Covid-19 wrap | Germany may need tougher curbs before Christmas, Brazil to offer vaccine at no cost

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  • Britain is confident that the next batch of the Pfizer vaccine will be delivered next week, said its health minister Matt Hancock.
  • A man has been charged with exploiting the coronavirus pandemic by defrauding people seeking companionship into buying puppies that were never delivered.
  • Germany might tighten its restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus, as the country struggles to bring down the number of new infections.


Britain expects next batch of Pfizer vaccine next week -health minister

Britain is confident that the next batch of the Pfizer vaccine will be delivered next week, said its health minister Matt Hancock, after Margaret Keenan became the first Briton to be vaccinated on Tuesday.

"We have a high degree of confidence in the delivery that will come next week," Hancock told Sky News.

He said he felt "quite emotional" seeing the pictures of the first vaccination taking place, adding that the programme was starting across 70 hospitals in the UK.

Britain is due to receive several million more doses of the vaccination over the course of this month, he added.

Reuters

Californians endure another lockdown as Covid-19 patients overwhelm hospitals

Most Californians faced heavy new restrictions on Monday aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19, while New York's governor threatened to ban indoor restaurant dining in New York City as the United States feared infections would continue skyrocketing.

Restaurants in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and the state's agricultural San Joaquin Valley shut for all but takeout and delivery. Playgrounds closed, stores reduced capacity and hair salons and barbershops shuttered.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government's top infectious disease expert, said on Monday the state's action would "rescue them from possibly getting their hospitals overrun".

California set a record in new cases with 30 000 on Saturday and recorded nearly 25 000 more on Sunday. Hospitalizations also hit records. In the San Joaquin Valley, just 6.3% of intensive care unit beds were available, the state said on Monday.

Reuters

Brazil to offer Covid-19 vaccine for all at no cost, says president

Brazil's government will offer Covid-19 vaccines to all Brazilians free of charge, once health regulator Anvisa gives it scientific and legal approval, President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday.

In a post on his Twitter account, Bolsonaro also said the economy ministry has assured him that there will be no shortage of resources to administer a vaccine to everyone who wants one.

"Once certified by @anvisa_oficial (scientific guidelines and legal precepts), @govbr will offer the vaccine to all, free of charge and not mandatory," Bolsonaro tweeted.

Bolsonaro's tweet came shortly before the president of Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute biomedical centre, Dimas Covas, said all necessary data for the CoronaVac vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd has been or will soon be sent to health regulator Anvisa.

He expects Anvisa to approve it, regardless of the political storm between Bolsonaro and Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria over competing vaccines.

Reuters

Germany may need tougher Covid-19 curbs before Christmas, minister says

Germany might tighten its restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Health Minister Jens Spahn said, as the European Union’s most populous country struggles to bring down the number of new infections.

"A short and comprehensive approach to really make a difference is probably more successful. If we don’t get there within the next one or two weeks until Christmas, we have to discuss it," Spahn told public broadcaster Phoenix, according to comments distributed late on Monday.

Spahn did not rule out lockdown measures that would affect retailers, the TV station added.

Political leaders believe the restrictions prevented further exponential growth of new infections, but numbers have plateaued. Germany reported 487 deaths on a single day last week, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.

Reuters

In England, William Shakespeare receives a Covid-19 vaccine

William Shakespeare from Warwickshire in England was one of the first people to receive the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial on Tuesday.

The 81-year-old had the injection at University Hospital Coventry on Tuesday, 20 miles from Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of his namesake, England's greatest dramatist and poet.

Shakespeare's shot inspired Twitter users, who joked "The Taming of the Flu", "The Two Gentlemen of Corona". Some asked if Margaret Keenan was patient 1A, then was Shakespeare "Patient 2B or not 2B?".

Reuters
   

US announces charges in Covid-19 'puppy scam'    

A Cameroon man has been charged by the US government with exploiting the coronavirus pandemic by defrauding people seeking companionship into buying puppies online that were never delivered, the Department of Justice said on Monday.

Desmond Fodje Bobga, 27, was arrested last Thursday in Cluj, Romania, where he was attending Babe?-Bolyai University, according to the office of US Attorney in Pittsburgh.

The perpetrators allegedly posed as a delivery company that demanded extra payments because the animals would be delivered late, and demanded even more money after the pandemic began by claiming the animals had been exposed to Covid-19.

Prosecutors also said fake documents were used, including a "Refundable Crate and Vaccine Guarantee Document" supposedly issued by the US Supreme Court and bearing its seal.

Reuters

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