Health and Healthcare Systems

COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 4 October

A lone pedestrian walks through a transit station in the city centre during a lockdown to curb the spread of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney, Australia, September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Loren Elliott - RC250Q9ISN2T

Australia's outbreak appears to have levelled off, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Monday. Image: REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
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COVID-19

  • This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: US COVID-19 deaths pass 700,000; New Zealand moves away from COVID-19 elimination strategy; Israel changes rules around COVID-19 vaccine pass.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 234.9 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.8 million. More than 6.31 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

The outbreak of the Delta COVID-19 variant appears to have levelled off in Australia, its health minister, Greg Hunt, said on Monday.

Israel has announced that only those citizens who've received their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible for a 'green pass' that allows entry to restaurants, gyms and many other venues.

Nicaragua has authorized two Cuban-made COVID-19 vaccines for use, the Cuba state-run pharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma has said.

An advisory panel of experts to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold meetings this month to review data on the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in young children, and whether to clear booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines.

The French seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases has dropped below 5,000 for the first time since 13 July.

Nigeria has had approval for $400 million in World Bank financing to procure and deploy COVID-19 vaccines, the bank announced in a statement on Friday.

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2. US COVID-19 deaths pass 700,000

COVID-19-related deaths in the United States have passed 700,000, according to Johns Hopkins. The US has reported more deaths than any other country in the world. It's also reported more confirmed cases than any other country.

The US has reported an average of more than 2,000 deaths per day over the past week, which represents about 60% of the peak in fatalities in January, a Reuters analysis of public health data showed.

The highly transmissible Delta variant has driven a surge in COVID-19 cases that peaked around mid-September before falling to the current level of about 117,625 cases per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths in selected countries
The 10 countries with the highest cumulative confirmed deaths. Image: Our World in Data

3. New Zealand drops COVID-19 elimination plan

New Zealand has moved away from its strategy of seeking to eliminate COVID-19 and instead will look to live with the virus while controlling its spread. The news came as restrictions were eased in the country's biggest city, Auckland.

"With this outbreak and Delta the return to zero is incredibly difficult," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference.

"This is a change in approach we were always going to make over time. Our Delta outbreak has accelerated this transition. Vaccines will support it," she said.

The country was one of just a handful to bring COVID-19 cases down to zero last year and had largely stayed virus-free until an outbreak of the Delta variant in August.

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