KOLKATA (India): Day over, the world takes another somber step in the future with tens of thousands left behind in the journey of life, and hundreds of thousands suffering from the novel coronavirus disease.
Here’s what happens amid the novel coronavirus pandemic around the world, precisely and briefly laid for you to feed-in at a glimpse:
Ethiopia to launch mask-wearing campaign schools to fight COVID-19
Addis Ababa (South Africa): Ethiopia will soon launch a mask-wearing campaign in schools nationwide amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Ethiopia Ministry of Education said on Wednesday.
The campaign, dubbed “No Mask No Service in Schools,” is aimed at boosting awareness of wearing masks to fight the virus in schools across the country, the ministry said in a statement.
According to Getahun Mekuria, Ethiopia’s Minister of Education, the upcoming nationwide initiative, which will be held early next week, also seeks to recruit teachers and students as “Mask Bearer Ambassadors” to promote mask-wearing in their communities.
Last October, the Ethiopian government distributed about 50 million face masks to about 46,000 schools across the country as classes resumed after months of closure.
As Africa’s second-most populous nation, Ethiopia is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in Africa, after South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt.
India dispatches Covishield COVID-19 vaccines to Bahrain, Sri Lanka
Mumbai, Maharashtra (India): After providing coronavirus vaccines to several countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Maldives, India on Thursday established its position as a reliable partner in COVID-19 assistance by dispatching Covishield vaccines to Bahrain and Sri Lanka.
A consignment of 50,400 doses of coronavirus vaccines will be provided by India to Sri Lanka under the Vaccine Maitri initiative, while Bahrain will receive get 10,800 doses.
The Covishield vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII) was loaded to the cargo aircraft at Mumbai and left as per schedule at 7:55 am for Manama.
The vaccine consignment for Colombo was delayed for 15 minutes and is scheduled to leave at 9:00 am.
Bahrain had earlier approved Covishield to support its efforts towards vaccinating members at risk of developing complications from COVID-19.
Meanwhile, India has supplied COVID-19 vaccines to neighboring countries including Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh under Neighbourhood First policy.
Meanwhile, India reported 11,666 new COVID-19 cases, 14,301 discharges, and 123 deaths in the last 24 hours, informed Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Thursday.
With that, the total cases of COVID-19 in the country has escalated to 1,07,01,193 including 1,73,740 active cases and 1,03,73,606 total discharges.
The death toll due to the COVID-19 virus has mounted to 1,53,847, including the new deaths.
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan informed today, “70% of our COVID-19 cases are in Maharashtra and Kerala. So far, 153 cases of UK variant have been detected in India.”
“A total of 19,43,38,773 samples have been tested for COVID-19 up to January 27. Of these, 7,25,653 samples were tested yesterday,” informed the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) today.
South Korea records 497 new COVID-19 cases, 76,926 in total
Seoul (South Korea): South Korea reported 497 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Wednesday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 76,926.
The daily caseload was down from 559 tallied in the previous day, but concerns remained about cluster infections linked to a Christian missionary group in Daejeon, about 160 km south of Seoul, that has a nationwide network.
The daily number of infections hovered above 100 since November 8 owing to small cluster infections in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province as well as imported cases.
Of the new cases, 102 were Seoul residents and 116 were people residing in Gyeonggi province.
Eighteen were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 6,221.
Cannes Film Festival postponed until July amid COVID-19 fear
Washington (US): The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to almost everything, with top film festivals and various cultural activities facing the brunt of the health crisis.
The Cannes Film Festival, canceled last year due to the pandemic, is postponing the 2021 edition from May to July in hopes of having an in-person festival, reported Variety.
As per the publication, a new set of dates for this year’s event has been confirmed. The decision was taken following a board meeting on Tuesday. The initial dates, which were May 11-22, did not seem feasible as France is on the verge of a new lockdown in order to combat the spread of the second wave of COVID-19.
The film festival will now run from July 6 to July 17. Variety had revealed last week that organizers were looking at dates between July 5-25. The event is expected to take place after Cannes Lions, the advertising and marketing trade show, which is still on track to run from June 21 to June 25.
Variety further reported that if the July dates do not work out, then the end of August is being considered as a back-up. The 2020 Cannes Film Festival had unveiled an Official Selection but the festival itself was canceled due to the deadly health crisis.
The US could reach 514,000 COVID-19-related deaths by Feb 20, CDC predicts
Washington DC (US): The United States could have up to 514,000 COVID-19-related deaths by February 20 under the current trajectory of decreasing cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said on Wednesday.
“If we continue on the current trajectory, the CDC’s most recent national ensemble forecast predicts that 479,000 to 514,000 COVID-19 deaths will be reported by February 20, 2021,” Walensky said in a virtual White House coronavirus press briefing.
Walensky also highlighted recent data showing downward trends in the number of US deaths, cases and hospitalizations.
