India Faces Crisis; Korea Sees Start of New Wave: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) — The pandemic is on the wrong trajectory after six straight weeks of increased cases, according to a World Health Organization officer, who said “vaccines will not end the pandemic.”India is facing an escalating health crisis, with its second wave of infections hitting record highs. South Korea’s president will hold an urgent meeting with health officials on Monday, Yonhap News reported, as the country faces another wave of infections.The U.K. urged mourners not to gather following the death of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, a sign of how longstanding traditions will have to be put aside due to the pandemic.Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said they would ask regulators in the U.S. and elsewhere to allow use of their vaccine in adolescents ages 12 to 15. The European Union’s drug regulator has started a review to assess blood clots in people who received Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases pass 134.5 million; deaths 2.9 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 748 million shots given worldwideWHO chief says political will missing for equitable vaccinationIndia’s hospitals swamped by second virus wave as shots run lowEurope finds some rare successes in its struggle to defeat CovidChina’s bid to ramp up vaccinations hindered by supply shortagesSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.Thailand Sees Most Cases Since Early February (12:57 p.m. HK)Thailand reported 789 new cases, the highest since Feb. 4, bringing the total to 31,658 infections, according to the Health Ministry. Most cases are linked to entertainment venue clusters in the Thai capital. One new death was reported Saturday, raising the total to 97.India’s Hospitals Swamped by Second Wave (12:34 p.m. HK)India is facing an escalating health crisis, with its second wave of virus infections hitting record highs, overwhelming hospitals around the country as supplies of intensive care beds and vital drugs come under pressure.Across the South Asian nation, from the wealthiest and also the worst-hit state of Maharashtra to its most populous, Uttar Pradesh, reports are emerging of hospital beds running short and immunization centers turning away people as they run out of vaccines. India reported more than 145,000 new infections Saturday, and with over 13 million virus cases lags behind only the U.S. and Brazil.U.K. Urges Mourners Not to Gather (12:29 p.m. HK)U.K. officials urged people not to gather or lay flowers following the death of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, a sign of how longstanding traditions will have to be put aside due to the pandemic. Well-wishers congregated outside Buckingham Palace and laid floral tributes on Friday, following the news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing at Windsor Castle, west of London, at the age of 99.China Approves 3rd Sinopharm Shot for Trial (12:16 p.m. HK)China has approved the third vaccine from Sinopharm Group Co. to start clinical trials, the company said. The green light to begin testing comes after two inactivated vaccines from Sinopharm were approved and widely used both at home and in developing countries.The latest one is a recombinant vaccine that includes parts of the coronavirus’s spike protein to stimulate immune response, according to a release posted on the company’s official WeChat account on Saturday.The approval comes as China’s ambitious effort to vaccinate 560 million people — 40% of its population — by the end of June is running into a supply shortage, forcing health authorities to extend the intervals between two doses, and leaving some people unable to book their second shots.South Korea’s Moon Calls Meeting on Virus (11:32 a.m. HK)South Korean President Moon Jae-in will hold an urgent meeting on Monday with the country’s top health officials to review the response to the pandemic and discuss vaccine supplies, Yonhap News reported Saturday, citing a presidential spokesman.Health authorities warned this week that the country is in the early stage of another wave of infections. They also said they may consider stricter social distancing measures and curtail some business activities if the weekly average of cases rises. South Korea confirmed 677 more infections on Saturday.CureVac Could Win EU Shot Approval in May (10:04 a.m. HK)CureVac NV could win European Union approval for its vaccine as early as May, sooner than expected, a German newspaper cited a company spokesman as saying.