New Zealand dispenses record number of jabs

Covid-19 has infected more than 240M people and killed nearly 4.9M globally. Here are the virus-related developments for October 16:

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai, left, and Kirk Milner at the Ngati Hine Health Trusthold hold up placards advertising a vaccination center in Whangarei, New Zealand, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. (AP)

Saturday, October 16, 2021

New Zealand dispenses record number of jabs at ‘Vaxathon’

New Zealand health care workers have administered a record number of vaccine jabs as the nation held a festival aimed at getting more people inoculated against the coronavirus.

Musicians, sports stars and celebrities pitched in for the “Vaxathon” event which was broadcast on television and online for eight hours straight.

By late afternoon, more than 120,000 people had gotten shots, eclipsing the daily record of 93,000 set in August. The event stretched into the evening.

A throwback to TV fundraising “telethon” events that were popular from the 1970s through the 1990s, it comes as New Zealand faces its biggest threat since the pandemic began, with an outbreak of the delta variant spreading through the largest city of Auckland and beyond.

Russia tops 1,000 daily virus deaths for first time

Russia topped 1,000 deaths over 24 hours for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with the country’s jab drive at a standstill and no restrictions in place.

An official government tally showed 1,002 deaths and 33,208 new infections, setting a pandemic high for both fatalities and cases for the third day in a row.

Germany adds 75 more fatalities

Germany has reported 10,949 new Covid-19 and cases and 75 additional fatalities, according the country’s official data.

France sees a spike in cases just as free testing for unvaccinated ends

Health ministry data showed that France saw the most significant spike in new infections since the end of July on the last day of free testing for unvaccinated people.

The ministry reported 6,099 new cases over the past 24 hours, an increase of 36 percent compared to last Friday’s 4,470 cases.

From Friday, people who have not been vaccinated have had to pay for tests, which so far had been free in France. Tests will remain free of charge for people who have been vaccinated, for people who show symptoms and have a doctor’s note, and for minors between 12 and 17.

The US to reopen borders to vaccinated travellers November 8

The United States will reopen its land and air borders on November 8 to foreign visitors fully vaccinated against Covid-19, ending the 18-month ban on travel from much of the globe that separated families, hobbled tourism and strained diplomatic ties.

In a tweet announcing the new policy, the decision to ease restrictions was “guided by public health, stringent and consistent,” said White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz.

He said the “announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel.”

Mexico reports 5,286 more cases

Mexico’s health ministry reported 5,286 new virus cases in the country and 434 more deaths, bringing the overall number of infections since the pandemic began to 3,749,860 and the death toll to 284,008.

It has previously been said that the numbers are likely significantly higher than those reported.

Brazil sees 570 deaths

The country’s Health Ministry said that Brazil registered 15,239 new virus cases and 570 deaths in the last 24 hours.

WTO again disagrees on vaccine patent waiver

The World Trade Organization said its member nations had again failed to agree to suspend intellectual property rights for vaccines, with some countries doubting a deal could be reached unless specific delegations make “real compromises”.

South Africa and India have called for intellectual property rights to be temporarily lifted for vaccines during the pandemic in order to boost production and address the gaping inequality in access between rich and developing nations.

The US will accept mixed doses of vaccines from international travellers

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also said that it would accept mixed-dose vaccines from international travellers.

Last week, the CDC said that it would accept any vaccine authorised for use by US regulators or the World Health Organization. “While CDC has not recommended mixing different types of vaccines in a primary series, we recognise that this is increasingly common in other countries so should be accepted for the interpretation of vaccine records,” a CDC spokeswoman said.

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