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Covid-19 information: EMA says no verdict but on AstraZeneca jab assessment

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A well being employee holds packing containers with AstraZeneca’s vaccines in opposition to the coronavirus.

JOE KLAMAR/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

Newest coronavirus information as of 5pm on 6 April

The EU’s medicine regulator has been investigating experiences of uncommon blood clots in a small quantity of people that obtained the vaccine

The European Union’s medicines regulator has denied that it has established an association between the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine and uncommon blood clots, after an official from the company claimed it had. Marco Cavaleri, chair of the vaccine analysis group on the European Medicines Company (EMA), advised Italian newspaper Il Messaggero that there is a “clear” link between the vaccine and an especially uncommon blood clot within the mind, however didn’t present any proof to help his declare. In a press release on 6 April, the EMA mentioned it had “not but reached a conclusion and the assessment is presently ongoing”, including that it anticipated to announce findings from the assessment on 7 or 8 April. It’s security committee is investigating 44 experiences of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, an especially uncommon blood clot within the mind, out of 9.2 million folks within the European Financial Space who obtained the vaccine. Each the EMA and the World Well being Group have consistently emphasised that the advantages of the vaccine in stopping covid-19 outweigh its dangers. 

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Within the UK, the nation’s medicines regulator has mentioned no decision has been made relating to rules on the usage of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, following experiences that it was contemplating proscribing the vaccine’s use in folks beneath the age of 30. “Our thorough and detailed assessment is ongoing into experiences of very uncommon and particular sorts of blood clots with low platelets following the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca,” mentioned June Raine, chief govt of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Company. “No determination has but been made on any regulatory motion,” she added.

Different coronavirus information

Coronavirus figures launched by well being authorities in a number of nations in South America point out cases and deaths are continuing to surge throughout the continent. Brazil reported more than 28,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day on 5 April, as each Uruguay and Paraguay reported report will increase in day by day covid-19 deaths on the identical day. Officers have linked the present surge to the P.1 coronavirus variant, initially from Brazil, which appears to be more transmissible than the unique virus and may have mutations that enable it to evade antibodies from earlier an infection or from vaccination. On 25 March, Peru’s well being minister mentioned that 40 per cent of circumstances within the capital, Lima, had been brought on by P.1 and on 5 April he mentioned circumstances had been detected “nearly in all places in Peru”, the BBC reported. Chile recorded 6196 daily new coronavirus cases on 25 March in comparison with 4770 day by day circumstances two weeks earlier on 11 March, although it had already rolled out 50.46 doses of vaccine per 100 folks. Instances of the variant have additionally been detected in Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.

UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has emphasised that no decision has been made regarding the use of vaccine passports or certificates within the UK. However he mentioned it might be “remiss” of the federal government to not think about covid-19 certification as a manner of totally reopening the financial system. “It’s solely proper that we have a look at all these choices which are accessible to us to take our lives again,” Zahawi advised the BBC’s Breakfast present. Boris Johnson mentioned the federal government was the potential of vaccination passports for abroad journey. “I believe that’s going to be a truth of life in all probability,” he advised reporters.

Residents of Australia and New Zealand will be capable to travel between the two countries with out being required to quarantine ranging from 19 April, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern introduced.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.86 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 131.9 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Important details about coronavirus

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What to learn, watch and take heed to about coronavirus

New Scientist Weekly options updates and evaluation on the newest developments within the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees knowledgeable journalists from the journal focus on the largest science tales to hit the headlines every week – from expertise and house, to well being and the surroundings.

The Jump is a BBC radio 4 collection exploring how viruses can cross from animals into people to trigger pandemics. The primary episode examines the origins of the covid-19 pandemic.

Why Is Covid Killing People of Colour? is a BBC documentary, which investigates what the excessive covid-19 loss of life charges in ethnic minority sufferers reveal about well being inequality within the UK.

Panorama: The Race for a Vaccine is a BBC documentary in regards to the inside story of the event of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in opposition to covid-19.

Race Against the Virus: Hunt for a Vaccine is a Channel 4 documentary which tells the story of the coronavirus pandemic by the eyes of the scientists on the frontline.

The New York Times is assessing the progress in growth of potential drug therapies for covid-19, and rating them for effectiveness and security.

Humans of COVID-19 is a venture highlighting the experiences of key employees on the frontline within the struggle in opposition to coronavirus within the UK, by social media.

Belly Mujinga: Searching for the Truth is a BBC Panorama investigation of the loss of life of transport employee Stomach Mujinga from covid-19, following experiences she had been coughed and spat on by a buyer at London’s Victoria Station.

Coronavirus, Explained on Netflix is a brief documentary collection inspecting the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to struggle it and methods to handle its psychological well being toll.

COVID-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened, and How to Stop the Next One by Debora Mackenzie is about how the pandemic occurred and why it’ll occur once more if we don’t do issues in a different way in future.

The Rules of Contagion is in regards to the new science of contagion and the stunning methods it shapes our lives and behavior. The writer, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist on the London Faculty of Hygiene and Tropical Medication, UK, and within the guide he examines how ailments unfold and why they cease.

Earlier updates

Long covid

Folks start coronavirus testing at in Moss Aspect as surge testing for the Kent coronavirus variant.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Photographs

1 April

Lengthy-lasting signs after covid-19 reported by 13.7 per cent of individuals in UK examine

An estimated 1.1 million people within the UK skilled long covid signs within the 4 weeks as much as 6 March, in response to a survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Of individuals with self-reported lengthy covid, the ONS estimates that about 697,000 first had covid-19 not less than 12 weeks earlier and roughly 70,000 first had the illness not less than one yr earlier. The survey discovered charges had been highest amongst well being and social care employees at 3.6 per cent and three.1 per cent respectively, adopted by folks aged 35 to 49 or 50 to 69 and folks with a pre-existing, activity-limiting well being situation . It additionally discovered that prevalence was barely increased amongst females in comparison with males.

“Given neighborhood testing was suspended for many of final yr we will’t simply ignore one million folks, so self-reporting is the one possibility,” mentioned Elaine Maxwell, medical adviser on the Nationwide Institute for Well being Analysis within the UK, in a statement

Amongst a smaller pattern of greater than 20,000 examine contributors who had examined optimistic for covid-19 within the 11 months since April 2020, the ONS discovered that 13.7 per cent continued to expertise signs for not less than 12 weeks. This was eight occasions increased than the background prevalence of a lot of these signs in a management group of contributors who’re unlikely to have had covid-19, suggesting that ongoing signs are extra prevalent amongst individuals who have had covid-19 in comparison with the broader inhabitants. “[This] reveals there’s something taking place even when the exact prevalence is unclear,” mentioned Maxwell.

Different coronavirus information

The World Well being Group has described Europe’s vaccination marketing campaign as “unacceptably gradual”. Throughout a press briefing on 1 April, WHO Europe director Hans Kluge warned that Europe’s coronavirus scenario is “extra worrying than we have now seen in a number of months” with circumstances surging in lots of nations. “[Vaccines] current our greatest manner out of this pandemic,” he mentioned. “Not solely do they work, they’re extremely efficient in stopping an infection.” In accordance with Our World In Data, simply 11.4 per cent of individuals within the European Union had obtained not less than one dose of a covid-19 vaccine as of 30 March, in comparison with 28.7 per cent within the US, 45.5 per cent within the UK and 60.5 per cent in Israel.

French president Emmanuel Macron announced new restrictions geared toward combating a 3rd wave of coronavirus infections within the nation. Throughout a televised deal with on 31 March, Macron mentioned faculties would transfer to distant studying from subsequent week and that lockdown measures, launched in some components of France earlier in March, could be prolonged to different districts. “All over the place this virus is spreading quicker and quicker, and we see sufferers coming into hospital,” he mentioned, interesting to folks to “restrict their contacts with different folks”.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.81 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 129.1 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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Pfizer BioNtech

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine await use.

Prentice C. James/CSM/Sipa USA/PA Photographs

31 March

Kids “properly protected” by Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine in preliminary trial

Pfizer introduced that trials of its covid-19 vaccine in children point out 100 per cent efficacy in these aged 12 to fifteen. The corporate mentioned that each one 18 circumstances of covid-19 among the many 2260 trial contributors had been within the placebo group, with no circumstances amongst those that had obtained the vaccine. “The preliminary outcomes we have now seen within the adolescent research counsel that youngsters are significantly properly protected by vaccination, which could be very encouraging,” mentioned Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of Pfizer’s companion BioNTech, in a statement. “It is extremely essential to allow them to get again to on a regular basis faculty life and to satisfy family and friends whereas defending them and their family members,” mentioned Sahin. Outcomes from the trials haven’t but been peer-reviewed or printed.

“When the complete, peer-reviewed papers seem – or when regulators obtain the info straight from the businesses – it’ll open up the way in which to extending vaccination to this age group,” mentioned Peter English, former chair of the British Medical Affiliation public well being drugs committee, in a statement. “It will likely be essential to do that to attain herd immunity,” he mentioned. English mentioned key questions in regards to the Pfizer outcomes stay, comparable to whether or not the vaccine additionally protected youngsters in opposition to asymptomatic an infection and the way efficient it was at defending in opposition to variants of the coronavirus.

Pfizer and BioNTech plan to submit the info to the US Meals and Drug Administration as a proposed modification to the vaccine’s present emergency use authorisation, which is presently to be used in folks over the age of 16 solely. Trials of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine are also under way and Moderna has mentioned it plans to check its covid-19 vaccine in youngsters aged 12 to 17.

Different coronavirus information

Folks recognized as being clinically extraordinarily weak in England and Wales will no longer be advised by the UK government to shield at home, ranging from 1 April. Folks affected by the change have been despatched letters with the up to date data and are nonetheless being suggested to maintain social contacts at low ranges, do business from home the place potential and stay socially distanced from different folks.

