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With much of Europe struggling to contain a second wave of coronavirus infections, a Danish professor has claimed that the pandemic “may be finished” in Sweden, thanks to herd immunity.

Sweden recorded 224 cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, a number roughly on par with daily new infections for the last two months. No patients died. However, the situation throughout much of Europe is different. 300,000 new cases were recorded across the continent last week, with the World Health Organization calling the spike in infections a “wake-up call.” Even Sweden’s neighbor, Denmark, saw an average of 61 cases per million people throughout the week, compared to Sweden’s relatively modest 23.




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Kim Sneppen, a professor of biocomplexity at Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, believes that the Swedes are finally developing ‘herd immunity’ to the deadly virus.

“There are indications that the Swedes have gained an element of immunity to the disease, which, together with everything else they are doing to prevent the infection from spreading, is enough to keep the disease down,” he told Politiken this week.

When a certain percentage of the population has been infected with a virus, recovered, and grown immune, the virus can no longer find enough new hosts to spread. At this point, the population has achieved ‘herd immunity’ to the virus. Typically, 60 percent of the population must be infected to reach this point, but Stockholm University mathematician Tom Britton told Politiken that even “20 percent immunity makes a pretty big difference.” 

However, herd immunity was a controversial concept at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was slammed in the media for suggesting that the UK could take the virus “on the chin,” and suffer a short-term spike in deaths in exchange for herd immunity in the long run.




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Sweden was the only European country to embrace this idea, and opted not to implement a lockdown. Gatherings of more than 50 people were banned, and the elderly were told to stay at home. Otherwise masks were not recommended, and bars, restaurants, schools and businesses remained open. Citizens were asked, not ordered, to practice social distancing and work from home if possible.

Denmark, by contrast, was one of the first European countries to impose a lockdown on its citizens. All schools were shut and non-essential workers ordered to stay at home. Gatherings of more than ten people were forbidden, and shopping centers, bars, restaurants, and close-contact businesses like salons and gyms were closed.

These restrictions were lifted in June, but the country has since experienced a surge in new infections. 454 cases of Covid-19 were reported on Friday, the highest daily number since the pandemic began. 

Sweden did, however, pay a price for its seemingly longer-term success. At 580, the country’s death toll per million inhabitants is five times higher than Denmark’s 109 — and the death rate was much higher in Sweden in April, May and June than it was in Denmark.

“That is what they have paid. On the positive side, they may now be finished with the epidemic,” Sneppen said.

Nevertheless, Sweden’s fatality rate is still lower than some countries that did implement harsh lockdowns, like Spain and the UK, with 652 and 614 deaths per million respectively. 




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By the end of May, around half of Sweden’s deaths had occurred in nursing homes, and th

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Pakistan blast: At least seven dead in Peshawar school attack

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At least seven people have died after an explosion during a class at a religious school in Pakistan, police have said.

Children of various age groups are among the dead, an officer at the scene told the BBC.

Dozens of others were injured in the attack, which took place in the northern city of Peshawar.

No group has yet claimed responsibility. An investigation has been launched.

The city of Peshawar, close to the Afghan border, has seen some of the worst of the violence during the Taliban insurgency in recent years.

Six years ago, gunmen stormed a military school in the city leaving more than 150 dead, including many children.

What happened?

The blast took place at about 08:30 local time (03:30 GMT), police told the BBC.

About 60 people are understood to have been in the class at the religious school, known as a madrassa.

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An eyewitness has told the police he saw a man enter the building with a bag of explosives shortly before the blast.

news agency that two teachers were injured.

Hospital officials told Reuters news agency that they had received dozens of injured, many with burns.

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Duterte seeks best Covid vaccine deal but ‘will not beg’ or allow private suppliers to rip off Philippines

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would pursue a direct government-to-government deal for a coronavirus vaccine with either China or Russia, warning that ‘corrupt’ private suppliers could try to swindle his country.

“Let me tell everybody that we will not beg, we will pay,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday night, adding that while Manila is not seeking charity it also aims to sign a direct government-to-government deal without intermediaries.

The president did not indicate the status of vaccine negotiations with Beijing or Moscow, saying he merely mentioned the two countries as possible sources out of a “sense of urgency,” and that “all options” were still on the table. 

The one that could give us the best interest for the country will be chosen.

Duterte stressed the need to obtain an inoculation directly from a friendly foreign state, rather than a private business, warning that such transactions could only bring “trouble” and that a government deal would mean “no corruption.”




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Under its proposed national budget for 2021, Manila will devote some 2.5 billion Philippine pesos ($51.6 million) to vaccine procurement, which Duterte said would be overseen by Finance Secretary Carlos ‘Sonny’ Dominguez III.

“Since he is going to pay, I will listen to Sonny. If there are no funds, he will go to jail,” the president said, apparently threatening prison time for a member of his own cabinet.

Duterte previously torched Western pharma firms developing coronavirus immunizations, saying they were “all about profit,” pointing to some companies who asked for a “cash advance before they deliver the vaccine.” The leader gave a stern warning to any company who offered similar proposals, vowing “I’ll kick your a**.”

Though the president has offered to be the first in his country to take the jab developed in Russia, Sputnik V, it is not clear whether such an arrangement has been made. However, Moscow’s ambassador to the island nation, Igor Khovaev, recently stated the jab could be available to the Philippines by the end of the year.




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At least 7 killed, 70 wounded after bomb goes off at religious school in Pakistan – hospital official

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At least seven people were killed and more than 70 wounded in an explosion inside a seminary in northern Pakistan on Tuesday morning. Children are among the victims.

The blast took place in Peshawar, the capital of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Senior police official Wagar Azim told AFP that a bomb brought inside the Speen Jammat mosque, which also functions as a religious school for local children, went off in the middle of Quran studi

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