India’s tally of COVID-19 cases surpassed 1.09 crore with 12,194 new infections, while fresh fatalities were recorded below 100 for the eighth time this month, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated today.
Here are the latest updates:
New Zealand imposes 3-day lockdown on Auckland after 3 COVID-19 cases emerge
New Zealand Prime Minsiter Jacinda Ardern on February 14 announced a three-day lockdown in the country’s biggest city Auckland, after three new local COVID-19 cases were reported.
Ms. Ardern said the level 3 restrictions, which require everyone to stay home except for essential shopping and essential work, were being imposed, repeating the super cautious approach the country has taken over the past year in stamping out the pandemic.
New Zealand has not had any local virus cases for months until the recent infections and was ranked the best performing in an index of almost 100 countries based on containment of the coronavirus. By closing its international borders early, the island nation virtually eradicated the virus in the early stage of the pandemic.
Administering second dose of vaccine to begin tomorrow
The State will start the second dose vaccination of healthcare workers from Monday. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting with officials from the Centre.
This is despite a WHO panel suggesting an interval of 8-12 weeks between doses. COVID-19 experts in the State have also suggested that giving the second dose after eight weeks not only offers higher efficacy but will also give ample time to plan and cover more people. However, the State cannot take a call on its own and has to follow the Centre’s guidelines that say the second dose should be given 28 days after the first.
Oxford University to test its vaccine on children
The University of Oxford plans to test its COVID-19 vaccine in children for the first time, becoming the latest vaccine developer to assess whether its coronavirus shot is effective in young people.
The trial announced on Saturday seeks to recruit 300 volunteers between the ages of 6 and 17, with up to 240 receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and the remainder a control meningitis vaccine.
Andrew Pollard, chief researcher on the Oxford vaccine trial, said that while most children don’t get severely ill from COVID-19, “it is important to establish the safety and immune response to the vaccine in children and young people as some children may benefit from vaccination.’’