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Coronavirus live news: Fauci says political divide added to 'stunning' US deaths; Italy 'misled' WHO Coronavirus live news: Fauci says political divide added to 'stunning' US deaths; Italy 'misled' WHO
(32 minutes later)
Syria approves Sputnik vaccine; UK government eyes return to normal by end of June; Fauci says political divide contributed to ‘stunning’ US deathsSyria approves Sputnik vaccine; UK government eyes return to normal by end of June; Fauci says political divide contributed to ‘stunning’ US deaths
The UN children’s fund Unicef has said it has sent an initial 100,000 syringes for Covid vaccines to the Maldives in preparation for first deliveries of Pfizer and AstraZeneca shots under the Covax vaccine-sharing plan.
Reuters reports:
The Maldives, which has a population of more than 500,000 has had 18,930 confirmed Covid cases and 60 deaths.
California, the largest state in the US, has administered more than 7.3m vaccine doses but is lagging behind other states in vaccine administration. Eligibility is due to dramatically expand in March, but with supplies limited and many doses being used for second shots, essential workers could likely be waiting weeks or longer to get appointments.
The lack of access is particularly frustrating for workers who have faced increasing risks over the last month, as California has moved to reopen parts of the economy and remove restrictions.
Facing severe economic strain eleven months into the pandemic, low-wage workers across the state say they can’t afford to stay home from dangerous jobs – and can’t afford to lose income if they get infected.
Kyrgyzstan has registered Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for use against Covid, becoming the 32nd country to do so, Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund has said.
Chinese officials did “little” in terms of epidemiological investigations into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan in the first eight months after the outbreak, according to an internal World Health Organization document seen by the Guardian.Chinese officials did “little” in terms of epidemiological investigations into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan in the first eight months after the outbreak, according to an internal World Health Organization document seen by the Guardian.
The internal WHO travel report summary, dated 10 August 2020, also said the team who met Chinese counterparts as part of a mission to help find the origins of the virus received scant new information at that time, and were not given any documents or written data during extensive discussions with Chinese officials.The internal WHO travel report summary, dated 10 August 2020, also said the team who met Chinese counterparts as part of a mission to help find the origins of the virus received scant new information at that time, and were not given any documents or written data during extensive discussions with Chinese officials.
The report from last summer, which was written as global infection rates reached 20m, offers new insights into how WHO scientists appear to have been stymied in their early efforts to study the outbreak in China.The report from last summer, which was written as global infection rates reached 20m, offers new insights into how WHO scientists appear to have been stymied in their early efforts to study the outbreak in China.
The revelation comes after the Biden administration recently issued a pointed statement about its concerns over Chinese cooperation in studying the disease and the need for the WHO to be held to a high standard and protect its credibility.The revelation comes after the Biden administration recently issued a pointed statement about its concerns over Chinese cooperation in studying the disease and the need for the WHO to be held to a high standard and protect its credibility.
More than one in five people living in the state of Lagos in Nigeria had Covid-19 antibodies at the end of October, according to a study that suggests infection rates were much higher across the country than previously thought.More than one in five people living in the state of Lagos in Nigeria had Covid-19 antibodies at the end of October, according to a study that suggests infection rates were much higher across the country than previously thought.
Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NDCD) and the Institute for Medical Research collected blood samples from more than 10,000 individuals living in a representative sample of households in four states in September and October.Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NDCD) and the Institute for Medical Research collected blood samples from more than 10,000 individuals living in a representative sample of households in four states in September and October.
According to findings released yesterday, the prevalence of antibodies was 23% in the states of Lagos – which is home to more than 16 million people – and Enugu, 19% in Nasarawa state, and 9% in Gombe state. Confirmed infections stood in the tens of thousands at the time.According to findings released yesterday, the prevalence of antibodies was 23% in the states of Lagos – which is home to more than 16 million people – and Enugu, 19% in Nasarawa state, and 9% in Gombe state. Confirmed infections stood in the tens of thousands at the time.
Up to now the country has recorded just 1,800 deaths from Covid, but the head of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the study findings meant it was “even more important” that Nigeria secured vaccines.Up to now the country has recorded just 1,800 deaths from Covid, but the head of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the study findings meant it was “even more important” that Nigeria secured vaccines.
There are serious questions over a corporate legal immunity provision that has given for-profit nursing homes and hospitals in New York state get-out-of-jail-free cards over Covid deaths, writes New York state Assemblymember Ron Kim.There are serious questions over a corporate legal immunity provision that has given for-profit nursing homes and hospitals in New York state get-out-of-jail-free cards over Covid deaths, writes New York state Assemblymember Ron Kim.
