previous year, their analysis shows. Last year’s growth was largely due to consumers opting for delivery as a substitute for dining in restaurants, the study noted. Conclusion: If internal eating returned to pre-pandemic levels, growth in food delivery would logically decline: “That’s how substitution works,” write the authors.
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To see how food delivery companies expect pandemic-fueled consumer habits to persist, consider DoorDash. Amid its guidance, the company expects around 28% gross order value growth for its largest business segment this year compared to 2020 – significantly up from the more than 200% year-on-year growth it made last year. However, the 2021 outlook implies about 300% growth at the midpoint of this year versus 2019. That’s much higher than the 186% growth DoorDash sees in segment gross order value between 2018 and 2019, implying that it expects its eaters to continue ordering at a higher rate. high, even in a reopened economy.
At least DoorDash may be in the best position to retain customers in the vaccinated world, according to the study’s co-author, Mr. McCarthy. He notes the “double hazard effect” in the food delivery industry in which DoorDash is the market leader make the brand more attractive for eaters. New York City is perhaps the best illustration of this dynamic. While Grubhub has over the years held its grip on that market, Bloomberg Second Measure data for March showed that DoorDash suddenly had 34% of sales there compared to Grubhub’s 37%. Of the top 12 US metro areas by population, DoorDash now leads in 10 of them.
The added benefit of being a consumer’s first choice is that restaurants may be more inclined to list it, McCarthy said. Adding a restaurant – even when closed for in-room dining – is not easy. While one might expect restaurants to race to pay for last year’s discovery and delivery, research shows that food delivery platforms added it at a lower rate overall between April 2020 and December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
DoorDash is trying to attract new restaurants by introducing price levels with the lowest commission starting from 15%. While that will make DoorDash more economically attractive to restaurants, it will also require consumers to take at least some of the differences in the tabs. Food delivery platform there are already some consumers who pay nearly the same cost as they paid for food in some cases – all for the benefit of waiting for lukewarm packaged food.
US food delivery customers recorded 28% more orders with an 18% larger average order size in December last year compared to a year earlier, according to Mr. McCarthy’s analysis. How often will they choose to deliver a meal when the promise of a hot meal at their favorite restaurant’s table returns? Investors sticking with this year’s food delivery stock should expect that, even when the eater returns come out, they’ll at least order their paper towels and drinks.
TACUAREMBÓ, Uruguay – Elmiria Camilo, a 53-year-old tailor in this quiet town, received her first injection of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine when she developed a sore throat earlier this month. A week later he died.
His death and other recent losses across South America offer a difficult and serious reality: The most severe infections and deaths are partly due to the raging variant, with countries including those that have given vaccines broadly struggling to contain the outbreak.
Doctors here say they believe Miss Camilo is one of the newest victims of P.1, an aggressive variant of Brazil that has been detected in more than 30 countries and is now spreading across the continent, turning Uruguay, a country of 3.5 million people, into one of the worst Covid-19 hot spots in the world.
“I never thought I would lose my mother like that,” said Camilo’s daughter, Nancy Lefebre, who said goodbye in a video call before her mother died in the hospital’s intensive care unit. “Wish I could see her one more time.”
The hikes here offer lessons for the whole world. The P.1 variant has spread to countries including Canada, where in the province of British Columbia, officials have recorded 2,062 P.1 cases on April 26, up from 974 on April 9. Turkey and Hungary have struggled with surges largely driven by the more contagious British variant. Doctors in India are studying whether a new variant adds to the record increase in cases and deaths. One variant, B.1.617, already exists appeared in the US and 18 other countries.
Once praised for limiting the spread of the coronavirus in a region hit by the pandemic, Uruguay has in the past two weeks had the highest number of Covid-19 deaths per capita anywhere outside of Europe. Approximately 420 people died from the disease in the seven days ended April 26, more than double the number of deaths in all of 2020. P.1 is estimated to be responsible for three out of four new infections.
