Melbourne extends confinement, investigation of contaminated vaccine batches in Japan

The Delta variant, which continues to put pressure on the health systems of many countries, is causing epidemic outbreaks as far as Australia, one of the champion countries of the “zero Covid” strategy.

According to the latest report established on Saturday August 28 by Agence France-Presse from official sources, the Covid-19 pandemic has killed more than 4.49 million people worldwide since the end of December 2019.

  • Australia: Melbourne’s sixth confinement extended

The confinement of Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, will be extended, authorities said on Sunday, trying to curb an epidemic due to the coronavirus linked to the Delta variant.

In place for a month, this confinement, which concerns the seven million inhabitants of Melbourne and the state of Victoria where it is located, was to be lifted on September 2.

State Prime Minister Dan Andrews said that due to an increasing number of new cases of Covid-19, 92 on the night of Saturday to Sunday, this lifting was no longer possible.

This is the sixth confinement of the city since the start of the pandemic. It comes with a curfew and a limited number of exit permits. The prime minister did not release a date on a possible lifting of the measures, saying authorities were investigating “All options”.

At the same time, the neighboring state of New South Wales, which includes Australia’s most populous city, Sydney, recorded 1,218 new cases on Sunday, a record number since the start of the pandemic.

Australian leaders have agreed on a national roadmap to reopen the country when between 70% and 80% of the population of each state and territory will be vaccinated. Since the start of the pandemic, the country has recorded more than 51,000 cases of Covid-19 and nearly a thousand deaths in a population of 25 million.

Read our decryption: In Australia, the zero Covid strategy falters in the face of the Delta variant
  • Japan investigates contaminated vaccine batches

The Japanese authorities announced, Sunday, August 29, to have discovered new batches of Moderna vaccine against the contaminated Covid-19, while a vast investigation was opened on the potential presence of foreign bodies in certain doses.

The Okinawa region suspended the use of this vaccine on Sunday, the day after the Ministry of Health opened an investigation after the death of two men who received Moderna vaccines from 1.63 million doses which had impurities in some vials.

On Thursday, the first batches of vaccines were suspended after the discovery of impurities in some vials of the product, according to local media. The two dead men, aged 30 and 38, had received a second dose of Moderna from one of these batches.

The ministry announced the opening of an investigation to determine the cause of their death, specifying that “The cause and effect link with vaccination remains unknown to this day”. The nature of the particles found in the vials, which were manufactured by a Moderna subcontractor in Europe, is not yet known.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In Japan, a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases puts the pandemic at the top of the list of concerns
  • A curfew imposed in Kosovo

The Kosovo government decided on Sunday to institute a curfew from Monday, in response to a substantial increase in the number of people infected with the coronavirus. This curfew will be in place from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., the government said in a statement.

The number of new daily cases of Covid-19 increased during the month of August from a few hundred at the start to around 2,000 cases per day by the end of the month. Kosovo, a country of 1.8 million inhabitants, has recorded around 140,000 cases of Covid-19 since the start of the epidemic and deplores some 2,500 deaths. A quarter of the population has been vaccinated.

The government has also decided to postpone the start of the school year for two weeks, provided for the 1is September. “The number of cases among children aged up to 9 has increased, especially among those aged 10 to 19, who are (now) perceived to be spreaders of the virus”, said Health Minister Arben Vitia.

The government has also banned public gatherings, festivals, concerts, excursions, weddings and other celebrations.

The World with AFP

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