The Newest: French lawmakers to vote on new virus measures

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NEW YORK — Pfizer says its vaccine continues to be efficient in opposition to COVID-19 as much as six months later.

Pfizer and its German associate, BioNTech, introduced up to date outcomes Thursday from their ongoing late-stage examine of greater than 44,000 volunteers.

The businesses stated the vaccine was 91% efficient in opposition to symptomatic illness and was much more protecting in stopping extreme illness. Of 927 confirmed COVID-19 instances detected by March 13, 77 have been amongst individuals who obtained the vaccine and 850 have been amongst individuals who obtained dummy photographs.

There have been no critical security considerations and the vaccine additionally appeared to work in opposition to a variant first detected in South Africa, the businesses stated.

The U.Ok. and U.S. gave the emergency inexperienced mild to roll out Pfizer’s vaccine late final 12 months adopted by many different nations. The vaccine is allowed for ages 16 and up.

This week, the businesses stated the vaccine is protected and strongly protecting in children as younger as 12, primarily based on a examine of two,260 U.S. volunteers.



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Observe AP’s pandemic protection at, and


TOKYO — Japan has designated Osaka and two different areas for coronavirus management steps as infections in these areas rise forward of the Tokyo Olympics.

Osaka, neighboring Hyogo and Miyagi within the north have had sharp will increase in day by day instances since early March. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga designated the three prefectures for pre-emergency standing underneath a brand new intensive prevention regulation starting Monday. The measure lasts till Could 5.

Well being consultants have raised considerations concerning the burden on well being care and Osaka’s fast spike, with many instances linked to new variants of the virus from Britain.

Japan had scaled down its partial and non-binding state of emergency that started in January. It lifted the state of emergency within the Tokyo space on March 21, totally ending the measures geared toward slowing the coronavirus and relieving strain on medical techniques treating COVID-19 sufferers.


GENEVA — The pinnacle of the World Commerce Group is looking for efforts to increase the flexibility for creating nations to fabricate vaccines.

WTO Director-Basic Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala known as for a framework that might permit creating nations “some automaticity and access to manufacture vaccines with technology transfer” in future pandemics and decried the present coronavirus “vaccine inequity.”

“The idea that 70 percent of vaccines today have been administered only by ten countries is really not acceptable,” she stated after internet hosting French Economic system Minister Bruno Le Maire on the company’s Geneva headquarters.

The decision got here as scores of WTO member states have backed efforts led by South Africa and India to have the commerce physique grant a short lived waiver of its mental property pact to assist increase manufacturing of coronavirus vaccines.

Some wealthier nations and people with sturdy pharmaceutical industries oppose the thought, saying it could crimp future innovation.


MOSCOW — Vaccination in opposition to COVID-19 kicked off in Uzbekistan, one of many final within the area to start inoculating its inhabitants.

Authorities hope to immunize Four million individuals, or almost 12% of the 34.6-million inhabitants, between April and June, Uzbekistan’s Well being Minister Abdukhakim Khadzhibayev instructed native media.

Uzbekistan has obtained 660,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot by the COVAX international vaccine sharing program and 1 million doses of a vaccine developed by the Chinese language drug maker Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical. The Chinese language jab remains to be present process giant research to show it’s protected and efficient. Uzbekistan’s authorities in talks with Russia over importing 1 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

Uzbekistan has reported greater than 83,000 coronavirus instances and 643 confirmed deaths through the pandemic.


CAIRO — Egypt obtained a cargo of greater than 850,000 COVID-19 vaccine through the worldwide COVAX initiative, the U.N. and Egyptian well being officers stated.

A airplane carrying 854,400 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine landed in Cairo early Thursday as Egypt strikes ahead with its vaccination marketing campaign. The brand new doses will probably be used to inoculate well being staff, elders and folks with persistent illnesses, stated a U.N. assertion.

That is the primary cargo that Egypt receives through COVAX, a global alliance initiative to distribute vaccines to middle-and low-income nations.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation with over 100 million individuals, has reported 202,131 confirmed instances of coronavirus and almost 12,000 confirmed deaths.

Undersecretary of Egypt’s Well being Ministry Mohamed Hassany says Egypt has obtained 600,000 doses of the Chinese language state-owned pharmaceutical large Sinopharm’s vaccine as a present from the Chinese language authorities. The United Arab Emirates authorities has given Egypt 80,000 doses of the identical vaccine.

Well being Minister Hala Zayed saysthe Egyptian authorities has reserved 100 million vaccine doses, together with 40 million doses from COVAX.


BERLIN — Germany’s president has been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot, a sign of confidence within the vaccine after the nation restricted its use in individuals underneath 60.