From January 19 to 25, the seven-day average of new novel coronavirus cases decreased by 21 percent, Walensky said. During the same period, the seven-day average number of deaths caused by the disease decreased by 4.9 percent, she added.
India forwarded medical supplies to 150 nations during a pandemic
New Delhi (India): External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Wednesday said that India provided medical supplies and equipment to over 150 nations during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them as grants, to deal with the serious issues confronting the world.
Addressing the 14th Annual Conference of the Institute for National Security Studies, Israel, the EAM said, “Even as we have begun mass vaccination at home, Indian vaccine supplies to our immediate neighbors have started. This is expected to cover other partner countries in the coming days. The world can only benefit from a more collective effort to deal with the serious issues confronting us.”
Jaishankar said that combating pandemics will naturally dominate the global agenda in the coming days, adding that “As a country that provided during this pandemic medical supplies and equipment to more than 150 nations, many of them as grants, India supports greater coordination among responders.”
Talking about the new US administration (President Joe Biden), he said, “As a new administration takes office in Washington DC, it is natural that the world would reflect on the changes that it portends. Those following American politics would agree that its policies and initiatives will focus on rebuilding and revival.”
Pfizer, AstraZeneca vaccines will work very well with no need for plan B, expects UK PM Johnson
London (UK): UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday expressed hope that the domestically-made vaccines against the coronavirus, such as that by AstraZeneca-Oxford, as well as those imported from abroad, would be effective.
“There’s a pretty overwhelming consensus that they [vaccines], at least some of them, will work very well, and we certainly think that Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca, as far as we can see, will work very well,” Johnson said at a briefing when asked what the plan B was if the vaccines failed to curb the spread of the disease.
The prime minister stressed that there were “six or seven” vaccines the UK has already bought, totaling 360 million doses on order.
The UK vaccination campaign started on December 8. As of Wednesday, around 7.1 million people have received at least one vaccine dose. The vaccination is currently open to five priority groups, including people over 80 years old, some people over 70, clinically vulnerable persons, personnel of care homes, and medical workers.
Philippines authorizes emergency use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine
Manila (The Philippines): The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of the vaccine against the coronavirus developed by the AstraZeneca company, media reported on Thursday.
The authorization was issued three weeks after the company had submitted the application, the ABS-CBN broadcaster reported.
The AstraZeneca vaccine became the second one authorized for emergency use in the Philippines following the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Last week, Russian Ambassador to Manila Marat Pavlov held talks with Philippine Secretary of Health Francisco Duque Duque on the potential use of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 in the Philippines.
647 medical workers in Indonesia die of COVID-19
Jakarta (Indonesia): At least 647 medical workers in Indonesia have died of COVID-19 from March 2020 to Wednesday, the Indonesian Medical Association said on Thursday.
Of the 647 medical workers, 289 were doctors, 27 dentists, 221 nurses, 84 midwives, 11 pharmacists, 15 medical laboratory staff members.
Head of the association’s mitigation team Adib Khumaidi said the small number of COVID-19 diagnostic tests had caused insufficient handling of the pandemic and many medical workers were exposed to the virus.
“The number of tests in Indonesia now is less than 5 percent of the total population,” Khumaidi said.
The province with the highest number of medical worker deaths in East Java, which reported 188 deaths.
South Africa advises citizens against wrapping coffins of COVID-19 victims in plastic
Johannesburg (South Africa): There is no need to cover the coffins of people who died of COVID-19 in plastic wraps or mark them with biohazard stickers prior to burial, the South African Department of Health said.
“The Department of Health has issued health directions on the management of human remains that died of COVID-19 that prescribes measures to be implemented. These directions do not prescribe the covering of coffins with plastics, use of biohazard stickers nor wearing full PPE by funeral directors or sanitizing of the graves or clothes of people attending the funeral as this is unnecessary,” the department said in a press release.
Wrapping coffins in plastic is only necessary for parts of South Africa with high water saturation in the soil and normally comes as a separate ordinance from the local authorities in relation to all burials, not only those related to COVID-19, according to the press release.
The South African health authority also cited revised guidance from the World Health Organization as indicating that “transmission of SARS 2 from a human remain to people who are alive has not been proven.”
Combat COVID-19: Bahrain receives 10,800 Covishield doses from India
New Delhi (India): As Bahrain on Thursday received a consignment of 10,800 ‘Made in India’ coronavirus vaccines, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the delivery of the vaccines is a testimony of long-standing fraternal ties between the two countries.
“Bahrain receives Made-in-India vaccines. A testimony to our long-standing fraternal ties” tweeted Jaishankar.
Bahrain has received the consignment of the Covishield vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India as a gift from India under the Vaccine Maitri initiative.
Earlier in the day, a consignment containing over 50,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine reached Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Countries that have received a supply of COVID-19 vaccines from India under the Neighbourhood First policy, include Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
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