COVID: Half of US adults receive at least one vaccine shot
The US government announced on Sunday that the country had passed the milestone of having administered at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot to half of all adults.
Close to 130 million Americans aged 18 or over have received a dose of one of the authorized coronavirus vaccines — 50.4% of the total adult population.
Almost a third of the adult population — 84 million individuals — has been fully vaccinated against the deadly virus.
The vaccination rate was not equal across the country, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed. The state with the highest uptake of the vaccine was New Hampshire, where over 70% of adults have received a jab.
On the other end of the spectrum, in Tennessee, only 40% of adults had been administered one of the vaccine shots.
The next stage of the vaccination campaign will be to deal with those who have expressed a reluctance to be vaccinated. However, according to surveys, the share of Americans willing to receive a dose has increased from 67% in January to 75% in March, AP reported.
Here's a roundup of some other major COVID-related stories around the world.
New Delhi will go into lockdown for almost a week as of Monday evening as COVID-19 infections nationwide continue to surge.
Earlier India's Health Ministry had pledged to free up more hospital beds.
The daily number of COVID-19 infections broke another record on Monday with 273,810 people testing positive in 24 hours, taking the overall case load past 15 million, second only to the United States globally.
Several countries are planning to lift more restrictions on Monday.
In the Netherlands, a party with 10,000 guests planned in Breda as part of a pilot programme to test whether events can be staged safely has been cancelled after 350,000 people signed a petition. The event had been organized Radio 538.
Greece announced that travellers from the EU, Britain, the United States, Israel, Serbia and the United Arab Emirates who are fully vaccinated or have a recent negative Covid test will no longer have to quarantine on arrival.
Portugal is to allow restaurants, shopping centers, high schools and universities to re-open.
In Slovakia stores, hotels and churches are set to open back up.
And Switzerland is also set to start the week with a step towards normality, with outdoor seating at restaurants and bars and the re-opening of cinemas, sports facilities, and in-person classes at universities.
At a press briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva, the head of the World Health Organization said governments can bring the global COVID-19 pandemic under control in the coming months provided it distributes the necessary resources fairly.
"We have the tools to bring this pandemic under control in a matter of months, if we apply them consistently and equitably," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
He was speaking at a joint press conference with climate activist Greta Thunberg, who offered her views on vaccination strategy worldwide.
Thunberg urged young people everywhere to get vaccinated if given an opportunity, even though they are the age group least at risk from COVID-19, out of "solidarity with people in the (high) risk groups."
Germany recorded 92 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, bringing the total death toll over 80,000, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases reported.
The country also recorded 11,437 new COVID-19 cases — although the real number may be higher as fewer tests are carried out on Sunday.
The EU's internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, renewed the bloc's quarrel with the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, hinting that the EU may not renew its contracts with the company after it failed to deliver on its promises of providing member states with 120 million doses in the first quarter.
The drug manufacturer only delivered 30 million of those doses. Furthermore, one member, Denmark, has already banned the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine entirely, while others have limited it.
Turkey recorded its highest COVID-19 death toll on Sunday, the country's Health Ministry said. Some 318 people died in 24 hours, bringing the total number of coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began to 35,926. The country also recorded almost 56,000 new cases.
The government re-introduced restrictions last week, extending an evening weekday curfew and moving classes back online.
Australia and New Zealand kicked off their "trans-Tasman travel bubble" on Monday. The bubble means people traveling, or returning, to New Zealand from Australia no longer have to enter a two-week quarantine. Travelers from New Zealand to certain parts of Australia have been exempt from quarantining since October.
Despite surging COVID-19 infections, the beaches of Rio de Janeiro are set to re-open after their closure due to the pandemic.
Brazil has experienced delays in its vaccination rollout due to supply and distribution problems.
The country has the second-most deaths due to the coronavirus worldwide. Over 370,000 people in the country have died of COVID-19 and nearly 13.9 million people have been infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
ab/sri (AP, AFP)