Domain Registration | Covid-19 wrap: Pfizer says jab safe for kids, Fiji to reopen borders to tourists, Sydney cases fall

  • September 20, 2021

Keeping you up to date on
the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

FOLLOW LIVE | Covid-19 in SA: Death toll at 86 174 as cases rise by 2 281

Coronavirus toll at 10:00 (GMT) Monday

Paris – The novel coronavirus has killed at least 4
689 140 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according
to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 10:00 (GMT) on Monday.

At least 228 494 810 cases of coronavirus have been
registered. The vast majority have recovered, though some have continued to
experience symptoms weeks or even months later.

The figures are based on daily reports provided by
health authorities in each country.

They exclude revisions made by other statistical
organisations, which show that the number of deaths is much higher.

The World Health Organisation estimates that the
pandemic’s overall toll could be two to three times higher than official
records, due to the excess mortality that is directly and indirectly linked to

A large number of the less severe or asymptomatic
cases also remain undetected, despite intensified testing in many countries.

On Sunday, 5 440 new deaths and 363 125 new cases
were recorded worldwide.

Based on latest reports, the countries with the
most new deaths were Russia with 778 new deaths, followed by Malaysia with 376
and Iran with 344.

 – AFP

Pfizer says its Covid-19 jab safe for children aged

Frankfurt – Pfizer and BioNTech on Monday said
trial results showed their coronavirus vaccine was safe and produced a robust
immune response in children aged five to 11, adding that they would seek
regulatory approval shortly.

The vaccine would be administered at a lower dosage
than for people over 12, they said.

“In participants five to 11 years of age, the
vaccine was safe, well tolerated and showed robust neutralising antibody
responses,” US giant Pfizer and its German partner said in a joint

They plan to submit their data to regulatory bodies
in the European Union, the United States and around the world “as soon as

The trial results are the first of their kind for
children under 12, with a Moderna trial for 6-11 year-olds still ongoing.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna jabs are already being
administered to adolescents over 12 and adults in countries around the globe.

Although children are considered less at risk of
severe Covid-19, there are concerns that the highly contagious Delta variant
could lead to more serious cases.

Inoculating children is also seen as key to keeping
schools open and helping end the pandemic.

 – AFP

Virus-hit Fiji to reopen borders for tourists

Suva – Fiji plans to reopen for international
tourists by November, aiming to rebuild a pandemic-devastated economy while
battling a Delta-variant coronavirus outbreak.

“Our goal is to free our country – and our
economy – from the rut of the pandemic,” Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama
said in a statement last week.

Once 80% of Fiji’s eligible population is
vaccinated, it will offer quarantine-free travel to visitors from a “green
list” of locations.

Of Fiji’s eligible population, 66% is now fully
vaccinated and Bainimarama predicts the country’s target will be met by 1 November.

Fiji’s green list includes Australia, New Zealand,
Japan, Canada, Korea, Singapore and parts of the United States.

Visitors would need to be fully vaccinated and test
negative for Covid-19 prior to departure.

Once in Fiji, they would stay in designated zones
where all contacts, from hospitality staff to tour operators, would be fully

 – AFP

Vietnam capital Hanoi to ease coronavirus curbs
this week

HANOI – Vietnam’s capital Hanoi will further ease
its coronavirus restrictions from this week, the government said, with new
cases on the decline and the majority of its adult population partially

Most construction projects can resume from
Wednesday, authorities said late on Sunday, adding further easing would follow,
with average new daily cases down to just 20.

So far 94% of Hanoi’s adult population of 5.75
million has received one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, with the aim of completing
second doses by the end of November, said deputy chairperson of Hanoi’s ruling
People’s Committee, Duong Duc Tuan.

“We can’t maintain the social distancing
measures indefinitely,” Tuan said in a statement.

Hanoi has escaped the brunt of a fierce wave of
coronavirus infections in Vietnam since late April, recording less than 50 of
the more than 17 000 Covid-19 deaths nationwide, and just 4 414 of the
country’s total 687 000 cases.


Sydney Covid-19 cases fall as curbs ease in virus

SYDNEY – Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) state on
Monday reported its lowest rise in daily Covid-19 cases in more than three
weeks as some lockdown restrictions were eased in Sydney, the state capital,
amid higher vaccination levels.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said 935 new cases
had been detected in the state, the lowest daily tally since 27 August, and
down from 1 083 on Sunday. The state reported four more deaths.

“We’re feeling more positive than we have in a
couple of weeks … but I don’t want any of us to sit back and think the worst
is behind us,” Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney, warning of more
deaths in the days ahead.

“Because we have seen the accumulation of so
many cases, we know that October is going to be very challenging for our
hospital system.”

Nearly half of Australia’s 25 million people are in
lockdown after the Delta variant spread rapidly in Sydney and Melbourne, its
largest cities, forcing officials there to abandon a Covid-zero target and
shift to rapid vaccinations to ease curbs.

As the vaccine rollout gathers speed, with 53% of
NSW’s adult population fully vaccinated, some restrictions were relaxed on
Monday in 12 of the worst-hit suburbs in Sydney’s west. Time limits for outdoor
exercise were lifted, while fully vaccinated people can gather outside in
groups of five.


New Zealand eases Covid-19 curbs slightly in biggest

WELLINGTON – New Zealand eased coronavirus curbs
slightly on Monday in its largest city of Auckland, as the government expressed
confidence that there was no widespread regional transmission of the Delta

But tough restrictions will continue even after
midnight on Tuesday, when the alert level drops to 3 from 4 in the city of
about 1.7 million at the centre of the latest Delta outbreak.

Schools and offices must still keep closed, for
instance, with businesses limited to offering only contactless services.

Residents must still keep to their own
“bubbles”, cannot visit friends or neighbours, or let children play
together, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“Bubbles must remain small and
exclusive,” she told a news conference.

“We are confident that there is no large-scale
undetected transmission,” Ardern said. “There is ongoing work to
stamp it out, which is why we are still at level 3.”

The Auckland restrictions will ensure the Delta
variant is stamped out as New Zealand sticks with its strategy of elimination
of the virus, Ardern added.


Brazil registers 244 Covid-19 deaths on Sunday

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil registered 244 Covid-19
deaths on Sunday and 9 458 additional cases, according to data released by the
nation’s Health Ministry.

The South American country has now registered a
total of 590 752 total coronavirus deaths and 21 239 783 total confirmed cases.

On Saturday, Brazil registered over 150 000 cases due
to a backlog of cases in Rio de Janeiro that had not been previously reported
to the Health Ministry.


Mexico adds nearly 5 000 new confirmed Covid-19

MEXICO CITY – Mexico reported 4 983 new confirmed
cases of Covid-19 and 200 deaths on Sunday, according to Health Ministry data,
bringing the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 3 569 677
and 271 503 fatalities.

The ministry has previously said the real
coronavirus numbers are likely significantly higher.


China reports 49 new coronavirus cases for 19 September
vs 66 a day earlier

BEIJING – China reported on Monday 49 new confirmed
coronavirus cases in the mainland for 19 September, down from 66 a day earlier,
according to National Health Commission data.

Of the new infections, 28 were locally transmitted,
all of them in the southeastern province of Fujian, the health authority said.
That compares with 43 local cases a day earlier.

China reported two new asymptomatic coronavirus
cases, which it does not classify as confirmed infections, compared with 19 a
day earlier.

No new deaths were reported.

As of Sunday, mainland China had recorded 95 738
confirmed cases, with the death toll unchanged at 4 636.



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