Hard Numbers: Great Barrier Reef downgraded, Africa gets mRNA hub, Bitcoin plunges, Cuba touts COVID jab

Hard Numbers: Great Barrier Reef downgraded, Africa gets mRNA hub, Bitcoin plunges, Cuba touts COVID jab

A school of fish swim above a staghorn coral colony as it grows on the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Cairns, Australia.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

53: UNESCO plans to add Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest reef ecosystem, to its list of 53 "endangered" World Heritage sites because of damage caused by warming sea temperatures in recent years. Canberra says it'll challenge the move, which could reduce tourism revenue because a downgraded site would attract fewer visitors, as well as allow the UN body to interfere in its climate policy.


1: In a major development that aims to boost vaccination rates across Africa, South Africa will host the continent's first COVID vaccine technology transfer hub and production facility. But the World Health Organization has warned that it could take at least nine months for the facility to start producing vaccines with mRNA technology, used to develop the highly effective Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

30,000: The price of one Bitcoin has dipped below $30,000 for the first time since January following China's recent crackdown on cryptocurrencies. After banning domestic cryptocurrency mining operations, Beijing now wants payments services to stop doing business with cryptocurrency traders altogether.

92.28: Cuba says its homegrown three-shot Abdala vaccine is 92.28 percent effective against COVID-19 infections. The island has opted not to import vaccines but rather focus on developing its own shot, which cash-strapped Cuba hopes to sell to its allies in Latin America and elsewhere.

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