While one-third of the population in Uruguay received at least one dose, only 15% have been fully vaccinated. For most people 70 years of age or younger, the country uses Sinovac’s CoronaVac, which has been shown to be 16% effective after the first dose.
In Peru, one of the hardest-hit countries in the world, the second wave made April the deadliest month since the pandemic began, often with more than 400 deaths every day. Health officials say the country of about 30 million is awash with variants, including P.1, which medical authorities say causes 40% of infections in Lima. Authorities are also studying a new strain called C.37, which appears to have originated in Peru and has also raised concerns in Argentina, Chile and Ecuador.
Colombia, a country of 50 million, is seeing occupancy rates in intensive care units as high as 90% in the capital, Bogotá, with hospitals in other cities at a breaking point.
Doctors said some people, tired of the restrictions or courageous after the first shot of the two-shot vaccine, let their guard down, helping the virus multiply. They added that such behavior cannot fully explain the spike
“The pace of new infections tells us that it’s not just about people dropping their guard and having a meeting,” said Dr. Luis Jorge Hernández, an epidemiologist at the University of the Andes. “There are external factors here. It must be a new strain. There is no other explanation. “
Many of the countries in South America that have seen sharp increases in cases and deaths largely do not carry out extensive genome sequencing to determine how many have been infected by P.1. The hypothesis is that a variant from Brazil, for weeks as one of the worst-hit countries in the world, is driving the pandemic.
People’s behavior hasn’t changed substantially, but cases and deaths are soaring, according to Daniel Salinas, Uruguay’s health minister.
“It’s easy to understand what’s going on – it’s the Brazilian variant, P.1, it infects the whole continent,” he said in an interview.
As in Chile, which provides a high percentage of the vaccine to its people, Uruguay’s success to date in dealing with the pandemic has prompted people to become complacent when exposed to P.1, the researchers said. The problem for both countries is that the CoronaVac vaccine they provide is one of the least effective in the world. It has an efficacy rate of 16% after the first dose, according to a recent Chilean study.
Lefebre, who lost his mother this month, said his father developed a much milder case of Covid-19 after a second dose of CoronaVac.
The vaccine “creates a feeling of insecurity,” said Gregorio Iraola at the Pasteur biomedical research center in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo. These behavioral and biological factors are combined in an explosive manner.
Marta Roman, supervisor of a vaccination center in Uruguay near the border with Brazil, said she saw a spike in the number of people infected with Covid-19 between doses, mistakenly believing they had immunity when they didn’t.
P.1 is up to 2.2 times more contagious and as much as 61% more capable of re-infecting people than previous versions of the coronavirus, according to a recent Brazilian study. Researchers are still investigating whether the strains are more lethal. They are also trying to determine with certainty how well the vaccine works against P.1, although preliminary testing is promising.
Epidemiologists have also traced other Brazilian variants, warning that the country’s high infection rates have made it a breeding ground for mutations. Among the most worrying is the new strain from the state of Minas Gerais, which shares several mutations found in P.1 and variants of South Africa.
While the rate of new infections and deaths has slowed in Brazil over the past few weeks, around 100 Brazilians still die every hour from Covid-19, more than double the rate in July.
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The P.1 variant had no trouble crossing to Uruguay from Brazil. The narrow, tree-lined road is the only thing separating the border town of Rivera in Uruguay from the community of Santana do Livramento in Brazil. Without immigration controls, residents freely cross as if in one city – shopping, working, dating, and even getting married across the border.
Sure enough, Rivera was one of the first places in Uruguay to be hit by P.1. Younger people suddenly started getting very sick, a situation previously detected in Brazil. Doctors at Rivera have also noticed that patients get sick faster and take longer to recover.
To exclude Brazilians who may be carrying a P.1, Rivera closed duty-free shops, the city’s main source of income, in March.
“We are at war with an unseen enemy, a very powerful enemy,” said Dr. Ciro Ferreira, director of the general hospital Tacuarembó. “We have never faced a situation as difficult as we had today.”
Gastón Bordagorria, a 52-year-old journalist from Tacuarembó, was among those who fell ill, spent 10 days connected to oxygen in hospital this month.
