Jab Shortage in China, Curbs to Return in Japan: Virus Update

Here are the latest updates on coronavirus around the world

Jab Shortage in China, Curbs to Return in Japan: Virus Update Photo

China’s target to vaccinate 560 million people -- 40% of its population -- by the end of June is hampered by a supply shortage, forcing health authorities to extend the intervals between doses, and leaving some people unable to book second shots.

Japan is set to reimpose restrictions in Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa aimed at curbing a rapid spread of the virus in those areas, three weeks after ending a state of emergency in the capital. South Korea will keep social distancing levels and a ban on gatherings of five or more people for another three weeks.

The U.S. vaccination drive picked up in the past two days after a lull following Easter and the end of Passover, the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker shows. A record 4,249 deaths were reported in Brazil. More countries are limiting use of AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine: the Netherlands won’t administer shots for people under 60, and Australia said it would guide against giving them to the under-50s. The U.S. stockpile has grown to more than 20 million doses.

China’s ambitious efforts to vaccinate 560 million people by the end of June is running into a supply shortage, forcing health authorities to extend the intervals between doses, and leaving some people unable to book second shots.

The supply bottleneck comes as China’s vaccination roll out accelerates to nearly 5 million doses a day, the fastest in the world, though the proportion of its vast population covered still lags behind the U.S., Israel and other leading inoculating nations. While China gets its vaccine supply from domestic manufacturers, thus giving it more control than most countries which are struggling to secure doses, the accelerated pace is pushing the limits of what its homegrown makers can churn out, said people familiar with the matter.

Japan is set to reimpose restrictions in Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa aimed at reining in a rapid spread of the coronavirus in those areas, three weeks after ending a state of emergency in the capital.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told an advisory panel the government is seeking to introduce the measures from April 12 until May 11 in Tokyo and May 5 in Kyoto and Okinawa. Three other areas, Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi, are already under restrictions. The formal decision is set to come later in the day.

The new measures will be similar to those applied under the emergency, with bars and restaurants being instructed to close by 8 p.m., and those that fail to comply facing potential fines. Incentives will be provided for eateries to follow virus guidelines, such as maintaining sufficient space between tables.

South Korea will maintain current social distancing levels and ban gatherings of five or more people for a further three weeks. The country is to temporarily close nightclubs and adult entertainment businesses in Seoul and Busan. There is no change in rules for business hours of karaoke bars, cafes, restaurants and gyms but further limits are possible at any time, depending on virus situation. The government is reviewing special measures to manage quarantine until most citizens receive vaccine.

The U.K. will decide by early next month whether Britons can resume taking international holidays on May 17, with destination countries rated according to their Covid-19 risk in a traffic light system.

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