Coronavirus Updates: US deaths pass 3,000 in a day, Japan buys 10,500 freezers for vaccines

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Coronavirus Updates: US deaths pass 3,000 in a day, Japan buys 10,500 freezers for vaccines
Coronavirus Updates: US deaths pass 3,000 in a day, Japan buys 10,500 freezers for vaccines

The United States on Wednesday registered more than 3,000 deaths from Covid-19 in 24 hours, the highest toll since the pandemic began.

American officials warned a spike in deaths was coming after millions traveled around the country for the Thanksgiving holiday last month, ignoring pleas to stay home to slow the spread of the virus.

The country has recorded 289,188 Covid deaths, up by 3,071 in 24 hours. It also registered nearly 220,481 new cases and hospitalisations hit a new high too.

California, where some 33 million people were back under lockdown this week, saw more than 30,000 cases on Wednesday – the highest 24-hour tally in a US state, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

– South Korea scrambles to build hospitals

South Korea authorities scrambled on Thursday to build hospital beds in shipping containers to ease strains on medical facilities stretched by the latest coronavirus wave, which shows little sign of abating.

The resurgence of infections has rekindled concerns about an acute shortage of hospital beds, prompting Seoul city to begin installing container beds for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Health authorities plan to launching testing temporary sites at some 150 locations across the greater Seoul area.

“We’re in a critical situation where our anti-virus efforts and medical system’s capacity could reach their limits before long,” Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said.

Thursday’s 682 new infections came a day after the daily tally hit 686, the second-highest since the country’s first case was confirmed in January, even as tougher social distancing rules took effect this week.

– Japan buys 10,500 freezers for vaccines

Japan will buy 10,500 deep freezers to store novel coronavirus vaccines and is considering purchasing dry ice in bulk as it prepares to protect its population from the virus, the Ministry of Health has said.

Japan has agreements to buy a total of 290 million doses of the vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna, or enough for 145 million people if everyone gets two shots as required.

Pfizer’s vaccines need to be kept at around minus 75 Celsius (minus 103 Fahrenheit, and Moderna’s at about minus 20C, posing logistics problems.

Pfizer, as well as Moderna and its domestic partner Takeda Pharmaceutical, plan to build networks to keep vaccines at the appropriate temperature as they are distributed to where they will be deployed, the ministry said in a statement.

Japan has had more than 165,000 cases of novel coronavirus infection and 2,417 fatalities, with the capital, Tokyo, particularly hard hit. Tokyo reported 352 new cases on Tuesday.

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