Australia’s Victoria reports zero cases as lockdown ends
Australia’s Victoria state reported zero locally acquired cases of Covid-19 for the first time in nearly three weeks on Friday as state capital Melbourne came out of a snap two-week lockdown after an outbreak that has seen about 90 cases since May 24.
Melbourne exited the lockdown on Thursday night but some restrictions on travel and gathering will remain, including a rule that would force the city’s five million residents to stay within 25 km (15 miles) of their homes.
Neighbouring New South Wales (NSW) state and Queensland, meanwhile, are on virus alert after an infected woman and her husband travelled from Victoria through several country towns in both states.
China’s government said on Friday that it welcomed Taiwanese to come and get vaccinated against Covid-19 and called on Taiwan to remove obstacles and allow its people to receive the “highly effective” Chinese shots.
China claims democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory and has repeatedly offered to send vaccines to the island, which is battling a spike in domestic infections but has expressed concern about the safety of Chinese shots and has not cleared them for use.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement two Chinese-made vaccines had been granted emergency use authorisation by the World Health Organisation and its shots were in use or approved by more than 90 countries, showing their safety and efficacy.
Taiwan people can come to China to get vaccinated against Covid-19, provided they strictly comply with China’s pandemic control measures, the office said.
It urged Taiwan’s government to “quickly remove artificial obstacles for mainland vaccines being sent to Taiwan and allow the broad mass of Taiwan compatriots to receive the safe and highly effective mainland vaccines”.
Brazil plans to allow vaccinated people to not wear face masks
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that the health minister was preparing a measure to no longer require face masks for people who have been vaccinated for the coronavirus or previously infected.
Mr Bolsonaro, who has opposed lockdowns and social distancing despite his country having the second-deadliest outbreak, said in a speech that quarantines should be only for infected people.
“They are useful for people who are infected,” he said, adding: “Quarantines are for those who are infected.”
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said Mr Bolsonaro has asked him for a study on the use of masks in Brazil.
World’s first organ transplant from Covid-positive to negative patient
The world’s first organ transplant from a Covid-positive patient to a Covid-negative one has taken place in the Italian city of Bologna, writes Erica Di Blasi in Turin.
The operation took place in late April but news emerged only on Thursday. Normally transplants from Covid sufferers are banned by the Italian health authorities but this operation “was necessary to save the life of the recipient”, said the Sant’Orsola hospital in Bologna, where the surgery took place. The patient was discharged in good health on June 1.
A second heart transplant from a Covid sufferer was made to a 15-year-old boy at the Child Jesus hospital of Rome. He had been on the waiting list for a heart since September last year. A compatible organ was identified last month but it was from a donor who had the virus. Again, special authorisation from Italy’s National Transplant Centre and the Italian Medicines Agency was needed.
The boy has been treated with monoclonal antibodies to minimise the risk of developing Covid.