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The first vaccine arrives in South Korea, Hong Kong



South Korea provided its first coronavirus vaccine injections to people in long-term care facilities on Friday, launching a mass immunization campaign The health department hopes to return to a certain degree of normalcy by the end of the year.

For the country, the launch of the vaccine is at a critical juncture. The country wiped out its hard-earned virus gains during the winter surge and is working to alleviate the economic shock of this pandemic, which makes the service industry work The number of people has decreased.

“In the past year, I felt very anxious, but after receiving the vaccine, now I feel safer,”

; said Li Qingshun, a nursing home worker who received injections at the public health center in northern Seoul.

The health authorities plan to inject the first of two doses into approximately 344,000 residents and workers in long-term care facilities and 55,000 front-line medical staff by the end of March.

Sun Yonglei, a senior official of the Ministry of Health, said in a briefing: “We have taken a historic first step towards returning to normal.”

He said the government has decided to extend the current level of social isolation for at least two more weeks to suppress private social gatherings of five or more people, and ban indoor dining after 10pm to help create a safe vaccination environment. .

In addition, starting from Saturday, doctors, nurses and other health professionals treating COVID-19 patients will begin to receive the injection vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine obtained by South Korea through the COVAX program supported by WHO arrived at Incheon International Airport on Friday and will be transported to five major COVID-19 treatment hospitals.

The next available vaccine may be sent to general hospital staff, nursing staff, quarantine staff, and people over 65 years old, and then more adults will start vaccinating in the summer.

Among other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

-Hong Kong Started to administer its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines to the public, and launched a program to provide free vaccinations for all 7.5 million residents. Among the 2.4 million people who receive vaccines in community centers and outpatient clinics across Hong Kong, people over 60 years of age and medical staff are currently prioritized. The government stated that registrations for the first two weeks of the program were full. So far, participants will be vaccinated by Sinovac, a Chinese biopharmaceutical company. With 1 million people arriving in the city last week, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and other senior government officials were first vaccinated to increase confidence in the plan. Hong Kong has reached an agreement to purchase 22.5 million doses of vaccines from Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Fosun Pharma, which will be delivered to vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.

-The Sri Lankan government has changed its policy to only allow cremation of COVID-19 victims and allow burial after Muslims and others protested against their religious insensitivity for months. The government issued a decree on Thursday night allowing cremation and burial in accordance with prescribed health guidelines. Although the World Health Organization and local medical professional institutions say that insisting on cremation only lists possible groundwater pollution, there is no scientific basis for this claim.

-This weekend, the state of emergency aimed at curbing the coronavirus in Japan will be lifted in six urban areas, and stay in the Tokyo area for another week. Although the official decision has not yet been announced, the government minister in charge of pandemic measures notified the government team of the changes. The state of emergency began in January and mainly required restaurants, bars and other businesses to close at 8pm. The state of emergency was partially lifted, and a week earlier, highlighting Japan’s desire to maintain economic development. Japan also said that the coronavirus vaccine will arrive at the local government office at the end of June to vaccinate the country’s 36 million elderly people. Those 65 years of age or older plan to be vaccinated after health workers. However, people have always worried about the sufficient supply of imported vaccines.

-China Two other COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and can be used more widely. CanSino Biologics’ vaccine is the first vaccine developed by a Chinese company, and it only needs to be injected once. CanSino said that the effective rate was 65.28% 28 days after administration. Another newly approved vaccine comes from the Wuhan Institute of Biology, a subsidiary of the state-owned Sinopharm Group, which said its vaccine effective rate is 72.51%. The vaccines of Sinovac and the Beijing subsidiary of Sinopharm have been approved earlier and are in use. Both Sinovac and Sinopharm said they will be able to manufacture 1 billion injections each year by the end of this year. A military researcher told state media that CanSino can produce up to 300 million doses per year, and the Wuhan Research Institute said it can produce 100 million doses per year.


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