Covid live: case rates decrease in England amid higher numbers in rest of UK; Norway to end restrictions


Singapore’s health ministry has reported 1,650 new cases; the greatest number since the beginning of the pandemic.

A recent rise in cases after the relaxation of some measures has prompted Singapore to pause further reopening. More than 80% of its population has been vaccinated against the virus, Reuters reports.

Moderna will supply 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Peru, with deliveries starting in the first quarter of next year.

Reuters reports that Moderna has said it will work with regulators in the country to pursue approvals before the jab is distributed, as it is not received the go-ahead for use in the South American country.

So far it has vaccinated about 37.6% of its population, and already had deals with Pfizer, AstraZeneca and China’s Sinopharm. In July it bought 20 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V jab.

Nearly 200,000 people have died from the virus in Peru since the start of the pandemic.

Biden to get booster jab as he urges others to get vaccinated

US president Joe Biden has said he will be getting his Covid-19 booster jab “as soon as he can get it done,” Reuters is reporting.

Speaking at a press conference Biden said the jab would be free and “easily accessible”, with 60 million Americans now eligible in total.

“We have made incredible progress in vaccinating Americans but this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” he said.

He added that there are 70 million Americans who have not had their first dose, and that unvaccinated people are putting the economy at risk.

“Please don’t let this tragedy become your tragedy, get vaccinated, you can save your life and the lives of those around you.

“We have all made so much progress in the last eight months in this pandemic and we now face a critical moment. We have the tools, and the plan, we just need to finish the job together, as one nation.”


A nightly curfew in Tunisia will be lifted from Saturday, its presidency has said, after being in place for a year.

Covid cases spiked in July but has since fallen as the country’s vaccination programme has progressed, Reuters reports.

South Korea expected to break its daily case record

South Korea is expected to exceed its record for daily positive Covid-19 cases with 2,924 new infections reported as of 9pm on Friday, the country’s Yonhap news agency has reported.

The figure already beats the country’s record of 2,434 – set on Thursday as cases continue to rise.

The country’s prime minister Kim Boo-Kyum told a meeting that virus-prevention rules may have to be stricter after a three-day holiday this week could have seen people ignore rules.

Officials have advised people returning from holiday to be tested before going back to work.

“If prevention measures are not managed stably, the gradual recovery to normal life will inevitably be delayed,” he said.


Mexico will only use the Pfizer vaccine for at-risk children aged 12 to 17, a health minster has announced.

Hugo López Gatell, the government’s deputy health minister, said it was expanding its vaccine campaign to children with health issues that make them vulnerable to the virus, according to Reuters.

Nepal has restarted issuing visas for vaccinated tourists as the country is aiming to revive its tourism industry.

Its hoped it will help businesses that have been affected by restrictions and a travel shutdown because of the pandemic.

The country reopened to tourists and scrapped quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign nationals on Thursday, and its neighbours are expected to follow soon afterwards.

AFP reports that a near shutdown has been in place in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sir Lanka for more than a year.

Neighbouring India is set to announce it will give away 500,000 free tourist visas as it begins to open. It had 12.5 million tourists in 2019 but the industry ground to a halt as restrictions were introduced.

“The resumption of on-arrival visas is aimed at reopening the tourism sector which is one of the mainstays of Nepal’s economy,” tourism ministry spokesman Tara Nath Adhikari told AFP.


Brazil’s agriculture minister Tereza Cristina has tested positive for Covid-19 and will self isolate after cancelling meetings, she tweeted on Friday.

The news comes three days after health minister Marcelo Queiroga announced he had also tested positive on a trip to the UN general assembly in New York.

Tereza Cristina (@TerezaCrisMS)

Bom dia! Informo a todos que testei positivo para #Covid19. Estou bem. Cancelei meus compromissos presenciais e permanecerei em isolamento durante o período de orientação médica.

September 24, 2021


Covid rates decrease in England amid higher numbers in rest of UK

About one in 90 people in private homes in England had Covid-19 in the week up to 18 September, down from one in 80 the previous week, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The ratio is equivalent to about 620,100 people. At the peak of the second wave in early January it was one in 50 in England.

The ONS said the figure was higher in both Wales and Northern Ireland, with research finding that one in 60 people were estimated to have Covid.

The figure in Scotland is highest in the UK, with one in 45 thought to have it.

The statistics body said the decrease in England was the first in several weeks, but infections among children aged from two to 16, potentially driven by a return to classrooms over the last few weeks.

