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Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Oct 2021

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U.S. workers face layoffs as U.S COVID-19 vaccine mandates kick in

Thousands of unvaccinated workers across the United States are facing potential job losses as a growing number of states, cities and private companies start to enforce mandates for inoculation against COVID-19. In the latest high-profile example, Washington State University (WSU) fired its head football coach and four of his assistants on Monday for failing to comply with the state's vaccine requirement. The coach, Nick Rolovich, had applied for a religious exemption from the mandate earlier this month.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Canada to require COVID-19 vaccinations for federal lawmakers, some MPs to miss out

Canada's House of Commons will require all 338 lawmakers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when they return to work next month, potentially locking out some members of parliament from the official opposition Conservatives. Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau narrowly won re-election last month, saying he would insist on vaccine mandates for federal workers, people traveling domestically, and his own candidates.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

U.S. workers face job losses as COVID-19 vaccine mandates kick in

Thousands of unvaccinated workers across the United States are facing potential job losses as a growing number of states, cities and private companies start to enforce mandates for inoculation against COVID-19. In the latest high-profile example, Washington State University (WSU) fired its head football coach and four of his assistants on Monday for failing to comply with the state's vaccine requirement. The coach, Nick Rolovich, had applied for a religious exemption from the mandate earlier this month.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

All Australians to be offered Covid-19 booster jabs - as nation reaches 70% double dose rate

Mr Hunt would not confirm whether or not Australians will need to prove they've had a third jab in order to travel internationally. 'I will follow medical advice on that and I won't speculate on passports. That is very much medical question with the science to flow over the coming months,' he said. It comes as Australia achieves the 'key milestone' of a 70 per cent double vaccination rate in over 16s. Professor Kelly said he would wait for further scientific advice before deciding the timeframe between second and third doses.
20th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

Serbia introduces COVID-19 passes for indoor cafes and restaurants

Serbia will make a COVID-19 "health pass" mandatory for access to restaurants, cafes and bars in the evenings, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Wednesday, as the country struggles with persistently high numbers of coronavirus infections. As of Oct. 23, people who want to visit indoor cafes, hotels and restaurants after 10 p.m., will need to show a pass - a digital or paper certificate showing someone has been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from the virus. Serbia, which has a population of 6.7 million, is struggling with a daily average of around 6,000 cases of COVID-19. So far, it has reported over 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,214 deaths.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Bulgaria makes COVID 'health pass' obligatory for leisure activities

Bulgaria will make a COVID-19 "Green Certificate" mandatory for indoor access to restaurants, cinemas, gyms and shopping malls, the health minister said on Tuesday, as the country struggles with a rising number of coronavirus infections. The health pass - a digital or paper certificate showing someone has been vaccinated, tested negative or recently recovered from the virus - was originally conceived to ease travel among European Union states. As of Oct. 21, people who want to visit indoor public spaces including cafes, hotels, concert halls, museums and swimming pools should show such a health pass, interim Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov told reporters
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Melbourne welcomes vaccinated Sydney residents without quarantine

Travel restrictions between Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's largest cities, eased on Wednesday as Victoria opened its borders to fully vaccinated residents from New South Wales amid a rapid rise in immunisation levels. With cases trending lower in New South Wales, including Sydney, residents will be allowed quarantine-free entry into Victoria for the first time in more than three months. Travellers from Melbourne who wish to enter Sydney, however, must undergo a two-week home quarantine.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

NYC requiring vaccine for cops, firefighters, city workers

New York City will require its entire municipal workforce to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be placed on unpaid leave, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, an ultimatum that ensures a fight with some unions representing employees, including police officers and firefighters, who have refused the shots. The Democrat gave approximately 46,000 unvaccinated city employees until Nov. 1 to get their first vaccine dose, and he offered an incentive: City workers who get a shot by Oct. 29 at a city-run vaccination site will get an extra $500 in their paycheck. “My job as your mayor is to keep this city safe, keep this city healthy. And vaccination is the way,” he said.
20th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Oct 2021

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‘Make a gesture of humanity’: Pope Francis urges drug makers to release Covid-19 vaccine patents

Amid controversy over global access to Covid-19 vaccines, Pope Francis lent his moral authority to the debate and urged drug makers to make their intellectual property available so that other companies can manufacture enough shots for low and middle-income countries. In a video address to the World Meeting of Popular Movements, the Pope made a simple, straightforward plea: “I ask all the great pharmaceutical laboratories to release the patents. Make a gesture of humanity and allow every country, every people, every human being, to have access to the vaccines. There are countries where only 3% or 4% of the inhabitants have been vaccinated.” His remarks came as the pharmaceutical industry continues to resist pressure at the World Trade Organization to agree to a temporary waiver of intellectual property for Covid-19 medical products. Despite support from the Biden administration, a proposal made a year ago has stalled amid objections from the European Union and some countries where several large drug makers are based.
18th Oct 2021 - STAT News

Covid-19: Face coverings compulsory in NI for autumn/ winter

Wearing face coverings in crowded indoor spaces will remain a legal requirement in Northern Ireland throughout autumn and winter. It is part of the executive's winter Covid contingency plans, outlined on Tuesday. First Minister Paul Givan said there would also be a "focus on flexible and hybrid working" in workplaces. He also set out a range of options if Covid cases rise sharply or hospital pressures become "unsustainable". Mr Givan said potential measures included deploying Covid vaccine passports in "higher risk settings", if considered appropriate.
19th Oct 2021 - BBC News


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Oct 2021

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Why Are U.K. Covid Cases So High Compared to the Rest of Europe?

Surging Covid cases in the U.K. have left the country behind the rest of Europe with former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb calling for urgent research into a mutation known as delta plus. Britain, faster to reopen and relax restrictions than other European countries, reported the highest daily jump in new cases on Sunday since mid-July. Weekly deaths from the virus topped 800 for each of the past six weeks, higher than in other major western European nations, according to Bloomberg’s tracker.
18th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

UK lab investigated for false negative Covid tests is not fully accredited

The private laboratory that is under investigation for potentially issuing more than 40,000 false negative Covid tests was not fully accredited to perform the work, contrary to assurances made by health officials. The UK’s independent accreditation service, Ukas, told the Guardian on Monday that neither Immensa Health Clinics Ltd nor its sister company, Dante Labs, had ever been accredited by the service, and that it had informed the Department of Health that statements suggesting otherwise were incorrect. The UK Health Security Agency announced on Friday that it was suspending operations at Immensa’s laboratory in Wolverhampton pending an investigation into concerns that at least 43,000 people with coronavirus had been wrongly told their swabs tested negative for the virus.
18th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Enforcement of Covid-19 vaccine passports comes into effect in Scotland

Enforcement of Scotland's controversial Covid-19 vaccine passport scheme has come into effect. Proof of full vaccination is required to enter nightclubs and large events as part of the Scottish Government's efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus and increase vaccine take-up. The measures technically came into effect from October 1, but an 18-day grace period was announced following backlash from affected industries and significant problems with the new app. The policy will now be enforceable for nightclubs, strip clubs and unseated indoor events with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor events with over 4,000 and any event with more than 10,000 people. Scots will have to show proof they have had both vaccine doses, with a paper copy of the certificate or a QR code on a new app, although the latter has been plagued with problems since its launch. More than 700,000 people had downloaded the app, and a further 750,000 people have a paper copy of their vaccination status.
18th Oct 2021 - ITV News

The political fight over COVID-19 vaccine mandates is deepening

The science is clear: Vaccines are a safe and effective way to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from the coronavirus, and vaccine mandates are an effective tool in promoting widespread vaccinations. Still, the battle to inoculate the nation against the coronavirus has reached a fever pitch in recent months. President Biden has focused on getting as many Americans as possible vaccinated against the coronavirus, most notably rolling out wide-reaching vaccine mandates for government employees and for businesses with more than 100 workers.
18th Oct 2021 - NPR

Vaccines, masks? Japan puzzling over sudden virus success

Almost overnight, Japan has become a stunning, and somewhat mysterious, coronavirus success story. Daily new COVID-19 cases have plummeted from a mid-August peak of nearly 6,000 in Tokyo, with caseloads in the densely populated capital now routinely below 100, an 11-month low. The bars are packed, the trains are crowded, and the mood is celebratory, despite a general bafflement over what, exactly, is behind the sharp drop. Japan, unlike other places in Europe and Asia, has never had anything close to a lockdown, just a series of relatively toothless states of emergency.
18th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Russian regions introduce QR codes for entry to public venues as COVID-19 cases hit record

Many Russian regions on Monday announced plans to keep cafes, museums and other public venues open only to those who have recently recovered from COVID-19, have proof of inoculation with a Russian vaccine or a negative coronavirus test, as new cases in the country hit a record. The round of unpopular measures that limits freedoms in Russia comes as the number of daily COVID-19 infections reached an all-time high of 34,325 despite the state-driven vaccination programme.
18th Oct 2021 - Reuters

How the Covid-19 booster shots could make the vaccination gap worse

"We're all triply-vaccinated!" friends gleefully told me last week, as they invited me to their home for dinner. They were thrilled. I had rarely seen such big smiles since the Covid-19 pandemic began. These are important developments, but they arrive at a time when major challenges remain, since about 66 million American adults have still not yet been fully vaccinated. Forty-six percent of Whites, 49% of Hispanics and 54% of Blacks in the country have not yet gotten a single shot. While my friends were delighted to receive extra protections and invite other people to dinner, much of the country remains wary. To overcome the growing pandemic, we as a nation must all now push to address this widening gap.
18th Oct 2021 - CNN

Should COVID-19 vaccines be mandatory?

Governments across the world are turning to vaccine mandates as the Delta variant continues to wreak havoc and vaccine uptake in some communities begin to slow down. New Zealand – which has abandoned its COVID-Zero strategy amid persistent infections – introduced last week a “no jab, no job” policy for doctors and teachers, while neighbouring Fiji says all of its public and private sector workers are liable to lose their jobs if they fail to get fully inoculated by November.
18th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Oct 2021

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Wits extends deadline for comments on proposed compulsory Covid-19 vaccinations

The deadline for comments on the Wits University's proposed compulsory vaccination policy has been extended by a week. Spokesperson Shiron Patel said the deadline was extended to Friday 22 October, and that more than 300 comments had been received so far, mostly in favour of the policy. The university is proposing compulsory vaccination against Covid-19, unless in exceptional circumstances. "There are also meetings taking place with various constituencies, including other student groupings, residences, organised labour, professional and academic staff, administrative staff, suppliers and retailers, etc," Patel said.
16th Oct 2021 - News24

Songkhla adopts stricter Covid screening

Authorities in Songkhla have toughened screening measures in areas adjacent to the three southernmost border provinces in hopes of bringing down stubbornly high rates of Covid-19 infections. People travelling from Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat will have to show proof of coronavirus vaccination, negative test results or other documents if they wish to enter Songkhla, governor Jetsada Jittarat said on Saturday. Songkhla on Saturday reported 621 new coronavirus cases, the third highest in the country behind Bangkok (1,077) and Yala (664). The new infections raised the cumulative provincial total to 39,296, with deaths at 171. The number of daily infections in Songkhla has been between 400 and 600 a day, which is partially a reflection of high levels of mass testing by health workers in many areas.
16th Oct 2021 - Bangkok Post

'Swab hubs' for arriving tourists

Bangkok is set to reopen to fully vaccinated international visitors next month with "swab hubs" being set up to test tourists upon their arrival in the capital. Bangkok governor Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang said that the government has laid down a policy to reopen the country on Nov 1 and precautions include testing and quarantine measures. As for the shortening of nighttime curfew hours starting on Saturday, City Hall will wait for an official announcement of the easing of virus curbs to be published in the Royal Gazette, Pol Gen Aswin said, adding that details regarding countdown events will then be discussed.
16th Oct 2021 - Bangkok Post

Italy Implements Tough Covid-19 Mandate for Workers, Prompting Protests

In one of the toughest anti-Covid-19 regimes in the Western world, Italy now requires all private and public sector workers to have a so-called green pass. The policy has kicked in amid unresolved questions on how it will be enforced and whether Italy will have enough testing kits to meet the expected surge in demand by millions of unvaccinated people who want to guarantee access to their workplace. The new requirement positions Italy, where 85% of people over the age of 12 have received at least one shot, as a test case for how hard Western countries can push their populations to get vaccinated.
16th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 Precautions Prompt Backlash on College Campuses

Life on college campuses is as close to pre-pandemic normalcy as it has been in 18 months, but as the semester progresses with few interruptions, some students are pushing back, calling the mitigation measures schools have imposed an overreach. Student complaints include objections to restrictions on their travel on and off campus, increased surveillance and what they consider erosion of civil liberties. Student-led petitions have prompted some schools to drop the use of location-tracking apps and requirements to wear sensors that monitor vital signs. At the core of their concerns is a fear that universities are constructing a bureaucracy designed to control a generation just coming of age.
16th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

43,000 in UK may have received false negative Covid-19 test results

British health officials said on Friday that 43,000 people may have been wrongly told they do not have the coronavirus because of problems at a private laboratory. The UK Health Security Agency said the Immensa Health Clinic Ltd. lab in Wolverhampton, central England, has been suspended from processing swabs after the false negatives. Will Welfare, the agency’s public health incident director, said it was working “to determine the laboratory technical issues” behind the inaccurate tests.
15th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Oct 2021

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What’s the latest advice on the type of mask I should wear?

What’s the latest advice on the type of mask I should wear? It depends on your situation, but health officials say it should cover your nose and mouth, and fit snugly so there aren’t any gaps on the sides of your face. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also says to pick masks with two or more layers and a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out the top. It suggests holding your mask up to check if it blocks light, which means the fabric will probably filter out more particles. If you want added protection, experts also suggest wearing two masks or pairing them with a mask fitter to ensure they don’t leave any gaps.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

COMMENTARY: What can masks do? Part 1: The science behind COVID-19 protection

Confusion continues to abound over the effectiveness of masks to protect people from COVID-19, and recent news stories touting imperfect studies are only compounding the situation. First, there was confusion and then intransigence about the modes of transmission, with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) insisting for many months after SARS-CoV-2 emerged that the virus was transmitted only by large droplets or hand contact. Only fairly recently did those agencies finally recognize that inhalation of small infectious particles in the air ("aerosols") is a more important mode of transmission. That was followed by substantial misinformation and misunderstanding about the role of cloth face coverings, surgical masks, and respirators in preventing SARS-CoV-2 spread. Then we had misunderstandings and poor messaging about the efficacy of different interventions, the effectiveness of one intervention versus another, and why interventions should be considered in a particular order or hierarchy.
14th Oct 2021 - CIDRAP

How do you vaccinate a small African nation? Rwanda’s health minister explains

An outlier in Africa’s slow rollout, Rwanda has raced ahead and vaccinated more than 90 per cent of adults in its capital. Minister of Health Dr Daniel Ngamije tells the Evening Standard’s Vaccine for the World project how Rwanda did it
14th Oct 2021 - Evening Standard

Covid vaccines for US children are coming but challenge will be persuading parents

Covid vaccines for children aged five to 11 are inching closer to authorization in the US, with possible availability as soon as early November, and experts are already looking to the next hurdle: actually getting the shots in those young arms. Only one-third of parents plan to vaccinate their children as soon as the vaccines are ready, the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation has found. Another third of those surveyed want to wait and see how the rollout goes. “What’s going to be actually more challenging, beyond having the infrastructure to be able to administer the Covid-19 vaccines, is ensuring that parents feel comfortable vaccinating their children,” Syra Madad, an infectious disease epidemiologist and ​​senior director of the System-wide Special Pathogens Program at NYC Health + Hospitals, told the Guardian. About half of children 12 and older have been vaccinated in the months since the vaccines were given the green light for those ages.
14th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Australians can test themselves for Covid-19 at home in two weeks

Rapid antigen tests have been used extensively in countries around the world They have finally been approved for use at home in Australia from November 1 States and territories will decide how residents can use the tests
14th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Oct 2021

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Do COVID vaccines prevent transmission of the virus?

But do vaccines actually limit the spread of the virus? A large study, not yet peer-reviewed, led by a team at Oxford University and looking specifically at the Delta variant has shown that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines do indeed reduce transmission of the disease. The study looked at almost 150,000 contacts who were traced from nearly 100,000 initial cases of COVID. The initial COVID-positive cases contained a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people and the aim was not only to see which groups were most likely to pass on the virus, but also which of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines were most effective in reducing transmission.
13th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English

WHO chief urges COVID-19 vaccine sharing to make mass coverage 'reality'

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday urged countries and companies controlling the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to prioritize supply to the vaccine sharing program COVAX in order to meet vaccination targets. "We're working with leaders to support the prioritization and planning that's needed to make 40% coverage a reality with aggressive and ambitious action," he said at a media briefing.
13th Oct 2021 - MSN.com

The Covid report lays bare Test and Trace failings – Dido Harding’s mistakes won’t be forgotten

When the damning Parliamentary report into the Covid pandemic was published today, there was quiet pride within the NHS that its own performance was largely the subject of praise. Many of the best things about the state’s response to the virus, from the vaccine rollout to new treatments to agile management, were down to the health service. But there was also a sense of relief, as most of the heaviest criticism was directed at not just the government and scientific advisers but also at ‘NHS Test and Trace’ (which should really have been called ‘DHSC Test and Trace’, as Matt Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care ran it, not the NHS). Some in the health service, who have long resented their brand being used and abused by Dido Harding’s controversial unit, pointedly remarked today that she had tried – and failed – this summer to become chief executive of the NHS itself. Or, as one insider put it: “We dodged a bullet there.”
13th Oct 2021 - iNews

Blackstone in London Sets Vaccine Rule to Work in Office

Blackstone, the giant private equity firm, will require employees who want to work in its London office to be vaccinated beginning next week, as the American company takes a more forceful approach to vaccinations than many other businesses in Britain. Across the United States, vaccine mandates, which require employees to be inoculated to remain in their jobs, are becoming increasingly common ahead of a rule by President Biden that will apply to companies with more than 100 employees. But in Britain, data protection and employment discrimination laws have prevented companies from mandating their own “no jab, no job” policies and have made it harder to physically separate unvaccinated workers. Instead, companies have been advised to encourage vaccinations rather than enforce them.
13th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rates up thanks to mandates; cases and deaths down -officials

Vaccination rates against COVID-19 in the United States have risen by more than 20 percentage points after multiple institutions adopted vaccine requirements, while case numbers and deaths from the virus are down, Biden administration officials said on Wednesday. White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters that 77% of eligible Americans had received at least one shot of a vaccine. Vaccination rates went up thanks to mandates put into place by private businesses, healthcare systems, social institutions and state and local governments, he said in a briefing.
13th Oct 2021 - Reuters


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Oct 2021

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Returning to school with covid safety precautions

More than a month into the 2020-2021 school year — despite a surge in coronavirus cases and bitter political fights over vaccine and mask mandates — most American schoolchildren are back in the classroom. And while the political battles may continue, it looks like the students are there to stay. Last month, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona testified before Congress that 96 percent of public schools have reopened for in-person instruction. And in places where schools are offering virtual programs, most families are nonetheless opting for face-to-face learning.
12th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Rapid Covid Tests Can Beat Pandemic: Harvard's Michael Mina

The 37-year-old epidemiologist, immunologist, and physician says it didn’t have to be this way: Workplaces, schools, event spaces, and more that have been desolate for better than a year could have stayed open—and safely—with a technology that’s been here all along. Mina has been an early and tireless champion of inexpensive, do-it-yourself SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests that can return a positive or negative result in about 15 minutes, arguing for their wider deployment in op-ed articles, on Twitter, and in conversations with health authorities.
12th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid Spread Was 8% Lower In Democrat-Led States Than GOP Because Of Stricter Restrictions, Study Finds

The peer-reviewed study, led by researchers at Binghamton University, determined a Public Health Protective Policy Index (PPI) that measured the “stringency” of states’ public health policies and analyzed those findings in relation to states’ Covid-19 transmission and the governors’ partisan affiliation. The researchers looked at Covid-19 rates and policies between March and November 2020, as well as when specific states’ Covid-19 cases peaked. Democratic-led states had a PPI that was approximately 10 points higher on average than states with GOP governors, though the study notes some Republican-led states like Maryland, Vermont and Massachusetts had stricter measures that were closer to the Democratic states.
12th Oct 2021 - Forbes

COVID-19: Parents of secondary school and college students urged to ensure their children test regularly and get vaccinated

The education secretary and health secretary have written to parents of secondary school and college students, urging them to ensure their children are testing regularly and also encouraging them to get vaccinated against coronavirus. The letter from Nadhim Zahawi and Sajid Javid comes after official estimates showed that around 270,000 secondary pupils had COVID-19 in the week to 2 October.
12th Oct 2021 - Sky News

New Zealand seeks to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations amid persistent cases

New Zealand expects to administer a record 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in a single day during a mass immunisation drive on Oct. 16, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, as she seeks to accelerate inoculations before easing curbs in Auckland. Ardern on Tuesday urged the country's population over 12 years of age "to roll up sleeves for New Zealand and help make us (one of) the most vaccinated and therefore protected countries in the world". Some 2.44 million, or 58% of the population over 12, have been fully vaccinated so far.
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Oct 2021

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WHO advises a third COVID shot for users of Chinese vaccines

The World Health Organisation recommended that people over 60 receive an additional dose of the shots made by Chinese vaccine makers Sinopharm and Sinovac, citing evidence in studies in Latin America that they perform less well over time. Observational data on Sinopharm and Sinovac shots “clearly showed that in older age groups ... the vaccine performs less well after two doses”, said Joachim Hombach on Monday (Tuesday AEDT) secretary of the independent panel of experts who held a five-day closed-door meeting last week.
12th Oct 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

COVID-19 vaccine trial participants to be offered additional doses

The government has announced the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants in England will be offered additional approved vaccine for international travel to countries which currently only accept vaccination records with approved for deployment COVID-19 jabs. Although the UK recognises those who are in COVID-19 vaccine trials as fully vaccinated for the purpose of certification, most other countries do not currently recognise clinical trial volunteers who have not had a vaccine that is approved for deployment. As such, the government will now offer these volunteers two additional doses of an approved vaccine, allowing them to gain the necessary certification status to travel abroad with more ease.
11th Oct 2021 - PharmaTimes

New Zealand makes COVID vaccines mandatory for doctors, teachers

New Zealand says it will soon require most of its healthcare workers and teachers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. The new vaccine mandate, announced on Monday, compels doctors, pharmacists, community nurses and other healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated by December. Teachers and other workers in the education sector must be fully vaccinated by January. “We can’t leave anything to chance so that’s why we are making it mandatory,” said Chris Hipkins, New Zealand’s education minister who is also in charge of the country’s COVID-19 response. ”It’s not an easy decision, but we need the people who work with vulnerable communities who haven’t yet been vaccinated to take this extra step,” he added.
11th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Oct 2021

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Singapore expands quarantine-free travel, eyes COVID-19 'new normal'

Singapore is opening its borders to more countries for quarantine-free travel as the city-state seeks to rebuild its status as an international aviation hub, and prepares to reach a "new normal" to live with COVID-19. From Oct. 19 fully vaccinated people from eight countries, including Britain, France, Spain and the United States, will be able to enter the island without quarantining if they pass their COVID-19 tests, the government said on Saturday. The announcement marks a major step in Singapore's strategy to resume international links.
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

The coronavirus pandemic is far from over

The goal for all countries is to make it to the blue section of the chart and stay there. Countries and territories in this section have reported no new cases for four weeks in a row. Currently, that is the case for five out of 188 countries and territories. How has the COVID-19 trend evolved over the past weeks? The situation has deteriorated slightly: 65 countries have reported more cases in the past two weeks compared with the previous 14 days. What is the current COVID-19 trend in my country? Based on the newly reported case numbers — which can reflect local outbreaks as well as the countrywide spread — in the past 28 days, countries and territories classify as follows:
9th Oct 2021 - DW (English)

NSW hits ‘impressive’ vaccination target as 580 new Covid cases recorded

Almost 90 per cent of eligible NSW residents have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The state is expected to reach the milestone within the next two days. Premier Dominic Perrottet applauded NSW residents coming forward for their jabs. However, he said some Sydney postcodes were languishing at less than 50 per cent double-dose rates. “Vaccination is incredibly important. We know it keeps people safe, particularly those in vulnerable communities,” Mr Perrottet said. “To be in a position as we come close to a 90 per cent first-dose vaccination rate is impressive.”
9th Oct 2021 - Perth Now

Boosters, employer mandates drive increase in US vaccines

The number of Americans getting COVID-19 vaccines has steadily increased to a three-month high as seniors and people with medical conditions seek boosters, and government and employer mandates push more workers to take their first doses.
8th Oct 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

Nearly 2million over-50s have yet to first Covid vaccine, despite booster drive kicking off already

As many as 2million people over the age of 50 in England still haven't had a single Covid vaccine, official figures suggest. MailOnline's analysis of NHS vaccination data means about one in 10 of those who were prioritised in the jab rollout still haven't come forward. Up to 127,288 over-80s remain unvaccinated, despite the programme opening to them as the very first age group last December. Age is the one of the biggest single risk factors for Covid. Yet, the analysis shows there are as many as 249,727 un-jabbed people in their 70s in England.
9th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Oct 2021

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Companies face pressure to act on vaccine mandates even as they wait for clear rules.

Last month, President Biden asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to write rules that would require companies with more than 100 employees to mandate coronavirus vaccinations or weekly testing. But with OSHA still going through a lengthy rule-making process, which could take several more weeks, the White House is urging companies to act now. Several big employers have imposed mandates since Biden’s announcement, including 3M, Procter & Gamble and the airlines American, Alaska and JetBlue. IBM said on Thursday that it will require all of its U.S. employees to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8, regardless of how often they come into the office. It will allow for “limited” medical or religious exceptions.
7th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

IBM Vaccine Mandate: Unvaxxed Employees Will Be Suspended in December

International Business Machines Corp. said all of its U.S.-based employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 8 or be put on unpaid suspension. The Armonk, New York-based company told workers that because it’s a government contractor, it’s required to adhere to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors. IBM said the new mandate will apply to all U.S. employees regardless of where they work or how often they go into a company office and will offer “limited” medical or religious exemptions. The decision was prompted by “the continued spread of Covid-19, local clinical conditions around IBM sites, and the reality that vaccines are readily available nationwide,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement.
7th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Canada imposes COVID-19 vaccine mandate on federal workers, transportation

Canada will place unvaccinated federal employees on unpaid leave and require COVID-19 shots for air, train and ship passengers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, as he unveiled one of the world's strictest vaccine mandate policies. Federal employees will be required to declare their full vaccination status through an online portal by Oct. 29. Workers and passengers age 12 and older on trains, planes and marine transport operating domestically - which are federally regulated - must show they have been inoculated by Oct. 30.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters Canada

Los Angeles will require proof of a COVID-19 vaccine for indoor establishments

By next month Los Angeles will require residents and visitors to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to eat, drink, or shop in indoor establishments across the city. Under this mandate, eligible patrons will need to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, coffee shops, stores, gyms, spas or salons. People attending large, outdoor events will also need to show evidence of either vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to attend the event. Proof of vaccination includes a vaccination card issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a photo of both sides of the card, documentation from a health care provider, or a digital record of vaccination issued by California, another state or country.
7th Oct 2021 - NPR

Biden administration boosts at-home COVID-19 test supply

President Joe Biden today announced he is investing $1 billion dollars to quadruple the national supply of at-home COVID-19 tests by December. "We will have a 200 million test supply by December," said Jeff Zients, COVID-19 coordinator, during a White House press briefing. "At the same time we are increasing the supply of at-home tests, we are expanding access to free testing. Every American, no matter their zip code, can access free testing." Zients said the Biden administration was also focused on expanding the number of free, community-based testing sites to 30,000 across the country, including 20,000 sites at pharmacies. Earlier this week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Acon home test, an antigen test that provides results in less than 15 minutes. Zients said the Acon test will increase the home-testing supply significantly.
6th Oct 2021 - CIDRAP


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UK readying payment systems to charge for rapid COVID-19 testing -sources

Britain is aiming early next year to be ready to start charging for some previously free COVID-19 tests, two sources close to the health service said, a step one described as driven by the finance ministry's desire to rein in spending. The government and health officials have said that rapid testing, via easy-to-use lateral flow tests, is crucial for tracking the spread of COVID-19, with regular testing of those without symptoms identifying around a quarter of all cases.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Canada to put federal workers who refuse COVID-19 vaccination on unpaid leave

Canada will place unvaccinated federal employees on unpaid leave and require COVID-19 shots for air, train and ship passengers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, as he unveiled one of the world's strictest vaccine mandate policies. Federal employees will be required to declare their full vaccination status through an online portal by Oct. 29. Workers and passengers age 12 and older on trains, planes and marine transport operating domestically - which are federally regulated - must show they have been inoculated by Oct. 30.
6th Oct 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 infections dropping throughout the Americas, more vaccine needed, says health agency

The number of new COVID-19 infections has been dropping over the past month throughout the Americas, even though only 37% of the people in Latin America and the Caribbean are fully vaccinated, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said. PAHO also said it has closed vaccine supply agreements with Sinovac and AstraZeneca for the delivery of 8.5 million doses this year, and with China's Sinopharm for next year. Jamaica, Nicaragua and Haiti have yet to reach even 10% vaccination coverage, PAHO said.
6th Oct 2021 - Reuters

‘Complex EU’ leads Europe to diverge from US on coronavirus vaccine booster

The world's two leading medicines regulators have reached different decisions on a third dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine — and it’s partly because of the complexity of the EU, according to the European Medicines Agency. On September 22, the U.S. FDA authorized the use of the vaccine as a third, or booster, dose for all over 65s, and only those over 18 who are at greater risk from infection, such as those with underlying illnesses or frequently exposed to the virus, like health workers. By contrast, the European Medicines Agency said on Monday that the third dose can be given to all healthy people over 18 at least six months after their second dose.
6th Oct 2021 - POLITICO Europe

Los Angeles requires proof of vaccination to enter many businesses, one of the nation’s strictest rules.

Los Angeles will require most people to provide proof of full coronavirus vaccination to enter a range of indoor businesses, including restaurants, gyms, museums, movie theaters and salons, in one of the nation’s strictest vaccine rules. The new law, which was approved by the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, will allow people with medical conditions that do not allow them to be vaccinated, or who have a sincerely held religious objection, to instead show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within the preceding 72 hours. It will take effect on Nov. 4, which city officials have said should give the city and businesses enough time to figure out how the rule should be enforced.
6th Oct 2021 - The New York Times


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Schools could be big battleground in coronavirus vaccine mandate fight

The resistance to coronavirus vaccine mandates isn’t quite what it’s been cracked up to be. As businesses, hospital systems and governments have moved forward with such mandates, many of the earliest test cases have gained compliance numbers well north of 90 percent. As The Post’s Philip Bump wrote last week, the numbers suggest many supposed never-vaxxers were actually in the “I’ll get it if required” camp. But that doesn’t mean vaccine mandates won’t hit roadblocks in the months ahead. And one increasing prospect seems most likely to truly test people’s true opposition to the mandates: schools requiring them. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Friday became the first governor to say that his state would mandate fully approved vaccines for schoolchildren when they are available. (The Pfizer vaccine is fully approved only for children 16 and older and authorized for emergency use for children 12 to 15.)
5th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Western Australia mandates COVID-19 vaccine for miners, natural gas workers

Western Australia said that it would require all employees that work with natural resources to have a first COVID-19 shot from December to help protect vulnerable Indigenous communities as the country begins opening up. People working in mining, oil and gas exploration are required to have their first dose by Dec. 1 and must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 1, the government said. The mandate also applies to any workers flying in and out of remote sites and any visitors to these operations, it said. "The new directions will address the risks posed by movement of resources sector workers... to and from regional and remote locations in WA, with many sites and operations located at or near remote Aboriginal communities," State Premier Mark McGowan said
5th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Ireland coming 'close to suppressing' Covid - Nolan

In Ireland, the population seems to have come close to suppressing Covid-19 and "we're in a good place" in relation to lifting the remaining restrictions by 22 October, NPHET's Prof Philip Nolan has said. The Chair of NPHET's Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said suppressing the virus is down to very high levels of vaccination and the adherence to public health measures. Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, he said: "We're fortunate with our very high level of vaccinations and frankly the very sensible manner in which each and every one of us is taking the precautions, we seem to have come close to suppressing what is a very transmissible virus."
5th Oct 2021 - RTE.ie


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The US is turning a corner in its fight against Covid-19, Fauci says. But it's still too early to let our guard down

As Covid-19 numbers gradually improve, health experts have an urgent message: Don't get cocky and relax. "We can't get overconfident. Every time we do and we put our guard down ... we get another surge with another variant," said Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, a viral researcher and internal medicine physician. "So yes, things are better. But they're far from over." On average, 107,312 new cases were reported each day over the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the lowest since August 5.
4th Oct 2021 - CNN

New York’s largest health care provider fires 1,400 unvaccinated employees.

