Coronavirus briefing: Concern mounts over the Indian “double mutation” strain The epidemic
Policy and vaccines
- Total EU cases declined slightly after a previous rebound. Cases have moved sideways in France and Italy and show some stabilisation in Germany, after a previous increase.
- US cases have continued to rise slowly, while deaths seem to have stabilised.
- India continues to see a massive surge in cases and deaths are at levels similar to their peak last September. This raises concern over the Indian “double mutation” strain. The strain shares similarities with other variants with higher transmission rates and lower vaccine efficiency. It has also been found in Denmark, Norway, the US, the UK, Australia, and South Korea.
- Swedish cases continue to trend up and hospitalisations continue to increase.
- Cases trend down slowly and hospitalisations have declined in Finland.
- New cases have continued to decline fast in Estonia, while they are rising in Lithuania.
- The French government plans to allow museums and outdoor dining to open mid-May.
- The Italian government announced easing of restrictions on schools and restaurants on April 26.
- In India, New Delhi and the states of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh implemented partial lockdowns.
- Denmark will ease many restrictions from April 21, including on outdoor dining, museums, libraries, and shopping malls. An agreement on further easing of restrictions was also made.
- The US White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci said that the FDA decision on how to resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would likely come by Friday, and that he doubts that the use of the vaccine will be cancelled altogether.
- AstraZeneca stated that its modified shot for new variants could be ready already by year-end.
- According to sources, Chinese officials are planning to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine during the next 10 weeks.
- The Swedish Public Health Agency will announce their decision on how the AstraZeneca vaccine will be used going forward at the beginning of the week, likely on Tuesday.
- US retail sales jumped 9.8% from the previous month in March, with support from vaccination, reopening and stimulus checks. Industrial production increased more moderately, by 1.4%, over the month.
- China's GDP grew by 18.3% on an annual basis but the quarterly rate slowed to 0.6%, indicating some slowdown in growth momentum.
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