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Greece: Hundreds Of Asylum Seekers On Lesbos Test Positive For COVID-19

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Authorities in Greece have confirmed two hundred forty-three persons among thousands of asylum-seekers on the Island of Lesbos have tested positive for coronavirus infections.

Health officials say the average age of those confirmed positive was 24, and most were asymptomatic.

All one hundred sixty police and administrative staff who had come in contact with the migrants tested negative for the virus.

Government spokesperson, Stelios Petsas says the positive cases from lesbos would be added to Greece’s official coronavirus figures.

More than 12,000 asylum-seekers were left homeless nearly two weeks ago after fires on two successive nights destroyed the notoriously overcrowded Moria camp.

Greek authorities say the fires were deliberately set by a small group of Afghans angered by lockdown and isolation orders.

The country is experiencing a resurgence of the virus with more than 15,000 confirmed positive cases and 338 deaths in this country of nearly 11 million persons.

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Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Resigns As Political Crisis Escalates

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Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has resigned, amid the country’s deepening political crisis, and division among political parties over spending in the coronavirus crisis which has claimed more than 85,000 Italian lives.

Conte, a law professor, who has headed coalition governments since 2018, tendered his resignation to the president and is now discussing the political crisis with senate president, Elisabetta Casellati.

President Mattarella is expected to spend at least two days in talks with party leaders on the next move.

The centrist coalition government was plunged into crisis two weeks ago, when former prime minister Matteo Renzi pulled his small, liberal Italia viva party out of it.  He said his party would rejoin the coalition if Conte accepted a list of demands.

Renzi says EU funds should be invested in promising sectors like digital and green technologies, and wants MPs, rather than technocrats, to decide on the allocations. But he also wants more investment in the country’s embattled health service.  He had governed Italy from 2014 to 2016.

Conte survived a vote of confidence in the lower house, the chamber of deputies, last week. He then won a senate vote, but not an absolute majority.

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Health News

Global Number Of COVID Cases Surpasses 100 Million

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According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has passed 100 million in just over a year since the first cases of the then ‘mysterious’ new illness were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

More than 2.1 million persons around the world have died from COVID-19, and more than 55 million persons have recovered from the disease.

During the past 12 months, the pandemic has forced governments to order shutdowns, curfews, travel bans and other public health restrictions to try and stem the spread of infections. Economies have been hard hit and inequalities of all types have been exacerbated.

The United States with the highest number of cases and fatalities globally has recorded 5.3 million cases – approximately one-quarter of the global total and more than 424,000 deaths.

With 217,000 fatalities, Brazil has the second-highest death toll and has confirmed more than 8.8 million cases.

India has confirmed the second-highest total number of cases in the world, with more than 10.6 million infections reported. More than 153,000 persons have died from the virus there.

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Health News

Moderna Begins Work On Booster To Protect Against South African Variant

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Pharmaceutical company, Moderna, said on Monday, it is working on a vaccine to address coronavirus situation in South Africa, and the new mutated variant there. Moderna plans to start clinical trials of an altered booster version of its covid-19 vaccine to treat the South African variant after tests showed its approved-vaccine may produce a diminished antibody response.

The company said, in a press release, it was being cautious and that the two-dose regimen of the vaccine was still expected to be protective against the South African and other variants detected to date. Moderna said it will publish data from its tests against the South African and U.K. Variants.

Meanwhile, the U.S has included South Africa on its travel ban.

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