Coronavirus digest: Nobel prize ceremonies scaled back
The Nobel Foundation said in a statement on Thursday that prizewinners would receive awards in their home countries rather than attend a banquet in Stockholm.
The body said it was making the decision due to uncertainty about the further course of the pandemic and the possibilities for international travel that come with it
While prizewinners will not be present, a ceremony is to be held for the respective presentations in the scientific categories as well as in literature at Stockholm's City Hall on Nobel Day, December 10.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, is keeping open the possibility of welcoming laureates in person.
The prizes for achievement in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature, peace, and economics are to be announced between October 4 to 11.
Here's a look at the latest coronavirus news from the rest of the world:
The United States Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized a booster dose of BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for several at-risk groups, including Americans 65 years of age and older, those at risk of severe disease and people who are regularly exposed to the virus.
The FDA approval comes weeks after US President Joe Biden's administration announced a sweeping plan that would allow nearly all American adults to get a third shot to amp up protection as the country battles to contain the spread of the highly infectious delta variant.
Meanwhile, Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel said as vaccine production increased across the world, the pandemic could be over in a year.
The death of a 16-year-old in Brazil who received a dose of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine was linked to the shot but due to a prior blood clot condition, health regulator Anvisa has said, concluding the investigation.
Last week, the federal government sought to halt vaccinations for adolescents while the fatality was being investigated as a suspected adverse event. However, several states have vowed to continue.
The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for minors in the country.
Japan is set to double its vaccine donation quota to nearly 60 million doses, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday. This comes in addition to the 30 million doses and $1 billion the country has pledged to the COVAX program run by the GAVI Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization.
"Japan has provided approximately 23 million doses of COVID vaccine to various countries and regions across the world, which is the third-largest provision of vaccines in the world so far," Suga told the conference.
Authorities in South Korea have warned vacationers to get tested upon return, even in cases with mild COVID-19 type symptoms. The country has been grappling with a fourth wave of the virus since early July but some allowances were made for gatherings during the Chuseok holiday week.
The capital city, Seoul, reported 1,400 daily confirmed cases on average last week, registering an 11% hike from the previous week.
Vaccine developer Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise in China is looking to begin a large trial for its nasal spray-based coronavirus vaccine candidate next month. According to an entry on the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry, the company will aim to recruit 40,000 adult participants for the phase 3 clinical trial.
The EU expects to decide in early October whether to approve booster doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine for people aged over 16, a senior official from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said Thursday.
Germany has recorded 10,696 new COVID-19 infections, taking the country's total tally to 4,171,666, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. With 115 deaths reported, the fatalities have risen to 93,238.
Ukraine announced stricter lockdown curbs on Thursday after a steady increase in cases was reported. Under the new measures, authorities will restrict large events and occupancy at gyms, cinemas and cultural sites.
The government also plans to make vaccinations mandatory for those in occupations like teaching and employment in state institutions.
jsi, see, rc/sms (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)