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  1. #10226
    Isle of discombobulation Joe 90's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    How many people have unfortunately died on average this week in both countries??

  2. #10227
    Achieve By Unity cyrille's Avatar
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    I'm posting up stats, you're just asking questions.

    What do you think this is, a quiz show?

    Post your numbers and sources up.

    By the way, I'm not the person making this 'opposition' between Thailand and the UK.

    As I've already said, the virus has ravaged through the UK for over a year, and only just really got started in Thailand.

    Maybe I need to spell it out to you: The situations are not comparable.

  3. #10228
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    COVID-19 has caused 6.9 million deaths globally, more than double what official reports show

    May 6, 2021
    New analysis from IHME highlights the true toll of the pandemic.

    SEATTLE—Globally, COVID-19 has caused approximately 6.9 million deaths, more than double what official numbers show, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington School of Medicine. IHME found that COVID-19 deaths are significantly underreported in almost every country. The updated analysis shows that the United States has had more COVID-19 deaths to-date than any other country, a total of more than 905,000. By region, Latin America and the Caribbean and Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia were hardest hit in terms of total deaths. This figure only includes deaths caused directly by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, not deaths caused by the pandemic’s disruption to health care systems and communities.

    Read more about the methodology here.

    “As terrible as the COVID-19 pandemic appears, this analysis shows that the actual toll is significantly worse,” said Dr. Chris Murray, IHME’s director. “Understanding the true number of COVID-19 deaths not only helps us appreciate the magnitude of this global crisis, but also provides valuable information to policymakers developing response and recovery plans.”

    The 20 countries with the highest number of total COVID-19 deaths, March 2020[at]–May 2021
    The COVID-2019 Thread-covid-19-jpg



    Many deaths from COVID-19 go unreported because countries only report deaths that occur in hospitals or in patients with a confirmed infection. In many places, weak health reporting systems and low access to health care magnify this challenge.

    IHME’s analysis found that the largest number of unreported deaths occurred in countries that have had the largest epidemics to-date. However, some countries with relatively smaller epidemics saw a large increase in the death rate when accounting for unreported deaths. This analysis shows that they may be at greater risk for a wider epidemic than previously thought.

    “Many countries have devoted exceptional effort to measuring the pandemic’s toll, but our analysis shows how difficult it is to accurately track a new and rapidly spreading infectious disease,” Murray said. “We hope that today’s report will encourage governments to identify and address gaps in their COVID-19 mortality reporting, so that they can more accurately direct pandemic resources.” Moving forward, IHME’s COVID-19 modeling, which forecasts the potential course of the pandemic over the next several months, will be based on these estimates of total COVID-19 deaths. IHME’s modeling is updated weekly and can be accessed at covid19.healthdata.org.

    Cumulative total COVID-19 death rate by May 3, 2021

    The COVID-2019 Thread-covid-total-png


    Read more
    COVID-19 has caused 6.9 million deaths globally, more than double what official reports show | Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

  4. #10229
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    The report doesn't give a breakdown based on the age of those who died. At my age it is a worry either having the vaccine or not having it. I am not having it based on current information...or lack of it!

  5. #10230
    Achieve By Unity cyrille's Avatar
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    Great!

  6. #10231
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    Great!
    Not quit sure what your one word comment is actually saying but based on your acidic comments I have previously read in other threads I will take it as a negative response.

  7. #10232
    Isle of discombobulation Joe 90's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    I'm posting up stats, you're just asking questions.

    What do you think this is, a quiz show?

    Post your numbers and sources up.

    By the way, I'm not the person making this 'opposition' between Thailand and the UK.

    As I've already said, the virus has ravaged through the UK for over a year, and only just really got started in Thailand.

    Maybe I need to spell it out to you: The situations are not comparable.
    Great

  8. #10233
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Covid: The world turns to China for vaccines after India, US stumble


    BEIJING: The world is fast becoming ever more reliant on China for vaccines, with India’s raging virus outbreak stifling its ability to deliver on supply deals, even as the US tries to position itself as a champion of wider access.

