- Health officials announced 469 new cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths on Wednesday.
- There are now 230 patients in hospital with the disease, including 66 in intensive care.
- There are 4,305 active cases across B.C.
- A total of 1,269 people have died out of 71,856 confirmed cases in B.C.
- 157,797 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 14,316 second doses.
- As of Monday, the spread of COVID-19 was slowing in Whistler compared to the last few weeks.
As the long weekend approaches, health officials are repeatedly asking British Columbians to stay home in an effort to reduce transmission of COVID-19 so that everyone can look forward to restrictions being lifted soon.
In every public statement this week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix have asked everyone in the province to follow public health orders and advice and refrain from socializing or travelling this Family Day weekend.
“The risks from COVID-19 remain high for all of us, especially with the variants of concern, which is why staying in our local community and avoiding any unnecessary travel is so important right now,” they said in a written statement on Wednesday.
“This weekend is the weekend to stay home — to show your family and friends you care by not giving COVID-19 the opportunity to spread.”
The latest appeal came as health officials announced Wednesday that 469 more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed and six more people have died.
The number of patients in hospital with the disease has hit the lower total since Nov. 20 at 230, including 66 who are in intensive care. In all, there are 4,305 active cases across B.C.
There have been 71,856 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. to date, including 1,269 people who have died.
So far, 157,797 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 14,316 second doses.
Meanwhile, the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority said the spread of COVID-19 has started slowing in Whistler, B.C., compared to previous weeks. The health authority identified 43 new cases as of Monday, according to a statement.
The resort town has been dealing with a major spike in COVID-19 cases, with 547 cases of the disease recorded between Jan. 1 and Feb. 2. Young people continue to account for most of the cases, with spread happening in household settings.
On the research front, a new study is investigating how the immune systems of residents and elderly staff in Canadian long-term care facilities respond to COVID-19 infection, now that vaccinations in the homes are either well underway or completed.
B.C.-based research will examine how the immune systems of the elderly people armed with the vaccine respond to infection.
What’s happening elsewhere in Canada
As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Canada had reported 810.797 cases of COVID-19, with 39,179 cases considered active.
A total of 20,909 people have died.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Loss of taste or smell.
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they’re mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911.
What can I do to protect myself?
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
- Keep at least two metres away from people outside your bubble. Keep your distance from people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
- Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.
EU regulator backs month-long storage of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in fridges
Europe’s drug regulator on Monday recommended extending the storage time for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at normal fridge temperatures to 31 days from five days, easing logistical challenges during rollouts in the region.
The change is applicable to unopened vials, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said, adding that the advice by its human medicines committee came after assessing additional stability study data submitted by Pfizer and BioNTech.
“EMA is in continuous dialogue with the marketing authorisation holders of COVID-19 vaccines as they seek to make manufacturing improvements to enhance vaccine distribution in the EU,” the watchdog said.
The EU has allowed for ramped-up production of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the region and is eyeing a new deal to secure more doses of the shot after the bloc was hit by cuts in the supply of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
Vaccine deliveries were also slower initially under the EU’s centralised procurement strategy.
U.S. authorities in February had approved storage and transport of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at standard freezer temperatures of -15 to -25 degrees Celsius for up to two weeks instead of the ultra-cold temperatures between -80 to -60 degrees Celsius it usually requires.
The EU storage change also comes as the U.S. and German drugmakers are seeking approval of the vaccine for inoculating adolescents aged 12 to 15 years. The United States and Canada have started vaccinating this group with the shot, which uses the brand name Comirnaty.
The two-dose vaccine, similar to the one developed by Moderna, uses new mRNA technology to deliver instructions to the human body to build immunity against COVID-19.
With 200 million vaccine doses delivered overall, the EU is on track to achieve its goal of inoculating 70% of its adult population by summer, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted on May 9.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Alex Richardson)
Sanofi-GSK report positive interim results for their COVID-19 shot
An experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline showed a robust immune response in early-stage clinical trial results, enabling them to move to a late-stage study, the French drugmaker said on Monday.
Sanofi and Britain’s GSK said a global Phase III trial would start in the coming weeks and involve more than 35,000 adults, with the hope of seeing the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeted the first half of this year before a setback.
Sanofi and GSK last December were forced to restart their trial when the vaccine showed a low immune response in older adults as a result of a weak antigen formulation.
Sanofi and GSK shares were little changed in early trading.
“The Phase II interim results showed 95% to 100% seroconversion following a second injection in all age groups and across all doses, with acceptable tolerability and no safety concerns,” Sanofi said.