Nearly two-thirds of people reported that they were now commuting to work for at least part of the week, indicating that the norm of home working for many in the last 18 months was tapering off. It is 8 percentage points higher than the 57% between 25 August and 5 September.

Its research also found fewer than half of adults were now social distancing.


Norway to end Covid restrictions

Rules that have limited social interaction and hit businesses during the pandemic will be dropped from Saturday in Norway, Reuters reports.

Social distancing will no longer be required, nightclubs can reopen and restaurants can return to capacity, prime minister Erna Solberg announced in a press conference.

“It is 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime … now the time has come to return to a normal daily life,” she said.

The move is part of a four-step plan to remove restrictions imposed during the beginning of the pandemic last year. However this, the final step, was postponed several times over infection rates.

“In short, we can now live as normal,” Solberg said.

Seventy-six per cent of all Norwegians have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 67% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the country’s institute of public health.


WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference in Geneva.
WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference in Geneva. Photograph: Reuters

France and Germany have nominated incumbent director general of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for a second term.

Tedros has been the head of the organisation throughout the pandemic and could get another five-year term at the agency’s next annual assembly meeting in May 2022, according to Associated Press.

For the first time in the agency’s history, a candidate for the top job at the UN health agency has not been nominated by their home country. Tedros is at odds with the Ethiopian government of Abiy Ahmed over killings and human rights abuses in his home region of Tigray.

The diplomatic missions of France and Germany to the UN announced their support for him on Twitter, after the deadline for nominations closed on Thursday.

This is Harry Taylor taking the blog. If you’ve got any comments, tips or suggestions – drop me an email to or via Twitter @HarryTaylr.


Use of anti-parasite drug ivermectin has been increasing in countries including the US to try to treat Covid, despite medical experts advising against it.

Nick Robins-Early explains how it was first taken by people in Peru last year to treat the virus, as infections climbed.

As Covid-19 cases in Peru rose rapidly during the early months of the pandemic, public interest in the drug ivermectin surged.

Misleading information suggesting the drug, used to treat parasites in humans and livestock, had been proven effective against coronavirus reached many Peruvians online, doctors told the Guardian.

With vaccines still in development, desperate physicians soon began administering ivermectin to patients and, despite a lack of evidence of the drug’s effectiveness in treating Covid, Peru’s government included it in treatment guidelines in early May 2020. A frenzy ensued.


Record daily Covid deaths in Russia

Russia has recorded its highest daily death toll from coronavirus after a rise in cases in the country. There were 828 deaths across the country in the past 24 hours, according to official figures.

The new figures bring Russia’s total deaths from Covid-19 to 202,273 – the highest number in Europe, but still regarded as an underestimate.

Authorities have been accused of downplaying the severity of the outbreak. Under a broader definition for deaths linked to the coronavirus, statistics agency Rosstat in late August reported a total of more than 350,000 fatalities.

In spite of the spread of the virus, Russia’s vaccine programme has foundered in the face of public apathy and scepticism, with the Kremlin forced to drop its goal of fully vaccinating 60% of the population by September.

As of Friday, only 28% of the population had been fully vaccinated, according to the Gogov website, which tallies Covid data from the regions.

Independent polls have shown that a majority of Russians do not plan to get jabbed.


The Oregon Health Authority has given the all clear for people in the state to start getting busy again – as long as they are both vaccinated.

It comes almost 18 months after the public health authority first circulated advice warning Oregonians: “You are your safest sex partner.”


Pregnant women in Italy will be able to receive mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccinations in the second or third trimesters of their pregnancy, the country’s National Health Institute (ISS) has said.

ISS said its decision was due to growing evidence on the safety of vaccines during pregnancies for both the foetus and the mother. “Women wishing to be vaccinated in the first trimester of pregnancy should assess the risks and benefits with a doctor,” it said, citing evidence that fever, which is one of the possible reactions to the vaccine, can cause an increased risk of congenital malformations.

Women who are breastfeeding can safely get vaccinated, ISS said, adding that infants can safely absorb antibodies via milk.

Health systems in Alaska are at a breaking point, and the Republican governor, Mike Dunleavy, has activated crisis standards of care for the entire state, joining all of Idaho and part of Montana in rationing medical care, writes Melody Schreiber for the Guardian US.

Alaska has the highest rate of Covid in America. On Wednesday, the state hit its record number of cases and hospitalisations in the entire pandemic, and the numbers continue rising as its rolling seven-day average of daily cases tops 800.


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