Covid-19 has infected more than 246M people and killed over 5M globally. Here are the virus-related updates for October 30.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccines based on the World Health Organization’s emergency use list. (Reuters)

Saturday, October 30, 2021

China calls for mutual vaccine recognition

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccines based on the World Health Organization’s emergency use list, according to a transcript of his remarks published by the official Xinhua news agency.

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Speaking to the Group of 20 Leaders’ Summit in Rome via video link, Xi said China had provided more than 1.6 billion shots to the world, and was working with 16 nations to cooperate on manufacturing doses.

“China is willing to work with all parties to improve the accessibility and affordability of Covid-19 vaccines in developing countries,” Xi said.

Xi reiterated China’s support of the World Trade Organization (WTO) making an early decision on waiving intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines, and he called for vaccine companies to be encouraged to transfer technology to developing countries.

Two Chinese vaccines, one from Sinovac Biotech and one from Sinopharm, have been included in the WHO’s emergency use list.

Putin calls on G20 to accelerate mutual vaccine recognition

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on G20 countries to accelerate the mutual recognition of each other’s Covid-19 vaccines.

Putin, who remotely addressed the G20 summit in Rome by video link, also said that the World Health Organization should be quicker to make decisions on approving vaccines.

Many ‘challenges’ ahead in India’s vaccination programme

Even as India crossed the milestone of 1 billion coronavirus vaccine doses last week, many challenges remain in its vaccination programme before the country inoculates the entire nation, according to health experts.

Soon after India crossed the mark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country has scripted “history.”

Health Ministry figures revealed early Saturday that vaccination coverage has exceeded 1,054,313,977.

According to official statistics, more than 75 percent of those who are eligible have received one dose, while more than 30 percent have been fully vaccinated.

But health experts said many challenges await.

“When we break down the 1 billion figure, then we will see it is not 1 billion people but 1 billion shots, which translates to around 31 percent of adults having received both shots and another 45 percent receiving only one shot,” Chandrakant Lahariya, a Delhi-based epidemiologist and public health expert told Anadolu Agency.

He said there is still 24 percent of the population that has not received a single dose.

“So itself is a big challenge ahead,” he said.

UK reports 41,278 new cases, 166 deaths

Britain has reported 41,278 new coronavirus cases and 166 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed.

The figures compared to 43,467 new infections and 186 deaths reported on Friday.

Italy records 37 coronavirus deaths, 4,878 new cases

Italy has reported 37 coronavirus-related deaths against 33 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 4,878 from 5,335.

Italy has registered 132,074 deaths since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.77 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with Covid-19 – not including those in intensive care – stood at 2,707 on Saturday, up from 2,658 a day earlier.

There were 20 new admissions to intensive care units, up from 18 on Friday. The total number of intensive care patients decreased to 346 from a previous 349.

Some 477,352 tests were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 474,778, the health ministry said.

Philippines logs record daily deaths

The Philippines has reported its highest single-day coronavirus deaths, mostly due to the reclassification of previous cases, the health ministry said.

In a bulletin, the ministry recorded 423 Covid-19 deaths, eclipsing the 401 casualties reported on April. 9.

However, 373 cases previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified and added to the death toll, it added.

With nearly 2.8 million cases and 43,044 deaths, the Philippines has Southeast Asia’s second highest infections and casualties, next to Indonesia.

Russia’s daily Covid-19 cases reach a new record at 40,251

Russia has reported 40,251 new Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours, its highest single-day case tally since the start of the pandemic.

The government’s coronavirus taskforce reported 1,160 deaths related to the virus, three short of the daily record of 1,163 set the day before.

Russia will go into a nationwide workplace shutdown in the first week of November and the capital Moscow has reimposed a partial lockdown from Thursday, with only essential shops like pharmacies and supermarkets allowed to remain open.

Britain sends millions more Covid doses to developing nations

Britain will send 20 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to developing countries by the end of this year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tell other world leaders at the G20 summit that this is a much-needed step to speed up the post-pandemic economic recovery.

In 2022, Britain will donate at least 20 million more Oxford-AstraZeneca doses and also donate all the 20 million Janssen doses ordered by the government to the COVAX facility, backed by the World Health Organization and the GAVI vaccine alliance.

Previously, Britain said in a statement it had delivered 10 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the Covax vaccine-sharing facility, with 10 million more to be delivered in the coming weeks, taking the total to 30.6 million in 2021.

Tonga to impose lockdown after first Covid case detected

Tongans flocked to vaccination centres after the government warned the main island Tongatapu might be plunged into lockdown next week after recording its first Covid-19 case.

The infected person was among 215 people on a repatriation flight from the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

A routine test on arrival on Thursday, while in compulsory managed isolation, returned a positive result the following day.

Prime Minister Pohiva Tuionetoa warned islanders to prepare for the possibility of a lockdown if more cases emerge but said there was no need for immediate action as it could take “more than three days” before a person with the virus becomes contagious.

The tiny Pacific kingdom, about 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) northeast of New Zealand, had been among only a handful of countries to escape the virus that has affected billions worldwide and claimed nearly five million lives.

Covid vaccines are more protective than past infection, new research shows

Health officials offered more evidence that vaccinations offer better protection against Covid-19 than immunity from a prior infection.

Unvaccinated people who had been infected months earlier were 5 times more likely to get Covid-19 than fully vaccinated people who didn’t have a prior infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded in a new study.

The study looked at data from nearly 190 hospitals in nine states. The researchers counted about 7,000 adult patients who were hospitalised this year with respiratory illnesses or symptoms similar to those of Covid-19.

About 6,000 of them had been fully vaccinated with the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines three to six months before they wound up in hospitals. The other 1,000 were unvaccinated but had been infected with Covid-19 three to six months earlier.

About 5 percent of the vaccinated patients tested positive for the coronavirus versus about 9 percent of the unvaccinated group.

FDA approves Pfizer Covid-19 shots in young kids

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has paved the way for children ages 5 to 11 to get Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.

On Friday, the FDA cleared kid-size doses- just a third of the amount given to teens and adults-for emergency use, and up to 28 million more American children could be eligible for vaccinations as early as next week.

On Tuesday, advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make more detailed recommendations on which youngsters should get vaccinated, with a final decision by the agency’s director expected shortly afterwards.

Once the CDC issues its ruling, eligible kids will get two shots, three weeks apart.

Brazil records 394 new deaths

Brazil has reported 394 new Covid-19 deaths and 11,965 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to data released by the Health Ministry.

Brazil has now registered 607,462 deaths due to the virus, the world’s second-highest death toll behind the United States

Eleven states sue Biden administration over vaccine rule
The jointly-filed lawsuits argue that the vaccine requirement for federal contractors violates federal law. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a separate challenge.

The states asked a federal judge to block Biden’s requirement arguing that the new rule violates federal procurement law and is an overreach of federal power.

Mainland China reports 78 new cases

Mainland China continues to report new cases, up to 78 from 64 one day earlier.

Of the new infections, 59 were locally transmitted cases, up from 48 days earlier, according to a National Health Commission statement.

Most new local cases were in northern China, with infections reported in Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Beijing and Ningxia.

Mexico reports 4,001 new cases

Mexico’s latest confirmed coronavirus cases saw 4,001 additional infections and 320 more fatalities, bringing the country’s overall death toll from the pandemic to 287,951 and the total number of cases to 3,802,287.

Officials have said the ministry’s official figures likely represent a significant undercount of both cases and deaths due to a lack of widespread testing.

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