The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday issued fresh clinical advice for treating Covid-19 patients, including those displaying persistent symptoms after recovery, and also said it advised using low-dose anti-coagulants to prevent blood clots.
"The other things in the guidance that are new are that Covid-19 patients at home should have the use of pulse oximetry, that's measuring the oxygen levels, so you can identify whether somewhat at home is deteriorating and would be better off having hospital care," WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a UN briefing in Geneva.
The WHO advised clinicians to put patients into the awake prone position, on their front, shown to improve the oxygen flow, she said.
"Also we recommend, we suggest the use, of low-dose anti-coagulents to prevent blood clots forming in blood vessels. We suggest the use of lower doses rather than higher doses because higher doses may lead to other problems," Harris said.
She added that a WHO-led team of independent experts, currently in the central Chinese city of Wuhan where the first human cases were detected in December 2019, is due to leave quarantine in the next two days to pursue its work with Chinese researchers on the virus origins.
She declined to commment on reports of delays in roll-out of vaccines in the European Union. She said she had no specific data and the WHO's priority was for health workers in all countries to be vaccinated in the first 100 days of the year.
AstraZeneca, which developed its shot with Oxford University, told the EU on Friday it could not meet agreed supply targets up to the end of March.
Europe urged pharmaceutical companies yesterday to stand by their word in supplying vaccines.
"Europe invested billions to help develop the world's first Covid-19 vaccines. To create a truly global common good," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
"And now, the companies must deliver. They must honour their obligations."
EU member states could take AstraZeneca to court for breach of supply contracts if it did not honour its delivery schedule, Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics said.
"The possibility should be evaluated, and it should be coordinated among the EU countries," the minister told Reuters, via his spokesman.
'DIVIDE GROWS LARGER'
The World Health Organization warned Monday that Covid-19 vaccine divide between rich and poor nations is worsening by the day, insisting the failure to distribute doses fairly could cost the global economy trillions of dollars.
The WHO said it needed $26 billion this year for its programme aimed at speeding up the development, procurement and equitable delivery of vaccines, treatments and tests to beat the coronavirus pandemic.
"Rich countries are rolling out vaccines, while the world's least-developed countries watch and wait," lamented WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
"Every day that passes, the divide grows larger between the world's haves and have nots," he told a press conference.
Russian authorities yesterday said mass production of its second coronavirus vaccine would begin next month and that a third homemade jab is currently in registration.
Russia launched an inoculation campaign earlier this month, making its first homegrown vaccine, Sputnik V, available to all citizens 18 and older.
Sputnik V was registered in August -- months ahead of Western competitors -- and a second Covid vaccine, EpiVacCorona, swiftly followed in October.
Dutch police arrested at least 184 rioters after protests against a coronavirus curfew turned violent for a third night, police said yesterday, in the worst unrest to hit the Netherlands in four decades.
At least 10 police officers were injured in the latest clashes, which left a trail of looted shops and burned cars in cities including Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague on Monday night.
Germany is considering almost completely halting flights into the country to slow the spread of more infectious strains of the coronavirus, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said.
"The danger from the numerous virus mutations forces us to consider drastic measures," Seehofer told the Bild newspaper.
Indonesia's Covid-19 cases topped the one million mark yesterday, as the archipelago launches one of the world's biggest vaccine drives to clamp down on a soaring infection rate.
The Southeast Asian nation of nearly 270 million has recorded 1,012,350 virus cases and almost 29,000 deaths, according to official data. But low testing rates mean the crisis is believed to be much more severe than those figures suggest.
President Joe Biden on Monday said the United States should be closing in on Covid herd immunity by summer, with mass vaccinations becoming available in the spring.
"I feel confident that by summer we're going to be well on our way to heading toward herd immunity," he told a White House news conference.
But further challenges could be on the way for the new president as health authorities in Minnesota confirmed the first US case of a Brazilian variant.