Singapore plans to vaccinate children under 16

Concerned about the recent spread of infection among students, Singapore is looking to expand its vaccination drive to children under the age of 16. At least 10 children tested positive for coronavirus in the past week, all linked to learning centres. US health regulators have approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 to 15. Pfizer is among the vaccines approved by the Singaporean government. The Southeast Asian nation returns to a month of the lockdown-like conditions it last imposed a year ago to check the case surge. Read here

Let’s look at the global statistics

Global infections: 162,535,050

Global deaths: 3,369,744

Nations with most cases: US (32,924,078), India (24,046,809), Brazil (15,586,534), France (5,925,071), Turkey (5,106,862).

Source: John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Walmart, Starbucks among top US retailers dropping mask requirement

Walmart, the biggest private employer in the US, said fully-vaccinated staff needn’t wear masks at work starting May 18. Starbucks also dropped the mask requirement for vaccinated customers starting May 17, while staff will continue to be required to wear facial coverings. Walt Disney World resort made masks optional in common outdoor areas, although they are still required indoors, on all attractions, theaters and transportation. A number of companies are also reviewing their mask policies after CDC’s significant relaxation in mask mandate. Read here

Greece opens its doors to international tourists

Having suffered heavy economic losses last year because of the pandemic, Greece saw first signs of the tourism creeping back to life were visible at ports and airports as the country officially opened its doors to international visitors. About 14 percent of people in the country have been fully vaccinated. After lifting quarantine requirements for dozens of countries last month, the Greek authorities expanded the eligibility to more nations and relaxed some restrictions. Travelers must present a certificate of vaccination, proof of recovery from Covid or a negative RT-PCR test. Read here

Is it possible to produce enough doses to vaccinate the world? There’s no easy fix

About 11 billion shots are needed to vaccinate 70 per cent of the world’s population, the rough threshold needed for herd immunity. However, only a fraction of it has been produced so far. Many raw materials and key equipment are in short supply. The only way around the zero-sum competition is to greatly expand the global vaccine supply. On that point, nearly everyone agrees. But what is the fastest way to make that happen? On that question, divisions remain stark. Wealthy countries have monopolized most of the vaccine supply not through coincidence, but as a result of economic and political realities. Read here

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