India has said it will resume exports of Covid-19 vaccines for the World Health Organization’s Covax initiative from October.
Global vaccine distribution takes center stage when world leaders meet at a scaled-down United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. President Joe Biden will propose a new course for global vaccine allocation amid anger the United States is rolling out boosters as millions have yet to receive a first shot. Meanwhile, fears of a possible spike in cases related to the UN meeting make New Yorkers less excited to host the rally.
Singapore recorded more than 1,000 infections on Saturday for the second day in a row, marking a high in 17 months and raising concerns about capacity constraints in intensive care facilities. The Fujian epidemic in China has disproportionately affected children, according to a vice premier. Japan could lift its state of emergency at the end of September.
India to Resume Vaccine Exports (7:09 a.m. NY)
India will restart Covid-19 vaccine exports for the World Health Organization’s Covax initiative from the quarter starting in October, even as it rushes to vaccinate its own massive adult population, said Monday. Minister of Health Mansukh Mandaviya. The country will also resume some vaccine donations, he added, but gave no details.
Home to the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing industry, India was supposed to be a major supplier to the Fair Trade vaccine initiative that most of the world’s poor countries depend on. But the government halted exports in April after the delta variant started sweeping through its major cities.
Indonesia Relaxes Restrictions As Cases Drop (6:20 a.m. NY)
Indonesia has said it will allow workers in non-essential industries to return to the office, as it further eases barriers to mobility.
The country added 1,932 Covid-19 cases on Monday, the lowest since August 24 last year, and 166 new deaths, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
Italy launches boosters for fragile citizens (6:00 a.m. NY)
Italy has started giving a third dose of anti-covid vaccines to its most vulnerable citizens, the country’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Monday. “It’s a step forward to protect those with weaker immune systems,” he said.
Last week, the Italian government decided to make Covid-19 ‘passports’ mandatory for all workers in the public and private sectors from October 15. The country is stepping up its vaccination campaign, said Covid emergency czar Francesco Paolo Figliuolo.
Czech Republic offers boosters (4:33 p.m. HK)
The Czech Republic started offering third doses of Covid-19 vaccines to people vaccinated more than eight months ago. The country had 182 new cases on Sunday, 40 more than a week ago and 147 hospitalizations.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis said unvaccinated youth were now affected, saying the country’s pandemic situation had “stabilized”.
New Yorkers fear possible peak of United Nations week (2:00 p.m. HK)
Fears of a possible spike in Covid-19 cases make residents of the host city less enthusiastic about the UN rally.
New Yorkers, aware of the additional traffic and the labyrinth of street closures brought about by welcoming over 100 world leaders and their entourage, could normally take advantage of the economic boost provided by the event, over 18 months after the pandemic caused the city to close.
But this year’s UNGA won’t be an economic lifeline, and the Delta variant is still raging.
Philippines begins to reopen some schools (12:56 p.m. HK)
More than 100 schools in low-risk areas of the Philippines will test limited classes in person, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said. Students will be able to take half-day classes every two weeks with the consent of their parents. Schools have been closed since March 2020.
Covid-19 cases increased at a slower rate last week, the health ministry said separately, in part due to previous movement restrictions and wider vaccination coverage. The Philippines recorded nearly 2.4 million cases on Sunday and nearly 17% of the population is fully vaccinated.
New South Wales Case Dip (12:04 p.m. HK)
Reported cases in New South Wales fell to 935 on Monday, the first daily tally below 1,000 since August 27. About 82% of eligible people in the state have received a first vaccine, and nearly 53% of the population is now fully vaccinated. The rural town of Cowra will be on lockdown from 5 p.m. today after a local area confirmed.
Victoria reported 567 new cases in 24 hours. The state is also rolling out hundreds of thousands of doses of Moderna to be administered in pharmacies this week.
Pediatricians Sent to Fujian to Help During Outbreak (9:50 a.m. HK)
The current outbreak in China remains confined to Fujian province, which reported 28 new local infections on Sunday. Children represent a higher proportion of Fujian cases compared to other recent hot spots, Deputy Premier Sun Chunlan said on Saturday during a visit, adding that pediatricians from elsewhere in China will be deployed to the province to to help.
