18 April 2021

• Huons Global, a South Korean pharmaceutical company, will lead a consortium (including  Prestige BioPharma, Humedix, and Boran Pharma) that will manufacture over 100 million doses of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine each month, starting in August 2021. GL Rapha, another  South Korean manufacturer, has agreed to produce 150 million doses per month. Source

• Israel, which has vaccinated 56 percent of its population, has lifted the mandate for outdoor masking – although masks are still required indoors. Source

• In Turkey, new daily cases of coronavirus exceeded 62,000, driven by the B.1.1.7 variant as well as the B.1.354 and P.1 variants. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan imposed new restrictions last week for the two first weeks of Ramadan to stem the virus. Source

• Despite being one of the poorest Asian countries, Bhutan has already inoculated more than 60 percent of the population, using donated vaccines from India’s  Serum Institute. The country’s Minister of Health, Dasho Dechen Wangmo, said that “leadership and guidance” from the country’s king, public solidarity, lack of vaccine hesitancy, and a primary health care system  “enabled us to take the services even to the most remote parts of the country.” Source

• In Zimbabwe, outbreaks of the B.1.351 variant have led to the release of at least 320 prisoners – not including those convicted of murder, human trafficking, sexual offenses and treason –from the Chikurubi prison, which is notorious for overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. Zimbabwe’s leasders have been accoused of using coronavirus restrictions to crackdown on dissent among members of the opposition, many of whom have been arrested. A damning report from the US State Department  accused Zimbabwe’s security forces of random killing and torturing of civilians and noted that political prisoners and detainees face harsh,  life-threatening conditions inside the country’s prisons. Human rights advocates commended the release, and called for Zimbabwe’s government to immediately expand the initiative. Source

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