India expert panel recommends Covaxin for kids aged 2 & above

A health worker prepares a dose of Covaxin in the COVID-19 vaccination room at the Super Speciality Hospital Hospital in Srinagar, India, on Jan 29, 2021. (PHOTO / BLOOMBERG)

ISTANBUL / SYDNEY / DHAKA / NEW DELHI / TEHRAN / KUALA LUMPUR / ULAN BATOR / YANGON / WELLINGTON / ISLAMABAD / SINGAPORE / SEOUL / MANILA / BANGKOK / TOKYO – India's subject expert committee (SEC) has recommended Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine – Covaxin for use on children in the 2-18 age group, local media reported Tuesday.

The SEC has sent recommendations to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), which has the authority to give final approval.

If Covaxin gets approval, it will be the second vaccine cleared for use on children in India. In August, Zydus Cadila's three-dose DNA jab was allowed to be used on adults and children over 12 years old.

India is focussing on vaccinating children against the COVID-19.

At present, vaccination for people above 18 years is underway in the country. According to the federal health ministry, until Tuesday morning, over 958 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

India on Tuesday registered 14,313 COVID-19 cases, the lowest number of daily infections since March 2.

People take pictures as they visit the Tokyo Skytree observation deck in Tokyo on Oct 10, 2021. (PHILIP FONG / AFP)


The Japanese government is working on starting COVID-19 booster shots by year-end, deputy chief cabinet secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Isozaki added that details such as who would get booster shots first and how they would be administered are currently under discussion by experts.

“We would like to ensure that the roll-out of the booster shots is done seamlessly, based on the advice of experts,” he said.

The statement comes amid increased interest in booster shots as more of Japan’s population gets vaccinated.

“We would like to ensure that the roll-out of the booster shots is done seamlessly, based on the advice of experts,” he said.

The statement comes amid increased interest in booster shots as more of Japan’s population gets vaccinated.

New prime minister Fumio Kishida told parliament earlier on Tuesday that he plans to have the booster shots publicly funded.

The health ministry also announced on Friday that Pfizer Inc will supply Japan with another 120 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from January 2022.

As of Tuesday, some 74 percent of Japan’s population had received their first shot, and about 65 percent are fully vaccinated, according to broadcaster NHK.

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Sydney’s COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest in two months on Tuesday as authorities rolled out support measures for businesses, shifting their focus to rejuvenating the economy after the city exited a nearly four-month lockdown a day earlier.

Pubs, cafes and retail stores reopened in New South Wales (NSW), home to Sydney, on Monday after vaccination levels in the state’s adult population crossed 70 percent.

New daily infections in the state fell to 360 on Tuesday, the majority in Sydney, marking a steady downward trend.

Sydney, along with Melbourne and Australia’s capital Canberra, are in the grip of a third wave of infections fuelled by the highly infectious Delta variant, with all cities looking to begin easing curbs in stages when full vaccination rates reach 70 percent, 80 percent and 90 percent.


Bangladesh aims to administer COVID-19 vaccines to nearly half of its population by next January.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Monday said the Bangladeshi government is working to vaccinate 80 million people by December and January, Bangladesh's state-run news agency BSS reported.

The minister said the government is considering vaccinating children aged between 12 and 17 years.

Bangladesh has already announced a target of vaccinating 80 percent of its population by 2022. The South Asian country has so far got nearly 70 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, largely being China's Sinopharm vaccines.


The Iranian health ministry reported on Monday 13,504 new COVID-19 cases, taking the country's total infections to 5,716,394.

According to an official release, the pandemic has claimed 122,868 lives in the country so far, after 276 new deaths were registered in the past 24 hours.


Malaysia reported 6,709 new COVID-19 infections as of midnight Monday, bringing the national total to 2,346,303, according to the health ministry.

Some six of the new cases are imported and 6,703 are local transmissions, data released on the ministry's website showed.

Another 93 more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 27,422.


Mongolia recorded 1,566 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 328,304, the country's health ministry reported on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, 15 more patients aged over 20 died in the past day, bringing the nationwide death toll to 1,392.

The resurgence of COVID-19 has continued due to the Delta wave, and more than 1,000 infections and 10 or more deaths have been reported daily in the country with a population of around 3.4 million.

Travellers ride a shuttle bus to their plane for departure from the airport in Yangon on Oct 9, 2021. (STR / AFP)


Myanmar on Monday reported 1,197 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a daily test positivity rate of 7.3 percent in the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally to 479,848.

The Ministry of Health said in a release that with 28 more deaths recorded from the pandemic nationwide, the coronavirus death toll has risen to 18,162.

New Zealand

New Zealand expects to administer a record 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in a single day during a mass immunisation drive on Oct 16, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, as she seeks to accelerate inoculations before easing curbs in Auckland.

