Experts in the US are expected to recommend that all Americans should have Covid-19 vaccine boosters eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, the Associated Press reports, as officials race to prevent the Delta variant spreading across the country.
Federal health officials are watching the rising case numbers in the US very closely and are considering whether extra shots for the vaccinated will be needed before the onset of winter, the news wire says.
They are also looking at the situation in other countries such as Israel, where preliminary studies suggest the vaccine’s protection against serious illness dropped among those vaccinated in January.
To read more on this story, check out this report:
The premier of New South Wales (NSW), Gladys Berejiklian, has warned that cases in Sydney are set to rise “substantially” over the coming weeks despite the prolonged lockdown.
The Australian city has struggled to get on top of a growing outbreak, which was sparked in June when a limo driver is thought to have caught the virus from an international aircrew.
New South Wales reported 452 cases in the past 24 hours, the third-biggest one-day jump, and one new death.
“We envisage that case numbers in the next two or three weeks will bounce around and are likely to rise substantially,” said Berejiklian.
She also announced that the state was launching a vaccination drive targeting 16- to 39-year-olds in Sydney’s south-west, where the majority of new Covid cases are being reported.
More from Guardian Australia reporter Anne Davies:
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s rolling coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic with me, Helen Livingstone.
New Zealand has reported its first community case of Covid-19 since February, with health officials racing to discover its source. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern is set to address the media at 6pm local time.
US experts are expected to recommend vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country
Across the Tasman, authorities in Sydney say cases are set to rise “substantially” in the coming weeks despite a weeks-long lockdown, as the Australian city struggles to get on top of a growing outbreak.
Japan is set to extend its state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions to 12 September and widen curbs to seven more prefectures, as Covid-19 cases spike in the capital and nationwide.
Here’s what’s been happening over the past 24 hours:
- The former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who was in the post at the beginning of the pandemic, has said the hypothesis that Covid was manipulated or “taught” to infect humans must be investigated further. He said he believes the virus “was most likely uncontained in a laboratory where it was being worked on, and that it escaped unintentionally”.
- The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will not have any spectators due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Japan, the organisers announced in statement “in light of the current emergency declaration issued for Tokyo, Saitama and Chiba prefectures” and “the current infection situation broadly”.
- A troubling divide in Irish schools looks likely to emerge as unvaccinated children would have to take up to two weeks out of school if they were a close contact of a Covid-positive peer, but vaccinated children would not – despite still being able to contract and transmit the virus.
- The UK’s health regulator said Covid-19 vaccines did not raise the risk of miscarriage, and that it had not found any link between the shots and changes to menstrual periods. It came after Europe’s drugs regulator said it had so far not found a causal link between Covid-19 vaccines and menstrual disorders.
- The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, will temporarily be allowed to enforce an order banning mask mandates, the state supreme court ruled. However, the ultimate fate of mask mandates in Texas is far from clear, as school districts and localities fight to maintain control of public health orders.
- Thai police again used water cannon and teargas to disperse protesters near the office of the prime minister, as opposition parties moved to censure him in parliament over his handling of the pandemic. Hundreds marched on government house to demand his resignation.
- Several major California law enforcement agencies are reporting Covid-19 vaccination rates that are significantly lower than those of the general population, and seven state prisons have disclosed that less than a third of their officers are vaccinated.