US Sending 2.5 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses to Taiwan

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The United States says it is sending 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan, substantially increasing its initial promise of 750,000 shots.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said the increased doses from the U.S. are a “moving gesture of friendship.” U.S. President Joe Biden has said his administration will distribute 80 million vaccine doses to countries around the world.

The doses are a fraction of the 500 million shots the United States has committed to distributing free of charge over nearly 100 destinations over the next two years.

The Biden administration plans to distribute 200 million shots this year and another 300 million in 2022 to 92 countries as well as the African Union.

The announcement comes as roughly 45% of Americans have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

By contrast, India, with a population of over 1.3 billion, has vaccinated just over 3% of its population.

India’s Health Ministry said Sunday that it had recorded more than 58,000 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24-hour period. India has recorded close to 30 million COVID-19 cases. Only the U.S. has more, with 33.5 million.

A Ugandan athlete has tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Japan ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, according to an Associated Press report. The athlete was not named and has been placed in quarantine in a government facility. The other eight members of the team tested negative in Japan. The Ugandan team was fully vaccinated and tested before their flight to Japan, AP said.

Brazil became the second country, behind the United States, to record more than half a million COVID-19 deaths, a Health Ministry official said Saturday.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tweeted “500,000 lives lost due to the pandemic that affects our Brazil and the world,” according to an Agence France-Presse report.

Ethel Maciel, an epidemiologist from Espirito Santo University, told AFP, “The third wave is arriving, there’s already in a change in the case and death curves. … Our vaccination [program], which could make a difference, is slow and there are no signs of restrictive measures, quite the contrary.”

Britain held its first full music festival since all mass events were canceled in March of last year, the start of the pandemic.

About 10,000 fans attended a three-day Download Festival held at Donington Park in central England. The event featured 40 U.K.-based bands. The event ends Sunday.

All of those who attended, which was only about a tenth of the festival’s prepandemic audience, were required to take COVID-19 tests before the event. Neither masks nor social distancing protocols were required, event organizers said.

Britain has recorded nearly 128,000 COVID-19-related deaths, the fourth most in the world and the worst in Europe. It also ranks seventh in the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 4.6 million.

Earlier last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed by four weeks a planned lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions on June 21. Britain is battling the highly contagious delta variant of the virus, which was first identified in India.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported early Sunday more than 178 million global COVID-19 infections and almost 4 million global deaths. More than 2 billion vaccines have been administered around the world.

Source: Voice of America