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Reuters Health News Summary

14 Jan 2021 / 12:57 H.

    Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

    New York pleads for more COVID-19 vaccine as daily U.S. death toll hits record

    As the United States recorded its highest single-day death toll since the coronavirus pandemic began nearly a year ago, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday said the city would fall short of its innoculation goals unless it could gain access to more vaccine. The mayor said short supplies were hampering New York City's efforts to ramp up its vaccinating capacity. His appeal comes as the country as a whole struggles to meet an overall goals, with vaccinations now running far behind a targed of 20 million people by now.

    Britain allows hospitals to discharge COVID-19 patients into care homes without re-testing

    Britain on Wednesday altered its rules to allow coronavirus patients who have completed 14 days isolation without showing symptoms of COVID-19 to move directly into care homes from hospitals without being re-tested for the disease. Such individuals were not considered to pose an infection risk, according to guidelines https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/designated-settings-for-people-discharged-to-a-care-home/discharge-into-care-homes-for-people-who-have-tested-positive-for-covid-19 issued by the government to care homes across the country.

    Reeling from coronavirus, Asia's poultry farmers battle bird flu outbreak

    Asia's chicken farmers are confronting the region's worst bird flu outbreak in years, with the deadly virus affecting farms stretching from Japan to India, roiling some poultry prices and showing no signs of easing. More than 20 million chickens have been destroyed in South Korea and Japan since November. The highly pathogenic H5N8 virus last week reached India, the world's No. 6 producer, and has already been reported in 10 states.

    Philippines approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use

    The Philippines' Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE's COVID-19 vaccine, its head said on Thursday. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has shown a 95% success rate, is the first vaccine the Philippines has approved.

    Team from WHO heads to China in search of COVID origins

    An international team of scientists led by the World Health Organization was set to arrive in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus that sparked the pandemic. The United States, which has accused China of having hidden the extent of its initial outbreak a year ago, has called for a "transparent" WHO-led investigation and criticised the terms of the visit, under which Chinese experts have done the first phase of research.

    Second year of pandemic 'could even be tougher': WHO's Ryan

    The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic may be tougher than the first given how the new coronavirus is spreading, especially in the northern hemisphere as more infectious variants circulate, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. "We are going into a second year of this, it could even be tougher given the transmission dynamics and some of the issues that we are seeing," Mike Ryan, the WHO's top emergencies official, said during an event on social media.

    COVID-19 infection gives some immunity for at least five months, UK study finds

    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. Preliminary findings by scientists at Public Health England (PHE) showed that reinfections in people who have COVID-19 antibodies from a past infection are rare - with only 44 cases found among 6,614 previously infected people in the study.

    Pharmacies join UK's mass COVID-19 vaccination rollout

    Pharmacies in Britain will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccination on Thursday, the government said, as it seeks to accelerate the rollout of shots to millions of people a week to meet an ambitious delivery target. High street pharmacies such as Boots and Superdrug will begin offering the shots, with two hundred community drugstores due to be included over the next fortnight, joining hospitals, doctors' surgeries and seven large-scale centres in administering vaccines.

    Australian state considers mining camps for coronavirus quarantine

    An Australian state premier said on Thursday she was considering the use of remote mining camps to quarantine international arrivals, aiming to break a cycle of coronavirus outbreaks around the country at city hotels used for isolation. Queensland's state capital of Brisbane emerged earlier this week from a snap three-day lockdown sparked by the discovery of the highly infectious strain of COVID-19 in a worker at a quarantine hotel.

    J&J vaccine on track for March rollout with target to deliver 1 billion doses this year: exec

    Johnson & Johnson is on track to roll out its single-shot coronavirus vaccine in March, and expects to have clear data on how effective it is by the end of this month or early February, the U.S. healthcare company's chief scientific officer said. Dr. Paul Stoffels in an interview on Tuesday also said J&J expects to meet its stated target of delivering 1 billion doses of its vaccine by the end of this year as the company ramps up production.

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