Poland reported its highest daily increase in covid-19 deaths to date this yr on 31 March. There have been 32,874 new coronavirus circumstances and 653 deaths from covid-19 inside a single 24-hour interval, in response to knowledge from Poland’s well being ministry.

Russia registered the world’s first covid-19 vaccine candidate for animals. Trials of the vaccine concerned canines, cats, foxes, mink and other animals, mentioned Konstantin Savenkov, head of Russia’s agriculture security watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, on 31 March.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.80 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 128.3 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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AstraZeneca vaccine: New findings present a potential trigger for a small variety of circumstances of a uncommon blood clot syndrome after the shot. Right here’s what it’s essential to know.

Covid memorial

Volunteers work on a memorial for the victims of Covid-19 by portray crimson hearts on a wall exterior St Thomas’ Hospital.

WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

30 March

Weekly covid-19 deaths in England and Wales fall to lowest stage since October

Weekly deaths from covid-19 in England and Wales fell beneath 1000 for the primary time since October, the latest figures from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics present. There have been 963 deaths the place covid-19 was talked about on the loss of life certificates within the week as much as 19 March, down from 1501 the earlier week. It’s the lowest weekly loss of life toll in England and Wales because the week as much as 16 October final yr, when 670 covid-19 deaths had been recorded. That is additionally the primary time weekly deaths have fallen beneath 1000 because the week as much as 23 October when there have been 978 deaths involving covid-19 in England and Wales. The newest figures carry the entire variety of covid-19 deaths within the UK to 150,116.

About half of people in the UK have antibodies in opposition to the coronavirus, by both an infection or vaccination, in response to the newest estimate from a covid-19 an infection survey by the ONS. An estimated 54.7 per cent of individuals in England had antibodies within the week ending 14 March, adopted by 50.5 per cent in Wales, 49.3 per cent in Northern Eire and 42.6 per cent in Scotland. Greater than 30.4 million folks throughout the UK had obtained not less than one dose of a covid-19 vaccine as of 28 March, with greater than 3.6 million folks having obtained two doses. Antibody positivity is rising throughout all age teams, with ranges growing quickest amongst older folks, who’ve been prioritised for vaccines. 

Different coronavirus information

New or modified covid-19 vaccines to sort out coronavirus variants could become necessary within a year or much less, a survey of 77 epidemiologists, virologists and infectious illness specialists throughout 28 nations has advised. Two-thirds of respondents to the survey, performed by the Folks’s Vaccine Alliance, mentioned that first-generation covid-19 vaccines may very well be rendered ineffective by variants of the coronavirus inside a yr or much less whereas 88 per cent mentioned persistent low vaccine protection in lots of nations would enhance the prospect of vaccine-resistance mutations showing.

Authorities in Berlin and Munich in Germany introduced on 30 March that they’re temporarily suspending use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine in folks below the age of 60 over issues about uncommon blood clots in some individuals who obtained it. Germany’s medical regulator has recorded 31 circumstances of a uncommon blood clot within the mind in individuals who had obtained the vaccine. On 29 March, Canada’s Nationwide Advisory Committee on Immunization really useful that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine should not be used in adults under the age of 55, whereas circumstances of uncommon blood clots are being investigated. France and Spain have additionally limited use of the vaccine to older people.

The director of the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, has issued a warning about rising coronavirus cases within the nation. Walensky mentioned she didn’t wish to see the US face one other wave in circumstances and deaths as is presently being seen in many European countries. “I’m going to replicate on the recurring feeling I’ve of impending doom,” she advised a White Home briefing on 29 March, including “we have now a lot motive for hope, however proper now I’m scared”. The US recorded a mean of 56,995 new coronavirus circumstances a day within the week as much as 26 March, a rise of 6.7 per cent in comparison with the earlier week, according to the CDC.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.79 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 127.8 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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Vaccination centre inside a cathedral is shown with people standing at various covid-19 vaccination stations

Members of the general public obtain covid-19 vaccines at Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire, England

Christopher Furlong/Getty Photographs

29 March

Covid-19 vaccine uptake amongst over-70s lowest in Black ethnic teams in England

Evaluation by the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics signifies lower covid-19 vaccine uptake among minority ethnic groups in England in comparison with white British folks. Folks from Black African backgrounds over the age of 70 in England had been 5.5 occasions extra probably to not have obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine between 8 December 2020 and 11 March 2021 in comparison with folks figuring out as white British, after adjusting for age, intercourse, socio-demographic traits and underlying well being circumstances. Folks from Black Caribbean backgrounds in the identical age group had been nearly 4 occasions extra probably to not have obtained a primary dose of vaccine in comparison with these within the white British group, and the equal determine for Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic teams was greater than 3 occasions. 

The evaluation discovered general uptake of the vaccine inside this age group to be excessive – 90.2 per cent of all over-70s resident in England had obtained not less than one dose of covid-19 vaccine in that point interval. However the proportion was decrease amongst all ethnic minority teams in contrast with the white British inhabitants. The speed was lowest amongst Black African folks at 58.8 per cent, adopted by folks figuring out as Black Caribbean (68.7 per cent), Bangladeshi (72.7 per cent) and Pakistani (74 per cent). Among the many white British group, the speed was 91.3 per cent.

Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Well being Observatory told the Guardian: “The observatory stays involved that vaccine uptake for covid-19 is doubtlessly decrease amongst some minority ethnic and non secular teams, and is continuous to urgently discover sensible options to assist help the NHS and its ongoing response to this problem.” Low uptake of covid-19 vaccines amongst ethnic minority teams is especially regarding given that folks from ethnic minority backgrounds are at an increased risk of dying from covid-19

The NHS Race and Well being Observatory recently suggested that the elevated covid-19 mortality amongst ethnic minority sufferers within the UK could also be linked to blood oxygen measuring units known as pulse oximeters working much less properly in darker skinned folks. It has known as for an pressing assessment of pulse oximetry merchandise used within the UK.

Different coronavirus information

A joint World Well being Group-China investigation into the origins of covid-19 suggests transmission of the virus from bats to people by one other animal is the almost definitely origin of the pandemic and that this can be very unlikely that the virus was leaked from a laboratory, in response to a draft copy of their report seen by the Related Press. US secretary of state Anthony Blinken has expressed issues in regards to the report. “The federal government in Beijing apparently helped to write down it,” Blinken advised CNN. A spokesperson from China’s overseas ministry rejected this declare.

The variety of covid-19 patients in intensive care units and hospital surveillance items in France reached 4872 on 28 March, approaching the 4919 such sufferers on 16 November throughout France’s second wave. Medical doctors are warning that they might quickly have to start out turning sufferers away for ICU care, significantly in Paris and the encircling space, in response to the Related Press.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.78 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 127.3 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Pupils return to school

Pupils participate in classes on their first day again from lockdown at Chertsey Excessive Faculty.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Photographs

26 March

Current figures point out circumstances are rising amongst secondary faculty pupils in England

Impartial SAGE – a gaggle of scientists publishing recommendation for the UK authorities – has warned about rising cases of covid-19 among children in England, because the reopening of faculties on 8 March. The newest outcomes from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) present that coronavirus an infection ranges amongst youngsters aged 11 to 16 have risen slightly in England, with 0.43 per cent of secondary faculty age youngsters testing optimistic within the week ending 20 March in comparison with 0.31 per cent the earlier week.  “What must be understood is that the brand new variants are more durable to manage and it appears probably that the restricted reopening of faculties has began to point out up within the knowledge,” mentioned James Naismith on the College of Oxford in a statement.

Total, the share of individuals testing optimistic for the virus seems to have levelled off in England, the ONS evaluation discovered. However there are indicators {that a} decline in new covid-19 circumstances throughout the UK as an entire is slowing. The latest official estimate for the UK’s R quantity the typical variety of folks every coronavirus case infects places it between 0.7 and 0.9, up barely from between 0.6 and 0.9 the earlier week and from between 0.6 and 0.8 two weeks earlier. 

Different coronavirus information

European Union leaders have backed a tightening of vaccine exports from the bloc, following a digital summit on 25 March. Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte mentioned EU leaders had discovered the European Fee’s new vaccine export restrictions “acceptable”, however added that he hoped they’d by no means be used. The brand new export controls allow the EU to dam covid-19 shipments to nations with higher vaccination protection. Former European Fee president Jean-Claude Juncker had criticised the EU’s handling of vaccine exports forward of the summit.

Well being officers in Germany have warned that the third wave of coronavirus infections within the nation shall be “more durable to curb” than the earlier two. Lothar Wieler, head of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, warned that Germany may see as many as 100,000 new infections a day with none intervention. Wieler was talking at a press convention on 26 March, alongside Germany’s well being minister Jens Spahn. “In the meanwhile, the figures are rising too quick and the variants are making the scenario particularly harmful,” mentioned Spahn. “If this continues unchecked, we run the danger [that] our well being system may attain its breaking level in April,” he added.

US president Joe Biden introduced on 25 March that he had doubled his administration’s vaccine delivery goal to 200 million doses throughout his first 100 days as president. The US has administered more than 133 million doses of covid-19 vaccine to date.

A third wave of coronavirus infections in Africa may threaten fragile healthcare methods in some nations, the World Well being Group has warned.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.75 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 125.6 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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Vaccine passports

Employees cross London Bridge throughout the morning rush hour, on the anniversary of Britain’s first coronavirus illness.

