Australia’s launch of the Covid-19 vaccine has been hampered by torrential rains and flooding, even as the country is considering easing quarantine requirements and allowing travelers to self-isolate at home.
Pakistan banned travel from 12 countries, including South Africa, the Press Trust of India reported.
Coronavirus infections remain difficult to control in other parts of the world, such as Brazil, where deaths have risen for the fourth straight week. In the US, New York announced the first case of a variant of the virus that triggered the outbreak.
A report by scientists, scheduled for release this week, would say that China’s fast-growing wildlife trade is the most likely source of the coronavirus that changed the world last year.
Pakistan Imposes Travel Ban (14:47 HK)
The ban will remain in effect from March 23 to April 5, according to the PTI. Pakistan started an injection campaign last month and has obtained more than one million free doses of Sinopharm from China.
Amid rising coronavirus cases, authorities are imposing restrictions on most major urban areas. Restrictions on wedding halls, cinemas and outdoor dining have been extended to April 15, and the lockdown will continue in the worst-hit provinces. Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan tested positive for Covid-19, the latest world leader to be infected with the coronavirus as his country battles a new wave of infections.
Japan Considering Variant Test for Incoming Tourists (10:43 HK)
Japan plans to request virus tests from visitors arriving from countries where infection with the coronavirus variant is increasing, health minister Norihisa Tamura said on a program by national broadcaster NHK.
“It is very important to prevent the spread of the corona virus from foreign tourists. And it’s important to detect infected visitors, “said Tamura.” We will ask them to do a test before coming to Japan. We will test it in quarantine and will check again three days later. We will test it three times. In addition, we will follow them for two weeks using the GPS app when they actually enter the country. “
Regarding vaccine approval, the minister said Japan might be able to secure the Pfizer vaccine for parents to get vaccinated twice in June. An AstraZeneca vaccine evaluation is also being processed, he said. Domestic clinical trail data for the Moderna vaccine will be available in May, and if it goes well, there is a possibility that it will be approved soon.
Australia May Review Quarantine Measures (8:58 HK)
Brendan Murphy, secretary of the Ministry of Health, said the reduction in quarantine requirements being considered, the first step is to cut domestic boundaries, while ensuring that national borders are not closed.
Australia’s Covid-19 vaccine has been launched slow down by torrential rains for a government already facing criticism for poor organization and slower-than-expected vaccine launches. West Sydney and the NSW Mid-North coast bore the brunt of relentless torrential rain that caused the Warragamba Dam, Sydney’s main water source, to overflow for the first time in five years.
Residents along the New South Wales coast, including parts of Sydney, were evacuated. The rain is likely to cause disruption to shipping and logistics services across the state with vaccine deliveries likely to be affected, Treasury Secretary Simon Birmingham said at the Sky News Week Agenda event.
Duke University Eases Lockdown (8:14 am HK)
Duke University will diffuse On Sundays, orders remain in place that were imposed on all students on March 14 after a serious outbreak linked to events at the fraternity and sorority.
In a letter to students Saturday, the school in Durham, North Carolina said the number of new cases had fallen, although it did not provide details. In the week leading up to the closure, the university reported a total of 231 cases, nearly as many as last semester. With this convenience, students on campus can return to class and leave the dormitory but are asked not to leave campus.
NCAA Faces Cancellation (8:06 HK)
A positive Covid-19 test at Virginia Commonwealth University forced the Western region’s 10th seeded team out of the NCAA basketball tournament, the New York Times reported.
Although organizers continued the tournament even as the number of infections increased, adopting the protocol, a team out was the worst-case scenario for the sports body, generating $ 850 million in television revenue from the tournament, the newspaper said.
Brazil Cases Rise for Fifth Week (07:30 HK)
Brazil surpassed half a million cases weekly for the second time in a row, wrapping up a week marked by record daily deaths and infections.
Latin America’s largest country added about 79,000 cases, bringing the total for the seven days to Saturday to 510,901 – the fifth consecutive week of increases. During the previous spike, weekly cases peaked at 379,000 in early January, according to Health Ministry data.
Weekly deaths increased by nearly 3,000 to a record 15,650, the most since the pandemic began. With nearly 12 million cases and around 292,000 deaths, Brazil is only behind the US in both respects.
Report of Origin of Covid May Point to Wildlife (7:10 am HK)
The highly anticipated findings of experts gathered by the World Health Organization and the Chinese government are expected to show parallels to the 2002 spawning of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, the bat-borne coronavirus spread by civets that killed 800 people. The path taken by SARS-CoV-2 – as the new coronavirus is called – before appearing in central China in December 2019 remains a mystery, although researchers say it can be solved.
Miami Beach Cracks Down on Spring Break (17:05 NY)
Miami Beach imposed an 8 p.m. curfew and other restrictions to curb what officials said was particularly busy during the US spring break. The curfew will last at least 72 hours and apply to main roads with bars, restaurants and clubs. The city government had previously set a curfew at midnight.
Mayor Dan Gelber said at a press conference that the crowd appeared bigger than in previous years because fewer places were open for spring break due to Covid-19 and cheap airfare.
“There are too many moments where we hope something bad won’t happen,” he said. “We can’t bear it as a community.”
NY Reports First Case Brazilian Variant (16:40 NY)
The first case of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus first discovered in Brazil has been reported in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. The patient is from Brooklyn, over 90 years old with no travel history, he said.
This variant helped spark a new outbreak in Brazil. In the US, there are 48 known cases of variant P.1 in 15 jurisdictions, with 21 in Florida alone, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
France Wants Full Astra Supply (3:20 pm NY)
France supports the EU’s threat to use whatever tools are available to get the planned delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine, junior EU Affairs minister Clement Beaune said on BFM TV, although he warned that any legal process could take months.
While the EU exports vaccines to the UK, European officials suspect that some of the UK-made vaccines originally intended to be shipped to the EU remain in the UK.
He also said the approval of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in Europe could happen in April or May. In France, about 9% of the population has received at least one shot of the vaccine, and 3.6% has had both.
Anti-lockdown Protests Hit Europe (14:20 NY)
Anti-lockdown protests were held in Germany, UK, Austria, Finland, Romania and Switzerland on Saturday, the Associated Press reported. Demonstrations were also reported in three of Sweden’s largest cities.
More than 20,000 people opposed a court ban on demonstrations in the central German city of Kassel, the German news agency DPA reported. Several protesters attacked officers and several journalists, said DPA.
At least 33 people were arrested in central London, mostly for violating Covid restrictions, the Metropolitan Police said on Twitter. The protests around Piccadilly Circus were bigger than police expected, the BBC said.
Brazil Says It’s Discussing Vaccines With US (13:55 NY)
Brazil is negotiating “to import the vaccine from the surplus available in United States of America, ”Tweeted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday. The Biden administration said earlier this week it planned to send about 4 million doses AstraZeneca PlcCovid-19 vaccine to neighboring Mexico and Canada.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at the time the US government had about 7 million doses of vaccine available, which had not yet been approved for use in the US “With the importance of helping to stop the spread in other countries, we are assessing how we can lend doses,” he said. He added that any loans had not been “fully completed”.
The outbreak in Brazil has worsened dramatically, breaking records for most cases and deaths earlier this week.