Ardern on Tuesday urged the country's population over 12 years of age "to roll up sleeves for New Zealand and help make us (one of) the most vaccinated and therefore protected countries in the world". Some 2.44 million, or 58 percent of the population over 12, have been fully vaccinated so far.

"There is nothing stopping us other than people (not) showing up," Ardern said during a media briefing in Wellington.

New Zealand, which had stayed largely virus-free for most of the pandemic until a Delta outbreak in mid-August, reported 43 new Delta variant cases of COVID-19 in the community on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections in the country's community outbreak to 1,664.

Forty of the new infections were recorded in the largest city Auckland and three cases were in nearby Waikato, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told a press conference.

Thirty-four community cases are being treated in hospitals, including five in intensive care units (ICUs) or high dependency units (HDUs), Bloomfield said.

In this Aug 18, 2021 photo, people visit a COVID-19 testing station during a nationwide lockdown in Wellington. (MARTY MELVILLE / AFP)


Pakistan on Monday reported 689 new COVID-19 cases, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) said on Tuesday.

The NCOC, a department leading campaign against the pandemic, said the country has conducted 19,953,497 tests so far while confirming overall 1,259,648 cases, including 1,189,742 recoveries.

The number of active cases has dropped to 41,754 who are under treatment across the country, including 2,280 those who are in critical condition.

According to the NCOC, the pandemic killed 18 people on Monday, increasing the death toll to 28,152.

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Nearly a third of Singapore’s residents now support living with COVID-19, a poll showed, after a push by its leader to treat the pathogen as endemic.

Some 29 percent of respondents support such a strategy, according to an online poll conducted by Milieu Insight, up from 23 percent in a survey conducted earlier this month after the government tightened some anti-virus measures. About 15 percent of the 1,201 people queried prefer a strict COVID Zero policy, down from 22 percent. 

Singapore reported 2,263 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total tally in the country to 129,229, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a press release.

Of the new cases, 1,969 were in the community, 306 were in migrant worker dormitories, and eight were imported cases.

South Korea

South Korea will donate 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam and 470,000 doses to Thailand, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Tuesday.

The donations come as South Korea has administered nearly 80 percent of its 52 million population with at least one dose of a vaccine, KDCA said in a statement.

South Korea reported 1,347 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Monday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 334,163.

Thirteen cases were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 14,737.

Eleven more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 2,594. The total fatality rate stood at 0.78 percent.


Shares in Thailand's hotels and airlines jumped in Tuesday morning's trading, lifted by an announcement by its prime minister that more vaccinated tourists would be allowed to visit the country from November.

Prayuth Chan-ocha late on Monday said more than 18 months of mandatory quarantine would end next month for vaccinated arrivals from countries considered "low risk", including the United States, Britain and China.

Thailand's strict entry requirements had kept COVID-19 infection numbers low until this year, but at a huge loss to jobs and revenues in its vital tourism sector.

Since July, it has operated pilot projects on Samui and Phuket islands allowing for vaccinated visitors and this month reduced quarantine periods elsewhere.

But arrivals have plummeted to a fraction of the nearly 40 million visitors in 2019, with tourism losing $50 billion in annual revenue, an 82 percent plunge.

Thailand on Tuesday reported 9,445 new COVID-19 cases and 84 more deaths, raising the total number of infections to more than 1.73 million while that of fatalities to 17,835, according to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

The number of new infections and deaths indicates a stabilizing trend, as a result of the months-long lockdown which took effect in many parts of the country.

The Philippines

The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported 8,615 new COVID -19 infections on Tuesday, pushing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 2,683,372.

The DOH also reported that 236 more people died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the country's death toll to 39,896.

"The relatively low cases today is due to lower laboratory output (on) Sunday," the DOH said in a statement.

The Philippines is expected to ease the lockdown restrictions in Metro Manila, home to more than 13 million people, starting this weekend due to the region's declining number of COVID -19 cases.

Metro Manila authorities plan to shorten the curfew hours from midnight to 4:00 am in the capital region.

Authorities previously imposed a 10:00 pm to 4:00 am curfew in Metro Manila as the government curbed the third wave of virus infections that peaked in September.

In this July 8, 2021 photo, a health worker vaccinates a farmworker in the village of Oguzlar, a hundred kilometres away from Ankara. (ADEM ALTAN / AFP)


Turkey logged 30,563 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the highest number of daily infections since April 30, health ministry data showed.

Turkey recorded 188 deaths from the virus in the same period.

The country’s daily cases have risen over the past month at a rate higher than most comparable countries, according to global data, while the country’s vaccination rate based on population is higher than most peers.

Daily deaths have edged lower after touching 290 in September.


Vietnam reported 2,949 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the lowest daily number since July 15, according to the country's Ministry of Health.

Most of the cases were detected in southern localities, including 1,018 in Ho Chi Minh City, 501 in Dong Nai province, and 447 in Binh Duong province.

The new infections brought the country's total tally to 846,230, with 20,763 deaths, the ministry said.