REUTERS/Toby Melville

25 March

Vaccine passports could solely be potential as soon as all UK adults are vaccinated, says UK prime minister

It might solely be possible to introduce covid-19 vaccine passports within the UK as soon as all adults have been provided a vaccine, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has mentioned. Vaccine passports have been advised to supply proof that an individual has been vaccinated in opposition to covid-19 or present destructive coronavirus take a look at outcomes for many who haven’t been vaccinated. Johnson advised the BBC “no selections have been taken in any respect” almost about the usage of vaccination certificates within the UK, however added: “I do assume there’s going to be a job for certificates”. A UK authorities assessment into the potential use of vaccination certificates is presently underway with a call anticipated by 12 April, when a deliberate easing of coronavirus restrictions in England is ready to start.

The European Union has additionally been wanting into the possibility of a covid-19 vaccine passport, known as the “digital inexperienced cross”. However the World Well being Group (WHO) has warned in opposition to nations growing vaccine passports, saying it may create inequities. “Certification of vaccination as a requirement for worldwide journey shouldn’t be justified, as vaccination shouldn’t be extensively sufficient accessible and is inequitably distributed all through the world,” mentioned Mike Ryan, director of the WHO’s Well being Emergencies Programme, during a virtual press conference on 15 March.

Different coronavirus information

Former European Fee president Jean-Claude Juncker has criticised the EU over its handling of covid-19 vaccine exports. Juncker advised the BBC’s Hardtalk radio programme the bloc ought to step again from waging a “silly vaccine conflict” with the UK and as a substitute concentrate on rushing up efforts to supply vaccines for residents of its member states. In accordance with Our World In Data, the EU had administered round 13 doses of a covid-19 vaccine per 100 folks as of twenty-two March, in contrast with 38 within the US, 45 within the UK and 113 in Israel. EU leaders are expected to push back in opposition to the bloc’s proposal to make use of new powers to dam covid-19 vaccine shipments to nations with higher vaccination protection, in response to a draft assertion earlier than a digital assembly on 25 March.

AstraZeneca has released additional data from a US trial of its covid-19 vaccine. The extra outcomes point out the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was 76 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19 and 100 per cent efficient at stopping extreme or important illness and hospitalisation. Interim outcomes printed by the corporate on 22 March advised the vaccine was 79 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19. Nevertheless, shortly after the outcomes had been launched, the US Information and Security Monitoring Board told the National Institutes of Health it was involved AstraZeneca could have supplied “outdated data” from the trial in its press launch, giving an “incomplete view” of the outcomes. In response, AstraZeneca released the additional data on 25 March.

Sweden is resuming its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine for folks over the age of 65, whereas Denmark is extending its suspension of the pictures for 3 weeks. The EU’s medicines regulator has mentioned the vaccine is secure and never related to an general enhance within the threat of blood clots, however some nations are conducting their very own critiques. 

The WHO-led COVAX scheme, which is working to produce low and center revenue nations with covid-19 vaccines, is facing delays due to technical issues at a producing plant in South Korea, in addition to resulting from a setback in securing export licenses for additional doses of vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.74 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 125 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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New Scientist Default Image

Astrazeneca Vaccine on the Museum of Science and Know-how, Milan, Italy.

Marco Passaro/Shutterstock

24 March

Vaccine shipments could be assessed primarily based on vacation spot nation’s fee of vaccinations and exports, below proposed new EU controls

The European Fee has proposed stricter controls on covid-19 vaccine exports. Underneath the proposed new measures, to be mentioned by EU leaders on 25 March, any cargo could be assessed primarily based on the vacation spot nation’s fee of vaccinations and vaccine exports. The controls would almost definitely have an effect on vaccine-exporting nations which have increased vaccination charges than the EU, together with the UK and US. “If the nation of vacation spot, which has a big manufacturing capability, restricts its personal exports of vaccines or substances – both by regulation or different means – it could be acceptable to think about whether or not exports to this nation are justified,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president of the European Fee, on 24 March. Dombrovskis mentioned member states and the fee would additionally take into consideration a rustic’s epidemiological scenario, its vaccination fee and the present availability of covid-19 vaccines. 

Individually, India has temporarily suspended exports of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India with a purpose to meet home demand as coronavirus circumstances rise, Reuters reported. The choice will have an effect on provides to the World Well being Group-led COVAX scheme, which is supplying covid-19 vaccine doses to low and center revenue nations.

Different coronavirus information

Kids within the UK could begin receiving covid-19 vaccines in August below provisional authorities plans, the Telegraph reported on 23 March. UK authorities officers are ready for outcomes from a trial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine in youngsters earlier than making a ultimate determination on the rollout. Conclusions from the trial, which includes 300 contributors aged between 6 and 17, are anticipated in June or July. “The [UK’s medicines regulator] won’t but have sufficient knowledge on youngsters and youngsters to present approval for anybody vaccine, and it’s probably multiple trial shall be wanted earlier than approval to be used in below 18s is given,” mentioned Saul Faust on the College of Southampton, UK, in a statement.

Coronavirus cases, hospitalisations and deaths are continuing to surge in Brazil. In accordance with a coalition of Brazilian information teams, a day by day report enhance of 3158 deaths from covid-19 had been reported on 23 March, in addition to 84,996 new circumstances. Brazil is seeing widespread protests after the nation’s president Jair Bolsonaro claimed in a televised deal with on 23 March that folks would quickly be capable to resume their “regular lives”, regardless of the rising loss of life toll and stress on hospitals. In another country’s 26 states, 24 have a covid-19 intensive care bed occupancy of 80 per cent or more, in response to a bulletin printed by Brazilian well being institute Fiocruz on 17 March.

A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in 206 samples within the western state of Maharashtra in India, in response to a authorities official. The brand new variant was additionally detected in 9 samples within the capital New Dehli, Sujeet Kumar Singh, director of India’s Nationwide Centre for Illness Management, advised a information convention.

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel reversed a decision to place the nation below a strict lockdown over Easter, calling the choice to shut retailers and church buildings between 1 and 5 April a mistake.

The UK Well being Safety Company, a brand new organisation being arrange with the objective of preventing and responding to future pandemics, will launch on 1 April, UK well being minister Matt Hancock introduced.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.73 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 124.3 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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Vaccine doubts: Poor communication and lack of transparency from the Colombian authorities are fuelling vaccine hesitancy amongst many Indigenous communities who’re already among the many most weak to covid-19.

Declining vaccine hesitancy: Folks in lots of wealthy nations have gotten extra prepared to have a covid-19 vaccine, matching attitudes in poorer nations the place most individuals say they’d settle for a jab when accessible.

UK Border

UK Border Terminal 3 Heathrow Airport, England, United Kingdom, UK

Jeff Gilbert / Alamy

23 March

Folks in England who journey exterior the UK with out an exemption face £5000 tremendous

New UK laws will imply people in England will face a £5000 fine if they travel exterior the UK or the widespread journey space with out a cheap excuse. Exemptions to the ban embody journey for work, examine or to go to a dying relative. The brand new regulation is because of come into impact on 29 March, topic to a vote by MPs on 25 March. Whereas the brand new regulation won’t expire till 30 June, UK well being minister Matt Hancock advised Sky Information {that a} authorities assessment of worldwide journey – the outcomes of that are due on 12 April – would determine whether or not to permit folks within the UK to take holidays overseas from 17 Could. “The earliest date by which we’ll enable for worldwide journey – with out one of many clear causes you want now – is 17 Could,” mentioned Hancock. “The rationale for that’s we’re seeing this third wave rising in some components of Europe and we’re additionally seeing new variants,” he added.

“I believe conservatively, and being threat averse in the meanwhile, I believe we must be planning on summer season holidays within the UK not abroad,” mentioned Neil Ferguson at Imperial School London. Talking on BBC Radio 4, Ferguson advised everyone must be topic to necessary testing when arriving into the UK.

Different coronavirus information

Info launched by AstraZeneca relating to outcomes from the US trial of its covid-19 vaccine may have included outdated information, in response to a US well being company. The Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments mentioned the trial’s knowledge and security monitoring board had “expressed concern that AstraZeneca could have included outdated data from that trial, which can have supplied an incomplete view of the efficacy knowledge”. On 22 March, AstraZeneca announced that its covid-19 vaccine was discovered to be 79 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19 in a big trial performed within the US, Chile and Peru. In a press release on 23 March, AstraZeneca said: “The numbers printed yesterday had been primarily based on a pre-specified interim evaluation with a knowledge cut-off of 17 February,” including: “We’ll instantly interact with the unbiased knowledge security monitoring board (DSMB) to share our main evaluation with the hottest efficacy knowledge. We intend to subject outcomes of the first evaluation inside 48 hours.” Talking on ABC Information, US health adviser Anthony Fauci said: “That is probably an excellent vaccine,” including: “If you happen to have a look at it, the info actually are fairly good however once they put it into the press launch it wasn’t utterly correct.”

Regeneron and Roche’s antibody cocktail in opposition to covid-19 reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by 70 per cent in non-hospitalised covid-19 sufferers in comparison with a placebo in a trial. The cocktail consists of two antibodies – casirivimab and imdevimab.

Germany’s coronavirus lockdown will be extended until 18 April, German chancellor Angela Merkel introduced as we speak. The nation will enter a good stricter lockdown from 1 to five April, over the Easter interval, when retailers, together with supermarkets, will largely be required to shut.

India introduced it’ll open its vaccination drive to people over the age of 45 from 1 April. Virtually 50 million folks in India have obtained a dose of covid-19 vaccine, with frontline employees, folks over 60 and folks over 45 with comorbidities prioritised to date.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.72 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 123.8 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Vaccine hesitancy in Europe: Greater than half of individuals in France, Germany and Spain consider that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is unsafe, in response to a YouGov ballot, as a 3rd wave of infections hits Europe.

Pandemic impact: The social, cultural and financial harm brought on by the coronavirus pandemic will trigger a decade-long shadow throughout training, psychological well being and public belief within the UK, in response to a landmark report.

