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New COVID-19 variant defeats plasma treatment, may reduce vaccine efficacy

JOHANNESBURG — The new COVID-19 variant identified in South Africa can evade the antibodies that attack it in treatments using blood plasma from previously recovered patients, and may reduce the efficacy of the current line of vaccines, scientists said on Wednesday.

WHO plans slew of COVID-19 vaccine approvals for global rollout

BRUSSELS — The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to approve several COVID-19 vaccines from Western and Chinese manufacturers in coming weeks and months, a...

COVID-19 pandemic could be source of global crises for years —...

THE CORONAVIRUS has exposed the “catastrophic effects” of ignoring long-term risks such as pandemics, and the economic and political consequences could cause more crises for years to come, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The big barriers to global vaccination

We will not be able to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us until the world’s population is mostly immune through vaccination or previous exposure to the disease.

Climate risks jostle with pandemic as fractured world struggles to respond,...

LONDON — Failure to stem climate change poses as serious a global risk as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, in both the scale of impact and level of threat, top business and other leaders warned on Tuesday.

As WHO fumes at Western drugmakers, China fills void on vaccines

For months, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on countries to come together to ensure a fair distribution of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines among rich and poor nations. Now it’s starting to lose patience.

WHO says close to Pfizer deal that would give poorer countries...

GENEVA — The World Health Organization (WHO) is in advanced negotiations with Pfizer to include the firm’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shot in the body’s vaccine-sharing scheme, which would speed vaccine deliveries to poorer countries, a senior WHO official said on Monday.

Sinovac steps up defense of shot after confusing data

China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. defended the efficacy of its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shot, saying the vaccine that’s being rolled out from Indonesia to...

Thailand sold itself as a paradise COVID retreat — no one...

It’s hard to imagine a more luxurious place to spend two weeks of quarantine than the Anantara Phuket Suites & Villas in Thailand, where visitors are pampered in private residences that can have their own pool and courtyard.

Brazil clears emergency use of Sinovac, AstraZeneca vaccines, shots begin

BRASILIA/RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian health regulator Anvisa on Sunday approved emergency use of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and Britain’s AstraZeneca, clearing the way for immunizations as the pandemic enters a deadly second wave.

How to stay safe with a new fast-spreading coronavirus variant on...

A fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has been found in at least 10 states in America, and people are wondering: How do I protect myself now?

China to donate 500,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to Philippines

China will donate 500,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to the Philippines and vowed to accelerate infrastructure investment in the Southeast Asian nation as ties between...

30,000 vaccinators needed to handle 24 million Filipinos – Duque

Over 30,000 personnel will be needed in the government’s rollout of mass vaccinations against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). If the initial rollout of the...

2,048 more COVID-19 cases reported as PHL faces post-holiday surge

The Department of Health (DoH) on Friday reported 2,048 additional positive cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as the country faces a post-holiday...

Gov’t includes UAE, Hungary in PH travel ban

The government’s task force on pandemic response has included the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Hungary in the list of countries with travel restrictions...

DOLE beefs up campaign vs firms violating health protocols; hotline for...

The Department of Labor on Employment (DOLE) is beefing up its campaign against business establishments that do not observe health protocols against the coronavirus...

Gut bacteria tied to COVID-19 severity, immune response

THE MICROSCOPIC organisms living in our intestines may influence the severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the body’s immune response to it, and could account for lingering symptoms, researchers reported on Monday in the journal Gut.

How China is controlling the COVID origins narrative: silencing critics and...

Just over a year has gone by since the novel coronavirus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan and the world still has many questions about where and how it originated.

COVID-19 infection gives some immunity for at least 5 months, UK...

LONDON — People who have had COVID-19 are highly likely to have immunity to it for at least five months but there is evidence that those with antibodies may still be able to carry and spread the virus, a UK study of healthcare workers has found.

Philippines’ FDA approves Pfizer vaccine for emergency use

The Philippines has approved Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be allowed for emergency use in the country. The Food and Drug Administration...

Filipino from UAE tests positive for UK coronavirus strain

The more contagious coronavirus strain first detected in the United Kingdom has reached the Philippines, according to the Department of Health (DoH). In a statement,...

US to require negative COVID-19 tests for arriving international air passengers

WASHINGTON — Nearly all air travelers will need to present a negative coronavirus test to enter the United States under expanded test testing requirements announced on Tuesday.

Global investors call for end to seafarers marooned at sea due...

LONDON — A group of leading investors on Wednesday called for an end to a crisis involving hundreds of thousands of seafarers stuck on ships for many months due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), warning that the situation was creating bigger risks every day.

