(Bloomberg) -- Parts of the U.S. health system “are in dire straits,” as the spread of the delta variant forces some states to prepare for rationed medical care, said Rochelle Walensky, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pfizer Inc. will submit data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 within “days, not weeks,” said Albert Bourla, the company’s CEO.
The Japanese government is making final arrangements to lift all coronavirus states of emergency in the nation as scheduled at the end of this month, the Asahi newspaper reported Monday. Singapore hit record cases again, almost doubling from a week earlier, ahead of new curbs that kick in on Monday.
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Japan Weighs Lifting All Restrictions (7:18 a.m. HK)
The Japanese government is making final arrangements to lift all coronavirus states of emergency in the nation as scheduled at the end of this month, the Asahi newspaper reported Monday, citing several unidentified officials.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga plans to hold a meeting with relevant ministers later today to set the administration’s direction, the report said. The government will then consult an expert panel Tuesday to officially decide an end to the emergencies in all 19 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, according to the Asahi.
Daily coronavirus cases have been steadily coming down in Japan since its peak in mid-August when it saw more than 25,000 cases, according to data compiled by public broadcaster NHK. The cases dropped to 2,134 Sunday.
Mandates Keep Covid Down at Connecticut Colleges (6:35 a.m. HK)
Connecticut colleges and universities have reported few infections since imposing vaccine mandates for the start of this school year, the Hartford Courant reported.
The University of Connecticut has reported only 18 cases at its main campus this year, compared with hundreds last year that led to quarantines of entire dormitories, according to the newspaper. Western Connecticut State has reported only one case.
Connecticut has one of the U.S.’s highest vaccination rates, with almost 76% of people receiving at least one dose, compared with the national average of 64.2%, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.
WHO Starts New Team to Probe Covid Origin (5:42 p.m. NY)
The World Health Organization is reviving its investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 virus by building a new team of about 20 scientists, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The previous team, which had been disbanded after a visit to Wuhan, had said data provided by Chinese scientists was insufficient to reach a conclusion.
Members of the new team will be chosen by the end of this week, and the team’s “priority needs to be data and access in the country where the first reports were identified,” WHO officials told the Journal.
The Chinese government declined to say if the new team will be allowed to enter the country.
Another Record Hit, Singapore Adds Curbs (2:55 p.m. NY)
Singapore added 1,939 new cases, almost doubling from a week earlier, the latest in a string of daily records in the past week ahead of new curbs that kick in on Monday.
The new restrictions include working-from-home as the default and tightening rules to allow a maximum of two people to meet in restaurants or other social settings. Most grade school students will also switch to virtual learning.
Two more deaths were reported, both elderly with underlying conditions who were not vaccinated, bringing the death toll to 78. A total of 30 people are in the ICU.
Australian PM Defends Strict Border Closures (2:02 p.m. NY)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended Australia’s strict anti-virus measures, including shutting the borders since the start of the pandemic.
“I’ll tell you what shutting those borders did,” Morrison said on CBS’s “Face the Nation. “It saved over 30,000 lives in Australia...About 1,200 Australians have lost their lives to Covid. That is what is lost in a day here in the United States.”
He said measures would ease as Australia continues to vaccinate its population, with three quarters of the nation having received a first shot. In an earlier appearance on Australian television, he said state premiers must not keep internal borders closed once vaccination targets are reached.
CDC Head Warns of Health Care Strain (12:55 p.m. NY)
Parts of the U.S. health system “are in dire straits,” as the spread of the Covid-19 delta variant forces some states to prepare for rationed medical care, said Rochelle Walensky, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“That means that we are talking about who is going to get a ventilator, who is going to get an ICU bed,” Walensky said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “Those are not easy discussions to have, and that is not a place we want our health care system to ever be.”
Idaho, among the U.S.’s least-vaccinated states, and Alaska have said that hospitals can begin to ration medical care if needed. A major hospital in Montana also implemented so-called “crisis of care standards” to prioritize who is treated. Health officials warned the measure could be widened across the state.
Pfizer to Submit Data on Kids’ Vaccine (10:07 a.m. NY)
Pfizer Inc. will submit data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 within “days, not weeks,” Albert Bourla, the company’s CEO, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“If they approve it, we will be ready with our manufacturing to provide this new formulation of the vaccine,” he said.
He said the dosage for young children is one-third that of the vaccine for adults. Last week Pfizer and BioNTech said that formulation produced strong antibody responses in children in a large-scale trial. The companies also plan to share the data with regulators in Europe.
Norway Sees Violence as Rules Eased (9:40 a.m. NY)
Norway suffered outbreaks of violence across many of its cities as revelers celebrated the lifting of Covid-related restrictions from Saturday afternoon, according to local media.
The police in Oslo registered about 50 fights and other disturbances, while several people were arrested for possession of machetes, knives and other weapons, public broadcaster NRK reported.
South Africa, U.K. to Discuss Red List (5:05 p.m. HK)
Officials from South Africa will meet British scientists Monday seeking an explanation for the nation’s continued inclusion on the U.K.’s Covid-19 travel red list, according to the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times.
While nations such as Kenya, Egypt and Turkey were removed from Britain’s red list this week, South Africa remained on it.
The U.K. has cited the presence of the beta variant in South Africa, where it was discovered in late 2020, as the reason. South African scientists say the beta variant has been completely overtaken by the delta variant.
France Doubles Vaccine Pledge (3:25 p.m. HK)
French President Emmanuel Macron said France will double the number of vaccine doses it donates to poorer countries to 120 million. “The injustice is that in other continents vaccination is far behind because of us, collectively,” Macron said in a message broadcast during the Global Citizen fundraising concert in Paris.
France will also commit to helping UNICEF and health systems with vaccine distribution, Macron said, noting that only 3% of Africa’s population is vaccinated.
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