Russia lauds vaccine exports, while quietly importing doses
Russia has been jubilant with the arrival of Sputnik V vaccine and its export to many countries in dire need of doses. However, Kremlin has been very quiet about the imports of Sputnik V from a South Korean company it has contracted to manufacture the doses and also the sluggish roll out at home. It indicates that even countries whose scientists designed successful shots rely on cross-border trade for vaccine supplies. Russian officials said that overseas manufacturing could partly meet demand at home but have since gone quiet about importing a product that has been held up as a triumph of the country’s scientists. Read here
Let's look at the global statistics
Global infections: 127,116,964
Global deaths: 2,783,689
Nations with most cases: US (30,262,123), Brazil (12,534,688), India (11,971,624), France (4,606,185), Russia (4,469,327).
Aided by swift vaccination, Israelis celebrate Passover together
A Jewish festival Passover, usually joyous time of large family gatherings, was completely ruined for many families last year as coronavirus-induced lockdowns forced people to stay at home. But this weekend, large groups celebrated Passover, which marks the escape of Israelis from slavery in Egypt. Across Israel, life is seeming normal and opening up once again as vaccinations led to a steep fall in infection rates and thereby easing of restrictions. More than half of the Israeli population has received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the highest rate in the world. Read here
New York first state in US to offer 'vaccine passport'
New York State started a new digital app to allow individuals to prove they have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus
or have recently tested negative, as part of an effort to fast-track the reopening of businesses, sports arenas and entertainment venues in the state. New York is the first state to formally create a digital passport for Covid-19. A free online platform was developed with IBM and works like a mobile airline boarding pass. Users are assigned a digital pass with a secure QR code, which they can print out or save to their smartphones. Businesses then use the same app to scan the customer’s QR code and verify their Covid status. Read here
Covid keeps spreading death where vaccines haven’t reached
Apart from Israel, US and UK, where vaccination programs are rolling out with remarkable speed, glimpses of a post-pandemic future are starting to appear. But moving away from a handful of rich countries, and a darker reality emerges: The virus is still rampaging around most of the planet, and uneven vaccine distribution poses a major public risk as variants emerge. All eyes are now on Covax, a facility that aims to distribute doses equitably around the globe, that has started delivering shots to lower-income countries like Ivory Coast and Ghana, but the WHO has said more needs to be done. Read here