May 6 coronavirus news

By Brad Lendon, Joshua Berlinger, Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0422 GMT (1222 HKT) May 7, 2021
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7:30 a.m. ET, May 6, 2021

Supporting a TRIPS waiver is a bad idea, developer of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine developer Dr. Özlem Türeci on May 6.
Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine developer Dr. Özlem Türeci on May 6. CNN

A temporary waiver on the TRIPS agreement is a bad idea, Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine developer Dr. Ozlem Tureci said after the Biden administration announced a major decision to support it.

What is the TRIPS agreement: The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Here's some background: At a WTO meeting last year, India and South Africa proposed a temporarily suspension of intellectual property rights in an effort to boost production of Covid-19 vaccines and medicines for low-income nations. It was backed by over 80 developing countries. A temporary ban would allow multiple actors to start production sooner, instead of having manufacturing concentrated in the hands of a small number of patent holders, the Lancet reported.
But richer countries, including Britain, Switzerland, EU nations and the US, blocked it, arguing that protecting the IP would encourage research and innovation, while suspending the IP would not result in a sudden surge of vaccine supply.

That is also what BioNTech's co-founder and chief medical officer Dr. Tureci argued.

"Patents are not the limiting factor for the production of, for example, our vaccine," Dr. Tureci told CNN. "There are a number of important factors in producing vaccines. For example, our manufacturing process involves more than 50,000 steps, all of which have to be executed accurately in order to ensure the efficacy and safety of vaccine. It takes experienced personnel, it takes specialized facilities, it takes access to raw materials."

Instead, it's more important to ensure legal, administrative and organizational solutions for vaccine manufacturers, she said.

A patent waiver "will not increase the number of doses we will have available within the next 12 months. It will probably act towards increasing chaos in production," she added.

US President Joe Biden as a candidate promised to support such waivers, but had been under pressure from pharmaceutical companies to keep them in place.

Officials have been clear that the President's decision to support this waiver is a preliminary step and will not guarantee the global patent rules are lifted right away.

7:58 a.m. ET, May 6, 2021

Pfizer/BioNTech to donate vaccine doses for Olympic athletes

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

The Olympic rings are lit up at dusk on the Odaiba waterfront in Tokyo on April 28.
The Olympic rings are lit up at dusk on the Odaiba waterfront in Tokyo on April 28. Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Pfizer/BioNTech will donate Covid-19 vaccine doses to Olympic athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games scheduled for July.

"As part of the plans to ensure safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE to donate doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine to Games participants from National Olympic and Paralympic Committees around the world," the IOC said in a statement Thursday. 

The IOC said the national committees will work with local governments to coordinate distribution of the vaccines "in accordance with each country’s vaccination guidelines and consistent with local regulations."

The committee added it encourages athletes to get vaccinated in their home countries before traveling to Japan. "This is not only to contribute to the safe environment of the Games, but also out of respect for the residents of Japan," the IOC said, adding that based on feedback from national committees it expects "a significant proportion" of athletes will be vaccinated before arriving.

"It is important to note that any additional doses delivered by Pfizer and BioNTech will not be taken out of existing programmes, but will be in addition to existing quotas and planned deliveries around the world," the IOC added.

“This donation of the vaccine is another tool in our toolbox of measures to help make the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 safe and secure for all participants, and to show solidarity with our gracious Japanese hosts,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. 

“By taking the vaccine, they can send a powerful message that vaccination is not only about personal health, but also about solidarity and consideration of the wellbeing of others in their communities,” Bach added.

5:40 a.m. ET, May 6, 2021

The US CDC lists the B.1.617 variant first detected in India as a variant of a interest

From CNN Health's Naomi Thomas and CNN's Swati Gupta in Delhi

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday listed the B.1.617 coronavirus variant first detected in India as a "variant of interest," suggesting it may have mutations that would make the virus more transmissible, cause more severe disease or reduce vaccine efficacy.  

