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Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Covid cases fall again + Sinovac’s jab gets WHO approval as IMF looks to plan to end pandemic

Covid cases are continuing to fall here at home: The Health Ministry reported 956 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 984 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 263,606 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 40 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 15,136.

The WHO has given emergency approval to the use of China’s Sinovac jab, potentially paving the way for doses to reach developing countries through the Gavi / Covax program, it said in a statement. The WHO said it recommended the jab for adults aged over 18, making it the second Chinese-produced shot to get its endorsement in less than a month following the May 7 approval of the Sinopharm jab.

Sinovac is one of two vaccines Egypt will manufacture, aiming to produce the first 3 mn doses as early as this month. The news comes following a promising study in a Brazilian town, which saw deaths, cases and hospitalizations plummet after 95% of its population was given the Sinovac jab.

No jab? No football: The Egyptian Football Association will not start its next season until all players have received, or have registered for, at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine, Egyptian football boss Ahmed Megahed said in an interview with ON Time Sports TV channel (watch, runtime: 13:23). The government aims to vaccinate half of Egypt’s population before the end of the year. The EFA hopes to kick off its next season in early October.

Momentum could be building behind the IMF’s USD 50 bn plan to end the pandemic once and for all: The World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have come out in support of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) USD 50 bn plan to bring the pandemic to an end in all corners of the world. The three organizations joined the fund yesterday, calling on world leaders in a joint statement to stump up the money to fund an unprecedented global vaccination campaign.

The plan: The IMF thinks it is possible to fully vaccinate at least 40% of the world’s population by the end of this year, and the remaining 60% in the first half of 2022. A rapid end to the pandemic could add USD 9 tn to the global economy by the middle of the decade, it estimates. The plan would be funded by at least USD 35 bn of grants, USD 15 bn from national governments and low-cost lending from multilateral lenders, with advanced economies contributing the largest sums.

Warnings of a global K-shaped recovery: IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva raised the prospect of the global economy bifurcating, with the economies of wealthy countries rebounding and vaccine-scarce developing economies remaining depressed. “We are deeply concerned because an increasingly two-track pandemic is causing a two-track economic recovery—with negative consequences for all countries,” she said.

Producing vaccines is one thing. Getting them to where they’re needed is another: Inefficient distribution and short vaccine shelf-lives are rendering thousands of doses useless, with many African nations disposing of shots that arrive to their countries too late to be administered, the Financial Times reports. Malawi last month publicly burnt some 20k expired jabs of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, while South Sudan elected to send 72k doses to Kenya under the Gavi sharing policy, rather than see them expire before they could be administered. While several manufacturers are aiming to extend the shelf-life restrictions of their vaccines, “the current expiry dates add real pressure to vaccination campaigns that can already be heavily challenged,” said Amanda Harvey-Dehaye, a task force leader at Médecins Sans Frontières. Most covid-19 vaccines have a shelf life of six months, though Sinopharm can last up to two years.

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