By Bloomberg News
Sep 20, 2021, 1:01 AM – Updated on Sep 20, 2021, 2:04 PM
Word Count: 1764
Global vaccine distribution takes center stage when world leaders gather at a scaled-back United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. President Joe Biden will propose a new course for worldwide vaccine allocation amid anger that the U.S. is rolling out boosters while millions have yet to get a first jab. Meanwhile, fears about a possible spike in cases from the UN meeting are making New Yorkers less enthusiastic about hosting the gathering.
Singapore recorded more than 1,000 infections Saturday for the second straight day, marking a 17-month high and prompting concern about capacity constraints at intensive care facilities. China’s Fujian outbreak has disproportionately affected children, according to a vice premier. Japan could lift its state of emergency at the end of September.
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India to Resume Vaccine Exports (7:09 a.m. NY)
India will restart exports of Covid-19 vaccines for the World Health Organization’s Covax initiative from the quarter beginning October, even as it races to inoculate its own massive adult population, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said Monday. The country will also resume some vaccine donations, he added, but gave no details.
Home to the world’s largest vaccine-manufacturing industry, India had been expected to be a significant supplier to the equitable vaccine initiative on which most of the world’s poor countries rely. But the government halted exports in April after the delta variant began sweeping through its major cities.
Indonesia Eases Curbs as Cases Fall (6:20 a.m. NY)
Indonesia said it will allow workers in non-essential business sectors back in the office as it loosens mobility curbs further.
The country added 1,932 Covid-19 cases on Monday, the lowest since Aug. 24 last year, and 166 new fatalities, according to health ministry data.
Italy Starts Boosters for Fragile Citizens (6:00 a.m. NY)
Italy started giving a third-dose of anti-covid vaccines to its most fragile citizens, the country’s Health minister Roberto Speranza said a statement on Monday. “It’s a step forward to protect those who have a weaker immune system,” he said.
Last week, Italy’s government decided to make Covid-19 “passports” mandatory for all public and private sector workers from Oct. 15. The country is boosting its vaccination campaign, said Covid Emergency Czar Francesco Paolo Figliuolo.
Czech Republic Offers Booster Shots (4:33 p.m. HK)
The Czech Republic started offering third doses of Covid-19 vaccines to people inoculated more than eight months ago. The country had 182 new cases on Sunday, up by 40 from a week ago and 147 hospitalizations.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis said unvaccinated younger people are being affected now, saying the country’s pandemic situation has “stabilized.”
New Yorkers Fear Possible Spike From UN Week (2:00 p.m. HK)
Fears about a possible spike in Covid-19 cases are making people in the host city less enthusiastic about the UN gathering.
New Yorkers, aware of the extra traffic and maze of street closures prompted by hosting more than 100 world leaders and their entourages, might normally embrace the economic boost provided by the event, more than 18 months after the pandemic prompted the city’s shutdown.
But this year’s UNGA won’t be an economic lifeline, and the delta variant is still raging.
Philippines Begins Reopening Some Schools (12:56 p.m. HK)
More than 100 schools in lower-risk parts of the Philippines will test limited in-person classes, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said. Students will be able to attend half-day classes every other week with their parents’ consent. Schools have been closed since March 2020.
Covid-19 cases increased at a slower pace last week, the health department said separately, due in part to earlier movement restrictions and wider vaccine coverage. The Philippines has recorded almost 2.4 million cases as of Sunday, and nearly 17% of the population is fully vaccinated.
New South Wales Cases Dip (12:04 p.m. HK)
Reported cases in New South Wales dropped to 935 Monday, the first daily tally below 1,000 since Aug. 27. About 82% of eligible people in the state have had a first vaccine, and almost 53% of the population is now fully vaccinated. The rural town of Cowra will be locked down from 5 p.m. today after a confirmed local area.
Victoria reported 567 new cases in 24 hours. The state is also rolling out hundreds of thousands of Moderna doses to be administered at pharmacies this week.
Pediatricians Sent to Fujian to Assist in Outbreak (9:50 a.m. HK)
China’s current outbreak remains confined to Fujian Province, which reported 28 new local infections Sunday. Children make up a higher proportion of the Fujian cases relative to other recent hot spots, Vice premier Sun Chunlan said Saturday during a visit, adding that pediatricians from elsewhere in China will be deployed to the province to assist.
Japan Mulls September End to State of Emergency (9:15 a.m. HK)
Japan’s government is considering ending its latest state of emergency at the end of this month, broadcaster TBS reported. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to make the decision when he returns from his trip to the U.S. this week to meet with President Joe Biden this week.
