Sri Lanka finally lifts ban on burial of COVID victims

Controversial ban imposed since March last year lifted after months of protests by Muslim and rights groups. The Sri Lankan government has lifted a controversial ban on the burial of bodies of people whose deaths were caused by the COVID-19 disease, a health ministry spokesman said. The ban was lifted on Friday after months of […]

Brazil surpasses 250,000 COVID deaths, a year after first case

The South American country has the world’s second-highest death toll after the United States. One year after the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Brazil, Latin America’s biggest country has recorded more than 250,000 deaths from COVID-19, with the virus still spreading as a national vaccination drive struggles to gain momentum. President Jair Bolsonaro, […]

Give Biden a Chance? On Covid Aid, Some Trump Voters Just Might

Some Republicans share those concerns. Sean Wiley, who voted twice for Mr. Trump and describes himself as a conservative libertarian, said the government needed to provide assistance to people who have lost their jobs in the pandemic but argued that the current package was too large. Now that more people are being vaccinated and the […]

EU leaders push to step up COVID vaccinations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the European Union must prepare to vaccinate for new coronavirus variants across the coming years after EU leaders discussed ways to fight new variants of the virus, step up inoculations and save Europe’s tourism industry from another ruinous summer. The 27 EU leaders agreed on Thursday to keep “tight […]

China denies asking US diplomats to undergo COVID anal tests

Chinese foreign ministry denial follows reports from Washington that some of its personnel were being made to undergo the test. China has denied subjecting United States diplomats to COVID-19 anal tests following reports in US media that some US personnel reported being made to undergo the procedure. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters […]

India’s health workers baulk at taking homegrown COVID vaccine

India is struggling to convince its healthcare and front-line workers to take a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine controversially approved without late-stage efficacy data, government data showed on Thursday, days ahead of a wider roll-out. The country has the world’s second-highest number of COVID-19 infections after the United States, with cases recently surging as mask-wearing declines and […]

Johnson & Johnson COVID jab safe and effective, US FDA staff find

The US Food and Drug Administration staff’s findings likely mean Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine will be approved for emergency use later this week. Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine appeared safe and effective in trials, United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) staff said in documents published on Wednesday, paving the way for the […]

Ghana receives first COVID vaccine doses as part of COVAX scheme

At least 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine arrive in Ghana’s capital as part of efforts for equitable global access to COVID jabs. Ghana has become the first country to receive vaccines through the UN-backed COVAX scheme, which aims to get COVID-19 vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people, in a global effort to contain […]

Fears of new COVID variants lead to lengthier travel quarantines

Quarantines continue to frustrate travelers and strangle airlines a year into the pandemic, with the threat from highly infectious coronavirus variants meaning enforced isolations are mostly getting longer and stricter rather than easing up. Even as vaccines embolden countries like Israel and the U.K. to plot paths to reopening, authorities around the world are tightening […]

India says COVID strains not behind sudden surge in cases

Officials say mutated versions of coronavirus not responsible for surge in cases in Maharashtra and Kerala states. India says mutated versions of coronavirus were not responsible for a surge in cases in two states, a potential relief for a country where mask-wearing and physical distancing have largely disappeared. Maharashtra in the west and Kerala in […]

Snap back? US consumer confidence rises as COVID cases drop

United States consumer confidence increased in February, with households slightly more upbeat about the labour market amid declining new COVID-19 infections and expectations for additional money from the government to help the economy’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The survey from the Conference Board on Tuesday also showed consumers warming up to overseas vacations, though […]

Wild swings: US bank profits sank 36.5% in 2020 as COVID raged

Banks posted $147.9bn in profits in 2020, a significant drop from record 2019 levels, a regulatory group said on Tuesday. United States bank profits fell 36.5 percent in 2020 from the year prior as banks set aside massive amounts to guard against potential losses, but the industry showed signs of strengthening in the fourth quarter […]

Lebanon’s COVID jabs funding at risk after MPs jump queue

The World Bank has threatened to suspend financing for coronavirus vaccines in Lebanon over what it said were violations by legislators who were vaccinated inside Parliament. The comments by the international lender on Tuesday came as frustration grew among some residents and doctors that the national plan that requires people to get vaccinated at predetermined […]

UK: Unemployment rises as COVID lockdowns hit economy

The United Kingdom’s unemployment rate edged up to 5.1 percent in the final three months of last year, its highest level in nearly five years, official data shows, as severe COVID-19 lockdown restrictions pressured the economy. Figures published by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday showed that the jobless rate rose 0.4 […]

Afghanistan begins Covid vaccine campaign amid surge in violence

KABUL: The number of civilians killed and wounded in violence across war-weary Afghanistan fell by 15 percent last year compared to 2019, according to a United Nations report released Tuesday.The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the UN Human Rights Office attributed the drop in civilian casualties in part to an apparent tactical change by […]

Kuwait to close land, sea border in latest COVID restrictions

The closure will not affect shipping operations, while citizens and domestic workers will be allowed to return, the Cabinet says. Kuwait says it will close its land and sea border crossings from Wednesday until further notice as it imposes curbs to control coronavirus infections in the Gulf nation. Citizens and domestic workers accompanying them are, […]

‘Extremely promising’: 1st dose of COVID vaccine cuts illness

Data from two separate studies published in the UK, one in England and another in Scotland, have shown vaccines against COVID-19 are effective in cutting disease transmission and hospitalisations starting from the first dose. Analysis from Public Health England (PHE) published on Monday shows that the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech reduces the risk of catching […]

‘Almost unbelievable’: US surpasses 500,000 COVID deaths

More than 500,000 people in the United States with coronavirus have died, according to Johns Hopkins University data, the highest death toll by far of any country in the world. The country reached the harrowing tally on Monday, just about a year after the first known death was reported in the state of California. US […]

UK PM sets out road map to ease England’s COVID lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out a four-step plan to ease coronavirus restrictions in England, expressing a hope that life could get back to normal by the end of June. Johnson outlined a “gradual and cautious” approach to lifting curbs in England, starting with the return of pupils to schools from March 8. […]

US: South African COVID strain found in New York state resident

Governor Andrew Cuomo announces the discovery of the new variant as he urges people to stay vigilant. The first case of a fast-spreading coronavirus variant from South Africa has been discovered in a resident of the US state of New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. Cuomo said on Sunday the case, a person from Nassau […]

A Ripple Effect of Loss: U.S. Covid Deaths Approach 500,000

“I can still see him there,” said Mr. Jones, the pastor. “It never goes away.” There is a street corner in Plano, Texas, that was occupied by Bob Manus, a veteran crossing guard who shepherded children to school for 16 years, until he fell ill in December. In the Twin Cities of Minnesota, LiHong Burdick, […]

After deaths, WHO urges Tanzania to share COVID data, take action

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus appeals to authorities to take measures against the pandemic and to prepare for vaccinations. The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged Tanzania’s authorities to take “robust action” against the coronavirus pandemic amid increasing warnings that the country is witnessing a deadly resurgence in infections. President John Magufuli has […]