One variant, many approaches to masks – Asia Despatch

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YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.

Q: Children younger than 12 in the US are not eligible for Covid-19 vaccines yet. How careful should I be with my kids?

A: “This is something I think a lot about as a parent of two young children, ages 1 and almost 4, and why I have been very concerned about the lifting of indoor mask mandates,” Asia Despatch Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen said.

“I’m not concerned about my children or other unvaccinated children who are around fully vaccinated people, but I’m very concerned about unvaccinated people being around others who are also unvaccinated — whether they’re children or adults.

“Because the Delta variant is so much more contagious, there is no room for error. If there is somebody who is infected who is unvaccinated and there are other unvaccinated people around, there is a higher likelihood that those unvaccinated people are going to contract Covid-19 — and that includes children. I would continue to urge unvaccinated people to behave as if there is high risk to them because the pandemic is not over for those who are unvaccinated.”

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The British government didn't make face coverings compulsory indoors or on public transport until last summer, and masks have never been mandated outdoors.

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As Britain looks to shake off the last of its coronavirus restrictions — despite an ongoing battle to contain a shape-shifting virus that continues to spin off new variants — many Britons are finding the idea of returning to the office, taking crowded public transport or grabbing a pint with friends at a busy pub overwhelming, if not terrifying, Eliza Mackintosh reports.

This week, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out his plan to shift the focus away from legal requirements, toward personal responsibility for things such as social distancing and mask wearing. But he also issued a stark warning that “this pandemic is far from over,” explaining that Covid-19 cases are still rising across the United Kingdom.

It comes as more than 60,000 fans are being allowed to attend the semifinals and final of the Euro 2020 soccer championship in London under the UK government’s roadmap for allowing large crowds at events without social distancing. European lawmakers are calling it “a recipe for disaster” amid surging cases of the Delta variant.

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India has been hobbled by an economic slump and a brutal wave of coronavirus that new research shows pushed millions of people into poverty. But as these Indians struggle to live on a few dollars a day, the country’s ultra-wealthy have gotten even richer and more influential, as their combined fortunes soared by tens of billions of dollars in the last year.
Meanwhile, thousands of people have fallen prey to an elaborate scam selling fake Covid-19 vaccines in India, with doctors and medical workers among those arrested for their involvement, authorities say.

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The spread of Covid in some Asian nations that had been praised for their early success in containing the virus has exposed the gaps in their vaccination rollouts, affecting vulnerable migrant workers who work long hours in close quarters to support families back home. Mass outbreaks in major businesses are putting pressure on the workforce and straining the supply of goods, just as demand is increasing around the world, Jessie Yeung and Kocha Olarn report.

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Why Covid-19 outbreaks in countries using Chinese vaccines don’t necessarily mean the shots have failed

In Mongolia, hospitals are overwhelmed. In the tiny archipelago of the Seychelles, more than 100 new Covid-19 cases are being reported each day. And in Chile, a nationwide lockdown was lifted this week — but the country is still reporting thousands of daily cases. What links these countries is that they have each fully inoculated more than 50% of their populations, largely with Chinese-made coronavirus shots. And that’s raised questions over the vaccines’ efficacy.

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