Some Chiapas townships dominated by the Zapatista rebels have rejected other government programs, but it was unclear whether they were among those refusing vaccines
Covid-19 has killed over 3M people and infected more than 140M others globally. Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments for April 17: Estela Rosa, 19, who is 8 months pregnant, is pictured at her house where she lives with five other people in the Cidade de Deus slum, during the Covid-19, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 22, 2020. (Reuters) Saturday, April 17
Brazilians told to delay pregnancy plans amid virus surge
Brazil's health ministry has recommend that women living in the country delay any pregnancy plans due to the virus.
Speaking in Brasilia, Raphael Parente, from the Brazilian Ministry of Health advised young women “to wait so the situation gets better.”
He said that although there was no formal research carried out, there was some evidence to suggest that the Brazilian variant of the virus showed “more aggressiveness” in pregnant women compared to last year.
Germans visit Moscow for Sputnik V vaccines
A group of German tourists travelled to Russia to get vaccinated against the virus amid vaccine shortages in Europe.
Around 50 Germans flew to Moscow from Frankfurt to get their first shot of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine as part of the vaccine tour organised by the German office of European Tour Operators.
During the three-night trip tourists are getting vaccinated by a Russian private clinic at a hotel and combine it with sightseeing of lockdown-free Moscow.
Weekend shutdown in Delhi as virus grips India
New Delhi went into a weekend lockdown Saturday as India faces a ferocious new virus wave, with more than 200,000 fresh daily cases and families clamouring for drugs and hospital beds.
Hopes that South Asian countries might have beaten the pandemic have been dashed with India seeing over two million new cases this month alone and Bangladesh and Pakistan imposing shutdowns.
Guatemala blocks travel from Brazil, UK and South Africa in new measure
Guatemala will restrict entry to visitors who have recently been to Brazil, the United Kingdom and South Africa in an effort to control a jump in virus cases, President Alejandro Giammattei said.
The measure will go into effect on Saturday and last through April 30, applying to tourists who have been to those countries within the prior two weeks, Giammattei said in a public address.
He noted that Guatemala had registered 5,813 new infections in the last five days, bringing the total in the Central American country to 210,667 confirmed cases.
Mexico says 14 townships refuse vaccines
Mexican health authorities said that 14 of the country’s roughly 2,600 townships have refused to allow vaccination teams to administer anti-coronavirus doses there, and a convoy transporting vaccines came under an armed attack in another part of the country.
The army said gunmen opened fire on soldiers escorting a shipment of vaccines in the western state of Michoacan. Nobody was injured and the convoy delivered the vaccines. But when soldiers returned to scene, gunmen again opened fire. One man was arrested and five assault rifles were seized.
Thailand reports 1,547 cases
Thailand reported 1,547 new virus cases and two additional deaths, amid a third wave of infections in the Southeast Asian country.
The new cases took the total number of confirmed infections to 40,585, with 99 fatalities.
Germany reports 23,804 cases – RKI
The number of confirmed virus cases in Germany increased by 23,804 to 3,123,077, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed. The reported death toll rose by 219 to 79,847, the tally showed.
Australia to continue review of vaccinations – health minister
Australia will continue its review of vaccines after a 48-year-old woman's death was likely linked to the inoculation, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
On Friday, Australia reported its first fatality from blood clots in a recipient of AstraZeneca's shot.
It was the third case of the rare blood clots appearing in people who have been administered the vaccine in the country.
“The government will ask ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) to ensure continuous review of all of the vaccines in terms of their safety and its efficacy,” Hunt said at a televised briefing.
India reports another record daily rise in infections
India reported a record daily increase of 234,692 infections over the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed.
It was the eighth record daily increase in the last nine days.
Total cases reached nearly 14.5 million, second only to the United States which has reported more than 32 million infections.
India's deaths from the virus rose by 1,341 to reach a total of 175,649, the data showed.
Mainland China reports 15 new cases vs 11 a day earlier
Mainland China reported 15 new cases on April 16, up from 11 cases a day earlier, the country's national health authority has said.
The National Health Commission, in a statement, said one of the new cases was a local infection reported in southwestern Yunnan province, which discovered a new cluster in late March in a city on the border with Myanmar.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 19 from 31 cases a day earlier.
The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China now stands at 90,483, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,636.
