Australia’s Pfizer Deal; U.K. Premier League Plans: Virus Update

Australia has secured an additional 85 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for delivery from next year and is continuing efforts to accelerate the slow pace of its inoculation drive. Delivery of the shots will begin from the first quarter of next year.

In the U.K., the country’s health secretary recovered from Covid, while ministers were reported to be drawing up plans to force people to be fully vaccinated before they can attend Premier League soccer matches or other major live events.

Governments globally are trying a range of tactics to encourage people to get vaccinated, including giveaways. A vaccine lottery in Hong Kong has prizes such as gold bars and a diamond Rolex, while Russia is offering snowmobiles and people in Alabama can secure the opportunity to drive on a speedway track.

Australia to Get More Pfizer Doses (7:20 a.m. HK)

Australia has struck an agreement for 60 million additional Pfizer-BioNTech doses next year and 25 million doses in 2023, which would allow the country to offer booster shots, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The country, which has struggled to accelerate inoculation efforts, on Saturday reversed previous advice on AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine. Authorities told adult residents in areas with current outbreaks, including Sydney, to seriously consider using the option.

Australia previously had recommended that only people aged 60 and above should use the AstraZeneca product, which has been linked to rare blood clots.

Malaysian Lawmakers to Debate Virus Response (7 a.m. HK)

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassi is preparing to face questions over the country’s handling of the pandemic, as parliament sits Monday for the first time this year.

A five-day sitting will debate Malaysia’s emergency declaration and consider penalties for breaching Covid protocols. Cases in the nation have more than tripled since January.

Protesters Charged Over Attacks in Australia (5.25 a.m. HK)

Two men will face court Sunday on charges of attacking police officers and horses during angry weekend protests in Sydney against lockdown measures.

Australia’s Pfizer Deal; U.K. Premier League Plans: Virus Update

The 33-year-old and 36-year-old are accused of offenses including committing an act of cruelty on an animal, Sydney police said in a statement. Thousands of demonstrators breached stay-at-home orders to join protests across Australia.

U.K. May Push for Double-Vaccination (5 p.m. NY)

Anyone wanting to attend a Premier League soccer match, a major concert or a mass event of at least 20,000 people from Oct. 1 will have to show they are fully vaccinated, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The government is also set to ramp up a social media campaign targeted at 18- to 30-year-olds with the aim of linking inoculations with the idea of going on vacation, the report said.

California’s ICU Availability at 5-Month Low (4:50 p.m. NY)

California’s intensive-care unit bed availability fell to a five-month low as hospitalizations edged higher with more infections.

The number of ICU beds available dropped by 89 to 1,977. That’s still twice the number compared with the peak of the pandemic in January. The positive test rate rose to 5.2%, one of the highest levels since February.

The state added 7,984 new cases, bringing the total to almost 3.8 million, while deaths rose by 46 to 63,741. A total of 43.4 million vaccines were administered.

French Infections Jump to Highest Since May (3:44 p.m. NY)

The number of cases in France climbed to more than 25,500, the highest total since early May.

The past week has shown that infections are spread broadly across the nation with coastal regions now being hit hard because of the summer holidays, according to Laetitia Huiart, scientific director of the French public health agency.

N.Y. Cases, Positive Rates at Two-Month High (1:30 p.m. NY)

New York state’s new infections neared 2,000 for the second consecutive day, with cases roughly tripling over the last two weeks. The 1,846 cases reported on Saturday by Governor Andrew Cuomo were the highest since May, with the positive test rate increasing to 1.86%, also the highest since then.

Hospitalizations were at 494, a number that has also been ticking up in recent weeks. The state reported just one death.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says that more vaccines, rather than a renewed mask mandate or other restrictions, are the way to combat the new spread, though the pace of inoculation has slowed in the city and state.

U.K. Health Minister Recovers From Illness (1:20 p.m. NY)

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he has fully recovered from Covid-19, a week after his positive test caused a minor crisis in the U.K. government and forced Boris Johnson to self-isolate just as the prime minister was set to announce measures lifting restrictions in England.

Opposition politicians seized on his comment that people should no longer “cower” from the coronavirus, with the Labour Party’s justice spokesman David Lammy accusing him of having insulted those who followed the government’s rules to protect others.

Thousands Protest Across France (12:42 p.m. NY)

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated throughout France against mandatory vaccination for health workers and the implementation of a sanitary pass to bar people going to the cinema, sports venues and shopping malls or taking long-distance transportation if they haven’t been inoculated, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Interior Ministry said more than 160,000 people were protesting, more than the 110,000 who took to the streets last Saturday.

Iceland Brings Back Some Restrictions (7:33 a.m. NY)

Only a month after Iceland’s government removed all Covid related limitations, local authorities will now limit gatherings as of Sunday July 25, due to a surge in new infections, the government said in a web statement dated July 23.

Gatherings will generally be limited to 200 people and social distancing rules will take effect again. “The regulation will be in place for a short period of time while the large increase in infections in recent days are being addressed,” it said.

U.K. Faces $6.3 Billion Hit From Pingdemic, CEBR Says (6:15 a.m. NY)

The U.K. economy could face a loss of more than 4.6 billion pounds ($6.3 billion) in just four weeks if rules on self-isolation following a “ping” from the NHS app aren’t relaxed, according to data from Centre for Economics and Business Research.

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