Coronavirus live news: record cases in South Korea and Thailand; US may mandate vaccines for federal workers | World news
Thailand has begun using sleeper trains to transport Covid patients out of Bangkok, where hospitals have been overwhelmed by a recent surge in cases.
The first train left the capital on Tuesday, transporting 137 patients who were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms to their home towns in the north-east of the country.
Thailand is facing its third and most severe wave of Covid since the start of the pandemic, driven by the Delta variant, which has spread widely across the capital. Hospitals have been forced to treat patients in car parking areas, and to turn away patients who are severely ill.
New Zealand’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout will significantly expand from today, with the first segment of 2 million people in group 4 becoming eligible.
Up until now, border workers, frontline workers, the vulnerable and those aged over 65 – people in the first three groups – have been the priority. People over the age of 60 will now also be eligible. The remainder of group 4 – those aged 16 and over – will become eligible later in the year.
The rollout has faced criticism for being slow compared with other countries, with New Zealand sitting at the bottom of the OECD for vaccinations administered per population.
But prime minister Jacinda Ardern said she is proud of the progress so far, adding that the programme is the most significant vaccination programme the health system has ever undertaken.
Roughly 1.7 million first doses have been administered in New Zealand, and 699,479 have had a second dose.
“Over the last week there has been a 40% increase in the number of vaccines administered, 204,943 in the past seven days with that number set to keep rising,” Ardern said.
“So far we are running according to our plans. In some cases we are performing over and above where we thought we would be.”
She said the recent arrival of large vaccine deliveries will allow health officials to ramp up the rollout.
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