April 8, 2021 – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
NZ temporarily suspends entry to travellers from India
New Zealand on Thursday temporarily suspended entry for all travellers from India, including its own citizens, for about two weeks following a high number of positive coronavirus cases arriving from the South Asian country.
The move comes after New Zealand recorded 23 new positive coronavirus cases at its border on Thursday, of which 17 were from India. The suspension will start from 1600 local time on April 11 and will be in place until April 28.
AstraZeneca rollout to continue in Australia
Australia has no current plans to change the rollout of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday, after Europe’s drug regulator found possible links between rare blood clots and the vaccine.
Australian authorities have ordered an urgent inquiry into findings from Europe’s drug regulator with Morrison expecting updates later on Thursday from the medicines regulator and the immunisation advisory group.
Mixed guidance in the EU on AstraZeneca shot
European Union health ministers failed on Wednesday to agree a common guidance on the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, despite calls for coordination across member states to combat public hesitancy over taking the shot.
Italy and Spain recommended on Wednesday that it only be used on those over 60 and Britain that people under 30 should get an alternative, due to possible links between the vaccine and very rare cases of blood clots.
If approved by EU, Germany wants to buy Sputnik vaccine
Germany is about to start bilateral negotiations with Russia to obtain its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, a source told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that any final agreement depended on Russia providing key data to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). In the preliminary talks, Germany first wants to determine which quantities Russia can deliver and when, the source said.
In any case, Germany will only buy the Russian vaccine once it has been approved by EMA and for this it is paramount that Russia provides the necessary data, the source added.
After detecting UK variant, Thailand braces for infections
Thailand has detected at least 24 cases of the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7 first identified in Britain, a government health expert said on Wednesday, its first known domestic transmission of the highly contagious variant. The UK variant was found in a cluster of 24 visitors to entertainment venues in Bangkok, which were detected at the weekend. Nearly 200 such venues have been closed for two weeks.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha instructed authorities to prepare field hospitals in anticipation of a spike in infections. Ten of his ministers and dozens of lawmakers were self-isolating on Wednesday due to exposure to positive cases. – Reuters