Cadila to Boost Capacity; U.S. Travel Advisory: Virus Update
A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Moderna Inc. Covid-19 vaccine at a pop-up site during the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi, U.S. (Photographer: Rory Doyle/Bloomberg)

Cadila to Boost Capacity; U.S. Travel Advisory: Virus Update

Indian drugmaker Cadila Healthcare Ltd. will potentially ramp up vaccine capacity to 240 million annual doses. The drugmaker expects regulatory approval for its shot by June.

The U.S. State Department plans to caution against travel to about 80% of the world. The World Health Organization said it’s working intensively to get pre-qualification for Russian and Chinese vaccines.

The European Union exercised its option for a further 100 million doses of Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine, boosting its order from the companies to 600 million doses. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson canceled a visit to India next week amid soaring coronavirus cases in the country and the emergence of a new variant.

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Cadila to Boost Capacity; U.S. Travel Advisory: Virus Update

Cadila Looks to Double Vaccine Capacity (5:34 p.m. NY)

Indian drugmaker Cadila Healthcare Ltd., which expects regulatory approval for its vaccine by June, will potentially ramp up capacity to 240 million annual doses as the South Asian nation races to contain the world’s fastest-growing coronavirus outbreak.

Cadila is expecting efficacy readings from its last stage of clinical trials in May, Sharvil Patel, the family-run firm’s managing director, said in an interview. If that data is promising, the drugmaker may double its vaccine making capabilities and is banking on a new local factory that will likely be commissioned next month, according to Patel.

State Department to Caution Against Travel (4:21 p.m. NY)

The U.S. State Department is changing the way it issues travel advisories to reflect the prevalence of the coronavirus in countries around the world, in a move it said will result in about 80% of the world’s nations being considered no-go zones.

Travel advisories will be updated to better reflect health notices issued by the Centers for Disease Control and will also take into account metrics including the prevalence of testing and domestic travel restrictions, the Department said in a statement. The advisories, which rank countries on a scale of 1 to 4, aren’t binding.

“This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide,” the department said.

The State Department raised the global travel advisory to Level 4 on March 19, 2020 an unprecedented move as the U.S. and the rest of the world sought to bring the virus under control. That blanket warning was lifted last August, though many nations continue to restrict travel from the U.S.

Arizona Governor Bans Vaccine ‘Passports’ (1:55 p.m. NY)

Pfizer in South Africa Deal After Standoff (1:50 p.m. NY)

Deliveries of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine to South Africa were delayed by demands from the U.S. drugmaker that it determine the guarantees needed to indemnify the company from any negative effects from the shots.

The condition was resisted by the government and Pfizer eventually backed down, agreeing to supply 30 million doses of the vaccine co-developed with Germany’s BioNTech SE.

Chile Secures Deals for Third Doses (1:50 a.m. NY)

Chile secured deals for third doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Sinovac and Pfizer in the event they are needed in upcoming months, according to a government official.

An additional 7 million Sinovac shots and 5 million from Pfizer would arrive by year’s end if health authorities deem them necessary, Vice Minister of Trade Rodrigo Yanez said in an interview. Officials also want to be ready in the event people under 18 years of age are cleared for the shot, he said.

Chile is forging ahead with one of the world’s fastest vaccination drives that’s already delivered at least one shot to over 40% of citizens. The deals set it further apart from emerging markets such as Brazil and Mexico that have lagged in their inoculations. Still, the South American nation is struggling to tame a virus surge that sent daily cases to record highs this month.

Thunberg Donates $120,000 for Vaccine Equity (1 p.m. NY)

Greta Thunberg’s foundation has donated 100,000 euros ($120,000) to Covax, the global initiative to ensure equitable access to vaccines. “During crises like these, we need to take a few steps back and act for the greater good of society,” she said at a World Health Organization digital media briefing on Monday.

The 18-year-old climate activist argued that the world should prioritize the most vulnerable, whether they live in a rich or poor country. She also condemned Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, saying he had “failed to take the responsibility necessary” to safeguard humanity’s living conditions.

N.Y. Increases Capacity at Indoor Venues (11:45 a.m. NY)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo boosted the capacity at indoor venues as statewide infections continue to decline. Starting April 26, capacity at museums and zoos will be raised to 50%, and to 33% at movie theaters. On May 19, capacity at large indoor arenas like Madison Square Garden will be increased to 25%.

NYC Infection Rate Drops Below 5% (11:10 a.m. NY)

New York City’s positive test rate for Covid-19 dipped below 5% for the first time in several months as daily vaccinations reached a record, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The seven-day average for positive tests fell to 4.91% as of Friday, below a key public-health safety threshold established a year ago. On the same day, the city set a record for vaccinations with 106,528, bringing the total to 5,746,378 doses to date.

N.Y. Vaccine Hesitancy Declines (10:30 a.m. NY)

The number of New York state residents who say they don’t plan to get the Covid-19 vaccine dropped to 14% in April from 25% in January, according to a new Siena College poll out Monday.

Political party, residency and demographics revealed the biggest divisions: 22% of Republicans polled said they weren’t planning to get vaccinated, compared with 11% of Democrats; 18% of New York City residents polled said they wouldn’t get jabbed, compared with 8% in the city’s suburbs; And 21% of Latinos polled said they didn’t want the shot, compared with 13% of White residents and 16% of Black respondents.

Half of adult New Yorkers have received at least one shot, Governor Andrew Cuomo said last week. The Monday poll surveyed 801 New York state registered voters from April 1-15, before the federal government paused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Cameroon Makes U-Turn on AstraZeneca (10:30 a.m. NY)

Cameroon received 391,212 AstraZeneca doses over the weekend, the first batch out of a total 1.7 million it’s expecting from the Covax facility backed by the World Health Organization, according to Public Health Minister Manaouda Malachie. The central African nation, which has received 592,412 shots so far, is planning to vaccinate at least 15 million people.

Cameroon was one of the last African countries to start vaccinating against Covid-19 after shunning AstraZeneca shots over early concerns about its side effects. It eventually received 200,000 Covid-19 doses from China’s Sinopharm Group Co. on April 11, allowing it to kick-start its inoculation program.

Russia Says Sputnik V Shows 97.6% Efficacy (9:50 a.m. NY)

An analysis of the 3.8 million Russians who received both Sputnik V shots between December and March showed that the vaccine has 97.6% efficacy, the inoculation’s state-run developers said in a statement Monday.

The data, which compare the infection rate of people who received the shots with the incidence among the unvaccinated population, will be published in a peer-reviewed journal in May, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund and Gamaleya National Research Center.

Sputnik V demonstrated efficacy of 91.6% in a preliminary analysis of its Phase 3 study that was published in The Lancet in February.

Vaccines Boost Coca-Cola Sales (8:25 a.m. NY)

Coca-Cola Co.’s sales beat expectations in the first quarter as the soda maker said it saw early -- though uneven -- signs of recovery in demand, particularly in areas with stronger rates of vaccination against Covid-19.

The results hint at a potential rebound as consumers worldwide emerge from more than a year of isolation, a process that is happening at different rates in different countries.

United Air Starts Three New Routes to Europe (8 a.m. NY)

United Airlines Holdings Inc. will fly three new seasonal routes to Europe as the carrier tries to capitalize on business in destinations now open to Americans ready to fly internationally.

The carrier said Monday it would begin flights in July from Newark, New Jersey, to Dubrovnik, Croatia; Washington to Athens; and Chicago to Reykjavik, Iceland. The flights to Greece and Iceland will be daily while the Croatia flight will operate three times weekly. All three will end on Oct. 3.

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