“We’re already very far advanced in the third phase of clinical trials and are awaiting data for the final application package,” CureVac spokesman Thorsten Schueller told Augsburger Allgemeine. “We hope the approval will come in May or June.”CureVac’s boosters include Elon Musk, who deleted a Twitter post on Friday saying that the biotech sounded to be “a few months away from regulatory approval.”Covid Hampers St. Vincent Evacuation (7:33 a.m. HK)Covid-19 is hampering efforts to evacuate people from the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, where the La Soufriere volcano began erupting Friday morning.St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said efforts to move an estimated 20,000 residents who live near the volcano were underway. But the pandemic is causing delays. Hotels that are being turned into refugee centers are asking that people be vaccinated, a request that Gonsalves said was “not unreasonable.”U.S. Vaccinations Climb (7:05 a.m. HK)The U.S. recorded 4 million vaccine doses on Friday, returning the pace of inoculations almost to the level before a post holiday lull, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.It was the third straight day of increases, with the seven-day average now at 3.03 million doses a day. So far, 179 million doses have been administered. At this pace, it’s estimated to take another 3 months to cover 75% of the population.Brazil Health Agency Meets Ambassadors (6:54 a.m. HK)Antonio Barra Torres, the head of Brazilian health regulator met with Russian Ambassador to Brazil Alexey Labetskiy to clarify pending issues for the approval of the Sputnik V vaccine. Torres addressed the requests for import and emergency use of Sputnik V, stressing the agency awaits the fulfillment of legal requirements to move ahead with the analysis.In a separate videoconference with the Indian Ambassador to Brazil Suresh Reddy, Torres discussed ways for the regulatory agencies of both countries to collaborate and improve the exchange of information regarding the Covaxin vaccine.J&J Symptoms No ‘Reason for Concern’ (5:37 p.m. NY)The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is working with health departments in four states to evaluate symptoms experienced after Johnson & Johnson vaccinations but has “not found any reason for concern,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.“Many people don’t have any side effects after Covid-19 vaccines, but some people will have pain or swelling at the injection site or fever, chills, or a headache,” spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said. “These typically don’t last long and are signs that your body is building protection.”She said the states are Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia and Iowa. The symptoms include “dizziness, light headedness, feeling faint, rapid breathing, and sweating.” She said the CDC “is aware of other instances of these symptoms occurring with the other Covid-19 vaccines.”Ireland Expands Quarantine List (5:13 p.m. NY)People traveling to Ireland from a host of countries including the U.S. and France will have to quarantine for 14 days from next week, the Irish health ministry said. From April 15, travelers from those countries will be met on arrival in Ireland and brought to a hotel for two weeks at their own expense. The quarantine can be shortened if a person tests negative after 10 days.Ireland already requires passengers arriving from more than 50 countries to stay in these hotels, while travelers from other nations are required to have a negative test within three days of travel and self quarantine when they arrive. Overall 16 countries including Canada and Belgium were added to the list Friday, while three including Israel will be removed.Colorado Hit by ‘Fourth Wave’ (5 p.m. NY)Colorado Governor Jared Polis said the state has been hit by a “fourth wave” of the coronavirus, sending hospitalizations to 404, the highest since Feb. 19. Most Covid-19 hospital patients are in the 18-50 age group, a development of “great alarm,” Polis said at a Friday news conference in Denver. Colorado has adequate hospital capacity to handle the new wave, he said.Astra Should Be in ‘Toolkit’: JHU (3:10 p.m. NY)AstraZeneca’s vaccine has a “communication problem” rather than a “science” problem, Lauren Sauer, Johns Hopkins University’s associate professor of Emergency Medicine, said in a Bloomberg Radio interview. The vaccine could help in areas where there’s community spread, particularly among the elderly.“This is just another tool in our toolkit and part of it is about the potential risk of these rare events,” Sauer said. “But we do know that it is overall safe and quite effective especially in our older population.”Germany’s Paul Ehrlich Institute said it has now counted 42 cases of a rare type of brain blood clot in people who were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot. All but seven of the cases were in women aged 20 to 63, the drug safety oversight body said. Doctors also found low blood platelet counts in 23 of the cases. Eight people died.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.