Coronavirus digest: WHO says 60% immunization rate needed to curb pandemic – DW (English)

Last Updated on November 28, 2020 by

Around 60 to 70% of the population needs to be immunized against coronavirus in order for infections to be effective, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced.

This rate is based on several modeling studies, the head of the WHO’s vaccine department, Katherine O’Brien, told a press conference in Geneva.

“It’s really important that we get more information about the vaccines,” she said.

In recent days, three vaccines have reported promising trial results: AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.

Read more: Coronavirus vaccine — how to distribute it around the world?

WHO spokesman Mike Ryan also said it would be “highly speculative” to say that the virus did not emerge in China. Chinese state media has been reporting that the virus, which was allegedly first discovered in a food market in the city of Wuhan, actually originated abroad.

DW covers Friday’s latest updates on the pandemic from around the world:

Americas

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the Canadian military will play a leading role in distributing the coronavirus vaccine, when it is ready. Officials are concerned about reaching far-flung regions, particularly in the sparsely-populated north of the world’s second-largest country.

In the United States, Black Friday crowds were diminished. Traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, retailers moved online. Large shops like Walmart sent out staff to manage numbers in stores and take customers’ temperatures.

Read more: Opinion: Boycotting Black Friday is a waste of time

California’s Los Angeles County has banned close to all social gatherings involving individuals from more than a single household starting Monday. The restrictions will be in place for at least three weeks. 

The order does not include religious services and protests, which are protected under the US constitution. It will affect nearly 20 million people who live in and around Los Angeles, the US’ second-largest city.

Asia

North Korean hackers have regularly attempted to hack South Korean labs for information about a potential vaccine, Seoul has said. Lawmakers said the cyberattacks had been unsuccessful so far.

In India, five patients were killed when a fire broke out at a COVID-19 ward. This is the fourth blaze at a specialized hospital in the country since the pandemic began, leading to angry questions from the Supreme Court.

A seventh member of Pakistan’s cricket team has tested positive for the virus, according to New Zealand’s Ministry of Health. The team is currently in New Zealand for three Twenty20 internationals and two test matches.

“One additional member of the Pakistan squad has today tested positive during routine testing. The remainder of the results from the squad’s Day 3 swab testing – apart from the six who have already returned a positive result, are negative,” the ministry said.

Six people from the 53-member group tested positive upon arrival.

Europe

Just over 50% of Germans want to be vaccinated against the virus, a survey commissioned by health insurance company Barmer found. 

With close to 2000 people interviewed, 53% said they wanted to be vaccinated, 15% said they may want to be vaccinated, nine percent said they’d “rather not”,  and 13% were certain they did not want to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Close to 10% were undecided.

The survey found that 42% of people with children said they intended to have their children vaccinated as well.

Ireland has announced it will ease its lockdown next week, allowing restaurants and gyms to reopen. Travel will be permitted from December 18, allowing a “different but special” Christmas, Prime Minister Micheal Martin announced.

The country was under a six-week lockdown, starting October 21, which stopped people from traveling beyond 5 km from their place of residence. All non-essential workers were to work from home and all non-essential retail and leisure facilities were closed.

Belgium will also ease its lockdown from December 1.

Read more: Science fiction films a ‘projection’ of our coronavirus times

France and Spain have both recorded slightly lower numbers of daily cases than the day before. There were 12,459 new cases in France, down from 13,563 the day before, while Spain recorded 10,853, down from 12,000 on Thursday. Authorities hope this indicates a downward trend.

A German doctor on trial in Munich for anti-doping offenses has offered up two of his special fridges to store coronavirus vaccines. The prosecutor welcomed the offer of the fridges, which can each hold around 10,000 doses of the vaccine, but said: “I don’t want to belittle your heroism, but you wouldn’t have got the equipment anyway.”

ed/jlw (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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