CDC Panel Considering More Boosters; Register South Africa …

Pfizer and BioNTech said a large study showed that a booster dose of their Covid vaccine restored full protection, which supports the case for a wider third dose administration. An advisory panel to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is discussing additional doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The UK reported the highest number of new cases since July.

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, said it is expected to resume exports for Covax’s global sharing initiative in early November after India hits a milestone in its vaccination campaign.

Important developments

DeSantis is calling back Florida lawmakers

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he will recall Republican-dominated state legislation to crack down on employers’ Covid-19 vaccine mandates. The goal is to prevent employers from dismissing workers because of vaccination status, he said on Thursday.

“We want to make sure that people in Florida are protecting their livelihoods and jobs,” said DeSantis in Clearwater, Florida.

DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott are the most prominent Republican leaders trying to defy President Joe Biden and blunt US employers’ vaccine mandates.

The UK has reported the most cases since July

The UK, already under pressure to reintroduce restrictions, reported 52,000 positive Covid cases on Thursday – most since July 17.

Hospital stays exceeded 8,000, an increase of more than 1,000 from a week earlier. A heavy rollout of vaccines means daily deaths remain relatively low, compared to more than 1,800 earlier this year.

WHO urges G20 to accelerate vaccine donation

High- and middle-income countries have now distributed almost half as many booster vaccines as the total number of vaccines given in low-income countries, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference on Thursday. The G20 countries have pledged to donate 1.2 billion doses of vaccine to Covax, the global program for the fair distribution of vaccines, and 150 million have been delivered.

“Most donations don’t have a schedule – we don’t know what’s coming when,” said Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Without transparency, we cannot have equity.”

Around 500 million doses of vaccine will be produced by the G20 meeting at the end of the month, he said. This is the number of additional doses needed to meet WHO’s goal of vaccinating 40% of the population in each country by the end of the year.

Around 82 countries run the risk of missing this target: three out of four do not have enough supplies, while the others have only limited ability to absorb vaccines.

Morocco suspends further flights

Morocco has suspended flights with Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands, said the country’s national airline, Royal Air Maroc.

Royal Air Maroc said in a statement that it is doing this “by decision of the national authorities and after the pandemic situation”. Flights to Russia were also suspended earlier this month.

Thailand, Israel open to more tourists

According to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, Thailand plans to allow fully vaccinated tourists from 46 low-risk countries to enter the country without mandatory quarantine from May 1.

That’s more than a previous plan to allow arrivals from an initial 10 nations as many countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia have announced the same strategy, Prayuth said.

Israel also announced that foreign nationals who have received full doses of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines will be allowed to enter from November 1.

CDC panel rates Moderna boosters

A panel of experts advising the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet Thursday to discuss booster vaccines for Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that Moderna vaccine recipients aged 65 and over can get a third vaccination, as can other adults at high risk for severe Covid, at least six months after their first vaccination. The agency also approved J&J boosters for people aged 18 and over who had received the single vaccine at least two months ago.

India is nearing resumption of exports to Covax

India is expected to resume exports of Covid-19 vaccines to Covax’s global exchange body by the end of this month or early November, the head of the world’s largest vaccine maker said, citing increased production and inventory build-ups after the country made a major The milestone had been exceeded in its vaccination campaign on Thursday.

Initially, only “very small quantities” of around 20 million doses per month would be delivered by the end of the year, said Adar Poonawalla, the chairman of the board of the Serum Institute of India, in an interview from January “significantly” increased if India reaches the vaccination targets and other local manufacturers manage to expand.

Pfizer Booster restores protection

Pfizer and BioNTech said a booster of their Covid-19 vaccine restored full protection in a large study.

A booster was 95.6% effective against symptomatic Covid in the study, in which 10,000 people aged 16 and over were followed, the companies said on Thursday. The data can help regulators decide how far boosters should be used, as the fast-spreading delta variant drives up infection rates.

Separate research by Israel’s Clalit Research Institute and Harvard University showed that teenagers who received two doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine had a much lower risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19, with the risk of infection decreasing by 90%.

Moscow is being sealed off more tightly

Moscow will implement its toughest lockdown since the beginning of the pandemic last year as Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the virus situation was developing according to the “worst-case scenario”.

Most stores and businesses, except for essential services, will be closed from October 28 to November 7, while schools and kindergartens will be put on vacation, according to Sobyanin.

The restrictions are stricter than the nationwide non-working days ordered by President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. Russia saw record numbers of new infections and deaths on Thursday, while the number of cases rose unchecked by low vaccination numbers.

Tokyo loosens restaurant curbs

Tokyo is expected to start pulling back restrictions on operating hours and alcohol service in bars and restaurants starting Monday as coronavirus cases decline across the country and authorities try to open up more parts of the economy.

The daily recorded Covid-19 cases in Tokyo have fallen to double digits since October 9, after reaching more than 5,000 for several days in August during a wave powered by the Delta variant.

Indonesia tightens air travel measures

Indonesia is tightening air travel measures to ensure that an expected increase in passenger numbers before the end of the year holidays does not lead to a renewed surge in infections.

According to Wiku Adisasmito, spokesman for the Covid-19 task force, airlines must assign dedicated seats to all passengers who show symptoms during the flight, even if they tested negative for the virus before departure.

Deaths and infections in Ukraine rise to record highs

Ukraine reported a record of 22,415 new infections every day and 546 Covid deaths. Hospital stays and the number of Covid patients requiring intensive care are increasing, with nearly 90% of hospital beds occupied in some regions. The government has no plans for a complete lockdown, although access to business premises and public services is only available to people who have been vaccinated or recently tested.

Latvia became the first country in the European Union this week to resume major closings.

Flares in northwest China continue to increase

China reported 20 local infections on Thursday after a flare-up in northwestern provinces, with cases spreading across the country to areas like Beijing. At least eight provinces have reported infections in the past week, fueling concerns that China may see another widespread outbreak.

Lanzhou, the capital of northwestern Gansu province, closed schools Thursday after a handful of cases were discovered. Local authorities also closed entertainment venues, conferences and lookouts, and residents were asked not to leave the city unless necessary. Many cases reported in other provinces have been linked to Gansu.

Southwest Yunnan Province reported three asymptomatic cases amid growing concerns over the spread of infections from neighboring Myanmar. DM

With the support of Dong Lyu, Kateryna Choursina, Ville Heiskanen and Corinne Gretler.

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