Northwell Health, New York State’s largest health care provider, announced on Monday that it had fired 1,400 of its employees who refused to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to a spokesman, Joe Kemp. New York’s effort to require the state’s more than 650,000 hospital and nursing home workers to get vaccinated went into effect last week, prompting tens of thousands of employees who had held out to get their shots. But others filed a flurry of lawsuits, and courtrooms across the state are determining when and how to allow exemptions to the mandate. So far the number of workers in New York who have walked away from their jobs is relatively small, and not likely to result in the staff shortages that have imperiled harder-hit parts of the country during the Delta variant’s rise.
4th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

N.Y.C.'s Teacher Vaccine Mandate Prompts Thousands of Last-Minute Shots

New York’s requirement that virtually everyone who works in the city’s public schools be vaccinated against the coronavirus compelled thousands of Department of Education employees to get at least one dose of a vaccine in the past week, leading to extremely high vaccination rates among educators, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. About 95 percent of all full-time school employees have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the mayor said, including 99 percent of principals, 96 percent of teachers and 94 percent of non-education staff. Roughly 43,000 doses total have been administered since the mandate was announced in late August, including more than 18,000 shots that were given to staff members since Sept. 24.
4th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Israel requires COVID-19 booster shots for stricter "green pass"

Israel on Sunday piled pressure on its vaccinated citizens to get a booster shot by making only those who received their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine eligible for a "green pass" allowing entry to restaurants, gyms and many other venues. Israel was an early adopter of Pfizer/BioNtech booster shots -- administering them to members of risk groups in July and by the end of August to anyone above the age of 12. Its campaign is being watched closely by other countries. The new green pass is being issued to those who received three shots or recently recovered from COVID-19, replacing a previous system that required just two shots. It raises the bar for what the government considers full immunization
4th Oct 2021 - Reuters

More community colleges are mandating coronavirus vaccination

One by one, Maryland’s community colleges are starting to require students to get vaccinated against the coronavirus — months after the state university system adopted a sweeping vaccine mandate. But Virginia’s community colleges are not requiring student vaccination. Instead, they are encouraging it. That includes Northern Virginia Community College, where the first lady, Jill Biden, teaches English on the Alexandria campus. The difference between policies in the neighboring states illustrates a quiet debate that has been unfolding nationally among the public two-year colleges. These schools, hit hard by enrollment drops during the pandemic, have been slower on the whole to embrace vaccine mandates than four-year colleges and universities.
4th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post


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Studies provide insights into COVID vaccine hesitancy

Two JAMA Network Open studies yesterday that looked at COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in minority groups and opinions around less-preferred vaccines provide clues for how officials might better encourage immunization. The first study, involving 13 focus groups, reaffirmed a lack of communication and trust among racially and ethnically diverse communities in the United States. The second study examined the effect of emphasizing different data around the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines: People were more interested in uptake when they were presented with the vaccines' effectiveness against death versus their effectiveness against symptomatic infection.
1st Oct 2021 - CIDRAP

Air New Zealand to require COVID-19 vaccination for international travelers

Air New Zealand, the flag carrier airline of New Zealand, said on Sunday it will require passengers on its international flights to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in what is one of the world's strictest policies for travellers. "Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the new reality of international travel – many of the destinations Kiwis want to visit are already closed to unvaccinated visitors," Air New Zealand's Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said. New Zealand plans to reopen its international borders, which have been closed since March 2020 to anyone who is not a New Zealand citizen, early next year.
3rd Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Irish vaccine passports 'accelerated' jab uptake

Covid-19 vaccine uptake in the Republic of Ireland "would have been much lower" without the vaccine passport scheme, an immunology expert has said. Prof Kingston Mills from Trinity College Dublin said it was "a big incentive" for people to get jabbed. When indoor hospitality reopened in July, the Irish government said people had to be vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19 to get in. That requirement will be removed from 22 October. The EU Digital Covid Certificate, enables people to show proof of their vaccination status, or if they recently had a negative PCR test or recently recovered from the disease.
3rd Oct 2021 - BBC News

In Portugal, There Is Virtually No One Left to Vaccinate

Portugal’s health care system was on the verge of collapse. Hospitals in the capital, Lisbon, were overflowing and the authorities were asking people to treat themselves at home. In the last week of January, nearly 2,000 people died as the virus spread. The country’s vaccine program was in a shambles, so the government turned to Vice Adm. Henrique Gouveia e Melo, a former submarine squadron commander, to right the ship. Eight months later, Portugal is among the world’s leaders in vaccinations, with roughly 86 percent of its population of 10.3 million fully vaccinated. About 98 percent of all of those eligible for vaccines — meaning anyone over 12 — have been fully vaccinated, Admiral Gouveia e Melo said.
2nd Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Alaska Air to require COVID-19 vaccine for employees

Alaska Air Group has told its 22,000 employees they will be required to get a COVID-19 vaccination. There are some exceptions to the policy, which has shifted since last month, The Seattle Times reported. In an email Thursday evening to all Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees, the Seattle-based company said employees will now be required to be fully vaccinated or approved for a reasonable accommodation. Officials said the new police would be in accordance with the White House executive order that requires all federal contractors to have their workers vaccinated. It replaces an Alaska policy which paid vaccinated employees $200 and required regular testing for others. At that time, Alaska said that 75% of its employees had been vaccinated.
2nd Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Indonesia Eyes 10000-Strong Event in Test of Life With Virus

As many as 10,000 people attended the opening ceremony of Indonesia’s first major sports event since its worst Covid-19 outbreak -- a test of its strategy of living with the virus. The national sporting week called PON started Saturday at the newly renovated stadium in the eastern city of Jayapura, with the number of spectators meeting the 25% maximum capacity set by the domestic affairs ministry. Spectators have to be tested before entering the venue, wear masks and maintain social distancing, according to the ministry. Normal activities are starting to return in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy as its coronavirus cases and deaths are brought under control. That’s a stark contrast to just a month ago, when the country was reporting the world’s highest number of coronavirus deaths each day. The country added 1,414 cases on Saturday and 89 deaths from the virus.
2nd Oct 2021 - Bloomberg


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What Science Knows Now About the Risk of Covid-19 Transmission on Planes

Fliers have yearned for reliable data on the risks of air travel since the pandemic began. Recent research on Covid-19 transmission on flights suggests that airlines could adopt new policies to better protect their passengers. Scientists have found a sharp increase in possible spread during in-flight meal service when everyone has masks off. They’ve also learned more about the importance of precautions during boarding and deplaning. The chances of viral spread aboard planes remain very low. But papers published in medical journals suggest they may not be as low as suggested earlier in the pandemic. “It’s still, at this point, safe to travel if you take proper precautions,” says Mark Gendreau, chief medical officer at Beverly Hospital near Boston and an expert in aviation medicine. “I do think it could be safer.”
30th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

California Mandates Boost Vaccination Rates Among Health Care Workers

California’s requirement for all health care workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, which took effect Thursday, appears to have compelled tens of thousands of unvaccinated employees to get shots in recent weeks, bolstering the case for employer mandates. In a survey of more than a dozen of the state’s major hospital systems, most health care employers reported vaccination rates this week of 90 percent or higher, with hundreds — and in some cases, thousands — more workers in some systems opting to be vaccinated, rather than to apply for limited medical or religious exemptions, since Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration issued the health order Aug. 5.
30th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

France orders anyone aged 12 and older to show Covid 'health pass' to enter public sites in bid to stave off winter coronavirus flare-up

Policy is an extension of 'health pass' already in place for adults for two months The pass proves vaccination, a recent negative test or a recovery from the virus French President Macron introduced the pass for adults in July, sparking rallies But it also triggered millions of people to get the jab after holding out for months
30th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Malaysia makes COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for government employees

Malaysia said on Thursday it would now be mandatory for all federal government employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with exceptions only to be allowed on health grounds. The announcement comes as the country looks to boost vaccination rates with the aim of inoculating 80% of the population by the end of the year. Malaysia has one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in Southeast Asia, with 61% of its 32 million population already fully vaccinated. In a statement, the Public Service Department said vaccinations would be made compulsory for federal staff in order to boost public confidence and ensure government services can be delivered smoothly.
30th Sep 2021 - Reuters

How Denmark beat Covid and lifted all restrictions, and the lessons the UK can learn

Denmark appears to have defeated Covid-19, with low infection rates, 75 per cent of the population fully vaccinated and normality returning after all restrictions were lifted this month. The country is recording 367 new infections on average each day compared with 34,241 in the UK. Crucially, the Danes had the “highest level of optimism” and “lowest levels of concern” of eight countries including the UK surveyed in the Hope Project, a global initiative led by Danish universities.
30th Sep 2021 - iNews


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YouTube to remove misinformation videos about all vaccines

YouTube is to remove videos that spread misinformation about all vaccines, as it steps up a crackdown on harmful content posted during the coronavirus pandemic. From Wednesday, the video streaming site, which has already banned Covid jab falsehoods, will take down content that contains misinformation such as claiming any approved vaccine is dangerous, causes chronic health defects or does not reduce spread of disease. Under previous guidelines, the platform demoted – effectively hiding from view – videos that spread misinformation about non-Covid vaccines or promoted vaccine hesitancy. Last year, YouTube implemented a ban on Covid vaccine misinformation videos, which has led to 130,000 pieces of content being taken down since then. YouTube, which is owned by Google, has removed a total of 1m videos for spreading general Covid falsehoods since the pandemic broke out.
29th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Covid-19 in South America: Vaccine Rollout Led to Big Drop in Cases

South America, exceptionally hard-hit by Covid-19, is seeing a sudden drop in cases and deaths, apparently from rapid and thorough vaccines on the heels of a horrific wave that provided antibodies to those it didn’t kill. Over a seven-day period, the continent now makes up 6% of cases and 9% of deaths, the lowest since the start of the pandemic. At its peak in June, it represented 38% of global infections and 44% of fatalities. One peculiarity of the continent is that the delta variant upending plans from Asia to the U.S. hasn’t found traction there. It had similarly contagious mutations, known as gamma and lambda, and their presence may be keeping delta at bay and extending immunity. This is distinct from Mexico, Central America and Cuba, where delta has taken hold and the other two hadn’t.
29th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Tanzania: Samia Calls for Mass Education on Coronavirus Vaccine

President Samia Suluhu Hassan urged religious leaders to help educate their members about coronavirus and vaccine currently administered freely and voluntarily across the country. Addressing clerics and bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania at the church's 50th anniversary held in Dodoma, President Samia it is important for the citizen to be well informed about the vaccine. "Vaccine helps reduce complications as well as mortality," she said. "We have to use all means necessary and vaccine is one of them." Apparently some church members had managed to develop a locally made-vaccine claimed to battle coronavirus. President Samia hailed the initiative insisting that her administration would help verify the efficacy of the vaccine with health authorities before mass production. "Let me congratulate the youth from this church who are trying to get a vaccine... We will help send some samples to international institutions for testing and if approved it can be allowed so that more people will get vaccinated," she noted.
29th Sep 2021 - AllAfrica.com

Vatican orders all staff to be vaccinated or undergo regular Covid-19 testing

The Vatican made the announcement on Tuesday to staff, according to reports. Even the most senior members of the Catholic Church will not be exempt. The Pope has made the Catholic Church's stance on vaccinations clear. Francis himself was vaccinated in January and has called it a 'moral duty.' On Monday, Pope Francis emphasised the need for attention to be given to other diseases after Covid-19 has taken up most resources for almost two years
29th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Americans Are Getting Covid-19 Boosters—No Questions Asked

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have authorized a third shot of the vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for a wide swath of the U.S. population. Anyone over age 65 is eligible for a booster shot, as is anyone over 18 with a pre-existing condition predisposing the person toward a severe case of Covid-19. Also eligible are those with a job or living situation that poses a higher risk of contracting Covid-19. Boosters for all patients must be given at least six months after an initial Pfizer vaccine course. Patients who received initial doses of the vaccines made by Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson aren’t eligible yet. Approval of a booster regimen for those patients is expected in the coming months. The FDA did amend its emergency-use authorization in August, however, to allow a third Moderna dose for immunocompromised people.
29th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Employer vaccine mandates convert some workers, but not all

Businesses that have announced vaccine mandates say some workers who had been on the fence have since gotten inoculated against COVID-19. But many holdouts remain — a likely sign of what is to come once a federal mandate goes into effect. Even before President Joe Biden’s Sept. 9 announcement that companies with more than 100 workers would have to require vaccinations, dozens of companies, including Amtrak, Microsoft, United Airlines and Disney issued ultimatums to most workers. And smaller companies in New York, San Francisco and New Orleans have been required to implement mandates for customers and workers. Some mandates seem to have converted hesitant workers, but employers are still dealing with holdouts. United said late Tuesday it will begin terminating 593 employees over the next few days for refusing to get vaccinated. Other companies are offering alternatives, including weekly testing or working remotely or away from other staff.
29th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

AT&T mandates COVID-19 vaccination for union-represented employees

AT&T Inc said on Wednesday it would require its union-represented employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering their work location, following a similar mandate for its management employees last month. The U.S wireless carrier, one the largest employers of union-represented workers, said the Communications Workers of America linked employees must be fully vaccinated by Feb. 1, 2022. CWA represents more than 150,000 employees at AT&T. Other major companies including Facebook Inc, Google and Microsoft Corp have also mandated vaccinations for employees as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus drives up infections in the United States.
29th Sep 2021 - Reuters

United says nearly 600 staff face termination for vaccine refusal

United Airlines has said that nearly 600 US-based employees faced termination after failing to comply with the carrier’s vaccination policy. In early August, the company became the first US carrier to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all domestic employees, requiring proof of vaccination by Monday. The carrier said it would start on Tuesday the process of firing 593 employees who decided not to get vaccinated. “This was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority,” Chief Executive Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart told employees in a memo. The workers can save their jobs if they get vaccinated before their formal termination meetings, the company officials said.
29th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera


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Vaccine Mandate Leads Thousands of New York Health Workers to Get Vaccinated

When New York State officials issued a sweeping coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers in August, they expressed confidence that it would pressure reluctant doctors, nurses and support staff to get the shot. On Monday, as the deadline for vaccinations for about 600,000 nursing home and hospital workers arrived, it seemed that bet had proved to be at least partially correct. With just days or even hours to spare, thousands of health care workers got inoculated, according to health officials across the state.
28th Sep 2021 - New York Times

Ford says U.S. salaried employees required to disclose COVID-19 vaccination status

Ford Motor Co became the second Detroit automaker to ask U.S. salaried employees to reveal their vaccination status against COVID-19 in a bid to comply with wider federal guidelines. Ford said salaried employees were required to submit their vaccination status against COVID-19 by Oct. 8 but the process was voluntary for its hourly employees represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. The automaker's move comes as the Biden administration pursues sweeping measures to increase vaccination coverage in the United States, while pushing large employers to have their workers inoculated or tested weekly
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Brazil to give COVID-19 booster shots to people over 60 years old

Brazil will provide COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all its people over 60-years-old, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on Tuesday. Queiroga said in a tweet that the decision comes in line with progress in the country's vaccination program. About 7 million Brazilians could get the booster shot under these conditions, he said. Brazil had already started giving booster shots to people over 70-years-old and healthcare workers. According to Health Ministry data, about 600,000 booster shots have been administered up to now.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Scotland delays enforcement of vaccine passport scheme

Scotland's new vaccine passport scheme for entry into nightclubs and large events will not be enforced until two weeks after it is introduced. From 5am on Friday, people going to venues open after midnight with alcohol, music and dancing will need proof they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said venues which fail to obey the new rules will not face punishment for another 17 days. Ms Sturgeon said she had made the change after listening to the "reasonable concerns of business".
28th Sep 2021 - Sky News

New York can move forward with coronavirus vaccine mandate for school workers, judges say

A federal appeals court Monday made way for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) to implement a coronavirus vaccine mandate for all school employees, ruling against four educators who had sued to stop it. The court decision marks a major victory for the nation’s largest school system, which employs 150,000 people and educates over 1 million students in a city gutted by the coronavirus last year. Unlike most other cities, New York’s mandate does not allow employees to submit to regular testing as an alternative to getting a vaccine. The city’s mandate would have required all school employees to show proof of at least one shot by midnight Monday. But on Friday, a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit issued an injunction temporarily halting the requirement.
28th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Covid-19: Unlocking options 'limited' by jab passport delay

In Northern Ireland, a delay by the executive in agreeing a Covid-19 vaccine certification policy has "significantly limited" the options for easing restrictions, the health minister has said. In a letter to the first and deputy first ministers, Robin Swann said he was frustrated by the lack of progress. He asked as a "matter of urgency" that the Executive Office brings forward a paper "without further delay". He said people would lose out if that did not happen. The absence of vaccine certification could leave them disadvantaged "when they travel to neighbouring jurisdictions where such schemes are mandatory", he said
28th Sep 2021 - BBC News

People in the Northeast could prevent a Covid-19 surge like the one in the South by following these measures, Fauci says

As weather grows colder and children spend more time in school, a surge of Covid-19 cases like the one in the South could be in store for the Northeast, but it is not too late to get ahead of it, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. "It is within our power, and within our grasp, to prevent that from occurring," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN on Monday. The way to do it, he said, is by utilizing mitigation measures such as wearing masks indoors and in schools, as well as increasing vaccination rates. The idea of vaccine mandates for schools and businesses has sparked debate through much of the country, but with the spread of the Delta variant, more leaders are adopting such methods.
28th Sep 2021 - CNN


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Want to help prevent more variants down the road? Get vaccinated, CDC director says

Adequate rates of vaccination can help prevent the rise of new mutations that could force people to get booster after booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday. The CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration recommended booster shots for many Americans last week to help preserve their immunity. But that doesn't necessarily mean people will need to keep getting boosters. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CBS's "Face the Nation."
27th Sep 2021 - CNN

Chile Begins Vaccinating Young Children With Sinovac Vaccine

The Chilean government began vaccinating children ages 6 to 11 as it moves forward with one of the most advanced Covid-19 prevention campaigns in Latin America. Children will get shots made by Sinovac Biotech Ltd following Chile’s approval for emergency use earlier this month. The government will begin giving shots in schools, and Health Undersecretary Paula Daza attended a ceremony in Santiago to mark the beginning of the vaccination campaign.
27th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Why Does Biden's Vaccine Mandate Have a Testing Loophole?

President Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate for large businesses is a strange one, in that it does not actually make vaccines mandatory for the roughly 80 million Americans it’s aimed at. Tucked plainly into the rule is a singular and obvious opt-out: Unlike federal employees and contractors, those in the private sector can test for the coronavirus on an at-least-weekly basis, a no-jab alternative that makes the White House’s decision quite a bit gentler than it could have been. “It’s a stick, but it’s sort of a soft stick,” Julia Raifman, a health-policy researcher at Boston University, told me.
27th Sep 2021 - The Atlantic

COVID-19 vaccine rollout for people living with disability 'seriously deficient', royal commission report finds

ustralian states and territories should not ease COVID restrictions until all people with disability have been given the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, according to the disability royal commission. In its draft report, released on Monday, the inquiry described the vaccine rollout as "seriously deficient" and recommended the federal government use its best endeavours to "ensure people with disability and support workers are fully vaccinated before any easing of restrictions".
27th Sep 2021 - ABC News

Recovered COVID patients will require vaccine dose to receive Green Pass

The Health Ministry announced on Sunday that, from October 3, when a number of new restrictions will be introduced, recovered COVID-19 patients will be required to get a single coronavirus vaccine dose in order to be eligible to receive a Green Pass. Under the current Green Pass rules, entry to certain businesses and events is limited to those with proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test result. The new rules mean that some 1.2 million Israelis who have been diagnosed with the virus since the start of the pandemic, along with those who have a positive serological test showing high antibodies, will need at least one vaccine shot to qualify for the Green Pass.
26th Sep 2021 - The Times of Israel


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NYC Temporarily Blocked From Imposing School Vaccine Mandate

New York City’s school system, the largest in the U.S., has been temporarily blocked from imposing a mandate forcing teachers and other staff from getting vaccinated against Covid-19, according to a ruling from a federal judge. That mandate is scheduled to go into effect on Monday at midnight. Late Friday, a judge from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit referred the case to a three-judge panel “on an expedited basis.” The hearing will take place on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
26th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

El Salvador to begin giving third dose of COVID-19 vaccine

El Salvador will begin administering a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to various groups including the elderly, healthworkers and people with underlying health conditions, President Nayib Bukele said on Friday. The Central American nation of roughly 6.4 million people has obtained some 12 million vaccines since February. Third shots would be given to people including those aged over 60, frontline health staff, teachers, the armed forces, police and firefighters, as well as Salvadorans with pre-existing health problems, Bukele said on Twitter.
25th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Brazil approves COVID-19 booster shots for healthcare workers

Brazil has approved booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines for "health professionals," with preference given to the Pfizer shot, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on Friday. The boosters will only be given to people six months after they complete initial round of COVID-19 vaccination, Queiroga said in a Twitter post.
25th Sep 2021 - Reuters

White House says millions of government contractors must be vaccinated by Dec. 8

The White House said on Friday that millions of federal contractors must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8 and that the administration will add clauses to future government contracts mandating inoculations. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Sept. 9 requiring federal contractors to mandate vaccinations, but many U.S. companies with federal contracts have awaited formal guidance from the White House before moving forward.
24th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Does My Mask Protect Me if Nobody Else Is Wearing One?

There is also plenty of evidence showing that masks protect the wearer even when others around them are mask-free. The amount of protection depends on the quality of the mask and how well it fits. During a hotel outbreak in Switzerland, for instance, several employees and a guest who tested positive for the coronavirus were wearing only face shields (with no masks); those who wore masks were not infected. And a Tennessee study found that communities with mask mandates had lower hospitalization rates than areas where masks weren’t required.
23rd Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Covid-19 Vaccines Can Be Updated for the Delta Variant. Here’s How.

Scientists are working to develop shots that would target the Delta variant specifically. The mRNA platform behind some vaccines might make this process relatively straightforward, according to Matthew Johnson, senior director of product development at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. Vaccines work by exposing the body to a harmless version or portion of a virus. This teaches our immune systems to recognize and fight the real virus if our bodies become infected with it. The mRNA-based vaccines developed for Covid-19—including the two made by Moderna Inc. and by Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE —rely on the outer spike proteins of the new coronavirus to prime our immune defenses. Spike proteins stud the outer surface of the virus and help it latch onto and infect healthy cells.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

The Vaccinated Aren't ‘Just as Likely’ to Spread COVID

For many fully vaccinated Americans, the Delta surge spoiled what should’ve been a glorious summer. Those who had cast their masks aside months ago were asked to dust them off. Many are still taking no chances. Some have even returned to all the same precautions they took before getting their shots, including avoiding the company of other fully vaccinated people.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Atlantic

Aged care staff sacked in regional Australia for refusing to get Covid-19 vaccination

Aged care facilities struggling after exodus of anti-vaxxers are forced out. All staff must be fully vaccinated in order to work with the vulnerable group. Outstretched regional homes are particularly under pressure from the new rules
23rd Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Japan to double COVID-19 vaccine donations to other countries to 60 mln doses

Japan plans to give other countries 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday, doubling the target from the previous pledge of 30 million doses. "Today, I am pleased to announce that, with additional contributions, Japan will provide up to approximately 60 million doses of vaccine in total," Suga said in a pre-recorded video message at the U.S.-hosted Global COVID-19 Summit.
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Why the NFL Wants Its Personnel to Get Covid Tests—Even When They’re Vaccinated

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel woke up one August morning feeling mostly fine, but just a little bit off. His throat was sore, and his ear ached. It could have easily been explained by a long summer day at training camp barking at players. Yet when Vrabel arrived at the team facility that morning, he asked for a coronavirus test. Vrabel, who is vaccinated against Covid-19, waited in his car until the result came back. It was positive. So was a follow-up test. And so instead of possibly exposing colleagues and players, he was placed into isolation. It was a model response for an organization like the NFL—or for anybody trying to conduct business as usual—in the age of vaccines. As mass mandatory testing recedes as a containment strategy, monitoring symptoms and voluntary testing is now a front line of defense.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

NYC's Vaccine Mandate for Teachers Is Cleared by State Judge

New York City’s requirement for teachers to be vaccinated was cleared by a state judge following a legal challenge from labor unions. New York State Supreme Court Justice Laurence L. Love removed a temporary restraining order he had imposed to stop the vaccine mandate from being enforced while the case is being litigated. Love dismissed the unions’ argument that the mandate violates the due process rights of teachers and staff, saying state and federal courts have “consistently held” that a mandatory vaccine requirement doesn’t impede such rights and is within the government’s power.
22nd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

United says more than 97% of U.S. employees are vaccinated

United Airlines said more than 97% of its U.S. employees have been vaccinated ahead of the company's Sept. 27 deadline for staff vaccination. The airline has taken a tough stance on employees who decline to get vaccinated and became the first U.S. carrier in early August to announce it would mandate vaccines for employees.
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

UK to send 1m Pfizer vaccine doses to South Korea in swap deal

One million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are being sent from the UK to South Korea as part of a swap deal. South Korea will return the same “overall volume of doses” before the end of the year, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said. The initiative will help South Korea hit its target of administering a second dose to 70% of its population by the end of October, the DHSC said. The first batch of doses is due to be shipped within weeks.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Panama to give immunocompromised people third COVID-19 vaccine shot

Panama will offer a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to moderate and severely immunocompromised people starting this week, Health Minister Luis Sucre said. The decision follows similar moves by other Latin American countries such as Ecuador and Chile, which are already giving a booster vaccine dose to people at risk, for instance those with immunodeficiencies or the elderly. Among those eligible to get an extra shot during the first phase of the Panamanian plan are people undergoing cancer treatment and transplants, as well as those who received stem cells in the last two years or suffer from an advanced or untreated HIV infection.
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 vaccines for teenagers: conversations and consent

On 13 September, the UK chief medical officers recommended that all 12-15 year olds be offered a single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine.1 This followed a previous recommendation by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation2 not to offer covid-19 vaccines to healthy 12-15 year olds. The UK now joins a growing list of countries offering vaccination to those aged 12 and over, but it is providing only one dose rather than the two given in other countries because of concerns about rare side effects such as heart inflammation. The health benefits of covid-19 vaccination are small in this age group since covid-19 infection is not a serious threat to their health.5 However, the chief medical officers’ decision was influenced by the wider benefit of reducing further disruption to education. Parents are understandably concerned about vaccine safety. It’s not yet clear how schools and healthcare professionals will cope with delivering up to 2.6 million covid-19 vaccines, answering parents’ questions,6 and supporting teenagers to make informed decisions.
22nd Sep 2021 - The BMJ


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Opinion | I Ran the CDC. Here’s How to Prove That Americans Are Vaccinated.

This month, President Biden announced a comprehensive plan to reinvigorate America’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. A big part of this plan hinges on mandating the vaccination of millions of federal workers. Employees of companies with more than 100 staff members will have to provide proof of vaccination or test negative for the coronavirus at least once a week. The businesses and other institutions that must enforce these mandates will have to verify vaccination status and test results to make this system work. Even before the plan was announced, a number of state and local governments and school districts and more than 1,000 colleges and universities adopted at least some vaccination requirements for employees and students. But without a unified approach to verify compliance, ideally through federal leadership, verification will be inaccurate, inconsistent and potentially insecure.
21st Sep 2021 - The New York Times

DC school, childcare workers must get covid vaccine, no test option

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Monday that all teachers and school staff and early child-care workers in the District must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Nov. 1, eliminating a testing option for these professionals who regularly interact with children who are often too young to be vaccinated. The mayor’s initial vaccine requirement — which included a testing option — did not apply to public charter or private school workers nor day-care employees. But this stricter mandate applies to these nongovernment employees.
21st Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

New Zealand increases fines for COVID-19 rule breakers

New Zealand on Friday announced higher fines of up to NZ$12,000 ($8,400) for individuals breaching coronavirus restrictions amid concerns that the current outbreak may spread beyond Auckland to other regions due to people breaking rules. "Our success has been really based on the fact that people by and large have been compliant," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Slow but steady has seen the EU win out in the vaccine race

In March, WHO compared Europe’s Covid vaccine rollout unfavourably with the UK’s, calling it “unacceptably slow”. As late as April, only 11% of the bloc’s population had received at least one shot, compared with 29% in the US and 46% in Britain. But last week, according to Our World in Data, the picture looked different. Nine EU countries, including Portugal, Spain, Ireland, France, Belgium and Italy, have now administered one or both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to a larger share of their populations than the UK, with a further five having overtaken the US.
20th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Gordon Brown calls for urgent action to avert ‘Covid vaccine waste disaster’

More than 100m Covid vaccine doses are due to expire and be “thrown away” unless global leaders urgently share surplus supplies with the world’s poorest countries, Gordon Brown has warned. The “staggering” number of stockpiled “use now” jabs will be of no use to anyone by December, according to a new report from the research group Airfinity. The former prime minister said the failure of Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and EU leaders to agree on a plan to distribute the spare doses meant the world was facing a “vaccine waste disaster”. Brown has sent Airfinity’s research to leading politicians, including the US president, the UK prime minister, and senior figures in Brussels, before a global vaccine summit on Wednesday.
20th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Booster jab invitations to 'strengthen wall of defence' will be sent out across England this week

More than a million people in England will receive an invitation to book their COVID-19 booster jab. Texts will be sent out on Monday, while letters will be posted to those who are eligible for a third coronavirus vaccine dose later in the week, NHS England said. Around 1.5 million people will be contacted and encouraged to use the National Booking Service. Those eligible for booster jabs include those aged 50 and over, people living and working in care homes for the elderly and frontline health and social care workers.
20th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Qatar wants mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for all World Cup footballers

World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar are pushing to make it mandatory for all players who compete at next year’s tournament to have had both Covid-19 vaccinations. The Qatari government has already announced that any fans who attend the tournament next November will need to be fully vaccinated, and now that ruling could also extend to the players – and coaching staffs – taking part too. According to The Athletic, Qatari medical authorities have been in talks with FIFA and other stakeholders in an effort to ensure all participating players are double jabbed.
20th Sep 2021 - Metro.co.uk


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COVID-19: Top scientist says ministers should have improved PCR testing system rather than 'abandoning it entirely'

A top scientist who advises the government says ministers should have improved the COVID testing system for international travel rather than "abandoning it entirely". Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours, which feeds into the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said the removal of the need for a PCR COVID test will impact on the UK's ability to spot dangerous infections coming into the UK.
19th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Led by the nose: Meet the UAE's COVID-19 sniffer dogs

Police in Dubai have built up a special unit of 38 sniffer dogs that can detect COVID-19 from human sweat samples with 92% accuracy, the supervisor of the training programme told Reuters. Dubai Police trained the cohort, which includes German Shepherds, Labradors, Cocker Spaniels and Border Collies, to recognise the scent of COVID-19 using samples of sweat from people with confirmed infections, collected by holding a swab in an armpit for a few minutes.
19th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus: plans to end free rapid tests in England ‘reckless’

England’s coronavirus testing strategy has been been criticised as “reckless” amid plans to end the free provision of rapid tests and relax the monitoring of cases from abroad. Families and businesses will have to pay for lateral flow tests from next year in an overhaul of Downing Street’s approach to the pandemic. More than 95m of the 30-minute tests have been used since they were made freely available in England from April. Reported to cost £5-£30 each, they have identified more than 620,000 cases, mostly in people without symptoms but who could still transmit the virus. Mayors, teaching unions and directors of public health said charging for lateral flow tests was a “backward step” that threatened to throw schools back into chaos, accelerate the spread of the virus and deepen health inequalities.
17th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Italy makes vaccine passport compulsory - workers can be fined and suspended without pay

Italy is to become the first European country to make a vaccine passport system compulsory for all workers. Proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection must be provided or staff will be suspended without pay and face a fine. However, they cannot be sacked. The law set to apply to both public and private employees from 15 October after the Italian government approved the measures on Thursday.
17th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: How Native Americans led the way in the US vaccination effort

Data from the US CDC show that Native American groups—American Indians and Alaska Natives—have consistently had the best vaccination records since covid-19 vaccination in the US began in early 2021. The CDC’s daily tracker for 13 September showed that 47.5% of American Indians and Alaska Natives were fully vaccinated.1 This compared with 41.8% of Asians, 37.8% of white Americans, and 29.9% of African Americans. The American Indian/Alaska Native group has maintained its lead since the beginning of vaccination in the first dose category as well. Community leaders ascribe this success to two things: first, the US government’s decision to allow Native American communities to control vaccine distribution; and second, traditional ethnic values including respect for elders, “community first” philosophies, and a willingness to trust science—so long as it’s presented by community members themselves.
17th Sep 2021 - The BMJ


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Italy Is First EU Country to Require Covid Pass for All Workers

Italy will require all workers to have a valid Covid passport, as the government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi moves to set the toughest vaccination requirements in Europe. A cabinet meeting Thursday approved the measure, which applies to all public and private-sector workers and will come into force Oct. 15. Workers faces fines of as much as 1,500 euros ($1,763) for noncompliance, while employers who fail to check their workers may have to pay as much as 1,000 euros. The wider use of the passports -- dubbed Green Passes -- had met fierce opposition from right-wing parties including Matteo Salvini’s League, which backs Draghi’s government.
16th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

United says about 90% staff vaccinated ahead of company deadline

United Airlines Holding said on Thursday 95% of its management was fully vaccinated and about 90% of all employees had uploaded proof of shots ahead of the company's Sept. 27 deadline for staff vaccination. United has taken a tough stance on employees who decline to get vaccinated and became the first U.S. carrier in early August to announce it would mandate vaccines for employees.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

France suspends 3000 health staff as Europe targets vaccine refusal

Hospitals, care homes and health centres have suspended around 3,000 workers across France for failing to comply with mandatory COVID vaccination, the government said on Thursday, as countries around Europe weigh how far to go to combat the pandemic. While Italy is set to announce later on Thursday that proof of vaccination or a negative test will be compulsory for all workers, going further than any other country in the region, the Netherlands plans a similar step - but only to go to bars or clubs.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Vaccine booster programme begins as NHS starts giving third jabs

The NHS has started rolling out COVID-19 booster jabs. Over 50s, people in care homes, frontline health and social care workers and vulnerable people between 16 and 49 are among those who will be offered a third dose. At least six months must have passed since the second jab. Hospital hubs began giving third doses to health and social care workers on Thursday, NHS England said, with other eligible people now being identified.
16th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Spain to give COVID-19 booster dose to nursing home residents

Spain will give a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to nursing home residents, organ transplant recipients and other vulnerable groups, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. Cancer patients undergoing chemo or radiotherapy and people with health conditions that require immunosuppressive treatment would also be eligible for a booster dose, the ministry said.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Virgin Australia to require COVID-19 vaccinations for staff

Virgin Australia said on Thursday it will require all its staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, in line with domestic rival Qantas Airways and a growing number of airlines in the Asia-Pacific region. Pilots, cabin crew and airport workers will need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15, while other staff will have until March 31, 2022, Virgin said, aligning its dates with Qantas. "We also remain supportive of any government-led measures to ensure travellers are vaccinated," Virgin Chief Executive Officer Jayne Hrdlicka said.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Majorities in new poll support requiring proof of vaccine to fly, enter arenas

A majority of people in the U.S. support requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to board airplanes or enter indoor arenas, a new Monmouth University poll shows. The poll found 59 percent of Americans said people should need to show proof of vaccination to be able to get on an airplane, while 55 percent say they support the measure for indoor arenas. Forty-six percent of people support requiring proof of vaccination to attend events at outdoor arenas.
16th Sep 2021 - The Hill

Beyond ‘vaccinopia’: Rapid tests should play a larger role in Biden’s Covid-19 plan

America is suffering from a serious case of vaccinopia: an inability to look beyond shots in arms when considering how to manage the pandemic. This was made clear by President Biden’s new Covid-19 plan, which emphasizes vaccine mandates while providing insufficient support for rapid tests, which we believe to be the most promising — and most underused — tool in the armamentarium against the coronavirus. We are strong proponents of the Covid-19 vaccines, which have proven to be impressively effective and safe. In an ideal world, every eligible American would have been vaccinated by now. But we do not live in an ideal world. Covid-19 vaccination has become so politicized that a broad, societal consensus on its merits seems all but impossible. As many as one in five eligible Americans may continue to decline vaccination. Vaccine mandates could change that, but their immediate impact will be blunted by the inevitable legal challenges and the months-long process of delivering millions of vaccinations and waiting for sufficient immunity to develop.
16th Sep 2021 - STAT News

Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID?

Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID? No, there is no scientific evidence showing masks cause harm to kids’ health despite baseless claims suggesting otherwise. The claims are circulating on social media and elsewhere just as virus outbreaks are hitting many reopened U.S. schools — particularly those without mask mandates. Among the unfounded arguments: Masks can foster germs if they become moist or cause unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide. But experts say washing masks routinely keeps them safe and clean.
16th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press


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Pope urges COVID inoculations, says vaccines are humanity's friends

Pope Francis said on Wednesday he was puzzled why so many people, including some cardinals in Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, have refused to get inoculated against COVID-19. "It is a bit strange because humanity has a history of friendship with vaccines," he said aboard the plane returning from Slovakia, responding to a question from a reporter about the reasons for vaccine hesitancy. "As children (we were vaccinated) for measles, polio. All the children were vaccinated and no one said anything," he said.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Fed regional banks mandate COVID-19 shots for employees

The U.S. Federal Reserve in Washington and the regional Fed banks will now require all of their nearly 23,000 employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Philadelphia Fed informed its staff of the new mandate in a memo on Wednesday, making it the last of the 12 regional Fed banks to make vaccination a requirement of employment. The Fed Board in Washington will also require its employees to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 30, a spokesperson for the U.S. central bank told Reuters on Wednesday.
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

New US immigrants required to get coronavirus vaccine, USCIS says

The United States will require new immigrants to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as part of its routine medical examination, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Tuesday. The measure goes into effect on Oct. 1. Most people applying to become a permanent resident in the United States are required to receive the immigration medical examination “to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under the health-related grounds,” according to USCIS. The announcement comes after the Biden administration last week unveiled a sweeping set of vaccination mandates, requiring federal employees to get immunized against the coronavirus, and ordering businesses with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations or weekly testing
15th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

WHO aims for 30 percent of needed Africa COVID jabs by February

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners have said they hope to provide Africa with about 30 percent of the COVID-19 vaccines the continent needs by February, badly missing the 60 percent vaccination coverage goal that African leaders had once hoped for this year. Out of 5.7 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines administered around the world so far, only 2 percent have been in Africa.
14th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera


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Travel vaccine mandate could segregate society, experts warn

Experts have warned mandating vaccines for travel could be problematic and promote segregation, as the Federal Government prepares to trial vaccine passports for international travel. A new study published by the Medical Journal of Australia found mandatory vaccines must be backed by strong justification before being rolled out by the government. Championing the research, a string of leading health professionals found a general population mandate could cause resentment and mistrust in government and public health agencies.
14th Sep 2021 - 9News.com.au

Dutch expected to ease COVID-19 measures, introduce 'corona' pass

The Dutch government is expected to ease COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, mirroring other countries in Europe, and introduce a "corona" pass, showing proof of vaccinations, that will allow eating out and admission to cultural events. Prime Minister Mark Rutte's Cabinet is expected to lift social distancing requirements from Sept. 25. Likely remaining in place are a mask requirement for public transportation and schools, and a recommendation that people work from home when possible
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand looks to boost COVID-19 vaccinations as new cases ease

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has asked New Zealanders to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as it was the only way to beat the spread of coronavirus and see curbs lifted in the biggest city of Auckland. Tuesday's 15 new infections in New Zealand were a drop from Monday's figure of 33, but about 1.7 million people will stay in lockdown in Auckland until next week, as the government battles to hold down a cluster of the highly infectious Delta variant. "The vaccine is the best tool we have in our toolbox and our ticket to greater freedom," Ardern told a news conference. "The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer restrictions you have to have."
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Ukrainian government announces vaccine passports

The Ukrainian government has decided to introduced COVID-19 "vaccine passports" verifying citizens' vaccination status, the health ministry said. The passports will allow businesses such as cinemas, gyms, theatres and swimming pools to operate without social distancing requirements if all visitors and at least 80% of staff at the venues are at least partially vaccinated, the ministry said in a statement.
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Slovenia tightens access to indoor spaces due to COVID-19

Slovenia will, from this week, require that all people who enter indoor spaces, with few exceptions, be vaccinated against COVID-19 or show negative tests unless they have had the disease in the previous six months,
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Manulife Joins Banks With Vaccine Mandate for Canadian Employees

Manulife Financial Corp. will require employees in Canada to provide proof of their vaccination status by the end of October and will force unvaccinated staff to undergo regular Covid-19 testing before they work in its offices. Employees who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons must provide a note from a licensed health care professional, Manulife Canada Chief Executive Officer Mike Doughty said in a memo Monday. Those refusing the shots for religious reasons must make a written attestation.
13th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Even the Swiss Are Tightening the Screws on the Unvaccinated

Switzerland, which has stood out among European neighbors for its generally more laissez-faire approach to the pandemic, is joining the ranks of countries now increasing pressure on the unvaccinated. With hospitals filling up and inoculations lagging the rest of Western Europe, the government is doing what just a few weeks ago one of its members termed “bizarre” by requiring vaccine certificates for public activities. As of Monday, residents of one of the world’s wealthiest countries will have to show passes to enter restaurants, cinemas and fitness centers. They must attest to having been jabbed, tested or recovered from the virus.
13th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

More than half of Americans support vaccine mandates for workplaces, classrooms and sporting events

Americans have grown more supportive of coronavirus vaccine mandates for workers, students, and in everyday public life, according to a new CNN poll. The shift comes amid renewed worries about the pandemic and a continued partisan divide over the efforts to combat it. The public is split about evenly, 51% to 49%, on whether requiring proof of vaccination for everyday activities is an acceptable way to increase the vaccination rate, or an unacceptable infringement on personal rights. But there's greater backing for requiring vaccines in many specific instances. More than half of Americans now say they support requiring vaccinations for office workers returning to the workplace (54%), students attending in-person classes (55%) and patrons attending sporting events or concerts (55%), although fewer (41%) support requiring vaccinations for a shopper to enter a grocery store.
13th Sep 2021 - CNN

Australia's NSW state says coronavirus vaccination pace slows

The government of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) said the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations had slowed as first-dose coverage neared 80% and urged the unvaccinated to get shots soon or risk missing out on freedoms when curbs ease. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has promised to relax some restrictions for the state's 8 million residents once two-dose vaccination rates hit 70%, expected to be around the middle of next month. So far, about 46% of the state's adult population has been fully vaccinated, above the national average of 42%. "For those of you who choose not to be vaccinated, that is your choice, but don't expect to do everything that vaccinated people do when we hit 80%," Berejiklian said
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Australia Plans Digital Border Pass for Vaccinated Travelers

Australia is developing a digital border pass to show the vaccination status of travelers in a step toward further reopening its international border. The government awarded Accenture Plc the tender to deliver the pass that will replace the current Covid-19 travel declaration form and incoming passenger card. It “will support the safe re-opening of Australia’s international borders” Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said in a statement.
13th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg


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Unvaccinated Americans Are 11 Times More Likely to Die of Covid, C.D.C. Reports

Three studies that drew data from different U.S. regions evaluated the protective power of the vaccines. One looked at more than 600,000 virus cases in 13 states, representing about one quarter of the U.S. population, between April and July, and concluded that individuals who were not fully vaccinated were far more susceptible to infection and death from the virus. They were 4.5 times more likely than vaccinated individuals to become infected, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 11 times more likely to die from the coronavirus, the study found.
10th Sep 2021 - The New York Times


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Biden to Require All Federal Workers, Government Contractors Be Vaccinated Against Covid-19

All employers with 100 or more employees would have to require their workers to be vaccinated or undergo at least weekly Covid-19 testing under a new plan by President Biden to curb the spread of the pandemic, senior administration officials said. The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the coming weeks plans to issue an emergency temporary standard implementing the new requirement, which will cover 80 million private-sector workers, officials said. Businesses that don’t comply can face fines of up to $14,000 per violation, they said. The employers will also have to give workers paid time off to get vaccinated or to recover from any side effects of getting vaccinated.
9th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate Guide: Which US Employers Are Requiring Inoculation

To mandate, or not to mandate? That is the question facing corporations right now as they weigh the pros and cons of requiring a Covid-19 vaccine for employees. The answers, so far, are all over the place. A Bloomberg compilation of policies of more than 100 big companies found that about half have implemented a vaccine mandate for at least some of their U.S. staff, but the requirements vary widely. For many, the measure applies to anyone entering a U.S. office—but that can leave wide swaths of the workforce unaffected. Walmart Inc., for instance, hasn’t required its more than 1 million store and warehouse workers to get jabbed. For roughnecks on oil rigs, it might depend where they’re drilling.
9th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Massive numbers of new COVID–19 infections, not vaccines, are the main driver of new coronavirus variants

It’s natural to wonder if highly effective COVID-19 vaccines are leading to the emergence of variants that evade the vaccine – like dark peppered moths evaded birds that hunted them. But with just under 40% of people in the world having received a dose of a vaccine – only 2% in low-income countries – and nearly a million new infections occurring globally every day, the emergence of new, more contagious variants, like delta, is being driven by uncontrolled transmission, not vaccines.
9th Sep 2021 - The Conversation

Vaccine passports planned to be used for some events in Scotland from October 1

The new SNP-Green government clinched its first major parliamentary victory when a controversial scheme to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and large scale events was passed by its coalition majority.
9th Sep 2021 - The Scotsman

Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa: Free football tickets for fans with jabs

South African football fans who are vaccinated can get free entry to watch the national team play Ethiopia in a World Cup qualifier next month, the country's football association says. Its head Danny Jordaan said the deal would apply to half the tickets. It is subject to an agreement with the government and depends on how many fans show up, according to the News24 site. The government is concerned about growing anti-vaccine sentiment in the country. Only 10 million people have been inoculated against Covid-19, and the government says this needs to reach 40 million for population immunity.
9th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Amazon.com to cut cost of COVID-19 PCR test kits

Amazon.com said it will cut the cost of its direct-to-consumer COVID-19 PCR Test Collection kit to $36.99, a $3 price reduction. The U.S. retailer said the price cut reflects its costs for selling the FDA-approved kit and is the result of a public-private partnership with the Biden administration. The White House said Thursday that Amazon, Walmart , and Kroger will sell at home rapid COVID-19 tests at-cost for the next three months.
9th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Coronavirus vaccine passports to be rolled out in October

Australia will begin issuing coronavirus vaccine passports from next month as preparations to restart international jetsetting continue. Travel is not expected to start until vaccination coverage for people aged 16 and over reaches 80 per cent, which is likely months away. The first international immunisation certificates are set to be rolled out in October with the federal government also working with other countries to determine which vaccines will be recognised.
8th Sep 2021 - PerthNow

Covid-19: Further push to vaccinate students in 'jabbathon'

There is to be a further push to vaccinate more students at campuses in Northern Ireland. The health minister Robin Swann announced details of the plan on Wednesday. The initiative - termed "jabbathon" - will involve 60 walk-in clinics across 30 campuses giving first jabs to students in universities and Further Education colleges.
8th Sep 2021 - BBC News


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How to protect children under 12 from Covid-19, according to Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci says there's an important step adults can take to protect children who are too young to be vaccinated against Covid-19. "The way you protect children who, because of their age, cannot get vaccinated yet is to surround the children -- be it friends, family, school teachers, personnel in the school -- surround the children with vaccinated people," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN on Sunday.
7th Sep 2021 - CNN

Covid-19 Testing Is Keeping Some Students in School and Out of Quarantine

Some schools are trying a new plan to keep students safely in the classroom: Rather than quarantining children who have an in-school contact with a positive case, they are testing them. A lot. The method keeps children in school after exposure to a classmate or teacher who tested positive for Covid-19 if they test negative at least every other day. Known as test-to-stay, the approach is a higher transmission risk than keeping exposed students at home, but some public-health experts and educators say the trade-off is worth it to avoid missed days in class.
7th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Israel's Covid Surge Shows the World What's Coming Next

Epidemiologists say cases among the over 30s are already declining thanks to the boosters and restrictions on bars and restaurants to the fully vaccinated. The highest rate of new cases in recent weeks is among children under the age of 12, according to Ran Balicer, chair of the expert advisory panel to the government. There’s also a record level of testing. “Waning immunity is a real challenge that every country needs to prepare a contingency plan to tackle,” said Balicer, who is also chief innovation officer for Israeli health maintenance organization Clalit. The data coming from Israel in the coming weeks will allow the world to assess the efficacy of the booster shot program, he said.
7th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg


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COVID: Doctor calls for 12-year-olds to be allowed to overrule parents on coronavirus vaccine

Some children as young as 12 should be allowed to overrule their parents on whether they have the COVID vaccine, a senior doctor has said. Dr David Strain, a clinical lead for COVID services, told Sky News he believed there were 12-year-olds "mature enough" to decide to have the coronavirus jab without the consent of their legal guardians. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said parental consent will be required if the government decides that all 12 to 15-year-olds should be offered the jab
6th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Telstra joins Qantas and Virgin planning to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for its staff Australia

Telstra has joined Qantas and Virgin Airlines in mandating coronavirus vaccines for all staff, with a cut-off date before employment termination. The telecommunications giant sent a memo to its 28,960 staff members on Monday morning saying frontline workers must have had their first jab by October 15th and their second by November 15th or face having their contracts torn up. The mandate refers to the 8,300 staff members who work instore and as technicians who regularly come face-to-face with their customers
6th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

New Zealand COVID-19 cases steady ahead of decision on easing curbs

New Zealand reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 for a third day in a row on Monday, ahead of a decision on whether coronavirus restrictions would be eased in most of the country. All new cases were in Auckland, the epicentre of the current outbreak, and took the total number of infections to 821. The government is set to decide on Monday whether coronavirus restrictions enforced in the country will be eased
6th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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What Vaccinated People Need to Know About Breakthrough Infections

If you’re vaccinated, you should think about a number of variables, including your overall health, where you live and the risks you take.
5th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

England's schools must be made safe: An open letter to the education secretary

We write as researchers, parents, and educators concerned about the impact of the pandemic on children’s education. Like you, and in agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO), we recognise the importance of schools staying open over the autumn and in the longer term. However, as the WHO also notes, schools must be made safe by adopting measures to minimise transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We are therefore writing to express our concerns about the lack of mitigations for children and educational staff, and the subsequent risk to children from covid-19 as schools reopen in England this September. We offer nine evidence based recommendations to reduce new infections in children.
4th Sep 2021 - The BMJ

New Zealand sees success in curbing Delta outbreak as new cases plunge

New Zealand reported 28 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, a big drop compared to the last few days, as authorities said the country was breaking the chain of transmission of the highly infectious Delta variant of coronavirus. Authorities said 27 new cases were in Auckland and one was in Wellington. Friday's numbers were lower than 49 new cases reported on Thursday and 75 the day before.
4th Sep 2021 - Reuters

As COVID surges, more Florida school districts revolt against governor's mask rules

In a scene replayed across the United States, angry parents and activists streamed into a meeting of the Florida's Lake County school board on Thursday where it considered whether to mandate mask-wearing for students and staff due to COVID. Some opponents of the mask proposal brandished signs that read “Let Our Children Breathe.” Even with Florida seeing a record number of coronavirus cases, one attendee called the pandemic "overblown." Another was escorted out by deputies after yelling at board members. The proposal would require staff and students to wear masks for 14 days at schools with COVID positivity rates at or above 5%. But Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, effectively banned similar mandates in July.
4th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Ex-UK PM Brown accuses West of 'moral outrage' over COVID vaccine stockpiling

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown accused rich countries of committing a "moral outrage" by stockpiling COVID-19 doses while poor countries are struggling to get supplies. Brown, who is a United Nations special envoy, called on U.S. President Joe Biden and other Group of Seven leaders to urgently ship vaccines from warehouses in America and Europe to Africa. Western countries are hoarding nearly 300 million shots while only 70 million people in Africa have so far been vaccinated, Brown said in an opinion piece published in the Sunday Mirror newspaper, citing research by data firm Airfinity.
4th Sep 2021 - Reuters

More Companies Weigh Penalizing Employees Without Covid-19 Vaccinations

Companies unwilling to require employees to get vaccinations are increasingly considering healthcare-benefit surcharges and other more aggressive measures to make their workplaces safer from Covid-19, employment and benefit experts say. What started as a campaign of encouragement and lobbying by many employers is now turning into a more forceful effort, with businesses considering measures that penalize employees who remain unvaccinated.
3rd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Opinion | Doctors should be allowed to give priority to vaccinated patients when resources are scarce

I’m going to come right out and say it: In situations where hospitals are overwhelmed and resources such as intensive care beds or ventilators are scarce, vaccinated patients should be given priority over those who have refused vaccination without a legitimate medical or religious reason.
3rd Sep 2021 - The Washington Post


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Enforcing Vaccine Mandates Is Messy Business

U.S. companies of all sizes have enacted vaccine requirements for employees in recent weeks. They are finding that setting a policy is more straightforward than enforcing it. Questions and complications are popping up as employees and managers apply the new rules to once-routine business activities such as travel, trade shows, office socializing and interactions with vendors and clients, executives say. The consulting and accounting firm Deloitte LLP recently told employees they will need to be vaccinated to attend voluntary workshops and events at the firm’s leadership training facility near Dallas, called Deloitte University.
2nd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

More than 500,000 children tested positive for Covid-19 in 3 weeks. Experts say school mask mandates are needed

US states that saw some of the country's worst Covid-19 case rates over the past week also reported the highest number of new vaccinations per capita, data published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. Tennessee, which reported the country's worst Covid-19 cases rate, had the sixth-best rate of new vaccinations per capita in the US over the past week. The state's hospitals are "under increasing strain from the highly contagious Delta variant," Tennessee's health department wrote on Twitter Thursday, adding in a statement that the strain was continuing to fuel an increase in infections.
2nd Sep 2021 - CNN

Opinion | We Work at the A.C.L.U. Here’s What We Think About Vaccine Mandates.

Do vaccine mandates violate civil liberties? Some who have refused vaccination claim as much. We disagree. At the A.C.L.U., we are not shy about defending civil liberties, even when they are very unpopular. But we see no civil liberties problem with requiring Covid-19 vaccines in most circumstances. While the permissibility of requiring vaccines for particular diseases depends on several factors, when it comes to Covid-19, all considerations point in the same direction. The disease is highly transmissible, serious and often lethal; the vaccines are safe and effective; and crucially there is no equally effective alternative available to protect public health.
2nd Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Vaccinations Mandatory for Barclays Staff in New York

Barclays Plc is the latest bank in the U.S. to keep unvaccinated staff at home for the time being. “As we continue inviting our colleagues back to our offices in New York, we made a decision to focus initially on those already vaccinated,” Barclays said in an emailed statement. Banks are bringing more staff back to their premises around the world after more than a year of working from home.
2nd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Draghi Says Italy Will Eventually Make Vaccine Compulsory

Italy will eventually make vaccination compulsory, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said at a press conference in Rome on Thursday. Italy will also start administering a third vaccine shot from later this month, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said, adding that the campaign will start from those with a weak immune system. Speranza stressed that vaccination is already required for health workers, and that this requirement could be expanded to other groups.
2nd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

What can employers do if workers avoid COVID-19 vaccines?

What can employers do if workers avoid COVID-19 vaccines? They can require vaccination and fire employees who don't comply, or take other actions such as withholding company perks or charging extra for health insurance. Businesses for months have been encouraging workers to get vaccinated, in some cases offering incentives like time off or gift cards. But more are taking a harder stance and requiring vaccinations for any remaining holdouts, a push that has gained momentum since Pfizer’s vaccine recently received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
2nd Sep 2021 - The Independent

Coronavirus vaccine mandates are causing people to search for religious exemptions

The rules around religious exemptions for coronavirus vaccines vary widely, state by state, institution by institution. But experts on religious freedom court cases believe lawsuits will become more common as vaccine mandates become more prevalent. With no nationally consistent way of navigating religious exemptions, some churches have offered parishioners templates to download. Other leaders, however, have said they will not provide exemptions.
2nd Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

US university students face back-to-campus vaccine mandates

Legal precedent suggests that universities can mandate vaccinations, but not every COVID-19 vaccine has received full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, leaving a legal grey area.
2nd Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

Vaccine passports linked to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in UK and Israel

A new study from Imperial College London has found a link between COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and a perceived lack of free will over vaccine passports. The findings, taken from surveys of 1,358 people across the UK and Israel – two highly vaccinated countries – found that people who feel their sense of autonomy, or free will, is unmet by government incentives like vaccine passports are less likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
2nd Sep 2021 - Imperial College London


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CDC asks the unvaccinated not to travel this weekend and says even vaccinated need to weigh the risk

Due to the surge of Covid-19 cases, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking unvaccinated Americans not to travel during the Labor Day holiday weekend. The US is surpassing an average of 160,000 new cases a day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. With the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant and many students returning to the classroom for a new academic year, the rise is concerning officials and health experts. "First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House Covid-19 Response Team Briefing on Tuesday.
1st Sep 2021 - CNN

France starts COVID-19 booster shot campaign for the elderly

France on Wednesday started administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccine to people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions as the delta variant spreads in the country. France is the first big EU country to introduce widespread booster shots, and several other European countries are expected to follow suit.
1st Sep 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Scotland to require vaccine passports for nightclubs and large events, Nicola Sturgeon says

Nicola Sturgeon says that while events covered by the scheme "matter to our economy, and to our cultural and social life", they are "not essential services".
1st Sep 2021 - Sky News

Vaccinations in rural India increase amid supply concerns

India has dramatically increased COVID-19 vaccination rates in its vast rural hinterland, where around 65% of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people live. But supply constraints remain for the world’s largest maker of vaccines and experts say it’s unlikely India will reach its target of vaccinating all adults by the end of the year. India opened shots for all adults in May. But the campaign faltered in villages due to vaccine hesitancy and misinformation. That started changing in mid-July and of the nearly 120 million shots administered in the past three weeks, around 70% were in India’s villages — up from around half in the initial weeks of May.
1st Sep 2021 - The Associated Press


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No 10 to press on with plans for Covid vaccine passports in England

Downing Street has said the government will press ahead with plans to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and other crowded indoor venues in England from the end of next month. Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson was asked on Tuesday about reports suggesting ministers could back away from the proposal in the face of objections from Conservative MPs, but said there was no change to the policy. “We set out broadly our intention to require vaccination for nightclubs and some other settings. We will be coming forward in the coming weeks with detail for that,” he said
31st Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Perspective | Coronavirus vaccines work. But this statistical illusion makes people think they don't.

In real-life Israel, as of Aug. 15 — using Morris’s summary of official data — 301 fully vaccinated people had an illness severe enough to require hospitalization. They represented just 53 out of every million fully vaccinated Israelis. At the same time, 214 hospitalized people were not vaccinated. Those people made up a much bigger fraction of the smaller population of unvaccinated people: 164 out of every million. So an unvaccinated Israeli is about three times as likely to end up in the hospital as their vaccinated compatriot.
31st Aug 2021 - The Washington Post


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Virgin Australia moves to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for all staff

Virgin Australia is moving to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for all staff from November 15. The airline will begin a consultation process between employees and unions, arguing the vaccine is "necessary" to keep workers, customers and "the wider Australian community safe". It follows a decision by Qantas to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for staff, also by November 15.
30th Aug 2021 - 9News

Lancaster firm announces global launch of PPE which 'kills Covid on contact'

Lancaster-based ViraCoat Limited has announced the global launch of a new range of antiviral and antimicrobial personal protective equipment (PPE) masks which begin to kill the Covid-19 virus SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses on contact.
30th Aug 2021 - Lancaster Guardian

Covid-19 vaccine pass plan for Hong Kong ‘could backfire’

Any policy perceived as making inoculations mandatory could leave some residents more suspicious of shots, health and economic experts say. Patrick Nip, the minister in charge of city’s inoculation programme, raised the idea on Sunday
30th Aug 2021 - South China Morning Post

Even Xbox is telling you to get the Covid-19 vaccine

Microsoft is using the Xbox social media accounts to promote getting vaccinated and dispelling myths surrounding it. There are already plenty of people urging others to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, be they doctors, celebrities, or those who unfortunately caught it. And now even Microsoft is pushing it through the Xbox social media channels. Recently, the official Xbox Twitter account posted ‘The power of play makes us heroes in new worlds every day. You can be a hero in real life too by getting vaccinated against Covid-19, protecting yourself & the people around you.
30th Aug 2021 - Metro.co.uk

Brazil Overtakes U.S. in First-Dose Count After Vaccine Drive

About 63% of Brazilians have now received at least one dose, versus 62% of people in the U.S., according to Bloomberg’s Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker. Countries including Germany, France and the U.K. have vaccinated at least 65% of the population with one shot, the data show. While Brazil was late to start administering vaccines, deploying the first shots in mid-January and often struggling with shortages, the campaign has gained momentum. Relying on a de-centralized public health-care system that’s known for excelling in mass immunizations, the country has regularly deployed more than 2 million jabs a day this month, according to the 10-day moving average compiled by Bloomberg.
30th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg


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Ingestion of livestock drug for COVID-19 treatment prompts warning from medical health professionals

Ivermectin, a deworming drug for cows and horses, has been used as a COVID-19 treatment method in Arkansas after lawmakers promoted it on social media. The Arkansas Poison Center reported that 24 people called this year after they ingested the drug. Americans have flocked to take Ivermectin despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) not to, because of the danger it poses to human health. An overdose of Ivermectin can cause severe effects in humans ranging from gastrointestinal issues to severe seizures, and even death
29th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail on MSN.com

Coronavirus masks: Masks should be worn by primary school children says Professor Luke O'Neill

Immunologist Luke O’Neill is calling for primary school children to wear masks in the classroom in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Primary school students are not mandated to wear masks upon return to school this year with officials viewing it as too challenging for young children and a potential source of stress for pupils. Currently, secondary school students must wear masks at school when indoors. Prof O’Neill believes that if mask wearing in primary schools was even “30pc effective” then it would have a “significant impact” on breaking the chains of transmission in the younger age groups.
29th Aug 2021 - Independent.ie

Fauci backs COVID-19 vaccine mandate for U.S. school children

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said on Sunday he supports COVID-19 vaccine mandates for children attending schools as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to fuel a surge in cases in the nation. "I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea," Fauci told CNN’s "State of the Union" program. "We've done this for decades and decades, requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis" vaccinations.
29th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Vaccinating 12 - 15-year-olds could save up to 6,500 lives, doctors say, as pressure grows on jab watchdogs to give the go-ahead

A new study by Exeter University says vaccinating 12 -to 15-year-olds is urgent Claim it would cut the number of Covid deaths and hospitalisations by a fifth UK vaccine watchdogs under pressure to approve the roll-out of jabs for children
29th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Kraft Heinz to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for office employees

Kraft Heinz Co said on Friday all U.S. employees will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to offices in January, as the fast-spreading Delta variant batters the United States. The packaged-food maker's announcement comes days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE vaccine, a certification that public health officials hope will convince unvaccinated Americans that the shot is safe and effective.
29th Aug 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Some Hotels Are Mandating Vaccines. Will Others Follow?

Accommodations such as PUBLIC Hotel, Equinox Hotel and Wythe Hotel, all in New York City, Urban Cowboy Lodge in Big Indian, N.Y., a hamlet in the Catskill Mountains, and Pilgrim House in Provincetown, Mass., are among the first in the United States to announce that they will require evidence of vaccination, via a physical card or a digital verification, from their guests. The precedent for hotels requiring vaccination is already being set beyond the contiguous United States.
27th Aug 2021 - The New York Times

In Britain, Young Children Don’t Wear Masks in School

The potential harms exceed the potential benefits, he said, because seeing faces is “important for the social development and interaction between people.” The British school system is different than the American one. But with school systems all over the United States debating whether to require masking, Britain’s experience during the Delta surge does show what happened in a country that relied on another safety measure — quarantining — rather than face coverings for young children.
27th Aug 2021 - The New York Times

Covid Spreads in Clusters. We Need to Track Them.

A fourth surge of Covid-19 is filling hospitals around the United States, fueled by the relaxing of mitigation measures, the more transmissible Delta variant and lagging vaccination rates. In states and counties where Delta is surging, contact tracers are overwhelmed. But monitoring the spread of the virus remains vital to getting it under control. The public health response to a Covid-19 outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., in July offers an object lesson in how Delta changes the playing field and what’s needed to manage the pandemic’s next phase
27th Aug 2021 - New York Times

Apple Pushes Staff to Get Vaccinated

Apple Inc. is making its strongest push yet for employees to get vaccinated, urging all U.S. workers to get shots as soon as possible now that the Food and Drug Administration has started formally approving the injections. The iPhone maker launched a new internal web page, sent a memo to employees and is hosting internal talks as part of the campaign. “Apple is asking everyone who has access to the vaccine and is able to get vaccinated to do so as soon as you can,” the company said in the memo, which was sent to staff Thursday evening.
27th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

Florida Schools’ Covid-19 Mask Mandates Upheld by Judge

A Florida judge said school districts could impose mask mandates and that Gov. Ron DeSantis had overstepped his authority when he banned such rules. Judge John Cooper of the Second Judicial District in Tallahassee sided with parents of school children who had challenged a July executive order by Mr. DeSantis and a subsequent state rule that forbid school districts from implementing mask requirements that don’t allow parents to opt out their children. In an oral ruling Friday, Judge Cooper said the defendants, including the governor and the state Department of Education, improperly sought to draw authority for their actions from a state law enacted earlier this year, dubbed the parents’ bill of rights, which aimed to protect parents’ ability to make decisions regarding their children’s education and health.
27th Aug 2021 - Wall Street Journal


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Jha outlines ways to make schools safe from coronavirus

School districts across the country need to follow four rules to ensure that students and their teachers remain protected from the coronavirus this fall, pandemic expert Dr. Ashish Jha said. They are: Vaccinations for all who are eligible; proper ventilation and related mitigation measures in buildings; regular testing; and masks, he said Thursday in the latest edition of the “COVID: What Comes Next” podcast hosted by The Providence Journal. “For me this is personal,” said Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, because he has children in public schools, said.
26th Aug 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

Rite Aid to offer free COVID-19 testing to students in New York

Drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp said on Thursday it would be offering free COVID-19 tests to students in public schools in New York state before or at the start of the upcoming school year. The announcement comes as students in the United States prepare to head back to classes, while the country grapples with stemming the recent surge in cases caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
26th Aug 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Campaign launched to encourage students to get tested regularly when schools return

The aim of the campaign is to persuade parents, secondary school and college students to take part in voluntary asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, with ministers saying regular testing will help to minimise disruption to pupils' learning in the weeks and months to come.
26th Aug 2021 - Sky News

100,000 more COVID deaths seen unless US changes its ways

The U.S. is projected to see nearly 100,000 more COVID-19 deaths between now and Dec. 1, according to the nation’s most closely watched forecasting model. But health experts say that toll could be cut in half if nearly everyone wore a mask in public spaces. In other words, what the coronavirus has in store this fall depends on human behavior. “Behavior is really going to determine if, when and how sustainably the current wave subsides,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium. “We cannot stop delta in its tracks, but we can change our behavior overnight.”
26th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press


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India rushes teacher vaccinations as some physical classes resume

India will supply millions of additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to its states to try to inoculate all school teachers by early next month, the health minister says, as the country gradually resumes physical classes. The pandemic has hit the country of 1.35 billion people particularly hard and hundreds of millions of its students have been stuck at home for months, with little or no access to online education for a majority of the poor.
25th Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Massachusetts issues mandate requiring masks in schools

Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeff Riley issued new regulations Wednesday requiring all public school students ages 5 and above, and all staffers, to wear masks indoors while at school. All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings. Masks are not required when outdoors. The regulations take effect immediately and come a day after the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave Riley the authority to issue a mask mandate for K-12 public schools. The requirement will remain in place until at least Oct. 1 and could be revised in light of new public health data.
25th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

UPS mandates COVID-19 vaccination for employees in some U.S. locations

United Parcel Service Inc said on Tuesday it would require employees in certain U.S. locations to be vaccinated when they return to the office, as COVID-19 cases rise across the United States due to the fast-spreading Delta variant. The decision comes after the U.S. drug regulator on Monday granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, a move that is expected to spur a string of similar mandates from corporate employers.
25th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Goldman Sachs to mandate COVID vaccine for staff, visitors at U.S. offices -memo

Goldman Sachs Group Inc told employees on Tuesday that anyone entering the investment bank's U.S. offices, including clients, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 starting immediately, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
25th Aug 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Lufthansa to demand COVID-19 shots for crew

Germany's Lufthansa will require the crew on its planes to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, the airline said on Wednesday.
25th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Air Canada mandates COVID-19 vaccination for all employees

Air Canada said on Wednesday it would require all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as the fast-spreading Delta variant drives an increase in infections. The move by Canada's largest carrier was in line with a government mandate that workers in the transportation sector be vaccinated by the end of October and follows similar moves by other major companies, including United Airlines
25th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Delta Air Lines to add $200 monthly health insurance charge for unvaccinated staff

Move aimed at pushing employees to get COVID vaccines. United Airlines mandated shots for its employees. Comes amid surge in Delta variant infections
25th Aug 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: PCR test providers warned by competitions watchdog not to break law in crackdown on 'rip-off prices and bad service'

The government announced earlier this week that it would be warning 82 companies that they face being removed from the verified test providers list if they advertise misleading prices.
25th Aug 2021 - Sky News

Goldman Sachs to require all people entering its offices to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19

Goldman said the new policy starts Sept. 7 and applies to everybody, including employees and clients, according to a memo sent Tuesday to U.S. workers. Those who aren’t fully vaccinated by then will have to work from home, according to a person with direct knowledge of the memo.
25th Aug 2021 - CNBC


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N.Y.C. Educators Must Be Vaccinated by September, de Blasio Says

New York City will require all Department of Education employees to have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 27, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. The announcement represents a major step in the effort to fully reopen the country’s largest school district next month, and a significant escalation of the mayor’s push to vaccinate more New Yorkers. Mr. de Blasio has put reopening city schools at the center of his plan to help New York recover from the pandemic. The mayor is eager to reassure anxious parents and educators that schools will be safe this year despite an uptick in cases in the last two months linked to the Delta variant, especially since the city is no longer offering a remote learning option.
24th Aug 2021 - The New York Times

NHS Covid pass still not recognised in some EU countries

British tourists face difficulties in proving their vaccine status in Europe following a delay in linking the NHS Covid pass to the EU’s system due to gaps in the British government’s application to Brussels. An IT tie-up would ensure automatic recognition across the 27 member states of the information held on the NHS app, facilitating both international travel and access to hospitality where proof of vaccine status is required. The UK government made an application to link up to the EU’s digital certificate on 28 July but the European Commission has held off on giving its approval as it has sought extra technical information from Whitehall, the Guardian understands. While at least 19 EU countries, including major tourist destinations such as France and Spain, have unilaterally accepted the NHS app as proof of vaccine status, difficulties remain for some travellers from England and Wales due to the lack of pan-EU recognition.
24th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

University of Minnesota mandates COVID-19 vaccinations

The University of Minnesota will require all students to get vaccinated against COVID-19. President Joan Gabel and Jakub Tolar, dean of the university medical school, issued a news release Monday hours after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approved the Pfizer version of the vaccine saying shots will be mandatory and students will receive an email in the next few days with instructions on how to confirm their vaccination status. The mandate is effective at University of Minnesota campuses in the Twin Cities, Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester. Faculty and staff members will be required to inform the university of their vaccination status. Gabel and Tolar called the FDA’s approval a “milestone” in managing COVID-19.
24th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

ACLU sues over South Carolina ban on school mask mandates

The plaintiffs allege that the ban on mask mandates disproportionately affects students with underlying health conditions or disabilities, who are at risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract COVID-19. South Carolina legislators included a provision in the state’s general budget, passed in June, that prevented school districts from using state funding to require masks in schools. But some school districts and cities have disregarded the ban and gone forward with implementing a school mask mandate. The ban on mask mandates is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, the plaintiffs allege in the lawsuit.
24th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Greece announces new restrictions for those not vaccinated

Greece’s health minister announced plans on Tuesday to impose new testing requirements and attendance restrictions on people who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19. The measures include requiring weekly or twice-weekly testing for unvaccinated workers, and allowing access to certain indoor venues only to those who are vaccinated or have a certificate verifying they have recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months. Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said the new measures weren’t punitive, but “what we must do as a responsible state.”
24th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

SWISS introduces mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for crews

SWISS is making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for its entire flying personnel from mid-November onwards, for operational reasons and under its duty of care towards its employees. Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is making vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for all its flying personnel from 15 November onwards. The action has been taken in response to national entry restrictions worldwide, which are seeing an increasing insistence on proof of such vaccination for air crews, too. Hong Kong recently became the first SWISS destination to demand – with immediate effect – proof of COVID-19 vaccination for crews arriving from certain countries, Switzerland included.
24th Aug 2021 - Swiss International Airlines


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4 measures applied together can limit Covid-19 transmission in schools

The results of the model are clear. Four clear and important measures must be implemented in parallel to minimize the chances of school-related outbreaks. Require vaccination. The currently authorized Covid-19 vaccines are safe and incredibly effective against Covid-19. Though they have not yet been authorized for use in those under age 12, ensuring that every eligible individual within a school is vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect the entire school population. Wear masks. If someone in a school has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the best way to minimize others’ exposure is to ensure that all individuals are wearing masks. This is especially important given that some individuals may not show any symptoms but can still transmit the virus. Increase ventilation. Early in the pandemic, researchers learned that the major form of SARS-CoV-2 transmission is through droplets, and sometimes even aerosols. Get tested. The Delta variant is two to three times more transmissible than previous versions of SARS-CoV-2. Until children under the age of 12 can be vaccinated, it is impossible in elementary school settings to achieve herd immunity through vaccination.
23rd Aug 2021 - STAT News

