The first case of a new and potentially more infectious strain of Covid-19 has been confirmed in the United States, Colorado health officials said Tuesday. Preliminary analysis of the mutated strain, first identified in the U.K., suggests it may be the culprit behind Britain’s recent spike in cases. The new strain, referred to as SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, could be as much as 70% more transmissible, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has become the second coronavirus jab to be approved for UK use. It has been given the go-ahead by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The vaccine, codenamed AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, was developed at Oxford University with support from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. A first dose of the jab gives around 70% effectiveness from three weeks after immunization until a second dose at 12 weeks.
Argentina’s Senate voted on Wednesday to legalize abortion, a first for a big country in Latin America and a triumph for women’s rights campaigners achieved over the visceral objection of the Catholic Church. Abortion is extremely rare in a region where the Church has held cultural and political sway for centuries. Previously, it was allowed on demand only in Communist Cuba, tiny Uruguay and parts of Mexico.
At least 16 people were killed and dozens others injured in an attack on Aden airport in Yemen on Wednesday, shortly after a plane carrying a newly formed Yemeni Cabinet arrived from Saudi Arabia. No one on the government plane was hurt. The source of the blast remains unknown and no group immediately claimed an attack on the airport in the southern city.
A landslide in a Norwegian village has left at least nine people injured and buried houses under what looks like a huge slick of mud in a gully. Police told the NRK broadcaster that 26 people were unaccounted for in Gjerdrum, which lies some 25km (15 miles) north-east of the capital, Oslo. Several hundred people have been evacuated from the village.