March 3 coronavirus news

By Zamira Rahim, Kareem Khadder, Hannah Strange and Jessie Yeung, CNN

Updated 2:17 AM ET, Thu March 4, 2021
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4:01 a.m. ET, March 3, 2021

Kenya receives more than 1 million vaccines through COVAX

From CNN’s Ingrid Formanek and Heather Yamour

Oxford/AstaZeneca Covid-19 vaccines are unloaded after arriving at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 3. 
Oxford/AstaZeneca Covid-19 vaccines are unloaded after arriving at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 3.  Daniel Irungu/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Kenya has received more than 1 million Covid-19 vaccines as part of the global COVAX program, according to a news release from the country’s Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

A plane carrying 1.02 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine touched down just before midnight Tuesday in Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

It is part of an initial allocation to Kenya of 3.5 million doses, according to the joint statement from Kenya’s Health Ministry, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

According to the Ministry of Health, the first beneficiaries of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will include frontline workers such as health care professionals, teachers and security personnel. 

The COVAX program, led jointly by WHO along with health non-profit organizations, aims to supply vaccines to developing countries in the first 100 days of 2021 and to deploy at least 2 billion doses by year’s end.

“We know that this pandemic will not end in one country until it has ended in all countries,” said Thabani Maphosa, managing director for country programs at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
“The first arrivals of Covid-19 vaccine doses in Kenya represents the start of equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines worldwide. These first doses are for the vaccination of frontline health workers which are critical to the Covid-19 response and the maintenance of all health services."

In addition to the vaccines, UNICEF is providing syringes and safety boxes to Kenya, via a global stockpile funded and supported by Gavi. 

4:00 a.m. ET, March 3, 2021

Brazil records highest daily number of Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Marcia Reverdosa in Sao Paulo and Tatiana Arias in Atlanta

Workers wearing protective suits walk past the graves of Covid-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, on February 25.
Workers wearing protective suits walk past the graves of Covid-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, on February 25. Michael Dantas/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil reported 1,641 Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday -- the highest single-day total of the pandemic, according to data from the country’s Health Ministry.

The country has now recorded a total of 10,646,926 cases and 257,361 deaths, according to official data.

Brazil has the second highest death toll worldwide, following the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Amid the crippling figures and an alarming lack of Covid-19 vaccines, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão defended the government’s position against a national lockdown to help curve the spread of the deadly virus.

Mourão said the country is “not a dictatorship,” and that the best way to fight the pandemic is to accelerate the vaccination rollout, which is “going well.”

Brazil has vaccinated a little over 3% of its population, and 19 of its 26 states have an ICU occupation of over 80%, according to Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), a Brazilian Ministry of Health research institution.

Read more about the situation in Brazil's hospitals:

4:01 a.m. ET, March 3, 2021

Italy closes schools in worst-hit areas amid concerns over new variants

From CNN’s Nicola Ruotolo in Rome 

A closed school is seen in Brescia, Italy, on March 1.
A closed school is seen in Brescia, Italy, on March 1. Stefano Nicoli/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The Italian government has ordered all schools in the country’s worst-hit coronavirus hotspots to close from March 6 until April 6. 

“As we know, the British variant has a particular ability to affect the younger population,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said at a news briefing on Tuesday. 
“This has led us to determine that in red zones, all schools will move to distance learning, as well as in areas where the infection rate across seven days is equal to or greater than 250 per 100,000 inhabitants."

Italy continues to classify regions under a color-coded system (white, yellow, orange and red), with measures adjusted to reflect infection levels in the region. Red zones are the most stringent classification of coronavirus restrictions in the country, with severe limitations on movement.

According to Speranza, the coronavirus variant first identified in the UK has now “become prevalent” in Italy, while cases of the variants first identified in Brazil and South Africa have also been confirmed in the country.