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Countries Resume AstraZeneca Vaccine Rollout After Reassurances

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Nearly a dozen countries have on Friday resumed use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shots after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) came a clear conclusion that the vaccine’s benefits in protecting people from coronavirus-related death or hospitalization outweighed the possible risks.

The EMA said it will continue its scrutiny, along with the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), adding that a link between rare events of blood clots in the brain and the shot could not be definitively ruled out.

The review of the jab by EMA came after 13 European countries suspended use of the vaccine over fears of a link to blood clots.

Speaking on the safety of the vaccine, the EMA director Emer Cooke told a briefing on Thursday “this is a safe and effective vaccine,”  adding that “If it were me, I would be vaccinated tomorrow.”

From Friday morning, Germany resumed administering the AstraZeneca vaccine, while French Prime Minister Jean Castex said he would seek to promote a similar resumption in his country by getting the shot himself on Friday.

Indonesia joined Germany, France and others in readministering the shots after they suspended vaccinations on reports of about 30 cases of rare brain blood clots, after millions of injections.

Also, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Italy would follow suit, echoing sentiments from Cyprus, Latvia and Lithuania.

Spain will resume inoculations from Wednesday. Canada also gave its backing to the vaccine.

In the United Kingdom, the MHRA is investigating five cases of the rare brain blood clot that had been reported out of 11 million shots administered in the country.

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India: Delhi Announces Lockdown As COVID Cases Surge

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India Has Recorded More Than 200,000 Daily COVID-19 Cases For The First Time

India’s capital city, Delhi, has announced a week-long lockdown effective today, Monday, after the city recorded a spike in number of infections that has now overwhelmed the city’s healthcare system.

Government offices and essential services, such as hospitals, pharmacies and grocers, are open during the lockdown.

Delhi recorded nearly twenty-five hundred cases of the coronavirus infections on Sunday alone.

India has been reeling from a deadly second wave since early April causing a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen supplies.

India has the fourth highest number of deaths after the United States, Brazil and Mexico – though, among a population of nearly one and a half billion.

Delhi state’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal says the healthcare system is at a breaking point, and if a lockdown is not put in place now, the country will be looking at a bigger disaster.

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Families Reunite As Australia-New Zealand ‘Travel Bubble’ Begins

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Hundreds of passengers from Australia have started arriving at New Zealand airports on Monday after authorities reopened borders, in a process that allows quarantine-free travel between the countries for the first time in more than a year.

New Zealand had enforced isolation for arrivals from its neighbour, citing concerns about sporadic virus outbreaks there.

New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern told reporters in wellington, this bubble marks a significant step in New Zealand’s reconnection with the world.

Ardern said Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and foreign minister Marise Payne would visit New Zealand very soon.

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Boris Johnson Cancels India Trip Amid COVID Surge

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Boris Johnson Cancels India Trip Amid COVID Surge

British prime minister Boris Johnson has cancelled a planned trip to India, originally planned for next week, because of the rise in India’s COVID-19 cases.

India is enduring a second wave of the virus, with infections passing the 15 million mark.

Johnson had already postponed the trip once in January, when COVID-19 infections were high in Britain.

Now that the trip has been cancelled, prime ministers Modi and Johnson will speak later this month to agree and launch their ambitious plans for the future partnership between the UK and India.

Britain has invited India to attend the G7 summit it will host in June.

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