Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Canada confirms first two monkeypox cases
Canada’s public health agency on Thursday confirmed the first two cases of monkeypox virus infections in the country after authorities in Quebec province said they were investigating 17 suspected cases. Several countries including Portugal and Spain have reported cases of monkeypox in recent weeks, with a U.S. case identified by Massachusetts public health officials on Wednesday in a man who had recently traveled to the Canadian province of Quebec.
North Korea hails ‘good results’ on COVID as fever cases pass 2 million
North Korea said on Friday it was achieving “good results” in its fight against its first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak, as the number of people with fever symptoms rose past 2 million. A wave of COVID infections, which North Korea first confirmed last week, has fanned worry about a lack of medical resources and vaccines in the isolated country heavily sanctioned for its nuclear weapons program.
Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus
Shanghai reported new COVID-19 cases outside quarantined areas for the first time after five days of no infections, prompting stricter curbs in a district, but plans to end a prolonged city-wide lockdown on June 1 appeared to remain on track. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
Shanghai detects new infections after five days of ‘zero COVID’
Shanghai reported new COVID-19 cases outside quarantined areas for the first time after five days of no infections, prompting stricter curbs in a district, but plans to end a prolonged city-wide lockdown on June 1 appeared to remain on track. The commercial hub of 25 million found three new cases outside quarantined areas in one district on May 19. Infections also rose inside strictly controlled areas.
U.S. CDC backs COVID boosters for children 5 to 11
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday recommended the COVID-19 vaccine booster for children ages 5 to 11 after an advisory panel voted to back them, at least five months after completing their primary vaccination course. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement that she “endorsed” the vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices “to expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses. Children 5 through 11 should receive a booster dose at least 5 months after their primary series.”
U.S. FDA says Abbott baby formula plant on track to reopen in 1-2 weeks
Abbott Laboratories and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are on track to reopen Abbott’s baby formula manufacturing plant in Sturgis, Michigan, within one or two weeks, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said on Thursday. Abbott, the biggest U.S. supplier of powder infant formula, including Similac, on Monday, agreed with the FDA on the steps needed to resume production at the plant.
Australia reports suspected monkeypox case in a returned traveler from Europe
Australian authorities on Friday said they had identified a probable cause of monkeypox infection in a traveler who had recently returned from Europe, with confirmatory testing underway. A man in his 40s developed a mild illness several days after arriving back in Sydney with symptoms clinically compatible with monkeypox, New South Wales (NSW) state health department said. The man and a household contact are isolated at home.
UK vaccine advisers eye autumn COVID boosters for over-65s
Britain’s vaccine advisers on Thursday said that an anticipated autumn COVID booster campaign would be aimed at people aged over 65, care home residents, frontline health and social care workers, and all adults in a clinical risk group. Britain is offering a spring booster to the over-75s, care home residents, and immunosuppressed people, and ministers have spoken openly of plans for a further booster campaign in the autumn.
Vaccination after infection may curb long COVID; desktop ‘air curtains’ may deflect virus particles
The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Post-infection vaccination may reduce long COVID
North Korea’s Dr Fauci? Health official emerges as face of COVID campaign
At 9:30 a.m. every day this week, a soft-spoken official has appeared on North Korean television to report the number of people with fever and new deaths and to explain measures to stop North Korea’s first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak. The little-known official, Ryu Yong Chol, has become the public face of the isolated country’s battle against the epidemic, the equivalent of U.S. COVID-19 czar Dr Anthony Fauci or the director of South Korea’s disease prevention agency, Jeong Eun-Kyong.
(With inputs from agencies.)