ECONOMY

Fauci Backs Vaccines; U.K. Plans Booster Shots: Virus Update

Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious disease doctor, said Covid-19 vaccines work extremely well and that a return to the lockdowns of 2020 is unlikely.

The U.K. is set to deliver booster shots to 32 million people starting September, The Telegraph reported. Israel’s public health officials are beginning to see signs of more serious disease among the vaccinated elderly. India is likely to see a new, though smaller, wave of infections, according to the forecaster who accurately predicted India’s Covid peak earlier this year.

Beijing stepped up efforts to control the virus, including suspension of some flights. Cases in Australia’s hot spot of Sydney matched an all-time high while parts of Queensland state entered a second day of lockdown.

U.S. Reports Strong Week for First Shots (6:18 a.m. HK)

The White House said the past week has been the best for administering first shots since early June.

On Sunday, 816,000 doses were administered, one of the highest in the past month. Vaccinations have been trending higher since mid-July, with several states with the worst outbreaks picking up pace.

India Likely Face New Wave: Expert (5:15 a.m. HK)

The forecaster who accurately predicted India’s Covid peak earlier this year said the country is likely to see a rise in infections building into a new, though smaller, wave.

The new surge may peak in October, with less than 100,000 cases a day in a best-case scenario, according to estimates by researchers led by Mathukumalli Vidyasagar and Manindra Agrawal at Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad and Kanpur respectively.

U.K. Set to Deliver Boosters in Sept. (5:00 p.m. NY)

The U.K. government is planning to deliver booster shots to 32 million people starting early next month, The Telegraph reported. Adults aged 50 and above, as well as the immuno-suppressed, will be offered these shots.

Ministers are considering giving people a different booster vaccine than what they received for their existing dose, as studies have showed mixing brands could enhance protection. That could lead to a significant reduction in the use of AstraZeneca jabs, the newspaper said.

Chicago Mayor Praises Lollapalooza (12 p.m. NY)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the Lollapalooza music festival, which attracts as many as 100,000 fans a night, is a model for gatherings despite rising infections in the city.

“Ninety percent of people at Lolla have been vaccinated, and hundreds of people who either haven’t been vaccinated or haven’t shown a negative test within 72 hours have been turned away,” Lightfoot told reporters Sunday. Organizers of the four-day festival “have done a an incredible job,” she said.

Lightfoot said she has no plans to mandate masks or impose tighter lockdown on Chicago, although last week the city recommended that people wear masks in public indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Israel Sees Waning Vaccine Effectiveness (11:45 a.m. NY)

Half of the infections in Israel now are among the fully vaccinated, and public health officials are beginning to see signs of more serious disease among them, said Sharon Alroy-Preis, the nation’s Director of Public Health Services.

She said that infections for people vaccinated in January are double those vaccinated in March, an apparent decrease in effectiveness over time that has led Israel to begin booster shots. She said infections were particularly problematic for people 60 and older.

“It’s not just the fact that we’re seeing more disease, but they’re getting to severe and critical conditions,” she said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

U.K. Vaccine Progress (10:54 a.m. NY)

More than 88% of adult Britons have received one vaccine dose, and more than 38 million people have been double-jabbed — the equivalent of 72% of the adult population, according to the U.K. Department of Health and Social Care.

From the end of September, people will be required to prove they’ve had both doses to enter nightclubs and music events, and from Aug. 16, fully vaccinated people will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case of Covid-19.

Fauci Says Shots Work (10:13 a.m. NY)

Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious disease doctor, said Covid-19 vaccines work extremely well and that a return to the lockdowns of 2020 is unlikely despite reports of outbreaks among fully vaccinated people.

“The likelihood of your getting a severe outcome of the infection is very low,” Fauci said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Higher Vaccine Prices (9:03 a.m. NY)

Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. have increased the prices of their Covid-19 vaccines in the latest supply contracts with the European Union, the Financial Times reported.

