Health News Roundup: EU rebuffs UK calls to ship AstraZeneca vaccine; Germany’s coronavirus cases rise by 7,709 and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

India reports most COVID-19 deaths since early January

India reported 212 new COVID-19 deaths on Monday, the most since early January, while infections jumped by 46,951, the highest since early November. Total deaths have now swelled to 159,967 and infections to 11.65 million, the highest in the world after the United States and Brazil.

Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 7,709: RKI

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 7,709 to 2,667,225, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday. The reported death toll rose by 50 to 74,714, the tally showed.

New Zealand PM Ardern says to announce date for quarantine-free travel with Australia in two weeks

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday said she will announce a date for quarantine-free travel with Australia on April 6. “We don’t have a date for you,” Ardern said in a news conference.

European trust in AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine plunges, poll shows

Confidence in the safety of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has taken a big hit in Spain, Germany, France, and Italy as reports of rare blood clots have been linked to it and many countries briefly stopped using it, poll data showed on Monday. The polling firm YouGov said it had already found in late February that Europeans were more hesitant about the AstraZeneca vaccine than about those from Pfizer Inc/BioNTech and Moderna Inc, and that the clot concerns had further damaged public perceptions of the AstraZeneca shot’s safety.

EU has ‘absolutely no need’ of Sputnik V vaccine, commissioner says

The European Union does not need Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 and can achieve immunity across the continent using European production, a leading EU executive said on Sunday in comments that provoked a backlash from the vaccine maker. The European Commission has been criticized for a slow vaccine rollout when the bloc faces a rise in cases and a former member, Britain’s inoculation programme gathers pace.

Australia accelerates the pace of COVID-19 vaccination rollout

Australia on Monday begun accelerating the pace of COVID-19 inoculations after Canberra approved local manufacturing of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. Australia’s Minister for Health Greg Hunt said about 1,000 general practitioners will now be able to administer AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Second virus surge grips India on first anniversary of lockdown

India’s richest state, Maharashtra, reported 30,535 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, which could send the country’s overall cases to a multi-month high when national data is released later on Monday. A year ago, India had observed what Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a people’s curfew, marking the start of a chaotic nationwide lockdown in a bid to contain the virus. With 11.6 million cases, India is now the worst-affected country after the United States and Brazil.

UK sets new daily COVID vaccination record in ‘mammoth team effort’

More than 27.6 million people in Britain, well over half the adult population, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, official data showed on Sunday after a daily record of 844,285 doses were administered the previous day. Some 2.2 million people have had both doses of a vaccine, the data showed.

EU rebuffs UK calls to ship AstraZeneca COVID vaccines from Europe

The European Union is rebuffing British government calls to ship AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines produced in a factory in the Netherlands, an EU official said on Sunday. Former EU member Britain has so far administered many more vaccines than EU countries in proportion to the population.

Taiwan premier gets AstraZeneca shot as island starts vaccine campaign

Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot on Monday, having volunteered to be first in line to underscore government confidence in the vaccine’s safety as the island began its inoculation campaign. “I have just finished getting the injection, there is no pain at the injection site, and there is no soreness of the body,” Su told reporters at National Taiwan University Hospital in central Taipei.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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