Coronavirus live updates | South Africa to receive 1 million COVID vaccine doses from India on Feb. 1


All kinds of social, religious and cultural gatherings that were earlier restricted to a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces, will now be allowed subject to the standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by State governments.

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Here are the latest updates:

South Africa

1 million COVID vaccine doses to arrive in South Africa from India on Feb 1

South African Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday a million coronavirus vaccine doses will arrive from India in the country on February 1.

Also read | COVID-19 deaths drop below 120 across India

After the arrival of the vaccine doses via Dubai, these will undergo some processes for 10 to 14 days, after which these will be distributed among provinces, he said during a virtual press conference.

Mkhize had earlier announced that South Africa would receive the first batch of a million vaccine doses form India by the January-end and a further 500,000 doses in February.

The vaccine will be first administered to health care workers and other priority sector staff in the first phase of the campaign, which aims to vaccinate 67 per cent of South Africa’s 58.5 million citizens to achieve herd immunity before the end of 2021.

“Receiving one million vaccines less than a year after first the COVID-19 infection was recorded is a massive achievement,” the minister said as he commended the volunteers who participated in the vaccine trials.

‘Covaxin efficiency’

Covaxin vaccine effective against the U.K. variant, says study

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has been found to neutralise the U.K. variant with “similar efficiency” as the strain used for making the vaccine and hence “dispels the uncertainty of possible neutralisation escape” following vaccination, say results posted on the bioRxiv preprint server. Preprints are yet to be peer-reviewed and published in medical journals. The work was carried out by researchers from ICMR and Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad.

 

New relaxations on cinemas

Home Ministry permits cinemas’ seating strength at a higher capacity

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order on January 27 extending the COVID-19 “guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution” till February 28.

The guidelines permit the opening of cinema halls and theatres at a higher capacity than the 50% seating strength allowed till now. Swimming pools have also been permitted to open for all.

 

All kinds of social, religious and cultural gatherings that were earlier restricted to a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces, will now be allowed subject to the standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by State governments.

Vaccine competition

China says no vaccine competition, but its media takes aim at India

China’s government said this week there was “no place for malign competition” on the issue of supplying vaccines. The media it controls in China have, however, adopted a different line, from accusing India of “interference” in preventing Chinese vaccines being used in South Asia, to questioning the efficacy of Indian and Western vaccines.

 

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