“I was so afraid I would die,” he said. “I’m afraid I won’t be able to say goodbye to my parents, to my children.”
Brazil has fully vaccinated only 6% of the population, and many Brazilians with Uruguayan passports have crossed the border to be inoculated.
Fabricia Ribeiro, 33, who is afraid of catching P.1, said she had driven six hours from her home in Brazil to be vaccinated in Rivera. His neighbor, also 33, was put on a ventilator after being diagnosed with P.1, he said.
With three million doses of CoronaVac and three million doses
-BioNTech shot, Uruguay has chosen to administer a dose of Pfizer to healthcare workers and anyone over the age of 70, and administer CoronaVac for everyone. Two-dose Pfizer inoculation is at least 97% effective in preventing symptomatic illness and death, according to data compiled by the Israeli Ministry of Health. The two-dose CoronaVac vaccination is 67% effective in preventing disease and 80% effective in preventing death, according to a recent study in Chile.
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“The Sinovac vaccine is given to those who are younger and less likely to die,” said Mr Salinas, the health minister.
Marco Antonio Gorgoroso, a 45-year-old waitress, said he would have preferred to receive the Pfizer vaccine had he been given a choice. “But whatever the government offers, we have to take it,” he said. “It’s an honor to have a vaccine.”
—Silvina Frydlewsky in Buenos Aires and Kejal Vyas in Bogotá, Colombia, contributed to this article.
Foreign students from China, Brazil, Iran, and South Africa will be exempt from travel restrictions imposed during coronavirus pandemic, opening up the possibility of a significant increase in international student enrollments in US schools this fall.
The US State Department said in an online update, dated Monday, that students and academics, as well as journalists and several other categories of individuals from these countries, would be allowed into the US on appropriate visas.
The engraving is carried out under what the State Department calls “national interest exemption,” meaning the government has decided to allow these people in in the best interests of the US.
US embassies and consulates are slowly restarting visa services in most parts of the world after ceasing operations in March 2020. They say they prioritize family members of US citizens, diplomats and those helping with the pandemic, followed by students, temporary workers and several others. . group.
International enrollments at American colleges and universities plummeted last fall, as hundreds of thousands of students were stranded abroad, unable to obtain new visas or unable to travel if they already had the right documentation. Visa records show the number of students here on F-1 or M-1 visas, which include those in colleges, vocational programs and K-12 schools, fell 18% to 1.25 million, while the visa record for newly enrolled students fell by 72 %.
Select from the WSJ education bureau coverage of school conditions and learning, curated by bureau chief Chastity Pratt and emailed to you.
Chinese students make up about a third of all international students enrolled in US schools. Students from India, the second leading country of origin, are subject to standard Covid-19 testing protocols, but have not been barred from traveling to the US during the pandemic. Brazil is the ninth largest, and Iran No. 13, according to the Institute for International Education, which supports global studies and tracks international enrollments.
Uncertainty over visa issuance and travel allowances weigh heavily on schools this spring, as they are trying to plan for the upcoming school year but are unable to predict how many foreign students might be able to move into dormitories and sit in actual classrooms, rather than taking online classes, from home.
International students and academics on exchange visas will be able to come to class only if their program starts on or after August 1, so summer school is still not an option for them.
Under current rules, any traveler arriving to the US from abroad must submit a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arriving. However, the Biden administration said it would not develop evidence of a federally mandated vaccination many colleges and universities need vaccines for students to attend next fall.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration also said it was reinstating a policy canceled by the Trump administration that would make processing visas and other immigration applications faster. The policy, known as the previous award memo, directs immigration officers to approve a visa or other renewal if the original application has been approved and other circumstances have not changed.
Under the former President
Donald Trump, updates are evaluated as new applications, leading to significantly slower immigration processing and higher rejection rates. The US Citizenship and Immigration Service, the body that operates the official immigration system, is funded almost entirely through fees it collects for citizenship applications, green cards, and visas. Agent run out of money and have been considering time off two thirds of the staff last summer.