Covid third wave

Pedestrians cross Tower Bridge within the Metropolis of London, U.Ok., on Monday, March 22, 2021. Lockdown In The Metropolis Of London At The One-Yr Anniversary

Jason Alden/Bloomberg by way of Getty Photographs

22 March

The UK may quickly be hit by a 3rd wave of infections, says Boris Johnson

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has warned that the UK could soon be hit by a third wave of coronavirus infections much like that presently being skilled by different European nations, together with France, Italy and Germany. France reported greater than 35,000 new coronavirus circumstances on 18 March, in comparison with simply 6303 reported within the UK on the identical day. “Earlier expertise has taught us that when a wave hits our associates, it, I’m afraid, washes up on our shores as properly and I count on that we are going to really feel these results sooner or later,” Johnson advised reporters on 22 March. The most recent official estimate of the UK’s R number – the typical variety of folks every coronavirus case infects – places it between 0.6 and 0.9. An R quantity beneath 1.0 signifies the epidemic is shrinking. However evaluation of the newest outcomes from a random swab testing survey by the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS) point out “there could also be early indicators of a rise [in infections] for the East Midlands” in England within the week ending 13 March, the ONS mentioned in its report.

“An extra wave of [covid-19] within the UK is inevitable. Although whether or not that is within the subsequent few months or later in autumn shouldn’t be sure,” mentioned Paul Hunter on the College of East Anglia in a press release. “How the present surge in circumstances throughout a number of European nations will impression on the UK can also be not sure at current,” mentioned Hunter. How a lot vaccines forestall transmission of the virus is one key issue, he mentioned: “though none of the present vaccines can actually forestall transmission, they actually suppress transmission and can go a good distance in the direction of decreasing the impression of any future wave.”

Different coronavirus information

Boris Johnson is meeting European Union leaders this week, urging them to veto a suggestion from the European Fee that will block Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine exports to the UK. EU leaders are making ready to decide at a summit on 25 March on whether or not to maneuver ahead with a risk to cease exports of the vaccine to the UK from a manufacturing facility within the Netherlands. European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen warned final week that the fee could prohibit exports of covid-19 vaccines to the UK except the UK reveals extra “reciprocity” in vaccine exports. She mentioned the EU remains to be ready for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the UK, whereas 10 million vaccine doses, together with from Pfizer/BioNTech, had been delivered to the UK from EU manufacturing crops.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine was found to be 79 per cent effective at stopping symptomatic covid-19 in a big trial performed within the US, Chile and Peru, AstraZeneca announced on 22 March. The vaccine was 100 per cent efficient at stopping extreme illness and hospitalisation. The trial concerned greater than 32,000 volunteers throughout all age teams. AstraZeneca mentioned an unbiased security committee, which performed a selected assessment of blood clots within the US trial, discovered “no elevated threat of thrombosis or occasions characterised by thrombosis among the many 21,583 contributors receiving not less than one dose of the vaccine” and located “no occasions” of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) – a uncommon kind of blood clot in a significant mind vessel. Information from the trial shall be reviewed by the US Meals and Drug Administration, which is anticipated to take just a few weeks to determine whether or not to present emergency use authorisation to the vaccine.

Coronavirus circumstances are persevering with to surge in Brazil, with the nation’s health systems becoming increasingly overwhelmed. CNN reported on 22 March that in practically each state in Brazil, occupancy charges in intensive care items are at or above 80 per cent. Just a few have exceeded 100 per cent, leading to sufferers being turned away. On 20 March, Felipe Augusto, mayor of the coastal city of Sao Sebastiao advised CNN affiliate CNN Brasil that provides of essential medicine required for intubating sufferers had been resulting from run out within the city after 22 March.

India recorded more than 260,000 new coronavirus cases final week, one of many nation’s largest weekly will increase because the pandemic started.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.71 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 123.3 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Hybrid viruses: Recombinant viruses made up of two coronavirus variants mashed collectively are actually circulating extensively amongst folks, though for now they don’t appear to hold mutations that make them extra harmful.

Intensive care unit

Physician Widad Abdi works within the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) the place sufferers affected by the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) are handled on the Clinique de l’Estree – ELSAN personal hospital in Stains, close to Paris, France.

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

19 March

Germany, France and Italy are amongst European nations seeing rising infections

Coronavirus circumstances have been rising in a lot of Europe in a 3rd wave of infections, with 20 nations within the European Union reporting growing take a look at positivity and 15 nations reporting growing hospital or ICU admissions resulting from covid-19 as of 14 March, in response to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. “We’ve now seen 3 consecutive weeks of development in covid-19 circumstances with over 1.2 million new circumstances reported final week throughout Europe,” mentioned World Well being Group (WHO) Europe director, Hans Kluge, at a press conference on 18 March. Kluge mentioned the faster-spreading B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, which was first detected within the UK, is changing into predominant within the area, with circumstances reported in not less than 48 out of 53 European territories to date. “The variety of folks dying from covid-19 in Europe is increased now than it was this time final yr, reflecting the widespread maintain this virus has,” Kluge added.

Germany started easing some coronavirus restrictions on 8 March however could quickly have to return to stricter guidelines resulting from rising circumstances, the nation’s well being minister Jens Spahn told a news conference on 19 March. “The rising case numbers could imply that we can’t take additional reopening steps within the weeks to return,” he mentioned. “Quite the opposite, we could even need to take steps backwards.” France, which recorded 35,000 new cases on 18 March and reached report numbers of covid-19 sufferers in intensive care in Paris, is introducing a month-long lockdown in its capital and components of the north of the nation. Italy has additionally seen rising circumstances not too long ago and in consequence, Italian authorities reimposed restrictions throughout many of the nation on 15 March.

Different coronavirus information

A number of European nations, together with Germany, France, Italy and Spain, are resuming their rollouts of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, after an investigation by the EU’s medicines regulator concluded its advantages outweigh its dangers. A separate investigation by the WHO international advisory committee on vaccine security came to the same conclusion. Greater than 20 nations had suspended use of the vaccine following experiences of blood clots in some individuals who had obtained it. However inside hours of the European Medication Company’s assertion on 18 March, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and not less than seven different nations mentioned they’d resume vaccinations as early as 19 March. France, nonetheless, has mentioned that solely folks aged 55 and over ought to obtain the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, whereas Norway, Sweden and Denmark have not yet lifted their suspensions of the shot. 

The UK’s R number – the typical variety of folks every coronavirus case infects could have risen barely. The most recent official estimate places it between 0.6 and 0.9, in comparison with the earlier week when it was estimated to be between 0.6 and 0.8. Infections are nonetheless shrinking general at a fee of between 3 and 6 per cent per day, however the fee at which they’re falling has slowed from between 4 and seven per cent per day the earlier week. The findings are consistent with the newest outcomes from a random swab testing survey by the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics, which discovered that circumstances are no longer falling in some parts of the UK and should even be rising in some areas.

Faculty pupils within the US can now sit about a metre apart within the classroom so long as they put on face coverings, the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention mentioned on 19 March. Underneath the up to date steering, pupils are nonetheless suggested to maintain a distance of two metres aside from each other throughout lunch breaks and at sporting occasions or assemblies.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.69 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 121.9 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

AstraZeneca vaccine

Vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, exterior Paris.

Christophe Ena/AP/Shutterstock

18 March

European Medicines Company concludes AstraZeneca vaccine advantages outweigh dangers

The protection committee of the European Medicines Company (EMA), which regulates medicine for the European Union, has concluded that the advantages of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine continue to outweigh the risk of uncomfortable side effects. Following an investigation into experiences of blood clots in some individuals who obtained the vaccine, the committee has concluded that the shot shouldn’t be related to a rise within the general threat of blood clots in those that obtain it, and it’s a secure and efficient technique to forestall covid-19, which is itself related to an elevated threat of blood clots. However the committee remains to be investigating whether or not the vaccine could also be linked to very uncommon circumstances of blood clots related to low ranges of platelets within the blood, together with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) – a blood clot in a significant mind vessel. The EMA mentioned the general variety of blood clots reported after vaccination was decrease than that anticipated within the wider inhabitants.

The EMA mentioned about 20 million folks within the UK and Europe had obtained the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine as of 16 March, and its committee had reviewed 18 circumstances of CVST and 7 circumstances of disseminated intravascular coagulation – blood clots in a number of blood vessels. It’s not but clear if the vaccine brought about these uncommon occasions however the committee mentioned this can be a chance, which it is going to be investigating additional. Many of the uncommon occasions occurred in folks below the age of 55 and the bulk had been ladies. The committee mentioned it’s investigating whether or not there could have been a hyperlink with the oral contraceptive capsule in these circumstances.

Numerous European nations, together with Germany, France, Italy and Sweden, suspended use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine earlier this week as a precautionary measure. It’s as much as particular person nations to determine whether or not to renew administering of the vaccine. “The pandemic is costing lives,” mentioned Emer Cooke, director of the EMA, throughout a press briefing on 18 March. “We’ve vaccines which are secure and efficient, that may assist forestall loss of life and hospitalization. We have to use these vaccines,” she mentioned.

Different coronavirus information

A delay in a delivery of 5 million Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine doses to the UK from India may lead to a discount within the UK’s covid-19 vaccine provide in April. The cargo, produced by the Serum Institute of India, has been delayed by 4 weeks, the BBC reported. The UK’s Division of Well being and Social Care has mentioned the UK stays on monitor to supply a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine to all adults by the tip of July. Greater than 25.2 million folks within the UK have obtained a first dose of covid-19 vaccine to date and greater than 1.7 million have obtained a second shot. However Adam Finn on the College of Bristol, who’s a member of the UK Division of Well being Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, advised BBC Radio 4 that the supply subject was likely to result in a slight delay in vaccinations for folks of their 40s and youthful, which may lead to an increase in infections. 