Coronavirus: Young long Covid sufferers lead vaccine drive

Young people have shared stories of the debilitating effects of long Covid as they urge others to get jabbed. A new NHS video features the experiences of three previously healthy people as part of a drive to encourage vaccine uptake. Quincy Dwamena, 31, said he delayed his jab and "ended up being hospitalised and thought I was going to die". It comes as the government says it has met its target of offering all 16 and 17-year-olds in England a Covid jab. More than 360,000 people in this age group in England have now been given a first dose of the vaccine.
23rd Aug 2021 - BBC News

NYC mandates vaccinations for public school teachers, staff

All New York City public school teachers and other staffers will have to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, officials said Monday, ramping up pandemic protections as the nation’s largest school system prepares for classes to start next month. The city previously said teachers, like other city employees, would have to get the shots or get tested weekly for the virus. The new policy marks the first no-option vaccination mandate for a broad group of city workers in the nation’s most populous city, though Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that coaches and students in football, basketball and other “high-risk” sports would have to get inoculated before play begins.
23rd Aug 2021 - Associated Press

Chevron begins COVID-19 vaccination mandates

U.S. energy companies are moving to requirethat employees receive COVID-19 vaccinations as infection rates rise across the United States and energy workers, according to health surveys, remain among those most reluctant to get inoculations.
23rd Aug 2021 - Reuters


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Classrooms in England to get air quality monitors to help combat Covid

Classrooms in England are to be fitted with air quality monitors when state schools and colleges reopen after the summer holidays, in an effort improve ventilation and combat the spread of Covid. The decision announced by the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, comes after a vociferous campaign by school staff unions for better ventilation, with research suggesting that the Covid virus mainly transmits via airborne particles, making enclosed spaces likely breeding grounds for infection. Starting in September, the Department for Education (DfE) will spend £25m on providing 300,000 CO2 monitors to alert staff and students if CO2 levels rise, meaning that fresh air is failing to circulate.
21st Aug 2021 - The Guardian

San Francisco's new rule: Proof of vaccine or no dining in

San Francisco became the first major city in the nation to require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 on Friday for people dining inside restaurants, working out in gyms or attending indoor concerts
22nd Aug 2021 - ABC News

Popular blue surgical face masks do NOT stop people from being infected with COVID-19

University of Waterloo researchers find most cloth masks are only 10% effective. Researchers warn most cloth masks do not cover the face properly. N95 or KN95 masks were found to be the most effective at filtering aerosols. Study also found that even 'moderate ventilation' matches the best of masks in terms of protection against COVID-19. Mask debate remains contentious in the country as delta variant spreads
22nd Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Lockdowns or vaccines? 3 Pacific nations try diverging paths

Cheryl Simpson was supposed to be celebrating her 60th birthday over lunch with friends but instead found herself confined to her Auckland home. The discovery of a single local COVID-19 case in New Zealand was enough for the government to put the entire country into strict lockdown this past week. While others might see that as draconian, New Zealanders generally support such measures because they worked so well in the past. “I’m happy to go into lockdown, even though I don’t like it,” said Simpson, owner of a day care center for dogs that is now closed because of the precautions. She said she wants the country to crush the latest outbreak: “I’d like to knock the bloody thing on the head.”
22nd Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Coronavirus Australia: Vaccinated Australians to be allowed back into pubs, restaurants and gyms

Fully vaccinated NSW residents could soon be able to get the jump on lockdown. NSW preparing to introduce vaccine passport system when jab targets reached. Gladys Berejiklian is expected to unveil her so-called Freedom Plan next week. The proposal could see outdoor dining, gyms and beer gardens open back up. But the jab passport plan is not likely to come into effect until early October
20th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

The Big-Government-Conservative War on Masks

Crises have the power to expose tensions within ideologies, and the current pandemic has made some of those in contemporary American conservatism vividly apparent.
20th Aug 2021 - The Atlantic


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Op-Ed: As a doctor in a COVID unit, I’m running out of compassion for the unvaccinated. Get the shot

My patient sat at the edge of his bed gasping for air while he tried to tell me his story, pausing to catch his breath after each word. The plastic tubes delivering oxygen through his nose hardly seemed adequate to stop his chest from heaving. He looked exhausted. He had tested positive for the coronavirus 10 days ago. He was under 50, mildly hypertensive but otherwise in good health. Eight days earlier he started coughing and having severe fatigue. His doctor started him on antibiotics. It did not work. Fearing his symptoms were worsening, he started taking some hydroxychloroquine he had found on the internet. It did not work.
17th Aug 2021 - Los Angeles Times

Australians aged 16-39 can get Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine from August 30, Prime Minister announces

All Australians will be able to get the Pfizer vaccine from August 30, PM said. The move has raise fears that many will cancel AstraZeneca appointments. Scott Morrison urged young Australians to get any vaccine they can right now. As of Thursday 28.2 per cent of Australians over 16 have been fully vaccinated
19th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Biden calls for schools to be allowed COVID mask mandates

US President Joe Biden continues to be at odds with governors who are outlawing school mask mandates as the country's Delta (B1617.2) surge continues, ordering the Department of Education to support schools seeking such mandates. COVID-19 hospitalizations for children, meanwhile, have hit a new record, up 30% from the nation's previous peak. Overall, the United States reported 137,815 new COVID-19 cases and 1,145 deaths yesterday, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. This brings the country's total cases to 37,198,723, including 624,567 deaths.
19th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP


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Delta surging in areas of low COVID-19 vaccine coverage - WHO

Circulation of the Delta variant in areas of low vaccination is driving transmission of COVID-19 around the world, World Health Organization officials said on Wednesday. "Many of the places around the world where Delta is surging -- even in countries that at a national level have high levels of vaccination coverage -- the virus, the Delta variant itself, is really circulating in areas of low level of vaccine coverage and in the context of very limited and inconsistent use of public health and social measures," WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove told an online news briefing.
18th Aug 2021 - Reuters

U.S. will extend COVID-19 transport mask mandate through Jan. 18

President Joe Biden's administration confirmed late on Tuesday it plans to extend requirements for travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains and buses and at airports and train stations through Jan. 18 to address ongoing COVID-19 risks. A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesperson confirmed the extension, first reported by Reuters. "The purpose of TSA’s mask directive is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation," the spokesperson said
17th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Australia’s Qantas tells employees: no jabs, no jobs

Qantas Airways Ltd says it will require all its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of its broader commitment to safety, in line with other airlines globally. Pilots, cabin crew and airport workers will need to be fully vaccinated by November 15, while other staff will have until March 31, 2022, the airline said on Wednesday.
18th Aug 2021 - AlJazeera

In Florida, Some Vaccine Skeptics Are Changing Their Minds

In a rural stretch of northeastern Florida where barely half the people have gotten a coronavirus shot, Roger West had no problem telling others he was "adamantly anti-vaccination." The co-owner of the Westside Journal weekly newspaper used his voice as a columnist to widely share his doubts about the vaccine and his mistrust of the health experts in the U.S. who have been urging everyone to get it. "I do not trust the Federal Government," West wrote recently. "I do not trust Dr. Fauci, I do not trust the medical profession, nor the pharmaceutical giants."
18th Aug 2021 - NPR


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Snap national lockdown in New Zealand over single virus case

New Zealand’s government has taken drastic action by putting the entire nation into a strict lockdown for at least three days after finding a single case of coronavirus infection. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday invoked some of the stirring rhetoric she used early in the pandemic by urging the “team of five million” – New Zealand’s population – to go hard and early in trying to eliminate the latest outbreak.
17th Aug 2021 - Aljazeera

DA won't prosecute for governor's student mask opt-out order

An order by the Tennessee governor letting parents opt their children out of following mask rules at school has drawn defiance from officials in Memphis and Nashville, including a pledge Tuesday from Nashville’s district attorney not to prosecute teachers and school officials for flouting the carveout during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not long after Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s directive came down Monday, officials with Metro Nashville Public Schools and Shelby County Schools in the Memphis area pledged to keep enforcing their school mask requirements for students and others just as they have been. The resistance in the face of rising COVID-19 cases coincides with fights in states like Florida, where some districts are requiring masks despite a ban by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
17th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

West Virginia University requiring masks indoors

West Virginia University is requiring masks to be worn in classrooms and labs for the next 30 days, saying not enough students and employees have submitted proof of vaccination against the coronavirus
17th Aug 2021 - ABC

‘Masks work’: experts on how to navigate Delta when you’re vaccinated

The Covid-19 vaccine was supposed to bring life back to normal. Then came the Delta variant. Real-world data collection continues, but it’s clear that the vaccines do offer significant protection against becoming infected by Delta. They offer even greater protection against severe illness: Among states that are reporting breakthrough cases of Covid-19, fully vaccinated people made up no more than 5% of overall hospitalizations.
17th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Vaccinate Kids Under 12 to Protect Us All From COVID-19

It’s easy to argue for vaccinating adults and teenagers against COVID-19. Some think it’s harder to make the case for kids under 12 years of age, and for understandable reasons. Much of the world remains unvaccinated, kids have generally been much less affected by the coronavirus, and we don’t yet have a thorough understanding of the risks versus the benefits. Still, if we weigh all the pros and cons, the argument for immunizing young children is much stronger than the argument against.
17th Aug 2021 - The Atlantic

Among France’s poorest, once-lagging vaccine rates jump

The poorest region in mainland France has managed to dramatically speed up its COVID-19 vaccination campaign in recent weeks, notably by opening walk-in pop-up centers to reach out to people where they live and work. The multicultural, working-class region of Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, initially struggled in getting the word out about vaccines to a population where many are immigrants who don’t speak French or lack access to regular medical care. But offering vaccinations at a highly visible location wth easy access seems to be doing the trick.
17th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

India COVID vaccinations near record, new cases at five-month low

India has administered more than 8.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the past 24 hours, government data shows, close to its all-time record and speeding up a campaign to inoculate all eligible adults by December. The surge in inoculations came alongside a sharp decline in daily new infections that fell to 25,166, the lowest since March 16, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
17th Aug 2021 - AlJazeera

Amid new virus surge, Florida skeptics reconsider vaccines

In a rural stretch of northeastern Florida where barely half the people have gotten a coronavirus shot, Roger West had no problem telling others he was “adamantly anti-vaccination.” The co-owner of the Westside Journal weekly newspaper used his voice as a columnist to widely share his doubts about the vaccine and his mistrust of the health experts in the U.S. who have been urging everyone to get it. “I do not trust the Federal Government,” West wrote recently. “I do not trust Dr. Fauci, I do not trust the medical profession, nor the pharmaceutical giants.” But something happened to change his mind: Two of West’s close friends became ill with the virus, and a third died. Rattled and stressed, he prayed for guidance. Then, when his mother and another relative both urged him to get vaccinated, he took it as a sign from God. West drove to the Winn Dixie supermarket and rolled up his sleeve for the first of two injections of the Moderna vaccine.
17th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press


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COVID-19: ASDA and National Express offer rewards for young people getting vaccine

Asda and National Express are among a number of firms set to offer rewards to young people getting a COVID jab. Free Now taxis, lastminute.com and Better leisure centres will also offer incentives for those booking in for a vaccine. Uber, Bolt and Deliveroo have already said they will offer discounted rides and meals for customers who get the jab to help boost vaccine uptake.
16th Aug 2021 - Sky News

Coronavirus Australia: How young Australians under 30 can get Covid vaccines - Pfizer, AstraZeneca

Thousands of young Australians will finally get the chance to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as New South Wales is set to roll out new Pfizer jabs across transmission hotspots in Sydney. Anyone aged 16 and over will be eligible to book a priority vaccination appointment from Monday, if they work in authorised industries and live in one of nine government areas of concerns. That means freight, distribution, delivery or bus drivers, as well as construction workers, meat workers, food workers and disability, health and aged care workers, will all be able to jump the Covid jab queue and get their first shot between August 16 and 22.
16th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Businesses tempt Covid vaccine shy with vouchers and discounts

Asda, National Express and lastminute.com are among companies that will offer incentives to customers who get vaccinated against coronavirus. The group of businesses join Uber and Bolt, the taxi companies, and the takeaway service Deliveroo, which have said they will give discounted rides and meals to customers who have had a jab.
16th Aug 2021 - The Times

More companies to offer Covid-19 jab-linked incentives

More of the country’s best known businesses will offer rewards to customers who are vaccinated against Covid-19. Asda lastminute.com, National Express Free Now taxis and Better leisure centres are among those offering incentives to encourage younger people to get vaccinated. Uber Bolt and Deliveroo have already said they will offer discounted rides and meals for customers who get a Covid-19 jab, to help boost vaccine uptake.
16th Aug 2021 - Evening Standard

Indian state brings COVID vaccines to migrant workers’ doorstep

As a health worker swabs the skin on his arm with an alcohol wipe and prepares the syringe, Kartik Biswas feels an overwhelming sense of relief. He is finally about to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of a drive by the southern Indian state of Kerala to inoculate some of the country’s most marginalised people: migrant workers.
16th Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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How to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in San Francisco or anywhere in California

The state of California keeps a record of your coronavirus vaccination - that's how they know how many people have gotten their shots statewide. You can check your personal vaccine record by going to the California Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record on your mobile phone or computer.
14th Aug 2021 - KGO-TV

First to vaccinate and first to party, Israel now mulls lockdowns

Naftali Bennett was honest with Israelis when he announced the measure on Wednesday: the government was trying to cushion the blow. On August 1, it had started offering people over 60 a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine, embarking on its own public health experiment as it tumbled into an unpredictable fourth wave. “We have to raise hospital capacity to buy time until the vaccination campaign goes into effect and starts to stem the outbreak,” Bennett said.
13th Aug 2021 - Financial Times

IBM to allow only fully vaccinated to return to U.S. offices from Sept. 7

International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) said on Friday that it would allow only fully vaccinated U.S. employees to return to offices, which are set to open from Sept. 7, given the rapid spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. "We will still open many of our U.S. sites, where local clinical conditions allow, the week of Sept. 7. However, the reopenings will only be for fully vaccinated employees who choose to come into the office," Chief Human Resources Officer Nickle LaMoreaux said in a memo sent to employees.
13th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Canada Will Require All Air Travelers To Be Vaccinated In A Broad New Policy

All passengers and workers on commercial air flights in Canada will soon have to prove they've been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Canada's government will also require all federal workers to be vaccinated, citing a "dynamic public health situation" due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new travel vaccination policy will apply to passengers and workers in the federally regulated air, rail and cruise ship sectors. It will be enacted "as soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October," the Canadian Treasury Board said on Friday.
13th Aug 2021 - NPR

Evening Standard Comment: Stop the PCR rip-off

Travellers are well-acquainted with being ripped off. From £3.50 miniature bottles of water at train stations to sun cream at airports costing more than printer ink. But the great PCR test swindle takes some beating. Many companies are charging more than £200 per test, threatening to render international travel a luxury only for the well-off. While the average test costs around £75, that it still significantly more than France, where it is about €50 (£42). Indeed, in many circumstances, tests are costing several times more the price of a flight.
13th Aug 2021 - Evening Standard

We Studied One Million Students. This Is What We Learned About Masking.

For more than a year, we’ve worked with North Carolina school districts and charter schools, studying the rate of new Covid cases, the efficacy of mitigation measures such as masking and the increased risks of participating in school-sponsored sports. We have learned a few things for certain: Although vaccination is the best way to prevent Covid-19, universal masking is a close second, and with masking in place, in-school learning is safe and more effective than remote instruction, regardless of community rates of infection.
11th Aug 2021 - Yahoo! Voices


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LA joins NY in requiring vaccine passports for customers

The LA City Council directed its city attorney on Wednesday to draft legislation requiring customers show proof of at least one vaccine dose to enter. The legislation also includes retail establishments, making it more restrictive than one announced in New York City last week. It is not yet clear how places such as grocery stores will be affected. It comes as average of 3,422 new cases were recorded in LA over the past week, a 10.9 percent increase over the previous week Reaction was mixed, with some calling the measure overreaching, while business leaders asked for more enforcement details. It came a day after California announced it was mandating teachers get vaccinated or submit to covid-19 tests
12th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Vaccine portal for 12 to 15-year-olds in Ireland opens

More than 50,000 children in the Republic of Ireland aged between 12 and 15 have signed up to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Registrations opened for the age group on Thursday. The Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) said more than 42,000 children had been signed up by mid-morning, Irish broadcaster RTÉ reported. Around 280,000 children will be eligible for immunisation with a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Children need consent from a parent or guardian, either when registering online, or at the vaccination centre.
12th Aug 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Calls for more employers to give staff paid time off so they can have their coronavirus vaccine

There are calls for more employers to allow staff paid time off to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. Research by conciliation service Acas found that one in four companies is not giving staff paid time off to get their jabs - and nor do they have any plans to allow this. Susan Clews, Acas chief executive, said: "The vaccine rollout programme has gone well and our survey reveals that most employers have allowed staff paid time off to get the jab, but a quarter have not.
12th Aug 2021 - Sky News

NHS Covid-19 app engineer talks updates, the 'pingdemic' and data

The NHS Covid-19 app will be updated next week to allow people to add their vaccination status to skip isolation. The update, which will come into effect on Monday (August 16), will mean those who are double jabbed won’t have to isolate if they are ‘pinged’ by the app. App users will instead by able to include their vaccination status on the app and will be advised to order a PCR test if they’ve come into contact with someone who has tested positive. The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed this week that from August 16, people who are double jabbed or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case of Covid-19.
12th Aug 2021 - Digital Health


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COVID cases could have been prevented by better ventilation, says leading aerosol scientist

Schools, shopping centres and restaurants have become the epicentres of Victoria’s dangerous Delta clusters, but a respected aerosol scientist says some of this spread could have been prevented with improved ventilation of classrooms and public venues. As Melbourne’s sixth lockdown looks set to be extended beyond Thursday, Distinguished Professor Lidia Morawska said carbon dioxide monitors should join QR codes and masks as standard measures used by business to help stop or reduce the severity of COVID-19 outbreaks.
12th Aug 2021 - The Age

Health experts demand global vaccination campaign to end pandemic

More than 175 public health experts, scientists and activists on Tuesday demanded that President Biden take urgent steps to confront the global spread of the coronavirus, warning that without immediate action to inoculate the rest of the world, newer variants are likely to emerge — including ones that may evade vaccines’ protection. “We urge you to act now,” the experts wrote in a joint letter to senior White House officials Tuesday and shared with The Washington Post. “Announcing within the next 30 days an ambitious global vaccine manufacturing program is the only way to control this pandemic, protect the precious gains made to date, and build vaccine infrastructure for the future.”
11th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

Get vaccinated or face weekly Covid tests, California teachers and staff told

California will become the first state in the nation to require all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly Covid testing, as schools return from summer break amid growing concerns about the highly contagious delta variant, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday. Newsom announced the new policy at a San Francisco Bay Area school that reopened earlier this week to in-person classes. Many California schools are back in session, with others starting in the coming weeks.
11th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Delta COVID-19 strain still troubling 'world's most vaccinated country'

The surge in COVID-19 cases in Iceland - where nearly all the tiny country's population is vaccinated - holds lessons for countries like Australia, an infectious disease expert says. Iceland has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with 96 per cent of women and 90 per cent of men aged 16 or older having had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. A total of of 86 per cent of the country's 357,000 population has been inoculated.
11th Aug 2021 - 9News

Survey: About half of parents holding off on covid vaccines for their children

As schools prepare to open for a third straight pandemic-strained year, about half of parents are holding off on coronavirus vaccinations for their children, taking a wait-and-see attitude or, for many, outright opposing the shots, a new survey finds. The Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds significant barriers to increasing vaccination among children ages 12 to 17, who have the lowest rates of any age group at 41 percent. Large shares of parents of unvaccinated children say they fear the long-term effects of the vaccine as well as serious side effects. Many parents who are vaccinated are still holding off on inoculating their children, the survey found.
11th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

Melbourne extends COVID lockdown; 'no jab, no job' in Sydney

Melbourne to remain in lockdown until Aug 19. New South Wales records 344 cases Outbreak threatens second recession in 2 years. Sydney construction workers can get back to jobs - if vaccinated
11th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Airlines split on COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees

In a bid to encourage companies to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for employees, President Joe Biden will meet with United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby and other business owners who have announced mandates today at the White House. Joining Kirby will be the CEO of Kaiser Permanente, the president of Howard University, and a small business owner from South Carolina. The four people represent a major company, a healthcare system, a university, and a small business, the Wall Street Journal reports.
11th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP


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High trust in doctors, nurses in US, AP-NORC poll finds

Most Americans have high trust in doctors, nurses and pharmacists, a new poll finds. Researchers say that trust could become important in the push to increase COVID-19 vaccinations, as long as unvaccinated people have care providers they know and are open to hearing new information about the vaccines. At least 7 in 10 Americans trust doctors, nurses and pharmacists to do what’s right for them and their families either most or all of the time, according to the poll from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
10th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

Don’t let children under 12 slip through the cracks in the fight against Covid

In the latest evolution, new guidance from the CDC recommends that all children attending K-12 schools wear masks — even those who are vaccinated. This shift was aimed at protecting children under 12, who cannot yet be vaccinated. As public health professionals and parents of children under 12 ourselves, we welcome this change, which recognizes that guidelines need to take into account the situation of people who are not protected by vaccination. Policies must continue to ensure the safety of vulnerable people in our communities. It is not just a moral imperative: If we fail to protect all individuals in our communities, efforts to control the pandemic will always fall short.
10th Aug 2021 - STAT News

Florida, Texas schools defy governors' bans on mask mandates as COVID cases soar

School districts in Florida and Texas are bucking their Republican governors' bans on requiring masks for children and teachers as coronavirus cases soar in conservative areas with low vaccination rates. The Broward County school board in Florida on Tuesday became the latest major district to flout an order by Republican Governor Rick DeSantis outlawing mask requirements in that state, prompting the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, to say it was considering supporting the school districts financially if DeSantis retaliates against them by withholding funds from officials' salaries.
10th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Germany to end free COVID tests from Oct. 11 - sources

The German government will stop offering free coronavirus tests from Oct. 11 in a bid to encourage more people to get vaccinated amid concerns about a rise in new cases, sources close to talks with the federal states said on Tuesday.
10th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Bangladesh vaccinating Rohingya refugees amid virus surge

Bangladesh’s government and aid agencies started vaccinating Rohingya refugees Tuesday as a virus surge raises health risks in the sprawling, cramped camps where more than 1 million people who fled Myanmar are sheltering. The highly transmissible delta variant is driving an infection surge across Bangladesh, with around 20,000 infections and 200 deaths recorded so far in Cox’s Bazar district, the southern region bordering Myanmar where the refugee camps are located. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said a national positivity rate of around 30% indicates the spread of COVID-19 is much higher, especially with cramped conditions and the risks faced by many people living in the refugee camps.
10th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Pentagon plans to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for US troops

The Pentagon plans to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for US troops by mid-September, as the country grapples with a rise in cases caused by the spread of the contagious Delta variant. “To defend this nation, we need a healthy and ready force,” wrote Lloyd Austin, defence secretary, in a memo to US forces released on Monday. Some vaccines against other diseases are already mandatory.
9th Aug 2021 - Financial Times


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Covid 19 coronavirus: Vaccine passports on their way for Kiwis

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that the Government will be issuing Covid-19 vaccine passports to allow Kiwis to travel around the world. "Yes," she replied when asked by TVNZ Breakfast as to whether New Zealanders will have a Covid vaccine passport. "Other countries say you can't even go to events unless you're vaccinated. "That's not what we're doing. We want high rates of vaccination but that's not the way we want to try and encourage it.
9th Aug 2021 - New Zealand Herald

Ministers urged to cap ‘rip-off’ costs of PCR tests for travel

The Government has been urged to cap the price of Covid tests for travel following analysis which showed many companies were charging more than £200 for a PCR test. Analysis of the list of providers which meet minimum testing standards on the Government website, by the Liberal Democrats, shows just 11 per cent of the providers offered tests for under £50, with the cheapest offering prices ranging from £20. Some 24 per cent of the providers were charging more than £200.
9th Aug 2021 - Evening Standard

FOMO in the U.K., sausages in Germany, Dracula's castle in Romania: Countries dangle coronavirus vaccine incentives

Desperate to get young adults vaccinated against the coronavirus and reinvigorate a slowing inoculation campaign, British authorities are trying a new strategy: FOMO. “Don’t miss out,” warns the government’s latest message, promoted with help from DJs and nightclubs. In other words, get your jab or risk getting left behind while your friends flock to bars and music shows. The London nightclub Heaven is also being transformed into a pop-up clinic on Sunday, offering about 1,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
9th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

NSW considers mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all health workers after fatal Liverpool Hospital outbreak

The NSW Health Minister is looking at ways to require all health workers to be vaccinated, the ABC understands. It comes on the back of the Liverpool Hospital cluster, which has seen at least two partially vaccinated nursing staff contract the virus. Five patients at Liverpool Hospital have now died as a result of the outbreak. ealth staff, including students and those who deliver meals to wards, are already required to be vaccinated for a variety of diseases, including hepatitis B and chickenpox. But both the Nurses and Midwives Union (NSWNMU) and the Health Service Union (HSU), said a vaccination mandate for COVID-19 was not appropriate and could even lead to staff leaving the industry.
9th Aug 2021 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation on MSN.com

Norwegian Cruise Line can require proof of Covid-19 vaccination in Florida, federal judge rules

Norwegian Cruise Line can require proof of Covid-19 vaccination for passengers and crew members, a federal judge ruled Sunday, after the cruise line operator had challenged Florida's ban on vaccine passports.
9th Aug 2021 - CNN

Gilead to require U.S. workers receive COVID-19 vaccine

Gilead Sciences Inc said on Monday it will require all its employees and contractors in the United States to become vaccinated against COVID-19. The biotech company's move comes less than a week after U.S. drugmaker Pfizer said all its U.S. workers would need to get vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing. All Gilead U.S. employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Oct. 1, where allowed by law and where the vaccine supply is readily available, the company said in a statement.
9th Aug 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Nearly 1,500 health systems across the United States mandate Covid-19 vaccination

Hospitals coast to coast are demanding their employees get vaccinated against covid as the highly contagious delta variant tears through populations with low vaccination rates. Nearly 1,500 hospitals — roughly a quarter of all hospitals in the U.S. —now require staffers to get a covid vaccine, said Colin Milligan, a spokesperson for the American Hospital Association. More follow suit every day as hospital leaders aim to head off staff shortages like those experienced last year and to keep employees from becoming vectors of the disease.
9th Aug 2021 - CNN

France’s virus pass now required in restaurants, trains

France took a big step Monday into a post-pandemic future by requiring people to show a QR code proving they have a special virus pass before they can enjoy restaurants and cafes or travel by plane, train or bus across the country. The measure is part of a government plan to encourage more people to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot and slow down a surge in infections, as the highly contagious delta variant now accounts for most cases in France. Over 36 million people in France, or more than 54% of the population, are fully vaccinated. The special pass is issued to people who are vaccinated against COVID-19, or have proof of a recent recovery from the virus or who have a recent negative test. The measure also applies to tourists visiting the country.
9th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Pentagon to require COVID vaccine for all troops by Sept. 15

Members of the U.S. military will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine beginning next month under a plan laid out by the Pentagon Monday and endorsed by President Joe Biden. In memos distributed to all troops, top Pentagon leaders said the vaccine is a necessary step to maintain military readiness. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the mid-September deadline could be accelerated if the vaccine receives final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise.
9th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

More than 400 universities are requiring Covid-19 vaccines. But the murky threat of fake vaccination cards worries some students and experts

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can voluntarily share their Covid-19 vaccine status with administration, but those who show up on campus unvaccinated or choose not to disclose their vaccination status will have to get tested for coronavirus weekly.
8th Aug 2021 - CNN


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These top US chains are reinstating their mask requirements

Top US retail and food chains have updated their mask policies since the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in areas with substantial Covid-19 transmission. That designation includes more than two-thirds of US counties. The CDC changed its guidance in response to the rising spread of the new, highly transmissible Delta variant and low vaccination rates in many areas of the country.
8th Aug 2021 - CNN

COVID-19: Young people told to get jabbed or 'miss out on the good times' as vaccine take up slows

Young people are being told not to "miss out on the good times" by getting both of their COVID-19 jabs in the latest government move to drive up vaccination rates. The major advertising campaign on billboards and social media will focus on the freedoms that vaccinations allow - from nightclubbing to foreign travel. It comes as clubs are set to encourage young people to get a COVID-19 jab, with one being used as a vaccine centre.
6th Aug 2021 - Sky News

Colleges split on tracking coronavirus vaccination as school year nears

The University of Virginia requires its students in Charlottesville to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, and they are complying in overwhelming numbers: More than 90 percent are now inoculated ahead of the fall term. The University of Idaho strongly recommends vaccination, but it is unknown how many students have followed that advice. “We do not track who is vaccinated,” Jodi Walker, U-Idaho’s spokeswoman, wrote in an email.
6th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

United Airlines to require US workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus

United Airlines will require employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, the company announced Friday, becoming the first domestic airline to require the vaccine as a condition of employment. The company’s mandate will apply to all 67,000 of its active, U.S.-based employees, the company said.
6th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

California to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for health workers

California will require all of its roughly 2.2 million health care workers and long term care workers to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30 as the nation's most populous state is losing ground in the battle against new infections of a more dangerous coronavirus variant. The order, issued Thursday by the California Department of Public Health, is different than what Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said last month
6th Aug 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19 UK: Number of venue check-ins with the NHS Covid app fell by 65% last week

NHS Covid app alerts fell 43 per cent from 690,129 to 395,971 in a week in the seven days ending July 28. The controversial app's software was updated earlier this week to ensure fewer contacts are pinged. 947,868 people were asked to isolate, with 362,665 reached by call handlers and 189,232 testing positive
6th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

How We’ll Know It’s Finally Time to Stop Masking

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently shared a conclusion that shocked epidemiologists: The basic reproductive number for the delta variant is somewhere between 6 and 9. The basic reproductive number R0, pronounced arr-naught, is a number you might have thought about in passing throughout the pandemic, but to review: It represents the average number of people directly infected by a single infectious person if no one in the population is immune to the disease. The R0 value of seasonal influenza varies between 1 and 2, while the R0 for measles lies between 12 and 18. The original nonvariant COVID-19 had an estimated R0 of about 3–larger than the flu, but nowhere near as high as measles. Now, the CDC has stated that the delta variant seems to be closer to measles on the contagion scale. Cue Kate Winslet in Contagion explaining how concerning things are.
6th Aug 2021 - Slate


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Fully vaccinated travellers could soon be allowed into US

The United States is working on plans to reopen to visitors from abroad, a White House official has said. Travel from Britain, the European Union, China and Iran has been restricted for more than a year due to Covid-19, with countries such as Brazil and India later included. President Joe Biden’s administration wants to welcome fully vaccinated visitors once again in a “safe and sustainable manner” the source said. A timeframe is yet to be confirmed.
5th Aug 2021 - Evening Standard

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wants to require U.S. troops to get coronavirus vaccine

Following a directive by President Joe Biden to explore the matter, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is leaning toward requiring all U.S. troops to get vaccinated for the coronavirus. The Pentagon chief has been examining the issue as the Biden administration looks for ways to boost vaccination nationwide, while protecting military personnel who must content with viral variants even as they carry out their duties of providing for the national defense. Austin's 'inclination is towards making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory' for active-duty troops, CNN citing a Defense official.
5th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Older people commissioner urges more care home staff to get jab

The Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch, has urged more care home staff to get vaccinated. Official figures show that more than one in five of local care homes are currently dealing with an outbreak. About a quarter of care home staff have not yet been vaccinated. Mr Lynch said the "concerning" figures reflected the higher community transmission happening across Northern Ireland.
5th Aug 2021 - BBC News

Teens rebel against anti-vaxx parents and hijack debate over safety of Covid jabs to say they WANT to be inoculated

Vaccine minister yesterday announced 16 and 17-year-olds will be offered jabs Jonathan Van-Tam hinted vaccine programme could also be extended this year Healthy children over 12 could be allowed to get the jab under the extension
5th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

US plans to require COVID vaccine for most travellers: Official

President Joe Biden’s administration is taking the first steps towards requiring nearly all foreign visitors to the United States to be vaccinated for the coronavirus, a White House official has said. All travellers to the US, regardless of vaccination status, are currently required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of air travel to the country.
5th Aug 2021 - AlJazeera


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No Covid vaccine, no restaurant, New Yorkers told

New Yorkers will need to provide proof they have had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine if they are to eat out at restaurants, go to a theatre or work out at the gym, Mayor Bill de Blasio has insisted. De Blasio said he was confident the move, the first of its kind in a big city in the US, would “turn the tide” against the virus as the Delta variant sweeps across the country. “If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” New York’s mayor, told a news conference
30th Nov -0001 - Evening Standard

If more Americans don't get vaccinated, there is 'ample chance' for a more dangerous variant to emerge, Fauci says

If more Americans don't get vaccinated, there is "ample chance" of another coronavirus variant emerging, one that could be more aggressive and more pervasive than the Delta variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Wednesday. "If another one comes along that has an equally high capability of transmitting but also is much more severe, then we really could be in trouble," Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said. "People who are not getting vaccinated mistakenly think it's only about them. But it isn't. it's about everybody else, also," said Fauci.
4th Aug 2021 - CNN

Utah will give KN95 masks to children as the Delta variant fuels Covid-19 hospitalizations nationwide

The surge of Covid-19 fueled by the Delta variant and low vaccination rates is sending the country backward in the pandemic, with hospitalizations reaching wintertime levels. For the first time since February 27, more than 50,000 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized Monday, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The 50,625 hospitalizations were more than triple the number from one month ago, when about 16,000 patients were hospitalized.
4th Aug 2021 - CNN


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N.Y.C. will require workers and customers show proof of at least one dose for indoor dining and other activities

New York City will become the first U.S. city to require proof of at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine for a variety of activities for workers and customers — indoor dining, gyms and performances — to put pressure on people to get vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday morning.
3rd Aug 2021 - The New York Times

China’s Wuhan to test ‘all residents’ as COVID-19 returns

Authorities in Wuhan have announced that they will test its entire population for COVID-19 after the central Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged reported its first local cases in more than a year and the country moved to stamp out a slew of outbreaks connected with the Delta variant. The city of 11 million is “swiftly launching comprehensive nucleic acid testing of all residents”, senior Wuhan official Li Tao said told the media on Tuesday.
3rd Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Covid-19: Irish hospitality rules 'incentivising' vaccine uptake

The Republic of Ireland's hospitality rules have helped Covid-19 vaccination rates surpass Northern Ireland's, NI's chief scientific advisor has said. About 76% of Ireland's adult population is fully vaccinated, compared to 72.1% in Northern Ireland. Ireland requires people to prove they have received both jabs to enter indoor venues. Prof Ian Young said the hospitality guidelines had "incentivised" vaccination.
3rd Aug 2021 - BBC News


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Unvaccinated Brits could be sent home antibody tests after government signs £124m contract for testing kits

It suggests the Government could soon start offering antibody tests to young people who are yet to receive both jabs, and for those that refuse to take a coronavirus vaccine.
2nd Aug 2021 - iNews

In Europe and US, calls for vaccine mandates stoke backlash

A privileged minority of nations are able to provide coronavirus vaccinations to the bulk of their populations. These are chiefly in the West, where governments in the United States, Canada and Europe managed to obtain vast supplies of doses even as countries in the developing world struggle to vaccinate their medical workers. The jabs were made free and widely available to the public, though the speed of their rollout varied on both sides of the Atlantic. But amid the surge of the highly transmissible delta variant — and the refusal of significant numbers of people to get vaccinated — governments are finding that more needs to be done.
2nd Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

