Regulators in the UK have identified 30 cases involving rare blood clot events after the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. The new number is 25 more than was reported in the past.
Some countries have restricted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, as authorities investigate reports of rare, and in some cases severe, blood clots in patients who have received the jab.
However, officials believe that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh any possible risk of blood clots.
Last month, the UK medicines regulator had registered five cases of a rare brain blood clot among the 11 million doses administered. The number has risen to 22 reports of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, an extremely rare brain clotting ailment, as well as eight blood clotting cases associated with low blood platelets.
The regulators said they had received no such reports after the use of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine.
Here is an overview of the latest coronavirus news from around the world.
India has reported its highest number of daily cases in six months — 81,466 new infections — as several states are hit by a second wave of infections.
Data from the country’s Health Ministry shows that the total number of cases has surged to 12.3 million — making India the third worst-hit country after the US and Brazil. Fatalities over 24 hours rose by 469 to 163,396.
Australia is investigating whether a blood clotting disorder case recorded on Friday is related to the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
Australian media report that a 44-year-old man was admitted to a Melbourne hospital with possible clotting days after he was administered the vaccine.
The European Union has agreed upon a deal to distribute nearly 3 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine to members that are “most in need” — Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, and Slovakia.
While Austria, Slovenia and the Czech Republic insisted on receiving their full quota of shots under the bloc’s general shareout system, the main group of 19 states — including Germany, France, Italy and Spain — decided to share 6.66 million vaccines.
Ireland has added 26 countries and territories to its mandatory hotel quarantine list to control the spread of the virus. The advisory requires travelers to “book accommodation for mandatory hotel quarantine at least 48 hours in advance of travel.”
The 26 countries, including Israel, Albania and Monaco, join the “Category 2” list, which now has 58 countries and territories. Mauritius has been removed from that list.
“Any passenger who has been in any of these Category 2 countries in the previous 14 days, even if only transiting through one of these countries and even if remaining airside, is legally required to quarantine at a designated facility,” the travel advisory said.
France has imposed a ban on alcoholic drinks in French parks and other outdoor public spaces under the country’s limited nationwide lockdown.
Prime Minister Jean Castex also told the National Assembly that under the new restrictions, authorities would disperse groups of more than six people on riverbanks or squares, as many could be seen drinking and enjoying the springtime sun in cities like Paris and Lyon.
Police dispersed some 2,000 people gathered for a fake concert dubbed “La Boum” (the party) in the “Bois de La Cambre” park in Brussels in defiance of Belgium’s coronavirus lockdown.
Organizers promised a lineup of singer and producer Calvin Harris and a one-off reunion of French band Daft Punk, before announcing on social media that it was an April Fool’s Day prank.
Hundreds of police, many in riot gear and some on horseback, used water cannon trucks and teargas to break up the crowds.
Ukraine has reported a record increase in the number of coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours — at 19,893.
Health Minister Maksym Stepanov also said there had been a record number of deaths, with daily fatalities at 433. It is the third day in a row that deaths have hit record highs.
He also said a record high number of coronavirus-related deaths — 433 — were registered in the past day compared with the previous record of 421 on April 1.
Late on Thursday, Stepanov confirmed some cases of coronavirus were of the variant that was first discovered in South Africa.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Germany has gone up by 21,888 to 2,855,061, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. The reported death toll rose by 232 to 76,775, the figures showed.
After months of resistance, Madagascar has joined the COVAX vaccine-sharing program, the country’s health minister has announced.
Madagascar’s vaccination campaign is yet to take off after President Andry Rajoelina relentlessly pushed a local herbal infusion as a coronavirus “cure.” In the face of heavy criticism, he was forced to make a U-turn and seek vaccines last week.
The United States may not need the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine even if it gets regulatory approval, according to the country’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci.
“That’s still up in the air. My general feeling is that given the contractual relationships that we have with a number of companies, that we have enough vaccine to fulfill all of our needs without invoking AstraZeneca,” he told Reuters.
Panama has approved the use of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, according to Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund. It is the 59th country to do so.
Brazil has recorded 91,097 new confirmed cases and 3,769 deaths from the virus, as many parts of the country struggle to keep up with the surge in numbers.
Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, ramped up efforts to empty old graves in order to make room for people who succumbed to the virus.
The country has registered close to 13 million cases with 325,284 deaths since the pandemic began.
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has declared a state of emergency for 30 days in several provinces of the country.
The decree was for the provinces of Pichincha, Guayas, Manabí, Azuay, Loja, Santo Domingo, El Oro and Esmeraldas, with a curfew for at least the next week. There will be nine hours of nighttime mobility restriction in these territories, where 12 million Ecuadorians live.
The measures have been declared amid a “public calamity,” according to the decree. It said “new age groups have been affected, there are new symptoms and new strains of COVID-19.”
see/sri (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)