France's new wave of Covid infections expected to peak end-July: scientist
A new wave in France of Covid-19 infections fuelled by emerging variants of the disease should peak towards end-July, the French government's top scientific adviser Jean-Francois Delfraissy said.
“The peak is not yet here, this peak of infections will probably be for end-July,” Delfraissy told RTL radio.
“Then the BA.5 variant will reappear, if it is not overtaken by another variant ...in autumn,” he added.
30th Jun, 12:54 PM
South Korea authorises AstraZeneca Covid therapy for vulnerable people
South Korea has authorised AstraZeneca PLC's antibody-based therapy for preventing Covid-19 infection in people with a poor immune response, increasing its options as it works to ease the pandemic burden on the healthcare system.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety granted emergency use authorisation for 20,000 doses of Evusheld for individuals aged 12 years and older who have not been exposed to the coronavirus, Reuters reports.
Nearly 87 per cent of South Korea's 52 million people are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, while 65pc have also had a booster, government data showed.
However, individuals with compromised immune systems or those with a history of severe adverse reaction to vaccines may need alternative prevention options.
30th Jun, 12:48 PM
Pakistan reports 641 Covid cases, highest daily infections since March 10
Pakistan has reported 641 coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours — the highest number of daily cases in over three months since March 10, when the daily tally was 723 cases.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 18,813 Covid tests were conducted across the country yesterday, while two people died from the deadly virus. The national positivity rate now stands at 3.41 per cent.
Data from the health department shows that Karachi has been the most affected city in the recent wave with a positivity rate of 19.09pc. In the last 24 hours, 2,043 tests were conducted in the city of which 390 came out positive.
Pakistan has reported 40 coronavirus cases and one death over the past 24 hours.
The country's infection tally has risen to 1,528,518 and death toll from the virus has climbed to 30,372.
2nd May, 9:20 AM
Greece lifts Covid curbs for travellers ahead of key summer season
Greece lifted Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday for foreign and domestic flights, its civil aviation authority said, ahead of the summer tourism season that officials hope will see revenues bouncing back from the pandemic slump.
To fly in or out of the country, travellers were previously required to show either a vaccination certificate, a certificate saying they had recovered from coronavirus or a negative test, according to Reuters.
From May 1, passengers and crew will need only to wear a face mask, the civil aviation authority said.
The summer tourism season typically begins after the Greek Orthodox Easter, which was on April 24. Greece is expecting high numbers of visitors this year, with officials predicting revenues reaching 80 per cent of 2019 levels. That was a record year before the pandemic brought travel to a halt.
1st May, 1:15 PM
As Beijing tightens Covid curbs, hard-hit Shanghai sees signs of life
China's capital Beijing tightened Covid restrictions on as it battled an outbreak, while Shanghai let some of its 25 million residents venture out for light and air after reporting a second day of zero infections outside of quarantine areas.
Shanghai's outbreak, which began in March, has been China's worst since the early months of the pandemic in 2020. Hundreds of thousands have been infected and the city has forbidden residents from leaving their homes, to great public anger, Reuters reports.
The outbreak in China's most populous city and the risk of a spread in Beijing are testing the government's zero-Covid approach in a year when Xi Jinping is expected to secure an unprecedented third term as president.
China's lockdowns to control the spread of Covid-19 are “cruel” and Taiwan will not follow suit, Premier Su Tseng-chang said.
Having controlled the pandemic with tough border controls and quarantines, Taiwan has been dealing with a surge in domestic infections since the start of this year, with some 75,000 infections driven by the Omicron variant.
But with more than 99 per cent of those having mild or no symptoms, a handful of deaths so far and high vaccination levels, the government has moved to ease restrictions as it seeks normalcy and to gradually reopen the island of 23 million people to the outside world.
Speaking during a visit to Taiwan's Centres for Disease Control, Su said their pandemic-containment measures had been “praised by the world”. “We will not lock down the country and cities as cruelly as China,” he said, adding Taiwan's methods were “gradual”.
30th Apr, 4:12 PM
Chinese Omicron-specific mRNA Covid vaccine candidate to be trialled in UAE
China's Suzhou Abogen Biosciences Co has said its Covid-19 vaccine candidate using the messenger RNA (mRNA) technology and targeting the Omicron variant has obtained clinical trial approval in the United Arab Emirates.
With the announcement, Abogen joins Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna in trialling candidates modified specifically against Omicron, a highly transmissible variant with increased resistance to antibodies elicited by existing shots, Reuters reported.
Besides the UAE, Abogen was communicating with regulators in China and other countries on potential clinical trials for the Omicron-specific candidate, it said in a statement.
30th Apr, 12:30 PM
Pakistan's Covid-19 tally rises by 65
Pakistan has reported 65 coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, following which the country's infection tally has risen to 1,528,412.
Meanwhile, no coronavirus-related fatalities have been reported and the death toll stands at 30,371.
29th Apr, 6:28 PM
South Africa says it may be entering fifth Covid wave
South Africa may be entering a fifth Covid wave earlier than expected after a sustained rise in infections over the past 14 days that seems to be driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants, health officials and scientists have said.
The country that has recorded the most coronavirus cases and deaths on the African continent only exited a fourth wave around January and had predicted a fifth wave could start in May or June, early in the southern hemisphere winter, Reuters reported.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla told a briefing that although hospitalisations were picking up there was so far no dramatic change in admissions to intensive care units or deaths.
Infectious disease specialist Richard Lessells told the same briefing that waning immunity from previous waves could be contributing to the earlier-than-expected resurgence in cases.