With nearly a year in the pandemic, the world is still faltering under the impact of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as it continues to infect thousands across the countries. In the UK, stricter restrictions were set on Monday as cases continue to grow in record number. Meanwhile, in the United States, Pfizer Inc and partners delivered the first vaccines to 141 of 145 locations targeted by the U.S. government for the first day of nationwide development on Monday. Singapore has become the first Asian country to approve the Pfizer vaccine and said it expects to start receiving shots by the end of the year.
In India, the number of daily coronavirus cases has been declining since July 6, as it has registered 22,065 new cases of the deadly virus. In Italy, the government considers strict nationwide restrictions as an upcoming Christmas holiday.
Here is the latest update of the Covid-19 pandemic:
1) A new variant of coronavirus has been identified in London, which is said to cause the growth of cases. It was initially detected in south-east England, where cases are now growing the fastest. However, there is no scientific evidence that the variant is more dangerous or infectious. “The variant may or may not contribute to that,” Whitty said in a press conference, adding, “We don’t know what cause and effect,” Chris Whitty of England said Monday as he warned against blaming it for the sting.
2) The World Health Organization (WHO) has also confirmed the new variant of Covid-19; the world health body said it is aware of a genetic variant of the virus identified in around 1,000 individuals in the UK. During a press conference on Monday, WHO executive director Michael Ryan said, “This virus is evolving and changing over time, and we have seen different variants emerge.” The WHO is collaborating with an international laboratory network to see if the variant is more common internationally.
3) In India, doctors from Delhi hospital have noticed an increase in cases of rare fungal infection in recovery of coronavirus patients. According to hospital authorities, the lethal infection, which if not detected early, can kill half of the patients and cause loss of vision or jaw in others, has been triggered by Covid-19. In the last 15 days, ENT surgeons at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) have seen 13 cases of “Covid-19-triggered mucomycosis (Black fungus)”.
4) A group of researchers in France found that dogs can smell Covid-19 and identify patients including the asymptomatic ones. In the preliminary study in PLoS One and conducted in March, dogs that sniffed watt samples from armpit sweats were able to tell which samples came from Covid-19 patients and which were from people who tested negative for the new coronavirus. Dogs can identify infected individuals with 85% to 100% accuracy and rule out infection with 92% to 99% accuracy, news agency Reuters reported citing Dominique Grandjean of Alfort Veterinary School in France.
5) Singapore has become the first Asian country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine and said it expects to start receiving shots before the end of the year. The government has also said it expects to secure enough vaccines for everyone by the third quarter of next year.
(With agency inputs)