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Daily COVID Tracker: New Zealand to lift vaccine mandate in some sectors

Daily covid 19 tracker NCDC Daily covid 19 tracker NCDC

New Zealand says it will lift vaccine mandate for a number of sectors. Here are five updates about the pandemic this Wednesday.

India approves Novovax vaccine for teens

Novavax says its COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency-use authorisation from the drugs controller general of India for children aged 12 to 17 years.

The authorisation is a first globally for the age group for the vaccine, which is manufactured and marketed in India by the Serum Institute of India under the brand name Covovax.

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Novavax last month said its vaccine was 80 percent effective against COVID-19 in a late-stage trial testing the shot in 2,247 teens aged 12 to 17 years.

The company said its vaccine produced an immune response in the same age group in a mid to late stage study involving 460 Indian adolescents.

New Zealand to lift vaccine mandates

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New Zealand’s government says it will lift vaccine mandates for a number of sectors, including teaching and police from April 4.

Jacinda Ardern, the country’s prime minister, said this at a news conference on Wednesday.

Ardern said only those working with vulnerable people such as aged care and heath sectors and border workers will need to be vaccinated from April 4.

Vaccine passes will also no longer be mandatory to visit restaurants, coffee shops and other public spaces.

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Antibodies in children last at least six months after COVID, says study

A new study has shown that children and adolescents with COVID-19 antibodies after the infection usually still have the antibodies in their blood more than half a year later.

Starting in October 2020, researchers in Texas recruited 218 subjects between the ages of five and 19. Each provided three blood samples, at three-month intervals. More than 90 percent were unvaccinated when they enrolled in the study.

The first blood test showed infection-related antibodies indicating recovery from COVID-19 in one-third of the children.

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Six months later, 96 percent of those with the antibodies still had them. But the level of protection even in those with antibodies is unclear.

Travel industry asks US White House to scrap COVID restrictions

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The US travel association has asked the White House to lift COVID-19 travel restrictions and repeal a mandate requiring masks on airplanes and in other transit modes by April 18.

In a letter on Tuesday to Ashish Jha, the incoming White House COVID response coordinator, the group called for an immediate end to the pre-departure testing requirement for all fully vaccinated inbound international persons and ending the mask mandate by April 18 “or announcing a plan and timeline to repeal the federal mask mandate within the subsequent 90 days”.

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“It makes little sense to keep the pre-departure testing requirement in place for inbound air travellers when the US government does not require negative tests at US — Canada and US — Mexico land border points of entry,” Roger Dow, US travel chief executive, wrote.

Some European countries lift COVID curbs too brutally, says WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the authorities in several European countries have lifted coronavirus restrictions too “brutally”, as they are witnessing a rise in cases “likely” caused by a more transmissible COVID-19 strain.

Speaking on Tuesday at a news conference in Moldova, Hans Kluge, WHO Europe director, said to be “optimistic, but vigilant” about the pandemic’s development in Europe, adding that cases were on the rise in 18 out of 53 states in the region.

“The countries where we see a particular increase are the United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, France, Italy and Germany. Those countries are lifting the restrictions brutally from too much to too few,” he said.

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