Coronavirus News Update – June 26: Facing India Variant, Countries Bring Back Strict Covid Measures

By Anna Breuer on 26 June 2021
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Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Several countries that, in recent months, had lifted most Covid-19 restrictions began to impose harsh measures to stem the spread of the highly infections India, or Delta, coronavirus variant.  The move comes as India reports that the variant first reported there, known as B.1.167.2, have it self mutated.

Portugal, where the new variant accounts for more than 7 in 10 new infections in Lisbon, government officials announced new capacity limitations and early closing times for restaurants and cafes, while weekend travel in and out of the city requires a recent negative coronavirus test.

In Israel, government officials dusted off an indoor mask requirement after findings suggested that half of the adults infected with the Delta variant had also been inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine. Preliminary research shows that 90% of new infections are that variant.  Meanwhile, in Australia, officials placed Sydney in a strict two-week lockdown in an attempt to stem the virus’ spread. Health officials there said they found several chains of infection that were of great concern.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded over 181.3 million mark in Covid-19 cases and has seen over 3.93 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 165.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

In the United States, the death toll, which last week crossed the 600,000 mark, is now 619,156.  Since the start of the pandemic the country has recorded over 34.5 million individual cases, a higher figure than any other country and one that is followed by India, which last week crossed the 30 million mark.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year over 2.84 billion doses have been administered across the globe as of Saturday morning, the equivalent of over 37 doses for every 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday, 178.5 million people in the United States – or 53.8% –have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 45.7%, or 151.6 million people, are fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses dispensed in the United States is now 321.2 million. Breaking this down further, 65.9% of the population over the age of 18 – or 169.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 56.3% of the same group – or 145.5 million people – is fully vaccinated.

The head of the World Health Organization said that the Delta variant is now present in 85 countries. “We are now starting to see increases in transmission around the world,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at a news conference..

Meanwhile, the officials in India now say that B.1.617.2 has itself mutated and is of great concern.  The versions of the variant that contain the new mutation, which carries the designation K417N, have been detected in at least 11 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan, according to a report from government health agency Public Health England.

San Francisco’s new mandate that requires city employees to be inoculated against the coronavirus is seeing some pushback.  The city mandated that all 35,000 employees be fully vaccinated once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives full – versus emergency – approval to the country’s vaccines.  The city will allow medical and religious exemptions but those who refused vaccinations without obtaining such an exemption would be subject to being fired.

Finally, two young non-vaccinated passengers on a Royal Caribbean International cruise out of the Bahamas tested positive for the coronavirus, the cruise line said.  The passengers, who were under the age of 16 and traveling in the same group, left with their travel companions for Florida via a private flight arranged by the line.

Jonathan Spira and Paul Riegler contributed reporting.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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