14 July 2021

• Globally, over 3.51 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered, but distribution remains vastly unequal; high-income countries and regions are vaccinating 30 times faster than low- and middle-income countries. Source 

• People in Myanmar are struggling to deal with a military coup- and a surge of the Delta variant. Cases have reached an all-time daily high of 5,000, with a quarter to a third of tests coming back positive and hospital beds and oxygen are becoming scarce. Source

• In the US, coronavirus cases have doubled over the past three weeks, reaching 23,600 per day, as the Delta variant spreads among unvaccinated people. In some cities, health officials are asking everyone, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated, to resume indoor masking. Source 

Quartz reports that the Delta variant is driving coronavirus surges in Indonesia, Russia, Thailand and South Africa, where access to vaccines is suboptimal. Source 

• In an interview with Bloomberg, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel  – who is worth $7 billion – says “We are going to totally disrupt the vaccine market.” Moderna, which could bring in $19 billion in revenue this year, has several vaccines entering or in clinical trials, including mid-stage trials of three COVID-19 booster shots (a lower-dose version of its existing vaccine, a booster customized against the Beta variant, and a third that combines both), with an ultimate goal of producing an annual “supershot” for up to a dozen respiratory ailments, including COVID-19. Source  

• A survey of 1,066 people published by England’s Office for National Statistics reported that only 37 percent of the 3.7 million people classified as “clinically extremely vulnerable” feel comfortable entering restaurant, bars, and cultural and educational settings, saying that mandating face coverings would make them feel more comfortable. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said people who are extremely vulnerable should “go to the shops and pharmacy at quieter times of the day” and avoid those who are not vaccinated. Source

• London’s mayor Sadiq Khan announced that face coverings will be required on public transport and in taxis and ride-sharing services regardless of the government mandate ends on 19 July, saying “My mask protects you, your mask protects me.” Source

• For the third consecutive day Indonesia’s daily coronavirus cases broke records, reaching over 54,500. “Based on the last three days’ data, I can say clearly that Indonesia has become the new epicenter in the world,” said Dicky Budiman, an Indonesian epidemiologist at Griffith University in Australia.  Less than six percent of the country’s 270 million residents are fully vaccinated and only 13 percent have received their first shot. Source

• The US is sending 1.5 million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine to Sri Lanka through COVAX. Earlier this week, the US shipped vaccines to Costa Rica, Fiji and Laos. Last week, it announced vaccine shipments going to Bhutan, Bolivia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia.  Moldova, Nepal, Paraguay, Uruguay and Viet Nam. Source

• Coronavirus cases in the Netherlands increased by 500 percent in just a week, leading Prime Minister Mark Rutte to issue a public apology for lifting restrictions too swiftly and the government to re-impose measures such as closing bars and clubs earlier. Source

• Sydney extends its lockdown until the end of the month as a daily total of 97 coronavirus infections are reported. Source 

• After a long political battle, Spain allows pharmacies to sell self-tests for coronavirus over the counter, over the objections of doctor’s associations. Source 

• Malaysia temporarily shut a coronavirus vaccination center in the western state of Selangor after almost 204 of 453 the healthcare workers there tested positive for coronavirus, although 400 of them were vaccinated. Source

• Spain’s highest court has ruled that the state of emergency declared on 14 March 2020 – which allowed the government to rapidly implement new rules for stopping COVID-19 – was not sufficient to give COVID-19 restrictions constitutional backing. However, the court will not accept lawsuits from people and businesses who want to sue the government because they lost money during the lockdown, although people who have fined for violating lockdown rules can sue for repayment. Source

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