The price rises come as the bloc deals with supply disruptions and side-effect concerns from other shots, the FT said.

German Vaccination Progress (8:57 a.m. NY)

Germany’s government will recommend the vaccine for all 12- to 17-year-olds on Monday, the Associated Press reported, citing a draft resolution ahead of a planned meeting of state-level health ministers.

Eastern Chinese City Halts Flights (6:05 a.m. NY)

Yangzhou, a city neighboring Nanjing where there’s been an outbreak of delta-variant cases, suspended all passenger flights in and out of the local airport starting Saturday. It also stopped bus, cab and ride-hailing services in the city from Sunday.

The city found 12 local confirmed cases on July 31 and 10 on July 30, an increase compared with a total of 6 cases reported July 20-29, according to the city government’s Weibo postings.

Beijing Tightens Measures (5:45 p.m. HK)

Beijing reported two confirmed local cases and 1 asymptomatic infection in the city as of 4 p.m. Sunday, according to Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, who spoke at a briefing. The cases were from the same family who recently traveled to the central Chinese tourist city of Zhangjiajie.

The Chinese capital will step up efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, including suspension of flights, trains and buses from regions with Covid cases, according to a post on the city’s WeChat account.

German Cases Rise (5:28 p.m. HK)

Germany’s weekly case average of 2,195 was the highest since July 12, the Robert Koch-Institut said. The seven-day incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants rose to 17.5, the 26th consecutive gain.

Thai Measures Expanded (5:12 p.m. HK)

The most stringent restrictions in 13 provinces, including the capital Bangkok and its surrounding regions, will be extended to Aug. 31, and those curbs will be expanded to 16 additional provinces, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration said on Sunday.

Uber’s U.K. Vaccine Incentives (4:06 p.m. HK)

Several food and travel companies in the U.K. will start giving incentives and offering discounts to urge Britons to get vaccinated, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Uber Technologies Inc. will send users a vaccine reminder and give lower rates for young adults who get the shot. Bolt, another ride-share company, is offering free ride credits to vaccine centers, and Deliveroo Plc and Pizza Pilgrims are also aiding the drive.

Over 600,000 people were vaccinated at walk-in clinics last weekend and more sites have been made available this week, the department said.

Support for N.Z.’s Ardern Slips Amid Virus (3:57 p.m. HK)

Support for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party has slipped by almost 10 percentage points amid increasing scrutiny of the government’s response to the coronavirus, according to a poll by Newshub-Reid Research.

Labour’s support fell to 43% compared with a May survey, while New Zealand National Party’s backing rose to almost 29% and ACT Party’s increased to about 11%, Newshub-Reid found. Ardern was still preferred Prime Minister by a large margin.

The research was conducted July 22 to 29 and had a margin of error of 3.3%, according to Newshub-Reid.

Ho Chi Minh City Curbs (2:24 p.m. HK)

Vietnam authorities extended the stay-at-home order covering most of the nation’s southern region, including the commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City, for two weeks.

The extension is directed at 19 localities and is part of the government’s aggressive anti-virus measures to contain the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreak, which began in late April.

The country reported a total 150,060 virus cases and 1,306 deaths as of Saturday, with 97% of infections recorded from late April, according to the health ministry. Ho Chi Minh City accounts for about 63% of infections in the current outbreak.

Sydney Reports Record Number of Cases (9:20 a.m. HK)

Sydney reported a record-matching 239 new local cases of Covid-19 over the 24 hours to 8 p.m. Saturday as the delta-strain outbreak continues to spread in Australia’s biggest city.

New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there were some signs that the virus is mostly being contained to parts of the city with the strictest curbs. The entire Sydney region is in lockdown until Aug. 28.

There were nine new locally acquired cases in Queensland, which on Saturday imposed a snap lockdown on its most populous region of the southeast, the state’s chief health officer, Jeannette Young, said at a briefing. Victoria state reported four new local cases while in New Zealand there were no new cases in the community, according to health authorities.

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