Sindh reports no Covid-related death after over six months
Moderna says its Covid-19 vaccine protective, safe in young children
Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) said on Monday its Covid-19 vaccine generated a strong immune response in children aged six to 11 years and that it plans to submit the data to global regulators soon.
Moderna said its two-dose vaccine generated virus-neutralising antibodies in children and safety was comparable to what was previously seen in clinical trials of adolescents and adults. It cited interim data that has yet to be peer reviewed.
It was unclear when US regulators will weigh in on the shot. The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is authorised for adults over the age of 18 years and is waiting for a response to its June application for children aged 12 through 17.Read More
Four more Covid deaths take K-P toll to 5,722
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) reported at least 34 new Covid-19 cases during the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 177,553.
According to health officials, four more patients succumbed to the deadly virus as the death toll reached 5,722.
As many as 88 patients recovered overnight, lifting the total to 169,278.
Russia's COVID-19 cases hit record as some regions impose curbs
Russia reported its highest single-day COVID-19 case tally since the start of the pandemic as some regions imposed a workplace shutdown to combat a surge in infections and deaths.
Faced with worsening infection rates and frustrated by the slow take-up of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine by its own population, authorities are introducing stricter measures this week to try to slow the spread of the pandemic.
President Vladimir Putin last week declared that October 30 to November 7 would be paid non-working days but said every region could extend that period or start it earlier depending on the epidemiological situation.
Poland may tighten COVID-19 curbs if cases keep growing, says minister
Poland will need to consider tighter COVID-19 restrictions if average daily cases exceed 7,000, the health minister was quoted as saying on Monday, as the government warned that infections were almost doubling each week.
Central and eastern Europe, where vaccination rates are lower than in the west of the continent, has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks, with officials in Poland urging the public to get vaccinated and follow the restrictions in place.
"If, at the end of October, we are at an average level of over 7,000 cases per day, we will have to consider taking some more restrictive steps," Adam Niedzielski was quoted as saying by state-run news agency PAP. "Decisions will be made at the beginning of November."
New Zealand reports second-highest daily COVID-19 cases in pandemic
New Zealand reported 109 new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Monday, the bulk of them in its largest city, Auckland, as the country saw its second-worst day of daily infections since the pandemic began.
Once the poster child for stamping out COVID-19, New Zealand has been unable to beat an outbreak of Delta variant of COVID-19 centred in Auckland, despite the city remaining under a strict lockdown for more than two months.
The country over the weekend also reported the first community case of the virus in its South Island in nearly a year, a cause for further headache, though health officials said the risks of a further spread from the case remained low.
Red Cross urges action for Papua New Guinea as COVID-19 overwhelms health system
Concerted international action is needed to support Papua New Guinea as a surge in COVID-19 cases overwhelms the Pacific country's health system, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Monday.
Coronavirus cases in the island nation of 9 million have been surging in recent weeks, with 385 new cases recorded on Thursday, according to latest available government data.
There have been 26,731 officially confirmed cases and 329 deaths in the country 150 km (90 miles) north of Australia.
Fauci says vaccines for kids between 5-11 likely available in November
Vaccines for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 will likely be available in the first half of November, top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Sunday, predicting a timetable that could see many kids getting fully vaccinated before the end of the year.
"If all goes well, and we get the regulatory approval and the recommendation from the CDC, it's entirely possible if not very likely that vaccines will be available for children from 5 to 11 within the first week or two of November," Fauci said in an interview with ABC's This Week.
US Food and Drug Administration officials are reviewing the Pfizer/BioNTech application seeking authorization of its 2-dose vaccine for younger children, with its panel of outside advisers scheduled to weigh in on Oct. 26.
Covid-19 claims 9 more lives in Pakistan
At least nine more Covid-19 related deaths and about 698 positive cases were reported in 24 hours across Pakistan.
According to the National Command and Operation Centre's statistics, 42,095 tests were conducted and positivity ratio remained 1.65 per cent.
There are 1,524 patients are still in critical care.
Another five fall prey to Covid-19 in K-P as fatalities rise to 5,718
Five more people died from coronavirus in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) during the past 24 hours, taking the fatalities to 5,718.
According to health authorities, 79 new cases emerged in the province as the tally jumped to 177,519.
As many as 139 patients also recovered overnight, lifting the total to 169,190.
Festivities in India come with fear of virus surge
As India celebrates its festival season, with gatherings and events taking place nationwide, health experts have called for stepped-up precautions and vigilance to hold off a new wave of COVID-19 infections.
