(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Chinese city says it tested 30,000 for COVID-19
The Chinese city of Chengdu said on Wednesday it had conducted 30,000 COVID-19 tests on visitors at a big entertainment centre, and rounded up those who tried to flee the site, in the second mass screening in days. All COVID-19 tests were negative, the official China Central Television (CCTV) reported.
It was not clear how many visitors were at the New Century Global Center, which houses numerous shops, offices, a water park, and a university. At 1.7 million square metres, the floor area is equivalent to four Vatican Cities. Some people left the temporarily controlled area without authorisation, said CCTV, but were located via tracking services and tested.
India could ship vaccines to COVAX in a few weeks
India could resume deliveries of COVID-19 shots to global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX in a few weeks for the first time since April, two health industry sources said, ending a suspension of supplies that has hurt poor countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO), which co-leads COVAX, has been urging India to restart supplies for the programme, especially after it sent about 4 million doses to its neighbours and partners in October. Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest vaccine maker, told Reuters last month that the company could send 20 million to 30 million doses a month to COVAX in November and December, which would increase to “large volumes” from January once India’s own needs were met.
Aucklanders return to malls as New Zealand eases lockdown
Shops and malls in New Zealand’s biggest city of Auckland opened their doors for the first time in three months on Wednesday as the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak gradually reopened. Shops filled up due to pent-up demand while some shoppers reportedly queued up overnight to take advantage of early bird offers at some stores. Libraries, museums and zoos were also allowed to open. The hospitality sector, however, remained shut.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the city will move into a new “traffic-light” system to manage outbreaks rather than lockdowns once 90% of Aucklanders have been fully vaccinated. About 84% of Aucklanders have had a second doses.
French health authority advises against Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for under 30s
France’s public health authority has recommended people under 30 be given Pfizer’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine when available instead of Moderna Inc’s Spikevax shot, which carried comparatively higher risks of heart-related problems.
The Haute Autorite de Sante (HAS), which does not have legal power to ban or licence drugs but acts as an adviser to the French health sector, cited “very rare” risks linked to myocarditis, a heart disease, that had shown up in recent data on the Moderna vaccine and in a French study published on Monday. For people over 30, however, the authority explicitly recommended the use of the Moderna vaccine, saying its effectiveness was slightly superior.
Russia says it has turned tide on COVID-19 cases, deaths hit record high
Russia said last week’s nationwide workplace shutdown had helped turn the tide of surging COVID-19 cases, even as officials on Tuesday reported the largest one-day death toll of the pandemic.
St Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city by population, has ordered mandatory vaccination for people over 60 and those with chronic illnesses, a regional consumer health watchdog said. The step was significant because authorities have generally held back from forcing people to get inoculated, fearing it could entrench resistance to the domestically produced Sputnik V vaccine, which is already distrusted by many Russians.
(Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Robert Birsel)