| 15 April 2024, Monday |

Coronavirus digest: Biden to push rich nations to increase vaccination efforts

While world leaders and health groups sound the alarm about global vaccine inequity, US President Joe Biden is set to host a virtual vaccine summit on Wednesday to push other well-off countries to do more to get the coronavirus pandemic under control across the world.

The summit coincides with this week’s United Nations General Assembly, where climate change and COVID-19 dominate the conversation.

According to reports, Biden will use the summit to announce the purchase of a total of 1 billion vaccines to share with other countries and call upon other rich nations to take similar measures to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population by September 2022.

The World Health Organization has reported a decline in the number of weekly infections and deaths around the world on Wednesday with over 3.6 million cases and just under 60,000 deaths reported between September 13 and 19.

While the US, India, Britain and Turkey reported the highest number of cases, a significant drop was seen in the eastern Mediterranean and South East Asia. Globally, deaths fell by 7% compared to the previous week.


Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga has tested positive for the virus after attending the UN General Assembly in New York. He was the second member of President Jair Bolsonaro’s entourage to test positive since arriving in the US.

“The other members of the delegation have been tested and are negative,” said a government press release. The 55-year-old health minister had received one shot of the vaccine and will remain in the US until he completes a period of isolation.

Panama is set to offer a third dose of the vaccine to moderate and severely immunocompromised people this week, Health Minister Luis Sucre announced on Tuesday.

China is delivering COVID-19 vaccines to the military junta in Myanmar as well as rebel groups who are fighting the junta after the country was plunged into political upheaval with the ousting of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi earlier this year.

As the junta seems unable to halt the spread of the virus, China has shipped thousands of vaccines, medical workers, and construction materials for quarantine centers to multiple rebel groups operating out of its southern neighbor.

The city of Harbin in northeastern China has seen a rise in infections after the first case of community transmission was reported a day earlier. Chinese authorities have sent health officials to prevent the situation from spiraling into a coronavirus outbreak.

Schools, cinemas, gyms and mahjong parlors have been closed as authorities start mass testing.

India is set to offer vaccinations to all children over the age of 12 with the launch of Cadila Healthcare launches its ZyCoV-D product next month, Reuters has reported. The world’s first DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine is the only one approved for children in the country.

It was granted emergency authorization from Indian regulators last month. Zydus Cadila will produce 10 million doses a month from October.