Text reminders could boost vaccine uptake by 26%, study finds

Text message reminders could increase Covid-19 vaccine uptake by as much as 26%, according to research published in Nature on Monday. Researchers at UCLA and Carnegie Mellon University in the US conducting two randomised controlled trials involving 100,000 patients found simple texts successfully boosted vaccine appointments by as much as 84% and actual vaccinations by as much as 26%. Including “ownership language” in the form of phrases such as “the vaccine has just been made available to you” and “claim your dose today” further increased appointment and vaccination rates at UCLA Health by 1.51 and 1.09 percentage points respectively.
2nd Aug 2021 - The Guardian

McDonald's makes masks mandatory for all customers, staff

McDonald's Corp confirmed that all its customers and staff will need to start wearing masks again inside its U.S. restaurants in areas with high or substantial transmission, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not. The resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the United States due to the Delta variant and the new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that requires fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks have led companies to change their plans on vaccinations and masking
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters


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French security forces brace for anti-health pass protests

France braced for more protests on Saturday against the upcoming special virus passes that will be needed to enter restaurants, as police took up posts along Paris’ Champs-Elysees to guard against an invasion of the famed avenue by rowdy demonstrators. Some 3,000 security forces deployed around the French capital for a third Saturday of protests.
31st Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Germany could make unvaccinated pay for COVID tests — report

The German government plans to end free coronavirus tests once enough Germans are vaccinated, according to a newspaper report. Although 51% of the population is fully inoculated, the pace is slowing.
31st Jul 2021 - Deutsche Welle on MSN.com

Bring in the kids: Estonian city targets youths for jabs

With her father in tow, 13-year-old Gloria Raudjarv marched through a vaccination center inside a sports hall in Estonia’s second-largest city and up to a nurse for her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
31st Jul 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

Ireland overtakes ‘nearest neighbour’ UK with 72.4% of adults vaccinated, says Taoiseach

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said Ireland has overtaken the UK when it comes to vaccine rollout. He said Ireland now had 72.4 per cent of adults fully vaccinated while the UK had 72.1 per cent. “The vaccine rollout is continuing at great pace. Today we edged ahead of our nearest neighbours - a brilliant effort by everyone involved,” he said. Earlier, Mr Martin praised the “positive uptake” of vaccinations at walk-in centres which are open across the country this bank holiday weekend.
31st Jul 2021 - The Irish Times

Lebanon restricts cafes, beaches to the vaccinated or COVID tested

Lebanon is to limit entry to restaurants, cafes, pubs and beaches to people holding COVID-19 vaccine certificates or those who have taken antibodies tests, the tourism ministry said on Friday. Non-vaccinated employees of these establishments would be required to conduct a PCR test every 72 hours, it added. The move comes amidst a surge in infections with around 1,104 positive cases registered on Thursday compared to a few hundred a day in previous months.
29th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Israel's president gets third COVID-19 shot, urges boosters for over-60s

Israeli President Isaac Herzog received a third shot of coronavirus vaccine on Friday, kicking off a campaign to give booster doses to people aged over 60 as part of efforts to slow the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
29th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Thailand renews COVID-19 vaccination drive for monks at risk

Thailand began a renewed drive to vaccinate Buddhist monks and other temple workers in Bangkok against the coronavirus on Friday, as the country battles its most deadly surge in infections since the pandemic began. Officials said they planned to provide AstraZeneca vaccines to 221 temples in the Thai capital, before beginning distribution in other parts of the country.
29th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Europe has caught up to the U.S. on coronavirus vaccinations — and is deploying near-mandates to get further

It wasn't quite a mandate, but the announcement landed with nearly the same power. After Italy said last week that its coronavirus health passport would be required to go to the movies or dine indoors, daily bookings for inoculations soared. A new kind of patient started arriving at vaccination centers: people who had been wavering or reluctant. In one waiting room in Rome, Federica Puccetti, 19, said she still didn’t want the shot. But she had plans to go to the island of Sardinia. Inoculation had become the path to a normal vacation.
29th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post


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COVID-19: UK's daily coronavirus data 'looks a bit fishy' - as major symptom study suggests cases on the rise

Professor Tim Spector who co-founded the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app has said he is “very suspicious” over the government’s data of daily cases. On Wednesday the government’s figures said there was 27,734 positive cases in 24 hours, but there study has shown there is around “60,000 cases a day which are reported. Professor Spector said of the roughly 60,000 people who had tested positive according to the ZOE data, 24,000 had received at least one dose of the vaccine, whilst 36,000 had no vaccinations. The co-founder of the ZOE Covid symptom Study app said, “This 60,000 figure is still a lot of people, it’s one in 84 people roughly who have at any point in time still some infection or symptoms of the condition”.
29th Jul 2021 - London Loves Business

Florida mayors defy DeSantis with mask, vaccine mandates

As coronavirus cases continue to soar, two Florida mayors are announcing mask and vaccine mandates and defying the governor who is firmly opposed to any pandemic restrictions. Masks will again be required at indoor county facilities in Florida’s populous Miami-Dade following new federal guidance recommending that even people vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear facial coverings. And in Orange County, home to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, the mayor went a step further and announced all 4,200 nonunion county employees will be required to get their first coronavirus vaccine shot by the end of August, and the second shot by the end of September.
29th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Covid-19: Nearly 700,000 told to isolate as ‘pingdemic’ grows

Nearly 700,000 alerts were sent out by the NHS Covid-19 tracing app last week telling people to self-isolate, as the impact of the “pingdemic” continues to play out across the country. Official figures show a record 689,313 alerts were sent to users of the app in England and Wales in the week to July 21, telling them they had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus and should self-isolate for ten days.
29th Jul 2021 - The Times

Covid-19 cases not reached through Test and Trace at nine-month high

The proportion of people who test positive for Covid-19 but who are not being reached by the Test and Trace system has reached a nine-month high, new figures show. Some 14.8% of people transferred to Test and Trace in England in the week to July 21 were not reached, meaning they were not able to provide details of recent close contacts.
29th Jul 2021 - Evening Standard


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New US mask guidance prompted by evidence vaccinated can spread Delta

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection spoke on Wednesday about evidence that vaccinated people can spread the Covid-19 Delta variant to others, after the nation’s top health agency expanded on its new guidance that fully vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors in certain places. Rochelle Walensky said “new science” observed in recent days demonstrated that new variants of the coronavirus were transmissible by people who have been fully vaccinated in some cases.
28th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Fully vaccinated travellers from amber list EU and US countries won't have to quarantine on arrival in England from Monday

Fully vaccinated travellers from the EU and the US will not have to quarantine when arriving in England, Scotland and Wales from an amber list country. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the change regarding US and EU arrivals will come into force from 4am on 2 August. Applicable passengers must have received two jabs with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), or in the US with vaccines authorised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
28th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Masks and vaccine mandate show CDC and Biden taking emergency action amid Covid-19 surge

The steps President Joe Biden's administration is adopting this week to re-recommend masks and require vaccines for federal workers amount to emergency actions designed to contain a new surge of Covid-19 that has quickly become the top issue confronting the White House. The moves reflect a dramatic shift from earlier messaging about the pandemic waning and signal the fight of Biden's presidency is far from over. Biden on Tuesday explicitly laid blame for the current situation on unvaccinated people -- an escalation of his use of the bully pulpit as he furiously searches with his team for ways to curb the spread of the virus.
28th Jul 2021 - CNN

SNP to snub Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine passport plan for gatherings

John Swinney has signalled that Scotland will reject Boris Johnson’s vaccine passport plan that is likely to see refuseniks barred from theatres, football matches and nightclubs. In a new divergence from England’s Covid-19 strategy, the deputy first minister said remarks by Michael Gove, in which he branded antivaxers “selfish” and warned that they would be prohibited from attending large gatherings, was the wrong approach. Johnson’s government is considering vaccine passports for events such as football matches, having already announced they will be required for entering nightclubs in England from the end of September.
28th Jul 2021 - The Times

Google delays return to office, mandates vaccines

Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened. The more highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is driving a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Google’s Wednesday announcement was shortly followed by Facebook, which also said it will make vaccines mandatory for U.S. employees who work in offices. Exceptions will be made for medical and other reasons.
28th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Governments, businesses race to reimpose mask mandates

New guidance from the federal government set off a cascade of mask rules across the nation Wednesday as cities, states, schools and businesses raced to restore mandates and others pushed back against the guidelines at a time when Americans are exhausted and confused over constantly shifting pandemic measures. Nevada and Kansas City, Missouri, were among the locations that moved swiftly to re-impose indoor mask requirements following Tuesday’s announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But governors in Arizona, Pennsylvania and South Carolina said they would resist reversing course.
28th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

One Year Later, America’s Mask Supply Chain Is Still Vulnerable

Even as the delta variant fuels a new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S., some domestic manufacturers of N95s and surgical masks are struggling to stay in business. Several companies have stopped production of masks because of declining sales as people got vaccinated, state mask mandates ended, and the flow of cheaper foreign-made masks resumed. The American Mask Manufacturers Association (AMMA), a trade group that represents more than 20 smaller manufacturers, estimates that 5,000 workers have been laid off across its member companies. DemeTech Corp., based in Miami Lakes, Fla., has alone laid off about 1,500 people, according to Luis Arguello Jr., the company’s vice president. The mask makers’ plight is part of a larger problem that the U.S. government faces: ensuring a reliable domestic supply of protective gear for the next crisis
27th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg


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White House considering requiring federal employees to get Covid vaccines or submit to regular testing

President Joe Biden has confirmed to reporters that the White House is considering a requirement that all federal workers receive a Covid-19 vaccine or submit to regular mandatory testing. The president made the remarks on Tuesday when asked if a requirement that all federal employees, a number that tops 4.2 million when including the armed forces and Postal Service according to a recent report using data from federal agencies, would be required to get the vaccine. “That’s under consideration right now”, the president said.
27th Jul 2021 - The Independent

White House reporters to wear masks in briefing room again

White House reporters will be wearing masks in the briefing room again, the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) told members on Tuesday. The mask requirement for the White House press pool is reimposed for all indoor spaces at the White House. It follows guidance that White House staff will also be wearing masks again indoors.
27th Jul 2021 - The Hill

VA requires COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers

The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday became the first major federal agency to require health care workers to get COVID-19 vaccines, as the aggressive delta variant spreads across the nation and some communities report troubling increases in hospitalizations among unvaccinated people. The VA’s move came on a day when nearly 60 leading medical and health care organizations issued a call for health care facilities to require their workers to get vaccinated. No federal law stands in the way of employers requiring vaccinations, but like mask mandates, the issue has been politicized in a society that’s divided on matters of public health.
27th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Bhutan fully vaccinates 90% of eligible adults within a week

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has fully vaccinated 90% of its eligible adult population within just seven days, its health ministry said Tuesday. The tiny country, wedged between India and China and home to nearly 800,000 people, began giving out second doses on July 20 in a mass drive that has been hailed by UNICEF as “arguably the fastest vaccination campaign to be executed during a pandemic.” In April, Bhutan grabbed headlines when its government said it had inoculated around the same percentage of eligible adults with the first dose in under two weeks after India donated 550,000 shots of AstraZeneca vaccine. But the country faced a shortage for months after India, a major supplier of the AstraZeneca shot, halted exports as it scrambled to meet a rising demand at home as infections surged.
27th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Workers exempted from Covid-19 self-isolation to include binmen, vets and tax collectors

The list of professions that no longer have to follow self-isolation rules has been expanded to include rubbish collectors, vets and tax collectors in an attempt to limit disruption caused by the “pingdemic”. A pilot study has suggested that only one in 145 workers who come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus go on to contract it themselves.
27th Jul 2021 - The Times

CDC reverses course on indoor masks in some parts of US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course Tuesday on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging. Citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. The new guidance follows recent decisions in Los Angeles and St. Louis to revert to indoor mask mandates amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that have been especially bad in the South. The country is averaging more than 57,000 cases a day and 24,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations.
27th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Nearly 60 medical groups including American Medical Association sign joint statement calling on employers to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for healthcare workers

In a joint statement on Monday, 57 medical groups called on employers to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all health care workers. The groups say that requiring health workers to get vaccinated will protect patients as well as vulnerable groups like the immunocompromised. Houston Methodist was the first health system to make vaccines mandatory earlier this year and has since been joined by dozens of others. Daily vaccinations have fallen to less than 500,000 per day while daily cases have increased by 291% in three weeks from 13,305 to 52,116
27th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail


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Germans divided over restrictions for the unvaccinated

German politicians were deeply divided Sunday over a warning by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff that restrictions for unvaccinated people may be necessary if COVID-19 infection numbers reach new heights in the coming months. Chief of staff Helge Braun told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag that he doesn’t expect another coronavirus-related lockdown in Germany. But Braun said that unvaccinated people may be barred from entering venues like restaurants, movie theaters or sports stadiums “because the residual risk is too high.”
27th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

NYC Imposes Covid-19 Vaccine—Or Weekly Test—Mandate For 340,000 City Workers

New York City will require all of its municipal workers—including firefighters, police officers and teachers—to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or test weekly for the virus, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday,
26th Jul 2021 - Forbes

'Freshers' jabs' for students as universities pressed to help boost take-up of Covid-19 vaccine

The Government is planning a “freshers’ jab” campaign this autumn as part of efforts to increase Covid-19 vaccine uptake among the youngest groups in time for the winter when NHS pressure will increase. Ministers are keen to target around 2.5 million under-30s who say they are willing to get vaccinated but have not yet got round to signing up for their first dose. They have launched social media advertising campaigns, including a recent video by England manager Gareth Southgate, and encouraging the use of “vaccine passports” to reopen high-risk events. The Government has also worked with dating apps and social media companies to get the message out.
26th Jul 2021 - iNews

Major medical groups call for employers to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for health care workers

As the number of Covid-19 cases surges in the United States, more than 50 health and medical groups -- including the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association -- issued a joint statement calling for all health care and long-term care employers to mandate employees be vaccinated against Covid-19. "Our health care organizations and societies advocate that all health care and long-term care employers require their workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all health care workers to put patients as well as residents of long-term care facilities first and take all steps necessary to ensure their health and well-being," they wrote in the joint statement issued Monday.
26th Jul 2021 - CNN

California, NYC to require employees to get COVID-19 vaccine

California and New York City announced Monday that they would require all government employees to get the coronavirus vaccine or face weekly COVID-19 testing, and the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first major federal agency to require health care workers to receive the shot. Meanwhile, in a possible sign that increasingly dire health warnings are getting through to more Americans, vaccination rates began to creep up again, offering hope that the nation could yet break free of the coronavirus if people who have been reluctant to receive the shot are finally inoculated.
26th Jul 2021 - Associated Press


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Why it may be a 'grave mistake' for FDA to wait much longer for full COVID-19 vaccine approval

Zeynep Tufecki, a sociologist who has written extensively on COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, is a proponent of broadening vaccine mandates in the United States, citing precedent in the health-care sector, the military, and schools. Kentucky, she notes in a piece published Saturday in The New York Times, requires anyone working in a long-term care facility to be vaccinated against the flu and pneumococcal disease unless they have a medical or religious exemption (Brown University's Dr. Ashish Jha, another prominent voice during the pandemic, also pointed to flu vaccine mandates in nursing homes as a reason to implement them for the coronavirus). But Tufecki acknowledged that the fact that the FDA has still not granted full authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines is an obstacle to imposing such requirements.
25th Jul 2021 - Yahoo News

Large events such as Premier League matches could be open only to the fully-vaccinated

Large events such as Premier League games could be open only to fully vaccinated people from October under government plans. Talks are under way with the Premier League to discuss whether supporters who have not received both jabs could be barred from entry, according to the PA news agency. The rule could also be used for lower divisions and other sports, and for seated events with a capacity of more than 20,000 people.
25th Jul 2021 - Sky News

France Mandates Vaccine Passport To Visit Eiffel Tower, Other Tourist Sites—And Restaurants Are Next

No sooner had the Eiffel Tower reopened to the public than a new hoop materialized through which tourists must jump if they want to visit the iconic Paris landmark. In a new initiative to fight what the French government calls a “stratospheric” rise in delta variant infections, individuals must download and use a digital Covid pass to enter French museums, movie theaters, sports venues, festivals, top tourist attractions and more. A government mandate to use le pass sanitaire, or “health pass,” took effect yesterday at cultural and tourist sites across France, as well as all events or places with more than 50 people. Visitors who turned up at the Eiffel Tower without proof of vaccination were offered on-the-spot Covid tests.
24th Jul 2021 - Forbes

Italy imposes ‘green pass’ restrictions on unvaccinated people

The Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, has urged all Italians to get Covid-19 jabs after his government approved restrictions on unvaccinated citizens as it scrambles to contain a resurgence of infections. Draghi told a press conference that the country needed to act quickly to avoid the kind of infection levels that are being seen in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, as well as to protect the economy. From 6 August, entry to stadiums, museums, theatres, cinemas, exhibition centres, swimming pools and gyms will only be allowed upon presentation of a “green pass”.
23rd Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Hungary to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for healthcare workers -PM

Hungary's government has decided to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for healthcare workers as part of efforts to contain the pandemic, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public radio on Friday. "Already there are certain vaccines that are mandatory for people working in the healthcare sector ... we have now extended this to the coronavirus," Orban said..
23rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand Suspends Travel Bubble With Australia As Sydney COVID-19 Cluster Grows

New Zealand on Friday suspended its quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia for at least eight weeks due to a growing COVID-19 cluster in Sydney. New Zealand recently imposed quarantine restrictions on travelers from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia states, where lockdowns have been introduced to contain delta variant clusters.
23rd Jul 2021 - NPR

As Americans navigate conflicting COVID-19 mask advice, 'everyone is confused'

A COVID-19 surge ignited in parts of the United States by the highly contagious Delta variant and vaccine hesitancy has led to new mask mandates and deep confusion among some people about which guidance to follow. In Los Angeles County, leaders have reinstated an indoor mask mandate, even for the fully vaccinated. Officials in Houston and New Orleans also raised coronavirus alert levels this week and told people to mask up.
23rd Jul 2021 - Reuters


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Ignoring ventilation is the great unspoken error of our government’s Covid-19 strategy

The initial message of hand-washing and face-touching just kind of stuck – but evidence shows that it’s ventilation, ventilation, ventilation that really matters
22nd Jul 2021 - iNews

How worried should vaccinated people be of Covid-19 breakthrough infections?

Coronavirus infections are on the rise again in the United States. CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen explains how the dominant Delta variant impacts those who have been vaccinated and what precautions they should take.
22nd Jul 2021 - CNN

Greece extends mandatory regular testing for unvaccinated tourism staff

Greece said on Thursday all unvaccinated restaurant and tourism workers nationwide must undergo regular COVID-19 tests, extending an obligation that previously applied only on some popular holiday islands as case numbers have continued to climb. After a disastrous year in 2020 where global travel evaporated, Greece lifted most restrictions and has been hoping for at least a partial revival of its crucial tourist industry over the summer.
23rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Minister suggests other 'crowded' venues where vaccine passports could be introduced

Vaccine passports could be introduced for sporting and business events, music venues and festivals in addition to nightclubs, a minister has suggested, but people will not have to prove their COVID status to access schools and universities. Making a statement to MPs in the Commons, Nadhim Zahawi said those former events are the ones that ministers are "most concerned about" when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.
22nd Jul 2021 - Sky News

One in seven Covid-19 cases not reached through Test and Trace in latest week

One in seven people transferred to the Test and Trace system after testing positive for Covid-19 were not reached in the latest week, new figures show. It is the largest proportion not reached since October last year and comes as the number of people testing positive rose to its highest total for nearly six months. Some 14.2% of people transferred to Test and Trace in England in the week ending July 14 were not reached, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
22nd Jul 2021 - Evening Standard

More than 600,000 people told to isolate by NHS Covid-19 app

More than 600,000 people using the NHS Covid-19 app in England and Wales were sent self-isolation alerts in the week between 8 and 15 July. Data shows 618,903 alerts were sent - a 17% rise from the previous week. There are complaints from businesses that the alerts are causing serious staff shortages and affecting services. However some fully-vaccinated key workers will be exempt from self-isolating if they are pinged by the app as a close contact of a positive case. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told the BBC a “very narrow” list of jobs would be released today.
22nd Jul 2021 - BBC News

UK to launch daily COVID tests in food sector to tackle 'pingdemic'

Daily tests to replace self-isolation for 'pinged' workers. Testing sites to be set up at distribution centres this week. Supermarkets have warned of shortages on limited lines. Named workers from other key services will not have to isolate
22nd Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

Proven ways to boost Covid-19 vaccination: mandates plus nudges

The United States is approaching a plateau in vaccination rates at a perilous moment as the highly transmissible Delta variant has become the dominant strain. It’s time to get serious about vaccination. If we have a checkerboard of communities across America without adequate uptake of Covid-19 vaccines, we will never stem the pandemic. Evidence-based tools can make us all safer and more secure by making vaccination the default choice in Americans’ everyday lives — in schools, businesses, and hospitals. Behavioral science research shows the power of nudges to make the healthier and safer choice easier and the risky choice harder. Nudges also operate by showing vaccine-hesitant individuals that their peers are getting the jab.
22nd Jul 2021 - STAT News


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COVID-19 Vaccine Success Could Be Measured With One Number

The term correlate of protection doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it’s one of the sexiest concepts in the field of vaccinology. Correlates are biological benchmarks—measurements of a single immune molecule or cell—that can show that a vaccine is achieving its desired effect. With a correlate in hand, researchers can confirm how well a shot is working and identify the rare individuals in whom it doesn’t take; they can suss out the need for boosters and fast-track the development of new vaccines. At their most powerful, correlates of protection boil down the complexities of an immune response to a single value—one that can confidently affirm that a person won’t get infected or seriously sick. “It’s kind of a magic number,” Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis, told me. “It’s the big holy grail,” Emory University’s Sri Edupuganti says. “It’s what we dream about,” Cornell’s Sallie Permar told me last month.
21st Jul 2021 - The Atlantic

Americas are facing pandemic of the unvaccinated, PAHO says

The Americas are facing a pandemic of the unvaccinated, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday, as it warned that countries with low inoculation rates are seeing increases in COVID-19 and repeated a call for vaccine donations. "We face a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and the only way to stop it is to expand vaccination," PAHO director Carissa Etienne said at a weekly briefing. "Vaccines are critical, even if no vaccine is 100% effective."
21st Jul 2021 - Reuters

France forced to soften rules after coronavirus green pass backlash

The French government, which last week introduced some of Europe’s toughest measures against COVID-19, has been forced to row back on some restrictions following a pushback from industries and street protests. Among the new rules, French President Emmanuel Macron sought to turbo-drive vaccinations by making proof of vaccination or immunity mandatory to enter cafés, restaurants and a range of other venues this summer. The scheme, which goes further than other big EU countries, was introduced to help break a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in France, driven by the more contagious Delta variant. On Monday, the government spokesperson Gabriel Attal warned that the increase in cases was “stratospheric” after France’s incidence rate increased by 125 percent in a week.
21st Jul 2021 - POLITICO Europe

More than 91 million live in US counties with high Covid-19 infections. It's time to reset and put masks back on, expert says

With the highly contagious Delta variant spreading, particularly among unvaccinated Americans, it may be time for much of the country to put masks back on, experts said. "We are at a very different point in the pandemic than we were a month ago," Dr. Leana Wen told CNN on Tuesday. "And, therefore, we should follow the example of LA County and say that if there are places where vaccinated and unvaccinated people are mixing, then indoor mask mandates should still apply." Los Angeles County reinstated a mask mandate over the weekend, requiring masking indoors regardless of vaccination status.
21st Jul 2021 - CNN

New York requiring vaccine or testing for workers in city hospitals, clinics

New York City will be requiring public health employees to get the coronavirus vaccine or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is expected to announce the new policy on Wednesday. It will affect the more than 42,000 people who work for the public hospital system in the city, the mayor’s spokesperson said on Tuesday, The New York Times reported. The policy will apply to the 10 percent of city government workers who work in the 11 hospitals in the public hospital system.
21st Jul 2021 - The Hill


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Anger over coronavirus vaccine passports plans in nightclubs

Plans to make Covid-19 vaccine passports mandatory at nightclubs in England have been criticised by those working in the industry in the North West. Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday 19 July that jab certificates will be required from the end of September to attend nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. Only those who can prove they have been double-jabbed will be allowed into venues, even proof of a negative test would not be acceptable.
20th Jul 2021 - ITV News

Covid-19: Crucial for pinged people to self-isolate - No 10

Downing Street has insisted it is "crucial" to self-isolate when sent an alert by the Covid app - and businesses should help employees to do so. It comes after business minister Paul Scully said he would encourage people who are "pinged" to self-isolate but they can make an "informed decision". The app has always been voluntary to download and any alerts are advisory. Labour accused the government of "making it up as they go along" and creating confusion. In recent days, there has been widespread criticism that the app has been sending out so many alerts that hundreds of thousands of people are self-isolating and missing work, causing widespread disruption.
20th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Health expert warns Olympic bubble has burst as Covid-19 cases linked to the Games rise to 71

A public health expert warned the Olympic Covid-19 bubble had been broken as nine new cases were announced, including a volunteer for the first time. It took the total number of Covid cases linked to the Games in the build-up to 71. And Kenji Shibuya, the former director of the Institute for Population Health at King’s College London, told Reuters: “It’s obvious that the bubble system is kind of broken. “My biggest concern is, of course, there will be a cluster of infections in the village or some of the accommodation and interaction with local people.”
20th Jul 2021 - Evening Standard

Pharmacies call for more Pfizer doses as young people 'clamouring' for vaccine

In Ireland, pharmacies are calling for the Government to provide them with more Pfizer vaccines to keep up with demand. It comes as pharmacists today administer their 100,000th vaccine, with 86% of these going to the 18-34s. Darragh O'Loughlin from the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) says the majority of jabs administered there have been single-shot doses. Over 800 pharmacies around the country are administering Janssen vaccines while the HSE provided Pfizer vaccine to just 350 pharmacies.
20th Jul 2021 - Irish Examiner


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U.S. CDC raises COVID warning for travelers to United Kingdom

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday issued a more severe warning against travel to the United Kingdom, elevating the nation to "Level Four: COVID-19 Very High," the CDC's highest level.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Saudi citizens must have two COVID-19 vaccine doses for travel abroad - SPA

Saudi citizens will need two COVID-19 vaccine doses before they can travel outside the kingdom from Aug. 9, state news agency SPA reported on Monday, citing the ministry of interior. The decision was made based on new waves of infection globally, new mutations, and the "low efficacy of one vaccination dose against these mutations," the statement said.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Thousands disable Covid-19 contact tracing app as Scotland ducks 'pingdemic'

Almost 14,000 people have disabled their contact tracing app as Scotland avoids a “pingdemic” despite having the highest Covid-19 rate in the UK. The number of people no longer allowing themselves to be automatically notified if they have been in close contact with someone who has caught the virus is likely to be much higher because the Scottish government’s figures only include those who deregister the app, not those who simply delete it. Those who deregistered included NHS staff.
19th Jul 2021 - The Times

Face Mask Requirements Returning As Covid-19 Coronavirus Cases Rise

Well, this is what happens when the genie has left the bottle, and it’s not wearing a face mask. In the words of Christina Aguilera, oh, woah, woah. Covid-19 cases have been on the rise throughout the U.S. This is just two months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed their face mask guidelines in May so that fully vaccinated people would no longer have to wear face masks indoors, as I described then for Forbes. Since it’s difficult to tell whether people are fully vaccinated because they may do a thing called lying, many state and local authorities soon abandoned face mask requirements all together.
19th Jul 2021 - Forbes

France broadens use of COVID-19 health pass, slashes fines

The French government adjusted its new plan to fight COVID-19 on Monday, slashing planned fines and postponing them to an unspecified date, spokesman Gabriel Attal said. The measures, which include requiring a health pass in a wide array of venues from the start of August and making vaccination mandatory for health workers, will still account for some of the toughest in Europe.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

'Pingdemic': English businesses buckle under COVID-19 isolation demands

COVID-19 cases surging in Britain. Official tracing app telling workers to self-isolate Crisis has overshadowed PM Johnson's 'freedom day'
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters UK


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‘Wembley variant’: England fans report soaring Covid cases after gathering for Euro 2020 final

Swathes of England football fans have reported testing positive for coronavirus following the Euros final on Sunday night, as Public Health England (PHE) issued renewed calls for regular testing ahead of the lifting of restrictions on Monday. Some fans said that “pretty much everyone” they knew who headed to the stadium had contracted the virus or was self-isolating. The large numbers of fans reporting positive Covid tests following the match has led people to dub the illness “the Wembley variant”. The final at Wembley, which was part of a Government trial to test the safety of large events, saw 60,000 fans attend with no social distancing or masks after producing a negative test result. However, thousands more congregated outside and dozens of ticketless fans stormed the stadium.
18th Jul 2021 - iNews

Covid-19: No EU vaccine certificate for Irish passport holders in NI

Most Irish passport holders who live in Northern Ireland will not be able to use the EU Digital Covid Certificate. That is in spite of Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Mícheál Martin and other senior Irish government ministers indicating that they would. The vaccine "passport" to facilitate international travel comes into effect in the Republic of Ireland on Monday. It will make journeys within the EU easier for people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Last week, more than two million people in the Republic of Ireland got their certificates, which contain QR codes, by email and post.
18th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Australia, under lockdown, reports slight dip in COVID-19 cases

Australia's two largest states on Sunday reported slight declines in new COVID-19 infections, prompting authorities to say it could be days before tough lockdown measures showed progress in containing the spread of the Delta variant. The country's most populous city, Sydney, and all of Victoria state - totaling nearly half the 25 million national population - are under stay-home orders after a flare-up of the highly infectious virus strain began last month. A day earlier, Berejiklian tightened restrictions on the city of five million people, including a shutdown of all building and property maintenance works and bans on some 600,000 people in the worst-affected suburbs from leaving their immediate neighbourhood for work.
18th Jul 2021 - Reuters

The CDC Owes Parents Better Messaging on the Vaccine for Kids

On June 23, an advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met to discuss, among other topics, vaccine-related cases of myocarditis, which have hospitalized hundreds of adolescents. Evidence of a correlation between the condition, an inflammation of the heart muscle, and the vaccines had been mounting for months. Numerous countries had altered or withheld recommendations for pediatric vaccination, with some citing an ambiguous risk-benefit
18th Jul 2021 - Wired

Olympic village tests first COVID case days before Tokyo Games

The Tokyo Olympics has registered its first COVID-19 case in the Olympic Village six days before the Games open, the organisers have said. Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto confirmed on Saturday that a visitor from abroad who is involved in organising the Games had tested positive. He would not reveal the person’s nationality, citing privacy concerns.
17th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

COVID-19: Cautionary tale from the Netherlands' coronavirus unlocking - what lessons can the UK learn?

As the UK's nations prepare to ease coronavirus restrictions, another European nation is reimposing curbs on its citizens. The Dutch celebrated their "Freedom Day" two weeks ago only to find COVID-19 cases soaring to unprecedented levels. The spike in case rates led the Dutch prime minister to concede that coronavirus restrictions had been lifted too soon. While the epidemiological situation varies between the two countries and direct comparisons are difficult, is there anything the UK could learn from the Dutch experience?
16th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Freedom or folly? UK's end to mandatory masks sows confusion

For many, it’s common courtesy or a sensible precaution. For others, it’s an imposition, a daily irritation. The face mask — a highly charged source of debate, confusion and anger around the world during the coronavirus pandemic — is now dividing people as the crisis eases. Britain is bracing for acrimony on Monday, when the government lifts a legal requirement to wear face coverings in most indoor settings, including shops, trains, buses and subways. Donning a mask in many places will stop being an order and become a request. Already, people are split over how to respond.
16th Jul 2021 - Associated Press


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Vaccine passports: Pubs and restaurants urged to roll out NHS Covid Pass with lockdown easing on 19 July

Vaccine passports could soon be required for entry to pubs, bars and restaurants, as the Government amps up caution ahead of Monday’s date for scrapping lockdown restrictions amid a huge surge in Covid cases. Ministers yesterday published their much-anticipated advice for businesses on how to reopen as England moves to step four of the roadmap out of lockdown on 19 July. It said hospitality firms will be encouraged to consider making customers show proof of vaccination to enter their premises.
15th Jul 2021 - iNews.co.uk

China threatens to ban unvaccinated adults from schools, hospitals

Millions of Chinese people face bans from public spaces including schools, hospitals and shopping malls unless they get a Covid-19 vaccine, under new edicts covering nearly two dozen cities and counties. The coronavirus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, but since then the country has largely brought it under control – and Beijing is determined to keep it that way. The tough new rules, which follow the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant across Asia, will be imposed on numerous second-tier cities in a possible marker of what is to come for the whole country
15th Jul 2021 - New Straits Times

‘Karaoke cluster’: Singapore reports surge of new COVID cases

Singapore, which has managed to keep COVID-19 in check in much of the community for months, has reported the biggest jump in domestically transmitted cases in 10 months after an outbreak traced to a karaoke lounge (KTV), which was supposed to have been operating as a food and beverage outlet. The nation reported 56 cases on Wednesday with 42 linked to the karaoke cluster, the health ministry said.
15th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera


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French police quell protest against COVID health passport rules

Dozens of French police used tear gas to disperse a protest against President Emmanuel Macron's plan to require a COVID-19 vaccine certificate or negative PCR test to gain entry to bars, restaurants and cinemas from next month.
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Mandatory face masks to remain in string of English cities as mayors stage mass revolt

Face masks will remain mandatory in certain transport settings in a string of English cities after mayors staged a revolt. The mayors of Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, North of Tyne and West of England all blasted Boris Johnson's decision to axe compulsory face coverings from Monday.In a damning joint press conference, they announced face masks will remain compulsory in the parts of the transport network that they have control over, despite the Prime Minister's 'Freedom Day' on July 19. That means the coverings will be a "condition of carriage" on the London Underground and buses; all Metrolink trams in Greater Manchester; and the Tyne and Wear Metro. They will also be mandatory in bus stations and terminals in South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire
14th Jul 2021 - Mirror.co.uk

COVID-19: Parliament staff 'incredulous and angry' at MPs not having to wear masks from Monday

Trade unions representing workers in parliament have expressed "incredulity, anger and concern" at a decision not to make MPs continue to wear face masks from next week. Following confirmation that England will move to step four of the government's roadmap for lifting COVID restrictions from 19 July, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, this week set out how rules will be relaxed in parliament.
14th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Victoria reintroduces masks in outdoor and indoor settings amid new COVID-19 outbreak

Masks will be mandatory indoors for Victorians aged 12 and above from Thursday as the state deals with another COVID outbreak, which includes 11 new confirmed cases. The new rules, announced by the Victorian Department of Health, state that masks must be worn in all workplaces and secondary schools. They must also be worn outdoors when you cannot remain socially distanced from those who are not from your household.
14th Jul 2021 - ABC News

COVID-19: Wales to ease coronavirus restrictions from Saturday - but face masks still needed indoors and on public transport

Coronavirus restrictions in Wales will be further relaxed from Saturday but face masks will still have to be worn on public transport and in most indoor public places, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said. The nation will move fully from alert level two to alert level one on 17 July - bringing it more broadly in line with England and Scotland.
14th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Australia extends Sydney lockdown as COVID-19 outbreak nears 900 infections

Australian authorities extended a lockdown in Sydney on Wednesday by at least 14 days after three weeks of initial restrictions failed to stamp out the biggest outbreak of COVID-19 this year in the country's largest city. New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said restrictions would remain in place until at least July 30 after reporting 97 new locally transmitted cases, a slight increase from a day earlier. "It always hurts to say this, but we need to extend the lockdown at least a further two weeks," Berejiklian said in Sydney on Wednesday.
14th Jul 2021 - Investing.com

German retailers support face masks, fear new lockdown

German retailers still support the wearing of face masks in stores as they worry about another wave of the coronavirus pandemic possibly leading to new restrictions, an industry association said on Wednesday.
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters


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‘Mixed advice’ driving Covid vaccine hesitancy in pregnant UK women

Pregnant women are being given dangerously mixed messaging from health professionals, with figures suggesting a “very high” vaccine hesitancy among the vulnerable group, according to campaigners. Three-quarters of pregnant women in the UK feel anxious about the easing of coronavirus restrictions with many saying the move is like “another lockdown” for expectant mothers, according to a survey of about 9,000 pregnant women by campaigning group Pregnant Then Screwed.
13th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Greece and France join Italy in making Covid-19 shots mandatory for health workers, telling the unvaccinated they won't get paid

As Europe struggles with a rising number of coronavirus cases caused by the Delta variant, several countries are making vaccinations compulsory for health care workers, and some leaders are even considering making shots mandatory for all. France and Greece both announced new vaccine requirements on Monday, following in the footsteps of Italy, which made vaccinations compulsory for health employees in April. The UK government, which is pushing ahead with its unlocking plan despite strong warnings from experts, has previously said it will mandate shots for care home staff from October.
13th Jul 2021 - CNN

COVID-19: Train and bus operators will no longer enforce mask wearing in England from 19 July

Train and bus operators will not require passengers to wear face masks on services in England from 19 July, industry bodies have confirmed. The government has left it up to transport companies to decide whether they wish to enforce the wearing of face coverings, giving them the power to turn customers away for not wearing a mask. But only airlines, such as Ryanair, British Airways, and easyJet, and the Eurostar service will continue to require face masks from Monday. Train, bus and coach operators have said that, in the absence of government legislation enforcing masks, they will not require travellers to continue wearing face coverings.
13th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Germany won't make COVID-19 vaccination compulsory - Merkel

Germany will not make vaccination against COVID-19 compulsory, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, adding that ensuring more Germans get vaccinated, sticking to distancing rules and testing should help prevent a fourth wave. "We have no intention of going down this road," Merkel said during a news conference. "There will be no compulsory vaccination."
13th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Masks to remain mandatory on London transport after national rule easing

Masks will remain mandatory on London's public transport network after July 19, the city's mayor said on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government plans to lift most COVID-19 restrictions from that date in England despite rising cases. The public will be expected, rather than compelled by law, to wear masks in indoor enclosed spaces across the country from next week, as rules decided upon by the Conservative administration are eased
13th Jul 2021 - Reuters

The decline in Covid-19 preceded vaccines. But we need jabs to finish the job

Following patterns from previous pandemics, the precipitous decline in new cases of Covid-19 started well before a meaningful number of people had been vaccinated. To be sure, coronavirus vaccines are a remarkable accomplishment. But even a vaccine that’s 95% effective can’t take full credit if it is introduced on the back of a naturally receding epidemic. Timing is everything. There are two ways to develop immunity: natural infection and vaccination. The best explanation for declining rates of Covid-19 appears to be previous infections, which vary considerably from state to state. Individuals with confirmed Covid-19 diagnoses are only the tip of the iceberg. Although estimates vary, the most recent study from the National Institutes of Health suggests that about five people were infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, for each person with a confirmed case
13th Jul 2021 - STAT News


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France will not allow health workers to work if not vaccinated from COVID-19

France will not allow health workers to go to work and will not pay them if they are not vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 15, the health minister said on Monday. Speaking on LCI television, Health Minister Olivier Veran said it was vital to impose obligatory measures given how contagious the Delta variant of the virus is.
13th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Greek PM Makes Vaccine Mandatory for Healthcare Workers

The coronavirus vaccine will now be mandatory for all Greek healthcare workers, according to an announcement on Monday by Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The statement was part of a series of new measures regarding Covid-19 and the country’s continuing plan for vaccinations on Monday. Although he admitted that Greece would likely be hit hard by the fast-spreading Delta variant, Mitsotakis affirmed that he would not place the country under strict lockdown measures again.
12th Jul 2021 - Greek Reporter

COVID-19: Making changes to NHS app's settings reinforces its importance

In Britain, the government is in a difficult position. There are suggestions that its NHS COVID app is broken, that it is pinging too many people and telling them to self-isolate. But it's not - the app is doing exactly what it was designed to do. As one senior scientist who advises the government told me: "The problem is not that it's pinging too many people. The problem is that there are too many people becoming infected." But throughout the week we have been told by various government ministers the app needs changing "to make it less sensitive".
12th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Dirty air makes COVID worse, beta variant deadlier than original

Air pollution makes severe COVID worse. Dirty air contributes to COVID-19 severity, according to a study from one of America's most polluted cities. Researchers who studied 2,038 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Detroit area found those who needed intensive care and machines to help them breathe were more likely to live in neighborhoods with higher levels of air pollution and lead paint
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

WHO says countries should not order COVID-19 boosters while others still need vaccines

Rich countries should not be ordering booster shots for their vaccinated populations while other countries have yet to receive COVID-19 vaccines, the World Health Organization said on Monday. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said deaths were again rising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Delta variant was becoming dominant, and many countries had yet to receive enough vaccine doses to protect their health workers. "The Delta variant is ripping around the world at a scorching pace, driving a new spike in COVID-19 cases and death," Tedros told a briefing, noting that the highly contagious variant, first detected in India, had now been found in more than 104 countries.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Macron announces vaccination passes and warns the country's fourth wave has ALREADY begun

President Macron introduced new coronavirus measures on Monday night. Covid-19 vaccinations will be mandatory for those working with the vulnerable Care workers have until September 15 to get vaccinated after then 'checks will be made and sanctions applied' Macron said in a televised address on Monday Vaccine passports will also be required from August 1 for anyone wanting to go out to eat or drink at a bar, café or restaurant, or travel on planes. Passengers on long-distance bus or train rides will also require a pass. Just three days ago, France reopened its nightclubs as restrictions began to ease. It comes as the delta variant has started driving infection rates up across Europe. Macron is set to announce a new law requiring health workers to get vaccinated
12th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail


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Pfizer, U.S. health officials to discuss COVID boosters on Monday -company

COVID-19 vaccine maker Pfizer Inc will meet with federal health officials as soon as Monday to discuss the need for a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine as it prepares to seek authorization, the company said on Sunday. The meeting comes days after the drugmaker and its partner BioNTech SE announced plans to seek U.S. and European regulatory approval for a third dose of their COVID-19 shot amid the spread of variants and data they said showed heightened risk of infection six months after initial inoculation.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

South Africa extends tight COVID-19 restrictions for another 14 days

South Africa extended tight COVID-19 rules on Sunday for another 14 days, maintaining restrictions that include a ban on gatherings, a curfew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. and a prohibition on the sale of alcohol. The country, the worst-hit on the African continent in terms of recorded cases and deaths, is in the grip of a third wave of infections driven by the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant.
11th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid passports 'WILL be compulsory in pubs, clubs and restaurants' to prevent fourth wave

The government hopes Covid passports will encourage vaccine-shy young people to get jabbed. By September, all adults over 18 should have been offered both vaccine doses, allowing for the passports. Patrons will need to show proof of either two vaccine doses or a recent negative test under the proposals
10th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

Students don't need masks at school if they are fully vaccinated, CDC says

Fully vaccinated students do not need to wear masks in classrooms this fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. The guidance, which goes beyond mask-wearing, is aimed at kindergartners through high school seniors, and is meant "to help keep kids in classrooms, as well as participating in any sports or extracurricular activities," said Erin Sauber-Schatz, who heads the CDC's Community Interventions and Critical Populations Task Force.
9th Jul 2021 - NBC News

Native Americans continue to boast highest vaccination rates in the US

Native Americans have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, dying at higher rates than other populations. Now, Native Americans have the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the United States. After successfully vaccinating much of their own population, the Indian Health Service has even begun offering doses to visitors.
9th Jul 2021 - The Hill

Oxford told to reduce travel with mass testing for under 30s to slow Covid surge

People living in Oxford are being urged to reduce their travel and surge testing is being brought into the city to tackle soaring Covid cases. Mass testing for people under 30s is also being rolled out. As part of the new measures, which will come into place on Monday, people living in Oxford will also be urged to get the Covid jab. Similar measures have already been introduced across the North West, and Bedford and Birmingham.
9th Jul 2021 - The Mirror

Chile Relaxes Restrictions for the Vaccinated as Covid Cases Drop

Chile will loosen restrictions against the coronavirus for residents who are fully vaccinated as new cases plunge and the government expands one of the world’s fastest inoculation programs. Starting July 15, capacity rules for establishments like gyms and restaurants in districts that aren’t under quarantine will be relaxed for people with two doses, according to a government statement on Thursday. The nightly curfew will be shortened depending on virus and vaccination metrics, and schools will be able to open for on-site classes even in neighborhoods under strict lockdown.
8th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg


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Mass infection is not an option: we must do more to protect our young

As the third wave of the pandemic takes hold across England, the UK Government plans to further re-open the nation. Implicit in this decision is the acceptance that infections will surge, but that this does not matter because vaccines have “broken the link between infection and mortality”.1 On July 19, 2021—branded as Freedom Day—almost all restrictions are set to end. We believe this decision is dangerous and premature.
7th Jul 2021 - The Lancet

Covid-19: Amber list quarantine for fully vaccinated to end on 19 July

Fully vaccinated UK residents arriving in England from amber travel list destinations will no longer have to quarantine from 19 July. They will, however, still need to pay for Covid tests before and after their return, the transport secretary said. Grant Shapps told MPs that under-18s returning from amber list places would also be exempt from quarantine. Travel industry leaders said the change was a "positive step" but called for the amber list to be expanded.
8th Jul 2021 - BBC News


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‘No quarantine’ for vaccinated amber list arrivals in England

Ministers are likely to announce that vaccinated people travelling to England from amber list countries will no longer have to quarantine from later this month, in a significant boost for the travel industry, it is understood. A date of 19 July to change the rules is among options that will be considered by the Covid operations committee, chaired by the Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, which is due to meet on Thursday morning. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, is then expected to make a formal announcement of the decision on Thursday afternoon. It would apply to England, but Covid travel rules have tended to be unified across the UK.
7th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Do face masks work? Here is what scientific studies say

Wearing a face mask is soon set to become a personal choice rather than something required of people inside buildings and on public transport. Although the government has repeatedly stressed that it would be guided by the science, a rift in approach is showing between groups such as the British Medical Association and health minister Helen Whately. So - what do peer-reviewed scientific studies say when it comes to how effective face masks are?
7th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19 passports dropped over fears certificates would place strain on testing system

Ministers have dropped plans to introduce Covid-19 passports – in spite of the certificates offering a possible public health benefit – amid concerns they would place a burden on the testing system. The official review into the use of Covid Status Certificates also raised fears that the introduction of the scheme would encourage people to take more risks, believing they were “Covid free”.
7th Jul 2021 - iNews

Turkmenistan makes COVID-19 vaccination mandatory

Turkmenistan's healthcare ministry said on Wednesday it was making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all residents aged 18 and over as the former Soviet region of Central Asia reported a fresh spike in new cases. Turkmenistan has reported no COVID-19 cases but introduced a number of restrictions such as setting out requirements for wearing facemasks. Neighbouring Kazakhstan made vaccinations mandatory for a wide range of public and private sector employees last month, following the example of Russia.
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters


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Mass-testing reduced Liverpool COVID-19 cases by a fifth, study finds

A mass rapid-testing scheme reduced COVID-19 cases in the English city of Liverpool by more than a fifth, researchers said on Wednesday, arguing it was an effective public health intervention despite concerns over accuracy of the devices. The community testing pilot scheme launched in November, and offered everyone in the city tests whether or not they had symptoms, in an attempt to find a new way to use testing to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

Covid-19: 4,500 applications made for emergency vaccine passports

More than 4,500 holidaymakers have applied for short-term vaccine passports, MLAs have been told. The so-called COVIDCert was announced by the Department of Health on Friday. The emergency scheme was introduced by Northern Ireland's Department of Health to accommodate those planning to visit countries which require proof of two Covid-19 vaccinations. Health Minister Robin Swann told MLAs the public response had been "incredible".
6th Jul 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: PM suffers backlash over plans to ditch rules on wearing face masks

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has also warned that lifting all restrictions in one go would be "reckless" - and is calling for face coverings to remain mandatory on public transport. He said: "To throw off all protections at the same time when the infection rate is still going up is reckless. "We need a balanced approach, we need to keep key protections in place, including masks, including ventilation and crucially... proper payments to those who need to self-isolate." Dr Chaand Nagpaul of the British Medical Association said it was "increasingly concerning" for Mr Johnson to "decide to go full steam" on easing measures - despite warnings over rising hospital cases and deaths
6th Jul 2021 - Sky News


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Opinion | How Do Risks of Covid Vaccination Compare to Covid-19 for Kids?

The world got lucky: The toll of Covid-19 on young people and children has been much lower than it has been for adults. But in part because of that lower toll, some parents are on the fence about getting their school-age children and teens vaccinated. As reports of side effects from vaccination emerge, the risks from vaccines can seem greater than those posed by the coronavirus. However, it still makes sense — indeed, it is crucial — to vaccinate young people against Covid-19. This remains true even when we consider the worst possible outcomes from vaccination.
4th Jul 2021 - The New York Times

Johnson makes masks voluntary in landmark shift from ‘government diktat to personal responsibility’

All social distancing and mask-wearing rules will be abolished in England as Prime Minister Boris Johnson gambles that his world-leading vaccine rollout will blunt the impact of an impending surge of new infections. Announcing a landmark shift from “government diktat to relying on people’s personal responsibility”, Johnson said vaccines offered Britain the chance to fundamentally alter how it treats the pandemic.
6th Jul 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

Ivory Coast sends mobile clinics to speed up COVID vaccinations

Ivory Coast began sending mobile clinics on Monday to markets and other busy areas in its main city Abidjan in an effort to turbocharge the vaccination campaign against COVID-19. After administering fewer than 800,000 doses since vaccinations began in March - enough for a single dose for just 3% of the population - Ivorian health authorities are now aiming to inoculate a million people in Abidjan over the next 10 days.
5th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Test and trace check-in no longer required under new proposals for businesses

Bars and pubs will no longer need customers to sign into venues using the Test and Trace app and restrictions on how many people can meet will end, the Government has announced. New guidance published by the Government, due to come into effect from July 19 will also see all settings allowed to reopen, including nightclubs and karaoke bars. Limits on social contact of six people or two households indoors, along with 30 people outdoors will also be scrapped and Covid-secure restrictions including table service can end.
5th Jul 2021 - The Independent


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To jab or not to jab: should we be vaccinating our children against coronavirus?

Measles, diphtheria, polio, whooping cough, mumps, flu, meningitis — the list of illnesses against which children are vaccinated goes on and on. By the time they start school aged four, a British child has been injected, nasal-sprayed or orally inoculated 16 times. But when it comes to immunising children against Covid we are surprisingly circumspect. Asked by the Office for National Statistics whether they would want their children vaccinated against Covid, nearly half of parents said they were unsure.
3rd Jul 2021 - The Times

Unvaccinated people are 'variant factories,' infectious diseases expert says

Unvaccinated people do more than merely risk their own health. They're also a risk to everyone if they become infected with coronavirus, infectious disease specialists say. That's because the only source of new coronavirus variants is the body of an infected person. "Unvaccinated people are potential variant factories," Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN Friday. "The more unvaccinated people there are, the more opportunities for the virus to multiply," Schaffner said.
3rd Jul 2021 - CNN

The EU’s 'vaccine passport' and what it means for travel

It's free - and all EU citizens, as well as non-EU nationals legally staying or living in the member states (with the right to travel to other member states) can download it or obtain a paper copy. Some countries have already been using the certificate on a voluntary basis - but it was officially introduced on 1 July with a six-week phase-in period.
2nd Jul 2021 - BBC News

'We want to see the tide turn': NSW enters crucial days of COVID lockdown

NSW Health authorities are begging people to stay socially distanced this weekend as the current COVID-19 outbreak gripping Sydney continues to grow. One week into full lockdown, 35 new cases of community transmission were recorded on Saturday, nine of which were infectious during their time in the community. "While, as predicted, the number of cases is going up, we are seeing a greater proportion of those cases in isolation, which is exactly what we want to see," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
2nd Jul 2021 - 9News


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Delta variant exploits low vaccine rates, easing of rules

The latest alarming coronavirus variant is exploiting low global vaccination rates and a rush to ease pandemic restrictions, adding new urgency to the drive to get more shots in arms and slow its supercharged spread. The vaccines most used in Western countries still appear to offer strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant, first identified in India and now spreading in more than 90 other countries. But the World Health Organization warned this week that the trifecta of easier-to-spread strains, insufficiently immunized populations and a drop in mask use and other public health measures before the virus is better contained will “delay the end of the pandemic.”
1st Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Ministers plan to end social distancing in England on 19 July

Ministers are planning to remove all mandatory mask and social distancing restrictions in England on 19 July, but national guidance may still encourage caution in high-risk areas such as public transport. A number of key scientific advisers including England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and the government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, are said to be behind ministers’ plans to lift restrictions, though they have cautioned that the NHS may come under pressure in the winter. However, hospital bosses fear the reopening date will lead to a new spike in admissions due to Covid. NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England, warned it could lead to the cancellation of surgery and other care.
1st Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Tokyo mom creates COVID-19 vaccination database amid information vacuum

Balancing a new software programming job and caring for a toddler in Tokyo, LaShawn Toyoda saw increasing confusion in her social media feeds among non-Japanese speakers about how they could get a COVID-19 vaccine. "There was no news available in any language other than Japanese about when they would be able to get vaccinated, how they could get vaccinated or where," said Toyoda, who moved from Maryland in the United States to Tokyo a decade ago. Toyoda launched her database Find a Doc, a health database that helps non-Japanese speaking people find clinics with COVID-19 vaccine doses to spare after cancellations from prioritised elderly patients.
1st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Surgeon General issues warning on Delta variant: 'If you are not vaccinated, you are in trouble'

Dr Vivek Murthy said Indian Delta variant poses greatest risk to unvaccinated people. He told CNN: 'This is a serious threat and we're seeing it spread among unvaccinated people.' Murthy urged people to get vaccinated, or mask-up if they haven't had their shot. Surgeon General said shots offer good protection from Delta variant - but also warned a future strain of COVID could end up defeating them. Delta variant now estimated to comprise 20 per cent of new infections in the United States. Early data from the United Kingdom suggests it is more transmissible, but that vaccines have made it far less dangerous. This comes as a DailyMail.com analysis found thousands of unvaccinated Americans could die if half of all those who haven't gotten shots caught the variant
1st Jul 2021 - Daily Mail


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Delta Variant’s Spread Prompts Reconsideration of Mask Guidance

Throughout the pandemic, masks have ranked among the most contentious public health measures in the United States, symbolizing a bitter partisan divide over the role of government and individual liberties. Now, with a new variant of the coronavirus rapidly spreading across the globe, masks are again the focus of conflicting views, and fears, about the course of pandemic and the restrictions required to manage it.
30th Jun 2021 - The New York Times

UK offers Covid vaccine to Glasgow climate summit delegates

The UK will offer the coronavirus vaccine to thousands of delegates from nearly 200 countries ahead of the UN climate summit in Glasgow in November. The UK and UN has launched registration for the COP26 climate summit earlier than previous years, to allow time for vaccines to reach delegates who would not otherwise have access to the jabs. Under normal circumstances the UN climate summit would draw more than 20,000 attendees from governments, charities and media. Prominent climate action campaigners including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg have said they are concerned the uneven rollout of coronavirus vaccines around the world could undermine negotiations on climate change at the UN summit. Thunberg told the BBC she did not plan to attend the COP26 meeting unless delegates from all countries could take part on the same terms, and also donated €100,000 from her personal foundation to support the World Health Organization’s Covax initiative.
30th Jun 2021 - Financial Times

Covid-19 passports to go live in Northern Ireland 'from next week'

Covid-19 vaccination passports could be available in Northern Ireland from as early as next week. Northern Ireland’s Department of Health announced the passes could be live by Monday, July 5 – ahead of the previously expected July 19 date. The Covid passport allows people to prove they’ve had both jabs when travelling abroad. The passports are planned to go live by next week “providing cyber security checks are cleared successfully”, according to a statement from the NI government.
30th Jun 2021 - Digital Health

Vaccine Mandates Are Coming. Good

Today, vaccination rates are stalling in many areas of the United States, and now nearly all Covid-19 deaths are among the unvaccinated. In Indiana, where I live, only half of people 18 or older are fully vaccinated. Some states, including neighboring Ohio, have engaged in lotteries or prize giveaways in an attempt to entice people to get vaccinated. Those are carrots, or positive behavioral nudges. When it comes to incentives, most people like carrots. Sometimes, though, people need sticks.
28th Jun 2021 - The New York Times


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Covid-19: The countries that have mandatory vaccination for health workers

What would you do to keep your job? It’s a question that healthcare workers in Texas were confronted with in April, when local hospital network Houston Methodist required its staff to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. Nearly 25 000 employees dutifully lined up to be protected against covid-19, and to protect their patients. More than 150 didn’t, and have since either been sacked or resigned. A court case brought by one of the employees, a former nurse, was dismissed by a district court judge, but the case raised questions about requiring vaccination using products that have not been fully approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.2 The employee, meanwhile, has appealed the ruling. What was once a hypothetical question is now a real one, and not just in the US. Businesses around the world are considering making coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for workers (Morgan Stanley and the publisher Bloomsbury are two major companies to have already made the move). And those on the frontlines of the pandemic are no different.
29th Jun 2021 - The BMJ

Delta variant: LA recommends indoor masks regardless of vaccination status

Monday’s recommendation by the LA county health department comes as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that Delta variants are now responsible for about one in every five new infections across the US. LA county health officials noted that “fully vaccinated people appear to be well protected from infections with Delta variants”. But the department suggests that people wear masks when inside grocery or retail stores, as well as theaters and family entertainment centers and workplaces when people’s vaccination statuses are not known.
29th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Opinion | Vaccine Mandates Are Needed in the U.S.

The mRNA vaccines, made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, will likely get full approval for use from the Food and Drug Administration soon, which may be necessary for broader vaccine mandates. Although the vaccines are already known to be safe and effective, after being given to hundreds of millions of people, with full approval, more groups will begin mandating that their employees get vaccinated. It’s unlikely the United States can overcome the pandemic without such actions.
29th Jun 2021 - The New York Times

S.Korean companies offer employees COVID-19 vaccines at work

South Korea's large manufacturing employers have received permission from the country's health authorities to administer COVID-19 vaccines at in-house clinics, hoping to speed up inoculation of their employees. The inoculation plans come amid the South Korean government's push to ramp up vaccinations after a slow start. South Korea has inoculated 15.3 million people, or about 30% of its population, with at least one dose since it began administering vaccines in February. Affiliates of the country's biggest conglomerate Samsung Group, including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), Samsung Display and Samsung SDI Co Ltd (005930.KS), plan to offer vaccine doses to employees at work next month
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Cambridge hospital’s mask upgrade appears to eliminate Covid risk to staff

An NHS hospital that upgraded the type of face masks used by staff on Covid-19 wards recorded a dramatic fall of up to 100% in hospital-acquired coronavirus infections among those workers, research shows. Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge upgraded the masks from fluid-resistant surgical masks (FRSMs) to filtering face piece 3 (FFP3) respirators, with the change made in late December in response to its own staff testing data. Public Health England (PHE) had, until recently, recommended that healthcare workers caring for Covid-19 patients should use FRSMs as respiratory protective equipment.
29th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Poland considers obligatory COVID-19 jabs for health workers

Poland could make vaccinations obligatory for some people at high risk from COVID-19 to help fend off a potential new surge of infections from August, the health minister said on Tuesday. The country of around 38 million has fully vaccinated 12.8 million people, but authorities have warned of problems with convincing those not yet vaccinated to get a jab. "Unfortunately we have the impression that we have reached a certain ceiling - it is hard to convince those who are unconvinced because all the arguments and other types of actions have already been taken," Adam Niedzielski told Catholic radio station Radio Plus.
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters


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Nigeria adds South Africa to its COVID-19 'red list' for arriving travellers

Nigeria is adding South Africa to its "red list" of countries for which there are stringent restrictions for arriving passengers, officials said during a briefing on Monday.
28th Jun 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand considers mandatory masks, scanning amid COVID Delta variant concerns

New Zealand is considering making masks compulsory at high alert levels as well as compulsory scanning of QR codes to boost contact tracing in efforts to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday. New Zealand halted quarantine-free travel with neighbouring Australia last week as an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant triggered a lockdown in Sydney and renewed restrictions elsewhere. It also extended the COVID-19 alert level 2 in the capital Wellington until Tuesday, as authorities said there was still a risk that an Australian tourist who tested positive for the coronavirus after visiting the city last weekend had infected others
28th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Covid Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon adviser urges parents to get kids vaccinated

A top covid advisor to Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government has urged parents in Scotland and the rest of the UK to vaccinate their children as soon as possible. Professor Devi Sridhar of Edinburgh University was asked about the concerns parents may feel about vaccinating their child as the country works to give all of their adult population a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Looking to other countries such as the United States and Israel, she noted that giving the vaccine to those who are at school will be a vital next step in terms of controlling transmission.
28th Jun 2021 - Glasgow Live

As variant rises, vaccine plan targets ‘movable middle’

Thrown off-stride to reach its COVID-19 vaccination goal, the Biden administration is sending A-list officials across the country, devising ads for niche markets and enlisting community organizers to persuade unvaccinated people to get a shot. The strategy has the trappings of a political campaign, complete with data crunching to identify groups that can be won over. But the message is about public health, not ideology. The focus is a group health officials term the “movable middle” — some 55 million unvaccinated adults seen as persuadable, many of them under 30. “We’re not just going to do the mass vaccination sites,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “It’s door to door. It’s mobile clinics. We’re doing vaccinations at church, the PTA meeting, the barber shop, the grocery store.”
27th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Greece offers cash reward to boost vaccination rates in young people

Greece will offer young people a cash reward for receiving their first shot against COVID-19 as part of a government drive to boost vaccination rates ahead of the summer holiday season. Greece weathered the first wave of the pandemic fairly well but was forced to impose a second lockdown in November to deal with a resurgence in cases which overwhelmed its public health system. With coronavirus cases easing, the country ended the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors last week. Effective on Monday, fully vaccinated Greeks can also go to work or to gyms without the need of self-tests.
28th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Tourism-dependent Portugal to quarantine unvaccinated Britons

British visitors to Portugal must quarantine for 14 days from Monday if they are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Portuguese government said. The new rule, in place until at least July 11, follows a surge in cases in Portugal to levels last seen in February, when it was under a strict lockdown. Positive cases have also risen in Britain but its vaccination roll-out has been faster. Britons arriving by air, land or sea must show proof they are fully vaccinated or self-isolate for 14 days at home or at a place indicated by health authorities, the government said in a statement late on Sunday.
28th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Australia steps up vaccine push to stem COVID-19 outbreak

Australia decided on Monday to make vaccinations mandatory for high-risk aged-care workers and employees in quarantine hotels after a surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide. Prime Minister Scott Morrison met state and territory leaders to discuss the situation, with more than 20 million Australians -- about 80% of the population -- under some form of lockdown or coronavirus-related restrictions. Five of Australia's eight states and territories have been hit by outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant, and leaks from hotel quarantine have been widely blamed for the increase in infections.
28th Jun 2021 - Reuters


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Finnish Football Fans Bring Virus Back From Russia

Nearly 100 supporters of Finland's national football team who traveled to Russia for a Euro 2020 defeat against Belgium have caught the coronavirus, authorities said Thursday. The prime minister joined the THL health authority overseeing the epidemic in calling for Finns who returned home after Monday's 2-0 loss in St. Petersburg to take a test
26th Jun 2021 - The Moscow Times

Japan to ask athletes from India, others for more COVID-19 tests

Japan plans to ask Olympic athletes from India and five other countries hit hard by the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus to have daily virus tests for seven days before leaving for the Games, a Japanese newspaper said on Sunday.
27th Jun 2021 - Reuters

WHO wants fully vaccinated people to wear masks to protect against dangerous 'Indian' delta variant

The World Health Organization said on Friday that fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks to protect against the delta variant. 'Vaccines alone won't stop community transmission,' a WHO official said. That clashes with what CDC official said early last week: fully vaccinated people have a 'high degree of protection.' The CDC hasn't changed any of its mask-wearing guidelines The delta variant, originally found in India, has spread to at least 85 countries, according to WHO. WHO says it's 'the most transmissible of the variants identified so far'
27th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Iceland Ends Covid Restrictions With 87% of People Getting Shots

Iceland is abolishing all domestic Covid-19 restrictions, with officials saying 87% of those 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose. The island nation, with a population of about 369,000, has seen 6,637 cases, with 30 deaths. About 48% of those 16 and over are fully vaccinated, which puts them in line with the rate in the U.K. and just above the U.S. rate, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. Iceland could be one of the first European countries to end restrictions, Iceland Health Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir said in announcing the move in a news briefing Friday. The limits will officially end on Saturday.
25th Jun 2021 - Bloomberg

Here Are The Companies Upping Pressure On Workers To Get Vaccinated Against Covid

Morgan Stanley will soon bar unvaccinated employees from its New York offices and more than 150 hospital workers in Houston just resigned or were fired for refusing to roll up their sleeves, issues that could become more common as employers deliberate ways to safely reopen workplaces amid flagging vaccination rates
25th Jun 2021 - Forbes

Test And Trace Has Lost Track Of Nearly 600 Million Covid Tests

Boris Johnson’s £37bn Test and Trace service is facing fresh criticism after a damning new report found that it had lost track of nearly 600 million Covid tests. The National Audit Office spending watchdog concluded that the system was still failing to “deliver value for taxpayers”, with a lack of any targets for self-isolation by the public and a continued reliance on private consultants. Test and Trace, which was run by Tory peer Dido Harding, has already come under fire for its use of private firms Serco and Deloitte and its repeated failures in 2020 to track down contacts of people who had Covid.
25th Jun 2021 - HuffPost UK


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NHS pushes to give 3.5m second doses of Covid-19 vaccine to over-40s in time for end of lockdown roadmap

The NHS is pushing to give another 3.5 million second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to over-40s in order to get enough people protected for the end of England’s lockdown roadmap on 19 July. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi announced that London – which is lagging behind the rest of the country in vaccine coverage – will be the central focus of a new uptake drive with a summit on Friday 25 June to discuss how to drive up enthusiasm for the jab in the capital. It comes as the Government’s scientific advisers weigh up whether or not to recommend vaccinating children, in order to get the UK closer to the herd immunity threshold which will push down infections in the long term.
24th Jun 2021 - iNews

Pfizer with a side of fries: California Health Department teams up with McDonald's to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations at 70 locations

The California Department of of Health teamed up with McDonald's this week to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations. McDonald's on Monday opened pop-up clinics at more than 70 of its locations in the Golden State. Customers who get vaccinated receive a coupon for one free menu item. The initiative appeared to be a success in its first three days as customers were seen lining up for their turn in the vaccination tent. Since spring, vaccine doses administered in the US have slowed by as much as 90 percent - particularly among young adults. In California, only 48.3 residents have fully been vaccinated with 60.1 receiving their first dose
24th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Singapore to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination programme, increasing daily doses by 70%

Singapore will accelerate its national COVID-19 vaccination programme as it has been able to bring forward the delivery of vaccine supplies, Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung announced on Thursday (Jun 24). From Jun 26, health authorities will be able to administer up to 80,000 doses daily - a 70 per cent increase from the 47,000 daily doses currently. As it ramps up the vaccination programme, another 500,000 new first-dose appointment slots will be added over the next few days from Jun 26, said Mr Ong. “As we confirm our supply schedule, we are now confident that we can vaccinate more, and faster,” he added at a press conference by the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force.
24th Jun 2021 - CNA

Greece ends mandatory face mask-wearing outdoors as pandemic recedes

Greece will end the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors and ease other remaining restrictions imposed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities said on Wednesday, with infections now clearly on the wane. Wearing face masks will remain mandatory in indoor spaces but not outdoors from Thursday except in congested places. "The country's improved epidemiological picture is clear and pleasant," said Vana Papaevangelou, a member of the committee of infectious disease experts advising the government. "The outlook is favourable."
24th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Australia official tests positive for COVID as new cases emerge

The government in New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, warned people on Thursday to brace for more COVID-19 cases, as a state minister tested positive, the health minister went into self-isolation and new curbs came into force designed to slow the spread of the Delta variant. The state recorded at least 11 new cases overnight, bringing the total number in the current outbreak to 49.
24th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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Half of Spaniards vaccinated with one dose, mask rules eased

Spain has vaccinated half of its 47 million population with at least one dose and nearly 32%, or over 15 million people, have been fully inoculated, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday. With a record 680,540 people receiving a vaccine over the past 24 hours, Spain has already administered nearly 37.6 million doses, putting it on track to reaching the government goal of fully vaccinating 70% of the population by late August.
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Pukkelpop urges young people to get Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine

Belgian festival Pukkelpop has called on young people to register to get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, which all adults, including those under the age of 41, can volunteer for in Brussels and Flanders. On its Instagram account, the festival put out a message to those younger than 41 who “would like to get vaccinated quickly” to sign up for one shot with Johnson & Johnson. “There are many syringes available this week and we believe it is to everyone’s advantage to come to Pukkelpop fully vaccinated,” Pukkelpop spokesperson spokesman Frederik Luyten told De Standaard.
23rd Jun 2021 - The Brussels Times

Colleges split on coronavirus vaccine mandates

Indiana University, a flagship institution in a staunchly Republican state, will require its more than 100,000 students and employees to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus as it turns the page on a strange pandemic school year. “This is saving lives, it’s as simple as that,” said university President Michael A. McRobbie. “And it will enable us to have a normal fall semester.” Purdue University, also prominent in Indiana, is strongly encouraging vaccination for students and employees but avoiding mandates. A campaign for personal choice and responsibility, Purdue President Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. said, will get better public health results than requirements that “might come across as ham-handed and dictatorial.” Two public universities, two divergent approaches, one race to a common goal: Maximize vaccination before college students return for the fall.
23rd Jun 2021 - The Washington Post

Swiss accelerate reopening, allow large events with 'COVID certificates'

Switzerland will allow large events topping 10,000 people starting on Saturday, provided attendees have so-called COVID certificates showing they are vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or have tested negative. The plan, announced on Wednesday, puts Switzerland at Europe's vanguard of back-to-normal efforts and aligns with the country's "lockdown light" strategy, balancing economic protections with pandemic-related health measures. Mask-wearing outdoors will no longer be required, restaurant seating will be unlimited and discos can re-open their doors, with no masks required for people with COVID certificates.
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

AstraZeneca vaccine effective against COVID-19 variants identified in India

COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca and the Pfizer-BioNTech, alliance remain broadly effective against Delta and Kappa variants of the COVID-19 causing virus, which were first identified in India, according to a scientific study, underpinning a continued push to deliver the shots. The study by Oxford University researchers, published in the journal Cell, investigated the ability of antibodies in the blood from people, who were vaccinated with the two-shot regimens, to neutralize the highly contagious Delta and Kappa variants, a statement said.
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