France’s chance of avoiding a postponement of their Six Nations clash with Scotland on Sunday have improved after the latest round of coronavirus testing returned no further positives, PA reports.France’s chance of avoiding a postponement of their Six Nations clash with Scotland on Sunday have improved after the latest round of coronavirus testing returned no further positives, PA reports.
An outbreak amongst the tournament favourites’ squad has produced 10 Covid-19 cases, including star scrum-half and 2020 player of the Championship Antoine Dupont and captain Charles Ollivon. The head coach, Fabien Galthié, and three members of his staff have also tested positive.An outbreak amongst the tournament favourites’ squad has produced 10 Covid-19 cases, including star scrum-half and 2020 player of the Championship Antoine Dupont and captain Charles Ollivon. The head coach, Fabien Galthié, and three members of his staff have also tested positive.
Six Nations organisers are to decide on Wednesday if the Stade de France showdown can go ahead, but the results of Monday night’s testing points to an easing of the crisis.Six Nations organisers are to decide on Wednesday if the Stade de France showdown can go ahead, but the results of Monday night’s testing points to an easing of the crisis.
Ukraine has received its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccine doses after several delays, AFP reports.Ukraine has received its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccine doses after several delays, AFP reports.
Mattha Busby here, taking over from my colleague Caroline Davies. Do get in touch on Twitter or via email on mattha.busby.freelance@guardian.co.uk with any tips or thoughts. Thanks!Mattha Busby here, taking over from my colleague Caroline Davies. Do get in touch on Twitter or via email on mattha.busby.freelance@guardian.co.uk with any tips or thoughts. Thanks!
That’s it from me, Caroline Davies. Handing over to my colleague Mattha Busby now who will guide you through the next few hours. Thank you for your time.That’s it from me, Caroline Davies. Handing over to my colleague Mattha Busby now who will guide you through the next few hours. Thank you for your time.
Here are some of the key development in the last few hours.Here are some of the key development in the last few hours.
More than half a million people have died of Covid-19 in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country had recorded more than 28 million cases and 500,071 lives have been lost as of Monday afternoon. In a somber address to the nation as the US surpassed half a million coronavirus deaths on Monday, Joe Biden urged the country to unify in its battle against the virus.More than half a million people have died of Covid-19 in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country had recorded more than 28 million cases and 500,071 lives have been lost as of Monday afternoon. In a somber address to the nation as the US surpassed half a million coronavirus deaths on Monday, Joe Biden urged the country to unify in its battle against the virus.
Dr Fauci: the political divide added to ‘stunning’ US deaths. Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said political divisiveness contributed significantly to the “stunning” US coronavirus death toll, which on Monday surpassed 500,000 lives lost.Dr Fauci: the political divide added to ‘stunning’ US deaths. Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said political divisiveness contributed significantly to the “stunning” US coronavirus death toll, which on Monday surpassed 500,000 lives lost.
Italy allegedly misled the World Health Organization on its readiness to face a pandemic less than three weeks before the country’s first locally transmitted coronavirus case was confirmed.Italy allegedly misled the World Health Organization on its readiness to face a pandemic less than three weeks before the country’s first locally transmitted coronavirus case was confirmed.
Afghanistan has launched a Covid-19 vaccination campaign aimed at inoculating hundreds of thousands. Doctors, security personnel, and journalists were among the first volunteers to receive doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, donated earlier this month by India.Afghanistan has launched a Covid-19 vaccination campaign aimed at inoculating hundreds of thousands. Doctors, security personnel, and journalists were among the first volunteers to receive doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, donated earlier this month by India.
Syria has authorised the use of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, its embassy in Moscow said Monday. The country is the latest to approve the Russian vaccine, named after the Soviet-era satellite. Sputnik V was registered in August before clinical trials were underway, which left experts wary.Syria has authorised the use of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, its embassy in Moscow said Monday. The country is the latest to approve the Russian vaccine, named after the Soviet-era satellite. Sputnik V was registered in August before clinical trials were underway, which left experts wary.
UK govt eyeing return to normal by end of June. British Prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday set out a four-step plan to ease coronavirus restrictions, expressing hope that life could get back to normal by the end of June.UK govt eyeing return to normal by end of June. British Prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday set out a four-step plan to ease coronavirus restrictions, expressing hope that life could get back to normal by the end of June.
