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30 June, 2021 COVID-19 Information and Updates

COVID-19 Update: June 30, 2021

COVID-19 Update: June 30, 2021

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now exceeds 180.8 million and the number of deaths is close to 4 million.

Although the data reported showing fewer new coronavirus infections, the pandemic is far from over. The Delta variant is presenting a new COVID-19 pandemic challenge. Originally found in India, the Delta variant, more transmissible than the alpha variant, is now present in more than 80 countries. In the US, it represents 20% of infections, and health officials say it could become the country’s dominant type. In Europe, the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warned that the Delta variant could account for 90% of new coronavirus infections by the end of August. The UK is seeing COVID-19 cases rise despite vaccinations, since more than 90% of new cases are from this variant. Germany is also wary about another wave spurred by the Delta variant, which now makes up about 15% of new cases. WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed his concern on Twitter: “There's a lot of concern about the #COVID19 Delta variant –the most transmissible one identified so far.”
The pace of the vaccination effort is increasing, being the latest rate roughly 45.6 million doses per day. According to Bloomberg, more than 2.97 billion doses have been administered so far worldwide.
The WHO, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) underscored their commitment to universal, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other health technologies. It has been agreed, within the existing WHO-WIPO-WTO Trilateral Cooperation framework, that the three agencies will promote two specific initiatives: (1) the organization of practical, capacity-building workshops to enhance the flow of updated information on current developments in the pandemic and responses; and (2) the implementation of a joint platform for tripartite technical assistance to countries relating to their needs for COVID-19 medical technologies, providing a one-stop-shop that will make available the full range of expertise on access, IP and trade matters, in a coordinated and systematic manner. 


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the 2021 World Drug Report on June 24, according to which the social impact of the pandemic could push more people into drug use. Moreover, while the impact of COVID-19 on drug issues is not fully known, the analysis implies that the pandemic has resulted in increased economic hardship, making illicit drug cultivation more tempting to vulnerable rural communities.


The WHO and its COVAX partners are collaborating with Biovac, Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a network of universities, and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish their first COVID mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub. The goal of this initiative is to increase vaccine access throughout Africa. “COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of local production to address health emergencies, strengthen regional health security and expand sustainable access to health products,” noted Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.


Seven cities in Australia are in lockdown after a jump in cases: Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast Perth, Darwin, Townsville and Alice Springs. This is Sydney's first lockdown since December. COVID-19 transmission rates had been continuously low throughout the country, but the Delta variant has managed to reach five of its eight states and territories. Central and eastern Sydney went into lockdown on Sunday. The two-week lockdown will affect the city center and inner-city suburbs, as well as beachside suburbs in the east. Residents of these areas will have to stay at home except for essential reasons.


Shipments from Yantian, which is the third-largest container port in the world, are suffering delays after the terminal was closed for a week as a coronavirus outbreak in late May. “Around 50 container ships remain backed up around the Yantian port in Southern China” and “some 350,000 loaded containers are stacked up on docks,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Western retailers such as Walmart Inc. and Inc., who have been scrambling to restock after a year of supply-chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, are driving demand for boxships.


To support Europe’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences, on June 15, the European Commission (EC) raised €20 billion in its first NextGenerationEU transaction. To date, the EC has adopted a positive assessment of the recovery and resilience plan (grants) for the following countries: Spain (€69.5 billion), Italy (€68.9 billion), France (€39.4 billion), Greece (€30.5 billion), Germany (€25.6 billion), Portugal (€16.6 billion), Slovakia (€6.3 billion), Belgium (€5.9 billion), Austria (€3.5 billion), Latvia (€1.8 billion), Denmark (€1.5 billion) and Luxembourg (€93 million).
On June 18, the Court of First Instance of Brussels decided to grant interim measures in the case brought against AstraZeneca by the European Commission and the EU-27 Member States. AstraZeneca should deliver 50 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by September 27, 2021, and in the event of non-compliance with the schedule, it will have to pay a penalty of €10 per dose no delivered.
That same day, the European Council approved the conclusions on Intellectual Property (IP) in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. The conclusions address the role of IP in helping to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and outline the importance of IP for SMEs and their economic recovery, as well as for green and digital transitions. The Council welcomes the action plan and initiatives announced on better protection of IP, on promoting an effective use and deployment of IP, on easier access to and sharing of IP-protected assets, and on fighting IP rights infringements.
During the European Council Meeting held on June 24-25, EU leaders acknowledged the importance of the agreements reached on the EU digital COVID certificate and the revision of the two Council recommendations on travel: within the EU and into the EU. In addition, the Council reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to helping boost global production of and universal access to COVID-19 vaccines.


Since June 29, only German citizens and residents are allowed to travel into Germany from Portugal and Russia, classified as ‘variant countries’ due to the increment of Delta variant cases. Those allowed to enter from Russia and Portugal will be subject to a two-week quarantine, regardless of whether they can provide a negative COVID-19 test.
The German Government announced it expects a surplus of shots in the next few weeks. Health Minister Jens Spahn said that the country needs to fast-forward its vaccination rollout as the Delta variant spreads throughout Europe, reported Reuters.


All Italian regions are now in the low-restriction ‘white area’ and mask-free outdoors, except for gatherings.
By ordinance of June 18, Italy allows the use of the COVID-19 Green Certificate for entry into Italy from countries of the EU, as well as Japan, Canada and the USA. For those coming from the UK and Northern Ireland, Italy introduced a 5-day quarantine with mandatory swab testing. The new ordinance extended until July 30 the measures in force for people coming from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, or who have been in these countries in the preceding fourteen days.
To control the Delta variant, Italy decided to enforce stricter controls and tracking procedures on those traveling from abroad. Among different measures that will be implemented, a higher number of daily swabs and increased tracking of single cases will be included.


Spain is tightening access requirements for travelers from the UK amid the growing concern over the Delta variant. From July 2, UK travelers will have to show a negative PCR test or proof of being fully vaccinated. The conditions will particularly affect travelers to the Balearic Islands, which are going on the UK’s green travel list on June 30.


On June 29, India recorded the lowest single-day spike since March 17 with 37,566 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours.
Moderna's vaccine has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India –becoming the fourth COVID-19 jab to get approval in India. In addition, Moderna has agreed to donate a certain number of doses through COVAX to the Government of India.
A second wave of stimulus was announced on June 28, including a credit guarantee scheme of Rs 50,000 crore to ramp up the health sector.


Being Tokyo and other six prefectures under the quasi-emergency status, the Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura affirmed on June 27 that another state of emergency could be declared due to the resurgence in infections.
Japan is administering 1 million doses a day and is prioritizing the full vaccination of elderly people by the end of July. The Olympics will start in less than a month and only a small portion of the country (10.3%) is fully vaccinated.
Vaccine certificates, which will include information such as the date of vaccination and its manufacturer, will be issued in July. Japan will ask other countries to ease entry requirements for holders of its COVID-19 vaccination certificate.


Due to new variants of the coronavirus, Turkey has halted flights and all direct travel from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Those who arrive from other origins but have been in the countries listed within the last 14 days will need to show a negative PCR and will need to quarantine for 14 days.


In the UK, over 60% of adults have been vaccinated with a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Besides, more than 82.5% of people have been vaccinated with a single dose. A recent analysis by Public Health England (PHE) shows that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant.
A new study suggests that over 2 million people in the UK would have had one or more COVID-19 symptoms lasting at least 12 weeks. 


According to The Associated Press, nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the US are now among people who have not been vaccinated. In May, infections in fully vaccinated people were about 0.1% and only about 0.8% of COVID-19 deaths were in fully vaccinated people, showing the effectiveness of the vaccination strategy.
President Joe Biden has set a goal to have 70% of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4.
The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article.
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