Covid-19 wrap: India surges past 25m cases, Thailand reports youngest fatality and EU hits 200m jabs

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Coronavirus toll at 10:00 (GMT) Tuesday

Paris – The novel coronavirus has killed at least 3 391 849 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 10:00 (GMT) on Tuesday.

At least 163 507 240 cases of coronavirus have been registered. The vast majority have recovered, though some have continued to experience symptoms weeks or even months later.

These figures are based on daily tolls provided by health authorities in each country and exclude later re-evaluations by statistical organisations, as has happened in Russia, Spain and Britain.

On Monday, 10 076 new deaths and 581 379 new cases were recorded worldwide.

Based on latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were India with 4 329, followed by Brazil with 786 and Colombia with 509.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 586 359 deaths from 32 994,443 cases.

 - AFP

India's tally of coronavirus infections crosses 25 million

BENGALURU – India's total coronavirus cases surged past the 25 million mark on Tuesday, boosted by 263 533 new infections over the last 24 hours, while deaths from Covid-19 rose by a record 4 329.

India becomes the world's second nation, after the United States, to pass the grim milestone. The country's total case load is now at 25.23 million, while the death toll is at 278 719, according to health ministry data.


Thailand reports youngest victim among record tally of Covid-19 deaths

BANGKOK – Thailand on Tuesday reported 35 new coronavirus deaths, a record daily number that included the country's youngest victim up to now, a two-month-old baby, as authorities struggle to contain a third wave of infections.

The Southeast Asian country's latest Covid-19 outbreak has seen infections more than triple and deaths increase six-fold since it started in April, following a year of success in containing earlier outbreaks.

The new deaths included a two-month-old baby with a heart condition, the Covid-19 task force said.

Bangkok, the epicentre of the current outbreak, recorded 876 new infections on Monday, still the highest among the country's provinces.

"New infections found in Bangkok remain high. Overall new cases are still on a rising trend," Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesperson for the Covid-19 task force, told a briefing.

Bangkok has now recorded 28 658 new infections since the outbreak emerged in April.

The latest cases included 29 clusters in markets and most recently construction sites, he said, adding more than 1 100 new cases were found at a construction site in the Laksi district.


UK PM Boris Johnson: No conclusive evidence to delay reopening yet

LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday there was currently no conclusive evidence to cause a delay to plans to remove coronavirus restrictions in England next month.

"I don't see anything conclusive at the moment to say that we need to deviate from the roadmap," Johnson told reporters.

"We've got to be cautious, and we're keeping everything under very close observation – we'll know a lot more in a few days' time."


EU hits 200 million jab milestone - AFP data

Brussels – At least 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been given in the European Union as of Tuesday, according to AFP data tallying up official figures given by member states' health services.

The milestone indicates that the EU should be on track to meet its goal of fully vaccinating 70% of adults – meaning roughly 255 million people out of its total 448 million population – by late July.

As of 08:30 (GMT), at least 200 million doses have been administered in the EU, according to AFP data.

At least 52.9 million people have been completely vaccinated, with two doses in the case of the vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, or one dose for those inoculated with the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

That figure amounts to 11.8% of the EU population.

The data showed that Malta was leading the EU table, with 32.5% of its small population fully vaccinated, while Bulgaria was trailing badly, with just 6.1% inoculated.

Of the big EU countries, Germany has 11.1% fully vaccinated, France has 13.5%, Italy has 14.6% and Spain has 15.4%.

 - AFP

Biden to send 20 million doses of US-authorised vaccines abroad for first time

WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden will send at least 20 million more Covid-19 vaccine doses abroad by the end of June, marking the first time the United States is sharing vaccines authorised for domestic use.

The move marks a notable pivot from the White House as the administration seeks to use the country's vaccine supply as a diplomatic tool with the pandemic outlook brightening at home.

Biden announced on Monday that his administration will send doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, on top of 60 million AstraZeneca doses he had already planned to give to other countries.