Airlines and travel firms are experiencing a surge in demand in the UK following prime minister Boris Johnson’s road map for how coronavirus restrictions will be eased.Johnson said on Monday that a government taskforce will produce a report by 12 April recommending how international trips can resume for people in England.Airlines and travel firms are experiencing a surge in demand in the UK following prime minister Boris Johnson’s road map for how coronavirus restrictions will be eased.Johnson said on Monday that a government taskforce will produce a report by 12 April recommending how international trips can resume for people in England.
Thailand will start vaccinating priority groups including health workers against COVID-19 by the end of this week. It will receive the first 200,000 of two million doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac on Wednesday after the Chinese vaccine was given emergency use authorisation on Monday.Thailand will start vaccinating priority groups including health workers against COVID-19 by the end of this week. It will receive the first 200,000 of two million doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac on Wednesday after the Chinese vaccine was given emergency use authorisation on Monday.
The Philippines will let thousands of its healthcare workers, mostly nurses, take up jobs in Britain and Germany if the two countries agree to donate much-needed coronavirus vaccines, a senior official said on Tuesday.The Philippines will let thousands of its healthcare workers, mostly nurses, take up jobs in Britain and Germany if the two countries agree to donate much-needed coronavirus vaccines, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Austria is betting on millions of tests to contain Covid-19. While Austria has struggled to contain the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, it is fast emerging as a world leader in testing as a way to reopen schools and businesses.Austria is betting on millions of tests to contain Covid-19. While Austria has struggled to contain the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, it is fast emerging as a world leader in testing as a way to reopen schools and businesses.
The World Health Organization has agreed a no-fault compensation plan for claims of serious side effects in people in 92 poorer countries due to get Covid vaccines via the Covax sharing scheme, resolving a big concern among recipient governments.The World Health Organization has agreed a no-fault compensation plan for claims of serious side effects in people in 92 poorer countries due to get Covid vaccines via the Covax sharing scheme, resolving a big concern among recipient governments.
Guinea will launch an Ebola vaccination drive Tuesday after a flight delayed by a Saharan dust storm arrived carrying thousands of jabs, as the West African country fights to stamp out a resurgence of the deadly virus.Guinea will launch an Ebola vaccination drive Tuesday after a flight delayed by a Saharan dust storm arrived carrying thousands of jabs, as the West African country fights to stamp out a resurgence of the deadly virus.
New Zealand has confirmed three new coronavirus cases – a schoolmate of a person from the original Auckland cluster and their two siblings. One of the siblings had been working at a K-Mart and 31 staff have now been identified as close contacts.New Zealand has confirmed three new coronavirus cases – a schoolmate of a person from the original Auckland cluster and their two siblings. One of the siblings had been working at a K-Mart and 31 staff have now been identified as close contacts.
The Philippines will let thousands of its healthcare workers, mostly nurses, take up jobs in Britain and Germany if the two countries agree to donate much-needed coronavirus vaccines, a senior official said on Tuesday.The Philippines will let thousands of its healthcare workers, mostly nurses, take up jobs in Britain and Germany if the two countries agree to donate much-needed coronavirus vaccines, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Reuters reports that the Philippines, which has among Asia’s highest number of coronavirus cases, has relaxed a ban on deploying its healthcare workers overseas, but still limits the number of medical professionals leaving the country to 5,000 a year.Reuters reports that the Philippines, which has among Asia’s highest number of coronavirus cases, has relaxed a ban on deploying its healthcare workers overseas, but still limits the number of medical professionals leaving the country to 5,000 a year.
Alice Visperas, director of the labour ministry’s international affairs bureau, said the Philippines was open to lifting the cap in exchange for vaccines from Britain and Germany, which it would use to inoculate outbound workers and hundreds of thousands of Filipino repatriates.Alice Visperas, director of the labour ministry’s international affairs bureau, said the Philippines was open to lifting the cap in exchange for vaccines from Britain and Germany, which it would use to inoculate outbound workers and hundreds of thousands of Filipino repatriates.
Nurses are among the millions of Filipinos who work overseas, providing in excess of $30 billion a year in remittances vital to the country’s economy.“We are considering the request to lift the deployment cap, subject to agreement,” Visperas told Reuters.Nurses are among the millions of Filipinos who work overseas, providing in excess of $30 billion a year in remittances vital to the country’s economy.“We are considering the request to lift the deployment cap, subject to agreement,” Visperas told Reuters.
