Covid-19 wrap | Vaccines offered to England care homes, Japan expected to extend state of emergency

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  • England's health service said it expected later on Monday to have offered the Covid-19 vaccine to residents at every care home with older residents in the nation.
  • The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, which was approved by the European Commission last week, will start arriving in France next week at the latest.
  • Japan is expected to extend a state of emergency to fight the spread of Covid-19 this week for Tokyo and other areas as hospitals remain under pressure.


Covid vaccines offered to all care homes in England, says NHS

England's health service said it expected later on Monday to have offered the Covid-19 vaccine to residents at every care home with older residents in the nation, in what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called "a crucial milestone".

Britain, which has one of the world's highest Covid death tolls, is one of the first countries to roll out its vaccination programme, with some in Johnson's administration hoping a successful campaign will restore faith in his leadership.

Johnson said earlier this month that the government hoped to complete the vaccination programme for care home residents and workers by the end of January to try to stop the spread of coronavirus which earlier in the pandemic ripped through such homes.

In a statement, England's National Health Service said it had offered a Covid shot to people living at more than 10 000 care homes with older residents while a small remainder have had their visits deferred during a local outbreak.

Johnson said it was "a crucial milestone in our ongoing race to vaccinate the most vulnerable against this deadly disease".

Reuters


AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive in France by next week -minister

The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, which was approved by the European Commission last week, will start arriving in France next week at the latest, French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said on Monday.

"From the end of this week, latest early next week, AstraZeneca vaccine doses will start arriving in France... We will be able to start vaccinating (with it)," Beaune said on France Inter radio.

France has so far approved vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna."There are also other vaccines arriving, notably Johnson & Johnson.

From the month of February we will be able to have the authorisation and the doses," Beaune said.

On 30 January, France had injected nearly 1.5 million first doses, while over 45 000 people have received a second shot, health ministry data show.

Reuters

Japan expected to extend Covid-19 state of emergency - media

Japan is expected to extend a state of emergency to fight the spread of Covid-19 this week for Tokyo and other areas as hospitals remain under pressure despite a decline in cases from their peaks, local media reported on Monday.

The government will decide on the extension after a meeting of its experts panel this week, public broadcaster NHK said.

The government may also consider lifting the state of emergency in some less-populated areas such as Tochigi Prefecture, which has seen a decline in cases, local media said.

A Nikkei newspaper poll showed 90% of respondents favoured extending the emergency period in areas where it is implemented.

Reuters

Australia's Covid-19 inoculation programme to cost at least $4.8 billion, PM to say

Australia's Covid-19 inoculation programme will cost at least $4.8 billion, Prime Minister Scott Morrison plans to say on Monday.

Australia - which until Sunday had gone two weeks without any locally acquired cases of Covid-19 - is expected to begin administering vaccines this month.

Although it has pledged to spend A$4.4 billion to acquire enough doses for its 26 million population, Morrison will say that his government has set aside a further A$1.9 billion to pay for the roll-out.

"The strategy is backed by an initial allocation of around A$1.9 billion in new support for the vaccine roll-out. This is on top of more than $4.4 billion allocated for vaccines purchases," according to extracts of a speech Morrison will deliver in Canberra on Monday.

Classifying the inoculation programme as his "first priority," Morrison will add that the country's economy must now begin to wean itself from government spending.

Reuters

Chicago schools postpone in-person classes over Covid-19 safety plan

Chicago Public Schools on Sunday delayed the resumption of in-person classes for thousands of elementary and middle school students by at least a day as the district and teachers failed to reach an agreement on a Covid-19 safety plan.

The third-largest school district in the United States told the parents of 62 000 elementary and middle school students who opted to begin taking some of their classes in their schools on Monday to stay home, saying it hopes to resume in-person classes for those students on Tuesday.

The parents of 5 200 pre-kindergarten and special education students who began taking in-person classes on 11 January were also told to keep their children home on Monday.

The decision to postpone in-person classes comes after the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Teachers Union, representing 28 000 public school educators, failed to reach an agreement despite months of negotiations. The two sides have been at odds on teachers demands for stronger safety protocols to prevent the spread of the virus inside the classroom.

Reuters


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