Pandemic cut traffic congestion in most countries last year — report

NEW YORK/LONDON — Coronavirus-induced lockdowns caused annual traffic congestion to fall in most countries for the first time in at least 10 years, disrupting long-held traffic patterns like the dreaded morning commute to work, a report released on Tuesday showed.

New Brazil data shows disappointing 50.4% efficacy for China’s CoronaVac vaccine

SAO PAULO — A coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech was just 50.4% effective at preventing symptomatic infections in a Brazilian trial, researchers...

AI-powered contact tracing system in talks with LGUs, establishments

CAWIL.AI Solutions, an industry-agnostic artificial intelligence (AI) social enterprise, is in talks with the local government units (LGUs) of Calapan City and Quezon City...

The COVID-19 pandemic may change spectator sports forever as stadiums sit...

IN recent years, some sports facilities have been called “white elephants.” The term dates back to ancient Asia when a king would gift a white elephant to a subordinate he was dissatisfied with because the associated costs of keeping a white elephant significantly outweigh its value.

COVID-19 fueling education’s tech disruption, deepening digital divide

TORONTO/NEW YORK — The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic deepened inequities in accessing and benefiting from education but the future of learning could be a more equal one, participants told Reuters Next panels on Monday.

Generation COVID: How the young are working around pandemic-hit job market

Adesola Akerele had just landed an internship at a television production company in London when the coronavirus hit and her dream job was gone.

Starting shots in poor nations by February hinges on vaccine suppliers...

GENEVA — The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday redoubled pleas for vaccine makers to provide coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shots to its COVAX...

From the Cold War to COVID-19: The eight common ways people...

A year ago, the world was just starting to learn about a mysterious virus that was killing people in the Chinese city of Wuhan. While the ensuing coronavirus pandemic was unprecedented in current times, human experience with disasters and crises is obviously not new.

Even with a vaccine, we need to adjust our mindset to...

Incredibly, a whole year has passed since the first emergence of COVID-19. What looked like a temporary inconvenience at first is turning into a permanent fixture that might forever change life as we knew it before 2020.

Singapore to legislate on contact-trace data use for crimes

Singapore’s government plans to create urgent legislation to formalize the use of virus contact-tracing data in investigations of serious crimes.

Catholics show devotion to statue amid super-spreader worries

More than 400,000 Catholics in Manila celebrated on Saturday a feast for a centuries-old wooden statue of Jesus Christ, despite health experts warning it could turn into a super-spreader event for coronavirus.

Company leaders should embrace ‘infinite mindset’ and share their struggles —...

“Ask for help and be there for others,” said Simon Sinek, author and motivational speaker, in his first blog post for 2021, which listed...

How safe is it to switch and space COVID-19 vaccine doses?

LONDON/CHICAGO — Britain and other nations are considering ways to stretch scarce supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, including by delaying second doses, reducing dose sizes, and switching vaccine types between the first and second shots.

WHO recommends two doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine within 21–28 days

GENEVA/ZURICH — People should get two doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine within 21–28 days, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, as many countries struggled to administer the jabs that can ward off the COVID-19 virus.

Major airlines back global COVID-19 testing program

WASHINGTON — A group representing major US airlines on Monday backed a proposal by public health officials to implement a global testing program requiring negative tests before most international air passengers return to the United States, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

How the pandemic will shape the workplace trends of 2021

The economist John Maynard Keynes predicted in 1930 that the amount we work would gradually shrink to as little as 15 hours a week as technology made us more productive. Not only did this not happen, but we also began to spend extra time away from home due to commuting and suburban living patterns, which we often forget are recent historical inventions.

UK scientists worry vaccines may not protect against South African coronavirus...

LONDON — UK scientists expressed concern on Monday that COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out in Britain may not be able to protect against a new variant of the coronavirus that emerged in South Africa and has spread internationally.

Why Indonesia is vaccinating its working population first, not elderly

JAKARTA — As Indonesia prepares to begin mass inoculations against COVID-19, its plan to prioritize working-age adults over the elderly, aiming to reach herd...

Pope criticizes people going on holiday to flee COVID lockdowns

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis condemned on Sunday people who had gone abroad on holiday to escape coronavirus lockdowns, saying they needed to show greater awareness of the suffering of others.

As end to pandemic mask-wearing nears, South Koreans scramble to arrange...

When Ryu Han-na, a 20-year-old university student, got cosmetic surgery on her nose in mid-December, she had a simple reason: it might be the last chance to do so covertly before people start taking off masks this year as vaccines are distributed.

Fewer people getting tested for COVID-19 slows infection rate

THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) reported 891 coronavirus infections on Sunday, bringing the total to 477,807.

Unauthorized COVID-19 vaccinations under probe

THE PHILIPPINE Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday said it was investigating the inoculation of some Cabinet officials and military officers against the coronavirus.