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Pandemic may not vanish by 2021-end, says WHO

Variants spreading fast in Japan
In what is an alarming trend for Japan ahead of the Summer Olympics, coronavirus variants are spreading fast in Kobe, a study has found. The city conducted a random check for variants among people who tested positive for Covid-19 after January 1. Results showed that the number of those infected by a variant has gradually risen since February. The Japanese government has asked local health organisations to spot-check for variants among Covid-19 tests. In Kobe, the city’s Public Health Research Institute has examined about 40 per cent of positive tests since the start of the year.

Donald Trump, Melania Trump quietly got vaccines, reports say
Donald and Melania Trump received the coronavirus vaccine before leaving the White House, according to multiple news reports on Monday. Citing unnamed advisers, the New York Times, CNN and other media reported that while other officials, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and former vice-president Mike Pence chose to get their shots publicly to encourage confidence in the vaccines, the Trumps opted to quietly get vaccinated in January. There was no detail on which shot they received or how many doses they had been given. Both Donald and Melania contracted and recovered from Covid-19 during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Coronavirus unlikely to fade out by the end of the year, WHO warns
Despite the spread of Covid-19 being slowed in some countries due to lockdowns and vaccination programs, it is “premature” and “unrealistic” to the think the pandemic will be over by the end of the year, the World Health Organization’s executive director of emergency services said. Speaking at a press briefing, Michael Ryan said while vaccinating the most vulnerable people, including healthcare workers, would help remove the “tragedy and fear” from the situation, and would help to ease pressure on hospitals, the “virus is very much in control”. “It will be very premature, and I think unrealistic, to think that we’re going to finish with this virus by the end of the year,” Ryan said.

Single dose of AstraZeneca shot can protect elderly: Study
The first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine substantially reduced the risk of older people becoming ill with Covid-19, scientists in Britain reported on Monday, the strongest sign yet that a shot that much of the world is relying on to end the pandemic, will protect the elderly. Four weeks after the first dose, the vaccine was roughly 60 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 among people at least 70 years old in England, the scientists wrote in a paper that is yet to be peer reviewed.

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