Coronavirus digest: India vaccinates 190,000 people in first day

World Sunday 17/January/2021 13:59 PM
By: DW
Coronavirus digest: India vaccinates 190,000 people in first day

New Delhi: India's Health Ministry hailed a successful first day of the world's largest vaccination programme, which was launched on Saturday.

More than 190,000 people received their first jabs and nobody was hospitalised with negative reactions to the vaccine.

Front line health workers and people aged over 50, as well as those deemed at high risk are first in line to receive a jab from one of the two authorised vaccines — the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine and the Indian-produced Covaxin.

Concerns over Covaxin, which has not yet completed phase 3 trials, have led to doctors requesting only Covishield doses to encourage uptake.

The country plans to immunise 300 million out of the 1.3 billion-strong population by July.

Pakistan's drug regulatory authority approved the use of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine and hopes to launch its immunisation programme against the virus in the first quarter of the year.

Pakistan has a strained relationship with India, the major producer of the vaccine. The Chinese vaccine developer CanSino is carrying out clinical trials in Pakistan.

China has finished the construction of a 1,500-bed hospital, built to help in the fight against a recent outbreak of the virus in the northeast of the country.

Chinese authorities also claimed to have found COVID-19 on ice cream produced in China with ingredients imported from New Zealand and Ukraine. There were no reported cases of people having contracted the virus from the ice cream, but authorities were chasing down some 390 units that had been sold.

Some 47 tennis players, including Grand Slam champions, went into hard quarantine after arriving in Australia for the Australian Open. Four cases were identified on charter flights transporting players and staff for the event.

Some of the players have protested against being classified as "close contacts" with those who tested positive after being on the same flight.

The British government hopes to start phasing out its national lockdown by March if it manages to meet its vaccination targets, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News on Sunday.

Austria has said it will extend its lockdown by a further two weeks, allowing restrictions to ease from February 8.
All but essential shops are closed in the country, but health officials deem the infection rate to be too high for lockdown measures to end yet.

The country has had some 390,000 coronavirus cases and almost 7,000 deaths linked to the disease.Germany's Robert Koch Institute reported 13,882 new COVID-19 infections and 445 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours.