Catch up: Here are the latest coronavirus headlines from the US

First case of South Africa Covid-19 variant identified in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced today the state has confirmed its first case of the Covid-19 variant first identified in South Africa.

The case is a Middlesex County woman in her 20s with no reported travel, according to the the public health department.

“The Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory is working in collaboration with many healthcare and academic partners to quickly identify variants of concern by sequencing a subset of positive samples,” the release said.

There are also currently 34 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, in Massachusetts, the public health department said.

UK will call for ceasefires across the globe to administer Covid-19 vaccines in conflict zones

University of Virginia bans in-person events after rise in cases with Covid-19 variant
he United Kingdom on Wednesday will call for ceasefires across the globe in order for people living in conflict zones to be vaccinated against Covid-19, the UK Foreign Office said in a statement.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will make the request as he chairs a meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

“Global vaccination coverage is essential to beating coronavirus. That is why the UK is calling for a vaccination ceasefire to allow Covid-19 vaccines to reach people living in conflict zones and for a greater global team effort to deliver equitable access. We have a moral duty to act, and a strategic necessity to come together to defeat this virus,” Raab said in a statement.
The foreign secretary will say allowing the virus to spread in areas without vaccination campaigns means a greater risk of new variants taking hold — risking further waves across the world, according to the statement.

It states that “more than 160 million people are at risk of being excluded from coronavirus vaccinations because of instability and conflict, including in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia."

Raab will also use the UK's presidency of the Security Council this month to push for more funding for the UN’s response to the pandemic, the World Health Organization and for the COVAX initiative to drive progress on global access to vaccines, the foreign office said.

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