CDC: Nearly every adult COVID-19 death is now "entirely preventable"

Adult deaths from COVID-19 are "at this point entirely preventable" thanks to vaccines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House coronavirus briefing on Tuesday. Why it matters: Deaths from the virus have dramatically decreased since their peak in early 2021, but the U.S. is still currently reporting an average of more than 200 deaths every day, though the numbers could increase as the B.1.617.2 (or Delta) variant of the virus becomes the dominant strain in the country.
22nd Jun 2021 - Axios


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In Pakistan, Saying ‘No’ to Covid-19 Vaccine Carries Consequences

Many countries offer incentives to entice people to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Pakistan is taking a more punitive approach. Authorities in this country of 220 million threaten those refusing to accept the shot with punishments from cutting off their cellphone connections to withholding their salaries. The penalties contrast with the prizes being dangled elsewhere in the world. A town in the Philippines is offering people who agree to be vaccinated the chance to win a cow. Some U.S. states are holding lotteries with cash prizes, while Hong Kong is giving away a multimillion-dollar apartment.
22nd Jun 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Mandatory mask rules extended in Sydney as COVID-19 cluster grows

Australia’s most populous state on Tuesday reported its biggest daily increase in COVID-19 cases in nearly a week and extended the wearing of masks inside buildings, while New Zealand paused quarantine-free travel with the state.
22nd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Indian court calls for probe of Renault-Nissan plant's social distancing

An Indian court on Tuesday asked the Tamil Nadu state government to inspect a Renault-Nissan plant on July 3 to check whether social distancing norms are being followed. The Renault-Nissan workers union petitioned the Madras High court last month seeking to halt operations, saying that social distancing norms were being flouted and company-provided health benefits were outweighed by the risk to their lives.
22nd Jun 2021 - Reuters India

Philippines president Duterte: ‘You choose, Covid vaccine or I will have you jailed’

President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to jail people who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as the Philippines battles one of Asia’s worst outbreaks, with a cumulative total of more than 1.3 million cases and 23,000 deaths. “You choose, vaccine or I will have you jailed,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday following reports of low turnouts at several vaccination sites in the capital Manila. Duterte’s remarks contradict those of his health officials, who have said that while people are being urged to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, it was voluntary.
22nd Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Italy to lift mandatory masks outdoors as pandemic slows

People in Italy will no longer have to wear masks outdoors from June 28, the government has said, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations decline in one of Europe’s worst-hit countries by the pandemic. Mandatory masks were imposed in October last year, when the country was entering a second wave of infections and authorities were struggling to curb a surging national caseload. Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government has been steadily lifting restrictions since April, allowing restaurants, bars, cinemas and gyms to reopen and permitting freedom of movement around the country. The wearing of masks was one of the last rules to remain in place.
22nd Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Israel Recommends Vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds Amid Indian COVID Strain Fears

Israel's Health Ministry recommended on Sunday that the country vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds, following the outbreaks of the Delta variant of coronavirus in the country. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened a meeting with key ministries on Sunday in light of a resurgent rate of infection in Israel, and decided to bar people from travelling to high-risk countries and to enforce quarantine on arrival.
21st Jun 2021 - Haaretz


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WHO to set up mRNA COVID vaccine hub in South Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is setting up a hub in South Africa to give companies from poor and middle-income countries the know-how and licences to produce COVID-19 vaccines, in what President Cyril Ramaphosa called an historic step to spread lifesaving technology. The “tech transfer hub” could make it possible for African companies to begin manufacturing mRNA vaccines – the advanced technology now used in shots from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – in as little as nine to 12 months, the WHO said.
21st Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

COVID-19: Bolsonaro doesn't believe in social distancing, masks or vaccines. That wasn't lost on those protesting

The thud of drums and chanting filled streets across Brazil. A day of protest on the day official figures recorded over 500,000 deaths from COVID-19. The infection rates are officially between 80,000 and 100,000 people every day. But that is the recorded cases, experts say the real figure could be two, three or even four times higher. At current rates, Brazil will surpass the US for the greatest death totals; epidemiologists are warning Brazil could lose 800,000 people.
21st Jun 2021 - Sky News

Unvaccinated Americans are at risk of an aggressive and more dangerous Covid-19 variant. These are the most vulnerable states

Some states are making great strides in vaccinating their residents against Covid-19, but the ones that are not may soon be contending with a more transmissible variant, experts say. About 45.1% of the US population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, CDC data showed, and in 16 states and Washington, DC, that proportion is up to half. But some states -- such as Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Wyoming -- have fully vaccinated less than 35% of residents. More than 500 days and 600,000 deaths since the first person in the United States was reported to have died from Covid-19, experts have upheld vaccines as the key to reopening the country safely and containing the variants, many of which are more transmissible.
21st Jun 2021 - CNN

Tokyo Olympics to allow local fans — but with strict limits

A sharply limited number of fans will be allowed to attend the Tokyo Olympics, organizers announced Monday as they tried to save some of the spirit of the Games where even cheering has been banned. Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans, all of whom must be Japanese residents — for each Olympic venue, regardless of whether it is indoors or outdoors. Officials said that if coronavirus cases rise again the rules could be changed and fans could still be barred all together. Spectators from abroad were banned several months ago, and now some local fans who have tickets will be forced to give them up. The decision comes as opposition among Japanese to holding the Games in July remains high, though may be softening, and as new infections in Tokyo have begun to subside.
21st Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Canada: Fully vaccinated citizens face no quarantine after July 5

Canada will start cautiously lifting border restrictions for fully vaccinated citizens and other eligible people on July 5 but US and other foreign travelers will still be excluded, the government said on Monday. From 11:59pm EST on July 5 (03:59 GMT on July 6), those who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will no longer have to spend time in quarantine. The relaxation of the measures applies to Canadians and permanent residents.
21st Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Free COVID jabs for all Indian adults as Modi hails yoga ‘shield’

India has opened up free vaccinations to all adults in an attempt to bolster its inoculation drive, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicks off a muted International Yoga Day, hailing the practice’s “protective” properties against the virus. The country’s vaccination drive has significantly slowed in recent months due to a shortage of jabs and hesitancy, even as it battled a vicious surge in cases in April and May that overwhelmed the healthcare system in many places.
21st Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Companies give vaccines to workers, boosting Japan’s rollout

Thousands of Japanese companies began distributing COVID-19 vaccines to workers and their families Monday in an employer-led drive reaching more than 13 million people that aims to rev up the nation’s slow vaccine rollout. Yuka Daimaru, among the Suntory workers getting the shot on a sprawling office floor, was visibly relieved after spending more than a year worrying about the coronavirus. “I was nervous, but it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would,” she said. “Now I don’t have to worry as much on commuter trains or at meetings.” The Tokyo-based beverage maker plans to inoculate 51,500 people, including part-time workers and employees’ families, with the Moderna vaccine.
21st Jun 2021 - The Associated Press


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California gives residents digital access to their COVID-19 vaccine record

The state of California has launched a tool designed to give residents easy access to a digital copy of their COVID-19 vaccine information. Unlike New York's Excelsior Pass, it's not an app people have to install on their phones. It's a simple website where residents will have to enter their name, date of birth and the phone number or email they used when they got their vaccine. They also have to create a 4-digital PIN, which they'll have to remember to be able to open the digital copy of their vaccine record.
19th Jun 2021 - Yahoo

Why one in eight under-30s is concerned about getting the Covid vaccine, according to experts

All over-18s in England can book their coronavirus vaccine today as the roll-out opens to all remaining young adults. Last week, thousands of over-25s queued online to bag an appointment when they became eligible, with a million doses booked in one day. But not all young people feel positively towards the vaccine, with rates of hesitancy in those under 30 higher than any other age group. i asked the experts why young people are more likely to refuse the jab than their parents or grandparents.
19th Jun 2021 - iNews

‘It’s such a relief’: how Europe’s Covid vaccine rollout is catching up with UK

On Friday morning, Leyla Çelik woke up with butterflies in her stomach. For weeks, the 22-year-old student at Berlin’s Freie Universität had tried in vain to get an appointment for her first Covid-19 vaccine shot so she could volunteer as a polling station administrator at federal elections in September. “I’d basically given up hope.” But last week her university had suddenly got in touch via email, offering her a chance to get a first dose of Moderna vaccine on campus, and within a few days. By 9am on Friday, the anxiety has turned into euphoria: “It’s such a relief,” said the native Berliner, nursing her achey shoulder at Freie’s biology institute, converted into a vaccine delivery point as of this week. “At last I can catch a train or a bus without feeling anxious.”
19th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Amid hesitancy, VP Harris urges Black Americans to get COVID jabs

Vice President Kamala Harris travelled to Atlanta on Friday to urge Americans who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 to go ahead and get jabs as the United States government strives to overcome disparities in vaccine delivery among the country’s Black and Hispanic populations. “There are a few people that are saying, ‘I will not under any circumstances get vaccinated,'” Harris said in remarks at Clark Atlanta University, a historically Black college. “But there are some people, a lot of people might say, ‘I haven’t been vaccinated yet because I’m just not sure,'” Harris said, standing in front of a sign that read “vaccines.gov” with the slogan “We can do this”. It is OK to have questions, Harris said, and she urged Atlantans to tell their friends and neighbours: “We can say with confidence the vaccines are safe, they are free and they are effective.”
18th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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Indonesian officials give away live chickens to residents willing to get vaccinated

Live chickens are being given away by local authorities in rural Indonesia as an incentive for older residents to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The program, in Cianjur regency, West Java, is part of the district's effort to increase the number of vaccines administered to citizens age 45 and over. Galih Apria, assistant police commissioner in the sub-district of Pecat, said older residents had been very hesitant about getting the shots during the early rollout of the government's vaccination program.
17th Jun 2021 - CNN

Britain, pressed by airlines, may ease rules for vaccinated travellers

Ryanair launches legal action over restrictions. UK may make changes for vaccinated travellers. Airlines want unfettered travel for those vaccinated. British Airways, other airlines shares rise. Government policy reviews due later in June
17th Jun 2021 - Reuters UK

Youth, Delta variant behind UK COVID surge

Two new studies look at the Delta variant (B1617) behind the UK COVID-19 surge, with the first noting that young people are helping drive the exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in England. The second study describes reduced COVID-19 vaccine and antibody efficacy against the more transmissible variant. The first study, published today on the Imperial College London preprint server, involved testing a random sample of people from across England for COVID-19 as part of the ongoing Real-Time Assessment of Community Transmission (React 1) study. The researchers showed that COVID-19 infections in England surged from May 20 to Jun 7, with a doubling time of 11 days and an estimated R (reproductive) number of 1.44. Doubling time is the number of days before coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, or deaths doubled, and R indicates how many people, on average, catch the virus from an infected person.
17th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

COVID-19 vaccinations for pharmacists in care homes to be mandatory

Pharmacists who work in care homes, even on a part-time basis, will be required to have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination under plans announced today (June 16). From October, anyone working in a CQC-registered care home in England will be required by law to be immunised against COVID-19, unless they are medically exempt, following a 16-week grace period for health workers to receive both doses, the Department for Health and Social Care (DH) said. This includes anyone who works in a care home full-time – such as care home pharmacists – as well as those who visit for occasional work, under new legislation that will be brought before parliament “at the earliest opportunity”
16th Jun 2021 - Chemist+Druggist


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Treating fear of needles could reduce Covid vaccine hesitancy, study suggests

Treating the fear of needles may reduce coronavirus vaccine hesitancy, research has found. A new study suggests one in four UK adults screens positive for a potential injection phobia. Researchers from the University of Oxford say these people were twice as likely to report being hesitant to getting a Covid-19 vaccine, being put off getting vaccinated or, ultimately, never getting the jab. But if all injection anxiety in the population were removed then more than 10 per cent of instances of vaccine hesitancy might disappear too, the data indicates. People can be helped to overcome their fear of needles, including through the use of cognitive behavioural therapy, experts say.
16th Jun 2021 - Wales Online

New York reaches vaccine milestone and joins California in reopening

Tuesday brought reopenings in two of the largest states, with New York reaching an important vaccine milestone and joining California in dropping most of its Covid-19 restrictions. "This is a momentous day, and we deserve it because it has been a long, long road," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "We can now return to life as we know it." At least 70% of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine dose, prompting the lifting of pandemic mitigation measures. On the other side of the country, California, the first state to shut down last year, ended limits on capacity at most venues and stopped requiring physical distancing and masks for people who have been vaccinated.
16th Jun 2021 - CNN

All over-18s to be offered Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this week

The NHS will begin offering coronavirus vaccines to all over-18s by the end of the week, the head of the service said this morning. Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, told a conference of health service leaders that the next four weeks should be used to as far as possible “finish the job” of vaccinating people against Covid-19. He also said that he expected new treatments that could keep people out of hospital to be available within months, advising the NHS to “gear up” for these.
15th Jun 2021 - The Times

Athletes Could Be Booted From Tokyo Olympics For Not Following Covid-19 Norms

Visiting athletes participating in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics could face expulsion from Japan if they fail to follow pandemic-related rules which have been put in place by the organizers, according to the games’ rule book published on Tuesday, which comes amid reports that Tokyo may be placed under a state of emergency for the entire duration of the games.
15th Jun 2021 - Forbes

The first state to shut down due to Covid-19 reopens today

California lifted most of its Covid-19 restrictions Tuesday as part of a grand reopening in which the state ended capacity limits, physical distancing and -- at least for those vaccinated -- mask requirements. The new health order went into effect Tuesday and allows vaccinated people to go without a face covering in most situations, putting the state in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Masks are still required on public transportation, in hospitals and jails, as well as at schools and child care centers, pending updated guidance from the CDC.
15th Jun 2021 - CNN

Israel scraps indoor mask order as COVID-19 infections wane

Israel told its citizens they could stop wearing masks indoors on Tuesday, ending one of its last main restrictions as new COVID-19 infections continued to wane even as vaccinations tapered off after a record rollout. Children headed to school and adults to work without masks for the first time in more than a year. Israelis have not had to wear masks outdoors since April. About 55% of Israel's 9.3 million population are fully vaccinated - a turnout largely unchanged by this month's expansion of eligibility to include 12- to 15-year-olds.
15th Jun 2021 - Reuters

White House to host July 4 ‘independence from virus’ bash

Cue the fireworks. President Joe Biden wants to imbue Independence Day with new meaning this year by encouraging nationwide celebrations to mark the country’s effective return to normalcy after 16 months of coronavirus pandemic disruption. Even as the U.S. is set to cross the grim milestone of 600,000 deaths from the virus on Tuesday, the White House is expressing growing certainty that July Fourth will serve as a breakthrough moment in the nation’s recovery. That’s even though the U.S. is not expected to quite reach its goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated by the holiday. As COVID-19 case rates and deaths drop to levels not seen since the first days of the outbreak, travel picks up and schools and businesses reopen, Biden is proclaiming “a summer of freedom” to celebrate Americans resuming their pre-pandemic lives.
15th Jun 2021 - Associated Press


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Win a cow, avoid COVID: Philippines tempts vaccine hesitant

Last week, after ignoring her brother’s advice for months, Fannie Taladro Pestaño hurried to a school campus near her home in Las Piñas City, a suburb of the Philippines’ capital Manila, to line up for her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Her brother, Johnny Rey Taladro, had been urging her to sign up for the immunisation drive.
14th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Germans told to be patient as chemists start Covid vaccine pass scheme

Fully vaccinated Germans have been urged not to storm the country’s pharmacies in the rush to obtain a Covid digital vaccination pass made available in thousands of stores on Monday. The “Digitale Impfpass” or digital vaccination pass, is the official document to be used as part of the the European Union vaccine certificate scheme to facilitate travel across the bloc, which the European parliament agreed last month. The Association of Pharmacists issued an appeal to people to be patient, admitting the system was new and untried.
14th Jun 2021 - The Guardian


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Scientists in Yorkshire say mask wearing could be here to stay long past coronavirus pandemic

Scientists at Yorkshire universities have told The Yorkshire Post that the act of wearing a face covering in busy public places may even be something the public adopts as a new way of life looking past the pandemic, likening it to a protective measure similar to wearing a car seat belt. Dr Stephen Griffin, an associate professor of virology at the University of Leeds, also said better ventilation of public indoor spaces was a measure that public health authorities should look to adopt long term.
14th Jun 2021 - Yorkshire Post

Goldman Sachs staff in US must disclose Covid vaccination status

Goldman Sachs has told its staff in the US that they must disclose their Covid-19 vaccination status before a planned return to office working next week. The investment bank, whose 6,000 UK workers have separately been told they have the option of filling out their status anonymously to give the business an idea of vaccination levels, had previously told US staff that disclosing their inoculation status would be optional. “Registering your vaccination status allows us to plan for a safer return to the office for all of our people as we continue to abide by local public health measures,” states the internal staff memo. “As a result, it is mandatory that you submit your vaccination status. While we strongly encourage you to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, we understand that the choice to get vaccinated is a personal one.”
11th Jun 2021 - The Guardian


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COVID-19: Vaccine passports or proof of negative test to be used at Wembley for Euro 2020 matches

Vaccine passports will be used at Wembley as one of the ways to allow supporters to attend matches at Euro 2020, UEFA has said. Fans will be required to show proof of full vaccination against coronavirus or a negative lateral flow COVID-19 test within the previous 48 hours before being admitted into the stadium, which is due to host all three of England's group games this month - including their clash with Scotland on 18 June. Their opening match against Croatia on Sunday will be the first time proof of being jabbed is used at a sports event, and people heading to any of the upcoming games will be able to use the NHS app - or the Scottish or Welsh vaccination record services - to show that it's been at least two weeks since they had their second dose.
10th Jun 2021 - Sky News

Wear masks in Euro 2020 crowds, warns EU health body

Euro 2020 fans should avoid attending games if they have any COVID-19 symptoms and wear masks in stadiums allowing around 50% capacity, a European Union agency urged on Thursday, amid concern the tournament could spread infections. The European Championship, postponed last year because of the pandemic, starts on Friday for one month with 11 countries hosting games and stadiums allowing fans back. Budapest aims for full capacity while Saint Petersburg and Baku will have 50%. Amsterdam, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Rome and Seville will use between 25% and 45% of capacity, while Munich will use a minimum 22% capacity and London's Wembley - which hosts the final - a minimum 25% for the initial games.
10th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Paytm, Infosys offer India help in COVID vaccine bookings: Report

Paytm, Infosys and MakeMyTrip are among companies seeking approval in India to provide online COVID-19 vaccine bookings, the head of the government’s tech platform has said, as the country tries to make it easier for its huge population to book shots. The government relaxed rules last month to potentially allow third-party apps to offer vaccine bookings and has taken back control of procurement from states following delays and shortages. It also faced initial problems with its own vaccine booking platform. About 15 state agencies and private companies, which also include Indian healthcare giants Apollo and Max, and online pharmacy 1mg, have asked to be allowed to offer vaccine bookings, RS Sharma, head of the government’s panel managing the CoWIN vaccination registration platform, told Reuters news agency.
10th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera

Plexiglass Is Everywhere, With No Proof It Keeps Covid at Bay

Sales of plexiglass tripled to roughly $750 million in the U.S. after the pandemic hit, as offices, schools, restaurants and retail stores sought protection from the droplets that health authorities suspected were spreading the coronavirus. There was just one hitch. Not a single study has shown that the clear plastic barriers actually control the virus, said Joseph Allen of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We spent a lot of time and money focused on hygiene theater,” said Allen, an indoor-air researcher. “The danger is that we didn’t deploy the resources to address the real threat, which was airborne transmission -- both real dollars, but also time and attention.” “The tide has turned,” he said. “The problem is, it took a year.”
10th Jun 2021 - Bloomberg

More transmissible, wilier variant makes Covid-19 vaccinations even more crucial, experts say

It’s getting even riskier to remain unvaccinated. The United States, as a whole, is still in good shape for the summer of reunions and revived activities. But for those who haven’t been immunized against Covid-19, there is a new concern: the emergence of yet another coronavirus variant, one with a nasty combination of features that makes it even more dangerous than the other strains that have caused global alarms. The variant, known as Delta, was first spotted in India and helped power that country’s recent explosive outbreaks. Also called B.1.617.2, it seems to be the most transmissible version of the coronavirus seen thus far, but also carries some ability to get around the body’s immune protection generated after vaccination or an initial infection. (There’s also some evidence that it is more likely to cause severe disease, though researchers are still trying to confirm that.)
10th Jun 2021 - STAT News


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Covid: Greater Manchester and Lancashire in testing and vaccine push

Coronavirus vaccines and tests are being stepped up in areas of north-west England to try to deal with the rise in cases of the Delta variant. Similar tactics to those successfully used in Bolton will be implemented across the whole of Greater Manchester and Lancashire. But local leaders have asked for extra jabs to vaccinate everyone even faster. It comes as debate continues about whether England's next lockdown easing will go ahead as planned on 21 June.
9th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Elementary students wearing face masks seen in trial face-to-face learning activity amid COVID-19 outbreak

Elementary students wearing face masks are seen in a classroom during a trial face-to-face learning activity amid the COVID-19 outbreak at a school in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 9, 2021
9th Jun 2021 - Xinhua

Michigan bet big on mass vaccine events for COVID-19. It didn’t work out as hoped.

Michigan and Minnesota both had ample opportunities to push out vaccines through professional health care settings and into the arms of patients. They have essentially the same numbers of hospitals, rural clinics and doctors per capita. But in the race to put shots in arms, Michigan lost. Its vaccination rate lagged Minnesota’s, exacerbating a late-pandemic spike in cases that killed 2,500 people. The vaccination gap between Minnesota and Michigan was particularly high for older people. An analysis of data from both states – the only two to provide detailed and comparable vaccine records in response to records requests from USA TODAY – reveals key reasons Minnesota moved faster.
9th Jun 2021 - USA Today

Just over 50% of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. But pace needs to pick up before a dangerous variant can take hold, Fauci says

The US is making significant strides in curbing the coronavirus pandemic just in time for the summer, with average daily cases near a 14-month low and just over half of eligible Americans having been fully vaccinated. About 50.1% of people ages 12 and older in the US -- the cohort eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in the country -- were fully vaccinated as of early Tuesday, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. But experts have warned that a Covid-19 variant first identified in India and now rising to prominence in the United Kingdom -- the Delta variant, or B.1.617.2 -- could pose considerable danger to those who are unvaccinated, including those who were previously infected by older strains.
9th Jun 2021 - CNN

EU lawmakers OK virus pass, boosting summer travel hopes

European Union lawmakers on Wednesday endorsed a new travel certificate that will allow people to move between European countries without having to quarantine or undergo extra coronavirus tests, paving the way for the pass to start in time for summer. The widely awaited certificate is aimed at saving Europe’s travel industry and prime tourist sites from another disastrous vacation season. Key travel destinations like Greece have led the drive to have the certificate, which will have both paper and digital forms, rapidly introduced. Several EU countries have already begun using the system, including Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland.
9th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

S.Korea considers vaccinating workers at major companies

South Korea is considering plans to vaccinate workers at key businesses including chip and electronics firms to prevent disruptions to production, an official at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. The labour ministry has sent letters to companies including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, SK Hynix Inc and LG Electronics Inc seeking information on their COVID-19 vaccination needs, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing government and industry sources.
9th Jun 2021 - Reuters


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Covid vaccine: Over-25s trying to book jab on NHS website told they’re not eligible

In England, young people have been clamouring to book their Covid-19 vaccines with 1,600 appointments made each minute since the Government expanded the eligibility criteria. Contradicting concerns about vaccine scepticism among young adults, nearly half a million appointment slots were reserved in the five hours after 25 to 29-year-olds officially became eligible for their jabs, according to NHS England. Inundated with what was described by NHS bosses as a “Glastonbury-style rush”, in five hours the National Booking Service had 2.5 times the number of total appointments made on Monday. But some young people faced lengthy waits or technical difficulties because of the demand.
8th Jun 2021 - iNews

Over one million EU citizens have Covid-19 certificate

More than one million Europeans have received the new EU Covid-19 health certificate being rolled out to unlock travel within the bloc, the European Commission has said. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders announced the figure to the European Parliament ahead of a vote to enshrine the document in law in time for the continent's all-important summer tourism season. It is expected to be passed by a big majority after agreement between MEPs and the European Union's 27 member states on details, with the vote result known early tomorrow.
8th Jun 2021 - RTE.ie

Washington State Allows Free Joints for Covid Jabs

As part of its strategy to vaccinate more of its population, Washington State will allow adults to claim a free marijuana joint when they receive a Covid-19 vaccination shot. The state’s liquor and cannabis board announced on Monday that the promotion, called “Joints for Jabs,” was effective immediately and would run through July 12. The board said it would allow participating marijuana retailers to provide customers who are 21 or older with a prerolled joint at their stores when they received their first or second dose at an active vaccine clinic. The promotion applies only to joints, not to other products like edibles. So far in Washington, 58 percent of people have received at least one dose, and 49 percent are fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database.
8th Jun 2021 - The New York Times

Covid vaccines: Unicef asks G7 countries to donate now or risk wasting jabs

Millions of Covid vaccines could be wasted if rich countries send large amounts of leftover doses to poorer nations in one go, Unicef has warned. The charity said there needed to be a steady supply throughout the year because poor countries do not have resources to use them all at once. The UK and others have promised to donate their surplus doses - but they have been asked to give more earlier. Stars including Billie Eilish and David Beckham are backing Unicef's plea. The celebrities have signed a letter to the G7 group of rich countries - including the UK - asking them to donate 20% of their vaccines by August.
8th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Japan Will Begin Rolling Out Its Vaccine Passport This Summer

Japan plans to issue Covid-19 vaccination certificates to citizens traveling abroad this summer, Nikkei Asia reported today. The initiative will begin with a paper version of the certificate and roll out later this year with a smartphone solution based on the European Union’s Digital Covid Certificate, which just launched. “Other countries are doing it, so Japan will have to consider it, too,” Taro Kono, the country’s vaccine czar, told the Japanese parliament in late April when announcing the government’s plans for a vaccine verification system. The digital Covid app would make it easier for those vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel internationally by scanning QR codes at airports before boarding flights or when entering the country. Along with vaccine verification, the app will also include results from PCR and antigen tests.
7th Jun 2021 - Forbes


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Cupid’s needle? UK under-30s wooed with dating app vaccine bonus

First came the idea of making Covid vaccinations mandatory to go to the pub, while Israel offered free pizza and beer with a shot. Now UK officials have hit on what they hope is an even more persuasive reason for young people to get their jab: more chance of getting a date. In an eye-catching policy coinciding with the rollout of vaccinations for the under-30s beginning this week, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has teamed up with popular dating apps to encourage take-up of the programme. Users of Tinder, Match, Hinge, Bumble, Badoo, Plenty of Fish, OurTime and Muzmatch will enjoy a series of benefits if they add their vaccination status to their profile, including virtual badges and stickers.
7th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

India to give adults free COVID shots after surge in infections

India will provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all adults, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, in an effort to rein in a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and led to the world’s second-highest tally of infections. Modi’s announcement came on Monday after weeks of criticism of a bungled vaccine rollout that has covered fewer than 5 percent of India’s estimated adult population of 950 million.
8th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

WHO: High vaccination rates can help reduce risk of variants

A top World Health Organization official estimated Monday that COVID-19 vaccination coverage of at least 80% is needed to significantly lower the risk that “imported” coronavirus cases like those linked to new variants could spawn a cluster or a wider outbreak. Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, told a news conference that ultimately, “high levels of vaccination coverage are the way out of this pandemic.” Many rich countries have been moving to vaccinate teenagers and children — who have lower risk of more dangerous cases of COVID-19 than the elderly or people with comorbidities — even as those same countries face pressure to share vaccines with poorer ones that lack them. Britain, which has vastly reduced case counts thanks to an aggressive vaccination campaign, has seen a recent uptick in cases attributed largely to the so-called delta variant that originally appeared in India — a former British colony.
7th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Putin Wants 'Vaccine Tourism' Plan by End-June

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday asked the government to put together a plan by the end of June to bring “vaccine tourism” to Russia. “There is widespread practice where business people and heads of companies come specifically to Russia to get a jab against the coronavirus,” Putin told the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). “In that regard, I would like to ask the government to analyze all aspects of this issue by the end of the month … to be able to organize the conditions for foreign citizens to come to Russia and get vaccinated on a commercial basis,” Putin said.
7th Jun 2021 - The Moscow Times

Where nursing home staff vaccinations lag, COVID-19 outbreaks may follow, experts warn

When 28 residents in two Rochester, New York, nursing homes tested positive for COVID-19 last month, officials there saw the unexpected outbreak as a stark reminder of the potency of the coronavirus vaccine. While much of the country was lining up for shots, by early May, fewer than 45% of the staff across Rochester Regional Health's skilled nursing facilities was fully vaccinated.
7th Jun 2021 - ABC News


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Bolton GPs offer second Covid jabs four weeks after first to use surplus

GPs in one of the UK’s Covid hotspots are offering all adults their second dose of Covid vaccination four weeks after their first, in a rush to administer vaccines within their shelf life. Some GPs in Bolton have been sent so many doses of the Pfizer vaccine that they are offering second jabs a month earlier than government rules allow, concerned that otherwise they may be wasted. It is just the latest sign that local areas are increasingly flexing – if not ignoring – national guidance in order to vaccinate everyone they can without throwing any doses away.
5th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Germany fights trade in fake Covid vaccine certificates

A German police force has set up a special team to combat a growing black market in forged vaccine certificates. Police in Cologne told the broadcaster ARD that fraudsters were communicating via an encrypted messenger service which makes investigations difficult.
4th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Switzerland to launch Covid certificates from June 7

The cantons will start making available the first Covid certificates - on paper or in digital form - from next week. They should be available throughout Switzerland by the end of June, the Federal Council said in a statementExternal link on Friday. Canton Bern has been chosen as a first test canton. To receive the free certificate Swiss residents must go to a pharmacy, doctor’s surgery, hospital or vaccination centre where staff can generate a digital QR code on a computer that confirms their status – either vaccinated, recovered from the virus or having proof of a recent negative PCR test. The forgery-proof QR code containing this information and other relevant personal details is then either printed out or transferred to the Covid Certificate smartphone app, which can be downloaded at Google and Apple app stores. It will feature an electronic signature of the Confederation.
4th Jun 2021 - swissinfo.ch

A safe return to U.S. schools seems closer with vaccines and testing improvements.

After a school year rife with debate over the safety of returning to classrooms, experts say that the United States is edging closer to a safe return to in-person learning in the fall. First, there is continuing good news on the vaccine front. Children ages 12 to 15 recently became eligible to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the U.S. and in the European Union, and the vaccine was endorsed by Britain’s drug regulator on Friday to be used for the same age group. Moderna plans this month to ask the Food and Drug Administration to clear its vaccine for use in 12- to 17-year-olds. For more than a year, parents across the United States have scrambled to adapt to online learning and keep their children focused. (And parents who balanced remote learning with work were the lucky ones. Many others lost their jobs, lacked adequate internet access or stopped work to tend to their families.)
4th Jun 2021 - The New York Times

Masks have stopped disease spread for centuries. Here’s why they may catch on in the U.S.