The presidential workplace stated in a press release that President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who’s 65, obtained his first shot at a hospital in Berlin on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Germany’s impartial vaccine professional panel stated the AstraZeneca vaccine shouldn’t routinely be given to under-60s due to an increase in reported instances of bizarre blood clots within the days after vaccination.

The German authorities adopted the advice and stated the vaccine could be prioritized for individuals age 60 and older. Some areas, together with Berlin, then opened up vaccinations for individuals aged 60-70, who had beforehand confronted an extended wait.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who’s 66, stated this week that she could be ready to take the AstraZeneca vaccine. Nevertheless it isn’t but clear whether or not and when that may occur.


ROME — Medical doctors and nurses in Italy who refuse to get vaccinated in opposition to the coronavirus may very well be reassigned or have their salaries suspended underneath a brand new decree authorized by the federal government.

The Italian Cupboard handed the measure late Wednesday as a part of its newest COVID-19 containment provisions. The duty for well being care staff to get vaccinated was included after a number of current hospital outbreaks have been blamed on personnel who hadn’t gotten the shot.

Italy has prioritized vaccinating medical personnel, and up to now three million of the 10 million photographs administered have gone to well being care staff. Well being Minister Roberto Speranza has stated the overwhelming majority of well being care staff have agreed to get the free vaccine however there have been some holdouts.

One other measure included within the decree guidelines out prison legal responsibility for medical personnel who administer photographs if the vaccinations have been performed appropriately. Some basic practitioners in Italy have shied away from giving vaccines, fearing authorized publicity if their sufferers expertise antagonistic reactions.


PARIS — France’s prime minister defended the federal government’s plans to shut colleges for at the least three weeks and to ban home journey for a month to gradual a resurgence of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Jean Castex led a parliamentary debate on the brand new nationwide measures because the Nationwide Meeting, France’s decrease home, ready to vote on them Thursday.

Castex instructed lawmakers that the federal government has acted “consistently and pragmatically.”

Opposition events have been anticipated to boycott the vote. Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the leftist La France Insoumise get together denounced it as a “bad April Fools’” prank.

Whereas French colleges are quickly closed, Castex confirmed assist for households with kids who depend on free faculty meals.


BERLIN — Germany’s well being minister says the nation will start administering coronavirus vaccinations in medical doctors’ workplaces beginning subsequent week.

Well being Minister Jens Spahn instructed reporters in Berlin on Thursday that some 940,000 doses of vaccine will probably be delivered to some 35,000 practices subsequent week.

The variety of weekly doses provided to medical doctors will rise to about three million on the finish of April, he stated.

Germany is hoping to considerably ramp up its vaccine marketing campaign within the coming week.

In line with authorities figures, 11.6% of the inhabitants has obtained at the least one dose of vaccine, whereas 5% of the inhabitants has obtained each doses.

Earlier this week, German well being officers determined to halt the routine use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in individuals underneath 60 because of considerations over the potential of a small danger of uncommon blood clots in youthful sufferers.


HONG KONG — Hong Kong will resume administering the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on Monday following a 12-day suspension over packaging defects detected in a single batch, officers stated.

A further 300,000 doses of the vaccine are anticipated to reach on Friday, Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip stated Thursday.

Well being officers stated an investigation by BioNTech discovered no questions of safety within the batch with packaging defects for some vials, in addition to in a separate, unused batch of the vaccine.

“BioNTech believes that the efficacy of the vaccine has not been affected, so members of the public who have taken the BioNTech vaccine need not be worried,” stated Constance Chan, Hong Kong’s director of well being.

Random checks may also be stepped up to make sure that vaccine packaging is protected, she stated.

The packaging defects included unfastened caps and leakage from some bottles. Previous to the suspension, about 151,000 individuals had obtained the Pfizer vaccine within the metropolis.

Other than the Pfizer vaccine, Hong Kong residents have the choice to obtain Chinese language-made Sinovac photographs, though acceptance of that vaccine has fallen after studies that a number of individuals with persistent sicknesses died after getting it.

Hong Kong officers say the deaths weren’t immediately linked to the vaccine.


LONDON — Britain’s statistics company says round 1.1 million individuals within the U.Ok. reported having signs generally related to lengthy COVID, corresponding to fatigue and shortness of breath, originally of March.

In a examine of 362,000 individuals residing in personal households, the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics discovered that the best prevalence was present in individuals aged 35 to 69, amongst girls, these residing in essentially the most disadvantaged areas or working in well being or social care, and people with a preexisting, activity-limiting well being situation.

Not everybody surveyed had essentially examined constructive for the virus.

In a sub-sample evaluation involving 20,000 individuals who examined constructive for the virus between April 26, 2020 and March 6, 2021, the company discovered 13.7% continued to expertise signs generally related to lengthy COVID for at the least 12 weeks.

