Coronavirus has killed more than 2.6 million people and infected over 119 million others worldwide. Here are the latest developments for March 13:
Saturday, March 13, 2021:
French cases rise by 29,759
France has reported 29,759 new Covid-19 cases, up from 25,229 the previous day, the latest data from the health ministry showed.
The number of people to have died from the virus in hospitals rose by 169 to a total 64,978 while the number of people in intensive care units edged higher by 37 to 4,070, as pressure grows on French hospitals.
France has the world's sixth-highest total of Covid-19 cases, just behind Britain, which has had more than 4.24 million infections.
Turkey sees over 15,000 new infections
Turkey has reported 15,082 new coronavirus cases, including 841 symptomatic patients, according to the Health Ministry.
The total number of cases in the country passed 2.86 million, while the nationwide death toll reached 29,421, with 65 fatalities over the past day.
A total of 15,287 more patients in the country won the battle against the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to over 2.68 million.
More than 34.99 million coronavirus tests have been done in Turkey to date, including 150,098 since Sunday.
The latest figures show that the number of Covid-19 patients in critical condition stands at 1,350.
UK reports 121 new deaths and 5,534 new cases
Britain has reported 121 new Covid deaths, taking the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive test result to 125,464, daily government figures showed.
A further 5,534 people have tested positive for the disease, down from 6,609 on Friday, while the number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose has risen to 23.684 million from 23.315 million the day before.
Italy reports 317 deaths, 26,062 new cases
Italy has reported 317 coronavirus-related deaths against 380 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 26,062 from 26,824 the day before.
Some 372,944 tests for Covid-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 369,636, the health ministry said.
Italy has registered 101,881 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world. The country has reported 3.2 million cases to date.
Patients in hospital with Covid-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 24,153 on Saturday, up from 23,656 a day earlier.
There were 270 new admissions to intensive care units, up from 226 on Friday. The total number of intensive care patients increased to 2,982 from a previous 2,914.
Three health workers who received AstraZeneca vaccine treated for blood clots, Norway says
Three health workers in Norway who recently received the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 are being treated in hospital for blood clots, Norwegian health authorities have said.
Norway halted on Thursday the rollout of that vaccine, following a similar move by Denmark. Iceland later followed suit.
"We do not know if the cases are linked to the vaccine," Sigurd Hortemo, a senior doctor at the Norwegian Medicines Agency told a news conference held jointly with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
All three individuals were under the age of 50.
The European medicine regulator EMA would investigate the three incidents, he added.
Dutch cases rise by more than 6,000 in 24 hours
New coronavirus cases in the Netherlands have reached their highest level since mid-January, with more than 6,396 cases in 24 hours, official data showed.
The figures published by the National Institute for Health (RIVM) follow several weeks of stability. The RIVM has said it expects a third wave of infections driven by variant strains of the coronavirus.
Colombia reports first death from Brazilian Covid variant
Colombia has confirmed its first death from the P1, or Brazilian, variant of coronavirus, the government said, adding the victim who died in January was older and had various comorbidities.
The P1 variant, which emerged in the Amazon, has driven a second wave of the virus in Brazil's two most populous cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which this week moved to tighten measures as their hospitals struggled with cases.
Brazil has registered more than 275,000 deaths from Covid-19, second only to the United States.
"A new case of the P1 variant was detected in an older adult in Bogota with multiple comorbidities who had not traveled. They were hospitalised and died Jan. 28, 2021," the National Health Institute said in a statement late on Friday.
Jordan health minister steps down after deaths in virus ward
Jordan’s health minister has stepped down after at least seven patients in a hospital Covid-19 ward died due to a shortage of oxygen supplies, state media reported.
Hours later, King Abdullah II arrived at the Salt government hospital to help calm angry families who had gathered outside.
Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh ordered an investigation into the deaths early Saturday morning at the hospital in the town of Salt, 20 kilometres (13 miles) north of the capital Amman.
King Abdullah has ordered the hospital’s director also suspended, according to Al Mamlaka TV, which added that all of the dead were coronavirus patients.
The Al Rai newspaper, a government mouthpiece, confirmed that Health Minister Nathir Obeidat had resigned.