The number of daily coronavirus cases has been declining in most parts of the country, having peaked at 400,000 in May and now hovering around 20,000.
Extra precautions are needed to prevent another spike in cases, as the eastern state of West Bengal reported a rise in infections after the annual Hindu festival of Durga Puja.
"We know from various global experiences that when large gatherings take place, whether for religious festivals or tourism purposes, there’s always a rise in the number of cases," Chandrakant Lahariya, a Delhi-based epidemiologist and public health expert, told Anadolu Agency.Read More
As outbreak worsens, Covid-19 cases in eastern Europe near 20 million
Coronavirus cases in eastern Europe will soon surpass 20 million, according to a Reuters tally on Sunday, as the region grapples with its worst outbreak since the pandemic started and inoculation efforts lag.
Countries in the region have the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, with less than half of the population having received a single dose.
Hungary tops the region's vaccination rates with 62% of its population having gotten at least one shot, whereas Ukraine has given just 19% of its residents a single dose, according to Our World in Data.
New infections in the region have steadily risen and now average over 83,700 new cases per day, the highest level since November last year, Reuters data through Friday showed. Although it has just 4% of the world's population, eastern Europe accounts for roughly 20% of all new cases reported globally.
According to a Reuters analysis, three of the top five countries reporting the most deaths in the world are in eastern Europe - Russia, Ukraine and Romania.
Punjab's total Covid cases up by 171
Punjab tally for confirmed coronavirus cases reached 439,003 on Saturday after the province recorded another 171 cases.
At least eight more died of the deadly infection, taking the provincial death toll to 12,892.
A total of 418,237 people have fully recovered from the virus in Punjab.
Melbourne to ease more Covid curbs as 80% vaccination rate nears
Melbourne, the world's most locked-down city that emerged from its latest spate of Covid-19 restrictions on Friday, will see more curbs eased next week when Victoria state reaches an 80% full vaccination rate, officials said on Sunday.
Home to about five million people, Melbourne endured 262 days, or nearly nine months, of stay-at-home restrictions during six lockdowns since March 2020, longer than the 234-day continuous lockdown in Buenos Aires.
Starting on Friday, when 80% of people across Victoria - of which Melbourne is the capital - are expected to be fully vaccinated, Melburnians will be free to travel throughout the state and masks will no longer be required outdoors.
Pakistan records 591 fresh Covid cases, 18 fatalities in a day
According to the government's official Covid portal, Pakistan recorded a total of 591 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, whereas 18 more fatalities were also recorded.
The number of active cases in the country currently stands at 23,917. However, Pakistan has so far recorded a total of 1,268,536 cases of Covis-19 since the pandemic started.
At least 28,377 people have succumbed to the infection, while as many as 1,216,242 have recovered.
Five more Covid fatalities take K-P toll to 5,713
Five more people died from coronavirus in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) during the past 24 hours, taking the fatalities to 5,713.
According to health authorities, 91 new cases emerged in the province as the tally jumped to 177,440.
As many as 156 patients also recovered overnight, lifting the total to 169,051.
FDA says benefits outweigh risks for Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children
Scientists at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday that the likely benefits of giving the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to 5 to 11-year-olds clearly outweigh the risks of rare cases of heart inflammation.
Earlier on Friday, the vaccine makers said their shot showed 90.7% efficacy against the coronavirus in a clinical trial of children 5 to 11 years old.
The details were in briefing documents published ahead of a meeting of a panel of outside experts scheduled to vote on Tuesday whether to recommend the FDA authorize the shots for the young age group.
COVID-19 deaths in Russia hit record for fifth straight day as lockdown looms
Russia reported 1,075 COVID-19 deaths, its fifth straight daily record, as the authorities prepare to shut workplaces countrywide and lock down the capital.
A record 37,678 new cases were also reported. Despite developing one of the world's first vaccines against COVID-19, Russia has vaccinated only about a third of its population, one of the lowest rates in Europe.
President Vladimir Putin this week approved a nationwide workplace shutdown in the first week of November, and the capital Moscow will reimpose a partial lockdown from Oct. 28, with only essential shops such as pharmacies and supermarkets allowed to remain open
Australia's Melbourne enjoys weekend of eased COVID curbs after long lockdown
Melbourne, Australia's second-biggest city, began its first weekend out of the world's longest string of COVID-19 lockdowns with spontaneous street parties, live music and packed pubs, bars and restaurants.
