Coronavirus live news: England winter lockdown delays ’caused thousands of deaths’; Brazil daily cases top 90,000 | World news

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Poorest countries will suffer most from Covid downturn, says UN

The UN has said the poorest and most vulnerable countries will be the biggest losers from a pandemic downturn that will leave the global economy nursing $10tn (£7.2tn) of losses by the end of the year.

Despite becoming the latest international body to revise its growth forecast for 2021 upwards, the UN’s conference on trade and development (Unctad) said there were signs the pandemic would end with pre-crisis problems unresolved:


NHS chiefs fear collision course with ministers over Covid backlog

In England, hospital bosses are bracing themselves for a clash with ministers over how quickly they can clear the backlog of NHS care that built up during the pandemic.

They are warning that it will take “years” to treat all those whose care was cancelled because Covid disrupted so many hospital services, particularly surgery and diagnostic tests.

Staff shortages, exhaustion among frontline personnel after tackling the pandemic and their need to have a break mean that progress will be slower than the government expects, NHS trust chiefs say:


Indian state of Maharashtra accounts for 65% of new daily cases


EU regulator to report on AstraZeneca Covid vaccine safety

Europe’s medicines regulator is under mounting pressure to clear up safety concerns over the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine as experts warned that arguably political decisions to pause it in many countries risked seriously delaying the continent’s already sluggish vaccination drive.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is due on Thursday to announce the findings of its investigation into cases of bleeding, blood clots and low platelet counts in 30 of the vaccine’s recipients that have led many European countries to suspend it:





China doubles down on Covid narrative ahead of WHO report

Chinese state media are doubling down on Beijing’s narrative about the origins of the Covid-19 ahead of the much anticipated release of the World Health Organization’s findings.

Liang Wannian, who led the Chinese side of the joint WHO investigation in January, told the Global Times that China did not find evidence of the virus earlier than December 8, 2019.

He also repeated major talking points that the virus was of “natural origin” and began at the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, with “cold chain transmission” playing an important role in the spread of the virus. He said a lab leak was unlikely.

Liang also shot back at concerns raised by the US about the transparency of the WHO investigation and the upcoming report.

“Recently, some politicians and the media in the world insisted on politicizing the scientific issue of tracing the source of Covid, regardless of scientific facts, for their own personal gain, arbitrarily misinterpreting the scientific findings and reports of our joint team, which is a huge disrespect to the work of our scientists,” he said.

Liang denied reports of any conflicts between Chinese and international researchers during the investigation and said the international community should safeguard the “scientific spirit.”



Taiwan begins AstraZeneca rollout

Taiwan could begin distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine next Monday, according to its Central Epidemic Command Center, following the arrival of a first batch of nearly 200,000 doses earlier this month.

The vaccine was obtained through the World Health Organisation’s Covax program, although Taiwan is neither a member nor observer of the global health body due to objections from Beijing.

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said that health authorities would continue to review the side effects of Astra Zeneca after concerns were raised in Europe that it can lead to blood clots and other concerns.

Priority will be given first to health workers and people employed in quarantine centres, according to the government.

Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval of the vaccine in February although a domestically produced vaccines is still under way. Taiwan previously agreed to purchase around 10 million doses of Astra Zeneca and another 10 million doses from Covax and Moderna.

Vaccine rollout has been slower in Taiwan than some of its East Asian neighbours as it has seen just 10 deaths and less than 1,000 cases, according to the CECC.

Strict border controls and aggressive contact tracing in the early days of the pandemic have kept numbers low. Travellers are still required to undergo 14 days of quarantine and an additional week of “self-help management” following their arrival.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Coronavirus live news: England winter lockdown delays ’caused thousands of deaths’; Brazil daily cases top 90,000 | World news

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