German cases could revisit December peak in April
German health experts have warned against any further easing of coronavirus lockdown measures as the number of cases jumped again, raising the possibility that infections could again reach peaks seen around Christmas by mid-April.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases predicted that the number of daily reported cases could exceed 30,000 in the 14th week of the year starting April 12.
"An extrapolation of the trends shows that case numbers can be expected above the Christmas level from week 14 onwards," the RKI said in its current situation report.
Ethiopia begins Covid-19 vaccine rollout
Hoping to curb a recent spike in infections, Ethiopia has kicked off its Covid-19 vaccination drive.
Jabs were administered in several major cities, including the capital Addis Ababa, where top government officials and UN representatives attended a ceremony at the Eka General Hospital.
Doctors, nurses, and support staff at the hospital, one of Ethiopia’s main Covid-19 treatment centres, were given shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Ethiopia received its first batch of 2.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week under the COVAX initiative, a project co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines around the world.
Tunisia starts vaccination campaign with Sputnik V shots
Tunisia has launched its vaccination campaign, four days after receiving the first 30,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines.
First up for a shot in the arm in the North African country were health care workers, soldiers and security officers, plus people over 65 and people with chronic health problems.
AstraZeneca announces shortfall in planned EU vaccine delivery
Anglo/Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has announced a fresh shortfall in planned vaccine shipments to the EU, citing production problems and export restrictions.
"AstraZeneca is disappointed to announce a shortfall in planned Covid-19 vaccine shipments to the European Union (EU) despite working tirelessly to accelerate supply," it said in a statement.
The company had previously warned it was facing shortfalls from its European supply chain due to "lower-than-expected output from the production process."
Poland reports 21,049 daily virus cases
Poland has reported 21,049 daily virus cases, the highest figure since November 2020.
The country's health ministry said there were a further 343 coronavirus-related deaths. In total, Poland has reported 1,889,360 cases and 47,068 deaths.
Russia records 9,908 new cases
Russia has reported 9,908 new cases, including 1,600 in Moscow, taking its total case tally to 4,380,525 since the pandemic began.
The government coronavirus task force also said that 475 people had died in the last 24 hours, pushing its death toll to 91,695.
Six die in Jordan hospital due to lack of oxygen supplies
Six patients receiving treatment for Covid-19 have died in the Jordanian capital, Amman, due to a shortage of oxygen supplies, according to the state television.
The deaths have caused a state of panic in Al Salt New Hospital, where the incident occurred, Al Mamlaka TV reported.
Jordanian authorities have yet to issue a statement on the incident.
India records highest single-day spike in Covid-19 cases
After witnessing a steady decline in the daily cases, several states in India have started to see a spike in new cases, with the country reporting almost 25,000 new infections.
According to the Health Ministry, the western state of Maharashtra alone reported over 15,000 new cases during the last 24 hours.
As of this morning, the country saw 24,882 new cases and 140 deaths, pushing the case load above 11.33 million and the death toll to 158,446.
The new cases are the largest single-day spike this year.
In September, the daily case toll crossed 90,000, but later started to decline across the country, with the numbers reaching an eight-month low in end-January. But the figures started to show an increase again.
Australia reports first local case in two weeks
Australia has recorded first local case in more than two weeks after a doctor tested positive for the coronavirus, triggering restrictions in area hospitals.
Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the unnamed doctor last week treated two patients who had recently returned to Australia and had tested positive for the UK variant.
It was Australia's first local infection since February 24.
Philippines detects first case of Brazil virus variant
The Philippines has detected its first case of the highly contagious coronavirus variant first identified in Brazil.
A Filipino returning from Brazil tested positive for the P.1 variant after 752 samples were sequenced at the genome centre, the ministry said in a statement.
It reported 59 new infections of the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in Britain, and 32 cases of the B.1.351 variant discovered in South Africa. This brings cases for those variants to 177 and 90, respectively.
South Korea reports three-week high 490 virus cases
South Korea has reported a three-week high 490 new coronavirus cases with infections creeping higher as the authorities prepare for a broad vaccine rollout.
The daily tally as of Friday midnight was up slightly from 488 the day before to the highest since February 19, said the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Of Friday's total, 474 were locally transmitted infections and 16 imported.
