Today's Health News in Snippets


African Union secures 270m Covid-19 vaccine doses

A provisional 270 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been secured by the African Union (AU) for distribution across the continent.


All of the doses will be used this year, promises current AU head South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.


This is on top of 600 million doses already promised but is still not enough to vaccinate the whole region.


There are fears that poorer countries globally will wait far longer than richer nations to be inoculated.


Although infection numbers and death rates are comparatively lower across most of Africa, cases are spiking again in some areas.

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Covid cases remain lowest among younger children, even after schools reopened, study says

A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Covid-19 cases among younger children remained low even after schools restarted for in-person learning. To safely reopen schools, however, transmission in communities must be kept in check.


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WHO team lands in China to probe virus origins

After a number of hold-ups and delays, a team of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) has arrived in the Chinese city of Wuhan to investigate the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.


The group of 10 scientists will quarantine for two weeks before interviewing people from research institutes, hospitals and the seafood market linked to the initial outbreak in late 2019.


China has faced criticism, notably from the US, over whether it was fully transparent when the virus first emerged there. For months now, Beijing has insisted the origins of the virus came from elsewhere.


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Lesotho announces 14-day Covid lockdown

Lesotho's Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has imposed a 14-day total lockdown following a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections in the country, the government website has reported.


Mr Majoro said it would mean the complete restriction of movement except when accessing essential services.


The lockdown comes into effect from midnight on Thursday.


Lesotho, a small mountain kingdom surrounded by South Africa, has recorded more than 5,900 Covid-19 infections, including 85 deaths.


Many of its residents cross the border for work and to shop.


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Past Covid-19 infection may provide 'months of immunity'

Most people who have had Covid-19 are protected from catching it again for at least five months, a study led by Public Health England shows.


Past infection gave people 83% protection from reinfection, compared with those who had never had the virus, scientists found.


But experts warn some people do catch Covid-19 again - and can infect others.


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First South African virus variant reported in Taiwan

Taiwan's Health Minister, Chen Shih-chung, on Wednesday reported the island had confirmed its first case of the South African variant of the coronavirus.


The people had been to Taiwan's only African ally country Eswatini.


Eswatini was formerly known as Swaziland.

Starting Thursday, anyone who has been in Eswatini in the past 14 days must undergo quarantine and testing in a central government facility.


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