Japan considers end of September in state of emergency (9:15 a.m. HK)
The Japanese government plans to end its latest state of emergency at the end of the month, broadcaster TBS reported. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to make the decision when he returns from his trip to the United States this week to meet with President Joe Biden this week.
The restrictions, which cover 19 of Japan’s 47 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, had been extended until the end of September after the delta variant fueled a spike in infections. The number of daily Covid-19 cases in Japan fell to 4,692 on Saturday, from more than 25,000 in mid-August. More than half of the population is fully vaccinated.
Johnson to ask Biden to lift travel ban (6:09 a.m. HK)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will urge Joe Biden to lift the travel ban and allow fully vaccinated people in the UK to travel directly to the US, the Telegraph reported on Sunday.
Johnson will plead in the White House on Tuesday. Advocacy is one of the key points on its agenda and will come after the strengthening of relations between countries last week following the signing of a three-way defense pact with Australia.
Trudeau closes campaign on Covid Record (5:43 p.m. NY)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau closed his re-election campaign by presenting himself as the leader best able to protect the nation as the coronavirus pandemic heads into a third year. The vote takes place on Monday.
Trudeau’s Liberals are expected to win, but fall short of the absolute majority sought by Trudeau when he called the election two years earlier. Trudeau supports vaccination warrants, as well as more aggressive Covid control measures against opposition conservatives.
Lagos is working to vaccinate a third of residents this year (2:49 p.m. NY)
Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub and Africa’s largest city, plans to vaccinate 30% of residents against Covid-19 within a year, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a mailed statement electronic.
To be able to do this, “the world needs to make sure vaccines are available to everyone, especially the poorest countries that have struggled to get their supplies,” he said.
Lagos has vaccinated 1.2% of its 24 million people, well below the recommendation set by the World Health Organization, Sanwo-Olu said.
Chris Rock has Covid, tells fans, ‘Get vaccinated’ (1:03 p.m. NY)
Chris Rock wrote on Twitter on Sunday that he had the Covid-19.
The 56-year-old comedian said he had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. His announcement sparked yet another round of social media talk about inoculation. In thousands of tweets, some have wished him good luck, others have made it clear that vaccines do not prevent disease but are effective against hospitalization and death. Others have said his infection is proof that vaccines don’t work.
Singapore cases surpass 1,000 for second day (12:15 p.m. NY)
Singapore added 1,012 new cases, the highest since its lockdown in April 2020 and surpassing 1,000 new infections for a second day.
A total of 873 patients are currently hospitalized, including 21 in intensive care. Over the past month, almost all cases – 98.1% – had mild or no symptoms. Four patients have died, according to reports on Saturday, marking the 60th death for the city-state.
United CEO sees travel recover in January (12:10 p.m. NY)
Air travel demand is unlikely to pick up until January, now that the delta variant has forced many companies to delay plans to return to the office, said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines Inc.
The US government’s workplace vaccine mandate is “the right way” to boost immunizations because it covers a large population, he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday. Nonetheless, United is ready to verify the immunization status of travelers if the government imposes a travel vaccination mandate, he said.
The company has not received a timetable from the United States for lifting the travel bans, but Kirby said he “hopes” European travelers will return soon.
Biden’s booster and export plans collide at the UN (11:50 a.m. NY)
President Joe Biden will set a new course for global vaccine allocation this week. As world leaders gather for the United Nations General Assembly, Biden will host a virtual summit on vaccine shortages in poorest countries even as the United States prepares to give booster doses to million Americans fully immunized.
The US plan for boosters has angered countries where many have yet to get their first try. Biden aims to appease critics with a proposal to target a global vaccination rate of 70% by September 2022. His administration is negotiating with Pfizer Inc. to purchase an additional 500 million Covid-19 vaccines to donate globally, doubling thus the government’s commitment to help less wealthy countries. An agreement is expected to be announced in the coming days.