Mexico says 14 townships refuse vaccines
Mexican health authorities have said that 14 of the country’s roughly 2,600 townships have refused to allow vaccination teams to administer anti-coronavirus doses there.
Assistant Health Secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell said the townships were concentrated largely in the heavily indigenous southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca.
He did not give specific reasons why those communities did not want to be vaccinated, citing only “cultural and perhaps religious beliefs.”
Lopez-Gatell said the decision to refuse vaccines had been made by town councils, adding “we respect that decision.” He said authorities are trying to set up a scheme in which people who wanted vaccines could get them in a neighbouring township.
Indigenous municipalities in southern Mexico have some degree of autonomy, and some are governed by traditional “use and custom” schemes without political parties or formal elections.
Some Chiapas townships dominated by the Zapatista rebels have rejected other government programs, but it was unclear whether they were among those refusing vaccines.
Local media in Chiapas reported some communities distrusted the vaccines, or did not think there were enough local cases to justify it.
Brazil registers 3,305 deaths on Friday
Brazil registered 3,305 new deaths on Friday and 85,774 additional cases, according to data published by the nation's Health Ministry.
The South American country has now registered 368,749 total deaths and 13,832,455 total confirmed cases.
Vaccines to be made available at Alaska airports
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy says vaccines would be made available at key airports in the state starting June 1.
He made the announcement on Friday, as he unveiled plans aimed at bolstering Alaska’s pandemic-battered tourist industry.
Dunleavy, a Republican, outlined plans for a national marketing campaign aimed at luring tourists and said the vaccine offering is “probably another good reason to come to the state of Alaska in the summer.”
Dunleavy and other state leaders have been pushing to allow large cruise ships to return to Alaska after restrictions kept them away last year.
Qatar seeking virus jabs for all World Cup visitors
Qatar is in talks with coronavirus vaccine makers to ensure all fans attending the 2022 World Cup in the country have been vaccinated, the foreign minister said on Friday.
The Gulf nation is facing a resurgence of virus cases and deaths despite progress in its mass vaccination programme, forcing authorities to impose a nationwide lockdown.
“We have been negotiating and talking to the vaccination providers on how we can make sure that everyone attending the World Cup is vaccinated,” Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.
“Right now there are programs under development to provide vaccination to all the attendees of the World Cup,” he added during the Raisina Dialogue, a virtual event hosted by the Observer Research Foundation.
“We will be able, hopefully, to host a Covid-free event. We also hope that globally the pandemic will start to go down and disappear.”
Globally no one vaccine certification system has yet been universally accepted or recognised, though the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass has gained popularity amongst Gulf airlines including Qatar Airways.
Chilean study finds Chinese jab slashes virus deaths
A real-world study of millions of Chileans who had received the Chinese-developed CoronaVac vaccine has found it 67 percent effective against symptoms, and 80 percent effective against death from Covid-19, the South American country's Health Ministry said on Friday.
Ministry adviser Rafael Araos said the study covered 10.5 million people, including 2.5 million who had received both doses of the vaccine, and 1.5 million who had received a single dose between February 2 and April 1.
The study looked at cases starting 14 days after the second dose of the vaccine was given, which in Chile was given 28 days after the first.
The vaccine has been widely used across the world, but has not been part of rollouts in the United States or Europe.
Araos said it had reduced hospitalisations by 85 percent, intensive care visits by 89 percent and deaths by 80 percent.
It is one of the broadest studies so far published of any of the vaccines used against coronavirus. Most previous studies were based on clinical studies of limited groups of thousands of people given the vaccines to test efficacy and safety prior to general use.
Chile has led the region with a vaccination campaign that has reached 40 percent of its 19 million people overall, with 27percent of those having received both doses.
It began in large part with the elderly and health workers, but has expanded to include essential workers and recently people as young as 48.
The country has a three year contract for 60 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine produced by Sinovac, and also has been using vaccines produced by Pfizer.
About 90 percent of vaccines used so far in Chile have been CoronaVac.
Authorities reported Thursday that Chile had had a sharp reduction in hospitalisation of people 70 or older, a figure credited to the vaccination campaign among the elderly.
But it has also seen “a sustained rise” in hospitalisations of people 59 and younger.
The country has reported 1.1 million confirmed infections of the new virus and nearly 25,000 deaths.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies