White House sets up ‘surge response’ to tackle Delta hotspots
The White House’s coronavirus task force plans to set up “surge response teams” to help communities with low vaccination rates at risk of outbreaks of the Delta variant. The strain accounts for a quarter of sequenced infections in the US.
Brazil’s Covid inquiry hears more claims of vaccine bribery
A congressional inquiry in Brazil has heard that a health ministry official demanded a bribe in a coronavirus vaccine deal as President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration is rocked by mounting allegations of graft. The claim was made by a businessman acting on behalf of a medical supplies company, who said he was asked for an additional payment of $1 per dose in talks over 400m AstraZeneca jabs. The virus has claimed the lives of more than half a million people in Latin America’s most populous nation.
Third of global population cannot wash their hands at home
The World Health Organization has reported that one-third of the global population at the onset of the pandemic was unable to wash their hands with soap and water at home. A quarter lacks access to safe drinking water, with half not having sanitation facilities where fecal waste is transported and treated off-site, the WHO said in a report. Health authorities have urged frequent handwashing to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Hospitality trade group urges UK government to overhaul self-isolation guidelines
An industry group representing the UK’s hospitality sector has urged the government to overhaul its guidelines on self-isolation because of the pressure it is putting on staffing. UKHospitality has called on the government to review and change its test and trace guidelines on self-isolation in order to better reflect the vaccine rollout.
US jobless claims drop below 400,000 to pandemic low
New filings for unemployment aid in the US fell back below 400,000 last week to a fresh pandemic-era low, as lay-offs slow and businesses struggle to recruit workers amid a rebound in economic activity. A report from the labour department on Thursday said there were 364,000 initial jobless claims on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from 415,000 in the previous week. Economists had expected 390,000 new claims.