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Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Egypt reports 35 covid cases on 26 July 2021

The Health Ministry reported 35 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 39 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 284,059 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported seven new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,494.

Despite tight restrictions, organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have so far logged 153 cases of covid-1, reporting an additional sixteen cases yesterday, among them three athletes, according to a statement (pdf). Only one of the new cases was staying in the Olympic village, while the rest were either contractors or people working at the Games.

The decision to hold the Olympics amid a pandemic has been controversial in Japan, with a majority of the public calling for the event to be postponed. The organizing committee has taken measures to assuage public fears such as restricting spectators and enforcing a bubble system.

Low- and middle income countries will be getting faster, cheaper access to covid-19 vaccines under a new World Bank and Covax financing mechanism to fast-track rollout in developing countries, Reuters said. With funding from the World Bank, Covax will be able to make advance purchases based on aggregate demand across countries. This will enable the scheme to provide vaccines at a competitive price for low-income countries, where only 1.1% of the population has been vaccinated with at least one dose.

Covax is falling far short of its targets: The WHO / Gavi-backed organization wants to deliver 1.8 bn doses by early next year but has only distributed 138 mn since launching in January.

Egypt has received more than half of its allocation: Egypt has so far received 2.6 mn vaccines from Covax, more than half of the 4.5 mn it has been allocated.

A combination of AstraZeneca and Pfizer covid-19 shots could be six times as effective at generating antibodies as two jabs of AstraZeneca at boosting neutralizing antibody levels, a study from South Korea found, according to Reuters. The mixed vaccination schedule showed similar amounts of antibodies as two Pfizer jabs. But the order of administration matters, with the first jab being AstraZeneca and the second being Pfizer proving to provide the best T-cell responses, a separate British study found last month.

US to maintain travel restrictions amid delta spike: The US decided not to remove current covid-related travel restrictions amid the spread of the infectious delta variant. “The more transmissible delta variant is spreading both here and around the world. Driven by the delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue in the weeks ahead," Whote House spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters. The restrictions have been in place since last year, and bar non-US citizens who have been to the UK, the EU, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil from entering the country. The story got wide coverage in the global press: Bloomberg I CNN I Reuters I CNBC.

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