India’s 7-day COVID-19 average at new high, WHO issues warning
US authorizes Pfizer jab for 12-15-year-olds
Published: May 11, 2021 07:03 PM
The US on Monday authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15, while the devastating outbreak in India raged on.

A health worker tries to adjust the oxygen mask of a patient at the BKC jumbo field hospital, one of the largest COVID-19 facilities in Mumbai, India, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Photo: VCG

A health worker tries to adjust the oxygen mask of a patient at the BKC jumbo field hospital, one of the largest COVID-19 facilities in Mumbai, India, on  May 6. Photo: VCG

The US Food and Drug Administration previously had granted an emergency use authorization for the jab to individuals aged 16 and older.

"This is a promising development in our fight against the virus," said President Joe Biden. 

However, the World Health Organization in Geneva warned the B.1.617 variant spreading in India appears to be more contagious, classifying it as a "variant of concern at the global level."

Rapid vaccination programs have allowed a number of wealthy nations to start taking steps towards normality.

The head of the European Medicines Agency said Monday that BioNTech/Pfizer's jab against COVID-19 soon could be approved for 12- to 15-year-olds in the EU, as well, perhaps as early as May.

Ireland on Monday lifted domestic travel restrictions and began a phased reopening of nonessential retailers, while Greece opened nursery, elementary and middle schools ahead of kicking off the tourist season from Friday.

Tourism might get a shot in the arm from the European Union.

Spain, which at the weekend lifted a six-month state of emergency and allowed travel between regions, sounded a note of caution after joyful crowds celebrated in the streets without masks or social distancing.

Cyprus on Monday exited a third partial lockdown with a new coronavirus "safety pass" system to allow people to move freely.

In Milan, the legendary La Scala opera house triumphantly reopened after six months of pandemic-imposed closure.

"I hope this is a new beginning and that we won't stop again after these sad months of silence," said first violinist Laura Marzadori, smiling broadly. 

And in Germany, people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 were exempt from many restrictions from Sunday after the government passed new legislation.

But in Norway, an expert government committee recommended the Johnson & Johnson and the AstraZeneca jabs be dropped over the risks of rare but serious side effects.

India's coronavirus crisis showed scant sign of easing on Tuesday, with a seven-day average of new cases at a record high and international heath authorities warning the country's variant of the virus poses a global concern.

India's daily coronavirus cases rose by 329,942, while deaths from the disease rose by 3,876, according to the health ministry. India's total coronavirus infections are now at 22.99 million, while total fatalities rose to 249,992. India leads the world in the daily average number of new deaths reported.