B.1.617, which is now the most common variant in India, has also been found in the United Kingdom and the United States, and was recently detected in Israel.

How the CDC defines variants of interest: Variants with specific genetic markers that have been linked with changes to receptor binding, reduced neutralization by antibodies from previous infection or vaccination, reduced efficacy or treatments, potential diagnostic impact or predicted increase in transmissibility or severity of disease. Attributes of the variant include potential reduction in neutralization by some monoclonal antibodies and potential reduction in neutralization from vaccines. 

The Director of India’s National Center for Disease Control, Sujeet Singh, said Wednesday that the surge in Covid-19 cases in India in the last 1.5 months in some states shows a correlation with the rise in the B.1.617 variant, though further analysis is needed. 

"We have not been able to establish the epidemiological and clinical correlation completely yet," Singh said in a health ministry press briefing. "This correlation is the main aspect and without it we cannot link a particular surge to the variant." 

The CDC classifies coronavirus variants by three levels: variant of interest, variant of concern, or variant of high consequence.

Current variants of concern include B.1.1.7, the variant first identified in the United Kingdom, P.1, the variant first identified in Brazil, B.1351, the variant first identified in South Africa and B.1.427 and B.1.429, variants first identified in California. 

7:03 a.m. ET, May 6, 2021

India's Kerala state to be put under lockdown until May 16

From CNN's Swati Gupta in New Delhi

A policeman checks on commuters during weekend restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Kochi, Kerala state, India, on April 25.
A policeman checks on commuters during weekend restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Kochi, Kerala state, India, on April 25. R S Iyer/AP

The southern Indian state Kerala will go into lockdown from May 8 until May 16, Kerala Chief Minister Vijayan Pinarayi announced Thursday. 

Kerala reported 41,953 new cases and 58 deaths on May 5. 

The state's active caseload is more than 375,000 cases -- the third highest across all states. 

5:16 a.m. ET, May 6, 2021

Here's how many coronavirus cases each state in India has recorded so far

The second wave of Covid-19 in India has touched every state and union territory in the country. Here is a look at the number of total cases and deaths recorded in each jurisdiction, according to figures provided by the Indian government on Thursday.

Andaman and Nicobar: 6,223 cases and 71 deaths

Andhra Pradesh: 1,206,232 cases and 8,374 deaths

Arunachal Pradesh: 19,412 cases and 59 deaths

Assam: 272,751 cases and 1,485 deaths

Bihar: 538,677 cases and 2,987 deaths

Chandigarh: 46,793 cases and 532 deaths

Chhattisgarh: 802,643 cases and 9,738 deaths

Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu: 8,325 cases and four deaths

Delhi: 1,253,902 cases and 18,063 deaths

Goa: 104,398 cases and 1,443 deaths

Gujarat: 633,427 cases and 7,912 deaths

Haryana: 558,975 cases and 4,960 deaths

Himachal Pradesh: 114,787 cases and 1,692 deaths

Jammu and Kashmir: 196,585 cases and 2,510 deaths

Jharkhand: 263,115 cases and 3,346 deaths

Karnataka: 1,741,046 cases and 16,884 deaths

Kerala: 1,743,932 cases and 5,565 deaths

Ladakh: 14,811 cases and 151 deaths

Lakshadweep: 3,376 cases and seven deaths

Maharashtra: 4,880,542 cases and 72,662 deaths

Manipur: 33,353 cases and 434 deaths

Meghalaya: 18,283 cases and 191 deaths

Mizoram: 6,964 cases and 17 deaths

Madhya Pradesh: 624,985 cases and 6,074 deaths

Nagaland: 15,004 cases and 118 deaths

Odisha: 489,641 cases and 2,104 deaths

Puducherry: 65,117 cases and 883 deaths

Punjab: 407,509 cases and 9,825 deaths

Rajasthan: 685,036 cases and 5,021 deaths

Sikkim: 8,919 cases and 155 deaths

Tamil Nadu: 1,272,602 cases and 14,779 deaths

Telengana: 475,748 cases and 2,579 deaths

Tripura: 36,534 cases and 403 deaths

Uttar Pradesh: 1,399,294 cases and 14,151 deaths

Uttarakhand: 211,834 cases and 3,142 deaths

West Bengal: 916,635 cases and 11,847 deaths

5:15 a.m. ET, May 6, 2021

How has the India Covid-19 crisis affected you and your loved ones?

