The U.K. may bring forward second vaccines doses for millions of Britons and local restrictions could be put in place to curb the spread of a Covid-19 variant from India.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the virus is spreading rapidly to India’s rural areas. The country has reported more than 300,000 daily infections for 22 straight days.
In more positive developments, Germany’s restrictions could ease further after the contagion rate fell below a key level for the first time in nearly two months and the country set a new daily immunization record. President Joe Biden’s administration took its biggest step yet toward declaring victory over the pandemic — announcing Thursday that fully vaccinated Americans can ditch their masks in most settings.
China Expert Says Vaccines Work Against Variants (4:13 p.m. HK)
Data shows that vaccines in China and western countries are all effective to strains in South Africa and Brazil, Shao Yiming, an expert with Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, says at a briefing.
German Vaccination Push Reaches Daily Record (4 p.m. HK)
Germany vaccinated 1.35 million people on May 12 in a new daily record, Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
Almost 2% of the German population was vaccinated on May 12 and 13, taking the total of those who have received at least one dose to 35.9%.
Modi Says Virus Is Spreading Fast in Rural India (3:53 p.m. HK)
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked villagers in the world’s second-most populous nation to take precautions as the coronavirus spreads rapidly in rural areas.
India has reported more than 300,000 daily infections for 22 consecutive days, highlighting the country’s slide into the world’s worst health crisis.
U.K. Mulls Response to Variant Concern (3:36 p.m. HK)
U.K. ministers may bring forward second vaccine doses for millions of people and impose local restrictions to curb the spread of a Covid-19 variant from India.
Cases of the new B.1.617.2 strain of Covid-19 have risen to 1,313 from 520 over the past week, Public Health England said Thursday. The government is ruling nothing out on tackling the spread of the variant, including the possibility of local lockdowns in the worst-hit areas, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi told broadcasters Friday.
India’s Covid Crisis Hits Port Operations (2:56 p.m. HK)
India’s Covid crisis is threatening operations at some of its biggest ports, raising concern the action could trigger shipping delays that reverberate through global supply chains.
Karaikal Port in southern India invoked force majeure until May 24 after operations were “severely affected” from the pandemic, according to a notice on its website. The terminal, which claims to be India’s biggest non-state port, handles coal, sugar and petroleum among other commodities. Gopalpur port in Odisha has also declared force majeure, according to IHS Markit.
Ireland-Britain Travel Bubble Planned (2:27 p.m. HK)
Ireland plans to open a travel bubble with Britain within weeks, the Irish Times reported. The Minister for Tourism will present a report next week recommending a plan is published no later than the end of May to set out when restrictions on inbound travel will be eased and that restrictions on arrivals from the U.K. are removed, the newspaper says.
Currently all travelers to Ireland must quarantine for 14 days on arrival and have evidence of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior. From May 17, non-essential travel between Britain and Northern Ireland will resume under U.K. Rules.
Hungary Set for First Vaccine Doses (2:36 p.m. HK)
First-dose vaccinations in Hungary could potentially reach 6 million out of the total population of almost 10 million people based on the number of those registered, Premier Viktor Orban said in an interview on state broadcaster Kossuth Radio. First inoculations would likely reach 5 million before the end of May, Orban said. Hungary has the second highest vaccinations ratio in the European Union.
German Curbs May Ease as Cases Fall Below Key Level (1:50 p.m. HK)
Germany’s pandemic restrictions could ease further in the coming days after the national contagion rate fell below a key level for the first time in nearly two months.