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India to ‘expeditiously’ supply more COVID-19 shots to Omicron-hit Africa

India stands ready to “expeditiously” send more COVID-19 vaccine to Africa to help fight the Omicron variant, New Delhi said late on Monday after China pledged 1 billion doses to the continent.
India and China have close ties with many African countries but Beijing has pumped much more money into the region, and on Monday promised to invest another $10 billion.

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India said it had supplied more than 25 million doses of domestically made shots to 41 African countries, mostly through the global vaccine-distribution network COVAX.

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“The Government of India stands ready to support the countries affected in Africa in dealing with the Omicron variant, including by supplies of Made-in-India vaccines,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Supplies can be undertaken through COVAX or bilaterally.”
It said the government had cleared all orders placed by COVAX for supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine to countries such as Malawi, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique, Guinea, and Lesotho, apart from delivering doses of the home-grown Covaxin shot to Botswana. It did not say how many doses have been approved recently.
“Any new requirement projected either bilaterally or through COVAX will be considered expeditiously,” it said, also promising the supply of life-saving drugs, test kits, gloves, PPE kits and medical equipment such as ventilators as required.
India last month resumed overseas shipments of COVID-19 vaccines for the first time since April, when it banned exports to inoculate its own citizens as infections surged.
Domestic vaccine production has more than tripled since then to about 300 million doses a month. The country has administered at least one dose to 83 percent of its 944 million adults and two doses to 47 percent.

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Health

North Korea’s fever cases under 200,000 for second day amid silence on aid offer

North Korea's daily fever cases stayed below 200,000 for a second day in a row, state media said on Monday, as Pyongyang remained silent on South Korean and US offers to help fight its first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak.

The COVID wave, declared on May 12, has fuelled concerns over a lack of vaccines, inadequate medical infrastructure and a potential food crisis in the country of 25 million.

US President Joe Biden said on Saturday that Washington had offered COVID-19 vaccines to China and North Korea, but “got no response.”

North Korea reported 167,650 new patients suffering from fever on Monday and one more death. More than 2.33 million of the 2.81 million cumulative cases reported since late April had recovered as of Sunday evening, the North's state news agency KCNA said. The official death toll stands at 68.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

While staying silent on the offer for help, North Korea has boasted of a “favorable turn” in the country's virus situation.

“The crisis and responsibility awareness is further enhanced in every region, sector, workplace and post across the country to maintain the favorable turn in the epidemic prevention work and all inroads of the epidemic are checked through the strict execution of regional and unit lockdown and blockade measures,” the KCNA said.

Such COVID-19 restrictions may be playing a role in North Korea's lack of response, a senior US administration official said Sunday.

Apparently deprived of testing supplies, North Korea has not confirmed the total number of people testing positive for the coronavirus. Instead, health authorities report the number with fever symptoms, making it difficult to assess the scale of the COVID wave, experts have said.

Authorities have distributed food and medicine across the country, with military medics deployed to help distribute drugs and conduct exams.

KCNA said pharmaceutical factories “are speeding up the production,” but did not elaborate which medicines were being produced.

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Beijing city reports 63 new local COVID-19 cases over 24 hours

Beijing reported 63 new domestically transmitted COVID-19 infections during the 24 hours to 3 p.m. (0700 GMT) on Saturday, a disease control official at the Chinese capital said.

Of the infections, 56 were found in controlled areas and seven during community screening tests, Liu Xiaofeng, deputy director at Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, told a news briefing.

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The city has recorded 1,399 COVID infections since April 22, Liu said.

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Biden says US has offered N.Korea COVID-19 vaccines but ‘got no response’

US President Joe Biden said Saturday that America had offered North Korea COVID-19 vaccines but “got no response” despite a spiraling epidemic in the isolated country.

“We've offered vaccines, not only to North Korea but to China as well and we're prepared to do that immediately," he said at a press conference in Seoul.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

“We've got no response,” he added.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

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