Covid-19 is devastating India at a record pace and pushing the country's healthcare infrastructure beyond its limits.

We want to hear about how you've been affected by this crisis. Leave your comments in the box below and we may feature some in our upcoming reporting.

3:26 a.m. ET, May 6, 2021

New Zealand deflates travel bubble, suspending quarantine-free travel from Australian state

From CNN’s Angus Watson in Sydney

A general view of Wellington Airport is seen in Wellington, New Zealand, on April 9.
A general view of Wellington Airport is seen in Wellington, New Zealand, on April 9. Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand has suspended quarantine-free travel arrangements for flights from the Australian state of New South Wales due to a local outbreak of Covid-19 in its state capital, Sydney.

Quarantine-free flights will be suspended for 48 hours from midnight Thursday New Zealand local time, according to New Zealand’s Covid-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins.

Flights from New Zealand to New South Wales have not yet been affected. 

Thursday’s decision is the first alteration to the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble, which was instituted on April 19. 

Two locally acquired cases of Covid-19 were detected in Sydney on Wednesday, a married couple in their 50s.

Some restrictions were reinstated in Sydney on Thursday, including mandatory mask wearing in indoor public places and a limit of 20 people at private gatherings.

2:45 a.m. ET, May 6, 2021

At least 19 people being evacuated from Nepal climbing camp due to coronavirus

From journalists Kosh Raj Koirala and Asha Thapa in Kathmandu

Mount Dhaulagiri is seen surrounded by clouds in Nepal, on August 22, 2019.
Mount Dhaulagiri is seen surrounded by clouds in Nepal, on August 22, 2019. Mondadori Portfolio/Sipa USA

At least 19 people are being evacuated from a Nepali climbing camp after reports of Covid-19 cases were confirmed there.

Mingma Sherpa, chairman of the Seven Summits Treks, said four climbers tested positive for coronavirus at the base camp of Dhaulagiri, the seventh-highest peak in the world.

Sherpa said 12 other climbers seemed to be in good condition but were being evacuated so they could get tested after developing coughs.

The expedition, which started with 32 foreign climbers and a roughly 40-member support team, is expected to continue on.

Nepal Army spokesperson Brig. Gen. Shantosh Ballave Poudyal Shantosh Ballave Poudya said three people working at Dhaulagiri base camp cleaning up waste have tested positive. One was evacuated Wednesday, and two will be evacuating soon once the weather gets clear.

2:06 a.m. ET, May 6, 2021

Indonesians still travel despite restrictions ahead of religious holiday

From journalist Masrur Jamaluddin in Jakarta

People wait for a bus to take them to their home villages at the Kalideres bus terminal in Jakarta, Indonesia, on May 5.
People wait for a bus to take them to their home villages at the Kalideres bus terminal in Jakarta, Indonesia, on May 5. Tatan Syuflana/AP

Some 18 million people, or 7% of Indonesia’s population, are still planning on traveling for the Eid al-Fitr holiday despite travel bans, according to a poll from the country's state-run news agency, Antara.

Indonesia instituted a travel ban between May 6 and 17 to help stop the spread of Covid-19. The order by the central government limits the distance people can travel during the holiday period and keeps them largely contained to their current city or town.

Roughly 155,000 personnel, including 90,000 police and 11,500 military officers, are being deployed to posts around the country to enforce the travel ban and restrictions around the holidays, Antara reported Wednesday. In Jakarta, more than 4,000 personnel will be stationed around the metropolitan region to enforce rules.