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Follow all the latest on the coronavirus pandemic from the UK and around the world.
Russia records record level of coronavirus cases
Russia recorded a record high number new coronavirus cases on Sunday. Officials reported 34,303 new coronavirus cases and 997 deaths from Covid-19 over the last 24 hours.
Russia’s total excess fatality count since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is 660,000.
The Moscow Times reports that Health Minister Mikhail Murashko has called on doctors who are self-isolating or retired to get vaccinated and return to work due to record increases in Covid-19 infections and deaths.
It adds that Russia will resume regular air travel with the Bahamas, Iran, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Slovenia, Tunisia, Sweden and Thailand starting Nov. 9, the national Covid-19 headquarters announced Thursday.
According to Anna Popova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer health watchdog, 38 of Russia’s 85 regions have introduced vaccine mandates for certain categories of citizens and employees working in designated sectors of the economy, such as retail and hospitality.
The BBC have a good interview with Professor Sarah Gilbert, Covid vaccine creator who argues that the experimental technologies that helped develop vaccines in record time have expanded scientific ambitions.
The architect of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid jab, says vaccine development has been transformed and says others should now be developed to tackle other priority pathogens – like Mers, Zika and Ebola.
There’s a lot of vaccine development that we need to do now that we can do it.
The Department of Health said there are 81,641 active COVID-19 cases in the country as of October 17, 2021. #COVID19PH pic.twitter.com/F2UJ00aUso
— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) October 17, 2021
Germany has reported 4,373,789 confirmed coronavirus cases, an increase of 8,682 and a total of 94,618 deaths, an increase of 17 according to the Robert Koch Institute.
This piece from Der Ziet is in German, but the RKI is warning of a new wave of new infections after the autumn holidays.
Das #RKI rechnet mit einer neuen Welle an Neuinfektionen nach den #Herbstferien. Laut Kinder- und Jugendmedizinern gibt es genug Daten zur #Impfung ab zwölf Jahren, um sie “uneingeschränkt” zu empfehlen. #Corona-News aus Deutschland https://t.co/cpFSGBM7rU
— ZEIT ONLINE (@zeitonline) October 17, 2021
Here is a loose translation of the gist:
Oliver Keppler, head of virology at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich (LMU), has predicted a significant increase in the corona numbers for the coming months.
The virologist told the dpa news agency:
In the autumn and winter that lie ahead of us we must assume that the infection rate will worsen.
The virologist did not recommend tightening the corona measures again .
Melbourne to lift stay-at-home orders this week
Melbourne, which has spent more time under COVID-19 lockdowns than any other city in the world, is set to lift its stay-at-home orders this week, officials have said.
By Friday, when some curbs will be lifted, the Australian city of 5 million people will have been under six lockdowns totalling 262 days, or nearly nine months, since March 2020.
Australian and other media say this is the longest in the world, exceeding a 234-day lockdown in Buenos Aires.
While coronavirus cases keep rising in Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, the state’s double-vaccination rate is set to reach 70% this week, allowing for the ease in restrictions.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said:
Today is a great day. Today is a day when Victorians can be proud of what they have achieved.
When hospitality venues and some businesses reopen, their capacity will remain heavily restricted. More easing, including the reopening of many retailers, will come once 80% of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated – estimated by Nov. 5 at the latest.
On Sunday, Victoria recorded 1,838 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths. Neighbouring New South Wales, which emerged last week from a 100-day lockdown, reported 301 cases and 10 deaths. Eighty percent of the state’s people have been fully vaccinated.
Australia, once a champion of a COVID-zero strategy of managing the pandemic, has been moving towards living with the virus through extensive vaccinations, as the Delta variant has proven too transmissible to suppress.
The new strategy makes lockdowns highly unlikely once 80% of the population is fully vaccinated. As of the weekend, around 68% of eligible Australians have been fully inoculated.
Australia’s health officials said on Sunday that quarantine-free travel from New Zealand’s South Island, where there is no outbreak, will resume on Wednesday. The government is also in discussions with Singapore about reopening travel between the two countries for the fully vaccinated.
Despite the rise in cases in recent months, Australia’s coronavirus numbers are low compared to many other developed countries, with just over 143,000 cases and 1,530 deaths.
Neighbouring New Zealand, which is also learning to live with COVID-19 by accelerating inoculations, reported 51 new cases on Sunday, 47 of them in the largest city Auckland, which has been in a lockdown since mid-August. On Saturday, New Zealand vaccinated more than 2.5% of its people as part of a government-led mass vaccination drive.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by William Mallard)
Pregnant women are being advised by some health professionals not to have the Covid vaccine despite an edict from the NHS that they should encourage them to get the jab. One in six of the most critically ill Covid patients requiring life-saving care are unvaccinated pregnant women, figures released last week show.
Yet messages sent to the Vaccines and Pregnancy helpline, launched on 20 August to help pregnant women navigate information about the vaccine, suggest that some midwives are advising against the jab.
Read the full story here:
Related: Pregnant women at risk from NHS workers’ mixed messages over safety of jab
UK Covid cases remain high
Cases of new coronavirus cases have continued to rise in recent days with a further 43,423 daily infections recorded on Saturday.
Cases fell at the end of July, and flutuated between August and September, but the average has been increasing in the last week.
Recent spikes have been driven by the Delta variant, which spread faster than the Alpha variant.
More than 100,000 lives can be saved in Africa by undertaking the emergency airlift of 240m unused vaccines in the next fortnight, Gordon Brown has urged.
The former prime minister called on a group of rich nations to back “the biggest peacetime public policy decision” by supporting an October airlift that would see unused vaccines handed to parts of the global south struggling the most.
He told the Observer’s Policy Editor Michael Savage:
While vaccines have been pledged for donation from all donors, we are not getting the vaccines into people’s arms and urgently need a month-to-month timetable to meet our interim targets and prevent further loss of lives.
An immediate emergency airlift of 240m vaccines this month from the global north to the global south should be followed by the transfer of a further 760m vaccines transferred by February. This would be the biggest peacetime public policy decision, which could save 100,000 lives and prevent many of the one million Covid-induced deaths projected over the next year.
With only 5% of the population vaccinated in Africa, Brown urged the leaders of the US, the EU, Canada and the UK to back an emergency airlift. He said that 40% of Covid deaths in Africa had happened since the start of August, making the need for action urgent.
Read the full story here:
Related: Gordon Brown urges emergency Covid vaccine airlift to AfricaInternet Explorer Channel Network