Updates on Coronavirus

  • January 12, 21 - 9:28 am - LABS

    Mexico considering to acquire 24 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine

    Mexico could buy 24 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, said Mexico’s Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell on a Monday’s news conference. “We’re thinking that we could use up to 24 million doses of this vaccine, for 12 million people,” considering that the vaccine requires two jabs.

    Lopez-Gattel traveled to Buenos Aires last week to discuss Argentina’s vaccination campaign using the Russian immunizer and evaluate the use of Sputnik V in Mexico and the production of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. Mexico will receive its first batch of AstraZeneca shots from Argentina to finish production of them, a top Mexican health official said, reported Reuters.

    Both Mexico and Argentina have authorized the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine and plan to manufacture it jointly for Latin America.

  • January 11, 21 - 4:33 pm - LABS

    COVID-19 pandemic has cost Mexican tourism more than 11.6 million international travelers

    The COVID-19 pandemic has cost Mexican tourism more than 11.6 million international travelers, going from an accumulated of more than 21 million inbound tourists between January and November 2019, to a flow of 9.3 million tourists in the same period last year, a drop of 55%, reported Expansion.

    In November 2020, this indicator had a contraction of 51%, going from 1.9 million inbound tourists to almost 985,000 travelers, according to the INEGI’s figures gathered by Expansion. According to the media outlet, even though in April 2020 Mexico had the worst historical level regarding tourism, now, step by step the sector is rebounding.

  • January 10, 21 - 12:41 pm - LABS

    Japan says it found new coronavirus variant in travellers from Brazil

    A new coronavirus variant has been detected in four travellers from Brazil’s Amazonas state, Japan’s Health Ministry said on Sunday, in the latest instance the pandemic virus is evolving, reported Reuters.

    “At the moment, there is no proof showing the new variant found in those from Brazil is high in infectiousness,” Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, told a health ministry briefing.

    According to Reuters, of the four travellers who arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Jan. 2, a man in his forties had a problem breathing, a woman in her thirties had a headache and sore throat and a man in his teens had a fever, while a woman in her teens showed no symptoms, the health ministry said.

  • January 10, 21 - 10:09 am - LABS

    Mexico hits daily COVID-19 record with 16,105 new cases

    Mexico on Saturday reported a record 16,105 new confirmed coronavirus cases, along with 1,135 additional fatalities, according to health ministry data, bringing its total tally to 1,524,036 infections and 133,204 deaths, reported Reuters.

    The new daily death toll marks the fifth consecutive day that officials have reported more than 1,000 fatalities due to the highly contagious disease caused by the virus, said the media outlet.

    According to Reuters, the real number of infected people and deaths is likely significantly higher than the official count, the ministry has said, due to little testing.

  • January 09, 21 - 10:47 am - LABS

    Brazil’s Bolsonaro asks India to expedite vaccine shipment as delays loom

    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expedite a shipment of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine amid broader delays to the vaccine’s arrival in Brazil, according to a letter on Friday, reported Reuters.

    “To enable the immediate implementation of our National Immunization Program, I would appreciate … the supply to Brazil, with the possible urgency and without jeopardizing the Indian vaccination program, of 2 million doses,” Bolsonaro wrote in the letter, shared by his press office.

    Fiocruz, which was counting on the shipment Saturday to supply the government with doses this month, said it was in talks to import more finished doses of the vaccine, likely from India on top of the 2 million it has already ordered.

    A source involved said the active ingredient is ready to be shipped to Brazil but is waiting for an export license from China, where it is produced.

    Earlier, Fiocruz requested an emergency use authorization for AstraZeneca vaccines coming from India, which are expected to arrive in Brazil in the middle of this month, reported Reuters.

  • January 08, 21 - 12:11 pm - LABS

    Argentina wants to buy 15 million doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine

    The Argentine government is planning to send a flight to Beijing to bring the first shipment of the Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical company  Sinopharm vaccine in the last week of January.

    The idea is to bring about 1 million doses of the vaccine in that first shipment but close a deal for a total of 15 million vaccines.

    According to the Infobae, the country’s health surveillance agency ANMAT has already begun to receive vaccine trials and research for later approval. In Latin America, late-stage clinical trials of the vaccine are being conducted in Argentina and Peru. Three thousand people participate in the studies in Argentina in four centers, three vaccination centers, and the Fundación Hupedes, reported Infobae.

    The Argentine Presidente Alberto Fernández. Photo: Twitter/Screenshot

    In December, according to the BBC, Peru suspended trials for the Sinopharm vaccine due to a “serious adverse event” affecting a volunteer, but it has resumed testing later on. In September, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the first country outside China to approve a Sinopharm vaccine’s emergency use, reported the Guardian.

