US adds 65 000 Covid-19 cases: UK plans vaccine passes

President-elect Joe Biden.
President-elect Joe Biden.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson will confirm on Monday a plan to allow people to attend public events.
  • India saw its highest number of daily recorded cases in about six months, raising worries of a fresh infection surge.
  • South Korea is on the brink of a fourth wave while Iran posted the most deaths since December.


The United States added almost 65,000 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday and remains on pace for the most weekly infections since the end of February. Johnson & Johnson, with help from the Biden administration, is taking over a Baltimore vaccine production facility that was the site of a major manufacturing error last month.

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson will confirm on Monday a plan to allow people to attend public events by either showing proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or antibodies from an infection, the Telegraph reported. But Covid passports may not be ready until fall.

India saw its highest number of daily recorded cases in about six months, raising worries of a fresh infection surge. South Korea is on the brink of a fourth wave. Iran posted the most deaths since December.

US new cases steady at 65 000 

The US added almost 65 000 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, matching the rolling seven-day average and keeping the country on pace for what could be the most weekly infections since the end of February.

Nationwide deaths declined for the third consecutive day to 710, although reporting often lags on weekends and it’s too early to determine a trend. The data are collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

More than 100 million people in the U.S. have had at least one Covid-19 shot, and vaccinations are running at an average of 3.1 million a day, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. At that rate, it will take three more months to cover 75% of the population, the tracker shows.

Iran has most deaths since December

Iran recorded 161 deaths from Covid-19 over the last 24 hours, its biggest figure since December. The number of new cases rose by 11 680 overnight, up from 11 420 yesterday. Iran now has 63 160 coronavirus fatalities and more than 1.9 million infections.

UK Covid-19 passport may not be ready until fall

The Covid-19 passports designed to restart large-scale events in the UK may not be ready until fall, according to the Telegraph newspaper.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will confirm on Monday a plan to allow people to attend public events including sports by either showing proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or antibodies from an infection in the last six months, the newspaper reported on Sunday. But the certification project, which will likely be on a mobile app, will take months to develop, the Telegraph said, citing unidentified senior government officials.

Czech Republic reports second-lowest case tally for 2021

The Czech Republic reported 2 149 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, the second-lowest number since the beginning of the year, after more than a month of the strictest lockdown measures, according to health care ministry data. Still, the hospitals remain under pressure as there were 6 384 patients treated in Covid-19 wards, according to the data. The total death toll was 26 945 as of Sunday.

Polish cases fall on a weekly basis

Poland reported 22 947 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data. That compares with 29 253 new cases a week earlier and a record of 35 251 in April. Deaths rose to 204 from 131 a week ago, but below a record of 674 in November.

South Korea on brink of a fourth wave

South Korea is on the brink of a fourth wave of the coronavirus, health minister Kwon Deok-cheol said in a statement. There is an increasing trend, Kwon said, as the daily number of positive cases exceeded 500 on average last week and may top 1000 in a short period. Kwon urged people not to gather and to get vaccinated.

Australia's record injections

Australia says it has given nearly 80,000 people a virus vaccination to set a new single-day high, boosted by strong stockpiles.

Separately, the first phase of Australia's coronavirus vaccine rollout could end up finishing months behind schedule, the Age reported, citing federal Health Department tenders.

The tenders asking for private companies to provide vaccinations for the phase 1a group include a time frame that suggests the first phase won’t be done until the end of May, according to the report.

India's confirmed cases surge

India's daily tally of new cases reached 93,249, the highest since Sept. 19, as the nation faces a second wave in infections at levels not seen for more than half a year.

Daily cases fell to as low as 8,635 at the start of February, raising prospects that the second-most populous nation had reined in its outbreak. But infections started rising after that. Maharashtra state, home to India’s financial hub of Mumbai, may be headed for another lockdown, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said Friday.

J&J takes over at vaccine plan 

Johnson & Johnson, with help from the Biden administration, is taking over a Baltimore vaccine production facility that was the site of a major manufacturing error last month -- and moving production of material for a second company’s shot to minimize risk of another mistake.

J&J announced Saturday that it was “assuming full responsibility regarding the manufacturing of drug substance” at the Emergent BioSolutions plant.

To facilitate that, the Department of Health and Human Services worked with AstraZeneca to move its production out of that plant so it can focus only on J&J, according to an HHS official familiar with the measure, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Canada virus tally passes 1 million mark 

Recorded Covid-19 cases in Canada breached the 1 million mark as a third wave rippled across the country.

There were 1 001 650 recorded cases since the start of the pandemic as of Saturday afternoon, according to the Canadian Press. Canada, like other nations, is grappling with the spread of new variants that are sending more people to hospital and resulting in stricter lockdown measures.

Yunnan cases on the rise

The number of local coronavirus cases climbed in China's southwestern province of Yunnan, with 10 local confirmed cases and one local asymptomatic case on Saturday, according to the National Health Commission.

All of the cases were in Ruili, a city bordering Myanmar and the recent Yunnan cluster started in March, when the first local case was reported. Yunnan had 36 cases as of Saturday, the provincial government said, 33 of which were local.

Japan mulls expanding injection system

Japan’s government will consider allowing a broader array of medical professionals, such as dentists, to inject Covid-19 vaccines as it looks to ramp up its shots in the coming weeks, the Nikkei newspaper reported, without saying where it obtained the information.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, in an appearance on national public broadcaster NHK, asked people to refrain from trips to the Osaka region. The government placed new virus restrictions on the region in recent days to battle a fresh surge.

French lockdown to slow rebound

France's economy will rebound less than previously expected this year due to the latest four-week nationwide lockdown aimed at halting a surge in coronavirus cases.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire cut the country's 2021 GDP growth forecast to 5% from 6%, following an 8.1% contraction last year. A Bloomberg survey in March showed economists were expecting the economy to expand 5.7%.

Argentine president tests positive

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez, who received two doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine earlier this year, has tested positive for Covid-19, his doctor said.

Fernandez had earlier said that he was self-isolating after receiving a positive result from an antibody test. A polymerase chain reaction test, which is more definitive, had confirmed the result, according to a statement signed by Federico Saavedra, Fernandez’s long-time personal doctor and now a member of his medical staff.

Fernandez is "stable, asymptomatic and with indicators within normal ranges," Saavedra added.

- With assistance from Eduard Gismatullin, Shelly Hagan, Masumi Suga, Lin Zhu, Debjit Chakraborty, Sohee Kim, Dorota Bartyzel, Justina Lee, Lenka Ponikelska, Jon Herskovitz, Arsalan Shahla and Tony Czuczka.

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