UK PM urges public not to get carried away with vaccine ‘over optimism’

Agencies
December 3, 2020

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London, Dec 3: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday hailed the "searchlights of science" which have fought back against the "invisible enemy" COVID-19 with an approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine but urged the British public to not get carried away with "over optimism".

Addressing a 10 Downing Street briefing to confirm that the vaccine will be ready to be deployed to the highest risk categories by next week, Johnson stressed that it remains important that the country follows the tiered COVID Winter Plan and remain under alert to get through the long and cold months ahead before the vaccine administration process is in full swing by early next year.

"We have been waiting and hoping for the day when the searchlights of science would pick out our invisible enemy and give us the power to stop that enemy from making us ill and now the scientists have done it," said Johnson.

"It is all the more vital that as we celebrate this scientific achievement we are not carried away with over optimism, or fall into the naive belief that the struggle is over. It's not, we've got to stick to our Winter Plan, he said.

The prime minister confirmed that in line with the advice of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the first phase of the vaccine deployment will include care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

"But there are immense logistical challenges: the vaccine must be stored at minus 70 degrees and each person needs two injections, three weeks apart. So it will inevitably take some months before all the most vulnerable are protected," he said.

"[But] we are no longer resting on the mere hope that we can return to normal next year in the spring, but rather on the sure and certain knowledge that we will succeed, he added.

His address came hours after the UK government confirmed that it has accepted the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) assessment and authorised the use of Pfizer/BioNTech to immunise against COVID-19.

Now authorisation has been granted, Pfizer will begin delivery of the vaccine to the UK. In making the recommendation to authorise supply, the MHRA will decide any additional quality assurance checks that may be required before a vaccine can be made available, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

The UK claims to be the first country to pre-order supplies of the vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech, with 800,000 doses being made available next week and 40 million doses ordered overall enough to vaccinate up to a third of the population, and the majority of doses anticipated in the first half of next year.

"As a nation we owe every scientist, clinician and trial volunteer an enormous debt of gratitude for their victory won against odds that at times seemed impossible. It is thanks to their efforts, and of our Vaccine Taskforce, that the UK was the first country to sign a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech and will now be the first to deploy their vaccine," said UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

The MHRA started the rolling review of Pfizer/BioNTech's data in October and the UK government asked the regulator to assess the vaccine for its suitability for authorisation under Regulation 174 of the Human Medicines Regulations, enabling the temporary supply of medicines to be authorised in response to a public health need, which the regulator has recommended.

The state-funded National Health Service (NHS) for England said deployment plans will include hospital hubs for NHS and care staff and older patients to get vaccinated; local community services with local teams and GPs already signing up to take part in the programme; and vaccination centres across the country, ensuring people can access a vaccine regardless of where they live.

"This vaccine has now passed all of the extensive checks needed for authorisation to supply and will soon be ready to be delivered to the NHS," said Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England.

The vaccine will be available for free across the UK, with the government said to be working with the devolved administrations to ensure it is deployed fairly across all four nations England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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Agencies
January 6,2021

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Geneva, Jan 6: The 'UK' coronavirus variant had been detected in 41 countries/territories, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement.

"As of 5 January 2021, the VOC-202012/01 variant initially detected in the United Kingdom has been detected in a small number of cases in 40 other countries/territories/areas in five of the six WHO regions, and the 501Y.V2 variant initially detected in South African in six other countries/territories/areas," the WHO said.

On December 14, 2020, the UK announced that a new coronavirus strain had been detected in the country, with the new variant being 70 per cent more transmissible.

After the news emerged, many countries suspended travel to and from the UK.

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Agencies
January 17,2021

India's first three COVID-19 survivors and how life has changed for them -  The Economic Times

Abu Dhabi, Jan 17: An Indian expat, who suffered serious medical complications after being diagnosed with Covid-19, has become the first patient to be transferred to India for further treatment, according to social workers.

Keralite Abdul Jabbar Chettian is said to be the first person to be medically evacuated from a foreign country to Kerala, by following the Covid-19 protocol transfer for a patient who has tested positive for coronavirus.

Ajman-based businessman Jabbar tested positive for Covid-19 in the UAE on January 6, 2021. However, as the viral infection progressed, Jabbar was diagnosed with pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

The family wanted to shift him to Kerala for advanced treatment, said Praveen Kumar, social worker and member of the medical team at the Consulate-General of India in Dubai. “The transfer was initiated by air ambulance company Universal Medical Transfer Services, which has operations in the UAE and India,” he added.

Jabbar’s nephew Adil CT told media: “We decided to transfer him because 90 per cent of his family is back home in Kerala. Also, my uncle was keen to continue his treatment there. As of now, he is still critical. However, we hope that his condition would improve soon,”

The transfer was completed successfully on January 14 from Ajman Hospital to MIMS Kozhikode, Kerala, by Chartered Air Ambulance with Universal Medical Transfers special medical team trained in transferring Covid-19 positive patients using an ISOVAC Isolation Pod. The air ambulance with the patient landed at 5.30pm (UAE time) at Kozhikode International Airport, following which, the patient was transferred to MIMS hospital.

“The transfer was done following the complete Covid-19 protocols and taking special safety precautions. While the patient turned Covid-19 negative on January 13, considering pneumonia with severe ARDS, we followed the protocols for transferring him,” according to Dr Afsal Mohammed, medical director of Universal Medical Transfer Services.

“We had to take special permission from the government of UAE and Kerala. The special first-time permission for the transfer was taken from the Collectorate, Malappuram, and Kozhikode Airport Public Health Officer,” explained Kumar. In addition, a special NOC from the UAE Ministry of Health was required, with special efforts put in by the Indian Consulate, said Kumar.

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sameer
 - 
Monday, 18 Jan 2021

only kerala people can do this no other state govt will give the permission or do the paper work in a timely way .Great job by the people who had help this guys.

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News Network
January 10,2021

Jakarta, Jan 10: Indonesian rescuers pulled out body parts, pieces of clothing and scraps of metal from the Java Sea early on Sunday morning, a day after a Boeing 737-500 with 62 people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, officials said.

Officials were hopeful they were honing in on the wreckage of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 after sonar equipment detected a signal from the aircraft.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi told reporters that authorities have launched massive search efforts after identifying "the possible location of the crash site".

"These pieces were found by the SAR team between Lancang Island and Laki Island," National Search and Rescue Agency Bagus Puruhito in a statement.

"As of this morning, we've received two (body) bags, one with passenger belongings and the other with body parts," Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus told Metro TV.

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