    So far, Sinopharm has not yet published any late-stage information about any of its vaccine. 

  • January 08, 21 - 11:29 am - LABS

    UK approves use of Moderna vaccine against COVID-19

    On Friday, the UK government said that the country’s regulatory authorities approved the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by the American pharmaceutical company Moderna.

    The British government also said it had struck a deal to buy 17 million doses of the vaccine, which are due to be shipped to the country in spring (March), as soon as Moderna expands its production capacity.

    Photo: Shutterstock

    The UK has already approved the emergency use of vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNtech and AstraZeneca. Both are already being applied to the country’s population.

    In Latin America, Brazil‘s government is interested in acquiring Moderna’s vaccine doses, and Mexico’s federal administration said it has already signed an agreement to import doses from the vaccine.

  • January 07, 21 - 5:21 pm - LABS

    One million doses of vaccines from China Sinopharm will arrive in Peru by the end of this month

    President Francisco Sagasti announced the agreement to purchase vaccines from the Sinopharm laboratory, whose first batch of one million vaccines would be arriving by the end of the month.

    “The purchase is for 38 million doses of vaccines, and it is expected to have between 14 and 15 million Peruvians vaccinated,” he said in a statement as La República newspaper reported.

    A purchase agreement has also been signed with AstraZeneca, and as of September the first doses of a total of 14 million will arrive.

    In addition, there is an agreement for 13.2 million doses of Covax Facility. While the date is not yet known, it should start in the third quarter of 2021.

    Sagasti explained that there are negotiations with laboratories with the US, Germany, Russia and India, and is following the Peruvian vaccine project developed by the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) and the company Farvet.

  • January 07, 21 - 4:51 pm - LABS

    Colombia and Argentina adopt new circulation restrictions amid rise of COVID-19 infections

    Argentina and Colombia are adopting new circulation restrictions amid fear of new variants of the novel coronavirus and a rise in the number of infected people.

    On Thursday, Argentina’s federal government said it would restrict the movement of people in the country during night hours, in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic during summer vacations. On Wednesday, 13,441 new cases were registered in the country, 5,200 more than in the previous month, reported Reuters.

    Meanwhile, Colombia’s capital will enter a strict quarantine until Tuesday. According to the Mayor of Bogotá, Claudia Lopez, the decision was taken after the increase in the number of infections: 32% from December 27 to January 4. Non-essential businesses will be closed. Only one person per household will be allowed to buy food or medicine.

    According to Claudia, this is atypical behavior that “shows that there is something additional” happening. Colombian health authorities suspect that the new variant of the coronavirus is already circulating in the city.

    After Bogotá, the regions of Kennedy, Fontibón, and Teusaquillo will enter into strict quarantine starting next Tuesday, January 12, at 00:00 hours, reported La República.

  • January 07, 21 - 4:31 pm - LABS

    Colombia’s Bogota to enter lockdown as of this Thursday amid new strain concerns

    Bogota, Colombia’s capital, will enter a strict quarantine until Tuesday due to rising Covid-19 infection numbers and suspicions that a new variant of the virus is circulating, said Mayor of Bogota Claudia Lopez on Thursday as reported by Reuters.

    Strict quarantines have already been put into effect on three Bogota areas this week to try and control rising coronavirus infections, which the city’s Mayor said could be caused by a new variant of the virus first identified in the UK.

    People throughout the capital will be largely confined to their homes from midnight on Thursday until four o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, Lopez stated, declaring a red alert in the city. Non-essential shops and businesses will be closed and one person per household will be allowed to buy food or medicine.

    Curfews lasting from eight at night until four in the morning will then run until Jan. 17.

    “We are confronting a new strain of COVID which is very possibly already circulating in Bogota,” said Lopez during a news conference. “We can’t see any other reason for the viral load we are finding in patients.”

    “Right now there’s no scientific evidence that accelerating COVID-19 transmission in Colombia can be attributed to the new British strain,” Ministry of Health director for epidemiology and demography, said in a statement.

    Colombia has recorded more than 1.7 million coronavirus infections and 44,723 deaths from COVID-19.

    In Bogota, which counts for over a quarter of national cases, occupancy of intensive care units for coronavirus reached 83.9%, according to local government figures.

    Usaquen, Suba, and Engativa areas in Bogota city will remain in strict quarantine as planned until January 18 and strict quarantines will be extended in the neighborhoods of Kennedy, Fontibon, and Teusaquillo until January 22, said Lopez.

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