COVID-19 SUMMARY: More cases reported in the last 2 weeks than the first 6 months of epidemic, Philippine President receives first dose of China’s Sinopharm vaccine


4th May 2021 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 153,831,149 with 3,220,589 deaths as of 12.30am today.

Nearly 1.3 billion adults globally in 2020 said they would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if one were offered to them at no cost, according to a new Gallup poll released on Monday. The poll, which surveyed more than 300,000 people across 117 countries last year, showed that 68% of adults worldwide would get a vaccine if one were offered to them for free. Some 29% of those polled said they would opt out of vaccination, and another 3% said they did not know.

China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

More than 275.34 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered across China as of Sunday, the National Health Commission said Monday. 

In Hong Kong, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health said yesterday that it is following up on a positive imported case of COVID-19 with the preliminary test result involving N501Y mutant strain. As N501Y mutant strain is with high transmissibility, the CHP decided to carry out prudent measures on infection control and prevention to arrange compulsory quarantine for asymptomatic residents of all units on all floors of Beauty Mansion in TST so as to stop the potential risk of spread of N501Y mutant strain.

Covid infections in Taiwan are on the brink of spreading beyond the families of 24 confirmed cases, which includes pilots of China Airlines and employees of the Novotel at Taoyuan International Airport, Apple Daily reports, citing health minister Chen Shih-chung. The country reported two local cases on Monday.


Globally, there have been more cases of COVID-19 reported in the last two weeks than during the first six months of the pandemic, the director-general of the World Health Organisation said during a news briefing in Geneva on Monday. 

The European Union “stands by India” and will supply more aid via its civil protection mechanism, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted Monday following a call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The European Commission has today outlined plans that would allow fully vaccinated travellers from outside the European Union — the EU — to be able to enter the 27 countries of the bloc, a statement says. 

Germany recorded 9,160 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the German agency for disease control and prevention. This brings the total number of cases in the country to 3,425,982.  Authorities in Bavaria canceled Oktoberfest again this year. 

 Denmark on Monday became the first country to exclude Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 shots from its vaccination programme over a potential link to a rare but serious form of blood clot.

 Croatia’s chief epidemiologist Krunoslav Capak said on Monday that the country is flattening the coronavirus curve and that he expects to see a drop in new hospitalisations and COVID-19-related deaths soon.

U.S. and Canada

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose at the slowest pace since the pandemic began in the week ended Sunday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Florida banned the use of so-called vaccine passports.

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Health, said on CNN’s New Day Monday that while it would be unfortunate for the United States to not to reach herd immunity against COVID-19, most people will still be able to get back to their pre-pandemic lives if case numbers continue to fall.

The US Transportation Security Administration says it screened more than 1.62 million people at airports across the country on Sunday. The new record is nearly 10 times larger than the same day a year ago when numbers fell to the doldrums of the pandemic.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a letter Monday the company is discussing with the Indian government how to expedite approval of its COVID-19 vaccine.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated a “turning point moment” Monday for the city as 80,000 city workers returned to the office.

Biotech company Moderna on Monday announced an agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to supply up to 500 million COVID-19 vaccines doses in low and middle income countries.

BioNTech SE, the vaccine maker partnered with Pfizer Inc. on its COVID-19 shot, rose as much as 10% on Monday as the stock rallied past US$200 a share at the open, breaking yet another record after closing at new highs four out of five days last week.

Rest of the world

The number of COVID-19 patients who have applied to be hospitalised in the last two weeks across Turkey has decreased by half, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Monday.

India has become the third deadliest country from COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.  India’s capital Delhi has begun vaccinating its 18-44 year olds, albeit at a slow pace due to limited vaccine availability, according to the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Indian pharmaceutical company Natco Pharma has received an emergency-use approval for Baricitinib tablets from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization to treat COVID-19 patients, the company said in a statement on Monday. About 175 journalists and media workers have died after contracting COVID-19 in the past 14 months in India, according to a tally by the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI). 

The Indian government has announced it call upon medical students to boost the availability of medical personnel as the country tackles a deadly second wave of coronavirus.

Nepal has recalled retired medics to work for at least a year to help tackle the shortage of health workers as COVID-19 cases in the country rise.

Six people working on Japan’s Olympic torch relay course in Kagoshima Prefecture have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Myanmar reported four COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the tally in the country to 142,842, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health and Sports.

Vietnam’s capital instructed its 2 million school-age pupils to stay home and study online starting 4th May, as local authorities from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City imposed stiff crackdowns on public gathering sites to quickly contain a rise in local cases.

Russia reported 8,489 fresh coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. The new additions took the total to 4.832 million, according to data from the Russian government’s virus response centre. In the past day, 336 people died of the disease.

Morocco recorded its first cases of the so-called Indian variant, reported, citing a member of the kingdom’s COVID-19 scientific committee. The two cases involve one Indian national and a Moroccan citizen.

Guinea has reinforced health controls on travellers from India to prevent the spread of the Indian COVID-19 variant into the West African country. 

New Zealand’s customs agency fired nine of its workers after they refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19, it said in a statement. New Zealand has made it compulsory for all frontline border and quarantine workers to be vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination on entering a customs facility. 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte received his first dose of China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine on Monday night, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said. “His first dose was covered by the compassionate use permit issued to the Presidential Security Group (PSG) hospital by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (of the Philippines),” Roque said in a brief statement.

Thailand reported its highest COVID-19 death toll on record Monday. The country reported 31 deaths in the past 24 hours and 2,041 new cases, according to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). 

Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia has ordered an end to a blanket lockdown in Phnom Penh, even as Cambodia reported a record 841 new coronavirus cases on Monday.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health asked hospitals to defer non-urgent surgeries and admissions until further notice, in a bid to increase potential capacity for handling COVID-19 patients. Singapore saw its first fatality from COVID-19 in almost two months over the weekend, amid a flareup of cases. An 88-year-old woman with a history of cancer and cardiac failure passed away on Saturday after she was treated in a hospital, where a cluster of 27 cases has been identified since last week. Singapore also confirmed 10 new cases of locally transmitted COVID-19 linked to earlier clusters as of 12pm on 3rd May. Five patients who had been warded in Ward 9D at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), as well as a nurse who works in the emergency department are among the eight new COVID-19 cases linked to the cluster there. The TTSH cluster, Singapore’s first hospital COVID-19 cluster, has grown to 35 cases since a nurse who works in Ward 9D tested positive for the virus on 27th April.

Indonesia has recorded its first cases of a highly infectious COVID-19 variant first detected in India, the health minister said on Monday, as authorities implored people not to travel to their hometowns for the end of the Muslim fasting month.

Information compiled from Reuters, CNN, Xinhua News and Bloomberg.