Over 100m Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19

A nurse holds up a coronavirus nasal swap to test crew and actors prior to performing in the longest running play 'Perfect Crime' Off-Broadway at The Anne Bernstein Theater in The Theater Center on April 27, 2021 in New York City. (PHOTO / AFP)

LONDON / NEW YORK / HAGUE – President Joe Biden banned most travel to the US from India beginning Tuesday as the country struggles to combat the worst surge of coronavirus cases in the world, the White House said.

The US administered 3.3 million doses on Saturday, the most since a week earlier, taking the average daily vaccination rate to 2.55 million.

More than 100 million adult Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Saturday, according to data of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The fully vaccinated account for 30.5 percent of the U.S. population.

The US added 56,274 new cases on Friday, as weekly infections dropped to their lowest level since mid-October, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. The outbreak continues to slow in most states though there has been an uptick in pockets of the West, California excluded, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.

Brazil

Weekly cases in Brazil increased after two consecutive declines, Health Ministry data show. The country reported some 67,000 new infections on Saturday, for a weekly total of 417,760. Cases since the start of pandemic are 14.7 million.

Deaths fell for the third consecutive week, to 16,945, though the seven-day toll remains more than double the peak of last summer’s surge. Another 2,656 deaths were reported Saturday, at the end of week in which Brazil crossed 400,000 total fatalities, the most after the US.

Brazil began the month of May reporting 2,656 deaths from COVID-19 as well as 66,964 new cases, rasing the national death toll to 406,437 and the total caseload to 14,725,975, the Ministry of Health said on Saturday.

The daily average number of deaths in the last seven days was 2,421, while the figure for April was higher than 3,000, according to the ministry.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands has postponed a further easing of lockdown measures until at least May 18 as COVID-19 infections remain high and hospitals are struggling with large numbers of coronavirus patients, the government said on Saturday.

"We are passing the peak of the third wave. But the decline (of the infection rate) is not strong enough yet", health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Twitter.

The Netherlands eased its lockdown slightly last week, as a night-time curfew was lifted and bars and restaurants which had remained shut since mid-October were allowed to serve small groups outdoors between noon and 6 p.m. 

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Portugal

The Portuguese Government on Saturday extended travel restrictions to and from countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic until May 16.

According to the Ministry of Internal Administration, for travelers to and from countries with a COVID-19 incidence rate equal to or greater than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, only flights considered essential are allowed, for example, for professional, study, family reunion, health and humanitarian reasons.

Countries like Cyprus, Croatia, Brazil, India, France, Lithuania, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Sweden are included in this category, and travelers from these countries have to undergo 14 days of quarantine after arrival.

Russia

Russia reported 8,697 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 2,699 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 4,823,255.

The government coronavirus task force said 342 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing Russia's death toll to 110,862.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and reported a toll of more than 225,000 from April 2020 to February.

Germany

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 16,290 to 3,416,822, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by 110 to 83,192, the tally showed.

UK 

UK officials are drawing up plans to offer Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 12 and over when the new school year starts from September, The Times of London reported.

The plans depend on advice due in the summer from scientists on the joint committee on vaccination and immunization, according to the report, which cites documents from the National Health Service that the newspaper confirmed with government officials.

Another 1,907 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,418,530, according to official figures released Saturday.

The country also reported another seven coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 127,524. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

More than 34.3 million people have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

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Belgium 

Police in Belgium broke up a second huge outdoor party to protest COVID-19 restrictions, using water cannon and tear gas to break up the crowd, the Associated Press reported. A crowd of several thousand gathered in a park in Brussels, some shouting “Freedom!” around a bonfire. Two dozen people were arrested amid clashes with the police at a similar party in the park on April 1.

Russia

Russia reported 9,270 new coronavirus cases on Saturday as the country enters an unplanned holiday through May 10 to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov said the expectations are that domestic demand for the coronavirus vaccines is set to increase. However, the Russian vaccination campaign remains plodding amid relatively low official virus data.

A bird flies among crosses at the Sao Franciso Xavier Cemetery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 30, 2021, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (PHOTO / AFP

Cyprus 

Cyprus has received 436,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as its 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 persons hit a record high of 1,145.6 on Friday.

The batch delivered in Cyprus on Monday consists of the four vaccines that the European Union has authorized for emergeney use, the state-run Cyprus News Agency reported, citing a document from the bloc's Committee of Permanent Representatives.

Cuba

Cuba on Saturday registered the lowest number of daily COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks, after reporting 915 new infections and 10 deaths in the last 24 hours.

The Cuban Ministry of Public Health detailed in its daily report that the total number of cases has risen to 107,622 and deaths to 654.

According to the ministry, Havana continues to be the epicenter of the disease in the country, with an incidence rate of 443 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Cuba is currently battling a new wave of the virus and authorities have responded by reapplying preventive health measures and closing many public spaces along with placing restrictions on arriving international travelers.

Mexico

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday the United States would probably send his country, as the company admitted production in Latin American had suffered multiple setbacks.

Mexico is struggling with behind-schedule local AstraZeneca production and shortfalls in deliveries from foreign suppliers and has asked the United States to help with more vaccines. The request is in addition to some 2.7 million AstraZeneca doses Washington sent to Mexico in March.

"It's probable that they'll help us with a loan, while the AstraZeneca plant in Mexico gets up and running," Lopez Obrador said at a regular news conference.

The US State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

Ecuador 

Ecuador registered 2,727 new cases and 90 more deaths of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 384,589, with 13,570 fatalities.

Another 5,154 deaths are considered to be COVID-19 related, but not verified, according to the ministry.

The provinces of Pichincha, where the capital city of Quito is located, Guayas, and El Oro registered the highest numbers of new cases in the last day.

A three-day holiday began in the country on Friday to celebrate International Workers' Day, but citizens are prevented from traveling internally for tourism due to the state of emergency declared in 16 of the 24 provinces.

Chile

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced on Saturday that the country will accelerate its mass vaccination program against COVID-19 after already having 6.6 million people fully vaccinated.

Pinera reported that starting next week, the vaccination program will expand to reach younger people "early," and in the next two weeks, the government plans to vaccinate people between 35 and 44 years of age.

The president also stated that the vaccination of pregnant women, which began earlier this week, complies with "all the rules and protocols established by the health authority."

Kenya

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday lifted the COVID-19 lockdown he imposed last month, allowing for a reopening of bars and restaurants, religious services and schools as the rate of infections eases.

Curbs on travel in the capital Nairobi and four surrounding counties would be lifted, schools will be allowed to reopen following an Education Ministry calendar. Religious services will resume with some restrictions. Political gatherings would still be banned, he said in a speech.

An evening curfew that currently starts at 8 p.m. will be revised to 10 p.m.. The changes will be in effect from midnight on Saturday, Kenyatta said.

Under the restrictions now being relaxed, Nairobi and surrounding counties were treated as one zone, with residents barred from traveling to other areas. 

Uganda 

Uganda planned to import COVID-19 vaccines from elsewhere after India as a supplier is grappling with a surge in cases domestically, said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Saturday.

"We were getting the vaccine from India, but they are now struggling. We shall get the J and J (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine and also import another batch from Cuba. That's our strategy," said Museveni in a televised address.

Uganda has received 964,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX initiative and the Indian government, and is expected to import another 5 million doses.