The UK has warned that there shall be consequences if the EU breaks the law on covid-19 vaccine contracts. “We totally count on these contracts to be delivered on, as a result of there are very important penalties to breaking contract regulation,” UK well being minister Matt Hancock advised parliament. On 17 March, European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen mentioned the fee could prohibit exports of covid-19 vaccines to the UK except the UK reveals extra “reciprocity” in vaccine exports. She mentioned the EU remains to be ready for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the UK, whereas 10 million vaccine doses, together with from Pfizer/BioNTech, had been delivered to the UK from EU crops.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.68 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 121.3 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Hybrid viruses: Recombinant viruses made up of two coronavirus variants mashed collectively are actually circulating extensively amongst folks, though for now they don’t appear to hold mutations that make them extra harmful.

Ursula von der Leyen

European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen.

JOHN THYS/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

17 March

UK overseas minister says EU threats “minimize throughout earlier assurances”

The European Fee could prohibit exports of covid-19 vaccines to the UK to safe extra doses for its personal residents except the UK reveals extra “reciprocity” in vaccine exports, the fee’s president Ursula von der Leyen mentioned on 17 March. “With the US reciprocity is given […] there’s a seamless stream backwards and forwards of pre-products and uncooked supplies and drug substance,” von der Leyen advised a press convention. However she mentioned the EU remains to be ready for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the UK, although 10 million vaccine doses had been delivered to the UK from EU crops. “We’re nonetheless ready for doses to return from the UK, so that is an invite to point out us that there are additionally doses from the UK coming to the European Union in order that we have now reciprocity,” she mentioned. UK overseas minister Dominic Raab told Reuters the risk to ban exports “cuts throughout the direct assurances that we had from the fee”, including: “We count on these assurances and authorized contracted provide to be revered.”

Greater than 25 million people in the UK have now obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine, in response to the UK’s Division of Well being and Social Care. “This newest milestone is an unbelievable achievement,” UK prime minister Boris Johnson mentioned in a press release. “We’re forward of schedule to supply a primary dose to all in these teams by the 15 April and I urge everyone eligible to return ahead,” mentioned UK well being minister Matt Hancock.

Different coronavirus information

UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s former adviser Dominic Cummings has called for an investigation into the federal government’s dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic. Chatting with MPs, Cummings described the UK’s Division of Well being and Social Care as a “smoking damage” on the time the coronavirus disaster hit, highlighting points with the procurement of non-public protecting gear throughout the early phases of the UK’s epidemic in 2020. In response to rising requires an inquiry, UK enterprise minister Kwasi Kwarteng advised Sky Information it would be “premature” to launch one “when the pandemic remains to be throughout us”.

Poland is ready to enter a new nationwide lockdown from 20 March, the nation’s well being minister mentioned. Poland reported 25,052 new coronavirus circumstances on 17 March in its highest day by day toll in 2021 to date. A number of European nations are seeing rising cases, together with Germany, France and Italy.

China is resuming processing of visas for foreigners from a number of nations, however solely for many who have been vaccinated with a Chinese-made covid-19 vaccine, the Guardian has reported.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.67 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 120.9 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Vaccine hesitancy: The overwhelming majority of individuals surveyed in 10 low and center revenue nations mentioned they’d take a covid-19 vaccine, within the first examine to have a look at the query.

Dose delay: The UK’s technique of accelerating the time between covid-19 vaccine doses seems to be working. Canada and Germany have adopted an analogous method, however the US has dominated out altering its coverage.

UK variant: Globally, since late February, coronavirus infections have began to rise once more, primarily linked to the B.1.1.7 variant. The massive query is what occurs subsequent.

Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Avenue for the Home of Commons.

WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/PA Photographs

16 March

Rising stress for UK to launch inquiry into dealing with of pandemic

There’s rising stress for UK prime minister Boris Johnson to launch an inquiry into the UK’s dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic, together with from authorities scientific advisers and well being leaders, the Guardian has reported. Andrew Hayward, a member of the federal government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, advised the Guardian in a private capability that the federal government’s decision-making processes “have to be scrutinised”, with an emphasis on “studying from the longer term slightly than culpability”. Others calling for an inquiry embody Donna Kinnair, normal secretary of the Royal School of Nursing, and Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Affiliation council. A authorities spokesperson mentioned: “We’re targeted on defending the NHS and saving lives and now shouldn’t be the correct time to dedicate large quantities of official time to an inquiry.”

Different coronavirus information

The European Medicines Company (EMA) has reiterated that there is “no indication” that the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine has brought about blood clot incidents. “The variety of thromboembolic occasions general in vaccinated folks appears to not be increased than that seen within the normal inhabitants,” EMA chief, Emer Cooke, told a virtual press conference on 16 March. Cooke added that there have been related experiences about blood clots associated to different coronavirus vaccines authorized to be used in Europe, together with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. On 16 March, Sweden adopted Germany, France, Italy and different European nations in suspending use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Each the EMA and the World Well being Group (WHO) are investigating reports of blood clots in a small quantity of people that had the vaccine. The EMA is anticipated to launch outcomes from its investigation on 18 March.

A member of the World Well being Group (WHO) group investigating the origins of the covid-19 pandemic has mentioned wildlife farms in southern China are the most likely source. An earlier hypothesis proposed by the group was that the virus was first transmitted by way of frozen meals. However Peter Daszak, a member of the investigative group, advised NPR that the choice by China to close down wildlife farms in February 2020 is a robust sign that the Chinese language authorities thought the farms had been essentially the most possible pathway for a coronavirus in bats in southern China to spillover into folks. The WHO is anticipated to launch official findings from the group’s investigation in two weeks. 

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon mentioned she would set out dates for the easing of restrictions in Scotland. She mentioned issues had been set to “get a good bit higher within the weeks and months forward”. Some measures have already been eased in Scotland, with folks allowed to satisfy in bigger teams outside and pupils capable of return to highschool.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.66 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 120.3 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

AstraZeneca vaccine: The variety of blood clotting incidents in vaccinated folks “appears to not be increased than that seen within the normal inhabitants”, the European Medicines Company says. 

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A navy physician holds an Astrazeneca Vaccine vial at a mass coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination drive-through clinic.

Piero Cruciatti/Anadolu Company by way of Getty Photographs

15 March

Germany, France and Italy amongst newest nations to pause AstraZeneca vaccine

Germany, France and Italy are among the latest countries to pause their rollouts of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, following experiences of blood clots in a small quantity of people that obtained the vaccine. The World Well being Group, the European Medicines Company and the UK’s medicines regulator have all mentioned there’s no indication that the vaccine causes blood clots. “We’re intently reviewing experiences however given the big variety of doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can happen naturally, the proof accessible doesn’t counsel the vaccine is the trigger,” mentioned Phil Bryan, vaccines security lead on the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Company in a statement. “Folks ought to nonetheless go and get their covid-19 vaccine when requested to take action,” he mentioned. Roughly 17 million folks within the EU and UK have obtained a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to date, with simply 37 circumstances of blood clots reported as of final week, AstraZeneca said.

“It’s most regrettable that nations have stopped vaccination,” mentioned Peter English, former chair of the British Medical Affiliation public well being drugs committee, in a statement. “It dangers doing actual hurt to the objective of vaccinating sufficient folks to gradual the unfold of the virus, and to finish the pandemic,” mentioned English.

The UK will not follow other nations in suspending use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, a spokesperson for UK prime minister Boris Johnson mentioned on 15 March. Johnson is assured that each the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines in opposition to covid-19 are “secure and efficient”, mentioned the spokesperson, including: “There isn’t any proof of any causal hyperlink between blood clots, and the [Oxford/AstraZeneca] vaccine.”

Thailand delayed its deliberate rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine final week however as we speak introduced that rollout of the shots will resume.

Different coronavirus information

The White Home is anticipated to unveil a public relations marketing campaign aimed at boosting covid-19 vaccine confidence and uptake throughout the US. Individually, US well being adviser Anthony Fauci has urged former US president Donald Trump to encourage his supporters to get vaccinated in opposition to covid-19. “It will make all of the distinction on the planet,” Fauci told Fox News on 14 March.

Germany’s affiliation of intensive care medical doctors is looking for a return to stricter lockdown restrictions, following an increase in coronavirus circumstances. 

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.65 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 120 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Vaccination effort: Even in nations the place vaccines can be found and uptake is excessive, rising points threaten the success of complete vaccination programmes. 

The story of a pandemic: A yr after the World Well being Group first declared the coronavirus a pandemic, we put collectively a video timeline of covid-19, from the primary circumstances in China in December 2019 to 300 million vaccine doses delivered (and counting).

New Scientist Default Image

Medical employee prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to a affected person within the capital Sarajevo, Bosnia.

Kemal Softic/AP/Shutterstock

12 March

International locations ought to proceed utilizing Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, says WHO

The World Well being Group (WHO) has mentioned there’s no evidence that the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine causes blood clots and is urging nations to proceed utilizing it. “It’s crucial to know that, sure, we must always proceed to be utilizing the AstraZeneca vaccine,” mentioned Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson, at a briefing on 12 March. The WHO’s international advisory committee on vaccine security is reviewing experiences of blood clots in some individuals who obtained the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Numerous nations, together with Denmark, Norway and Iceland, have suspended its use as a precautionary measure, whereas Thailand has delayed its rollout of the vaccine, initially scheduled to start on 12 March. There have been 30 cases of blood clots among the 5 million people within the European Union who’ve obtained the vaccine as of 11 March, in response to the European Medicines Company (EMA). 

