New Zealand Now Tracking At Least 10 Covid Cases

After detection of a single community covid case forced the country into a snap three-day lockdown, New Zealand authorities are now tracking at least 10 cases, linked to the delta surge in Australia. Separately, the U.K. authorized Moderna’s covid shot for use in adolescents.

New Zealand’s Growing COVID Cluster Linked To Sydney Delta Outbreak 

New Zealand scientists linked the country’s growing COVID-19 cluster to the Delta outbreak that began in Sydney, Australia, as police arrested eight pandemic protesters on NZ’s first day of its snap lockdown Wednesday. Since the country entered its highest pandemic restrictions just before midnight Tuesday over one positive local test result, scientists have linked nine community infections to the first one and directly connected a 10th case to the border — though this woman has no known connection to the others. (Falconer, 8/18)

U.K. Authorizes Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine For Use In Adolescents

Britain’s drug regulator authorized Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 shot for children as young as 12, though few are likely to receive it in the near term as the country remains an outlier in its policy on vaccinating kids. The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency extended the existing conditional marketing authorization for the Spikevax shot to 12- to 17-year-olds, the regulator said in a statement Tuesday. It is up to the government’s advisory committee — the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation — to decide if and when the vaccine will be offered to this age group. (Ring, 8/17)

The New York Times:
Pope Francis Encourages Covid Vaccines In Media Campaign

Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is “an act of love,” Pope Francis says in a public service ad that will start circulating online and on television on Wednesday. Working with the Ad Council, a nonprofit group, in its first campaign to extend beyond the United States, the pope encourages people around the world to get inoculated. The ad shows the pope, speaking in Spanish with English subtitles, with church officials from the United States, Mexico, Brazil and other countries describing vaccination as a moral responsibility. (Hsu, 8/17)

In other global news about Haiti and Afghanistan —

Injured In Haiti’s Quake Continue To Show Up At Hospitals

The problems in Haiti may be summed up by the public hospital in L’Asile, deep in a remote stretch of countryside in the nation’s southwest area. Here, a full four days after a powerful earthquake hit this region the hardest, people are still showing up from isolated villages with broken arms and legs. Hospital director Sonel Fevry said five such patients showed up Tuesday, the same day officials raised the disaster’s death toll by more than 500. Grinding poverty, poor roads and faith in natural medicine all conspire to make the problems worse. “We do what we can, remove the necrotized tissue and give them antibiotics and try to get them a splint,” Fevry said, adding that road access to the facility in the department of Nippes is difficult and not everyone can make it. (Stevenson and Sanon, 8/18)

Fox News:
WHO ‘Extremely Concerned’ About Afghanistan Crisis

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is “extremely concerned” over the “evolving security and humanitarian situation” in Afghanistan and called for health workers to be “respected and supported.” “@WHOEMRO [World Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean Office] is extremely concerned over the evolving security and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan,” the agency tweeted Monday. “Our sincere condolences go to the families of innocent civilians who have lost their lives.” The agency noted the “situation is deteriorating rapidly.” (Hein, 8/17)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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