Covid-19 wrap | India to roll out paper test, US reports about 300 000 more deaths than expected

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  • A fast and cheap paper-based coronavirus test will soon be available across India.
  • Mexico could share some liabilities arising from any adverse side effects of the Covid-19 vaccines used in the country.
  • Thailand has welcomed its first group of tourists in seven months, as part of an experiment aimed at testing if a wider opening is possible.


India to roll out quick and cheap coronavirus paper test

A fast and cheap paper-based coronavirus test will soon be available across India, with scientists hopeful it will help turn the tide on the pandemic in one of the world's worst-hit nations.

The locally developed Feluda, named for a detective in a famous Indian novel series, resembles a home pregnancy paper-strip test and delivers results within an hour.

Researchers are optimistic that its low cost and ease of use can help stem the pathogen's spread in poor and remote areas.

Feluda, like other inexpensive paper-based tests being developed in other countries, claims to combine the accuracy of the PCR test with the accessibility of the antigen kits.

AFP

US reports about 300 000 more deaths during pandemic than in typical year

Nearly 300 000 more people have died in the United States in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic than would be expected based on historical trends, with at least two-thirds due to Covid-19, a government report released on Tuesday showed, adding that Covid deaths likely were undercounted.

The report from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 299 028 more people died between 26 January and 3 October than the average numbers from past years would have indicated.

CDC said that about 216 000 US deaths from the coronavirus had been reported by the middle of this month. "This might underestimate the total impact of the pandemic on mortality," it said.

"There are many factors that could contribute to an increase in deaths indirectly due to the pandemic, with disruptions to health care being one factor," study author Lauren Rossen, from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, told Reuters.

Reuters

Thailand welcomes first tourists since March

Thailand has welcomed its first group of tourists in seven months, as part of an experiment aimed at testing if a wider opening is possible as the coronavirus cripples the kingdom's economy.

A planeload of 39 Chinese tourists flew into Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport Tuesday evening from Shanghai to a welcome from staff in full protective equipment.

The visitors underwent health checks and had their luggage disinfected, before donning protective clothing themselves and being whisked away for two weeks' quarantine.

"It's a welcome sign that foreigners are confident in our safety measures," Health Minister Anutin Chanvirakul said in a statement.

AFP


Five South Koreans die after getting flu shots, sparking vaccine fears

Five people have died after getting flu shots in South Korea in the past week, authorities said, raising concerns over the vaccine's safety just as the seasonal inoculation programme is expanded to head off potential Covid-19 complications.

Authorities said there was no reason to believe the deaths were linked to the vaccine but an investigation, including post mortems, was under way.

"It makes it hard for us to put out a categorical statement," Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told a briefing on Wednesday about the deaths, which include a 17-year-old boy and a man in his 70s.

Coming just weeks after the rollout of the national vaccine programme was suspended over safety worries, the deaths have dominated headlines in South Korea.

Reuters

Mexico could share some Covid-19 vaccine liabilities with laboratories

Mexico could share some liabilities arising from any adverse side effects of the Covid-19 vaccines used in the country, but it will negotiate the issue once laboratories have finished developing the medicines, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

As various vaccine candidates make their way through different stages of global clinical trials at a record pace, it remains unclear who foots the bill if people in poor countries fall sick from treatments.

Mexico aims to vaccinate nearly all of its population against coronavirus by the end of 2021 after reaching deals with pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca and CanSino.

Mexico is prepared to negotiate clauses around possible civil responsibility in cases of unwanted secondary effects of vaccines, both bilaterally with laboratories and with the multilateral, World Health Organisation-backed Covid-19 vaccine facility, known as COVAX, ministry spokesperson Arturo Rocha said on Tuesday.

Reuters

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