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World Roundup: NZ posts local transmission after 2 months

New Zealand health officials on Sunday confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the community for more than two months, sparking urgent contract-tracing efforts north of Auckland.

A 56-year-old woman who recently returned from Europe tested positive 10 days after completing a compulsory two weeks in managed isolation, although she had noticed symptoms several days before getting tested.

Contact tracing was underway after it was revealed the woman and her husband spent several days travelling around the Northland region while she was potentially infectious, visiting about 30 different locations.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said it was too soon to decide whether a full or partial lockdown would be reintroduced.

India vaccine drive faces delay

India's huge coronavirus vaccination drive is behind schedule, with a third of recipients not showing up for appointments because of safety fears, technical glitches and a belief that the pandemic is ending.

After one week, India has vaccinated 1.4 million people, or 200,000 people per day. It had initially hoped to process 300,000 per day before ramping up the rollout and inoculating 300 million by July.

At the Sharda Hospital in Greater Noida near New Delhi, pharma student Khushi Dhingra, 17, hugged a friend and wept as she waited to get her shot.

"I am very afraid. I hate needles and I am worried about side effects," she told AFP.

"There are about 80 students in my batch but only two have opted to get the shot," said nursing student Sakshi Sharma, 21, in Greater Noida. "My friends are saying there will be side effects, that you can even get paralysis."

Brazil faces COVID second wave

Brazil's newly launched vaccination campaign against COVID-19 has gotten off to a late and rocky start – as the country is hammered by a second wave of the disease, it is already close to running out of vaccine, syringes and other vital equipment, according to scientists who blame the government of Jair Bolsonaro. 

The campaign only began on Monday in the country of 212 million, weeks after the United States and European countries launched their vaccination programs.

The late rollout, hampered by short supplies, has sparked growing public ire, with widespread complaints about people being vaccinated out of turn.

Thousands of people in several cities mounted protests this weekend demanding Bolsonaro's ouster.

Germany to use Trump's antibody treatment

Germany will become the first European Union country to start using the same experimental antibodies treatment credited with helping Donald Trump recover from COVID-19, health minister Jens Spahn said Sunday.

"The government has bought 200,000 doses for 400 million euros ($486 million)," Spahn told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, working out at 2,000 euros per dose.

The so-called monoclonal antibody cocktails will be deployed to university hospitals in the coming week, he said, adding that Germany was "the first country in the EU" to use them in the fight against the pandemic.

Spahn did not name the manufacturer that will be supplying the drugs but confirmed it was the same medicine given to then-US president Trump when he fell ill with COVID last October.

Topics: New Zealand , COVID-19 , Auckland , India , Vaccine , Germany , European Union
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