in

International update: Miami Bitcoin conference causes Covid spike

11 June

Global: The global Covid death toll is still rising with a figure of 3,773,362 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections exceed 174 million world wide.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 33.4 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 598,748 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Last week’s Bitcoin 2021 conference, which sold at least 12,000 tickets, brought mostly unmasked crowds together in Miami’s Wynwood arts district, was a hotspot for a Covid outbreak, attendees said. There were also countless other gatherings and afterparties. Cryptocurrency podcaster Luke Martin said he caught Covid-19 during the conference, one of the biggest events to take place in the U.S. since the pandemic began. Larry Cermak, research director at the Block, a cryptocurrency news and information website, said he hadn’t gotten it, but “everyone” whom he hung out with during the three days of conferencing and partying did.

The US will purchase half a billion Covid-19 vaccine doses for lower income countries with no strings attached, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday. “Half a billion vaccines will start to be shipped in August, as quickly as they roll off the manufacturing line,” Biden said at a news conference before the G7 summit in Britain.

EU: The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said it was necessary to know the origins of Covid-19 and investigators needed to have full access to sites which could shed lights on the matter.

A rather bleak report from the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency says that the coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented and profound effect on human rights, fuelling racism and child abuse. The annual report says: “The pandemic and the reactions it triggered exacerbated existing challenges and inequalities in all areas of life, especially affecting vulnerable groups.”

China: More than 10% of Covid-19 patients in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, have become critically ill – a higher percentage than in previous outbreaks in China, a local health official said at a media briefing, the Global Times reported. Guan Xiangdong, a specialist with the local Covid-19 medical team, said he believed the reason was more virulent Covid strains. Many of the patients are senior citizens whose condition deteriorates quickly after the onset of symptoms, he said.

Russia: Covid numbers have been at a remarkably steady uniform level for months on end, but this week the official case tally is seeing a steady rise, and today was the highest number for three months at 11,699.

South Africa: Has entered its third wave of Covid-19 infections as the continent’s worst-hit country registered 9,149 new cases, Reuters reports. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) said South Africa had exceeded the national 7-day moving average incidence of 5,959 cases as defined by the ministerial advisory committee (MAC).

UK: Covid-19 case rates have increased across every region in England with a sharp rise in the North West, new figures show. The latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England (PHE), published on Thursday, shows that rates in north-west England increased to 149.6 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to 6 June, up week-on-week from 89.4, PA news reports. This is the highest for the region since the week ending 21 February and is also the highest of any region in England.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is poised to delay the final stage of pandemic lockdown easing in England, in a blow to hospitality and entertainment businesses that want to see social-distancing rules dropped. Johnson is due to announce on Monday whether he will lift remaining curbs, imposed in January to contain a wave of infections, on 21 June.

A Covid-19 outbreak in one of the G7 summit hotels set off alarm bells in the German delegation hours before Chancellor Angela Merkel’s arrival in the UK. Members of Merkel’s security detail were already staying in the Pedn Olva hotel, in the host town of St Ives, before local staff tested positive, according to a German official.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK will start donating vaccines to countries in need within weeks, with at least 100 million surplus doses set to be distributed in the next year. Johnson’s announcement comes after US. President Joe Biden promised to donate half a billion Pfizer Inc. vaccines to 92 lower income countries and the African Union. Group of Seven leaders meeting from Friday in the UK are expected to collectively provide a billion extra doses with the aim of inoculating 80% of the world’s adult population and ending the pandemic in 2022.

India: The discovery of several thousand unreported deaths in the state of Bihar, India, has raised suspicion that many more coronavirus victims have not been included in official figures. The health department in Bihar revised its total Covid-19 related death toll to more than 9,429 from about 5,424 on Wednesday. The newly-reported deaths had occurred last month and state officials were investigating the lapse, a district health official said, blaming the oversight on private hospitals.

Taiwan: A cluster of infections across four Taiwan semiconductor factories is still growing, with 43 new cases reported today.

Mexico: Reported a daily rise of 225 deaths, bringing the total to 229,578, the Health Ministry said, adding that the number of cases rose 3,672 to 2,445,538.

Vaccine news

EU: The EU decided not to take up an option to buy 100m doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in March, European officials have said.

US: Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine can be kept in a refrigerator for four and a half months, extending the shot’s shelf life by 50%. the US Food and Drug Administration decided. As doses languish amid a slowing US immunization campaign, concern has been growing that some shots could spoil before they are used.

Indonesia: Plans to expand its Covid-19 vaccination program to anyone aged 18 years and older as early as this month or early July. The government seeks to begin offering the shots to 141.3 million people in a bid to reach herd immunity against the new coronavirus, said Siti Nadia Tarmizi, the spokeswoman for the government’s Covid-19 task force.

South Korea: Is considering plans to vaccinate workers at key businesses including chip and electronics firms to prevent disruptions to production, an official at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

Philippines: A delay in Covid-19 vaccine deliveries to the Philippines has forced some cities in the capital region to close vaccination sites, complicating Manila’s efforts to ramp up its immunisation drive.

Lockdown updates

Ukraine: has reiterated that it will not allow foreigners inoculated with the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik into the country if they do not also provide a negative test for the coronavirus.

Bulgaria: plans to lift the compulsory wearing of face masks in gyms, hairdressing salons, small shops and offices where all workers are vaccinated as coronavirus infections decrease.

Denmark: will ditch the use of masks in most public spaces and allow 25,000 fans to attend European Championship matches in Copenhagen.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s government said this morning that it would review its plan for a travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore in early July, after the proposal was derailed for a second time in May due to a surge of cases in Singapore.

Singapore: Singapore will start a phased easing of its Covid-19 restrictions from Monday its health ministry said, after domestic transmission of the virus slowed and the number of new cases declined.

Japan: Foreign leaders, sponsors and even International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach should stay away from the Tokyo Games to minimize risks from the coronavirus, the leader of Japan’s main opposition party said.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is planning to cancel all Olympic public viewings in the capital, Jiji reported, citing several unidentified people. The city will consider utilizing the sites for vaccinations. In a separate report citing unidentified people, Jiji said a group of experts advising the Japanese government on Covid-19 is planning to warn that infection risk will increase if the games are held with spectators.

Chile: Announced a full lockdown in the capital city of Santiago and surrounding municipalities as the number of available hospital beds hits dangerously low levels and new cases remain high.

Reference