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Singapore looks to simplify complicated Covid-19 protocols

Covid-19 has infected more than 235M people and killed at least 4.8M globally. Here are the virus-related developments for October 2:

A man passes the city skyline during the pandemic in Singapore on September 29, 2021. (Reuters)

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Singapore reviewing complex Covid-19 protocols

Singapore has been reviewing how to simplify its pandemic protocols that many in the city state find overly complex, including whether to continue testing those who show no symptoms of the disease, the government said.

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The country returned to tighter measures this week following record new daily cases, although the vast majority of those infected had mild or no symptoms as Singapore has vaccinated 82 percent of the population.

The government has ramped up testing in recent days in a bid to ringfence cases, but experts have questioned the need for aggressive testing of asymptomatic people. Of the recent cases more than 98 percent have mild or no symptoms.

The country also reported 2,356 new cases and 4 additional deaths in the last 24 hours.

Italy reports over 3,300 new cases

Italy has reported 25 deaths against 52 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 3,312 from 3,405.

Italy has registered 130,998 deaths since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.68 million cases to date.

UK records over 30,300 new cases

The United Kingdom has recorded a further 121 daily deaths and 30,301 new cases, both slight falls from the previous day’s tallies of 127 and 35,577 respectively, official data showed.

Cases in the last seven days were up 3.1 percent on the week before while daily fatalities of people who had tested positive within the last 28 days were down 17 percent.

Russia: no hurdles for WHO approval of Sputnik V vaccine

All the barriers to register Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine with the World Health Organization (WHO) have been cleared and only some paperwork remains to be completed, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said.

The Sputnik V shot, widely used in Russia and approved for use in over 70 countries, is undergoing a review by the WHO and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Their approval could open up new markets for the shot, especially in Europe.

Murashko has met WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu s in Geneva.

Vaccine jabs given top 110M in Turkey

The number of vaccine jabs given in Turkey has topped 110 million since an immunisation campaign was launched in January, official figures showed.

Nearly 54 million people have received their first shots, while more than 44.8 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.

At least 86.9 percent of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose of a two-shot vaccine.

Phuket opens to all vaccinated travellers

Fully vaccinated travellers from any country can now book holidays to tourism haven Phuket, the Thai government has announced, under tweaks to a struggling quarantine-free travel scheme.

Thailand’s tourism industry has been on its knees, with the pandemic and related restrictions slashing visitor numbers from 40 million in 2019 to a mere trickle over the last two years.

Pre-virus, the sector made up a fifth of Thailand’s national income, and the travel curbs have fed into the country’s worst economic performance in more than two decades.

Covid-19 deaths eclipse 700,000 in US as delta variant rages

The US death toll from Covid-19 eclipsed 700,000 – a number greater than the population of Boston.

The last 100,000 deaths occurred during a time when vaccines – which overwhelmingly prevent deaths, hospitalisations and serious illness – were available to any American over the age of 12.

The milestone is deeply frustrating to doctors, public health officials and the American public, who watched a pandemic that had been easing earlier in the summer take a dark turn.

Tens of millions of Americans have refused to get vaccinated, allowing the highly contagious delta variant to tear through the country and send the death toll from 600,000 to 700,000 in 3 1/2 months.

Australia reports 2,357 cases as vaccination push continues

Australia reported 2,357 new cases of the Delta virus variant, as the push to vaccinate the country’s population continues in order to end lockdowns and allow for the reopening of international borders.

An 18-month ban on international travel is set to be gradually lifted from next month for some states when 80 percent of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated.

Vaccine to be mandatory for California students

Covid vaccinations will be compulsory for all students in California, the state’s governor announced Friday – a first in the United States, where vaccine hesitancy has slowed efforts to end the pandemic.

The plan will be phased in as Food and Drug Administration regulators grant full approval for use in younger age groups.

California “will require our kids to get the vaccine to come to school,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.

New Zealand reports 27 cases

New Zealand officials reported 27 new cases of the highly infectious Delta virus variant in Auckland, as protestors took to the streets to rally against an almost two-month lockdown in the country’s biggest city.

Auckland’s 1.7 million residents are expecting a government decision on Monday about whether it will remain sealed off from the rest of New Zealand.

Daily case numbers have fluctuated between 8 and 45 in recent days, with the total from the outbreak in the city standing at 1,295 cases.

Germany sees 93,777 cases

Germany reports 8,517 new Covid-19 cases and 66 more fatalities over the past 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

India logs 24,354 cases

India reports 24,354 new cases and 234 more fatalities, according to the official data.

Australia’s Victoria reports 1,488 local cases

Australia’s state Victoria, home to more than a quarter of the country’s population, has reported a record 1,488 new infections, the highest number for any state since the start of the pandemic last year.

There were also two further deaths. The state has been in a hard lockdown since August 5 as authorities are trying to quell an outbreak of the Delta coronavirus variant.

Heart inflammation rates higher after Moderna shot than Pfizer vaccine – Canada data

The Public Health Agency of Canada said on Friday data suggests that reported cases of rare heart inflammation were higher after Moderna’s vaccine compared with the Pfizer/BioNTech shots.

Mexico reports 7,388 new cases, 471 deaths

Mexico’s Health Ministry on Friday reported 7,388 new confirmed cases and 471 fatalities, bringing its total to 3,671,611 infections and 277,976 deaths.

The government has said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher, and separate data published recently suggested the actual death toll could be 60 percent higher than the official count.

Brazil reports 506 deaths in 24 hours as vaccination advances

Brazil had 18,578 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours and 506 deaths, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

The South American country has now registered 21,445,651 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 597,255, according to ministry data, in the world’s second-deadliest outbreak outside the United States.

With 40 percent of Brazilians now fully vaccinated, the rolling seven-day average of deaths has fallen to one third of the toll of almost 3,000 a day at the peak of the pandemic in April.

Morocco plans to administer third dose of vaccine

Morocco will soon start giving a third dose of vaccine, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

Morocco has administered the most doses in Africa, inoculating 19.8 million people out of a population of about 36 million, mostly with Sinopharm, AstraZeneca and Pfizer jabs.

Health workers in California protest vaccine mandates

California has joined a list of states imposing vaccine mandates on health workers after Governor Gavin Newsom’s order went into effect this week.

This comes as hospitals and nursing homes around the US are bracing for worsening staff shortages as state deadlines arrive for health care workers to get vaccinated.

With ultimatums taking effect this week in states like New York, California, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the fear is that some employees will quit or let themselves be fired or suspended rather than get the vaccine.

Resistance to the vaccine requirements led a group of several dozen health care workers to protest outside of the Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, California.

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