Coronavirus Digest: Chinese Virologist Denies COVID Lab Leak Theory | News

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Coronavirus Digest: Chinese Virologist Denies COVID Lab Leak Theory | News


Shi Zhengli, a virologist who works at a state laboratory in Wuhan, China, has denied speculation that the virus that led to the deadly pandemic has leaked from her institute.

“I don’t know how the world got to this, constantly pouring dirt on an innocent scientist,” she said. Le New York Times, dismissing the allegations as unfounded.

Although the lab leak theory was dismissed as a conspiracy theory last year, the Biden administration’s renewed interest in investigating the origins of COVID has led to new questions.

Here is an overview of the latest developments around the world:

Asia

The number of active cases of coronavirus in Inde fell below the million mark for the first time since April 9. There are 9 73,158 active cases, with a decrease of 53,001 cases in the last 24 hours. The capital New Delhi recorded less than 200 cases during this period.

States have announced the easing of restrictions on coronaviruses. While shopping malls and restaurants are expected to resume operations, schools and colleges remain largely closed.

Private offices could see a return of workers, as they are largely allowed to operate at 50% of their capacity.

The Taj Mahal is expected to reopen on Wednesday after being closed for two months.

Indonesia is in shock from a case of surgery. Hospital beds are running out, with an occupancy rate of 75% in the capital, Jakarta. Indonesia recorded nearly 10,000 new COVID infections on Sunday – the highest tally since February.

South Korea has started easing restrictions on concerts and sporting events, allowing up to 4,000 people to attend – against a capacity limit of less than 100. It has vaccinated 23% of its population with a first dose.

L’Europe 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the easing of restrictions will be delayed for four weeks until July 19. Given the spread of the more infectious delta variant, Johnson said it made sense to wait a little longer and “now is the time to let go of the accelerator.”

He said he hoped it would only take four more weeks for the restrictions to be lifted because by then millions more would have received a COVID-19 vaccine. The UK has vaccinated 61% of its population with at least one injection.

The number of confirmed cases in Germany rose from 652 to 3,716,170 on Tuesday, and the death toll rose from 93 to 89,937.

Germany’s Health Department also said it expected Johnson & Johnson to make up for the lack of vaccines after millions of batches had to be thrown out due to contamination at a Baltimore plant. He said he expected 6.5 million doses in July.

Norwegian Minister of Health Bent Hoeie said the country expected to receive 900,000 doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine from July to September less than authorities had expected. Instead, he will receive more doses of Moderna.

Americas

US President Joe Biden admitted the deaths of 600,000 Americans after the NATO summit in Brussels on Monday. At a press conference, Biden said the number of lives lost was the “real tragedy.”

With cases steadily declining in the country, U.S. and Canadian officials are poised to discuss ways to possibly lift restrictions in the event of a pandemic.

U.S. officials are also expected to meet with Mexico later this week.

Brazil reported 41 cases of COVID-19 linked to the Copa America football tournament, including 31 players and 10 workers who were hired for the event. The tournament started on Sunday.

Brazil had offered to host the event at the last minute despite authorities sounding the alarm on the risks to public health. The country has recorded the second highest number of deaths from COVID.

rm/nm (Reuters, AP)

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