After a 6-week decline, international COVID-19 circumstances are on the rise once more, a regarding growth balanced in opposition to the backdrop of promising vaccine launches in Ghana and Ivory Coast, the primary nations to obtain their COVAX doses.
A number of components might be fueling new rise
At a World Well being Group (WHO) media briefing immediately, Director-Basic Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, mentioned at the same time as immunization positive factors traction, vaccines alone will not maintain individuals protected. Globally, circumstances have elevated for the primary time in 7 weeks, with an infection on the rise in 4 of the WHO’s six areas. They embrace the Americas, Europe, South East Asia, and the Jap Mediterranean.
“That is disappointing, however not shocking,” he mentioned, including that officers are working to higher perceive the elevated transmission, which Tedros mentioned might partly mirror enjoyable of public well being measures, circulation of variant viruses, and other people letting down their guard. “Vaccines will assist to avoid wasting lives, but when international locations rely solely on vaccines, they’re making a mistake,” he mentioned.
US officers final week warned that prevalence of the extra transmissible B117 variant is rising, placing the nation in danger for a fourth spike.
Numerous European international locations took new steps to curb their rapidly rising circumstances, in accordance with media stories. For instance, Norway mentioned it can tighten a lockdown in Oslo, which is experiencing a steep rise in circumstances linked to the B117 variant. And Finland, additionally grappling with a recent surge, immediately introduced a state of emergency and a 3-week lockdown that can begin on Mar 8.
In japanese Europe, Hungary is experiencing an exponential rise in circumstances and introduced immediately that it’s going to alter its vaccination plans to offer as many individuals as doable their first dose by extending the interval between the 2 doses. Slovakia, additionally experiencing a resurgence, introduced new measures to start on Mar 3, which is able to embrace motion restrictions and extra proactive respirator use for individuals in retailers or on public transportation.
First COVAX vaccine campaigns launch in Africa
At immediately’s WHO briefing, Tedros mentioned well being employees in Ghana and Ivory Coast immediately began receiving vaccine provided by COVAX, this system led by the WHO and its companions to help vaccine growth and guarantee equitable entry to vaccine doses. Final week, the international locations obtained shipments of AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine produced at India’s Serum Institute. The WHO’s companions embrace the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Improvements (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and UNICEF.
“It is encouraging to see well being employees in lower-income international locations beginning to be vaccinated, however it’s regrettable that this comes virtually 3 months after among the wealthiest international locations began their vaccination campaigns,” he mentioned, noting that some international locations are already vaccinating youthful, more healthy adults whereas well being employees and older adults in different elements of the world wait for his or her doses.
“We’re not asking international locations to place their very own individuals in danger,” he mentioned. “We’re asking all international locations to be a part of a worldwide effort to suppress the virus in all places.”
In a statement, the WHO and its companions mentioned Ghana has 600,000 doses, and Ivory Coast has 504,000, with the international locations to obtain 11 million extra this week. The 142 international locations which can be a part of COVAX will obtain 237 million doses by the tip of Might.
At immediately’s briefing, Tedros mentioned COVAX will publish the primary spherical of nation allocations tomorrow.
Mariangela Simao, MD, MSc, the WHO’s assistant director-general for entry to medicines and well being merchandise, mentioned international locations should full sure steps earlier than receiving their shipments, together with a preparedness plan, regulatory approval, and an indemnification settlement.
Different international headlines
In New Zealand, the town of Auckland entered one other lockdown for the fourth time, slated to final 7 days, following the detection of one other native COVID-19 case, in accordance with Reuters. An extra two circumstances had been reported over the weekend, and the town’s mayor has requested the nation to prioritize Auckland residents for vaccination.
Somalia is among the many international locations reporting a steep rise in circumstances, and the nation’s well being minister immediately proposed new measures, which embrace closing all faculties, imposing distancing measures, and prohibiting massive gatherings, in accordance with the New York Instances.
A survey from the worldwide communications firm Kekst CNC on attitudes towards vaccination and different COVID-19 points discovered that as vaccination begins, increased numbers of individuals in all international locations say they might be immunized, reaching almost 90% in the UK. All international locations besides the UK say the vaccine rollout is simply too sluggish, and in Europe, many blame the European Union for velocity bumps in vaccine rollout.