South Africa, France and the World Health Organization are set to announce plans for Africa’s first Covid-19 vaccine facility using messenger RNA. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said England is on track for curbs to be lifted in July, while Germany warned a fourth wave is possible.
Hong Kong cut its mandatory hotel quarantine in half for international travelers from most places. Cases surged in Indonesia and China said it needs to fully vaccinate 80%-85% of the population, or just over 1 billion people, to reach herd immunityThe Tokyo Olympics will limit the number of spectators to 10,000 people per venue.
# Global Tracker: Cases exceed 178.5 million; deaths pass 3.86 million
# Vaccine Tracker: More than 2.62 billion doses administered
# Epidemiologists are starting to shift focus away from Covid case counts
# Covid Counting Sees New Era as Threat Shifts Away from Cases
# Many Brazilians insist on Pfizer even with 500,000 dead
# UK is a test case for Covid endgame as variant upends the math
Germany Sees Potential for Fourth Wave (8:48 a.m. NY)
German Health Minister Jens Spahn warned of the possibility of a fourth wave of the pandemic as the delta variant spreads, saying it’s important to remain cautious as the country plans for a potentially challenging autumn and winter.
“As you can see in the U.K., there is a risk,” Spahn said in an online panel hosted by industry group BDI. “Just remember the figures they had just some weeks ago regarding vaccination as well as the infection rate, and actually how quickly that can change.”
S. Africa, France Plan African mRNA Facility (8:15 a.m. NY)
South Africa, France and the World Health Organization are set to announce plans for Africa’s first Covid-19 vaccine facility using messenger RNA, the breakthrough technology of the global inoculation effort.
The “technology transfer hub” will be located in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement on Monday. The announcement is scheduled for 5 p.m. local time.South Africa, along with India, has been at the forefront of a campaign at the World Trade Organization to push pharmaceutical companies to waive their intellectual property rights and share their technology for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments to help end the pandemic.
Kenya to Receive More Vaccines (8:13 a.m. NY)
Kenya will receive 358,000 AstraZeneca doses donated by Denmark on Monday to shore up depleting stocks for the second round of vaccinations, according to Willis Akhwale, chairman of the Covid-19 vaccine advisory task force.
A total of 1.18 million vaccines have so far been administered across Kenya, but fewer than 200,000 people had received a second dose as at June 20, according to the Health Ministry.
Johnson Says Curbs to Be Lifted as Planned (7:16 a.m. NY)
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said England is on course to be able to lift coronavirus restrictions as planned on July 19, despite the spread of the delta variant.
But Johnson also warned that foreign travel is likely to continue to be disrupted this year, with delays and complications for travelers.
Sinovac’s S. Africa Application Advances (6:47 a.m. NY)
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority said an application by Sinovac Biotech Ltd. to have its Coronavac vaccine approved “is at a very advanced stage.”
So far South Africa has only approved the Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for use. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is also being evaluated.
U.K. Travel Chiefs Set to Challenge Curbs (6:13 a.m. NY)
Britain’s surging coronavirus infection rate is widening a rift between airlines and health authorities over the government’s decision to maintain some of the tightest rules on travel in Europe.
Travel industry officials plan to hold events on Wednesday in London, Edinburgh and Belfast to draw attention to some 195,000 jobs they say are at risk from restrictions on overseas trips. Meanwhile, an adviser from Public Health England warned that a fourth national lockdown may be needed this year to control the virus.
Indonesia’s Virus Cases Hit 2 Million (5:55 p.m. HK)
Indonesia’s total Covid-19 cases reached 2 million and hospitals started to fill up as the country grapples with the highly transmissible delta variant.
The government confirmed 14,536 new cases on Monday, a record. Deaths have begun to pick up as the Covid-19 hospitalization rates exceed 70% in 87 cities across the country, with 294 fatalities recorded in the past 24 hours.
China Herd Immunity Requires 80% Vaccinated (5:18 p.m. HK)
China needs to fully vaccinate 80%-85% of the population, or just over 1 billion people, to reach herd immunity, the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told state media on Monday.
The world’s most populous country has already administered 1 billion doses, but most were Sinovac and Sinopharm that require two jabs. China’s “covid-zero” containment strategy means it’s still being cautious about opening its borders and loosening quarantine restrictions.
Singapore Tests More to Contain Cluster (4:44 p.m. HK)
Singaporean authorities found 13 new coronavirus cases locally, as the government widened mandatory testing in a large neighborhood outside the city center where a cluster has been expanding since mid-June.
More residents and housing blocks in the Redhill neighborhood will have to get tested as viral fragments were found in waste water samples collected from the area, the Health Ministry said, raising concerns of an undetected spread.
Tokyo Olympics to Cap Spectators at 10,000 (4:41 p.m. HK)
The Tokyo Olympics will limit the number of spectators to 10,000 people per venue to reduce the risk of the world’s biggest sporting games turning into a superspreader event.
The number will be set at either 10,000 or 50% of venue capacity, whichever is smaller, organizing committee chief Seiko Hashimoto said at a briefing Monday following a meeting of the five parties responsible for the games.
Half of London Firms Plan for Home Working (4:21 p.m. HK)
Almost half of London companies whose staff can work from home expect them to do so up to five days a week after the pandemic finishes, and smaller businesses are more likely than larger ones to move ahead with remote working.
That’s according to a poll of 520 business leaders by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which also found that slightly more companies said employees’ main reason for concern about returning to the office was the risk of contracting Covid-19 when commuting -- rather than at the office.
Hong Kong to Shorten Arrivals Quarantine (4:07 p.m. HK)
Hong Kong will shorten hotel quarantine to seven days for fully vaccinated residents traveling from most places, as well as non-residents inoculated against Covid-19, in its most significant move yet to ease what’s among the strictest border curbs in the world.
The keenly anticipated moves are part of a broader loosening of restrictions announced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam at a briefing Monday, which she said was a symbolic day as it marked two weeks without any new local coronavirus cases. Other plans include lifting capacity restrictions at some restaurants and swimming pools.
Malaysia Aims to Ease Lockdown by Mid-July (3:01 p.m. HK)
Malaysia expects 10% of its population to be fully vaccinated by mid-July, according to Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. The milestone will help the country meet one of the three metrics to ease the current lockdown by mid-July, Khairy said.
Malaysia has said it will enter second phase of the national recovery plan once daily cases drop below 4,000, 10% of the population is fully vaccinated, and usage of ICU beds is at “moderate” capacity.
Bangkok Eases Restrictions, Reopens Pools (10:39 a.m. HK)
With new cases under control and vaccination rates rising, Bangkok relaxed some Covid restrictions on restaurants, convenience stores and sports venues. Air-conditioned restaurants in Bangkok can operate at 50% capacity and remain open until 11 p.m., authorities said, and convenience stores can remain open 24 hours. Swimming pools and some sports venues are also allowed to reopen under some restrictions, according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.