SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The U.S. government says it will ship nearly 837,000 Pfizer vaccines to Caribbean countries as the region grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases.
The Bahamas receives 397,000 cans, followed by Trinidad and Tobago with more than 305,000 cans. Barbados will receive 70,200 cans, including 35,100 for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 17,550 for Antigua and 11,700 for St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The top priority of the Biden-Harris administration in America today is managing and ending the COVID pandemic and contributing to an equitable recovery,” said Juan González, senior director of the National Security Council for the Western Hemisphere.
Haiti is among the hardest hit Caribbean countries, receiving its first vaccine shipment on July 14th – 500,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine donated by the US through the United Nations COVAX program.
Haiti, which is more than 11 million people, has reported 20,400 confirmed cases and 575 deaths. However, health experts believe these numbers are grossly underestimated due to a lack of testing.
The Caribbean has recorded 1.29 million cases and more than 16,000 confirmed deaths. About 10.7 million people have been vaccinated in Trinidad, according to the Caribbean health authority.
MORE ABOUT PANDEMIC:
– US supplies nearly 837,000 Pfizer vaccines to Caribbean countries
– The WHO will test 3 current drugs for possible use against coronavirus
– In Iran, slow vaccinations sow anger during a pandemic
– U.S. hospitals run out of nurses inundated with COVID-19 patients
– For more AP coverage, please visit https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
WHAT ELSE HAPPENS:
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida – Doctors in Florida say they see more coronavirus infections in children as students return to classrooms.
In July and August there was a “huge surge” in child cases at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, says Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronald Ford. About 20 children with the coronavirus sought treatment at the South Florida hospital emergency room in June, he said.
“That number had risen to well over 200 in July, and by this point in August we’re already over 160. So we’re well on our way to breaking the July record,” said Ford
Most of the children were treated in the emergency room and sent home, but “those who are admitted are sicker than what we’ve seen and many of them require care in our intensive care units,” says Ford.
Ford’s advice to parents about sending their children back to school: Ignore misinformation. “The best thing you can do to keep your child safe is to keep them away from the virus. This virus is extremely contagious. And it doesn’t take a lot of virus to become infected and cause symptoms and illness. “
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest international airport, handled around 40% less passenger traffic in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in the previous year.
The hub’s executive announced the decline on Wednesday as more contagious variants of the coronavirus cut off its largest markets and affect the global aviation industry. However, he remained optimistic about the vital east-west transit point as authorities gradually reopen Dubai’s key routes to the Indian subcontinent and the UK.
The airport handled 86.4 million people before the pandemic broke out in 2019. It has been the world’s busiest for seven years.
GENEVA – The World Health Organization says it will soon be testing three drugs used for other diseases to see if they could help patients who have the coronavirus.
In a statement on Wednesday, the UN health agency said the three drugs would be included in the next phase of its ongoing global research to identify potential treatments for COVID-19. The drugs were selected by an independent panel based on the likelihood that they could prevent the deaths of people hospitalized for coronavirus.
These include artesunate, a drug against malaria, the cancer drug imatinib, and infliximab, which is currently used in people with immune system disorders.
In the ongoing WHO study on COVID-19 treatments, four drugs were previously evaluated. Among its findings, the agency found that remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine did not help people hospitalized with the virus. WHO research involves thousands of researchers in hundreds of hospitals in 52 countries.
“There remains an urgent need to find more effective and accessible therapeutics for COVID-19 patients,” says WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
MADRID – The Spanish Medicines Agency has given the green light to the first clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine developed in Spain.
The agency that regulates the country’s health products sector announced on Wednesday that it has approved the PHH-1V vaccine, developed by Spanish company Hipra, for human testing.
A statement said dozens of volunteers between the ages of 18 and 39 will be given two doses of the vaccine.
Hipra is headquartered in northeastern Spain. His main work is in the area of prevention and diagnosis of human and animal health and specializes in innovative vaccines.
