Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Philips in talks with FDA after new ventilator findings – statement
Philips, the medical equipment maker that is recalling ventilators due to use of parts containing a potentially hazardous foam, said on Sunday it is in dicussions with U.S. regulators after a new inspection of one of the company’s facilities. Philips in September estimated it will replace up to 4 million vetilators and respiratory devices because of a polyurethane foam part that might degrade and become toxic.
Austria brings back COVID-19 lockdown, this time for the unvaccinated
Austria is placing millions of people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in lockdown as of Monday to deal with a surge in infections to record levels and the growing strain on intensive-care units, the government said on Sunday. Europe is the epicentre https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/covid-19s-epicentre-again-europe-faces-fresh-reckoning-2021-11-12 of the COVID-19 pandemic again, prompting some governments to consider re-imposing unpopular lockdowns. Austria has one of the continent’s highest infection rates, with a seven-day incidence https://covid19-dashboard.ages.at/?l=en of 815 per 100,000 people.
Cambodia to end quarantine for vaccinated travellers from Nov. 15 – PM Hun Sen
Cambodia will stop requiring quarantine for travellers who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 starting on Monday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday. The prime minister made the announcement in a voice message on social media after the Southeast Asian country has required lengthy quarantine for more than 18 months.
Israel says children aged 5-11 can receive COVID-19 vaccine
Israel said on Sunday that children aged five to 11 would be eligible for vaccination against COVID-19, and that a starting date for the campaign would be made public within days.
The decision, announced by the Health Ministry, followed approval by its expert panel on vaccinations last week, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use of Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s vaccine for the age group at a 10-microgram dose.
U.S. weekly COVID-19 vaccinations hit highest in nearly six months
The United States administered over 9.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the past seven days, the highest weekly total since late May, a White House official said on Saturday. Cyrus Shahpar, the White House’s COVID-19 data director reported the information https://twitter.com/cyrusshahpar46/status/1459605466468610054 in a tweet. Vaccinations of children ages 5 to 11, which became widely available this week, likely contributed to the total.
Japan prepares beds, booster shots in COVID-19 lull before winter
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida outlined on Friday an urgent plan to increase hospital beds and medical resources in preparation for a possible resurgence of COVID-19 infections this winter. After a deadly fifth wave of infections almost overwhelmed the medical system during the summer, infections and deaths have fallen dramatically as vaccinations have increased to cover more than 70% of the population.
Kaiser Permanente averts strike, reaches deal with U.S. healthcare workers
Union leaders representing 50,000 nurses and other U.S. medical staff reached a tentative agreement with Kaiser Permanente on Saturday, averting a strike that could have disrupted patient care at hospitals. Thousands of employees at Kaiser Permanente in Oregon, California, Colorado and other states had threatened to walkout on Monday over the medical network’s plan to create a two-tiered wage system with lower pay for new hires.
German state health ministers call to extend state of emergency as COVID cases soar
Three German state health ministers urged parties negotiating to form a new government to prolong states’ power to implement stricter pandemic measures such as lockdowns or school closures as the country’s seven-day COVID incidence rate hit record highs. The number of people per 100,000 infected last week rose to 277.4, data from the Robert Koch Institute showed on Saturday, and has risen to over 500 in some regions of the country.
Australia aims to vaccinate children under 12 against COVID-19 from January
Australia, quickly becoming one of most-vaccinated nations against COVID-19, will likely start administering the shots for children under the age of 12 in January, officials said on Sunday. Health Minister Greg Hunt said medical regulators are still reviewing the health and safety data for the vaccinations to be administered for children between the ages of five and 11 and are unlikely to decide this year.
Beijing city said individuals who recently visited overland ports of entry on China’s borders should avoid the Chinese capital, with national authorities concerned over the risk of Covid transmission from abroad as they battle a month-long outbreak. The small northern administrative divisions of Heihe, Erenhot and Ejina, along China’s borders with Russia and Mongolia, were among the hardest-hit areas in a nationwide outbreak since mid-October that resulted in more than 1,200 domestically transmitted cases showing confirmed symptoms.
(With inputs from agencies.)