In a separate examine between Feb. 17 and March 14, the company discovered that round 22% of Black or Black British adults have been hesitant about taking a coronavirus vaccine,. That’s round half the extent of hesitancy that the company discovered for the interval between Jan. 13 and Feb. 7.


BERLIN — Germany’s well being minister says he personally could be ready “without hesitation” to get the AstraZeneca vaccine, but it surely isn’t his flip but.

On Tuesday, Germany’s impartial vaccine professional panel stated AstraZeneca photographs shouldn’t routinely be given to under-60s due to an increase in reported instances of bizarre blood clots within the days after vaccination.

The German authorities adopted the advice and stated the vaccine could be prioritized for individuals age 60 and older, though exceptions may be made in session with medical doctors.

Well being Minister Jens Spahn, who’s 40, was requested Thursday whether or not he could be ready to get the vaccine. He replied: “Yes, I would get vaccinated without reservation and without hesitation with AstraZeneca too.”

He stated instances need to be checked out individually. Spahn stated there are conditions the place there’s a danger of a blood clot however “because I, without having consulted intensively with a doctor, don’t see this risk for me, I personally would be prepared” to take the vaccine.

However Spahn, who defended this week’s choices, famous that his flip to get vaccinated is a way off.


ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s minister for planning and growth says his nation is importing 1 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China, the primary buy that comes after preliminary donations.

Half one million doses arrived Wednesday and the remaining later Thursday.

The announcement by Asad Omar comes as Pakistan reported 4,974 new instances previously 24 hours, the very best single-day leap since June final 12 months.

China started donating vaccines to Pakistan in February, and since then solely well being staff and older individuals have obtained the photographs.

In an effort to comprise the unfold of the illness, Pakistan has expanded the partial lockdown in cities with a excessive constructive price.

Pakistan has reported 672,931 instances and 14,530 confirmed deaths.


SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea is reviewing whether or not to approve fast coronavirus exams that may be taken at dwelling and produce near-immediate outcomes as one other software to struggle the pandemic.

Kwon Jun-wook, director of South Korea’s Nationwide Well being Institute, stated Thursday there’s a necessity to supply handy and accessible exams that individuals can use often as a result of the virus is commonly transmitted by individuals with no or delicate signs.

Well being authorities had beforehand been reluctant to increase the usage of fast antigen exams and different types of quick testing, which may produce outcomes inside 30 minutes however are much less correct than commonplace laboratory exams.

Nonetheless, Kwon stated the nation might have extra instruments because it has struggles to gradual the unfold of the virus following a devastating winter surge, with round 300 to 500 new instances nonetheless being reported each day.

He stated that real-time PCR exams, which contain well being professionals administrating nasal and throat swabs and lab machines genetically analyzing the samples, would stay the nation’s gold commonplace even when officers approve fast exams for public use.

South Korean officers additionally stated Thursday that the nation will challenge a smartphone app this month that verifies an individual has been vaccinated. Whereas Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun raised the likelihood that the app may very well be used as a vaccine passport, Korea Illness Management and Prevention Company officers stated nations would first need to agree on a global commonplace for screening vacationers for vaccination.


BEIJING — Well being officers in China say six extra individuals have develop into in poor health with COVID-19 in a southwestern Chinese language metropolis on the border with Myanmar. That brings the confirmed complete within the Yunnan province metropolis of Ruili over the previous two days to 12, together with three Myanmar residents.

The Yunnan Well being Fee stated Thursday that 23 different individuals have examined constructive for the coronavirus with out exhibiting signs of sickness. Of these, 13 have been Chinese language and 10 have been Myanmar nationals.

Officers say greater than 20,000 exams have been administered to date. Metropolis authorities plan to check Ruili’s complete inhabitants of about 210,000 individuals, and require them to quarantine at dwelling for one week.

The residential compound the place the infections have been discovered has already been locked down.

China has largely eradicated native transmission of coronavirus and takes strict measures each time a brand new cluster emerges.


ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Folks journal studies that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she examined constructive for the coronavirus and is urging individuals to protect themselves within the pandemic, corresponding to sporting masks in public.

It’s not clear when Palin examined constructive, however the journal quotes her as saying different members of her household examined constructive, too.

In line with the journal, Palin says her case reveals that “anyone can catch this.” She urges vigilance and says individuals ought to “use common sense” to keep away from spreading the coronavirus and different viruses.


QUEBEC CITY — The Quebec authorities is placing three cities within the Canadian province into lockdown starting Thursday following a pointy rise in coronavirus infections.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault introduced Wednesday that colleges and non-essential companies will shut and the curfew will probably be moved forward to eight p.m. in Quebec Metropolis, Levis and Gatineau. He says the state of affairs is alarming.

The brand new restrictions don’t have an effect on the Montreal space.

Canada’s most populous province of Ontario is anticipated to announce new pandemic restrictions Thursday amid a brand new wave of infections.


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