'Behave responsibly', urges UK PM Boris Johnson as COVID lockdown eases

'Behave responsibly', urges UK PM Boris Johnson as COVID lockdown eases

By PTI LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to continue to “behave responsibly” as shops, hairdressers, restaurants, pubs and gyms reopen their doors on Monday in the latest stage of the coronavirus lockdown easing in England. People were seen queuing overnight outside some clothing stores and also some pubs and restaurants, which are now allowed to serve customers outdoors. Social mixing indoors remains heavily restricted and people are still expected to work from home where possible to minimise the amount they have to commute. “I’m sure it will be…

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Muslims navigate restrictions in the second pandemic Ramadan

Muslims navigate restrictions in the second pandemic Ramadan

By PTI CAIRO: For Ramadan this year, Magdy Hafez has been longing to reclaim a cherished ritual: performing the nighttime group prayers called taraweeh at the mosque once again. Last year, the coronavirus upended the 68-year-old Egyptian’s routine of going to the mosque to perform those prayers, traditional during Islam’s holiest month. The pandemic had disrupted Islamic worship the world over, including in Egypt where mosques were closed to worshippers last Ramadan. “I have been going to the mosque for 40 years so it was definitely a very, very, difficult thing,”…

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Small but quick: Bhutan vaccinates 93 per cent of adults in 16 days

Small but quick: Bhutan vaccinates 93 per cent of adults in 16 days

By PTI THIMPU: When plotted on a graph, the curve of Bhutan’s COVID-19 vaccination drive shoots upwards from the very first day, crossing Israel, United States, Bahrain and other countries known for vaccinating people rapidly. Those countries took months to reach where they are, painstakingly strengthening their vaccination campaigns in the face of rising coronavirus cases. But the story of Bhutan’s vaccination campaign is nearly finished — just 16 days after it began. The tiny Himalayan kingdom wedged between India and China has vaccinated nearly 93 per cent of its…

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'I've never seen a disease like COVID-19': World-renowned South African Indian-origin academic

'I've never seen a disease like COVID-19': World-renowned South African Indian-origin academic

By PTI JOHANNESBURG: World-renowned South African Indian-origin academic Prof Hoosen Mahomed ‘Jerry’ Coovadia has described the COVID-19 pandemic as something he has never seen in a career of over six decades. Dr.Coovadia, now retired at 80, was speaking from his residence in Durban after the launch of the 7th edition of his seminal textbook ‘Paediatrics and Child Health’, 37 years after he first published it. “Coronaviruses have been around for a long time, but I’ve never seen a disease like COVID-19,” Coovadia told the weekly Saturday Independent as he confirmed…

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Tokyo adopts tougher virus rules, starts vaccinating elders

Tokyo adopts tougher virus rules, starts vaccinating elders

By Associated Press TOKYO: Tokyo adopted tougher measures against the coronavirus Monday as it struggles to curb the rapid spread of a more contagious variant ahead of the Olympics in a country where less than 1% of people have been vaccinated. Japan started its vaccination drive with medical workers and expanded Monday to older residents, with the first shots being given in about 120 selected places around the country. The tougher COVID-19 rules, just three weeks after a state of emergency ended in the capital, allow Tokyo’s governor to mandate…

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Vaccinated Indian national among 20 new COVID-19 cases reported in Singapore

Vaccinated Indian national among 20 new COVID-19 cases reported in Singapore

By PTI SINGAPORE: A 23-year-old Indian national with a work permit who had received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine was the sole locally transmitted case among 20 infections confirmed on Sunday. The Health Ministry has warned that an individual can get infected even after vaccination. The Indian, who worked as a lashing specialist, was detected as COVID-19 positive through pooled rostered routine testing on April 7, according to a news report. After his polled test results came positive on April 8, he was immediately isolated and an individual test was…

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COVID-19: Setback for Beijing as top official admits Chinese vaccines have low effectiveness

COVID-19: Setback for Beijing as top official admits Chinese vaccines have low effectiveness

By Associated Press BEIJING: In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country’s top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost. Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu. Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses abroad while trying to promote doubt about the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine made using the…

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Brazil's virus outlook darkens amid vaccine supply snags

Brazil's virus outlook darkens amid vaccine supply snags

By PTI RIO DE JANERIO: April is shaping up to be Brazil’s darkest month yet in the pandemic, with hospitals struggling with a crush of patients, deaths on track for record highs and few signs of a reprieve from a troubled vaccination program in Latin America’s largest nation. The Health Ministry has cut its outlook for vaccine supplies in April three times already, to half their initial level, and the country’s two biggest laboratories are facing supply constraints. The delays also mean tens of thousands more deaths as the particularly…

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Former Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia tests positive for COVID-19

Former Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia tests positive for COVID-19

By PTI DHAKA: Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, a year after she was released from jail temporarily amidst the pandemic, according to media reports. The 75-year-old Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief’s samples were sent to the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, for testing on Saturday, the Dhaka Tribune newspaper quoted Public Relations Officer, Health Ministry, Maidul Islam Prodhan as saying. “It came back as positive today [Sunday], which has been updated on the database of the Directorate of Health Services,” he told…

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Pakistan scrambles to speed up vaccination amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Pakistan scrambles to speed up vaccination amid surge in COVID-19 cases

By PTI ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities have scrambled to speed up vaccination and firm up non-pharmaceutical interventions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, amid a surge in the number of cases. The country on Sunday recorded 5,050 new COVID-19 cases, taking the national infection tally to 721,018. The death toll jumped to 15,443 in the last 24 hours. The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the national apex body to combat the coronavirus, in a meeting on Saturday decided to extend the existing non-pharmaceutical int­erventions (NPIs) such as markets closure…

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