The Philippines has yet to start its campaign to immunise 70 million adults, or two-thirds of its 108 million people. It expects to receive its first batch of vaccines this week, donated by China. It wants to secure 148 million doses of vaccines altogether.The Philippines has yet to start its campaign to immunise 70 million adults, or two-thirds of its 108 million people. It expects to receive its first batch of vaccines this week, donated by China. It wants to secure 148 million doses of vaccines altogether.
The British embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment while calls to Germany’s mission went unanswered.The British embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment while calls to Germany’s mission went unanswered.
A leading Australian epidemiologist has compared the UK’s hotel quarantine system to a sieve with too many holes in a discussion with MPs about lifting lockdown.Professor Catherine Bennett, of Deakin University in Victoria, said border closure had been one of Australia’s “main tools” in keeping infection rates low and protecting its domestic economy.A leading Australian epidemiologist has compared the UK’s hotel quarantine system to a sieve with too many holes in a discussion with MPs about lifting lockdown.Professor Catherine Bennett, of Deakin University in Victoria, said border closure had been one of Australia’s “main tools” in keeping infection rates low and protecting its domestic economy.
Speaking to the All Parliamentary Group on coronavirus she said Australia had tightened up its hotel quarantine system in response to the new variants, including adding extra testing, PA Media reports.Speaking to the All Parliamentary Group on coronavirus she said Australia had tightened up its hotel quarantine system in response to the new variants, including adding extra testing, PA Media reports.
She remarked that the British system of hotel quarantine - which has only just been introduced, is only 10 days long and allows people out for exercise - demonstrates a difference in the way Australia and the UK perceive lockdowns.She remarked that the British system of hotel quarantine - which has only just been introduced, is only 10 days long and allows people out for exercise - demonstrates a difference in the way Australia and the UK perceive lockdowns.
“If you’re going to let you have too many holes in the sieve, then why bother with the sieve?” Prof Bennett said.“If you’re going to let you have too many holes in the sieve, then why bother with the sieve?” Prof Bennett said.
She added that Australia was now testing hotel quarantine staff daily, including on their days off, and had imposed much stricter conditions on Australian air crews who had previously been allowed to return home between shifts.She added that Australia was now testing hotel quarantine staff daily, including on their days off, and had imposed much stricter conditions on Australian air crews who had previously been allowed to return home between shifts.
French researchers are using tiny antibody particles extracted from the family of animals that includes camels and llamas to produce a test they say can detect if patients have COVID-19 faster and more accurately than existing methods, Reuters reports.French researchers are using tiny antibody particles extracted from the family of animals that includes camels and llamas to produce a test they say can detect if patients have COVID-19 faster and more accurately than existing methods, Reuters reports.
The prototype test, called CorDial-1, has not been approved for use, but initial trials on 300 samples showed a 90% accuracy rate compared to a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, the most reliable commonly-used method of detecting COVID-19.The prototype test, called CorDial-1, has not been approved for use, but initial trials on 300 samples showed a 90% accuracy rate compared to a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, the most reliable commonly-used method of detecting COVID-19.
The prototype test can deliver results within 10 minutes, and can be used outside the laboratory, according to the team developing it, while PCR testing typically takes hours and needs lab conditions.The prototype test can deliver results within 10 minutes, and can be used outside the laboratory, according to the team developing it, while PCR testing typically takes hours and needs lab conditions.
A total of 5,691 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending February 12 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) - the lowest figure since the week ending January 1.The figure is also down 22% from 7,320 deaths in the week to February 5. Just over a third (37%) of all deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to February 12 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.A total of 5,691 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending February 12 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) - the lowest figure since the week ending January 1.The figure is also down 22% from 7,320 deaths in the week to February 5. Just over a third (37%) of all deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to February 12 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.
Thailand will start vaccinating priority groups including health workers against COVID-19 by the end of this week, its prime minister said on Tuesday.Thailand will start vaccinating priority groups including health workers against COVID-19 by the end of this week, its prime minister said on Tuesday.
It will receive the first 200,000 of two million doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac on Wednesday after the Chinese vaccine was given emergency use authorisation on Monday.It will receive the first 200,000 of two million doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac on Wednesday after the Chinese vaccine was given emergency use authorisation on Monday.
