Libya launches Covid-19 vaccination drive after delays
Libya’s new unity government launched a long-delayed Covid-19 vaccination programme after receiving some 160,000 vaccine doses over the past week, with the prime minister receiving his jab on live television, Reuters reports.
Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh called it a “blessed day” in the fight against Covid-19 after receiving his shot, without saying which vaccine he had been given. At least 100,000 of the doses that arrived this week were Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
South Asia surpasses grim milestone of 15m Covid-19 cases: Reuters tally
Coronavirus infections in the South Asia sub-region have surpassed the grim milestone of 15 million, a Reuters tally shows, led by India’s record daily infections and vaccine shortages.
South Asia — India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, and Sri Lanka — accounts for 11 per cent of global cases and almost six per cent of deaths. India, the country with the third-highest coronavirus total, accounts for over 84pc of South Asia’s cases and deaths.
Pakistan, the second-hardest hit in the region, is in its third wave, recording more than 700,000 cases and 15,000 related deaths. It has seen a sharp rise in cases in the past 10 days. Officials say there are now more people in intensive care than at any other point during the pandemic.
China's Covid-19 vaccine output to hit 3 billion by year-end: official
China will likely have produced 3 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of the year, a National Health Commission official said.
Zheng Zhongwei, who also heads a team coordinating the country’s Covid-19 vaccine development projects, made the comment during an industry event in the city of Chengdu in southwestern China’s Sichuan province.
“In the second half of this year, we are fully capable of meeting our own demand,” Zheng said.
Existing restrictions to be extended till April 13: NCOC
The government has decided to extend coronavirus restrictions in place till April 13, according to a statement released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
The NCOC session, chaired by Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, concluded that further discussions and decisions on non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) during Ramazan will take place on Monday with a particular focus on the mechanism of their implementation.
The NCOC session also discussed Pakistan's Covid-19 inoculation campaign during Ramazan and said a sufficient quantity of vaccines was scheduled to arrive after mid-April.
Cambodian PM threatens quarantine-breakers with jail
Cambodia's strongman premier Hun Sen threatened quarantine-breakers with jail time and warned civil servants they could lose their jobs if they go unvaccinated, as the country grapples with a growing coronavirus caseload, AFP reported.
In the past two days Cambodia has registered more than 1,000 infections — many among garment workers and market vendors — bringing the country's tally to 4,081 cases and 26 deaths.
Authorities this week banned travel between provinces, imposed a night-time curfew in the capital Phnom Penh and shut down popular tourism sites including the famed Angkor Wat archaeological park. Wearing face masks is now mandatory in Phnom Penh and violators face a fine of up to $250.
But Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened harsher measures, saying anyone who flouts a two-week quarantine period would face a “quick trial” and jail time.
Calls to tackle vaccine hesitancy as African Union drops AstraZeneca
Wariness about taking AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine in Africa could be compounded by the African Union’s decision to halt plans to procure the shot, health experts said, calling for public awareness programmes to fight misinformation.
The African Union (AU) said its announcement was not related to recent findings by European and British medicine regulators that there are possible links between the vaccine and extremely rare blood clots, but rather a case of diversifying options.
Still, experts said the timing of the announcement could fuel vaccine hesitancy.