Strive Masiyiwa, a South African drug manufacturer, told reporters that Aspen, which has a contract to assemble the components of its COVID-19 vaccine will no longer ship vaccine doses outside of Africa and that the millions of vaccine doses stored in Europe will be returned.
He said that the arrangement had been suspended and that J&J doses made in South Africa would "stay in Africa" and be distributed to Africa.
He stated that the issue was "corrected in a favorable way", with Aspen's agreement with Johnson & Johnson moving from a contract to "a licensed arrangement", similar to AstraZeneca's production in India. Masiyiwa stated that the Aspen product would be "African-branded."
Johnson & Johnson was heavily criticized for sending doses to Europe. These countries have immunized large amounts of their citizens and donated vaccines to those in need.
Africa is home to 1.3 billion people who have been fully vaccinated. This means that less than 3% of them are currently vaccinated. The continent's vaccine production is key to reaching the 60% target.
More than 7.8 Million cases have been reported on the continent, with 197,150 deaths.
Stoycho Katsarov stated at a Thursday news briefing that although the situation is grave, it is still under control.
Katsarov stated that the school year will begin on Sept. 15, with in-person classes, but could switch to online learning if necessary.
He stated that remote work was a good option. Although language centers and dance and art schools are still open, they have limited attendance.
Cafes and restaurants will be open daily from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Nightclubs and discos are closed.
The seating capacity of cinemas, theatres, and indoor concerts will be reduced to 50%.
All establishments that have both staff and visitors who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 will have their capacity restrictions waived.
Indoor sports competitions are held without an audience. Outdoor professional competitions can be viewed at a capacity of 30 percent.
Bulgaria has experienced a spike in daily cases of virus over the last month. Only 17 percent of 7 million Balkan residents have been fully immunized, making it the least European country.
COPENHAGEN (Danemark) -- Erna Solberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister, said Thursday that the country's situation was "challenging". She also stated that they had "miscalculated" and are now addressing it. The Scandinavian country has recently seen a rise in cases among children between 13 and 19 years old.
Solberg stated that "there is now a lot infection among children and youth," and added that schoolchildren aged 12-15 would receive one shot of the vaccine.
Solberg stated that the vaccine would help ensure that this group has a more normal daily life.
She said that the disease was not evenly distributed in Norway, and she believed it right to respond to local outbreaks using local measures.
The Norwegian government is putting a halt to any further openings. Solberg stated that "we will not take that chance when there is so much time before all adults have had the opportunity to be protected with a vaccine."
WELLINGTON (New Zealand) -- Authorities say a man who tested positive for coronavirus in New Zealand faces criminal charges. He fled from an Auckland quarantine hospital and returned to New Zealand.
People who are positive for the virus in New Zealand are required to be isolated at military-run hotels. The man fled authorities on Thursday morning and was running for 12 hours until police arrived to arrest him. Police were wearing full protective gear. He was located approximately 10 km (6 miles) from where he was arrested.
Chris Hipkins, COVID-19 Response Minister, told reporters that it was not yet clear how the man escaped from the hotel. However closed circuit cameras captured a man hiding under a bush as a security guard passed.
A new COVID-19 law was passed last year and the man could be subject to a fine or six months imprisonment if he is found guilty of not complying with a health order. New Zealand is currently fighting an epidemic of the delta variant.
KATHMANDU (Nepal) -- Many of the restrictions in Kathmandu and the surrounding areas have been lifted. This allows theaters, gyms, and other sporting venues to reopen for the first time since last year's pandemic.
Kathmandu District Administration on Thursday announced that schools and colleges will remain closed until further notice.
Restaurants can now have guests eat in, and stores are allowed to open later. Vehicle movement will be allowed without restriction.
In April, COVID-19 cases reached a record high. This led to shortages in hospital space, medicine and oxygen. Even though the campaign started in January, there are still many new cases every day and only 15% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
According to the health ministry, there have been 848,209 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nepal. Also, 10,770 people have already died.
BRUSSELS -- A member of Belgium's royal family has tested positive for coronavirus.
The Royal Palace announced Thursday that King Philippe (and Queen Mathilde) "decided as a precautionary measure to limit their contact in the days ahead, in accordance with the current health regulations."
The palace statement did not provide any details on who may have been positive.
TOKYO -- Moderna Inc., its Japanese partner, and more than 1,000,000 doses of the U.S. drugmaker's coronavirus vaccination are being recalled after they confirmed that there were tiny pieces of stainless steel contamination.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. handles Japan's sale and distribution of Moderna vaccine. According to the companies, an investigation by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. at the Spanish factory that made the vials found contamination.
After receiving reports of contamination, the companies announced that they would suspend production of 1.63 millions doses at the line. Japanese officials claimed that about half a million people had been given shots from Moderna vials in the days before the contamination was discovered.
This is a problem at a time when Japan is trying to speed up vaccinations in the face of rising infections that are straining its health care system.
Officials from the pharmaceutical and health ministry say that they don't believe high-grade stainless steel poses any health risk.
TAIPEI (Taiwan) -- Taiwan has received its coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech after a long purchasing process that led to a political game with China.
Taiwan was unable to purchase the vaccine directly from BioNTech. This German company partnered with Pfizer in the United States to create the vaccine.
Tsai Ingwen, Taiwan's President, accused China of blocking the agreement. China however denied any interference.
Two private companies and an organization of Buddhists donated the vaccine to Taiwan. Thursday's arrival of the vaccine doses will be administered to children aged 12-17 years old.
Taiwan uses Moderna, AstraZeneca and the domestically produced Medigen vaccine to give at least one dose to 43% of its citizens.
TORONTO -- Ontario, Canada's fourth province, has announced that residents will need to present proof of vaccination against coronavirus in order to enter indoor public venues such as theaters, restaurants, and gyms.
Premier Doug Ford announced Wednesday that the vaccination certificate program would be in effect starting Sept. 22.
Initially, residents will need to show a PDF of the vaccination receipt that they received at the time they got their irshots.
In late October, the province will launch a system that will send all citizens a QR code along with their vaccination receipt. The province will also launch an app to allow service providers scan the QR codes and use them as proof of vaccination.
Some form of vaccine certificate program has been implemented in British Columbia, Quebec, and Manitoba.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A judge in Oklahoma on Wednesday declared she would temporarily block a law prohibiting public school mask mandates. However, students and their parents have the option to opt out of the requirement if necessary.
Judge Natalie Mai stated that she will issue a temporary order which will take effect next week. She will also provide a written explanation of her decision.
Mai claimed she was blocking the law because it only applies to public schools, and not private schools. Schools that adopt a mask mandate must offer parents and students the option to opt out.
Governor. Governor Kevin Stitt signed the law, opposing mask mandates without exceptions. Dr. Mary Clarke is the president of Oklahoma State Medical Association.
BERLIN -- The head for the World Health Organization said he opposed "widespread" use of boosters for healthy people. This underlines the importance of distributing COVID-19 vaccines to less developed countries.
On Wednesday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, spoke in Berlin. According to him, the U.N. Health Agency witnessed the first decrease in global new cases in over two months last week.
He said that while this is "clearly very welcome," it doesn't really mean much, since many countries continue to see steep increases in vaccine access and "shocking inequities".
Tedros stated that he calls for a moratorium in booster shots until September, "to allow the countries farthest behind to catch-up."
He said that "third doses may need to be given for most at-risk patients, where there are signs of declining immunity against severe diseases and death."Updated Date: 02 September 2021, 16:32