Japan’s total confirmed Covid-19 cases topped 500,000 at the weekend, official data showed. Infections have spread rapidly, with cases increasing from 400,000 in early February. Vaccines remain widely unavailable in the country, which is now grappling with the emergence of more contagious variants.
On May 19, for the first time since the pandemic struck, the world-famous Shakespeare’s Globe theatre on London’s South Bank, hopes to open its doors to audiences. A Midsummer Night’s Dream kicks off a summer season of live drama and the eerie stillness that currently hangs over this beautiful replica Elizabethan playhouse will be broken by the sound of audience members.
Marchers took to the streets in Bucharest to protest against restrictive measures to fight the spread of Covid-19, as Romania recorded more than 4,000 new cases and 139 deaths on Saturday. About 1,000 people converged on Victory Square and University Square, opposing curfews and business closures.
Thailand on Sunday reported 967 new coronavirus cases, a single-day record, as the south-east Asian country deals with a third wave of infections. The new cases took Thailand’s total number of infections to 32,625, with deaths remaining at 97, according to the kingdom’s department of disease control.
Valneva, the French Covid-19 vaccine maker backed by the UK government, has filed for a US initial public offering seeking to take advantage of investor appetite for biotechnology during the pandemic. The Paris-listed company, with a market cap of more than €1bn, filed to raise $100m in American Depositary Shares.
London-listed Novacyt shares tumbled nearly 40 per cent to 421.4p before the weekend after it issued a warning on revenues when the UK Department of Health and Social Care did not extend its supply contract for Covid-19 tests. Novacyt said it has taken legal advice, adding “it has strong grounds to assert its contractual rights”.
Vaccitech, the start-up that owns the technology behind the AstraZeneca vaccine, has warned that concerns about the rare blood clotting side-effect could hit royalties and affect the reputation of products in its pipeline. The Oxford university spinout on Friday published its prospectus for an initial public offering of at least $100m on Nasdaq.
China’s Center for Disease Control is thinking about mixing vaccines and varying the sequence of doses to boost efficacy. Gao Fu, the agency’s head, said health authorities were “considering how to solve the problem that the efficacy of existing vaccines is not high”, according to local media.