    Over the past few weeks, leaders of some of the globe’s most populous nations have sought more shots from China despite concerns about their effectiveness. Demand is expected to rise even further if the World Health Organization, as expected, authorizes vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd and Sinopharm Group Co Ltd, allowing developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to access them through Covax, the global vaccination effort.


    “China has become not just the largest exporter,” said Yanzhong Huang, a China specialist and senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. “In many countries it has become the only option.”

    MORE Covid: The world turns to China for vaccines after India, US stumble - Times of India

  9. #10234
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    As West races back to travel, ‘zero-Covid’ economies like Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia face hermit risk

    Early in the pandemic, Asia-Pacific countries learned to see border closures as their secret weapon to avoid countless deaths from Covid-19.

    Governments across the region now face the challenge of how to safely exit their self-isolation as the United States and Europe look towards reopening and kick-starting international travel for hundreds of millions of pandemic-weary citizens.

    For authorities reliant on border controls to tame the virus, the path to reopening looks uncertain, experts say, as sluggish vaccine roll-outs, virus mutations, and an ingrained zero-tolerance mentality towards infections threaten to cut off Asia-Pacific economies from the world indefinitely.

    “The problem is that I think there is a fear and risk aversion that has got worse in countries that have done it well, rather than better,” said Peter Collignon, a professor of microbiology at the Australian National University.

    “One of the issues is how you get the majority of society to accept a certain level of risk when you have markedly decreased the risks of death and a lot of disease and your health system being overwhelmed.”

    On Monday, the European Union unveiled a road map under which people who were fully vaccinated would be able to visit the 27-member bloc for leisure and other non-essential reasons by June. Britain, where more than half the population has received at least one vaccine dose, is preparing to resume international travel on May 17 with the introduction of a traffic light system that will allow people travelling to “green countries” to avoid quarantine by taking a Covid-test upon their return. The US last month eased restrictions on the entry of international students from China, after lifting curbs on European students earlier this year.

    By contrast, many Asia-Pacific economies have been slow to commit to lifting border restrictions, even for people who are vaccinated, a stance given fresh impetus by the humanitarian disaster unfolding in India, where a devastating second wave has resulted in daily cases passing the 400,000 mark.

    The border closures have nonetheless inflicted a heavy social and economic cost, separating families across continents and decimating travel-dependent industries such as tourism and international education.


    Modelling released by the Sydney-based McKell Institute this week estimated that Australia’s border closures were costing the country A$203 million (US$157 million) a day in lost economic activity. Hong Kong saw its GDP decline for a record six consecutive quarters, a period that also overlapped with civil unrest in 2019, before finally rebounding to 7.8 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2021.

    Since the arrival of vaccines, public health experts have stressed the importance of reaching herd immunity – believed to kick in at 70-80 per cent vaccine coverage – to halt the uncontrolled spread of the virus and allow societies to return to normal life. But limited supplies of vaccines, poor vaccine uptake, and the emergence of mutant virus strains have called into question the likelihood of reaching that threshold.

    In Hong Kong, which mandates three weeks of hotel quarantine for most arrivals, vaccinations are proceeding at such a slow rate as a result of poor public uptake that the city is unlikely to reach 70 per cent coverage in 2020 – if at all.

    Vietnam, which has reported just 35 deaths since sealing its borders in March last year, has received delivery of fewer than one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and only plans to have vaccinated 20 per cent of its 98 million people by the year’s end.

    Australia’s vaccination programme is on track to be completed in 2024, according to The Guardian newspaper, although the pace is expected to pick up significantly when the country receives another 20 million doses of the Pfizer jab in the final quarter of this year.

    Singapore, which has had one of Asia’s fastest vaccine roll-outs, with nearly 40 per cent of the population having received at least one jab, on Tuesday extended quarantine for most travellers to 21 days amid a spike in community cases. Officials said they had no plans to postpone a travel bubble between the city state and Hong Kong that is set to begin on May 26, although they would monitor the situation to assess whether changes might be needed.

    Even where there are abundant supplies and relatively high vaccine uptake, herd immunity is not necessarily assured.

    In the US, which has had one of the fastest vaccine roll-outs of any major economy, with more than 60 per cent of the population given at least one dose, experts quoted in The New York Times this week said herd immunity may be an unattainable goal due to variants and stubborn pockets of vaccine hesitancy. Experts also widely agree the coronavirus will continue to circulate around the world as an endemic disease for decades or even centuries to come, irrespective of the disease control efforts of individual countries.

    Dale Fisher, a professor at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, warned that countries such as Australia that had effectively eliminated the virus through border controls were now “painted into a corner”.

    “This is not part of the media rhetoric and it’s a huge problem,” Fisher said. “I’ve raised it a couple of times, but people haven’t taken the nibble, that countries that have relied on border closures and have had zero tolerance for cases are going to really struggle to transition to the next phase.

    “The rest of the world will be opening up and flying around and they will be saying, ‘How do we now transition to a situation where Covid is endemic?”

    Governments adopting a zero-Covid approach have offered vague indications of the conditions under which restrictions could be eased. At most they have flagged incremental adjustments to border controls.



    The emergence of new virus variants has been invoked to justify a cautious response, although studies have shown the Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna jabs to offer strong protection against mutations, including the strains first discovered in Britain, Brazil, and South Africa. The risk of even fully vaccinated people still transmitting the virus has also fuelled caution, even though a growing body of research suggests vaccines significantly, although not fully, cut transmissions as well as preventing serious disease.

    In Australia, Minister of Health Greg Hunt last month suggested border controls could remain in place even after the entire country had been inoculated, as authorities would have to consider “different factors” including transmission risks and the situation overseas.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has come under pressure in recent days for instituting a temporary ban on citizens returning from India, said the same month the government was in “no hurry” to reopen the borders, but as a first step could consider allowing fully vaccinated citizens to skip hotel quarantine. On Friday, Trade Minister Dan Tehan said his “best guess” of when borders might fully reopen was the second half of 2022.

    In an oped in the Australian Financial Review last week, the newspaper’s European correspondent lamented that Australia risked becoming a hermit country to the detriment of its “economy, culture and international standing in ways that seem greatly under-appreciated”.

    In Hong Kong, where there is growing pressure to better incentivise vaccinations, Health Secretary Sophia Chan Siu-chee announced on Friday that people who were fully vaccinated would from May 12 be able to reduce their hotel quarantine from 14 to 7 days when returning from low-risk countries such as Australia and Singapore, and 21 days to 14 days for high-risk destinations.
    People arriving from very high-risk areas including Britain and Ireland will be required to undergo 21 days of hotel quarantine, whether or not they have been vaccinated. Flights from extremely high-risk areas, including India, Pakistan and Philippines, will remain suspended.



    Roberto Bruzzone, co-director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole in Hong Kong, said it was incumbent on authorities to take action to “move society outside of a paralysis that has been brought upon by the idea that we can keep this virus out of the door forever”.

    “From a public health point of view, you get a vaccine precisely so that you can go on with your life, being a much reduced risk to all the rest of the community,” Bruzzone said, who expressed a preference for the looser approach to borders being taken in the US and Europe.

    Bruzzone said questions such as when to reopen borders were political and societal decisions, not matters of science, and criticised authorities for delegating policy to “scientists who by definition will be risk-averse because they don’t want the decisions to be taken under their responsibility”.

    “If you as part of a committee say, ‘We need to reopen the restaurants and the bars’, and then people open them and then one month later there are 300 cases and 10 people die here in Hong Kong, then you can see what is going to happen,” Bruzzone said, stressing that he was speaking in a personal capacity and authorities had to make policy decisions for themselves.

    Bruzzone also criticised media coverage for stoking fear with outsized attention paid to variants and other risks, including the approximately one-in-a-million chance of fatal blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine – a risk far lower than many everyday activities.

