Biden to send vaccines to India; South Africa registers 1,250 new cases

Biden to send vaccines to India; South Africa registers 1,250 new cases
(Photo: Unsplash / Kayla Spied)

South Africa registered 1,250 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total to 1,578,450. A further 48 Covid-19-related deaths were reported, taking total deaths to 54,285.

President Joe Biden said he intends to send vaccines from the US to India as the country battles the worst coronavirus surge in the world, but didn’t specify timing for a decision or shipments. Russia protested against a decision by Brazilian health regulators to block imports of its Sputnik V vaccine.

Fully vaccinated Americans don’t have to wear masks when exercising, dining and socialising outdoors in small groups, federal health officials said. It’s one of the most significant relaxations of guidelines since the pandemic began.

Two new cases of blood clots linked to Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine are being investigated by US health officials. France is starting trials of so-called vaccine passports, putting it at the forefront of efforts to jump-start travel.

Key developments

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 148 million; deaths exceed 3.13 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 1.06 billion doses have been given
  • With 1.1% of people vaccinated, Japan lags the developed world
  • Fully vaccinated in US can forgo masks outdoors (Podcast)
  • Vaccine hoarding is set to backfire on rich nations as India reels
  • Why impact of ‘long Covid’ could outlast the pandemic: QuickTake

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.

Japan mulls raising subsidies for closures

The Japanese government is considering raising the cap on subsidies it pays to large commercial facilities that agreed to close during the coronavirus state of emergency, TV Asahi reported, without providing a source of the information.

The government plans to raise the limit, currently at 200,000 yen ($1,839) per day, by several hundred thousand yen depending on the size of facilities, the broadcaster said. It will take into account the number of tenants shopping malls have and the number of screens at cinemas.

Alberta has 20,721 active cases

The Canadian province of Alberta reported 20,721 active cases, the second-highest number since the start of the pandemic.

Over the last 24 hours, 1,539 new cases were identified, the provincial government said on its website, with 11.4% of those tested being positive.

There are 635 people in hospital due to Covid-19, including 143 in intensive care, the government said.

Premier Jason Kenney has dismissed calls for new measures to contain the virus, saying the existing ones would suffice if more people would follow them, the National Post reported.

Republicans promote vaccine

A group of Republican lawmakers in the US with backgrounds as medical professionals launched a public service campaign to encourage people to get vaccinations as polls show a substantial minority of their party supporters are resisting getting the shot.

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, a physician, said that vaccine hesitancy in his home state is one of the reasons that he wanted to take part in the campaign, which was initiated by Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas, who is also a medical doctor.

“You want to get kind of blanket immunity. You want to have enough people to have had vaccinations, and they’re not perfect but they’re pretty darn good,” Barrasso said in an interview. “And that’s the way out of it.”

Houston-area leaders shutting vaccination hub

County leaders in suburban Houston have decided to shut a mass-vaccination hub due to dwindling demand.

The site at a high school football stadium in the Houston suburb of Shenandoah may close as soon as mid-June, Jason Millsaps, executive director of the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, told the Houston Chronicle.

The decision comes a week after the Texas port city of Galveston announced it’ll shutter its mass-vaccination centre on May 1 amid dropping demand and the expanding availability of shots from alternative sources.

Russia protests after Brazil rejects Sputnik

Russia protested against a decision by Brazilian health regulators to block imports of the Sputnik V vaccine, citing a “lack of consistent and reliable data” on the shot’s safety, quality and efficacy.

The five-member board of the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency, or Anvisa, said in a late Tuesday statement that it had identified product-development flaws in all three phases of the drug’s clinical trials. The notoriously strict regulatory body stressed that it was unable to identify the source of the vaccine’s pharmaceutical materials, adding that it wasn’t given full access to facilities during a recent inspection visit to Russia.

Sputnik V’s developers dismissed the findings as political, saying on Wednesday that Anvisa had been pressured by the US Department of Health and Human Services to block the Russian vaccine. They also denied that Brazilian regulators had been barred from production sites that would supply to Brazil.

Biden to send vaccines to India

President Joe Biden said he intends to send vaccines from the US to India as the country battles the worst coronavirus surge in the world, but did not specify timing for a decision or shipments.

Biden said on Tuesday that in a call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he discussed “when we’ll be able to send actual vaccines to India, which is my intention to do”.

In the meantime, the providing aid including the therapeutic drug remdisivir and machinery for vaccine manufacturing, Biden said.

New York opens vaccine sites to walk-ins

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will open all state-run mass vaccination sites to walk-ins on Thursday, removing the barrier to make an appointment ahead of time for adults age 16 and over.

Cuomo said the change comes as demand for the vaccine has dropped. “We were doing 175,000 vaccines statewide every 24 hours; that number is down to about 115,000 vaccines every 24 hours,” he said during a briefing on Tuesday.

Nearly 46% of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with the US average of 42.5%, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

Exxon moving Houston workers back to office

Exxon Mobil told its Houston-area workforce that all employees will be back in the office on a full-time basis by May 17.

Workers will be required to wear masks and take other anti-pandemic measures in the office until further notice, the oil explorer said in an internal email on Tuesday that was seen by Bloomberg News.

No sign of infection after concert: BBC

Researchers in Spain have found “no sign” of higher levels of infection among people who took part in a large test concert last month, the BBC reported. Six people tested positive within 14 days of attending the show in Barcelona, but the incidence was lower than that seen in the general population, the BBC said. Around 5,000 music fans took part in the experiment after testing negative for Covid-19. Concert-goers wore masks but didn’t have to socially distance.

US probes two new clotting cases tied to J&J

Two new cases of blood clots linked to Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine are being investigated by federal health officials, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

One case was in a male and the other was in a female, both of whom were under 60 years old, a CDC spokeswoman said in an email to Bloomberg News. The new reports bring the total number of cases to 17 out of about 8.1 million doses administered in the US.

The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration lifted a recommended pause on the use of J&J’s vaccine on Friday following an investigation into blood clots possibly linked to the shot. The 15 cases being examined were all in women, though CDC officials cautioned the syndrome may also occur in men.

Portugal sending medical supplies to India

Portugal plans to send antiviral drugs for Covid-19 treatment and oxygen to India as part of a broader European Union effort. Portugal is currently evaluating the fastest way within the EU framework to transport the medicine and oxygen to India, the Portuguese Foreign Ministry said in an emailed statement.

Johnson’s office denies he said ‘Let virus rip’

“The reports put forward, speculation, they distort the actions the prime minister has taken, which is to save lives and livelihoods,” said Max Blain, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman, when asked whether Johnson said the virus should be allowed to let “rip”.

Blain said it is “untrue” that Johnson made a comment that bodies should be allowed to “pile high” instead of imposing a third coronavirus lockdown.

Plastic surgeons see boom below Zoom line

As more Americans get back to the office and restaurants reopen, tummy tucks and liposuction are poised for a comeback.

In a national survey of 1,000 women, 1 in 10 indicated they are more interested in cosmetic plastic surgery or non-surgical procedures now than before the pandemic, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

City of London plans for life post-Covid

The City of London is planning for life after the pandemic. Overseers of the sparsely populated area announced plans on Tuesday to build at least 1,500 homes in the next decade, along with exploring new ways to repurpose empty space. It’s already flagged ambitions to develop 122,500 square metres of shopping space over 15 years.

Vacancies across the City have soared 70% since the onset of the pandemic, according to Savills. DM

— With assistance by Joe Schneider, Jarrell Dillard, David Wethe, Joe Carroll, Henrique Almeida, and Marthe Fourcade.


"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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