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Headlines

• ICU capacity critical in Austin, Texas

• Thailand halves its 2021 growth forecasts

• Northern Ireland relaxes more restrictions

• Taiwan rejects approval for domestic vaccine

• Hong Kong adds 15 countries to its red list, including the US



World news


• The Austin area of Texas has set a record this week for the most patients in intensive care and on ventilators. Only seven ICU beds remain, in a region of almost 2.4 million.

• Today Thailand downgraded its economic growth forecast for 2021. The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council had previously forecast growth of 1.5 -2.5% for 2021, but revise d that figure down to 0.7 -1.2%.

• In China, retail sales rose 8.5% YoY in July, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, below consensus forecasts. Industrial production rose 6.4% in July, lower than the prior month, and urban unemployment rose to 5.1%.

• Hong Kong’s government said it would upgrade 15 overseas places from ‘medium risk’ to ‘high risk’ by 20 August. Arrivals from Bangladesh, Cambodia, France, Greece, Iran, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States would all face the new restrictions.

• In the UK, people who have had two vaccinations or who are under 18 will not have to isolate for 10 days if they have been in contact with a positive case.

• The UK Government has said that all 16 -17 -year -olds in England will be offered their first vaccine or the chance to book one by 23 August.

• Northern Ireland is relaxing more restrictions.

• The rule of six is being lifted in pubs, restaurants and at wedding receptions

• Any number of people can meet in private gardens

• Class bubbles in schools come to an end, but post-primary students should still wear face coverings for the first six weeks of term

• Conference halls and exhibitions can reopen

• Further education, higher education and night classes can return to full in - person learning

• Support bubbles no longer exist

• Eight days before the start of the Paralympic Games, the Tokyo 2020 organising committee has announced venues in Tokyo and three other prefectures (Saitama, Chiba and Shizuoka) will not be allowed to hold events with spectators.

• The MHRA has released an update saying “evaluation completed to date does not support a link between changes to menstrual periods and related symptoms and Covid -19 vaccines”.

• According to a study by the LSE’s Programme on Innovation and Diffusion, 6.25% of UK firms say they are now at risk of closure in the next quarter.

• Taiwan has rejected an application for the emergency use of UBI Pharma’s domestically created vaccine candidate. Interim data from phase 2 clinical trials showed it did not trigger enough antibodies. Of the 21 experts on the panel advising the government, 17 voted against granting emergency use.

• Of the 65 patients in Iceland’s hospitals with Covid, 40% are unvaccinated – more than four times the proportion of unvaccinated Icelanders.