Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid jab can now be rolled out globally and participate in Covax; South Africa opens borders

12.08am GMT

South Africa has reopened its major land borders with neighboring countries after closing them last month to prevent the spread of coronavirus, AP reports.

At least 20 border posts reopened Monday, with officials saying steps will be taken to avoid tightly-packed crowds of travellers gathering at the immigration posts which would spread the virus.

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who is to inspect the reopening of the Lebombo border post with Mozambique on Monday, said South Africa is working with neighboring countries to ensure simpler movements of people.

11.51pm GMT

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus jab for emergency use, meaning the vaccine can be rolled out globally and participate in the Covax programme that aims to bring vaccines to poorer countries.

A WHO statement said it had approved the vaccine as produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the Serum Institute of India.

The listing by the UN health agency comes days after a WHO panel provided interim recommendations on the vaccine, saying two doses with an interval of around 8 to 12 weeks must be given to all adults, and can be used in countries with the South African variant of the coronavirus as well.

The AstraZeneca/Oxford shot has been hailed because it is cheaper and easier to distribute than some rivals, including Pfizer/BioNTech’s, which was listed for emergency use by the WHO late in December.

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