The drugs strike again vaccine deal, the EU expands travel policies, and Japan fights a new crowd. Here’s what you need to know:
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Drugs agree to provide doses of vaccines to countries in need
Pfizer and BioNTech have promised themselves earlier today to give one billion doses of its Covid vaccine to middle- and middle-income countries by the end of this year, and another billion in the course of 2022. It is unclear whether these donations will go through the initiative. Covax, which has struggled to gain momentum, especially as exports arrested by India have put its largest supplier back to provide doses. To make up for the lack, GAVI, one of the organizations behind Covax, agreed today buy 200 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
This week, President Biden also announced that the United States would donate more than their vaccine surplus. In addition to a previous commitment to send 80 million doses of AstraZeneca overseas, its administration will send 20 million doses of blows approved for use in the United States by the end of June. Although the vaccination rate is slowing in the United States, many countries around the world are struggling to secure doses, launching questions of vaccine equity in an ever more acute relief.
The EU eases its travel restrictions in preparation for the summer holidays
This week, the European Union made several key changes to its Covid travel policies in preparation for the summer holidays. Wednesday, the 27 member nations accepted for ease and restrictions for people who have received an approved vaccine or who come from a country considered safe. Due to rising UK levels of variant B.1.617 first identified in India, the country is not currently on this list. The EU has also accepted one numerical certificate system which will allow people who can demonstrate that they are unlikely to have Covid — either because they have tested negative or are vaccinated — to travel more freely in the region.
Stateide, government officials have been weighing the possibility to change U.S. travel policies around Covid. For now, though, restrictions will remain, including those limiting non-essential travel from Canada and Mexico, which the Department of Homeland Security has said will remain in place until at least June 21.
Japan is widening its state of emergency as the Tokyo Summer Olympics approach
Today Japan has developed its state of emergency for the third week in a row and has approved two more vaccines – from Moderna and AstraZeneca – in hopes of slowing the latest outbreak of the virus in the country. The state of emergency now applies to 42 percent of the country’s population. So far, the spread of vaccines has been alarmingly slow: Just 4 percent of the population has received one or more doses. The Tokyo Summer Olympics are nine weeks away, and the International Olympic Committee has said so. they will go on even if the state of emergency is still in force. But surveys show that about 60 to 80 percent of the population is opposite to the host the Games.
Elsewhere in Asia, homes are even growing, even in countries where numbers were once negligibly low. In response, Hong Kong and Singapore have changed their travel policies, Malaysia has imposed a new lockdown, and many in the region have retired from their homes.
Accessible options for games have come a long way in recent years. But there is also room for improvement — and a few small cuts it could make a world of difference.
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What about producers who pivoted on making masks and other supplies during the pandemic?
Last spring, when much-needed goods were in short supply and imports were halted, producers in the United States quickly adapted to making masks and other critical items. Now, when the economy recovers and bargain imports make a comeback, these companies are struggling to preserve his new venture. Last week, members of the newly formed American Association of Mask Manufacturers wrote a letter to the White House asking for help because cheap masks and respirators from China are now returning to the United States. Without government support, the group predicts that half of its collective production capacity will be lost in 60 days.
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