Major quake hits Caribbean, triggering evacuations

The tremors were felt as far as the US mainland, where police in Miami evacuated some buildings as a precaution. (AFP)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Major quake hits Caribbean, triggering evacuations

  • Police in Miami evacuated some buildings as a precaution
  • A 6.1 magnitude aftershock hit off the coast of the Cayman Islands

MIAMI, US: A major 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday in the Caribbean between Jamaica and Cuba, triggering a brief tsunami alert and sending hundreds of people pouring onto the streets of Havana.
The tremors were felt as far as the US mainland, where police in Miami evacuated some buildings as a precaution.
The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at a depth of 10 kilometers at 2:10 p.m. (1910 GMT) — 125 kilometers northwest of Lucea, Jamaica.
It estimated there was a low likelihood of casualties or damage, and there were no immediate reports of either.
Hours later, a 6.1 magnitude aftershock hit off the coast of the Cayman Islands, part of a cluster of more than a dozen aftershocks which were mainly in the four-to-five magnitude range and lasted well into the evening, the USGS said.
The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned there was a threat of tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to one meter above tide level for the coasts of Jamaica, Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico and the Cayman Islands. But it lifted the alert update about two hours later.
The first, bigger quake rattled several tall buildings in the Cuban capital Havana, which were immediately evacuated.
The earthquake was felt in several provinces including Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba in the east, Cienfuegos in the center and Havana in the northwest, the official Cubadebate website reported.
But there were no preliminary reports of damage or injuries.
Jawara Rawjers, a resident of Kingston, Jamaica told AFP: “I felt the house trembling and realized that it was a quake.
“It lasted about 20 seconds. I checked my watch and it was 2:12 pm. I checked on my family but they didn’t feel anything in their part of the house.”
Machel Emanuel, a doctor in the same city, added: “I was on the second floor of a building and there was a sustained shaking of the building. I felt dizzy. The door was slamming consistently for a while.”
Many Jamaicans took to social media in the immediate aftermath to post pictures, unverified by AFP, of swimming pools shaking violently.
In Miami, police said buildings were being evacuated as a precaution after reports of tremors being felt in some areas of the city.


US to pay over $1 bn for 100 mln doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

Updated 22 min 14 sec ago

US to pay over $1 bn for 100 mln doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

  • The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J
  • This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country

WASHINGTON: The United States government will pay Johnson & Johnson over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, its latest such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic intensifies, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
It said it would deliver the vaccine to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a not-for-profit basis to be used after approval or emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
J&J has already received $1 billion in funding from the US government — BARDA agreed in March to provide that money for the company to build manufacturing capacity for more than 1 billion doses of the experimental vaccine.
The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J. Including the first $1 billion deal with the USgovernment, the price would be slightly higher than the $19.50 per dose that the United States is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and German biotech BioNTech SE.
The US government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses under a subsequent agreement. J&J did not disclose that deal’s value.
J&J plans to study a one- or two-dose regimen of the vaccine in parallel later this year. A single-shot regimen could allow more people to be vaccinated with the same number of doses and would sidestep issues around getting people to come back for their second dose.
This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are underway with the European Union, but no deal has yet been reached.
J&J’s investigational vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium in an early-stage study.
There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19. More than 20 are in clinical trials.