Home to about five million people, Melbourne endured 262 days, or nearly nine months, of restrictions during six lockdowns since March 2020, longer than the 234-day continuous lockdown in Buenos Aires.
Despite rain on Saturday morning, people queued for barbers and breakfast restaurants, all of which are open only to the fully vaccinated.
Late on Friday, people broke into a spontaneous street party in Melbourne's southeast and many rejoiced with their first drink in months in a pub with friends, social media footage showed.
More than 38 million people fully vaccinated against Covid-19: Asad Umar
Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said that over 100 million anti covid vaccines have been administered in the country.
Sharing this in a tweet today, he said the vaccine has been administered to about 68 million people. Over 38 million people have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 while 30 million people have got one vaccine.
The Minister stressed that it is highly important that the people who have got their first dose also get the second vaccine.
UK scientists probe Delta subvariant after rise in cases
British health officials on Friday said they were formally looking into a subvariant of the Delta strain of the coronavirus, after it was seen in a growing number of cases.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), a public health protection body, said AY.4.2, which was last week seen in six per cent of cases, had been "designated as a variant under investigation" but not yet a "variant of concern".
"The designation was made on the basis that this sub-lineage has become increasingly common in the UK in recent months, and there is some early evidence that it may have an increased growth rate in the UK compared to Delta," the agency said.
"More evidence is needed to know whether this is due to changes in the virus' behaviour or to epidemiological conditions," it added.Read More
Friday prayers resume in Tehran after nearly 2-year hiatus
Mass Friday prayers resumed in Tehran after a 20-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, state TV reported.
The prayers at Tehran University, a gathering of religious and political significance, came as authorities warned of a sixth wave of the coronavirus, which has so far claimed 124,928 lives in Iran and afflicted more than 5.8 million.
On Saturday, schools with less than 300 students are also due to reopen.
Also starting on Saturday, government employees, except those in the armed forces, will be barred from work if they are not vaccinated at least with a first dose, according to a government circular released earlier this week.
The government says more than 28.2 million people have so far received a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.Read More
US urges all WTO members to support intellectual property waiver for Covid vaccines
The White House on Thursday called on all World Trade Organization members to support an intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines.
"We ... need every WTO member to step up as well and support an intellectual property waiver, and every company must act ambitiously and urgently to expand manufacturing now," White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
A year after South Africa and India introduced a proposal to temporarily waive intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines and therapies at the WTO, negotiations have failed to make any progress. read more
More than 100 countries backing the waiver say it will help save lives by allowing developing countries to produce COVID-19 vaccines, but the European Union and several countries, including Switzerland, remain opposed.Read More
Parts of China toughen COVID curbs to fight new outbreak
A new COVID-19 outbreak has spurred parts of China to increase restrictions on movement, with the capital Beijing sealing off some areas and northwestern regions imposing a range of transport curbs and closing public venues.
China, where the coronavirus was first identified in late 2019, reported 28 new domestically transmitted cases for Thursday, more than double the 13 cases a day earlier, health authority data showed on Friday.
The numbers are tiny compared to elsewhere in the world, but Chinese cities are quick to contain outbreaks under tough national guidelines of zero tolerance.
Many Indians unlikely to be fully vaccinated by year-end despite ample COVID shots
Tens of millions of Indian adults are unlikely to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of 2021, despite ample supplies, due to an unusually large gap between the doses of the most widely-used vaccine and growing complacency as cases fall.
The locally-produced AstraZeneca vaccine which is known as Covishield has a 12 to 16 week gap between doses, in contrast to the 8 to 12 week gap recommended by the World Health Organization.
Based on current trends, the Covishield dosage gap means more than 200 million people will be eligible for their second dose only in late January even if all of them were to get their first shot on Friday.
Melbourne reopens as world's most locked-down city eases pandemic restrictions
Melbourne residents flocked to the city's pubs, restaurants and hair salons in the early hours of Friday after the world's most locked-down city emerged from its latest spate of restrictions designed to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Australia's second-largest city has so far endured 262 days, or nearly nine months, of restrictions during six separate lockdowns since March 2020, representing the longest cumulative lockdown for any city in the world.
Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, last year went through 234 straight days of lockdown.
Pfizer, BioNTech say COVID-19 booster shot showed high efficacy in large study
A booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech was 95.6% effective against the coronavirus when compared to a vaccinated group that did not get the third shot, data from a large study released by the companies showed on Thursday.
The companies in a release said the booster was tested on 10,000 participants aged 16 and older who had received two doses in its earlier trials.
