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Coronavirus digest: Germany may start vaccinating in December

dw.com logo dw.com 2020-11-23
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German Health Minister Jens Spahn told Redaktions Netzwerk Deutschland Monday he had asked the country's 16 regional states to establish coronavirus immunization centers by mid-December, assuming European authorities approved a first vaccine.

"I'd rather have a ready-to-go immunization center that remains inactive for several days than a licensed vaccine that cannot be administered," the minister said, reiterating that vulnerable persons, such as the elderly, would be treated first.

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Germany has secured more than 300 million vaccine doses via the European Commission under bilateral contracts and options, Spahn estimated.

"Even with two doses per immunization [of an individual] we would have enough for [Germany's] own population and could share with other countries," Spahn forecast.

Here's a roundup of the main developments around the world.

Developing countries

Nearly 2 billion doses intended for poor countries such Yemen, Burundi and Afghanistan would be shipped and flown next year, the UN children's agency UNICEF announced on Monday.

UNICEF's Supply Division said its "mammoth operation" as part of the global COVAX allocation plan with the UN's World Health Organization, would involve 350 airlines and freight companies.

Leaders of the G20 world economies at the weekend pledged to ensure equitable distribution.

Middle East

The Gaza Strip health system was close to being overwhelmed by COVID-19 infections, public health advisers warned.

Since August, 14,000 coronavirus cases and 65 deaths had been recorded. And, 75 or 100 available ventilators were now in use, said health official Abdelraouf Elmanama,

"In 10 days the health system will be unable to absorb such a hike," said Elmanama.

Gaza's Islamist Hama rulers have so far imposed one lockdown amid a blockade which Israel says is to block weapons arrivals.

Asia-Pacific

Australia's two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, have reopened their internal border after declaring themselves quarantine-free. It had been closed for 138 days to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Cars crossed the landmark Murray River between Wodonga and Albury at midday Monday.

ipj/rt (dpa, Reuters)

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