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Olympics offer sign of hope in the time of pandemic, Pope says

Pope Francis said Sunday he hopes the Tokyo Olympics, which opened Friday, will be a sign of hope and “universal brotherhood” during the coronavirus pandemic raging around the world.

“In this period of pandemic, let these games be a sign of hope, a sign of universal brotherhood and of a healthy competitive spirit,” the pontiff said at the end of the Angelus prayer.

“May God bless the organizers, the athletes and all those who are collaborating for this great celebration of sport,” he told the faithful gathered on Saint Peter’s Square.

AstraZeneca: More vaccines for Southeast Asia

Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Saturday it was scouring its supply chain to find more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for Southeast Asia, which is facing its most serious outbreak yet of the virus.

The statement from the Anglo-Swedish company – which produces its vaccine in Thailand for use domestically and in neighboring countries – comes in the wake of a supply shortage which has sparked heavy criticism of Thai Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha’s administration.

Under the terms of AstraZeneca’s agreement with Thai authorities, 180 million doses are due for production, one-third destined for the Thai market and the rest to be exported.

But by the end of July AstraZeneca will have delivered 11.3 million doses for Thailand, and exports have still not begun even as the region faces a particularly virulent wave of COVID-19.

Unvaxxed people face fresh restrictions

People who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 could face new restrictions if infections continue to rise in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff said in a Sunday interview.

“Vaccinated people will definitely have more freedom than unvaccinated people,” Helge Braun told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. AFP

Currently, Germans can use facilities such as restaurants, cinemas and sports venues if they are either fully vaccinated or able to provide a recent negative test. 

Topics: Pope Francis , Tokyo Olympics , COVID-19 , Helge Braun , AstraZeneca , Prayut Chan-O-Cha
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