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COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Covid-19 becomes deadliest pandemic in US history

COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Covid-19 becomes deadliest pandemic in US history

September 23 2021 - 06:30

New Zealand's Ardern says lockdowns can end with high vaccine uptake

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday the country should aim for a 90%-plus rate of inoculation, and could drop strict coronavirus lockdown measures once enough people were vaccinated.

New Zealand eliminated Covid-19 last year and remained largely virus-free until an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant in August led to a nationwide lockdown.

With its biggest city Auckland still in lockdown and new cases being reported every day, Ardern said vaccinations will replace lockdowns as the main tool against the virus, allowing authorities to isolate only those who are infected.

"If that rate (of vaccinations) is high enough then we will be able to move away from lockdowns as a tool," she said.

The highest possible vaccine rates will give the most freedoms, Ardern said, adding that the country should be aiming for a 90% plus rate of vaccination.

After a sluggish start to its vaccination campaign, some 40% of adult New Zealanders are fully vaccinated and about 75% have had at least one dose.

Authorities reported 15 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, all in Auckland, taking the total number of cases in the current outbreak to 1,123.

The Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield warned earlier this week that New Zealand may not get to zero Covidcases again.


September 23 2021 - 06:15

Covid-19 becomes deadliest pandemic in U.S. history

The U.S. passed a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic with over 676,000 deaths, surpassing the nation's death count from the influenza outbreak of over 100 years ago, making the current pandemic the deadliest in American history.

September 23 2021 - 06:00

Japan doubles Covid-19 vaccine donation pledge to 60 mln doses

Japan will double its Covid-19 vaccine donations to about 60 million doses intended for needy countries, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at a virtual summit on Thursday.

The pledge adds to a previous agreement to provide 30 million doses and $1 billion to COVAX programme, overseen by the GAVI alliance and the World Health Organization."

Japan has provided approximately 23 million doses of Covid vaccine to various countries and regions across the world, which is the third largest provision of vaccine in the world so far," Suga told the conference.

Much of Japan's vaccine donations thus far have been via bilateral agreements with Asian neighbours, outside of the COVAX program.

Japan is giving away most of its domestically produced supply of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc.

The nation has relied mainly on imported mRNA-type vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc for its inoculation push, which has fully vaccinated about 55% of its population.