Unlike the others, AstraZeneca's shot is not yet authorised for use in the United States.

"Just as in World War II, America was the arsenal of democracy, in the battle against Covid-19 pandemic our nation is going to be the arsenal of vaccines," Biden said.

The president has been under pressure to share vaccines to help contain worsening epidemics from India to Brazil, where health experts fear new, more contagious coronavirus variants could undermine the effectiveness of available shots.

Biden noted that no other country will send more vaccines abroad than the United States. So far, the United States has sent a few million AstraZeneca doses to Canada and Mexico.


Spanish study finds AstraZeneca vaccine followed by Pfizer dose is safe and effective

MADRID – A Spanish study on mixing Covid-19 vaccines has found that giving a dose of Pfizer's drug to people who already received a first shot of AstraZeneca vaccine is highly safe and effective, preliminary results showed on Tuesday.

The Combivacs study, run by Spain's state-backed Carlos III Health Institute, found the presence of IgG antibodies in the bloodstream was between 30 and 40 times higher in people who got the follow-up Pfizer shot than in a control group who only received one AstraZeneca dose.

Meanwhile, the presence of neutralising antibodies rose sevenfold after a Pfizer dose, significantly more than the doubling effect observed after a second AstraZeneca shot.

Around 670 volunteers between the ages of 18-59, who had already received a first dose of AstraZeneca's vaccine, participated in the study, with some 450 given a Pfizer dose.

Just 1.7% of the participants reported severe side effects, which were limited to headaches, muscle pain and general malaise, said Dr Magdalena Campins, one of the study's leaders.

"These are not symptoms that can be considered serious," she said.


Brazil registers 29 916 new coronavirus cases, 786 new Covid-19 deaths - Health Ministry

BRASILIA – Brazil recorded 29 916 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 786 deaths from Covid-19, Health Ministry figures showed on Monday.

Brazil has now registered 15.66 million cases since the pandemic began, and the official death toll stands at 436 537, according to ministry data.


Sweden reports 10 017 new Covid-19 cases, 26 deaths since Friday

STOCKHOLM – Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, has registered 10 017 new coronavirus cases since Friday, health agency statistics showed on Tuesday.

The figure compared with 13 812 cases during the corresponding period last week.

The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 26 new deaths, taking the total to 14 301. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.

Sweden's death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours' but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.


Russia reports 8 183 new Covid-19 cases, 364 deaths

MOSCOW – Russia reported 8 183 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, including 2 430 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 4 957 756.

The government coronavirus task force said 364 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 116 575.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and has said Russia recorded around 250 000 deaths related to Covid-19 from April 2020 to March 2021.


Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 4 209 - RKI

BERLIN – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 4 209 to 3 603 055, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday.

The reported death toll rose by 221 to 86 381, the tally showed.


Malaysia reports record Covid-19 deaths for second successive day

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia on Tuesday reported 47 new coronavirus deaths, a new record in fatalities for a second successive day.

The health ministry also reported new infections of 4 865, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 479 421.


Thailand reports daily record of 35 new Covid-19 deaths

BANGKOK – Thailand reported on Tuesday a daily record of 35 new coronavirus deaths, as the Southeast Asian country struggles with a third wave of infections.

The country also reported 2 473 new infections, including 680 cases among prisoners.

The new cases bring the country's total infections to 113 555 and fatalities to 649 since the pandemic started last year.


Taiwan reports 240 new domestic Covid-19 cases

TAIPEI – Taiwan reported 240 new domestic Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, amid a steady rise in local infections.


China reports 22 new mainland Covid-19 cases vs 25 a day earlier

SHANGHAI – China reported 22 new mainland Covid-19 cases on 17 May, down from 25 a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Tuesday.

The National Health Commission, in a statement, said four of the new cases were local infections reported in northeastern Liaoning province. The rest were imported infections that originated from overseas.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 20 from 17 cases a day earlier.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mainland China now stands at 90 894, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4 636.


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