US records its highest daily death toll

Live version of coronavirus map

The United States on Tuesday announced all air travelers entering the country will need a negative Covid-19 test before departure, as the country hit a record of nearly 4,500 deaths in a single day.

The policy takes effect on January 26 and expands an existing measure targeting Britain, where the strain known as B117 has been tied to a drastic spike in cases.

Ireland, which now has the world’s highest per capita infection rate, also announced Tuesday it was extending testing measures that previously applied only to travelers from the UK and South Africa.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer,” said Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Source: Asia Times

Contingency planning guides Pfizer vaccine distribution flow

With lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines finally en route to state administration sites, the guiding principles for officials in charge of managing the supply chain are adaptability and maintaining a consistent flow of doses to health care facilities.

Army Gen. Gus Perna, the chief operating officer for the Operation Warp Speed partnership between government and industry, said Saturday that Defense Department logisticians held back 500,000 doses so they can adjust deliveries for potential contingencies that arise.

Just under 3 million doses are being shipped from Pfizer Inc.’s (NYSE: PFE) facilities in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, this week. Pfizer is managing the physical distribution on its own in close conjunction with Perna’s team.

The delivery of the first vaccines could be the beginning of the end to a national nightmare that has claimed nearly 300,000 lives in nine months, but “we have a lot of work to do,” Perna said during a press conference. “We are not taking a victory lap. We know that the road ahead of us will be tough. We know situations will occur. But we will figure it out, together, collectively, in a whole-of-America approach to solve the problems.”

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Source: American Shipper

Millions of Californians locked down, UK to start vaccinating

An overwhelming majority of California’s residents went into lockdown Monday, putting 33 million people under stay-at-home orders as the United States battled record Covid deaths and Britain readied to vaccinate the elderly and frontline staff.

The lockdown in America’s most populous state forced most offices to close and banned gatherings among different households, while bars and services such as hair salons were shut and restaurants were only allowed to serve takeout.

“The overwhelming majority of Californians are now in this new stay-at-home order protocol,” said state Governor Gavin Newsom, who earlier warned that the state hospital system was at risk of being “overwhelmed.”

The United States’ floundering efforts to quell the Covid-19 pandemic have been widely criticized, with a daily death toll of over 2,500 for five days in a row last week.

President Donald Trump and senior officials have repeatedly downplayed the risks while ignoring basic public health measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing at mass rallies and White House events.

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Source: Asia Times

Britain’s queen to get vaccine soon

Live version of coronavirus map

The United States notched a record number of coronavirus cases in 24 hours for the third day running, as it was reported that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will get a vaccine within weeks.

A tally by Johns Hopkins University showed the world’s worst-hit country – which has seen a dramatic virus resurgence in recent weeks – reached nearly 230,000 new infections and 2,527 Covid-related deaths on Saturday alone.

For two weeks, the US has regularly topped 2,000 deaths per day, as it had in the spring at the height of the first wave of the country’s outbreak.

US health officials warned of a surge after millions of Americans traveled to celebrate last week’s Thanksgiving holiday despite pleas from authorities to stay home.

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Source: Asia Times

Air cargo takes to the world stage and will give vaccine distribution its best shot

The year 2020 has been unlike any other for air cargo: the industry has accomplished the notable feat of delivering life-saving goods in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, while reeling from significant capacity groundings.
Yet, what comes next will be the biggest challenge to air cargo’s ingenuity in its modern history: delivering long-awaited Covid-19 vaccines worldwide.

With recent news from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna that their vaccines show outstanding efficacy rates, all eyes are now turning to the logistics sector to assess readiness for distribution.

survey by The International Air Cargo Association and Pharma.Aero found that only 28% of respondents in the air cargo sector felt ‘well prepared’ for the distribution of the vaccine. Despite many unknowns, cargo communities worldwide have already started preparing for the event. Indeed, it will take considerable planning and effective coordination between airports and logistics companies to take up such a high-stakes challenge.

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Source: The Load Star