CANBERRA, Australia – Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne, has extended its lockdown to contain a coronavirus outbreak.
Melbourne’s lockdown will be extended for a second week to the end of August 19, the Victoria state government said on Wednesday when it reported 20 new infections.
Meanwhile, Sydney authorities say they are considering easing restrictions on vaccinated residents despite the Delta variant.
Australian cities have put in lockdowns to successfully end coronavirus outbreaks during the pandemic. But the highly contagious Delta variant poses new challenges.
The New South Wales state government reported 344 new infections and says some lockdown restrictions on vaccinated Sydney residents could be relaxed in September.
BEIJING – State media say one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in China recently came in part from people gathered in mahjong parlors and at a virus testing site.
Yangzhou city in eastern Jiangsu province added another 54 confirmed cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 448 since the outbreak spread from the international airport in provincial capital Nanjing on July 20.
The cluster was reportedly partially traced back to a 64-year-old woman who attended several mahjong salons after returning from Nanjing and who tested positive for the virus on mass tests following the outbreak.
Dozens more were infected at a testing site in Lianhe village on the outskirts of Yangzhou, the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily said. While China has imposed strict rules on testing, bans, and the wearing of masks, test sites in Beijing and elsewhere have seen overcrowding and relatively little social distancing.
There are currently 1,789 COVID-19 patients being treated in China, 666 of them in Jiangsu. The country has reported a total of 94,080 cases and 4,636 deaths from the disease since the first cases of the pandemic were discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The New Zealand government is warning its citizens to prepare for a strict lockdown at the first signs of an outbreak of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
COVID-19 Response Secretary Chris Hipkins said the government’s response will likely be “swift and rigorous”. New Zealand has suppressed the spread of the virus and previously planned to rely primarily on contact tracing for small outbreaks.
However, Hipkins said the problems Sydney is currently facing in contact tracing a growing outbreak showed that the Delta variant was extremely difficult to manage and that New Zealand’s risk tolerance was now very low.
He also hinted that New Zealand could soon prescribe more masks for outbreaks and change its strategy of giving second doses of the Pfizer vaccine to ensure more people get a first dose sooner, and said details of the changes will be known soon would be given.
SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea’s daily surge in coronavirus infections has exceeded 2,000 for the first time since the pandemic began and continues to spread alarmingly despite strict virus restrictions being enforced in large population centers.
Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol advocated on Wednesday that people stay at home during the holidays around Liberation Day on Friday. He said that “we are entering a new phase, a new crisis” in our fight against COVID-19.
Officials said more than 1,400 of the 2,223 new cases are in the Seoul metropolitan area. Kwon says the transmissions are also traveling at higher speeds in other parts of the country.
South Korea has so far given initial doses of the coronavirus vaccine to 42% of a population of more than 51 million people.
FRANKFORT, Kentucky – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear orders that state school students and employees wear masks indoors as the fast-spreading delta variant of the coronavirus brings more infections and hospitalizations.
The Beshear ordinance issued Tuesday applies to all Kentucky schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, regardless of vaccination status. He says the requirement also applies to childcare and pre-kindergarten programs.
The governor says, “We have come to a point where we cannot allow our children to go into these buildings unprotected and unvaccinated and face this Delta variant.”
Beshear says he wants to avoid schools closing in-person classes and moving to distance learning, as was the case earlier in the pandemic. The number of children infected with the virus has risen sharply, and children under the age of 12 are not eligible for the vaccines.
HOUSTON – The recent wave of coronavirus infections in Texas continues to weigh on the state’s health systems as health officials report 10,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 for the first time since early February.
State health officials reported 10,041 hospital patients in Texas had COVID-19 as of Monday. This is the highest since 10,259 COVID-19 hospital admissions were reported on February 4th.
Meanwhile, a San Antonio state district judge issued an injunction to allow the San Antonio and Bexar Counties governments to require public school students to wear masks in class and to shelter unvaccinated students exposed to the virus Quarantine.