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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Coronavirus: The latest global developments

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

US backs booster shots

US health officials warn that vaccines give less protection over time as they green light booster shots from next month.

People who have already been fully vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will be able to get a third shot from September 20 to help beat back the surging Delta variant.

WHO slams booster shots

The World Health Organization condemns wealthy countries providing vaccine booster shots while millions around the world have yet to receive a single dose.

“We’re planning to hand out extra life jackets to people who already have life jackets, while we’re leaving other people to drown without a single life jacket,” WHO’s emergency director Mike Ryan says.

Ryan also says he is confident that China will cooperate in the WHO investigation into the origins of Covid-19, just days after Beijing rejected calls for a renewed probe.

Pope: Jab is ‘act of love’

Pope Francis says getting vaccinated is “an act of love” as he urges the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to get a jab.

In a video appeal to North and South America, he says the pandemic will only end if shots “are available to all and if we work together”.

Japan Grand Prix off

The Japanese Grand Prix has been cancelled for a second year in a row because of the virus. 

The race was due to take place at Suzuka on October 10, but the Japanese government pulled the plug because of the country’s worsening virus outbreak.

UN biodiversity summit too

The face-to-face portion of a critical UN biodiversity summit originally slated for last year will be delayed again until April 2022, UN officials say, citing the pandemic.

Spain misses deadline

Spain misses a deadline set by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to have 70 percent of the population fully vaccinated, with the 64.1 percent jabbed falling short of the mark.

Kenya extends curfew

Kenya announces it will extend a curfew and other restrictions as President Uhuru Kenyatta blames unbridled mass gatherings and people flouting health guidelines for a stubborn surge in infections.

Anti-mask US governor infected

The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, a fierce opponent of mandatory masks and vaccine passes, tests positive after attending a fundraising event without a mask. 

Abbott, who is fully vaccinated, says he does not feel unwell.

US sends doses to Ivory Coast

The United States says it is sending 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Ivory Coast which is battling a spike in cases, with less than two percent across Africa fully vaccinated.

Israel gets tough on pass

Israelis — who are largely vaccinated — must now show a vaccination certificate or negative test result to enter many public spaces including bars and restaurants, cultural and sports venues, hotels and gyms.

Fake French passes

Vaccine refusniks in France are spending hundreds of euros for fake health passes to allow them to get into cafes, bars and other public places, an AFP investigation finds.

No vaccine, no fly

Australian airline Qantas is making vaccines mandatory for staff as it struggles to get planes back in the skies.

The national carrier says pilots, cabin crew and airport staff must be fully vaccinated by November 15.

4.3 million dead

The coronavirus has killed at least 4,381,911 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP compilation of official data. 

The US is the worst-affected country with 623,322 deaths, followed by Brazil with 570,598, India with 432,519, Mexico 249,529 and Peru 197,539.

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