Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Ukraine approves Chinese vaccine as COVID-19 cases hit new record high
Ukraine has approved China’s Sinovac vaccine to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the health ministry said on Saturday, after the country recorded a record rise in new COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row. Ukraine received its first batch of 215,000 Sinovac doses in March to boost its vaccination program, which has lagged behind many other European countries and it has so far relied on a single batch of AstraZeneca vaccines from India.
Taiwan says first batch of COVAX vaccines to arrive Sunday
Taiwan’s first batch of COVID-19 vaccines via the global initiative COVAX will arrive on the island on Sunday, almost 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said on Saturday. Taiwan, which has kept the pandemic under control thanks to early and effective prevention, began its vaccination campaign only last month, also with AstraZeneca shots, after getting 117,000 doses directly from the drugmaker.
U.S. CDC: travel ‘low risk’ for vaccinated people; not recommending trips
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely travel at “low risk” but still did not recommend Americans doing so because of high coronavirus cases nationwide.
The CDC’s shift in guidance should be a shot in the arm for the travel industry, which is still struggling from the dip in passengers since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
U.S. administers 157.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines – CDC
The United States has administered 157,606,463 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Friday morning and distributed 204,719,335 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The tally is for Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Friday, the agency said.
Australia to continue AstraZeneca vaccination despite blood clotting case
Australia will continue its inoculation program with AstraZeneca PLC, health officials said on Saturday, after a blood clotting case raised concern about the safety of the vaccine. A 44-year-old man was admitted to a Melbourne hospital with clotting, days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, suffering serious thrombosis, a condition that prevents normal blood flow though the circulatory system.
Turkey begins administering Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shots
Turkey on Friday began administering Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 shots, introducing a second vaccine in its campaign as new cases reached record highs. Turkey has so far delivered nearly 16.6 million doses of the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, including two shots each for about 7.1 million people and one shot each so far for about 2.4 million people.
CDC updates guidance to cruise ship industry, urges vaccinations
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention on Friday issued new guidance to the cruise ship industry, including the need for COVID-19 vaccinations, a necessary step before passenger voyages can resume. The new technical instructions, the first update since October, include increasing from weekly to daily reporting frequency of COVID-19 cases and illnesses and implementing routine testing of all crew based on a ship’s COVID-19 status and establishing a plan and timeline for vaccination of crew and port personnel.
France sees biggest jump in COVID-19 intensive care patients in months
PARIS (Reuters) – France reported on Friday that 5,254 people were in intensive care units with COVID-19, an increase of 145 people in one day and the highest daily increase in five months. The risk of emergency wards being unable to cope was one of the main reasons for President Emmanuel Macron to order a third nationwide lockdown this week, after unsuccessfully trying for months to contain the epidemic with a curfew and regional lockdowns.
Philippines’ Duterte extends coronavirus curbs in capital, nearby provinces
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has extended a strict lockdown in the capital region and adjacent provinces by at least one week to try to contain a renewed surge in coronavirus infections, his spokesman said on Saturday. The Philippines, which has the second-highest COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, reported 12,576 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, putting further strain on the healthcare system.
China reports 26 new COVID-19 cases; Myanmar link seen in Yunnan
Mainland China reported 26 new COVID-19 cases on April 2, up from nine a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said on Saturday, as officials in the country’s southwest linked a local outbreak to Myanmar. The National Health Commission said seven of the new cases were local infections in Yunnan province, where a COVID-19 cluster has emerged in the city of Ruili bordering Myanmar.