Greater than 11 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine have been administered within the UK to date, mentioned Phil Bryan, MHRA vaccines security lead, in a press release, including: “Studies of blood clots obtained to date should not better than the quantity that will have occurred naturally in then inhabitants.” The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Company (MHRA) mentioned folks within the UK ought to still go and get their covid-19 vaccine when requested to take action. “There’s presently no indication that vaccination has brought about these circumstances,” the EMA mentioned.

Harris mentioned WHO knowledge reveals that more than 268 million doses of covid-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide and no deaths have been discovered to have been brought on by them. 

Different coronavirus information

Preliminary outcomes from a survey of people that had covid-19 within the UK discovered 93 per cent of respondents reported on-going symptoms, with fatigue being the most typical symptom, reported by 77 per cent of these folks. The following mostly reported symptom was shortness of breath, skilled by 54 per cent of individuals with on-going signs. The survey additionally discovered that in folks below the age of fifty outcomes had been worse for girls than males, with the ladies surveyed greater than 5 occasions extra more likely to report lingering symptoms in comparison with the boys. The preliminary outcomes are primarily based on 325 contributors who had been admitted to one among 31 UK hospitals with covid-19 between 5 February and 4 October 2020. The examine is being performed by ISARIC4C, a UK-wide consortium of medical doctors and researchers learning covid-19.

A covid-19 vaccine developed by Novavax has been found to be 89 per cent effective at stopping covid-19 circumstances in a trial involving greater than 15,000 contributors within the UK. The effectiveness of the vaccine was 96 per cent for prevention of circumstances brought on by the unique coronavirus variant and 86 per cent for circumstances brought on by the B.1.1.7 variant first recognized within the UK. In a smaller trial conducted in South Africa, the place the B.1.351 variant is extremely prevalent, the vaccine was discovered to be 60 per cent efficient among the many 94 per cent of trial contributors who had been HIV-negative, and 49 per cent efficient general.

The UK’s R number – the typical variety of folks every coronavirus case infects – has fallen to between 0.6 and 0.8, it’s lowest level since September, in response to the latest official estimate.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.63 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 118.6 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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Firm brand of pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline is seen at their Stevenage facility.

REUTERS/Matthew Childs/Alamy

11 March

GSK antibody remedy diminished hospitalisation or loss of life by 85 per cent in preliminary trial

An antibody remedy developed by UK agency GlaxoSmithKline and US-based Vir Biotechnology reduced hospitalisation or death by 85 per cent in contrast with a placebo, in response to interim knowledge from 583 trial contributors. The businesses mentioned they plan to use for emergency use authorisation from the US Meals and Drug Administration after an unbiased monitoring committee really useful shortening a trial of the experimental therapy early resulting from proof of “profound efficacy”. The folks included within the trial will proceed to be adopted for one more six months. GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnologies additionally mentioned {that a} new laboratory examine indicated that the remedy, known as VIR-7831, was similarly effective against coronavirus variants first recognized within the UK, South Africa and in travellers from Brazil. Different antibody therapies, together with these developed by Eli Lilly and Regeneron Prescription drugs, obtained suggestions from US and European medicines regulators earlier this yr. 

“This class of drug may very well be particularly essential for these people who find themselves much less protected by vaccines, for instance if their immune system is weakened,” mentioned Alexander Edwards on the College of Studying in a statement. However Edwards mentioned it is going to be essential to attend for a whole set of outcomes from the trial to know how properly VIR-7831 works and unpick the findings. “For instance, who can it deal with, when should they be given the drug, how does it forestall the worst outcomes?” 

Different coronavirus information

Denmark is pausing its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine for not less than two weeks after experiences of blood clots in an undisclosed quantity of people that had the vaccine, together with one one that has reportedly died. “This can be a super-cautious method,” mentioned Stephen Evans on the London Faculty of Hygiene and Tropical Medication in a statement. “The issue with spontaneous experiences of suspected opposed reactions to a vaccine are the large problem of distinguishing a causal impact from a coincidence,” he added. Individually, Austria suspended use of a batch of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on 7 March to analyze a loss of life from blood clotting issues and a case of pulmonary embolism. Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg have reportedly additionally halted use of the batch. The European Medicines Company mentioned there was no proof to date linking the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to the 2 Austrian circumstances, including that the variety of folks reporting blood clots after receiving the vaccine was no increased than among the many normal inhabitants, with simply 22 circumstances among the many 3 million individuals who had obtained it as of 9 March.

Moderna has begun trialling a coronavirus vaccine booster shot focused on the B.1.351 coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa. Earlier findings indicated the corporate’s present two-dose routine generates a weaker antibody response in opposition to the B.1.351 variant, in comparison with the unique virus. The primary contributors have now obtained the modified vaccine in an modification to an on-going medical trial, Moderna announced on 10 March. The examine includes 60 contributors beforehand vaccinated with the corporate’s authentic pictures, who will obtain a 3rd shot of both one other dose of the unique vaccine or the booster shot at a low or excessive dose.

Folks experiencing homelessness, together with these sleeping tough, shall be prioritised for covid-19 vaccines in England in accordance with recommendation from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). “Folks experiencing homelessness are more likely to have well being circumstances that put them at increased threat of loss of life from covid-19,” Wei Shen Lim, covid-19 chair for the JCVI, mentioned in a press release. “The recommendation will assist us to guard extra people who find themselves at better threat, guaranteeing that fewer folks develop into severely unwell or die from the virus.”

Coronavirus deaths
The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.62 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 118.2 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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A person sporting a protecting go well with works at a cemetery in Chislehurst, because the unfold of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) continues

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

10 March

Research signifies B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant recognized within the UK is extra lethal

The B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first recognized within the UK is between 32 and 104 per cent more deadly than previous dominant variants, in response to a examine published in the BMJ. The examine in contrast loss of life charges amongst folks within the UK contaminated with B.1.1.7 or different variants of the coronavirus. Earlier analysis has indicated the variant can also be extra transmissible. “The exact mechanisms accountable for elevated mortality related to the variant stay unsure however may very well be associated to increased ranges of virus replication in addition to elevated transmissibility,” mentioned Lawrence Younger on the College of Warwick in a statement.

Different coronavirus information

The UK hasn’t imposed a ban on the export of covid-19 vaccines, UK prime minister Boris Johnson advised parliament on 10 March. Johnson’s feedback are available in response to claims made by European Council president Charles Michel a day earlier that the UK and US have imposed “an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine parts produced on their territory”. Johnson advised MPs: “Let me be clear, we have now not blocked the export of a single covid-19 vaccine or vaccine parts.” Michel has since tweeted that there are “alternative ways of imposing bans or restrictions on vaccines/medicines”. European Fee spokesperson Eric Mamer declined to remark particularly on Michel’s statements throughout a press briefing in Brussels. The EU has confronted provide points with a number of covid-19 vaccines and in January launched a system of controls on exports of vaccines manufactured within the bloc.

Well being methods in most of Brazil’s largest cities are approaching collapse due to covid-19 circumstances, its main well being institute, Fiocruz, has warned. Greater than 80 per cent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds are occupied within the capitals of 25 of Brazil’s 27 states and 15 state capitals have ICUs which are at greater than 90 per cent capability, Fiocruz has mentioned. The cities of Porto Alegre and Campo Grande have exceeded their ICU capability. Final week, Fiocruz mentioned that the P.1 coronavirus variant was one among a number of “variants of concern” which have develop into dominant in six of eight states it had studied.

Medical doctors and public well being researchers have warned that “the UK’s colour-blind vaccination mannequin disregards the unequal impression of the pandemic on minority ethnic teams”. In an article, printed within the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, they argue “the invisibility of those weak teams from the precedence checklist and the worsening healthcare inequities and inequalities are placing ethnic minorities at a considerably increased threat of covid-19 sickness and loss of life”. A Division of Well being and Social Care spokesperson told Sky News: “The unbiased JCVI’s [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation] recommendation on covid-19 vaccine prioritisation was developed with the intention of stopping as many deaths as potential, with older age being the one biggest threat of loss of life. We’re following the JCVI suggestions in order that we save lives.”

UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak has defended his role within the UK’s covid-19 response after extracts from Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott’s new guide Failures of State had been published in the Times. The extracts embody point out of a authorities science adviser blaming Sunak for his “one-eyed method in placing the nation’s funds first”. When requested in regards to the subject in parliament on 9 March, Sunak mentioned: “In any respect steps on this disaster we have now certainly taken the recommendation of our scientific advisers.” 

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.61 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 117.7 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Immunity tracking: New “immunity tracker” exams that declare to measure your exact antibody ranges after an infection or a covid-19 vaccine are on the market, however the outcomes won’t be as helpful as they appear.

Evolving virus: The technique of vaccinating the eldest first could save essentially the most lives within the brief time period, but additionally has the best threat of making variants that escape vaccine immunity.

Face mask pioneer: The ten March Google doodle celebrates Wu-Lien teh, who helped to finish the Manchurian plague outbreak of 1910-11 with the usage of cotton and gauze face masks he designed.

Vaccine dosing: Small examine reveals individuals who have beforehand been contaminated with the coronavirus make related ranges of antibodies after one dose of covid-19 vaccine as folks usually have after two pictures.

Chris Whitty

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty throughout a media briefing in Downing Avenue, London.

Leon Neal/PA Wire/PA Photographs

9 March

UK science and medical advisers urge warning on easing of restrictions in England

England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty cautioned MPs against lifting coronavirus restrictions in England sooner than deliberate, saying this might enhance the dimensions and severity of future surges in infections. “It’s very simple to neglect fairly how shortly issues can go unhealthy if you happen to don’t maintain a really shut eye on them,” said Whitty. “What we don’t wish to do is to speed up into hassle after which need to reverse straight again out once more, open issues up and instantly shut them down,” he mentioned. “All of the modelling suggests there’s going to be an extra surge.” Whitty was giving proof to MPs on the commons science and expertise committee alongside the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance. Requested why encouraging knowledge couldn’t result in an accelerated easing of restrictions, Vallance mentioned that three to 4 weeks had been wanted to generate and analyse knowledge, which exceeds the one-week discover that the federal government desires to present of adjustments to guidelines. “I believe if you happen to truncate that you’re basically flying blind,” Vallance advised the committee. 

