Authorities in an Indian city have organised a special drive-through vaccination camp for disabled people in a bid to address low vaccination rates, especially among more vulnerable members of society, Reuters reports.
Organisers of the weekend campaign in Ahmedabad, the biggest city in Gujarat state, aim to vaccinate 500 disabled people, who often struggle to book slots and get access to vaccination centres.
People taking advantage of the offer queued up at the centre in vehicles, wheelchairs, and on customised mopeds for their free COVID-19 vaccine shots.
“The vaccination process is now more convenient,” said Mahendra Chudasma, a 45-year-old man who is visually impaired.
Despite being a major producer of coronavirus vaccines, India faces a huge task in inoculating its 1.3 billion people, partly due to the logistical difficulties of reaching remote areas and also scepticism about the shots.
Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and other world leaders behaved in a Covid-secure way at a beach barbecue and RAF Red Arrows flypast on Saturday night, Downing Street has insisted.
No 10 said there were fewer than 30 guests, the event was outside and all participants in the summit have a daily testing regime.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said:
The event last night was done in an entirely Covid-secure way within the existing rules,”
This was an informal gathering of the G7 leaders and rightly it is held in private … but you can see it was a relaxed atmosphere and gave the leaders a chance to discuss outside of a formal setting.”
The dinner was cooked by Simon Stallard, from the Hidden Hut in Portscatho, and included beef, lobster and other local fish.
Here’s a round up of the latest developments:
- The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has suggested that remaining Covid restrictions in England will only be lifted when the all the adult population has been offered a vaccination at the end of July. He said: “The critical thing is to get as many of the adult population double vaccinated as possible… At that point we can go irreversibly through the gears and open up in a way that we haven’t been able to do to date.”
- The prospect of a delay to lifting of restrictions in England has prompted unease among Tory backbenchers including Steve Baker and Mark Harper. But an Observer poll found that the majority of people support a pause.
- Government scientific advisers have backed delaying the easing of lockdown. Unlocking too quickly will “fan the flames” of the virus, according Professor Andrew Hayward a member of the Nervtag committee. Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of Spi-B said all the data points to a delay.
- Russia has reported 14,723 new cases in the the largest one-day national caseload since 13 February. In Moscow where new infections are at their highest since Christmas Eve, the mayor has offered residents the chance to win a car if they have a vaccine.
- G7 countries are poised to pledge 1 billion vaccine doses over the next year and work with the private sector, the G20 and other countries to increase the contribution. Gordon Brown said the pledge was not enough and a missed opportunity.
- Possible contamination in a batch of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, identified by US Food and Drug Administration continue to cause problems with vaccine roll out. South African health inspectors have said they will not release vaccines that may have been contamination. Germany has demanded an extra 6.5 million doses from the company to make up for a shortfall.
- Indonesia has announced its biggest increase in cases in almost four months. New cases in Taiwan have fallen for the third day in a row.
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Indonesia has reported 9,868 new infections, its highest daily increase in cases in almost four months.
The Southeast Asian country also reported 149 Covid deaths taking the total to 52,879.
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Moscow announces vaccine car lottery
Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin is offering residents the chance to a win a car in a bid to encourage vaccine take up, AFP reports.
The move comes as authorities seek to speed up Russia’s vaccination drive that has stagnated while new infections in Moscow and across the country are on the rise.
“From June 14 until July 11, 2021, citizens who get their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine will become participants in a car lottery,” Sobyanin announced on his website.
Every week five cars will be raffled out, each worth around 1 million rubles (£9,850).
“But of course the main gain for those who get vaccinated cannot be compared to any car – it is their own health and peace of mind,” Sobyanin said.
A government tally reported 7,704 new virus cases in Moscow on Sunday, a six-month high.
Despite introducing a strict lockdown after the pandemic swept across Russia last spring, authorities lifted most restrictions by mid-summer in an effort to protect the struggling economy.
Russia started its mass vaccination campaign in December, with the homegrown vaccine Sputnik V – touted by Russian President Vladimir Putin as the best in the world – that is free and widely available in Moscow.
So far, 18 million people or 12% of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine with polls showing that a majority of Russians do not plan to get immunised.
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Tory backbencher Steve Baker, has also expressed unease about that government’s apparent willingness to delay the easing of restrictions.
In a Twitter thread he said the “we now need to leave to live with the virus”.
Germany’s health ministry said Johnson & Johnson must deliver 6.5 million vaccine in July to make up for a shortfall expected in June after the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) told the company to dispose of millions of doses because of contamination concerns.
“This is regrettable because each dose counts,” a ministry spokesman said on Sunday in response to an enquiry by Reuters.
“We therefore expect from J&J that this amount is delivered in July as quickly as possible.”
Without disclosing or confirming the number of vaccine doses affected, the FDA said in a news release that it had authorised two batches of the vaccine for use, that several other batches were not suitable for use and that others were being evaluated.
J&J had been due to deliver 10.1 million doses of its one-shot vaccine in the second quarter, the ministry said.
The ministry spokesman said that Germany will receive 50.3 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the second quarter, Moderna would ship 6.4 million and AstraZeneca 12.4 million, all fulfilling their supply commitments.
South Korea will exempt some travellers who have received their vaccine shots overseas from its mandatory two-week quarantine health authorities have announced.
As of May 5, the quarantine exemption was only applicable to people fully vaccinated in South Korea.
The new policy, which will be implemented on 1 July, will apply only to certain people, such as citizens and foreign residents, as well as those coming to visit family, or for the purpose of business, academics or public interest, said Son Young-rae, an official with the Central Disaster Management Headquarters.
Exempt travellers will need to fill out an application, and still need to be tested before and after arriving in South Korea. Some travellers from countries with major outbreaks or variants will not be allowed to skip the quarantine, he added.
South Korea reported 452 more cases as of midnight on Saturday, bringing total infections to 147,874, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.
The death toll in the country stands at 1,985.
More than 11.8 million people – 23% of the country’s population – have received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the KDCA.
The Tory MP, Mark Harper, a former chief whip and a leading lockdown sceptic, has warned that a delay to the easing of restrictions would be “devastating for business confidence and people’s livelihoods”.
In a Twitter thread he insists that the plan to lift restrictions in England on 21 June can proceed safely.
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Gordon Brown has said the G7 summit “will go down as a missed opportunity” due to the lack of a plan to deliver 11 billion vaccine doses.
The Labour former prime minister said the summit could be seen as an “unforgivable moral failure” due to the gap in vaccinations between rich and poor nations.
The group of seven leading industrialised nations have collectively agreed to provide a billion vaccine doses in an effort to end the pandemic in 2022.
The UK is expected to contribute 100 million doses within 12 months as part of the pledge.
G7 leaders gathered in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, are expected to formally announce the vaccine agreement on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking to Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme, Brown said:
When we needed 11 billion vaccines, we’ve only got offered a plan for one billion.
I think this summit will also go down as an unforgivable moral failure, when the richest countries are sitting around the table with the power to do something about it.
Now that we’ve discovered the vaccine, we have not delivered the comprehensive plan that will deliver vaccination by the middle of next year.”
We will have a huge problem of a division between the richest countries that are safe and the poorest countries that are not safe.
But then the problem will come back to haunt the richest countries because we will have contagion spreading that will hurt even the people who are vaccinated because of mutations and variants.
US President Joe Biden has already promised to donate half a billion Pfizer vaccines for 92 low and lower-middle income countries and the African Union. The G7 leaders will also set out a plan to expand vaccine manufacturing in order to achieve that goal.