The restrictions, which cover 19 of Japan’s 47 prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka, had been extended through the end of September after the delta variant fueled a surge in infections. Japan’s daily Covid-19 cases fell to 4,692 on Saturday, compared with more than 25,000 in mid-August. More than half of the population is fully vaccinated.
Johnson to Ask Biden to Lift Travel Ban (6:09 a.m. HK)
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will urge Joe Biden to lift the travel ban and allow fully vaccinated people in the U.K. to fly into America directly, the Telegraph reported Sunday.
Johnson will make the case at the White House on Tuesday. The plea is one of the key items on his agenda and will come following a boost to the countries’ relationship last week after they signed a three-way defense pact with Australia.
Trudeau Closes Campaign on Covid Record (5:43 p.m. NY)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Campaigns One Day Ahead Of Federal Election
Justin Trudeau campaigns in Maple, Canada on Sept. 19.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau closed out his re-election campaign by casting himself as the leader best able to protect the nation as the coronavirus pandemic moves toward a third year. Voting is on Monday.
Keeping you safe and healthy is job one. It always has been and always will be. That’s why we’ll make sure you can find a family doctor, or primary health team. And why we’ll make a historic, targeted investment in mental health care, too.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 19, 2021
Trudeau’s Liberals are expected to win but fall short of the outright majority Trudeau sought when he called the elections two years early. Trudeau supports vaccine mandates, as well as more aggressive Covid-control measures compared with the opposition Conservatives.
Lagos Pushes to Vaccinate One-Third of Residents This Year (2:49 p.m. NY)
Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub and Africa’s biggest city, plans to give Covid-19 shots to 30% of residents within a year, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in an emailed statement.
To be able to do so “the world must ensure that vaccines were available to all, especially poorer countries that had struggled with supply,” he said.
Lagos has vaccinated 1.2% of its 24 million residents, far below the recommendation set by the World Health Organization, Sanwo-Olu said.
Chris Rock Has Covid, Tells Fans: ‘Get Vaccinated’ (1:03 p.m. NY)
Chris Rock wrote on Twitter Sunday that he had Covid-19.
Hey guys I just found out I have COVID, trust me you don’t want this. Get vaccinated.
— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) September 19, 2021
The 56-year-old comedian has said he had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. His announcement sparked another round of social media debate about inoculation. In thousands of tweets, some wished him well, others explained accurately that vaccines don’t prevent illness but are effective against hospitalization and death. Others said his infection was proof vaccines don’t work.
Singapore Cases Surpass 1,000 for Second Day (12:15 p.m. NY)
Singapore added 1,012 new cases, the highest since its lockdown in April 2020 and surpassing 1,000 new infections for a second day.
A total of 873 patients are currently hospitalized, with 21 in the ICU. In the past month, almost all the cases — 98.1% — had mild or no symptoms. Four patients died, according to reports Saturday, marking the 60th fatality for the city-state.
United CEO Sees Travel Recovering in January (12:10 p.m. N.Y.)
Demand for air travel is unlikely to recover before January now that the delta variant has forced many companies to delayed return-to-office plans, said Scott Kirby, the chief executive officer of United Airlines Inc.
The U.S. government’s workplace vaccine mandate is “the right way” to boost vaccinations, because it covers a wide population, he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. Nevertheless, United is prepared to check travelers’ vaccination status if the government imposes a vaccine mandate for travel, he said.
The company hasn’t been given a timeline by the U.S. on lifting travel bans, but Kirby said he’s “hopeful” that the travelers from Europe will return soon.
United Continental Holdings Inc. President Scott Kirby Testifies At Senate Transportation Subcommittee
Biden’s Booster and Export Plans to Collide at UN (11:50 a.m. NY)
President Joe Biden will set a new course for global vaccine allocation this week. As world leaders gather for the U.N. General Assembly, Biden will host a virtual summit on the shortage of shots in poorer countries even as the U.S. moves to give booster doses to millions of fully inoculated Americans.
The U.S. plan for boosters has angered nations where many have yet to get a first shot. Biden aims to mollify the critics with a proposal to target a 70% global vaccination rate by by September 2022. His administration is negotiating with Pfizer Inc. to buy an additional 500 million Covid-19 vaccines to donate globally, doubling the government’s commitment to helping less-wealthy countries. A deal is expected to be announced in the coming days.
–With assistance from Yueqi Yang, Linus Chua, Russell Ward, Yanping Li, Thuy Ong and Andreo Calonzo.