“We will start injecting the target groups within three days after the vaccines arrive,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said“We will start injecting the target groups within three days after the vaccines arrive,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said
The number of workers on UK payrolls has fallen by nearly 730,000 since the start of the pandemic and the jobless rate has surged to its highest level since 2016, but official figures revealed “early signs” of a stabilising jobs market.The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of payrolled workers rose by 83,000 between January and February in the second small monthly increase in a row.But the data showed the toll taken by the coronavirus crisis on the jobs market, with 726,000 fewer workers on payrolls since February 2020.The rate of unemployment has also now hit 5.1% between October and December - up from 5% in the previous quarter.Figures show this is the highest since early 2016 when it was also 5.1%. The rate was last above this in the autumn of 2015, when it was 5.2%.The number of workers on UK payrolls has fallen by nearly 730,000 since the start of the pandemic and the jobless rate has surged to its highest level since 2016, but official figures revealed “early signs” of a stabilising jobs market.The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of payrolled workers rose by 83,000 between January and February in the second small monthly increase in a row.But the data showed the toll taken by the coronavirus crisis on the jobs market, with 726,000 fewer workers on payrolls since February 2020.The rate of unemployment has also now hit 5.1% between October and December - up from 5% in the previous quarter.Figures show this is the highest since early 2016 when it was also 5.1%. The rate was last above this in the autumn of 2015, when it was 5.2%.
Tui, the UK’s largest tour operator, recorded a sixfold increase in bookings after the government’s roadmap announcement for England, making Monday its busiest day in more than a month.Tui, the UK’s largest tour operator, recorded a sixfold increase in bookings after the government’s roadmap announcement for England, making Monday its busiest day in more than a month.
The hotspots of Greece, Spain and Turkey from July onwards are the most in-demand locations.The hotspots of Greece, Spain and Turkey from July onwards are the most in-demand locations.
Managing director Andrew Flintham said the government could work with the travel industry to develop a “risk-based framework” that will give holidaymakers “the opportunity to travel abroad this summer”.Managing director Andrew Flintham said the government could work with the travel industry to develop a “risk-based framework” that will give holidaymakers “the opportunity to travel abroad this summer”.
He added that there was “huge demand to travel” and “people can look forward to a well-deserved break away after what has been a very difficult year for many”.He added that there was “huge demand to travel” and “people can look forward to a well-deserved break away after what has been a very difficult year for many”.
Online travel firm Thomas Cook said traffic to its website was up 75% on Monday as people rushed to book holidays for this summer and 2022.Online travel firm Thomas Cook said traffic to its website was up 75% on Monday as people rushed to book holidays for this summer and 2022.
Chief executive Alan French described the announcement as “good news for those of us desperate to get away on holiday”.Chief executive Alan French described the announcement as “good news for those of us desperate to get away on holiday”.
Afghanistan has launched a Covid-19 vaccination campaign aimed at inoculating hundreds of thousands, as the war-weary nation reels from near-daily attacks by insurgents, AFP reports.Afghanistan has launched a Covid-19 vaccination campaign aimed at inoculating hundreds of thousands, as the war-weary nation reels from near-daily attacks by insurgents, AFP reports.
Doctors, security personnel, and journalists were among the first volunteers to receive doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, donated earlier this month by India.Doctors, security personnel, and journalists were among the first volunteers to receive doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, donated earlier this month by India.
“Today, I congratulate the people of Afghanistan for the launch of the first stage of Covid-19 vaccine [drive] with 500,000 doses of vaccines. This is a big opportunity for the people of Afghanistan,” said the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, as the first jabs were administered.“Today, I congratulate the people of Afghanistan for the launch of the first stage of Covid-19 vaccine [drive] with 500,000 doses of vaccines. This is a big opportunity for the people of Afghanistan,” said the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, as the first jabs were administered.
“We don’t expect any miracles, but let’s help this campaign to be implemented justly,” the country’s acting health minister, Waheed Majroh added.“We don’t expect any miracles, but let’s help this campaign to be implemented justly,” the country’s acting health minister, Waheed Majroh added.
Afghanistan is believed to have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic in the last year, but limited testing and a ramshackle healthcare sector have hampered its ability to track the virus.Afghanistan is believed to have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic in the last year, but limited testing and a ramshackle healthcare sector have hampered its ability to track the virus.
Russia has reported 11,823 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, including 1,198 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 4,189,153 since the pandemic began.Russia has reported 11,823 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, including 1,198 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 4,189,153 since the pandemic began.
The government taskforce also reported 417 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 84,047.The government taskforce also reported 417 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 84,047.