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Coronavirus digest: Hungary to produce China's Sinopharm jab

May 31, 2021

The Hungarian government has announced plans to produce the Chinese-developed COVID-19 vaccine locally in a planned €157 million plant. Follow DW for the latest.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto speaks to the media
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto says Budapest wants to be self-sufficient when it comes to producing the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.Image: Reuters/B. Szabo

The Hungarian goverment on Monday announced plans to produce the Chinese-developed Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine locally.

Hungary is the only EU country to inoculate its citizens with the Chinese jab after domestic regulators approved its use.

Speaking in China, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said officials would open a planned €157 million ($193 million) vaccine plant in the eastern town of Debrecen.

The announcement came after Szijjarto met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

He said that the goal would be carrying out the entire production process inside Hungary.

MTI, the country's state news agency, reported that the move would make Hungary self-sufficient in vaccine production from the end of 2022.

Here's the latest on coronavirus from around the world. 


France has decided to open up vaccination appointments to adults of all ages as the government looks to speed up its current jabbing drive.

From Monday, anyone over the age of 18 can sign up to get their first dose.

More than 48% of France’s adult population has had at least one dose, and more than 20% have had two, according to statistics compiled by the country's public health authorities.

After a slow start, France has now administered more than 36 million vaccine doses.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in a tweet that he has been vaccinated for COVID-19. He did not specify with which vaccine.

At a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, the European Commission signed off on a European Medicines Agency decision to allow 12 to 17-year-olds to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The decision by the EU executive, which is the last legal formality in the approval process of drugs or medicines in Europe, clears the way for member states to accelerate their vaccination programs.

The FDA, the US regulator, issued a similar decision earlier this month that expanded the use of the German-developed jab for 12 to 15-year-olds.

Authorities in Russia say they will resume flights from Moscow to London from June 2 as the health situation improves in the United Kingdom. But the country's coronavirus task force decided to keep a flight ban in place on departures to Turkey and Tanzania until June 21 inclusive. It said there will be three flights per week from Moscow to London.

In Geneva, Switzerland, the head of the World Health Organization called for all of its member states to agree upon a new pandemic treaty.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, told its annual ministerial assembly that the UN agency faced a “serious challenge” to maintain its COVID-19 response at the current level and required sustainable and flexible funding.

Earlier, health ministers from the 194 countries who are part of the WHO agreed to look at suggestions made by independent experts to strengthen the capacity of both the WHO and countries to contain new viruses.

They will meet from November 29 this year to decide whether to launch negotiations on the pandemic treaty.

Denmark's government has asked the country's health authorities to rethink their ban on the use of the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

Officials excluded both vaccines over a potential link to a rare but serious form of blood clot.

"We are now further into the epidemic, and the vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca have now been in use in Europe for some time, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said.

"There is a larger data base worldwide to assess the effect and side effects of the vaccines," he said.

Portugal's northern region health authority on Sunday advised people who got up close to the Champions League fanfare in the city of Porto to avoid contact and monitor for coronavirus symptoms over the next 14 days.

In the days before Saturday's final between Chelsea and Manchester City, crowds of English fans gathered in Porto's riverside area to drink and chant team slogans. 

The celebrations came amid concerns that the event could lead to a rise in the caseload after COVID-19 curbs were eased for the match and also because of the highly virulent COVID-19 variant, first identified in India, spreading in England.

Germany's Robert Koch Institute reported 1,978 new COVID cases on Monday, and 36 deaths related to the virus. The caseload continues to fall, with the seven-day incidence now at 35 cases per 100,000 people per week.

Meanwhile, live music shows are making a return tin the east of the country.

The Dresden Music Festival is to stage the city's first live concerts in over a year after a series of lockdowns and social distancing rules forced a slew of events to be canceled.


In Brazil, the city of Serrana has seen a 95% decline in coronavirus deaths after it finished inoculating almost all adults, TV Globo reported on Sunday

Around 45,000 people live in the city located in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo.

Serrana was the subject of research by Instituto Butantan, which produces the Coronavac vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech in Brazil.

At the beginning of the study, the city was experiencing a swelling case tally but the outbreak was contained once 75% of the population was vaccinated. 

In overall terms, Brazil has suffered the second-most coronavirus-related deaths of any country in the world after the US.

The Indianapolis Speedway in the United States on Sunday hosted the largest post-pandemic crowd in the world for a sports event on Sunday, with around 135,000 spectators permitted to attend the Indy 500. 

The figure, deemed safe in the pandemic,  was only 40% of the capacity.

Fans fill the stands as Colton Herta leads the field in the early laps of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, May 30, 2021.
Around 135,000 spectators, far less than capacity, cheered on racers at the Indy 500Image: Paul Sancya/AP Photo/picture alliance

Fans were allowed to attend if they could demonstrate they had been vaccinated, over 90,000 were inoculated at the speedway itself.


In Australia, the second-most populated state of Victoria and the country's latest COVID-19 hotspot, 11 new cases of local transmission were reported on Monday. Victoria has been in a rigorous seven-day lockdown since Friday after new infections in the state capital of Melbourne broke its three-month streak of zero community transmissions.

Meanwhile, Australian cricketers were released from a hotel quarantine in Sydney after being evacuated from  India amid a deadly second wave of COVID-19. 

The players, including former captain Steve Smith and David Warner, had been in a two-week quarantine following the suspension of the Indian Premier League. 

China has reimposed COVID-19 travel restrictions in the southern province of Guangdong after the region recorded 20 new local infections.

Taiwan's parliament on Monday earmarked over $15 billion for COVID-related economic and social aid for people and companies impacted by the ongoing outbreak. 

The Serum Institute of India said on Monday that it would raise production of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to about 90 million doses in June from the roughly 65 million per month that it is currently producing.

India recorded its lowest daily rise in infections since April 11 with 152,734 cases and 3,128 deaths in the previous 24 hours. The country has now registered a total of 28 million infections. 

Vietnam is planning to test all 9 million people in its largest city for the coronavirus as it imposed further restrictions in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday to tackle a growing COVID-19 outbreak

Residents in the city will now be allowed to leave their homes only for essential activities and public gatherings of more than 10 people have been banned for the next two weeks. 

State newspaper Vietnam News said the authorities in the city, which is the country's economic hub, were planning to test its entire population with a testing capacity of 100,000 samples a day.

Vietnam's government also said on Monday that it would suspend incoming international flights to the capital, Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh City took a similar step for its airport late last week.

dvv/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)