PM Andrej Babis ousts third health minister in COVID-hit Czech Republic

PM Andrej Babis ousts third health minister in COVID-hit Czech Republic

By Associated Press PRAGUE: Czech Prime Minster Andrej Babis fired his health minister on Wednesday, the third health minister who has been ousted during the pandemic in one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries. Jan Blatny was replaced by Petr Arenberger, the director of Prague’s University Hospital Vinohrady, who was sworn in by President Milos Zeman. The move opens the way for a possible use of Russian and Chinese vaccines, which have not been approved by the European Union’s drug regulator. Babis repeatedly criticized Blatny over his handling of the pandemic, including…

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COVID-19: Mexico grants authorisation for emergency use of India-produced Covaxin

COVID-19: Mexico grants authorisation for emergency use of India-produced Covaxin

By ANI MEXICO CITY: The Mexico Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risk (Cofepris) on Wednesday has granted authorization for the emergency use of India’s first domestically-produced COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin. “The decision by Cofepris to authorize the emergency use of the Covaxin vaccine produced in India was made very timely. Mexico’s COVID-19 vaccination opportunities are expanding,” Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet. Muy oportuna decisión de COFEPRIS de autorizar el uso de emergencia de la vacuna COVAXINE fabricada en la India . Se amplían las opciones…

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UK PM Boris Johnson expected to unveil COVID passports, travel traffic lights

UK PM Boris Johnson expected to unveil COVID passports, travel traffic lights

By PTI LONDON: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil a series of measures later on Monday as part of plans to start unlocking the UK from its coronavirus lockdown, including so-called COVID passports for mass events and a traffic lights system for foreign travel. After a Cabinet meeting to finalise the latest set of plans, Johnson will host a Downing Street press conference in the evening to set out details of the next stage in his roadmap – which will see non-essential shops reopen and pubs and…

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Twice weekly rapid COVID-19 tests to be rolled out for all in England

Twice weekly rapid COVID-19 tests to be rolled out for all in England

By PTI LONDON: Everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing from later this week to track asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, the UK government announced on Monday. As a step forward to start lifting lockdown restrictions for all businesses, shops and restaurants, anyone will be able to access the free, rapid lateral flow tests for themselves and their families to use twice a week starting this Friday. It is hoped the data will help scientists track and trace any new variants of coronavirus more effectively because…

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Top UN officials express gratitude to India for gift of 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses

Top UN officials express gratitude to India for gift of 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses

By PTI UNITED NATIONS: Top United Nations officials, including the UN peacekeeping chief, have expressed gratitude to India for its gift of 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses for peacekeepers, saying the donation will enable the Blue Helmets to continue their life-saving work in a safe manner. The 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, announced as a gift by India for UN peacekeepers, left Mumbai in the early hours of Saturday and will arrive at Copenhagen, Denmark. They will then be distributed to all UN peacekeeping missions. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix…

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AstraZeneca may have used outdated information in COVID vaccine trial: US federal health officials

AstraZeneca may have used outdated information in COVID vaccine trial: US federal health officials

By Associated Press WASHINGTON: Results from a US trial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine may have used “outdated information,” US federal health officials said in a statement early on Tuesday. Late Monday, the Data and Safety Monitoring Board said in a statement that it was concerned that AstraZeneca may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data. Late Monday, the Data and Safety Monitoring Board said in a statement that it was concerned that AstraZeneca the included outdated information from that trial may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy…

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COVID-19: Germany to enter strict Easter lockdown amid 'new pandemic'

COVID-19: Germany to enter strict Easter lockdown amid 'new pandemic'

By AFP BERLIN: Germany will enter a strict shutdown for five days over Easter as it fights soaring infection rates fuelled by variants in a “new pandemic”, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday after marathon talks with regional leaders.  As well as extending existing measures including keeping cultural, leisure and sporting facilities shut through to April 18, Merkel and Germany’s 16 state premiers agreed a tougher shutdown between April 1 and 5. Almost all shops will be closed during the five days, and religious services will be moved online over…

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Pakistan Cabinet approves highly expensive prices for COVID-19 vaccines

Pakistan Cabinet approves highly expensive prices for COVID-19 vaccines

By ANI ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet in Pakistan has approved the highly expensive prices recommended by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) for COVID-19 vaccines imported by private companies. The price for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has been fixed at Pakistani rupee (PKR) 8,449 for two doses and for China’s CanSino Biologics vaccine at PKR 4,225 per jab, reported Geo News citing sources. The DRAP had earlier recommended fixing the prices of coronavirus vaccines ordered by private companies as opposed to having no cap on prices. The sale prices…

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COVID-19: Miami Beach declares state of emergency over uncontrollable crowds

COVID-19: Miami Beach declares state of emergency over uncontrollable crowds

By AFP MIAMI BEACH: Throngs of revelers flocking to Miami Beach in Florida for spring break have become so uncontrollable that authorities declared a state of emergency Saturday and imposed a curfew meant to quash the party. The move marks the second year in a row that fun has been curtailed at the popular spring break destination — last March because the pandemic was just ramping up and this year due to unruly and destructive crowds. Authorities announced on Saturday that visitors must be off the street and that restaurants…

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Nepal gives emergency use approval to Bharat Biotech's Covaxin

Nepal gives emergency use approval to Bharat Biotech's Covaxin

By PTI KATHMANDU: Nepal’s national drug regulatory authority on Saturday granted emergency use approval to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, becoming the third country to approve India’s indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine. A meeting of the drug advisory committee of the Department of Drug Administration decided to issue a conditional emergency use authorisation to India’s homegrown government-backed vaccine Covaxin, the third COVID-19 vaccine authorised in the country,The Kathmandu Post reported. COVAXIN, which demonstrated an interim vaccine efficacy of 81 per cent in the Phase 3 clinical trials India, was approved for emergency use…

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