Different coronavirus information

Greece’s tourism minister Harry Theocharis has mentioned people who find themselves vaccinated in opposition to covid-19, have antibodies or take a look at destructive for the coronavirus can travel to Greece during the summer of 2021. “All vacationers shall be topic to random testing,” Theocharis advised the ITB Berlin commerce present on 9 March. It has been reported that the UK authorities is contemplating the potential of the NHS coronavirus app featuring a digital health passport, which might carry data on vaccinations and take a look at outcomes. UK prime minister Boris Johnson mentioned on 8 March that vaccine passports for worldwide journey shall be “a function of our life sooner or later”. 

Johnson & Johnson told the European Union it is facing supply issues that might disrupt plans to ship 55 million doses of its covid-19 vaccine to the bloc within the second quarter of 2021, Reuters experiences. The EU has already confronted points associated to the provision of different covid-19 vaccines, together with these made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which consists of a single shot, is anticipated to be authorized by the European Medicines Company on 11 March and the corporate has dedicated to ship 200 million doses to the EU in 2021.

Short-term Nightingale hospitals in-built England throughout the first wave of covid-19 shall be closed in April, the NHS introduced. From April, the websites will transition again into areas for native NHS companies, with some for use as testing centres or covid-19 vaccination websites.

Coronavirus deaths
The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.6 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 117.2 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Mixing indoors: Vaccination means freedom to combine in personal properties with out social distancing or sporting masks, US authorities have mentioned, however the steering is deemed too dangerous for the UK.

Children return to school

Yr 9 college students put on protecting face masks as they participate in classes on the primary day again in school.

REUTERS/Toby Melville

8 March

Return of pupils is first step in England’s ‘roadmap’ for relieving lockdown

Pupils in England started to return to school as we speak for the primary time since a nationwide lockdown started in January. Main faculties reopened totally however pupils can return to secondary faculties provided that they take a look at destructive for coronavirus. Most secondary faculties are phasing reopening to permit this testing to be accomplished. Since January, most pupils in England have been doing classes on-line, with solely the youngsters of key employees allowed to bodily attend faculties. 

The testing of secondary faculty pupils is being accomplished with the fast exams generally known as lateral stream units. Their use is controversial as a result of they’re much less correct than customary PCR exams, and there’s a increased threat of false positives and false negatives. Initially, authorities ministers mentioned pupils who examined optimistic with a lateral stream take a look at wouldn’t be allowed to return to highschool even when a subsequent PCR take a look at got here again destructive. At this time a spokesperson for the prime minister mentioned pupils may return if a PCR take a look at got here again destructive. A modelling study released today means that the usage of lateral stream exams in faculties shall be useful if mixed with different measures comparable to isolating contacts.

The reopening of faculties is step one within the “roadmap” for relieving the lockdown in England. On 29 March the federal government plans to ease restrictions on outside conferences and sports activities, with many companies being allowed to reopen from 12 April.

Different coronavirus information

New Zealand has elevated its order of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to 10 million doses, sufficient to vaccine your complete inhabitants of practically 5 million folks. Nevertheless, the complete order won’t arrive till the second half of the yr. New Zealand has managed to remove the coronavirus however has had occasional outbreaks, together with a current cluster brought on by the extra transmissible B.1.1.7 variant from the UK. No new circumstances have been reported since a week-long lockdown in Auckland ended. In February, the nation started vaccinating border and quarantine employees.

Folks within the US who’ve been vaccinated shall be allowed to satisfy others indoors with out sporting masks, and also will not be required to isolate if they’re uncovered to identified covid-19 circumstances, in response to new guidance issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We all know that folks wish to get vaccinated to allow them to get again to doing the issues they take pleasure in with the folks they love,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky. The steering applies to people who find themselves two weeks previous the tip of their vaccine routine – which suggests two doses of the Pfizer/Biontech or Moderna vaccines, or one Johsnon & Johnson shot. Nevertheless, provided that we don’t but know the way a lot vaccines forestall folks from catching and transmitting the virus, it’s nonetheless potential that vaccinated folks could infect others. Almost 10 per cent of the US inhabitants has now been vaccinated.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.59 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 116.9 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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World Well being Group Director-Common Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press convention

FABRICE COFFRINI/EPA-EFE/Shutter

5 March

Covid-19 vaccine patents must be waived, says WHO chief

World Well being Group (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has mentioned he supports the temporary waiving of covid-19 vaccine patents to allow nations to fabricate and promote vaccine copies at diminished price. “I don’t consider that globally we’re exercising our full manufacturing muscle at current. For instance, some producers haven’t been capable of produce profitable vaccine candidates, which is to be anticipated, however their manufacturing amenities may very well be repurposed for these vaccines which have been confirmed to work,” he wrote in the Guardian. “Waiving patents briefly gained’t imply innovators miss out. Like throughout the HIV disaster or in a conflict, corporations shall be paid royalties for the merchandise they manufacture.” 

World Commerce Group member states are set to discuss a proposal by India and South Africa subsequent week to waive guidelines on mental property for covid-19 medicine and vaccines. Worldwide, 265 million doses of covid-19 vaccines have been administered, with 80 per cent in simply 10 nations, mentioned Mike Ryan, govt director of the WHO’s Well being Emergencies Program, during a social media Q&A on 3 March.

Different coronavirus information

Australia has requested the European Fee to review its decision to approve Italy’s blocking of a cargo of covid-19 vaccine doses to the nation. In January, the European Fee launched a mechanism to permit monitoring the export of covid-19 vaccines produced within the European Union, and on 4 March Italy blocked a cargo of 250,000 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine being despatched to Australia. “Australia has raised the difficulty with the European Fee by a number of channels,” Greg Hunt, Australia’s well being minister, advised journalists on 5 March. Japan can also be involved in regards to the export ban. The nation’s vaccine minister advised Reuters: “We wish to work with the Ministry of International Affairs to safe the vaccines sure for Japan.” Germany’s well being minister expressed concern in regards to the export ban, saying it may disrupt international covid-19 vaccine provide chains.

Willingness to obtain a covid-19 vaccine has risen in the UK and globally in current months, in response to a survey on attitudes in the direction of vaccination in 15 nations, performed by researchers at Imperial School London. In February, 77 per cent of individuals surveyed within the UK mentioned they’d settle for a covid-19 vaccine if one was accessible to them, up from 55 per cent in November. Different nations included within the ballot had been Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and Sweden. Scepticism in regards to the vaccine was highest in France, with solely 40 per cent of respondents in February saying they’d settle for a covid-19 vaccine, though this nonetheless represents a rise from 25 per cent in November. 

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.57 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 115.7 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Long covid vaccine: Folks with lasting signs after a covid-19 an infection, generally known as lengthy covid, usually tend to get well than worsen after receiving a vaccine, in response to a web based survey

Zero-covid countries: As plans are made for worldwide journey to renew, covid-free nations could have to attain herd immunity by vaccination earlier than letting the remainder of the world in.

Vaccine fast track

LICHFIELD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 26: A nurse attracts up a vaccine as members of the general public obtain their Covid-19 vaccinations.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Photographs

4 March

Approval of covid-19 vaccines modified to work in opposition to virus variants may very well be accelerated within the UK

Covid-19 vaccines which have been modified to enhance their effectiveness in opposition to new coronavirus variants could be fast-tracked for approval in an analogous technique to annual flu vaccines, in response to new steering from the UK’s medicines regulator. Vaccine producers would wish to supply sturdy proof that the modified vaccine produces a adequate immune response, for instance launch of antibodies into the blood, however wouldn’t have to conduct prolonged medical trials that don’t add to understanding of the vaccine’s security and effectiveness. “Our precedence is to get efficient vaccines to the general public in as brief a time as potential, with out compromising on security,” mentioned Christian Schneider, chief scientific officer on the UK company overseeing drugs, in a statement. “The general public must be assured that no vaccine could be authorized except the anticipated excessive requirements of security, high quality and effectiveness are met,” he added. A number of producers of covid-19 vaccines are already engaged on tweaking them to sort out coronavirus variants.

The B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first recognized within the UK is between 43 and 90 per cent extra transmissible than the unique virus, a examine printed within the scientific journal Science has estimated. “With out stringent management measures, together with restricted closure of instructional establishments and a significantly accelerated vaccine roll-out, covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths throughout England in 2021 will exceed these in 2020,” the authors of the examine write of their paper, including that the unfold of the variant at related charges in different nations, together with Denmark, Switzerland and the US, is “regarding”.

Different coronavirus information

The European Medicines Company (EMA) has introduced a rolling review of the Sputnik V covid-19 vaccine developed in Russia. The Sputnik V vaccine prompted concern amongst immunologists final yr after it was authorized in Russia in August earlier than any detailed outcomes from superior medical trials had been launched. However in early February, interim outcomes from a part III trial indicated the vaccine is 91.6 per cent effective at stopping symptomatic covid-19. World Well being Group Europe director Hans Kluge advised a press briefing on 4 March that the EMA’s announcement was a “welcome growth”, including that: “[in Europe] we desperately have to enlarge our portfolio of vaccines”. 

Italy has blocked a shipment of 250,000 Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine doses to Australia. In January, the European Fee launched a mechanism to allow monitoring of covid-19 vaccines produced in Europe and being exported out of the European Union. 

