Poland will donate 400,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan, the Polish foreign ministry said on Saturday, to help boost vaccination rates in the country.
Only around 5% of its 23.5 million population are fully vaccinated, though the government has millions of vaccines on order, Reuters reports.
A relatively small domestic coronavirus outbreak is well under control in Taiwan, and the country has already received some six million vaccine doses gifted by Japan and the US, enabling it to speed up an inoculation programme that it said had been hampered initially by China, though Beijing denies this.
Poland says its vaccine donation is a reciprocal move after Taiwan donated medical equipment during the first wave of the pandemic.
“Keeping in mind this important gesture, Warsaw will offer Taipie 400,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to speed up the vaccination process. Increasing the number of vaccinated people globally is in everyone’s interest,” the statement said.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry has thanked Poland for the donation. Slovakia, Czechia and Lithuania recently donated or said they would donate vaccines to Taiwan, which has repeatedly rejected offers of doses from China, citing doubts about the safety of Chinese made shots.
Hello, I’m Jedidajah Otte and I’m taking over from my colleague Damien Gayle for the next hour. If you have anything to flag you think is relevant to our coronavirus coverage, feel free to get in touch, I’m on Twitter @JedySays or you can email me.
The father of an Arizona elementary school student was arrested after he and two other men showed up to the campus with zip-tie handcuffs, threatening a “citizen’s arrest” of the school principal over a Covid-19 quarantine, officials said on Friday.
Diane Vargo, principal of Mesquite Elementary School in Tucson, said the parent came to her office on Thursday with his son in tow. The father was upset the child would have to isolate and miss a school field trip because of possible exposure to Covid-19.
She said two other men also “barged in”. One, she said, was carrying “military, large, black zip ties and standing in my doorway”. Vargo said she tried to explain the school had to follow county health protocols.
“I felt violated that they were in my office claiming I was breaking the law and they were going to arrest me,” a shaken Vargo said in a video statement released by the Vail Unified School District. “Two of the men weren’t parents at our school, so I felt threatened.”
There are fears in Indonesia about the security of personal medical data after the president’s coronavirus vaccine certificate was leaked and a large test app also seemed to be compromised.
Joko Widodo’s vaccine certificate, showing his redacted ID number and vaccination times, was leaked and circulated online by users who found his data on the official vaccine-monitoring app, PeduliLindungi, the government said.
“Certain people have accessed the vaccine certificate of Mr Joko Widodo by using a vaccine check feature available in PeduliLindungi,” an official statement said on Friday, according to the AFP news agency.
However, officials from the communication and information ministry deflected blame and said Widodo’s data was accessed via the general commission of elections website.
Budi Gunadi Sadikin, the health minister, said authorities have blocked access to public officials’ data following the breach.
The leak comes only days after researchers of encryption provider vpnMentor revealed the data of 1.3 million users of a government test-and-trace app had been compromised.
The researchers said among the information leaked were passengers’ data and Covid-19 test results.
Seven out of 10 employers in the Netherlands want the right to ask workers if they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, a poll has shown.
Bosses in the country currently have no legal power to ask employees their vaccination status, because it counts as a conflict with the Dutch privacy law and right to physical sanctity, the NL Times reported.
But a study by the employers union AWVN found about 70% of 600 employers taking part feared for the safety of the workplace as more and more employees return to working on-site.
While workers cannot be required to prove vaccination status, customers can in some cases. One employer was quoted as saying: “How can we protect our customers if are not allowed to know anything about our employees?”
Authorities in Russia have reported 18,780 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the state news agency Tass.
Of those, 1,494 cases were detected in St Petersburg, 756 in the Moscow region, 512 in the Sverdlovsk region, 479 in the Rostov region, and 462 in the Perm and Voronezh regions.
Health authorities also reported 796 deaths linked to the virus. So far, Russia has recorded 186,407 deaths linked to the coronavirus.
Vaccine passport restrictions in France could be eased if rates of Covid-19 infections in the country begin to slow, the labour minister, Élisabeth Borne, said on Saturday.
“The health situation is improving. If this is confirmed, we will be able to ease the rules,” Reuters quoted Borne telling France Inter radio, adding that this could be decided “in the coming days”.
It comes after one French retail group, Auchan, said the introduction of the vaccine pass, the “pass sanitaire”, had hit its business at the start of the third quarter. Customers in shopping centres with a surface area of more than 20,000 square metres must have a valid pass.
Meanwhile, protests continue against the pass, which is also needed to visit cafes and restaurants. Social media videos on Saturday showed protesters laying picnic blankets in the streets and eating outside businesses to which entry is limited to pass holders.
In another sporting cancellation, the boxer Oscar De La Hoya has said his comeback fight due for next weekend has been cancelled after he caught Covid.
The Formula 1 racing car driver Kimi Raikkonen will miss this weekend’s Dutch grand prix after testing positive for Covid-19, the race organisers and his Alfa Romeo team have announced.
With Raikkonen, 41, needing a negative test before being allowed to return to the paddock, his participation in next weekend’s Italian grand prix at Monza is also in doubt. He is due to retire from F1 at the end of the season, reports French state-backed news agency AFP.
Ministers are considering extending plans to impose “vaccine passports” in England on to football matches, music concerts and business conferences, despite mounting opposition in the Conservative party, a report claims.
The government has already in July outlined plans for such passports as a condition of entry to nightclubs. But according to a report in the Daily Mail, the requirement is now set to be extended to a range of other mass events.
Under the plans, Covid certification would be mandatory for most large sporting events, music concerts, festivals and some exhibitions; but it would not include the wider hospitality sector, such as pubs and restaurants, for now.
More than 40 Conservative MPs have pledged to vote against any plan for vaccine passports. The Mail quoted a Whitehall source as saying:
Everyone understands the concerns around freedoms but we may be in a situation this winter where the alternative is more closures and economic damage to sectors that have suffered hugely already
China had administered a total of around 7.5m Covid-19 vaccines on Friday, bringing the accumulated total to 2.092bn doses, data from the National Health Commission showed on Saturday.
A former chief scientific adviser to the UK government has said it is up to ministers to look at the broader harms of not vaccinating children, after the government’s vaccine panel decided the benefits of Covid vaccines were too marginal.
Discussing the chief medical officers being tasked with giving further advice on vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds, Prof Sir Mark Walport told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
It’s uncomfortable but it’s not necessarily a particularly rare situation.
The JCVI looks through a very particular lens, which is the clinical safety of the vaccine for a given population group against the effects of the disease itself.
But what they don’t look at is the wider issues such as education and the harms to that, so the broader harms potentially to children and the knock-on effects to their families – that’s where policymakers come in.
Walport suggested the possible side-effects of coronavirus vaccines for children could be outweighed by the benefits.
My child and my grandchild’s health is also affected by their social environment, by their ability to go to school, by what happens in the family, and so there are broader factors as well.
All the evidence is the rate of myocarditis, the inflammation of the heart muscle, and of pericarditis is at least the same and probably significantly higher in that same population group if they get coronavirus.
Australia has reported its highest daily number of new cases of coronavirus so far, with 1,756 infections on Saturday, as officials in the country urged people to take vaccines.
Most of the cases were in New South Wales, where there were 1,533 new cases and four further deaths, Reuters reported. The state has had an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant since mid-June.
Victoria reported 190 cases, the Australian Capital Territory 32 and Queensland one. Recent daily infections are running about double the levels of Australia’s previous worst wave of the pandemic a year ago.
“The overall trend is a slow and steady increase. That’s why vaccination is so critical, as is following the rules,” Brett Sutton, Victoria’s chief health officer, told a press conference.
Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, together home to nearly 60% of Australia’s 25 million people, have been under a strict lockdown for weeks.
A member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has suggested the government should take a wider perspective than the risk-benefit calculation adopted by the Joint Committee for Vaccines and Immunisation in giving vaccines to 12- to 15-year-olds.
Prof John Edmunds told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
I think we have to take into consideration the wider effect Covid might have on children and their education and developmental achievements.
In the UK now it’s difficult to say how many children haven’t been infected but it’s probably about half of them, that’s about six million children, so that’s a long way to go if we allow infection just to run through the population, that’s a lot of children who will be infected and that will be a lot of disruption to schools in the coming months.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said on Friday that he had written to the four chief medical officers of the UK to ask for further advice on giving vaccines to over-12s.
Good morning, this is Damien Gayle at the controls of the coronavirus live blog today from London, bringing you the latest Covid-related headlines and updates from the UK and around the world.
In the UK this morning we will be expecting to see the first fallout from the surprise decision by the government’s vaccine advisory panel not to recommend Covid vaccinations for children aged 12- to 15 years old.
In making their decision on Friday not to recommend vaccines, members of the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation defied what had seemed to be significant pressure from ministers. In a statement, they said the benefits of vaccinations, weighed against the risks, was too marginal.
But they left the door open to the government to overrule them by saying it is not in their remit to consider the “wider societal impact” of vaccination, particularly in education, and suggesting that the government take further advice from chief medical officers.