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Coronavirus digest: G7 set to pledge 1 billion vaccine doses | DW | 11.06.2021

The Group of Seven nations are set to commit at least 1 billion coronavirus vaccine shots to nations struggling to contain the virus. At least half of these doses will come from the United States and 100 million from the United Kingdom.

In Cornwall, England, for the G7 summit, leaders from the member nations will kick off the conference with opening greetings and a “family photo,” followed by a session on “Building Back Better From COVID-19.”

“We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners,” US President Joe Biden said. The country has pledged 500 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to developing nations.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged 100 million doses, and other G7 nations are expected to outline their vaccine donation commitments at the three-day summit. 

Jürgen Trittin, a member of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee and former environment minister, said more action was needed to achieve herd immunity. 

“This is an important step that the G7 will deliver around 1 billion vaccine doses, but it’s not enough,” Trittin told DW, noting that scaling up industrial production remained a problem for poorer nations. 

Trittin also said that lifting vaccine patents, which the US had called for, was not a solution. 

“The producers have their cooperation partners even in the South. The problem [is] export hurdles. And these hurdles come from the US and also from [the] UK … So, I think it’s a little bit of a blame game, a scapegoat game, that Joe Biden is playing here,” Trittin said. 

Here’s a roundup of other major global coronavirus developments

Americas

Brazil’s Supreme Court has ruled against injunctions seeking to prevent the country from hosting the Copa America football tournament. The 10-nation South American event is set to kick off on Sunday, with no spectators allowed in the grounds.

Epidemiologists, coaches and players from the countries participating have voiced alarm that the tournament could exacerbate the coronavirus crisis in Brazil.

Two passengers aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19. The ship was one of the first in North America to start sailing again since the pandemic began.

Asia-Pacific 

Thailand has sealed a deal for 20 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine to be delivered before the end of this year, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said. 

The government is also planning on buying 5 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot jab this year, according to Charnvirakul.

Thailand’s mass immunization campaign began earlier this week, two months after it was hit by its biggest COVID-19.

The Philippines will exempt seniors who have been fully vaccinated from stay-at-home restrictions to encourage others to get the jab.  

Officials said Filipinos aged 65 and older who have been restricted to home can now travel within the densely populated capital region two weeks after having been fully vaccinated.

“Get vaccinated to enjoy the incentive of going out to exercise and chat with your fellow senior citizen,” Maria Rosario Vergeire, health undersecretary, told a press conference.

Gyms, skating rinks, racket courts and museums in metropolitan Manila and adjacent provinces can also start reopening up to 30% of their capacity as coronavirus cases continue to decline.

China’s government reiterated its invitation to Taiwanese people to come and get their COVID-19 jab, calling on Taiwan to remove restrictions and allow its people to receive the “highly effective” Chinese shots.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office urged Taiwan’s government to “quickly remove artificial obstacles for mainland vaccines being sent to Taiwan and allow
the broad mass of Taiwan compatriots to receive the safe and highly effective mainland vaccines.”

But the offer has been met with skepticism in Taiwan. A Taiwan security official told Reuters that Beijing’s offer might be attractive to some people, but not many could afford the expenses of travel and quarantine. 

For the first time in nearly three weeks, Australia’s Victoria state reported zero locally acquired cases of COVID-19. 

The state capital, Melbourne, just came out of a two-week lockdown on Thursday night. The snap lockdown had come into effect after an outbreak that saw about 90 cases since May 24.

Europe

Britain is on track to meet its immunization targets over the next few weeks, the country’s Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi said. 

Speaking to LBC radio, Zahawi said the UK’s pledge to donate 100 million surplus doses would not affect its domestic vaccination program.

“I’m confident that Scotland will be able to meet the target of offering every adult at least one dose by the end of July as we will in England as well,” he added. 

A hotel used by members of the German delegation to the G7 summit in England has temporarily shut down after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19, British media reported. 

Meanwhile, Germany has removed some regions, including the US, Canada and Austria from its coronavirus travel risk list. 

New coronavirus cases continue to fall sharply inGermany.The Robert Koch Institute for infectious disease control and prevention has reported 2,440 new infections and 102 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The current seven-day coronavirus incidence, which records new cases per 100,000 within the time period, is now at 18.6, down from 29.7 a week earlier. 

Russia recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 infections since late February, with 12,505 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Nearly half of the newly confirmed cases were recorded in Moscow. 

Despite the surge of infections, Sergei Sobyanin, mayor of the Russian capital, vowed earlier this week not to impose a lockdown.

fb, see/rt (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters) 


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