    “You can have a car accident, you can have a stroke while you are running or doing sports. There are many things that can happen in life,” he said.

    Other public health experts believe the zero-Covid approach remains the best bet for countries that have avoided mass death and disease through strict border controls.

    In a study published in The Lancet last month, European researchers concluded that elimination strategies produced the best outcomes for health, the economy and civil liberties, and warned that “a clear global plan” would be needed to bring the pandemic to an end.

    “Countries that opt to live with the virus will likely pose a threat to other countries, notably those that have less access to Covid-19 vaccines,” the authors said. “The uncertainty of lockdown timing, duration, and severity will stifle economic growth as businesses withhold investments and consumer confidence deteriorates.”

    Todd Pollack, country director of Harvard’s Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam, said it would be dangerous for countries to reopen their borders until vulnerable populations had been vaccinated.

    “I think if you look at the indicators out there now, the zero-Covid approach, which you could say is the Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand approach, has been shown to be the best approach,” Pollack said.

    Pollack said the biggest obstacle to the return of free movement was the unequal distribution of vaccines, especially in low- and middle-income countries such as Vietnam.

    “It’s true that it seems like a long road before the borders can be opened and there may be some middle ground that can happen once more people in the world are vaccinated,” he said. “But at the current time it doesn’t seem safe to change the border policy.”

    Hsu Li Yang, associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, also urged caution.

    “What is the threshold for vaccination and infection such that there will be no major outbreaks of Covid-19 in a country or territory? We do not know yet, but perhaps Israel and other front runners in mass vaccination will be able provide such information in the months ahead,” Hsu said.

    “Until countries are sure that they will be able to reach such a threshold, or at least have the majority of their people vaccinated, it might not be best to initiate such discussions.”

    But Collignon, the ANU professor, said countries would have to learn to accept some level of coronavirus spread or risk becoming hermit nations.

    “I think this state of uncertainty and a lot of fear is going to persist for another year until we basically see what happens in real life,” he said. “But having said that, I don’t think zero-Covid is actually a viable long-term option.”

    He recommended countries adopt a “graduation of restrictions” that took into account risk factors such as vaccination uptake, a traveller’s vaccination status, and the prevalence of disease elsewhere.

    “Border restrictions may mean it’s not the same for every region in the world,” he said. “There needs to be a more nuanced, risk-based approach.”

    Please Wait... | Cloudflare

  10. #10235
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Not to sidetrack this thread, but COVID related.
    The video is a wee bit dated [a year], yet still quite relevant.
    Early COVID era angst and rant.
    Amusing and real.
    The issues and non-sugar coated realities are still gonna be with most of the world for some time to come.

    From Vic.


  11. #10236
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Duplicate

  12. #10237
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy John View Post
    The report doesn't give a breakdown based on the age of those who died. At my age it is a worry either having the vaccine or not having it. I am not having it based on current information...or lack of it!
    Why would you worry about having it when the alternative is dying? Are you a bit thick?

  13. #10238
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    ^But all are lying with the figures. Or just some of them?
    'arry surely will know which one(s) lying, won't he?

  14. #10239
    Thailand Expat lom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Why would you worry about having it when the alternative is dying?
    Are you suggesting that everyone who is not vaccinated and who contracts the covid-19 virus will die?

  15. #10240
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    Quote Originally Posted by lom View Post
    Are you suggesting that everyone who is not vaccinated and who contracts the covid-19 virus will die?
    ...sooner or later...

  16. #10241
    Isle of discombobulation Joe 90's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    Post your numbers and sources up.
    The tally for Covid-related infections and deaths reported over the past 24 hours reports 19 new deaths and 2,419 cases. There have been 52,411 confirmed Covid-19 infections in the recent outbreak with more than 16,000 cases in Bangkok, the epicentre of infections. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has reported a total of 81,274 Covid-19 infections and 382 coronavirus-related deaths.
    Thailand now has 29,473 active Covid-19 cases. Most patients with Covid-19 are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. More than 1,000 Covid-19 patients are in critical condition including 380 people on ventilators.

    Saturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | Thaiger



    2 deaths in the UK today

    Covid-19 in the UK: How many coronavirus cases are there in your area? - BBC News



    When will foreigners get the vaccine in Thailand?????
    Shalom

  17. #10242
    Thailand Expat
    PAG's Avatar
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    Today's figures in Thailand, 1630 new cases, 22 more deaths.


  18. #10243
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe 90 View Post
    When will foreigners get the vaccine in Thailand?????
    Allegedly available at private hospitals and for some via Thai provincial clinics and hospitals.

    MK has 15 + threads on the virus, look there.

  19. #10244
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    China on the horizon as ‘world’s pharmacy’



    WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus announced approval for China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, Geneva, May 7, 2021


    May 10, 2021 by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

    "The World Health Organisation’s approval Friday for China’s Covid-19 vaccine known as Sinopharm dramatically transforms the ecosystem of the pandemic. In immediate terms, this has potential to boost global vaccine supply, as China’s overall yearly production capacity is approaching five billion doses.

    The western pharmaceutical industry’s monopoly has been breached, as Sinopharm’s is the first COVID-19 vaccine developed by a developing country to be validated by the WHO and only the sixth approved for emergency use globally — in fact, the only non-western vaccine so far.

    Literally, China has gatecrashed the aggressively-guarded orchard of powerful western pharmaceutical companies. In practical terms, the WHO approval allows China to enter the portals of the COVAX as a qualified supplier. The COVAX platform aims to provide two billion doses to developing countries and regions by the end of 2021. But as of Friday, only 54 million doses had been delivered to 121 participants of the program.

    That is because, as New York Times wrote in the weekend,

    “Despite early vows, the developed world has done little to promote global vaccination, in what analysts call both a moral and epidemiological failure.”

    The anomaly creates a bizarre situation whereby in the western world,

    “vaccine orders are soaring into the billions of doses, Covid-19 cases are easing, economies are poised to roar to life, and people are busy lining up summer vacations,”

    while in the poor countries, the virus is raging on and vaccinations are happening far too slowly.

    This wasn’t how COVAX was supposed to pan put when 192 countries joined hands and all agreed that vaccination is a universal human right. Plainly put, vaccine nationalism is as much a moral issue as of predatory capitalism.

    The western pharmaceutical industry is prospering off sales to the world’s rich. Pfizer made $3.5 billion out of the vaccine in the first quarter of 2021. Moderna expects to make over $19 billion this year. The French President Emmanuel Macron lost patience, saying,

    “Today the Anglo-Saxons (read the US and the UK) are blocking many of these ingredients and these vaccines. Today 100% of the vaccines produced in the U.S. go to the American market.”

    Jospeh Stiglitz — the Nobel laureate in economics at Columbia University, former chief economist of World Bank and chair of the US President’s Council of Economic Advisers — co-authored an essay last week with a startling title Will Corporate Greed Prolong the Pandemic? He wrote:

    “The scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines across the developing world is largely the result of efforts by vaccine manufacturers to maintain their monopoly control and profits. Pfizer and Moderna, the makers of the extremely effective mRNA vaccines, have refused or failed to respond to numerous requests by qualified pharmaceutical manufacturers seeking to produce their vaccines.

    “Their goal is simple: to maintain as much market power as they can for as long as possible in order to maximise profits…

    The argument that developing countries lack the skills to manufacture COVID vaccines based on new technologies is bogus. When US and European vaccine makers have agreed to partnerships with foreign producers, like the Serum Institute of India (the world’s largest vaccine producer) and Aspen Pharmacare in South Africa, these organisations have had no notable manufacturing problems. There are many more firms and organisations around the world with the same potential to help boost the vaccine supply; they just need access to the technology and know-how.”

    The western nations are inoculating their own citizens as priority and also keeping stockpiles and vaccine-making capacity as reserves to provide for booster doses that may be required against some new variants of the virus in future.

