Parts of Southeast Asia still in the heat of Delta battles

Parts of Southeast Asia are still grappling with high COVID-19 activity, with Thailand today reporting a record daily high for deaths and Vietnam still reporting high daily totals.

In other developments, initial findings on booster doses from Israel suggest side effects are similar to what people experience after the second dose.

Stubbornly high case numbers Thailand and Vietnam

Thailand today reported nearly 20,000 cases, with a record single-day high for deaths at 235, according to Nikkei Asia. Bangkok is currently the country’s epicenter, and some experts worry that Thailand’s cases haven’t peaked yet.

The country’s vaccine rollout has been rocky, and Thailand’s pharmacy trade group has warned the health ministry about possible shortages of the antiviral drug, favipiravir.

Thailand is receiving $5 million in aid from the US government to help in its battle with COVID-19, Ned Price, a State Department spokesman, said yesterday on Twitter. He also noted that the United States is providing $50 million for Myanmar, which is also experiencing a humanitarian crisis complicated by a virus surge.

Vietnam is still reporting high daily case numbers, with 9,323 new infections reported yesterday, according to VN Express. The main hot spots are Ho Chi Minh City, followed by two provinces in southern Vietnam, Binh Duong and Dong Nai.

In other Southeast Asia developments, some countries are phasing out China’s Sinovac vaccines due concerns that they are less effective than other vaccines, according to the Washington Post. For example, in the middle of July, Thailand announced a plan to mix doses, giving people who had received their first dose of Sinovac a second dose of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine. And health workers fully vaccinated with Sinovac are receiving a third booster dose of AstraZeneca or one of the two mRNA vaccines. Cambodia’s government said it will offer AstraZeneca booster shots to those who received two Sinovac doses.

In early June, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced emergency listing for Sinovac, and Chinese officials recently announced that the country will donate 2 billion vaccine doses this year, along with $100 million to support COVAX activities.

More global headlines

  • In Australia, officials in Sydney reported a new record daily high today of 343 new cases, with officials vowing to step up police enforcement of lockdown rules, according to Reuters. The population of about 5 million people has been in lockdown for 6 weeks.
  • China, battling COVID-19 clusters in several cities, today reported 108 local cases, up from 94 the day before, according to the country’s National Health Commission. The latest cases were from four different provinces, mostly from Jiangsu and Henan.
  • Bangladesh today began vaccinating Rohingya refugees with assistance from United Nations agencies, Reuters reported, noting that the population is the world’s largest refugee settlement. Bangladesh has battling a surge, and cases in the Cox’s Bazar refugee area are rising.
  • The global total today is at 203,708,052, and 4,308,757 people across the world have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

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