Shocking! Covid cases double in the world’s most-vaccinated nation

Agencies
May 11, 2021

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Seychelles, which has vaccinated more of its population against Covid-19 than any other country, saw active cases more than double in the week to May 7, raising concerns that inoculation is not helping turn the tide in some places.

The World Health Organization said vaccine failure couldn’t be determined without a detailed assessment and that it was working on evaluating the situation.

Kate O’Brien, director of the WHO’s department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals, told a briefing Monday that the body was in direct communication with Seychelles and that a detailed assessment was needed looking at factors like strains of the virus and the severity of cases.

The Health Ministry of the archipelago off of Africa’s east coast said Monday that the number of active cases had more than doubled since last week to 2,486 people, and 37% of those have received two vaccine doses. Cases are also surging in the Maldives, another Indian Ocean island nation that’s a popular tourism destination.

In Seychelles, Sinopharm shots were issued to 57% of those who were fully inoculated and the rest with Covishield, a vaccine made in India under a license from AstraZeneca Plc. As of May 8 no one who had contracted Covid while being vaccinated had died, Seychelles News Agency reported, citing the minister for foreign affairs and tourism.

The Seychelles, a group of palm-fringed tropical islands, last week re-imposed curbs including closing schools, canceling sports events and banning mingling of households.

The country had raced to vaccinate its population of just under 100,000 -- first with a donation of doses from China’s Sinopharm and then with a gift of Covishield, so it could reopen to the tourists who are the lifeblood of its economy.

Daniel Lucey, clinical professor of medicine at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, said in a blog last week that data on genetic sequencing are not yet available for infections in Seychelles in April.

Still, the B.1.351 variant, first identified in South Africa late last year, was found in the Seychelles in February, he said. AstraZeneca’s vaccine appeared to be less effective against that variant in a study, and South Africa halted plans to use those injections.

A comparison between Sinopharm, Covishield and unvaccinated people who caught the coronavirus could be done using genetic sequencing and data on the severity of their infections, Lucey said.

Cases in the Maldives, which has seen a surge in visits from affluent Indians, have also shot up. The country has the most new cases per 100,000 people in the past five, seven and 14 days. Active cases jumped from 4,978 to 9,423 on May 9.

As of May 8, over 300,000 people in the Maldives had received at least one dose of a vaccine and 35% of the population had received two, according to the Health Protection Agency. The country has been using Sinopharm and Covishield.

Positive test results in Greater Male, the area in and around the capital of the Maldives, are about 60% of the total. As of May 7 the government closed gyms and cinemas and imposed a curfew from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m, the agency said.

The government is also now requiring that arrivals to the islands, including those who have been vaccinated, have a negative Covid-19 test administered four days before their departure.

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News Network
June 5,2021

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Twitter has now dropped the verified blue tick or blue badge from the handle of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat. Mohan Bhagwat has 20.76 lakh followers on Twitter.

Earlier in the day, the blue tick from Vice President Venkaiah Naidu's Twitter handle was also dropped due to inactivity. Twitter removed and later restored the verified blue tick on the personal account of Venkaiah Naidu.

Officials of the Vice President Secretariat said the personal Twitter handle of Naidu @MVenkaiahNaidu was inactive for a long time and the Twitter algorithm removed the blue badge.

The last tweet posted from the personal handle was on July 23 last year.

The officials said Twitter was contacted after they noticed this morning that the blue tick was removed. Before 10.30 am, the blue tick badge was restored, they said.

Twitter said the account has been inactive since July 2020. It said the verified badge has now been restored. The Vice President uses the official Twitter handle @VPSecretariat to send out tweets.

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News Network
June 12,2021

Riyadh, June 12: Saudi Arabia has set new rules for those wishing to register for Hajj 2021. Due to pandemic, several stringent measures have been in place to contain the spread of infection during the annual pilgrimage season.

According to a tweet shared by Haramain, “The health status of those wishing to register for Haj 1442 must be from the following categories: a vaccinated person, a vaccinated person who has completed one dose and spent 14 days, or a vaccinated person recovering from infection.”

The kingdom will ensure the health and safety of pilgrims and allow them them to perform their rituals “easily and in a safe environment”, the Haj and Umrah ministry had said earlier.

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News Network
June 14,2021

Bengaluru, June 14: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa today announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to BPL families whose breadwinners succumb to Covid-19. Yediyurappa said this was the first such initiative by any Indian state. 

“Several families are in distress due to the death of earning members. Many families have come on the streets. Keeping this in mind, it has been decided to provide Rs 1 lakh compensation to any BPL family where an adult dies due to Covid-19. This will be given to one member per family,” Yediyurappa told reporters after a meeting with the Finance department, which he heads. 

The CM said this would cost the state exchequer Rs 250-300 crore. “We’re giving this (compensation) for the first time in India. It shows that the financial situation is good and that’s why we’re able to provide this,” he said, adding that this would benefit the families of 25,000-30,000 adults who died due to Covid-19. 

Yediyurappa said the CID will probe the allegations of milk adulteration at the Mandya Milk Union Ltd (Manmul). “A preliminary inquiry has been ordered. A new managing director has been appointed there. Five erring officers have been kept under suspension. In all likelihood, the CID will probe this,” he said. 

The irregularities, amounting to crores of rupees, were being done allegedly with the help of Manmul employees. One lakh litres of adulterated milk were supplied to Manmul every day. The adulterated milk was packed and sold to gullible customers under the Nandini brand name.

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