    In effect, China’s Sinopharm is entering the COVAX platform just as it seemed to be floundering. The WHO said in a statement that the approval given to Sinopharm (which took over 5 months, actually) is a “milestone achievement” that will create an opening to significantly increase the global supply of vaccines.

    The WHO is reportedly granting approval to a second Chinese vaccine, Sinovac, in the coming days. Last October, when China joined the COVAX global vaccine distribution campaign, it had made a modest commitment to provide 10 million vaccines. Now, the WHO approval to Sinopharm will speed up China’s supplies to COVAX, which aims to send vaccines for free to 92 lower-income countries and to help another 99 countries and territories procure them.

    Indeed, the WHO approval is a defining moment for the Chinese vaccine. Many countries were hitherto hesitating to use the Chinese the vaccine as it did not have recognition from the WHO. Sri Lanka began using Sinopharm last weekend itself!

    China has curbed the epidemic without the help of vaccines, while it has secured a place right at the forefront of vaccine research and development and has the capabilities today to expand vaccine production capacity explosively. To be sure, China is at the horizon as the ‘world’s pharmacy’.

    The copyright for that compelling coinage belongs of course to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had patented it as far back October last year.

    Modi was flaunting his government’s achievements in the rather surrealistic setting of an investment conference in New Delhi in the middle of a pandemic that was yet to rear its head in India. But, seriously, India’s ambitions to cater to the vaccine needs of world community lie in ruins today. And, with the virus mutating, new unforeseeable crisis situations of graver proportions still lie ahead for India.

    Where China is scoring is on account of its high degree of national mobilisation. In comparison, the US trails far behind. Its public health system is badly in need of revamp and is fragile. The Biden Administration is conscious of the vulnerabilities and deficiencies, which explains its refusal to export vaccines and raw materials.

    The WHO statement added,

    “One vaccine (Sinopharm) has received EUL (Emergency Use Listing), but we know that there are over fifteen additional COVID-19 vaccines in advanced development in China. Today’s milestone achievement should spur other manufacturers to pursue this route and add to the global vaccine arsenal. It should also encourage an even greater contribution from China to global supply and vaccine equity.”

    Additionally, three Chinese biopharmaceutical companies have reportedly signed deals with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) in recent weeks for the production of over 260 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine that could fully vaccinate over 130 million people worldwide. The RDIF said,

    “China is one of the major production hubs for Sputnik V and we are ready for increasing the scope of partnership with local producers to meet the rising demand for the Russian vaccine.”

    China’s vaccine diplomacy has far-reaching consequences. Not only will China earn goodwill, but Sinopharm, Sinovac and the fifteen other vaccines rolling out in a near future (plus China-Russia cooperation in vaccine) bear testimony to the superiority of the Chinese model of development.

    For the western world, this will be an intolerably rude reminder of the Asian Century. There are incipient western attempts already to resuscitate the moribund conspiracy theory over the

    ‘Wuhan virus’ — that the pandemic is a grand export project of the Chinese Communist Party! Sour grapes?"

    https://www.indianpunchline.com/chin...rlds-pharmacy/
    Last edited by OhOh; 11-05-2021 at 04:57 PM.
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  20. #10245
    Thailand Expat panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    The western pharmaceutical industry’s monopoly has been breached
    Good Lord . . . surely not even you are dumb enough to follow this line. But then Mainlanders like you have an amazing sense of inadequacy towards the 'west'.

  21. #10246
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    This is a very long read, nonetheless worth your time if you are interested in where Covid came from. (Spoiler alert: It doesn't directly answer the question.)

    The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan? - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    Here is just a short extract:

    "Comparing the rival scenarios of SARS2 origin. The evidence above adds up to a serious case that the SARS2 virus could have been created in a lab, from which it then escaped. But the case, however substantial, falls short of proof. Proof would consist of evidence from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, or related labs in Wuhan, that SARS2 or a predecessor virus was under development there. For lack of access to such records, another approach is to take certain salient facts about the SARS2 virus and ask how well each is explained by the two rival scenarios of origin, those of natural emergence and lab escape. Here are four tests of the two hypotheses. A couple have some technical detail, but these are among the most persuasive for those who may care to follow the argument.

