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Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Everything you need to know about covid at home and abroad on 19 January 2021

The Health Ministry reported 878 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 890 the day before. The ministry also reported 55 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 8638.Egypt has now disclosed a total of 157,275 confirmed cases of covid-19.

The world is on the cusp of “catastrophic moral failure” as poorer countries struggle to get their vulnerable citizens vaccinated against the virus, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said yesterday, Reuters reports. COVAX’s attempts to ensure equal distribution of vaccines were being undermined by almost 70 bilateral agreements signed with pharma companies. “This could delay COVAX deliveries and create exactly the scenario COVAX was designed to avoid, with hoarding, a chaotic market, an uncoordinated response and continued social and economic disruption,” he said.

Russia and China are keen to use covid-19 to take their vaccine production capacity global as they see significant international demand for their inoculations, despite the absence of full phase 3 clinical trial data calling into question the vaccines’ efficacy, the Financial Times reports. Chinese vaccines in particular have had issues with quality and corruption in the industry in the past, and vaccine makers must now figure out how to promote confidence in their jabs internationally, without relying on the backing of the Chinese government.

Global disparities in covid-19 immunity could allow the virus to continue spreading and breed more dangerous variants, medical experts fear, reports Bloomberg. Rollouts across countries are proceeding at different paces, with many countries still left without access to a vaccine. The World Bank’s projection for 4% growth this year depends on widespread deployment of vaccines, but the number could be revised to 1.6% if the unequal distribution and delay in delivery of the vaccine continue.

Europe is debating vaccine passports: European countries yesterday began discussing whether to introduce vaccine certificates, documents that would make it easier for vaccinated people to travel across the continent, according to Reuters. While the EU seems to be leaning toward a hands-off approach, some are in favor of giving a few benefits to vaccine-takers. EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic is echoing the idea that vaccines could be a condition for travel, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is proposing a vaccination certificate, and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas believes folks who get the jab will be able to return to restaurants and cinemas sooner.

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