Seroconversion refers to the vaccine’s ability to prompt the body to produce antibodies against the coronavirus, as measured by blood readings. Later mass trials will be based on real infections.
“Interestingly, we also observed that our vaccine generated a higher antibody response in those with previous COVID-19 infection, we are analysing this further as it may suggest our vaccine could serve as a potential booster, regardless of what vaccine someone may have received (beforehand),” Su-Peing Ng, Sanofi’s global head of medical for vaccines, told reporters.
Ng said the vaccine had not been tested against so-called variants in the Phase II trial but that the Phase III study would be assessing it against various strains including a virus lineage known as B.1.351 first detected in South Africa.
But Sanofi, Ng said, has conducted parallel studies evaluating its vaccines against variants, with results expected to be published soon.
GSK and Sanofi’s vaccine candidate uses the same technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK.
‘QUITE A POTENTIAL’
Some 162.75 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019, while economies have taken a hit and restrictions have turned daily life upside down.
The United States and Europe have embarked on mass vaccinations programmes in the past months, raising hopes of a gradual reopening, although the virus is still in circulation in many regions, with variants causing concern.
Last month, the European Union executive’s President Ursula von der Leyen said protein-based COVID-19 vaccines such as the one developed by Sanofi and GSK offered “quite a potential”, a positive signal as the bloc develops its purchasing strategy for the next two years.
Sanofi’s shot, however, even if approved, will come long after ones from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, which have produced efficacy results of more than 90%.
So far, Sanofi has purchasing agreements with the United States, the EU, Britain and Canada, as well as with the World Health Organization-backed COVAX facility.
The company has pledged to help other drugmakers this year, striking “fill and finish” deals for vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
In addition to its vaccine project in collaboration with GSK, Sanofi is working on a mRNA candidate with U.S. company Translate Bio for which it has started clinical trials.
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely)
Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 161.42 million, death toll at 3,488,751
More than 161.42 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 3,488,751 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open https://tmsnrt.rs/2FThSv7 in an external browser.
Eikon users can click for a case tracker.
The following table lists the top 50 countries by the number of reported cases. A complete list is available with the above links.
COUNTRIES AND TOTAL DEATHS CONFIRMED DEATHS PER
TERRITORIES CASES 10,000
United States 584,768 32,926,288 17.9
India 262,317 24,046,809 1.94
Brazil 430,417 15,433,989 20.55
France 107,423 5,848,154 16.04
Turkey 44,301 5,095,390 5.38
Russia 254,590 4,922,901 17.62
United Kingdom 127,668 4,446,824 19.21
Italy 123,927 4,146,722 20.51
Spain 79,339 3,604,799 16.95
Germany 85,903 3,579,871 10.36
Argentina 69,254 3,242,103 15.56
Colombia 79,760 3,067,879 16.06
Poland 71,311 2,849,014 18.78
Iran 76,433 2,732,152 9.34
Mexico 219,901 2,375,115 17.43
Ukraine 47,620 2,143,448 10.67
Peru 65,316 1,873,316 20.02
Indonesia 47,823 1,734,285 1.79
Czech Republic 29,857 1,651,178 28.09
South Africa 55,012 1,605,252 9.52
Netherlands 17,423 1,589,282 10.11
Canada 24,825 1,312,408 6.7
Chile 27,520 1,266,601 14.69
Iraq 15,910 1,134,859 4.14
Philippines 18,958 1,131,467 1.78
Romania 29,413 1,070,605 15.11
Sweden 14,275 1,037,126 14.03
Belgium 24,645 1,026,473 21.56
Pakistan 19,384 873,220 0.91
Portugal 16,999 841,379 16.53
Israel 6,379 839,076 7.18
Hungary 29,041 796,390 29.71
Bangladesh 12,102 779,535 0.75
Jordan 9,203 722,754 9.24
Serbia 6,646 705,185 9.52
Switzerland 10,179 679,510 11.96
Japan 11,396 673,821 0.9
Austria 10,455 635,780 11.83
United Arab Emirates 1,626 543,610 1.69
Lebanon 7,569 534,968 11.05
Morocco 9,091 514,670 2.52
Malaysia 1,822 462,190 0.58
Nepal 4,669 439,658 1.66
Saudi Arabia 7,134 431,432 2.12
Bulgaria 17,194 413,320 24.48
Ecuador 19,442 405,783 11.38
Slovakia 12,168 387,162 22.34
Greece 11,322 373,881 10.55
Belarus 2,681 373,351 2.83
Panama 6,288 369,455 15.05
Source: Reuters tally based on statements from health ministries and government officials
Generated at 10:00 GMT.
(Editing by David Clarke)
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