This brings the country's total coronavirus infections to 95,176 with 1,667 deaths.
The number of confirmed virus cases in Germany has increased by 12,674 to 2,558,455.
The reported death toll rose by 239 to 73,301, the data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.
Mexico's coronavirus death toll rises to 193,851
Mexico has registered 6,743 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 709 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 2,157,771 cases and 193,851 deaths, Health Ministry data showed.
The government says the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
Mainland China reports 7 new virus cases vs 9 a day earlier
Mainland China reported seven new Covid-19 cases on March 12, down from nine cases a day earlier, the country's national health authority said.
All of the new cases were imported infections, the National Health Commission said in a statement. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 17 from 10 cases a day earlier.
The total of confirmed cases in mainland China now stands at 90,034, while the Covid-19 death toll remained 4,636.
Thailand delays AstraZeneca vaccine rollout
Thailand abruptly delayed its rollout of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, stopping Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha from getting the first jab as several European nations suspended their programmes over blood clot fears.
The kingdom was scheduled to start administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday, with Prayut expected to be filmed receiving the first injection.
But by 8:30 am (0130 GMT), the gruff former general was nowhere to be seen, the event was abruptly cancelled, and a press conference with health officials was called.
Brazil registers 85,663 new cases and 2,216 deaths
Brazil reported 2,216 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the third day in a row that it has had fatalities exceed 2,000 in the worst run of deaths since the pandemic began last year.
The South American country also reported 85,663 new cases of coronavirus infection, the second-highest number for a day. Brazil has now registered 11,363,380 cases in all, while the official death toll has risen to 275,105, according to ministry data, in the world's second-deadliest outbreak outside the United States.
Vaccines for all over-40s in UK by Easter
People over 40 in the UK will be offered their first coronavirus vaccination by Easter on April 4 as a boost in supplies will allow rapid expansion of the inoculation programme, the Telegraph reported, citing a senior government source.
Vaccine stocks are expected to more than double, allowing the National Health Service to offer a million doses a day in coming weeks, the newspaper said.
People over the age of 50 are expected to receive an invitation for a vaccine dose over the next week, around three weeks ahead of the government's target, according to the report.
WHO grants emergency use of J&J vaccine
The WHO granted an emergency use listing for the coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, meaning the one-dose shot can be used as part of the international COVAX effort to distribute vaccines globally, including to developing countries with no supplies.
In a statement, the UN health agency said “the ample data from large clinical trials” shows the J&J vaccine is effective in adult populations.
The emergency use listing comes a day after the European Medicines Agency recommended the shot be given the green light across the 27-country European Union.
Mexico authorises remdesivir to treat Covid
Mexico approved the anti-viral drug remdesivir for emergency use treating Covid-19 patients in the Latin American country, one of the worst-hit by the pandemic.
Regulatory agency Cofepris said it had authorised the medicine for use exclusively by hospitals and specialist doctors during the early stages of the illness.
Mexico joins other countries, including the United States, Canada, and Japan, as well as the European Commission, that have approved the treatment for use against the coronavirus.
Remdesivir, made by US pharma giant Gilead, was one of the first drugs to show relative promise in shortening the time to recovery in some Covid-19 patients.
US health officials warn of false positives
The US health officials are warning health professionals about the risk of false-positive results with a widely used laboratory test for Covid-19 and flu.
The Food and Drug Administration issued the alert for health facilities using Roche’s cobas test for coronavirus and seasonal flu. The agency warned that problems with the test’s processing tubes could result in false diagnoses in people who are not actually infected.
Roche’s testing system is widely used to screen large batches of patient samples in hospitals and laboratories.
Covid outbreak closes Amazon Canada warehouse
Canadian authorities ordered an Amazon warehouse to close and for its 5,000 employees to self-isolate after a Covid-19 outbreak.
Public health officials said workers at the tech giant's Brampton facility north of Toronto were required to "to self-isolate for two weeks effective 12:01 am March 13, 2021".
"Over the past few weeks, the rate of Covid-19 infection across (the region) has been decreasing while the rate inside this facility has been increasing significantly," said a statement from health officials for the regional municipality of Peel.
Only worker s who had tested positive in the last 90 days and already completed their isolation were exempt from the quarantine order.