18 June 2021

• Portugal reports 1,300 new daily cases of coronavirus, most in areas near Lisbon and half caused by the Delta variant, sending Lisbon into a weekend lockdown. Source

• Millions of doses of the J & J one-shot coronavirus vaccine are close to expiry in the US, where demand for it is low. Source

• Russia is facing a surge of coronavirus, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant; the outbreak has centered in Moscow, where a record-breaking 9,056 daily cases were reported. Only 9.9 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, with many people mistrusting domestically produced vaccines – their only option. Source

• The Biden administration is replacing its donation of coronavirus vaccines from AstraZeneca produced at the now-closed Emergent Biosolutions plant in Maryland, since FDA has still not cleared them. Instead, shots from  J & J, Moderna  and Pfizer/BioNTech will be donated, pending permission from their manufacturers. Source

• Healthcare workers in Indian-controlled areas of Kashmir are being attacked for videotaping people getting vaccinated – some inside of their homes. “It is as if they are not coming to vaccinate people, but to do P.R. for India,” said Imad Ahmad Reshi, a college student in the northern Kashmir town of Baramulla. Source

• A deal allowing Palestine access to as many as 1.4 million surplus doses of coronavirus vaccines from Israel  (to be replaced when Palestine’s own supply arrives later this year) collapsed just hours after it was announced. After it received the first tranche, the Palestinian authority nixed the deal, saying the doses did not conform to the agreement, and that they were too close to their expiry date to be administered in time.

An Israeli official, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the initial batch vaccines would expire at the start of July – giving Palestinian health workers enough time to administer them, and that the authority was aware of their expiry dates, claiming it rejected them because Palestinians thought the vaccines were poor quality. Source

• The EU recommends lifting the ban against US tourism, leaving visitors from the US with a negative PCR test free to visit, even if they are unvaccinated. Each member state can impose its own restrictions, including quarantine and additional testing. Source

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