China has imposed new restrictions to contain a fresh outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19 in the south-eastern Fujian province, with measures including mass testing, suspended transport services and closures of bars and cinemas.
There were at least 22 new local cases recorded in Fujian province on Monday. The South China Morning Post said authorities had ordered mass testing for students and teachers in the province of nearly 39 million people to be completed within a week.
Nationally, China on Monday reported 49 new confirmed cases in the mainland for 12 September, compared with 46 a day earlier, according to the country’s national health commission.
Putian, a city of 2.9 million people south of Shanghai, appeared to have among the highest number of infections in the current outbreak. Schools have been closed, and anyone leaving the city must have proof of a negative Covid test in the previous 48 hours.
Children aged 12 to 15 will be vaccinated in UK
Children aged 12 to 15 will be offered Covid vaccinations, the UK’s four chief medical officers have decided, setting aside the view of the government’s vaccine watchdog that the clinical benefits of such jabs were too minimal to justify them.
In a decision that will relieve ministers, who hope a mass programme of vaccinating older children could help reduce Covid infection numbers over autumn and winter, the chief medical officers from the UK’s four nations said a first injection could take place immediately, with the possibility of a second dose in the spring school term or later.
Earlier this month, the the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said that while the health gains from vaccinating the entire age group were greater than the risks, “the margin of benefit is considered too small” to support it.
However, the JCVI held open the possibility of the decision being overruled by suggesting that the UK’s four chief medical officers re-examine the decision, taking into account wider factors outside the JCVI’s remit, such as the possible impact of vaccinations in minimising disruption to schooling.
People who were fully vaccinated accounted for just 1.2% of all deaths involving Covid-19 in England in the first seven months of this year.
The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), have been seized on as proof of the success of the vaccine rollout.
They record that a total of 51,281 deaths involving Covid-19 occurred in England between 2 January and 2 July, although the number includes people who had been infected before they were vaccinated.
Of these deaths, 458 (0.8%) were of people who died at least 21 days after their second dose. Just 256 deaths (0.5%) were of people who were both fully vaccinated and who had their first positive PCR test at least 14 days after their second dose.
No vaccine is 100% effective against Covid-19, and health authorities have made it clear that some deaths of vaccinated individuals are to be expected. Public Health England (PHE) has estimated that two-dose effectiveness against hospital admission with infections from the Delta variant – which is now the UK’s dominant strain – has been around 94%.
However, the figures on Monday underlined that the risk of death involving Covid-19 is consistently lower for people who receive two doses compared with one dose or no vaccination at all.