• Japan suspends another batch of Moderna’s vaccine
• New variant of interest, Mu, named by WHO
• Long Covid less prevalent than expected but still significant
• Portugal to allow non-essential travel from Brazil
• Greece mandates vaccines for healthcare workers
• The Irish Cabinet has agreed on a plan that would effectively end most restrictions by 22 October. The easing of rules is dependent on 90% of adults being vaccinated and cases remaining manageable.
• Japan has put another batch of Moderna's vaccine on hold after a foreign substance was found in a vial by a pharmacist in Kanagawa Prefecture.
• The UK government is to continue with the planned cut to universal credit. The £20 - a -week top -up introduced during the pandemic is due to be phased out from late September.
• South Sudan has received 59,520 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the global Covax facility after the country ran out of doses in July.
• A new variant, named after the Greek letter Mu, also known as B.1.621 has been designated a variant of interest by the World Health Organization. The organisation says it has mutations that may make it more resistant to vaccines; it was first identified in Colombia and cases have been recorded in South America and Europe.
• Roughly 94% of UK adults tested by the ONS during the week ending 15 August had Covid antibodies, the same as the two weeks prior.
• A study into Long Covid by Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and PHE has suggested that out of nearly 235,000 positive cases among 11 to 17 -year -olds from September to March, the number of those suffering symptoms 15 weeks after infection was somewhere between 4,000 and 32,000. This is lower than previously thought.
• Schools in Taiwan have reopened today after being shut down in May.
• Portugal will allow tourists from Brazil to enter the country from today, ending an 18 -month ban. Travellers from Brazil will have to show a negative Covid - 19 test, but will no longer have to quarantine. • Greece implements mandatory vaccination for health workers. Around 10,000 unvaccinated health workers are now facing suspension, a tenth of the work force.
• Merck & Co Inc and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics have announced that they have begun enrolling patients in a late -stage trial of their experimental drug, molnupiravir. The effect of the oral antiviral drug will be observed in more than 1,300 participants to see if it can prevent transmission.
• France began administering vaccine booster doses today to over -65s and people with underlying health conditions.