    1) The place of origin. Start with geography. The two closest known relatives of the SARS2 virus were collected from bats living in caves in Yunnan, a province of southern China. If the SARS2 virus had first infected people living around the Yunnan caves, that would strongly support the idea that the virus had spilled over to people naturally. But this isn’t what happened. The pandemic broke out 1,500 kilometers away, in Wuhan.

    Beta-coronaviruses, the family of bat viruses to which SARS2 belongs, infect the horseshoe bat Rhinolophus affinis, which ranges across southern China. The bats’ range is 50 kilometers, so it’s unlikely that any made it to Wuhan. In any case, the first cases of the COVID-19 pandemic probably occurred in September, when temperatures in Hubei province are already cold enough to send bats into hibernation.

    What if the bat viruses infected some intermediate host first? You would need a longstanding population of bats in frequent proximity with an intermediate host, which in turn must often cross paths with people. All these exchanges of virus must take place somewhere outside Wuhan, a busy metropolis which so far as is known is not a natural habitat of Rhinolophus bat colonies. The infected person (or animal) carrying this highly transmissible virus must have traveled to Wuhan without infecting anyone else. No one in his or her family got sick. If the person jumped on a train to Wuhan, no fellow passengers fell ill.

    It’s a stretch, in other words, to get the pandemic to break out naturally outside Wuhan and then, without leaving any trace, to make its first appearance there.

    For the lab escape scenario, a Wuhan origin for the virus is a no-brainer. Wuhan is home to China’s leading center of coronavirus research where, as noted above, researchers were genetically engineering bat coronaviruses to attack human cells. They were doing so under the minimal safety conditions of a BSL2 lab. If a virus with the unexpected infectiousness of SARS2 had been generated there, its escape would be no surprise.

    2) Natural history and evolution. The initial location of the pandemic is a small part of a larger problem, that of its natural history. Viruses don’t just make one time jumps from one species to another. The coronavirus spike protein, adapted to attack bat cells, needs repeated jumps to another species, most of which fail, before it gains a lucky mutation. Mutation — a change in one of its RNA units — causes a different amino acid unit to be incorporated into its spike protein and makes the spike protein better able to attack the cells of some other species.

    Through several more such mutation-driven adjustments, the virus adapts to its new host, say some animal with which bats are in frequent contact. The whole process then resumes as the virus moves from this intermediate host to people.

    In the case of SARS1, researchers have documented the successive changes in its spike protein as the virus evolved step by step into a dangerous pathogen. After it had gotten from bats into civets, there were six further changes in its spike protein before it became a mild pathogen in people. After a further 14 changes, the virus was much better adapted to humans, and with a further four, the epidemic took off.

    But when you look for the fingerprints of a similar transition in SARS2, a strange surprise awaits. The virus has changed hardly at all, at least until recently. From its very first appearance, it was well adapted to human cells. Researchers led by Alina Chan of the Broad Institute compared SARS2 with late stage SARS1, which by then was well adapted to human cells, and found that the two viruses were similarly well adapted. “By the time SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in late 2019, it was already pre-adapted to human transmission to an extent similar to late epidemic SARS-CoV,” they wrote.

    Even those who think lab origin unlikely agree that SARS2 genomes are remarkably uniform. Baric writes that “early strains identified in Wuhan, China, showed limited genetic diversity, which suggests that the virus may have been introduced from a single source.”

    A single source would of course be compatible with lab escape, less so with the massive variation and selection which is evolution’s hallmark way of doing business.

    The uniform structure of SARS2 genomes gives no hint of any passage through an intermediate animal host, and no such host has been identified in nature.

    Proponents of natural emergence suggest that SARS2 incubated in a yet-to-be found human population before gaining its special properties. Or that it jumped to a host animal outside China.

