(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
India recommends domestic vaccine for children aged 2 and above
India on Tuesday recommended emergency use of Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 shot in children below 12 years of age, making the vaccine maker the first in the country to get such an approval after a review of its trial data for the 2-18 age-group.
The decision comes as India shifts its focus to vaccinating children, having already rolled out more than 950 million doses to adults among its population of nearly 1.4 billion.
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which uses an inactivated coronavirus with an immunity booster, is among the three shots that are being used in India as part of the vaccination drive for adults.
CureVac to withdraw first-generation vaccine candidate
CureVac will withdraw its first-generation COVID-19 vaccine candidate and focus on collaborating with GSK to develop second-generation mRNA vaccine technology instead, the Germany-based biotechnology company said on Tuesday.
Sydney cases ease further
Sydney’s COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest in two months on Tuesday as authorities rolled out support measures for businesses, shifting their focus to rejuvenating the economy after the city exited a nearly four-month lockdown a day earlier.
Pubs, cafes and retail stores reopened in New South Wales, home to Sydney, on Monday after vaccination levels in the state’s adult population crossed 70%.
New Zealand seeks to ramp up vaccinations
New Zealand expects to administer a record 100,000 vaccine doses in a single day during a mass immunisation drive on Oct. 16, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, as she seeks to accelerate inoculations before easing curbs in Auckland.
Ardern on Tuesday urged the country’s population over 12 years of age “to roll up sleeves for New Zealand and help make us (one of) the most vaccinated and therefore protected countries in the world”. Some 2.44 million, or 58% of the population over 12, have been fully vaccinated so far.
UK’s ‘policy approach of fatalism’ was major error, lawmakers say
The delay to England’s first coronavirus lockdown was a serious error based on groupthink that went unchallenged, lawmakers said in a report published on Tuesday, adding that failures in testing positive cases and tracing their contacts exacerbated the crisis.
Parliament’s health and science committees have jointly published a 150-page report on lessons learnt from the pandemic after hours of testimony from more than 50 witnesses.
The report said there was a “policy approach of fatalism” that sought to manage but not suppress infections.
Texas governor bars all vaccine mandates
Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, responding to what he called “bullying” by the Biden administration, on Monday barred all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the state by any entity, including private employers.
Abbott’s move sets him up for a clash with President Joe Biden, who last month called on businesses nationwide to order their workers to be vaccinated or lose their jobs. At least several thousand people have since been fired for refusing to comply.
“In another instance of federal overreach, the Biden Administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas’ continued recovery from the COVID-19 disaster,” Abbott said in an executive order.
Japan working on starting booster shots by year-end
The Japanese government is working on starting booster shots by year-end, deputy chief cabinet secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Isozaki added that details such as who would get booster shots first and how they would be administered are currently under discussion by experts.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes)