COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s drug regulatory physique has accepted the Russian Sputnik V vaccine because the second accessible to be used within the Indian Ocean island nation.
The state minister overseeing pharmaceutical merchandise, Channa Jayasumana, mentioned Sri Lanka has requested doses from Russia’s Gamaleya Analysis Institute and was awaiting affirmation of the quantity it could get.
Sri Lanka already is administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute in India. It acquired 1 million doses, half donated and half bought from the institute.
Beginning in January with frontline well being staff, Sri Lanka has given the vaccine to greater than 550,000 folks.
It plans to buy 10 million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses for $52.5 million from the Serum Institute, and it has determined to enter into an settlement with the AstraZeneca Institute in Britain to purchase 3.5 million extra.
Sri Lanka has counted 84,225 instances of COVID-19 with 484 fatalities.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires diverged on social distancing, and people decisions took the two cities in reverse instructions
— Germany is extending its coronavirus shutdown, however easing some restrictions in areas with comparatively low an infection charges
— Democrats conform to tighten eligibility for stimulus checks in concession to celebration moderates as aid invoice is ready for Senate
— California will put aside 40% of doses for the state’s most weak neighborhoods to inoculate folks most in danger sooner
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BRUSSELS — Brussels Airways reported a lack of 293 million euros within the monetary yr 2020 primarily on account of journey disruptions linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
The corporate on Thursday introduced revenues down by 72% to 414 million euros whereas passenger numbers decreased by 77% to 2.4 million. It mentioned the summer season season might be important as 2021 stays “a difficult yr.”
After grounding its planes for 12 weeks final yr, the airline resumed operations on a lowered schedule in the course of the summer season. Laborious-hit by the disaster, Brussels Airways has lowered its fleet by 25% and its workforce by 20% after the Belgian authorities and Lufthansa, the airline’s guardian firm, agreed on a rescue plan.
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s prime insurance coverage regulator is placing medical suppliers on discover that folks can’t be charged for coronavirus testing after stories that residents have been required to pay for coronavirus rapid-result checks.
Insurance coverage Superintendent Russell Toal mentioned Wednesday that his workplace is making ready an administrative bulletin to make sure testing prices usually are not handed instantly on to shoppers as state well being officers push for strong testing to trace an infection charges and new strains of COVID-19.
Toal says the Workplace of the Superintendent of Insurance coverage has acquired stories of individuals being charged in extra of $100 for testing companies that needs to be free.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s central financial institution says the nation’s financial system shrank for the primary time in 22 years in 2020 because the coronavirus pandemic destroyed service trade jobs and depressed shopper spending.
Preliminary information launched by the Financial institution of Korea on Thursday confirmed that the nation’s gross home product final yr contracted 1% from 2019. It marked the primary annual contraction for the nation’s financial system since 1998, when it was within the midst of a crippling monetary disaster.
The financial system would have been even worse if not for the nation’s expertise exports, which noticed elevated demand pushed by private computer systems and servers because the pandemic pressured hundreds of thousands around the globe to work from home.
The financial institution expects South Korea’s financial system to handle a modest restoration this yr pushed by exports. But it surely says it could take an extended time for the job market to get well from the harm to companies industries similar to eating places and transportation.
The nation reported one other new 424 instances of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing its nationwide caseload to 91,240, together with 1,619 deaths.
TORONTO — An professional panel is recommending Canadian provinces lengthen the interval between doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to shortly inoculate extra folks.
The Nationwide Advisory Committee on Immunization says extending the dose interval to 4 months would create alternatives to guard the complete grownup inhabitants inside a short while.
The panel says many as 80% of Canadians older than 16 may obtain a single dose by the tip of June merely with the anticipated provide of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Compared, the federal authorities beforehand mentioned 38% of individuals would obtain two doses by the tip of June.
The committee’s advice got here hours after Newfoundland and Labrador mentioned it would lengthen the interval between the primary and second doses to 4 months, and days after well being officers in British Columbia introduced they had been doing so.
Manitoba and Quebec additionally say they may delay second doses. Ontario beforehand mentioned it was weighing the same transfer however would search recommendation from the federal authorities. The provinces administer well being care in Canada.
ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp mentioned Georgia’s authorities will open 5 extra mass-vaccination websites later this month as he defended the state’s efficiency in delivering COVID-19 vaccines.
The state will open websites starting March 17, becoming a member of 4 websites the state is already operating. The Republican governor mentioned Wednesday that the websites are being arrange prematurely of an additional growth of vaccine eligibility within the state to be introduced later this month.
Numbers from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention present that Georgia has administered solely 68% of the vaccines it has acquired and has 1 million unadministered doses. The info present solely the District of Columbia and Kansas lag additional behind.
Georgia officers have disputed the CDC information for weeks and mentioned some well being suppliers are gradual to report once they put pictures in arms. The state’s personal numbers present it has given 76% of obtainable vaccines, which might be in the course of the pack amongst states, if no different states had been allowed to regulate their numbers. Nonetheless, that’s 700,000 doses readily available, when the state is getting 200,000 doses this week, rising to 223,000 subsequent week.
“We will’t management who’s holding second doses,” Kemp mentioned. “I don’t assume they need to be doing that. They need to be giving these doses. The availability chain is caught up. They don’t must be doing that any extra. They should get pictures in arms.”