The speed of covid-19 Infections in England is shrinking less quickly than it was earlier in 2021, in response to recent results from the REACT examine by researchers at Imperial School London. The examine signifies one in 204 folks had been contaminated between 4 and 23 February, down solely barely from one in 196 throughout the interval between 4 and 13 February, suggesting the autumn in infections seen since January has slowed.

Germany is anticipated to approve the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine to be used in folks over the age of 65.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.56 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 115.3 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Pandemic origins: From habitat degradation to squalid animal therapy, our half in permitting “zoonotic” ailments like covid-19 to leap into people is changing into ever clearer.

Naming variants: The names given to new coronavirus variants and micro organism may be troublesome to make use of or perceive. Utilizing a pre-generated checklist of names could be higher, says Mark Pallen.

Children in lockdown: The covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions have impacted youngsters’s psychological well being – which has already been declining for years within the UK and US.

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Susan Partitions of Martinsburg receives her enhance dose at a coronavirus illness (COVID-19) neighborhood vaccination occasion.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

3 March

US to have sufficient covid-19 vaccines for all adults by finish of Could

US president Joe Biden introduced the US is on monitor to have enough covid-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate its whole grownup inhabitants by the tip of Could. “Nice information, however keep vigilant,” mentioned Biden. “It’s not over but,” he added. Greater than 76 million folks within the US have obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine to date equal to about 23 per cent of the inhabitants. Not all adults shall be vaccinated by the tip of Could, because the vaccines will take time to manage, however the nation is on monitor to satisfy Biden’s goal of delivering 100 million doses in his first 100 days in workplace. 

The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, introduced that the state will lift its requirement for people to wear face coverings and can enable companies to reopen at full capability subsequent week. That is in distinction to recommendation from the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, which on 1 March warned of a possible fourth surge of circumstances earlier than the vast majority of folks within the nation are vaccinated.

Different coronavirus information

A preliminary examine led by researchers on the College of Bristol, UK, signifies {that a} single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalisation with covid-19 by about 80 per cent amongst folks aged 80 and over. The outcomes add to earlier findings from an analysis by Public Health England, which discovered {that a} single dose of both vaccine is 80 per cent efficient at stopping hospitalisation amongst folks over 80. “This provides to rising proof displaying that the vaccines are working to scale back infections and save lives,” Mary Ramsay, Public Well being England’s head of immunisation, told the BMJ

Austria will obtain an additional 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine to manage to all adults within the Schwaz district of the Tyrol province, the place there are currently 66 active cases of individuals contaminated with the B.1351 coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa.

UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak announced an additional £1.65 billion to help the UK’s covid-19 vaccine rollout within the newest price range.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.55 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 114.8 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Fighting Ebola alongside covid-19: Guinea has vaccinated over 1000 folks within the two weeks since its newest Ebola outbreak was declared, together with shut contacts of these contaminated.

Vaccinations cut death rate in over 80s

An aged affected person receiving the COVID-19 vaccination

Andrew Aitchison / In Footage v

2 March

Deaths from covid-19 in England and Wales are falling quickest amongst folks over 80

Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales are falling fastest among people aged 80 and over, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) counsel, indicating that the vaccination programme has had an impression on deaths from the illness. Folks aged 80 and over had been included within the high 4 precedence teams for covid-19 vaccination. In accordance with evaluation of ONS knowledge by the Guardian, 1622 folks aged 80 and above had been reported to have died from covid-19 within the week as much as 19 February, down from 5300 4 weeks earlier and equal to a discount of 69 per cent. Amongst folks aged between 70 and 79, there was a discount in covid-19 deaths of 65 per cent over the identical interval, and the equal determine was 55 per cent for folks aged 0 to 69. 

“Along with the proof for discount of hospitalisations after each the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, the message is obvious: vaccines work for these 80+ and 70+ and they’re saving lives,” mentioned Zania Stamataki on the College of Birmingham in a statement

Greater than 20.2 million people within the UK as an entire had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 1 March.

Different coronavirus information

The seek for an individual who examined optimistic for the P.1 variant of coronavirus in England has been narrowed down to 379 households within the south-east of the nation, UK well being minister Matt Hancock advised parliament on 2 March. Six circumstances of the P.1 coronavirus variant, first detected in folks travelling from Brazil to Japan, have been identified in the UK. “We’re grateful that a lot of potential circumstances have come ahead,” mentioned Hancock.

Germany is anticipated to start easing some coronavirus restrictions from 8 March. Underneath new draft guidelines, a most of 5 folks from two households could be allowed to satisfy. Presently, conferences are restricted to a most of two folks. Some retailers and salons would even be allowed to reopen. The draft plans for relieving measures shall be mentioned by nationwide and state authorities leaders on 3 March.

A World Well being Group (WHO) panel is advising against the use of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to deal with covid-19 sufferers. In a statement, the panel mentioned hydroxychloroquine is “now not a analysis precedence” and that “assets must be used to judge different extra promising medicine to stop covid-19”.

The WHO has mentioned it’s “unrealistic” to expect the coronavirus pandemic will be over by the tip of 2021. “I believe it is going to be very untimely, and I believe unrealistic, to assume that we’re going to complete with this virus by the tip of the yr,” Michael Ryan, govt director of the WHO’s Well being Emergencies Program, advised a press convention on 1 March.

Coronavirus deaths

Covid deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.54 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 114.5 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Brazil coronavirus variant

BRISTOL, ENGLAND – MARCH 1: A employee takes a coronavirus take a look at by the window of a automotive.

Matthew Horwood/Getty Photographs

1 March

Well being officers in England try to hint individual contaminated with P.1 virus variant

Efforts are underway in England to trace a person infected with the P.1 coronavirus variant, after they used a house testing equipment however didn’t full a registration kind. The P.1 variant was first recognized in individuals who had been travelling from Brazil to Japan on 10 January, and the contaminated individual is one among six circumstances of the P.1 variant detected within the UK in February. Three of the six circumstances had been detected in England and the remaining three in Scotland. Public well being officers are interesting for anybody who hasn’t but obtained a end result from a take a look at on 12 or 13 February to return ahead by calling 119. Since 15 February, travellers arriving in England from 33 nations – together with Brazil – have been required to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days. In Scotland, the resort quarantine rule applies to all worldwide arrivals.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson mentioned the federal government has no intention to reverse its plans to ease coronavirus restrictions in England. “Our entire technique is to go ahead in a manner that’s cautious however irreversible. And we don’t assume that there’s any motive on this foundation to alter that now,” he advised journalists on 1 March. Underneath the federal government’s present plans, faculties in England are anticipated to reopen on 8 March. To help this deliberate reopening of faculties, the federal government has mentioned that households with youngsters at school will be capable to test themselves for coronavirus twice every week from house, freed from cost.

Throughout the UK, more than 20 million people have obtained a primary dose of a covid-19 vaccine.

Different coronavirus information

The first covid-19 vaccinations by the World Well being Group’s COVAX scheme had been administered in Ghana and Ivory Coast on 1 March. “This can be a day many people have been dreaming of,” mentioned WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press release. “I’m positive that by COVAX and worldwide solidarity we will attain essentially the most at-risk in all places. World equitable entry to life-saving vaccines is the surest technique to save lives and rebuild economies,” he mentioned. Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire obtained 600,000 and 504,000 doses respectively of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine licensed and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

The European Fee plans to current a proposal on creating an EU-wide digital covid-19 passport, which may enable EU residents to journey extra freely inside the bloc throughout the summer season. The “digital inexperienced cross” would supply proof that an individual has been vaccinated in opposition to covid-19 or coronavirus take a look at outcomes for many who haven’t been vaccinated. “The intention is to steadily allow them to maneuver safely within the European Union or overseas – for work or tourism,” mentioned European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen. 

The US Meals and Drug Administration has authorised Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. The primary doses of the vaccine shall be transported to US states on 1 March.

Coronavirus deaths

Covid deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.53 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 114.2 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Coronavirus vaccine

A healthcare skilled attracts up a dose of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

OLI SCARFF/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

26 February

One dose of Pfizer vaccine reveals 75 per cent discount in asymptomatic infections

There’s but extra excellent news on vaccine effectiveness. A examine primarily based on practically 9000 coronavirus exams accomplished on healthcare employees in Cambridge, UK, has discovered that asymptomatic infections fell by 75 per cent 12 days after they bought one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. There was an analogous discount in symptomatic infections.

The discovering is critical as a result of it reveals the vaccine will significantly scale back the unfold of the virus. It was already clear from medical trials and former research that the Pfizer vaccine is extremely efficient at stopping symptomatic infections however we didn’t know how many vaccinated people might still get infected with out signs and doubtlessly cross the illness on to others.

“This can imply a considerable discount in transmission of the virus as an increasing number of individuals are vaccinated, which is de facto nice information,” examine chief Mike Weekes on the College of Cambridge, told the Guardian.

Different coronavirus information

Fifty million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been given to folks within the US since President Joe Biden took workplace 37 days in the past, taking the entire to round 67 million. Biden had promised to ship 100 million doses in his first 100 days, so his administration is heading in the right direction to comfortably beat this goal. However he warned that things will not return to normal soon. “This isn’t a victory lap. Every little thing shouldn’t be fastened. We’ve an extended technique to go. And that day when every thing is again to regular depends upon all of us,” Biden mentioned.

New Zealand has reported one more locally acquired case of coronavirus. The contaminated individual went to work at a quick meals restaurant on Monday despite being told to isolate at house. However officers say the small cluster of circumstances in Auckland is below management, and haven’t imposed one other lockdown on the town. “This can be a scenario the place we all know the supply of the circumstances [and] we all know the place there could have been contact with others,” mentioned Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.5 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 113 million, in response to Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

See earlier updates from February 2021, January 2021, November/December 2020, and March to November 2020.

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