    All these conjectures are possible, but strained. Proponents of a lab leak have a simpler explanation. SARS2 was adapted to human cells from the start because it was grown in humanized mice or in lab cultures of human cells, just as described in Daszak’s grant proposal. Its genome shows little diversity because the hallmark of lab cultures is uniformity.

    Proponents of laboratory escape joke that of course the SARS2 virus infected an intermediary host species before spreading to people, and that they have identified it — a humanized mouse from the Wuhan Institute of Virology."

  22. #10247
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Philippines detects Indian variant as daily Covid-19 cases near 8-week low

    The Philippines has detected its first two cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India, its health ministry said on Tuesday, even as confirmed daily Covid-19 infections fell to a near eight-week low.


    The World Health Organization has classified the coronavirus variant, known as B.1.617, as a variant of global concern with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.


    The variant had been confirmed in two Filipino seafarers who returned in April, Alethea De Guzman, director of the ministry's epidemiology bureau, told a news conference


    "We need to continually monitor what other variants we may be able to detect locally, as well as monitor the spread of the variants we have already detected," De Guzman said, adding that the seafarers were isolated on their return and had both recovered.


    Separately, the health ministry reported on Tuesday 4,734 new coronavirus infections, the lowest single-day tally since March 17, bringing total cases to more than 1.11 million.


    The number of daily infections in the Philippines, which is battling one of the worst outbreaks in Asia, has fallen from a peak of 15,310 on April 2, but has stayed above the daily average of roughly 1,700 cases for 2020.


    The drop in cases, if sustained, will buoy hopes that tougher restrictions imposed on March 29 will be relaxed to help the economy, which contracted 4.2% in the first quarter.


    In a bid to prevent the entry of variants, the Philippines has temporarily barred travellers coming from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh from entering the country.


    Indonesia and Malaysia this month reported the first cases of the B.1.617 coronavirus variant. The Philippines has also previously recorded cases of a variant first detected in Britain and another first discovered in South Africa, as well as a homegrown P.3 variant.


    The Philippines has the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases and casualties in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia.

    Philippines detects Indian variant as daily Covid-19 cases near 8-week low

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    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    National lockdown in Malaysia as Covid-19 infections surge

    Malaysia has gone into full national lockdown amid a surge in Covid-19 infections, including highly contagious variants that are putting the healthcare system under pressure. According to Thai PBS World, the Malaysian PM, Muhyiddin Yassin, has announced a ban on social gatherings and inter-state and inter-district travel.


    “Malaysia is facing a third wave of Covid-19 that could trigger a national crisis.”


    Schools and other educational institutions are shut, but Muhyiddin says some economic sectors can continue operating. The lockdown is in force until June 7, with the PM saying the presence of new and highly contagious variants that put pressure on the health system mean there is no other choice.


    Malaysia has seen a spike in infections in recent weeks and has now reported 444,484 cases and 1,700 deaths. Yesterday, it reported 3,807 new cases. Last week, the country recorded its first case of the so-called Indian variant, or B.1.617.1, which was found in an Indian national at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Malaysia remains under the state of emergency introduced in January to curb the spread of the virus.


    National lockdown in Malaysia as Covid-19 infections surge | Thaiger

  25. #10250
    Isle of discombobulation Joe 90's Avatar
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    A lot of quality content on the Thaiger, i watch Tim and Jets daily YouTube news videos.

    They are advertising for moderators for their new forum Thai talk. The forum will fail because of the pop up ads like TVF.


    Boris Johnson has set out the next stage of lockdown easing for England
    Pubs and restaurants can serve people inside from next Monday
    Galleries, theatres, cinemas and soft play centres can also reopen
    Guidance on hugging will change but people should consider the vulnerabilities of their loved ones, he says
    People will be able to meet inside in groups of six, or two households
    Up to 30 people will be allowed to attend weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes
    The UK chief medical officers earlier lowered the Covid-19 alert level from four to three
    Zero coronavirus deaths were announced in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Monday
    Restrictions are also being eased across Europe, including in Ireland and Spain
    Last edited by Joe 90; 11-05-2021 at 08:17 PM.

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