A booster administered about 11 months after the second shot had a favourable safety profile and worked against the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, they said. The data has not been submitted for peer review.
US CDC signs off on Moderna, J&J COVID-19 vaccine boosters, mix-and-match shots
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the COVID-19 vaccine boosters for recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots, and said Americans can choose a different shot from their original inoculation as a booster.
CDC director Rochelle Walensky signed off on the recommendations late on Thursday, aligning the agency with the US Food and Drug Administration's authorization on Wednesday for the additional boosters and "mix-and-match" dosing.
Walensky said that vaccines authorized in the United States "are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant" of the coronavirus.
10 new Covid-19 cases recorded in Balochistan
At least 10 people contracted coronavirus in Balochistan during the past 24 hours, taking the tally to 32,176.
The health department said in a statement that Covid-19 death toll stood at 354 as no new fatalities were reported in the province.
As many as 31,734 patients have recovered from the disease so far, it added.
Russia reports cases of more contagious COVID-19 variant
Russia has reported some COVID-19 infections with a new coronavirus variant believed to be even more contagious than the Delta one, the RIA news agency said.
It is possible that the AY.4.2 variant will spread widely, RIA quoted the state consumer watchdog's senior researcher Kamil Khafizov as saying.
That could cause the rate of new COVID-19 cases, already at record highs in Russia, to rise even further.
India celebrates 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses with song and dance
India celebrated the milestone of administering 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses on Thursday, with the government promoting the achievement in song and video even as a recent drop in inoculations worries healthcare providers.
After a slow beginning in the middle of January, India's immunisation campaign has covered three-quarters of its 944 million adults with at least one dose but only 31% with two. The government wants all adults to get vaccinated this year.
"India scripts history," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter. "We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of (1.3 billion) Indians."
Minister Asad calls for meeting vaccination targets to avoid 5th wave
Planning Minister Asad Umar has stressed the need for meeting the vaccination targets to avoid the fifth wave of COVID-19.
In a tweet, he said if a large number of people remain unvaccinated, we remain vulnerable despite sharp decline in cases.
The minister said the second dose is vital for protection against COVID-19.
He said best vaccination progress has been reported in Islamabad, Peshawar, Gilgit and Mirpur while the progress is good in Skardu, Charsadda and Sargodha.
However, he said district administrations and health teams need to improve vaccination process in Hyderabad, Nowshera, Faisalabad, Quetta, Karachi, Mingora and Mardan.
Pfizer vaccine very effective against Delta variant in adolescents
The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection and symptomatic disease from the Delta variant among 12- to 18-year-olds, research conducted in Israel shows.
The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, will likely provide further reassurance the shot is effective against the variant among younger people as the U.S. drug watchdog considers authorising use of the vaccine on children as young as five.
The study found the estimated vaccine effectiveness against documented COVID-19 infection in adolescents was 90%, and 93% against symptomatic COVID-19, on days seven to 21 after the second dose.
Parts of northern China brace for more COVID-19 lockdowns
Parts of northern China are bracing for more COVID-19 curbs as a wave of cases raises concerns of a broader outbreak, with three areas enforcing lockdowns, some schools halting classes, and an aerospace firm delaying work on a rocket project.
China reported 13 new domestically transmitted cases for Oct. 20, bringing the total number since Oct. 16 to 42, data from the National Health Commission (NHC) showed on Thursday.
Alxa Left Banner, a small administrative division in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, said late on Wednesday it had imposed a lockdown and would test its population of 180,000, after the city of Erenhot and a division called Ejina Banner barred people from leaving amid local outbreaks.
Russia to complete Sputnik V procedures requested by EMA this year: report
Russia is finalising paperwork required to complete certification of its Sputnik V vaccine by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the RIA news agency reported on Thursday.
RIA cited the Russian healthcare ministry as saying that it also expected an EMA mission to visit the country this year.
The EU drug regulator is unlikely to decide whether to approve Sputnik V until at least the first quarter of 2022 because some data needed for the review was still missing, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Putin approves paid leave across Russia to curb Covid-19 surge
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he supports a proposal to introduce paid non-working days across the country from October 30 to November 7 to contain a hike in Covid-19 infections and related deaths.
Local authorities can launch the days off earlier or extend them if necessary, Putin told a government meeting.
The proposal was made by Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova on Tuesday and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin called it "a necessary measure".
Russia is experiencing its toughest period since the pandemic began, with daily new infections and coronavirus-related deaths repeatedly hitting record highs.Read More