Chinese in Italy “penalized” by pass, promise of Gates pill: COVID Bulletin

One of the largest in Italy Chinese communities say they are unfairly penalized by the government’s mandatory COVID-19 health pass. The latest complaints come from the Chinese community in Prato. Many have been inoculated in China with Sinovac, which has not been approved by the EU regulator, despite being on the World Health Organization’s emergency use list.

That means those who have been vaccinated with Sinovac are not eligible for the Green Pass. The leader of the Chinese community of Prato, Luca Zhou Long, wrote to Tuscan President Eugenio Giani asking him to remove the “bureaucratic obstacle” preventing many Chinese from going to work.

• The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $ 120 million to help the poorest countries access a new COVID-19 pill treatment developed by the US pharmaceutical company Merck. Molnupiravir halves the risk of hospitalization in patients who take it in the first few days of infection, the company said.

“This commitment is based on the continued efforts of the foundation (…)

• Chinese scientists have developed a new test to detect the virus that only requires the patient to blow through a tube. The study is still in its early stages, with only 191 patients tested, but the researchers found that respiratory acetone was significantly lower for COVID-19 patients than for other subjects, and 91 % of people infected with the virus have tested positive using this method. Results are confirmed within 12 minutes of sample provision and scientists say this could provide a rapid, non-invasive screening alternative to swab PCR testing

• A new sub-variant of the Delta strain of COVID-19 has been identified in Israel, after being detected for the first time in the United Kingdom. “The AY 4.2 variant, which has been discovered in a number of countries in Europe, has been identified in Israel,” the health ministry said. An 11-year-old boy arriving in Tel Aviv from Europe is believed to be the carrier, he added.

In the UK, the coronavirus infection rates have been over 40,000 every day for the past week and on Tuesday the death rate was the highest since March. The NHS Confederation, which represents health service organizations, said some restrictions should come back to avoid “stumbling into a winter crisis”. The government said it was “monitoring the increase in the number of cases very closely.”

British trade and industry Minister Kwasi Kwarteng has told the BBC: “I would exclude [more restrictions]“Instead of the increase in the number of cases, Kwarteng referred to the economic recovery when describing the effect of the UK government’s response to the pandemic.“ I think it worked. And that’s one of the reasons we have the fastest growing economy in the G7, ”he said.

Kwarteng also reaffirmed the UK government support for booster jabs vaccine, claiming that they are accessible to anyone over 50 and to frontline health workers.

The Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin revealed plans to reintroduce homework and legislate on compulsory vaccines for emergency responders and civilian workers. It comes as the number of cases continues to rise across Russia. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin supported plans for a nationwide non-work week from October 30. It would be a government-backed holiday for all except essential workers according to some and a necessary “firewall” in many cases, according to others.

• Bulgaria to make COVID-19 passes compulsory to enter indoor restaurants, cinemas, gyms and shopping malls amid the rise in coronavirus infections.

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