More than a year into a pandemic that has sickened tens of millions of people in the United States and killed more than 500,000, most people are eager to reclaim some semblance of their former lives. About half of the country has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccines authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. Infection rates are dropping. And federal health authorities have relaxed mask recommendations for people who are fully vaccinated against the virus. But it’s unclear what our new normal will look like and whether, at least in some form, it will include face coverings — which have been shown to not only help protect against the coronavirus, but also, with additional measures such as social-distancing, slow the spread of influenza and other respiratory diseases.
4th Jun 2021 - The Washington Post

Gavi welcomes U.S. allocation plan for vaccine dose-sharing – 19 million doses donated to COVAX in first tranche

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, welcomes the announcement by the United States Government of its strategy for global vaccine sharing, which sets out how it will provide at least 80 million doses of vaccines to the rest of the world – with the announcement of a first tranche of 25 million doses today. 75% of doses will be shared with COVAX, the global equitable access mechanism. This means that almost 19 million doses allocated in this first tranche will be provided to countries and territories around the world hit hard by global supply constraints. “This announcement allows us to quickly get more doses to countries in a strained global supply climate – meaning frontline workers and at-risk populations will receive potentially life-saving vaccinations and bringing us a step closer to ending the acute phase of the pandemic,” Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley commented. “We welcome this strong commitment by the Biden-Harris Administration, and look forward to working with the United States Government to operationalise these donations quickly.”
3rd Jun 2021 - Gavi - The Vaccine Alliance


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International covid vaccination passports 'still some way off'

An internationally agreed approach to Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine certification remains “some way off”, Matt Hancock has said. Speaking ahead of a G7 health ministers’ meeting, the Health Secretary told reporters: “Ultimately there are a number of countries around the world that have said they’re definitely going to have a requirement to be vaccinated in order to travel. “We’re making sure that here any Brit can see their vaccine status. “But we’re some way off having an internationally agreed approach for that. “It’s something we talk about and are discussing but there’s still a lot of work to do.” It comes amid s growing speculation that popular holiday islands could be added to the Government’s travel green list later today.
3rd Jun 2021 - Wales Online

Coronavirus: Germany fights trade in fake Covid vaccine certificates

A German police force has set up a special team to combat a growing black market in forged vaccine certificates. Police in Cologne told the broadcaster ARD that fraudsters were communicating via an encrypted messenger service which makes investigations difficult. They are still trying to determine the scale of the problem nationally. Some people are duped into paying about €100 (£86; $122), then get nothing. Covid "passports" to ease travel are being rolled out now across the EU. Of the Covid vaccinations approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) all but one - the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) one - require two jabs, several weeks or months apart.
3rd Jun 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Positive tests for infections rise by 22 per cent in England

The number of patients who have tested positive for coronavirus in England has risen by 22 per cent to the highest level in six weeks, NHS Test and Trace data suggests. A total of 17,162 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the country at least once in the week to May 26. The weekly increase in positive test results brings the number of new infections to its highest since 14 April.
3rd Jun 2021 - The Independent

Slow to start, China steps up the pace on vaccination

In the span of just five days last month, China gave 100 million shots of its COVID-19 vaccines. After a slow start, it is now doing what virtually no other country in the world can: harnessing the power and all-encompassing reach of its one-party system and a maturing domestic vaccine industry to administer shots at a staggering pace. The rollout is far from perfect, including uneven distribution, but Chinese public health leaders now say they’re hoping to inoculate 80 percent of the population of 1.4 billion by the end of the year. As of Tuesday, China had given more than 680 million doses – with nearly half of those in May alone. China’s total is roughly a third of the 1.9 billion shots distributed globally, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.
3rd Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

COVID-19: Testing system could be 'overwhelmed' if more countries are added to the green travel list

The UK's testing system could be overwhelmed if holiday hotspots are added to the green travel list, according to an industry expert. Rory Boland, travel editor of Which?, has told Sky News "too many people are not getting their test back on time". The warning comes ahead of an expected review of the government's travel traffic light system later today. Holidaymakers returning to the UK from green locations are not required to self-isolate but they must take one post-arrival coronavirus test. Mr Boland said the testing system is struggling to meet demand as it is.
3rd Jun 2021 - Sky News

Slow to start, China now vaccinating at a staggering pace

In the span of just five days last month, China gave out 100 million shots of its COVID-19 vaccines. After a slow start, China is now doing what virtually no other country in the world can: leveraging the power and all-encompassing reach of its one-party system and a maturing domestic vaccine industry to administer shots at a staggering pace. The rollout is far from perfect, including uneven distribution, but Chinese public health leaders now say they’re hoping to inoculate 80% of the population of 1.4 billion by the end of the year. As of Wednesday, China had given out more than 704 million doses — with nearly half of those in May alone. China’s total is roughly a third of the 1.9 billion shots distributed globally, according to Our World in Data
3rd Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Greece rolls out ‘long-awaited’ mass vaccine campaign to refugees

Greece is launching a mass vaccination campaign for refugees, months after the first shots were rolled out to the wider population in early January. Starting Thursday, vaccinations will be offered to people living in refugee camps on the islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos. Those on the remaining island camps and the mainland will be offered the shots next week. Athens plans to inoculate more than 11,000 people living in refugee camps on the Greek islands against the coronavirus. According to the UNHCR, there are 91,945 recognised refugees in the country.
3rd Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Washington vaccination lottery: cash prize, tuition, flights

Washington is the latest state to offer prizes to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, with Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday announcing a series of giveaways that includes lottery drawings totaling $2 million, college tuition assistance, airline tickets and game systems. The incentive program, called “Shot of a Lifetime,” applies to those who start the vaccination process this month as well as residents who are already vaccinated. Washington joins several other states — including California, New Mexico, Ohio and Oregon — that have already created lotteries in hopes of increasing the pace of vaccination, which has slowed in recent weeks. “This is a very, very common-sense investment to save lives,” Inslee said at a news conference announcing the incentives.
3rd Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Vaccinated or not, California workers may keep masks on

Major California businesses expressed frustration Thursday with proposed rules by state workplace regulators that would only allow workers to go maskless if everyone in a room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The workplace rules could remain in place into early next year even though coronavirus cases have fallen dramatically in the state after a severe winter spike and as more people get vaccinated. That contrasts with the state’s plan to fully reopen in less than two weeks and do away with virtually all mask and social distancing requirements for vaccinated people.
3rd Jun 2021 - The Associated Press


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A COVID-19 Vaccine Could Get West Virginians Cash, Guns Or Trips

West Virginia is giving its vaccine incentive program a boost to get more residents immunized from the coronavirus, Gov. Jim Justice announced on Tuesday. All residents who get a COVID-19 vaccine will be enrolled in the chance to win a college scholarship, a tricked-out truck, or hunting rifles, in addition to a $1.588 million grand prize. The program, which will run from June 20 through Aug. 4, will be paid for through federal pandemic relief funds. "The faster we get people across the finish line the more lives we save. That's all there is to it," Justice said. "If the tab just keeps running the cost is enormous. The hospitalizations are enormous. We have to get all of our folks across the finish line."
2nd Jun 2021 - NPR

Amazon starts testing UK staff for coronavirus variants

Amazon is testing its front-line staff in Britain for coronavirus variants and feeding the data to public health officials, including in hotspots where a strain first found in India is spreading fast. The retail giant opened COVID-19 testing labs in the UK and the United States last year to provide voluntary testing for staff and can now also test for variants in Britain, where scientists have pioneered sequencing coronavirus genomes. Aided by a rapid vaccine rollout, Britain is on the verge of reopening its economy after months of lockdowns but the Delta variant first found in India has spread, including in areas where Amazon has its lab and some fulfilment centres.
2nd Jun 2021 - Reuters UK

‘A fantastic success’: Vaccines have broken link between Covid infections and hospitalisations, says NHS chief

Britain’s world-leading vaccine roll-out has “broken the link” between Covid-19 infections and deaths, an NHS chief has said. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, stressed that many coronavirus patients needing hospital treatment were now younger so did not need critical care. He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “It’s all down to vaccines and it’s a fantastic success story. “The NHS has been delighted to play a part, linking up with the scientists who developed the vaccines, and then ensuring that we get millions of those vaccinations into everybody’s arms."
2nd Jun 2021 - Evening Standard

Sinovac vaccine restores a Brazilian city to near normal

Just one COVID-19 patient is in critical condition at the Dr. Geraldo Cesar Reis clinic in Serrana, a city of almost 46,000 in Sao Paulo state’s countryside. The 63-year-old woman rejected the vaccine that was offered to every adult resident of Serrana as part of a trial. Doctors say the woman was awaiting one of Pfizer’s shots, which remain scarce in Brazil. But she is an outlier here. Most adults rolled up their sleeves when offered the vaccine made by the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac, and the experiment has transformed the community into an oasis of near normalcy in a country where many communities continue to suffer. Doctors who treated COVID-19 in Serrana have seen their patient loads evaporate. They now help colleagues with other diseases and recently started eating lunch at home. Life has returned to the streets: Neighbors chat and families have weekend barbecues. Outsiders who previously had no reason to set foot in Serrana are arriving for haircuts and restaurant outings.
2nd Jun 2021 - The Associated Press


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Covid-19 Australia: Qantas offers unlimited travel as incentive to get coronavirus vaccine

Qantas offering added incentive for Australians to roll up sleeves for Covid jab 10 lucky families will win unlimited travel for year, plus free accommodation Called on other companies to follow airline's lead to bolster vaccination efforts
1st Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Testing for Covid-19: How S'pore is raising its game with DIY test kits, wastewater sampling and more

A variety of Covid-19 tests - with the latest being over-the-counter test kits - are now under Singapore’s belt, allowing fast, extensive, easy and accurate tests to be conducted as the nation raises its game to fight the virus. Here's a look at the different tests. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR) Swab test from the nose or back of throat, or from sputum. Looks for genetic sequences of Covid-19.
1st Jun 2021 - The Straits Times

Covid-19 vaccines burnt as shelf-life complicates global rollout

Inefficiencies in the global distribution of vaccines and the relatively short shelf-life of the leading jabs have meant that doses have arrived in some countries too late for the shots to be used. The southern African nation of Malawi publicly burnt almost 20,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine last month, despite having one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world. The shots had been marked with an expiry date of April 13 and, although the manufacturer said it would be safe to use the jabs for another three months, the government feared damaging fragile vaccine confidence by administering expired jabs.
1st Jun 2021 - Financial Times

Alaska offers vaccinations for airport arrivals

Alaska has begun offering coronavirus vaccinations at airports in a move that had been expected for the start of the summer travel season. The state health department said that as of Tuesday, vaccine eligibility has been expanded to include anyone in Alaska who is at least 12 years old, including visitors from other states or countries. Prior eligibility was for those who live or work in Alaska. Vaccines will be offered outside the areas secured by the federal Transportation Security Administration at airports in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. The health department says plans call for the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to have available all three vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S., including the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
1st Jun 2021 - The Associated Press


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NT introduces 'day 17 test' for COVID to prevent a local repeat of Victoria's coronavirus outbreak

Victoria's coronavirus outbreak — and breaches in hotel quarantine more generally — have spurred a new coronavirus testing measure in the Northern Territory. The new direction will require anyone who returns from overseas, quarantines interstate and then travels soon afterwards to the NT to get a coronavirus test three days after they complete their fortnight of quarantine. Chief Minister Michael Gunner called the direction the "day 17 test" and said it was necessary to protect Territorians against the coronavirus variants that had repeatedly tripped up hotel quarantine regimes interstate.
31st May 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Free flights, lotteries, cash: Hong Kong’s vaccine incentives

When bar and nightclub owners in Hong Kong met with city officials this month, they expected to hear how the government planned to coax more of the largely resistant population to get vaccinated, with their businesses only allowed to open to inoculated people. Instead, officials turned the tables — asking them what they were going to do to help boost one of the slowest Covid-19 vaccine takeups among global cities. Carrie Lam’s administration is increasingly leaning on local businesses and institutions to help get people vaccinated, as her Beijing-backed government struggles to convince reluctant residents in an atmosphere of mistrust following widespread anti-China protests in 2019. Major companies, restaurants, and even colleges have started offering cash payouts, extra time off, even the chance to win a $1.4 million apartment.
31st May 2021 - AlJazeera

People in Indian variant hotspots 'to get second jabs earlier' as lockdown 'on knife edge'

The NHS is being urged to accelerate the coronavirus vaccine roll out and administer second doses sooner as the rapid spread of the Indian variant threatens the roadmap out of lockdown. Earlier this month, on May 15, the NHS told all staff administering vaccinations the second dose for everyone over 50 should be brought forward, from 12 weeks to eight weeks, but the interval for under 50s would remain at 12 weeks. But some people in their late 40s and early 50s are now being invited for their second jab after just six weeks, the i reports.
29th May 2021 - The Mirror

U.S. movie theaters remove mask mandate for vaccinated people

Masks are no longer required at the three main movie theater chains in the United States for people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to updated guidelines on Friday. AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas said on their websites that movie goers who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to continue wearing masks, and that other social-distancing measures and cleaning protocols will remain in place.
29th May 2021 - Reuters

U.S. agency says employers can mandate COVID-19 vaccination

U.S. companies can mandate that employees in a workplace must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said on Friday. The EEOC, in a statement posted on its website explaining its updated guidance, said employees can be required to be vaccinated as long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws.
29th May 2021 - Reuters

Covid: Put your masks back on, London borough tells its pupils

Secondary school pupils and teachers in one London borough have been advised to continue to wear face masks after several cases of the Indian Covid variant were detected. Despite a national easing of the rules on face coverings in schools, parents in Bromley have been sent a letter from health chiefs saying that precautions should continue to be taken “until further notice”. A total of 58 cases of the Indian strain have been detected in Bromley, making it the eighth worst affected borough in London, Public Health England said on Thursday. It is not known how many of the 991 cases in London have been detected in schools or among schoolchildren.
28th May 2021 - Evening Standard

Singapore Vaccine Plan: Students, Then Open Season: Balakrishnan

Singapore plans to roll out vaccines to students, followed by everyone else eligible, in what will be a “great acceleration” of vaccinations in the country, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in an interview on CNN. “Our next step is that we’re going to offer vaccination to our school students, the teenagers,” Balakrishnan said, “following which it’ll be open season for everyone in Singapore.” The city-state earlier flagged that almost all of its eligible population could be given at least the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of August.
28th May 2021 - Bloomberg

Same-day SARS-CoV-2 antigen test screening in an indoor mass-gathering live music event: a randomised controlled trial

The banning of mass-gathering indoor events to prevent SARS-CoV-2 spread has had an important effect on local economies. Despite growing evidence on the suitability of antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDT) for mass screening at the event entry, this strategy has not been assessed under controlled conditions. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of a prevention strategy during a live indoor concert.
28th May 2021 - The Lancet

A Shot and a Beer: Do Vaccine Incentives Work? – Mother Jones

Free crawfish in New Orleans. Beers on the house in New Jersey. Million-dollar lottery jackpots in Ohio. A week of complimentary subway rides in New York City—no turnstile-jumping required. As COVID vaccination rates slow, cities and states are coming up with creative incentives to get hesitant residents vaccinated. But do these incentives actually work? The answer depends on which populations the programs are targeting. Take New Jersey, whose governor’s office teamed up with the state Department of Health and various local breweries to offer a free beer to each resident who gets an initial vaccine dose during the month of May. Dan Bryan, a communications advisor for Gov. Phil Murphy, said this program, part of a reopening plan called Operation Jersey Summer, was aimed at young people who weren’t opposed to the vaccine but simply hadn’t gotten around to getting it yet.
27th May 2021 - Mother Jones


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Bad luck or bad management: why has Victoria had so many Covid outbreaks?

James McCaw, a professor of mathematical biology at the University of Melbourne, says chance is a dominant factor, because there is a huge amount of variability in how many people an individual infected with Covid-19 spreads the virus to. In the early stages of an outbreak, the virus has a distinct pattern of spread known as clustered transmission, which is highly unpredictable. An estimated 70% of infected individuals do not pass the virus on to anybody else, and research has shown that around 20% of people – so-called “super-spreaders” – are responsible for the vast majority of viral transmission. The pattern of spread was similar for Sars, and differs from other viruses such as those that cause the flu, which are transmitted more consistently
28th May 2021 - The Guardian

Get vaccinated, win cash as California offers $116.5 million in prizes

California will offer $116.5 million in cash and gift cards to residents who get COVID-19 vaccinations before June 15, the latest - and most lucrative - incentive by U.S. states desperate to persuade laggards and vaccine-skeptics to get the injection. The move by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom is part of an effort to boost vaccinations as the state prepares to fully reopen its economy on June 15. Ten Californians who become inoculated before that date stand to win lottery-style prizes of $1.5 million apiece, while another 30 people will each win $50,000.
28th May 2021 - Reuters

Can employers make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory?

Can employers make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory? Yes, with some exceptions. Experts say U.S. employers can require employees to take safety measures, including vaccination. That doesn’t necessarily mean you would get fired if you refuse, but you might need to sign a waiver or agree to work under specific conditions to limit any risk you might pose to yourself or others. “Employers generally have wide scope” to make rules for the workplace, said Dorit Reiss, a law professor who specializes in vaccine policies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. “It’s their business.”
27th May 2021 - The Associated Press


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UAE mandates COVID-19 vaccines for live events

The United Arab Emirates said vaccinations against COVID-19 will be mandatory for people attending all "live events" from June 6, as the country pushes a vaccination campaign which has consistently been one of the fastest in the world. The policy applies to all sports, cultural, social, arts exhibition, activities and events, a spokeswoman for the ministry of health said late on Tuesday. Attendees must also present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken at least 48 hours before the event.
26th May 2021 - Reuters

On the road to Recovery—the world's biggest covid-19 treatment trial

When it comes to covid-19 therapeutics, the UK is the world leader, spearheaded by the largest, most successful trial in the world. Chris Stokel-Walker looks at Recovery, and why it has proved hard to replicate elsewhere It’s hard to overestimate the impact of the Recovery trial. In just one year, it’s thought to have saved up to a million lives worldwide. Its finding that the low cost steroid dexamethasone reduces death from covid-19 by up to one third is arguably the major drug discovery in covid treatments so far. Hatched on a London bus ride on 9 March 2020,2 Recovery quickly became—and remains—the largest covid-19 treatment trial in the world, with nearly 40 000 patients enrolled at 181 sites globally, helping to shape the treatment of patients worldwide during a live and ever-changing pandemic.
26th May 2021 - The BMJ

Aussie rules: Melbourne fans to get tested amid COVID scare

Thousands of Australian Rules football fans have been told to self-isolate and get tested for coronavirus after a spectator later confirmed to have COVID-19 was found to have attended a match in Melbourne and the city raced to avoid another lockdown. Australia’s second-biggest city is scrambling to contain the latest outbreak, with 15 cases identified so far. The state of Victoria has already tightened curbs on gatherings and ordered people to wear masks indoors and on public transport until June 4. New Zealand has also suspended its quarantine-free travel arrangement with the state.
26th May 2021 - AlJazeera


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Masks, social restrictions return to Australia's Melbourne after fresh outbreak

Australia’s second largest city Melbourne reinstated COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday as authorities scrambled to find the missing link in a fresh outbreak, prompting New Zealand to pause a “travel bubble” with the state of Victoria. Amid worries the cluster, which has grown to nine cases in two days, could spark a major outbreak, Victoria imposed social restrictions and made face masks mandatory in hotels, restaurants, and other indoor venues from 6 p.m. (0800 GMT) on Tuesday until June 4.
25th May 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Are high rates of B.1.617.2 linked to vaccine hesitancy?

Last week England’s health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, linked high rates of infection and hospital admissions of people with the B.1.617.2 variant of covid-19 first identified in India to vaccine hesitancy. Giving an update to the House of Commons on 17 May Hancock said that most of the 19 people admitted to hospital with the variant in the hotspot area of Bolton, Greater Manchester, were eligible for a covid-19 vaccine but had not had it. Hancock said, “In Bolton, 19 people are now in hospital with coronavirus, the majority of whom are eligible for a vaccine but have not yet had one. That shows that the new variant is not tending to penetrate into older vaccinated groups and underlines again the importance of getting the jab—especially, but not only, among the vulnerable age groups.” He added, “The majority of people in [the Royal Bolton hospital with coronavirus were eligible for the jab but had chosen not yet to have it and have ended up in hospital—some of them in intensive care. Vaccines save lives. They protect you, they protect your loved ones, and they will help us all get out of this pandemic.” Was Hancock right to frame the situation in this way?
25th May 2021 - The BMJ


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Israel to end COVID-19 restrictions after vaccine success

Israel will end local COVID-19 restrictions following a successful vaccine rollout that has nearly stamped out new infections, the country's Health Ministry said on Sunday. With the majority of the population having received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and about 92% of those 50 and older inoculated or recovered, Israel has been gradually reopening its economy after three lockdowns. The country reported just 12 new virus cases on Saturday, down from a daily peak of more than 10,000 in January.
24th May 2021 - Reuters

Trained on smelly socks, bio-detection dogs sniff out COVID-19

Sniffer dogs trained using smelly socks worn by people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus could soon be used at airports or mass gathering venues to pick up the “corona odour” of COVID-19-infected people, British scientists said on Monday. Working in teams of two, the COVID-trained dogs could screen a line of several hundred people coming off a plane within half an hour, for example, and detect with up to 94.3% sensitivity those infected, the scientists said.
24th May 2021 - Reuters

COVID testing’s value shrinks as vaccines beat back virus

Federal health officials’ new, more relaxed recommendations on masks have all but eclipsed another major change in guidance from the government: Fully vaccinated Americans can largely skip getting tested for the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that most people who have received the full course of shots and have no COVID-19 symptoms don’t need to be screened for the virus, even if exposed to someone infected. The change represents a new phase in the epidemic after nearly a year in which testing was the primary weapon against the virus. Vaccines are now central to the response and have driven down hospitalizations and deaths dramatically. Experts say the CDC guidance reflects a new reality in which nearly half of Americans have received at least one shot and close to 40% are fully vaccinated.
23rd May 2021 - Associated Press


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Get a Covid-19 vaccine in this town and you could win a live cow

A district of northern Thailand has launched a raffle campaign for its vaccinated residents to win a live cow per week for the rest of the year, in a bid to boost the local Covid-19 vaccination drive. From next month, one lucky vaccinated villager in the Mae Chaem district of Chiang Mai province will be randomly chosen every week to win a young cow worth about 10,000 baht ($318.78). The campaign, set to run for 24 weeks, has been met with enthusiasm in the town of 43,000 since it was announced earlier this week. "Our vaccine registration numbers have gone from hundreds to thousands in a couple of days," district chief Boonlue Thamtharanurak told Reuters. "The villagers love cows. Cows can be sold for cash."
22nd May 2021 - CNN

Germany to ban travel from Britain over COVID-19 variant

Germany will ban travel from Britain starting Saturday due to concerns over a COVID-19 variant. Germany classified Britain as an "area of variant of concern," and banned travel into the country to prevent virus spread, a post on the German Embassy's website shows. "There are local outbreaks occurring again, including cases of more infectious variants such as the Indian variant at present," the post read. The Embassy noted exceptions to the ban for German citizens and persons remaining in the airport transit area while transferring from one flight to another.
22nd May 2021 - UPI.com

Covid-19: Should all children get a vaccine?

Vaccinating children is routine and widely accepted - measles, mumps, polio, diphtheria, rotavirus, multiple strains of meningitis, whooping cough… the list goes on. All this starts from just a few weeks old. So, what about Covid-19? Some countries are cracking on - the US has already immunised around 600,000 children, aged between 12 and 15. It expects to have enough safety data to go even younger next year. The UK is rattling through the adults - who should all have been offered their first dose by the end of July - but has yet to come to a decision on children. There is a scientific question - will vaccinating children save lives? - which is complex as the answer may vary from country to country. There is also a moral and ethical dimension if doses destined for children would save more lives if they were given to health workers and vulnerable adults in other countries.
22nd May 2021 - BBC News


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Britain to work with WHO on 'pandemic radar' to track diseases

Britain will work with the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop a "pandemic radar" system to identify new coronavirus variants quickly and track emerging diseases globally to ensure the world is never "caught unawares again". Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the plan for a new "Global Pandemic Radar" ahead of a G20 Global Health summit on Friday in Rome, where he will speak. Johnson's office said it would involve a network of surveillance hubs that could watch out for outbreaks and share data on variants and vaccine resistance.
21st May 2021 - Reuters

EU grapples over COVID-19 passes for summer travel

The European Union reached a deal on Thursday on COVID-19 certificates designed to open up tourism across the 27-nation bloc this summer, the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) said. European Parliament lawmakers and current EU president Portugal representing the bloc's 27 members sealed the agreement after a fourth round of negotiations on Thursday afternoon. The certificate will take the form of a QR code on a smartphone or paper, letting authorities determine the status of a visitor based on records in their home EU country. The certificate would show if a person had received a vaccine, had a recent negative test or had immunity based on recovery.
20th May 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Why prioritising prevention matters in a pandemic of cures

Prevention is better than cure. Simple. Clear. Logical. Except that it is easily overcomplicated, clouded, and misplaced. When we forget that prevention is better than cure, primary care becomes an easy scapegoat, even though the pandemic has reinforced its importance in improving baseline population health, reducing health inequalities, delivering a vaccination strategy, and keeping people out of hospital. We might forget the mammoth efforts of general practice to reconfigure care—and then reverse some of that reconfiguration—the extra burden and complexity created by limitless digital access of patients to health professionals,3 and the ingenuity and partnership now needed between primary and secondary care to clear a 4.7 million person waiting list with £160m of innovation funding. Or that preventing racism in general practice and in hospitals, in doctors’ education, training, assessment, and disciplinary procedures, is better for patients, an issue that the UK’s General Medical Council is now promising to tackle head on.
20th May 2021 - The BMJ

Experts say CDC missed mark on COVID mask guidance

When Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, announced last week that fully vaccinated Americans no longer had to wear masks in most indoor settings unless local mandates dictate so, many public health experts scratched their heads and braced themselves for what they knew would be a confusing moment in America's battle against COVID-19. "The CDC got the science right, but the policy and communication was really wrong," said Leana Wen, MD, the former Baltimore health commissioner and Washington Post contributing columnist and CNN medical analyst. "There are unintended consequences that can endanger people and sew distrust in the CDC." Each week, more studies are published that show the three vaccines currently used in the United States are highly effective in preventing transmission of the COVID-19 virus, even its newer variants.
20th May 2021 - CIRAP


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Fauci: Americans 'misinterpreting' mask rules

Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious diseases expert, said in a new interview that some Americans do not have a full understanding of the latest guidelines put forth by the federal government relative to mask wearing and coronavirus vaccines. "I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It's not," Fauci told Axios on Wednesday. "It's an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors." Fauci said it's not people's "fault" if they don't understand the new guidance because, in many cases, people "either read them quickly, or listen and hear half of it."
19th May 2021 - The Hill

Study: Under-60s who received first AstraZeneca dose can safely be given Pfizer for second shot

A study in Spain carried out by the Carlos III Health Institute has concluded that the under-60s who have already received one shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be safely administered the Pfizer-BioNTech medication for their second dose. The recommendation comes after the Spanish Health Ministry suspended the use of AstraZeneca among this age group due to associations with rare cases of blood clots. A total of 672 volunteers and five hospitals in Madrid, Bilbao and Barcelona took part in the study, officially called CombivacS. The participants had received their first dose of AstraZeneca between eight and 12 weeks previously. They were divided into two groups, with 442 people receiving the Pfizer vaccine for their second dose and 221 as a control group. The latter participants were not given another vaccine, allowing for the two groups to be compared.
18th May 2021 - El Pais


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Coronavirus: Ministers to step up vaccine take-up calls amid variant fears

In the UK, ministers will step up calls for people to book a Covid vaccination as soon as they are offered one, amid increasing concern about the Indian variant. The health secretary said anyone who was unsure should look at Bolton, where most people in hospital with Covid were eligible for a jab but had not had one. Matt Hancock said 86 local councils had five or more cases of the variant that is thought to be more transmissible. It comes as lockdowns eased in England, Wales and most of Scotland on Monday.
18th May 2021 - BBC News

Singapore seeks COVID-19 vaccination for all adults by August

Singapore is expecting to administer at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine to its entire adult population by early August, authorities said on Tuesday, after a decision to widen the gap between doses to inoculate more people faster. Close to two million of Singapore's 5.7 million people have received at least one dose, according to official data as of Monday. About 1.4 million recipients have completed the full two-dose regimen, authorities said. "Lengthening the interval to between six to eight weeks will enable us to cover more people with the first dose of the vaccine more quickly, who will then have some protection," the health ministry said.
18th May 2021 - Reuters

Martin McKee: What went wrong in the UK’s covid-19 response?

In May 2020, Sarah Wollaston, Mike Gill, and I called for a rapid inquiry into the British government’s response to the covid-19 pandemic. This would have been an opportunity to learn lessons and not to repeat them. At that time we knew that the United Kingdom’s response to the news of an emerging infection had been slow, leading to tens of thousands of avoidable deaths. We were anxious that this should not be repeated. Our call was ignored and the events of debris in March 2020 were repeated in December 2020, as the prime minister, anxious to be seen to “save Christmas,” dithered as a new variant, B.1.1.7, spread rapidly. More recently, he delayed imposing a ban on travel from India until 23 April 2021.
18th May 2021 - BMJ Blog


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Survey shows 3 in 4 Kiwis adopted COVID-19 protective behaviors

Research from Massey University shows an overwhelming majority of New Zealanders support regional (94 percent) or national lockdowns (81 percent) if there are new COVID-19 infections in New Zealand. In a national survey conducted by Senior Lecturer Dr. Jagadish Thaker (JT) of the School of Communication, Journalism & Marketing in February and March 2021, with nearly 1100 respondents, three in four Kiwis (77 percent) said they had used the contact tracing app to record visits to the office, supermarkets and other venues. Dr. Thaker says the results show why effective communication from trusted sources continue to matter during and after vaccination.
17th May 2021 - Medical Xpress

California will stay masked for another month

California won’t lift its mask requirement until June 15 to give the public and businesses time to prepare and ensure cases stay low, the state health director said Monday, a decision that runs counter to many other states including Oregon and Washington that quickly aligned with last week’s new federal guidelines. “This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change, while we continue the relentless focus on delivering vaccines particularly to underserved communities and those that were hard hit throughout this pandemic,” Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. The timing aligns with California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s earlier announcement that if cases remain low, the state will drop nearly all COVID-19 restrictions on June 15.
18th May 2021 - The Associated Press

Retailers, states grapple with shifting COVID-19 mask mandates

Major retailers across the country, including Target, Starbucks, and Walmart, are changing their in-store mask requirements following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) announcement last week that fully vaccinated Americans are now safe to resume almost all activities without wearing a mask. Starbucks, Walmart, Costco, and Trader Joe's have all said they will require masks for fully vaccinated patrons only if local law dictates it. Today Target and CVS said they will "strongly recommend" masks for unvaccinated customers and employees, but fully vaccinated shoppers are not expected to don masks. All businesses, however, have emphasized that they will follow local laws and regulations. Despite the new guidance from the CDC that vaccinated people don't need to wear masks for most activities, many vaccinated Americans remain reluctant to give up their masks, the Associated Press reports. The mask has acted as both a security measure and was a visible way to signal that a person took the pandemic seriously. As of yesterday, 18 states have lifted statewide mask mandates, meaning about one third of the country is now mask-free for the first time in roughly 1 year.
17th May 2021 - CIDRAP


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COVID-19: Surge testing for Indian and South African variants under way across England

Surge testing to tackle an outbreak of the Indian variant of coronavirus is under way in parts of England. Extra resources to ensure widespread community testing in targeted locations within east London - including Shoreditch and Dalston - have been put in place after the South African variant was also found. The infections occurred in three workplaces in the area, Hackney Council said.
16th May 2021 - Sky News

Mask mandates might be going away, but don’t ditch yours just yet, scientists caution

Fully vaccinated people are exhaling this weekend, ditching masks and easing up on social distancing, per the latest Covid-19 guidance put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new advice marks a significant milestone in the nation’s effort to stamp out the disease, and signals the beginning of a return to normalcy. But scientists say there are good reasons not to toss out your mask stash just yet. “It’s important to not see this change as a signal that this means that the pandemic is over or that there is no capacity for policy reversals in the future,” said William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
16th May 2021 - STAT News

U.S. Vaccine Rollout Expands to Children Ages 12 to 15

The first mass campaign to inoculate children against the coronavirus officially began in the United States on Thursday, after the federal government recommended making the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available to children ages 12 to 15. Teenagers 16 and older became eligible in most states last month. From Seattle to San Antonio to New York, children in graphic T-shirts and sports jerseys shuffled into vaccination centers, skipping math classes to get vaccinated and, at times, holding a parent’s hand the moment the shot entered their arm. It was a far different scene than only a few months ago, when it was seniors over the age of 65 who descended on vaccination centers, and a marker of how far the country has come in its race to vaccinate the majority of the American population.
15th May 2021 - The New York Times

'Hugely encouraging' milestone as three million Scots receive coronavirus vaccine

More than three million Scots have now had their first coronavirus vaccine. Scottish Government chiefs have said today that the first doses have now reached a massive two thirds of the adult population as of last night. Health bosses are moving through the programme to vaccinate those aged 40 to 49 years old and more than 50% of this age group having come forward so far. Next up will be those in their 30s who will be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after health complaints from some younger people about the jab.
15th May 2021 - Daily Record

COVID-19: Big changes in the rules for people who are fully vaccinated in the US

Vaccinated people in the US will be allowed to stop wearing their face masks in most settings. Masks are no longer being recommended for vaccinated people when they are in crowded places outdoors and in most indoor settings - and they won't have to follow social distancing measures either. The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) changed its guidance for fully vaccinated people on Thursday. Masks will still need to be worn in crowded indoor settings such as buses, planes, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters.
15th May 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Portugal confirms UK tourists with negative coronavirus test allowed to travel from Monday

Portugal has confirmed that tourists from the UK will be able to travel to the country from Monday. The country's foreign affairs minister has said anyone arriving from 17 May must have had a negative PCR result within the previous 72 hours. Existing travel restrictions on travel into the country from Britain will end on Sunday, the minister confirmed in a statement released by Portugal's tourist board, Visit Portugal.
15th May 2021 - Sky News

UK races to test, vaccinate as virus variant threatens plans

British health workers, aided by the army, distributed coronavirus tests door-to-door Saturday in two towns in northern England, seeking to contain a fast-spreading variant that threatens plans to lift all lockdown restrictions next month. Cases of a variant first identified in India have more than doubled in a week, defying a sharp nationwide downward trend in infections won by months of restrictions and a rapid vaccination campaign. Government scientific advisers say this variant is likely more transmissible than even the U.K.’s dominant strain, though it’s unclear by how much.
15th May 2021 - Associated Press

Amazon offers $100 vaccine bonus to entice 75,000 US workers

Amazon is seeking to hire 75,000 people in a tight job market and is offering bonuses to attract United States workers, including $100 for new hires who are already vaccinated against COVID-19. The jobs are for delivery and warehouse workers, who pack and ship online orders. Amazon, which already pays at least $15 an hour, gave out raises for some of its workers last month, and the company said Thursday that new hires will make an average of $17 an hour.
14th May 2021 - AlJazeera


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CDC’s U-Turn Puts Business in ‘Damned If You Do’ (Or Don’t) Bind

Companies are rushing to assess their mask policies after a sudden announcement by U.S. officials put newly relaxed federal guidelines in conflict with the rules at many businesses. Home Depot Inc. and TJX Cos. said they don’t immediately plan to change their policies advising face coverings be worn inside their stores, while Macy’s Inc., Levi Strauss & Co. and Gap Inc. said they’re reviewing the new guidance. The National Restaurant Association is also looking at the recommendations and is evaluating its Covid-19 operating guidance and best practices for restaurants, while some banks are indicating they’ll continue to require face coverings -- at least for now.
14th May 2021 - Bloomberg on MSN.com

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine seeks to incentivize coronavirus vaccines with chance to win $1 million

As demand for the coronavirus vaccine plateaus, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is giving state residents a shot to win $1 million. The Republican governor announced Wednesday night that vaccinated adults will be eligible to enter a lottery that will pay out $1 million each to five winners beginning May 26. Separately, DeWine is offering five vaccinated teenagers full-ride scholarships to the state’s public universities, which includes all four years of tuition, room, board and textbooks. “I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money.’ But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic — when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it — is a life lost to covid-19,” DeWine said in a statewide address.
13th May 2021 - The Washington Post

COVID-19 vaccination drive again exposes India’s digital divide

For anyone aged between 18 and 44, getting a slot in India’s expanded vaccination drive – already plagued by shortages and political squabbles – has been like buying tickets for a rock concert where popular bands sell out in minutes. The expansion came with restrictions, including only online registrations for the 18-44-year-olds, locking out up to half of India’s population, particularly in poor and rural areas, who do not have smartphones or internet access. A report by The Indian Express newspaper on Thursday said 85 percent of those who got vaccinated since May 1 belong to just seven of the 28 states, raising “critical questions on vaccine equity”.
13th May 2021 - AlJazeera

Pediatricians primed to lead Covid vaccination efforts as kids become eligible

Now that both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have green-lighted Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in kids ages 12 to 15, pediatricians will soon find themselves on the front lines of the country's vaccination efforts, playing an essential role in communicating to parents the safety and importance of getting their kids the shot. That's a tall order for pediatricians who say they're facing skyrocketing vaccine hesitancy among families.
13th May 2021 - NBC News

COVID cases across India being traced to weeks-long Kumbh Mela

As a second wave of the coronavirus began in India in early April, millions of Hindus congregated at Haridwar, a Himalayan city in Uttarakhand state, to take a holy dip in the Ganges. When the devotees returned home in crowded buses and trains, they spread the infection in villages and towns, prompting officials in some states to track and quarantine them. But many did not turn up for coronavirus tests, despite officials making public announcements urging devotees to report and be screened.
13th May 2021 - AlJazeera

Lifesaving tips on reopening the US

Widespread vaccine coverage in the US is rapidly reducing new infections, illnesses and deaths from Covid-19. States and cities are quickly removing restrictions on business and leisure activities. Yet, while the public enjoys the return to normalcy, governments behind the scenes should be ramping up public health systems to guard against another possible wave and to build more competency for the inevitable next epidemic, whenever it may arise. First, a note of warning. Newly confirmed cases in the US are now below 40,000 per day. This is down from the peak in January, when new cases reached over 300,000 per day. And daily cases continue to decline, even more rapidly. Yet, just before India's recent surge to over 400,000 cases per day, that country had reported just over 10,000 cases per day as recently as early March. It's a reminder that the Covid-19 epidemic can spread from very few cases to a devastating surge at a terrifying rate, in just a few weeks.
12th May 2021 - CNN


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French lawmakers approve COVID 'health pass' at second attempt

France's National Assembly approved on Wednesday the creation of a COVID-19 "health pass" that people can use to attend sports events, festivals and theme parks with large crowds, a hotly contested government measure to help safely re-open the economy. The health pass, which will come into effect from June 9, will provide proof that a person has either been vaccinated against the coronavirus, holds a recent negative PCR test, or is recovering from COVID-19 and therefore has natural antibodies. The proposal was initially shot down in the lower house on Tuesday evening over fears it would impinge on civil freedoms
12th May 2021 - Reuters


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Clock is ticking for EU vaccine certificates as summer looms

As strict lockdowns are loosened across Europe and many EU citizens dream about holidays in the sun, the 27-nation bloc has yet to agree on how to quickly implement a virus certificate scheme to boost summer travel and tourism. European affairs ministers gathered Tuesday in Brussels to assess progress in discussions with European lawmakers. A deal between the Parliament and EU countries is required in May to ensure the system will be up and running by the end of June, but several sticking points remain.
11th May 2021 - The Independent

NHS app to be used as 'coronavirus vaccine passport' for holidaymakers from Monday

Holidaymakers who have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine will be able to “prove” their status to other countries from Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, as limited international travel resumes. The minister confirmed that people in England who travel abroad will be able to use the reworked NHS app to demonstrate they are fully vaccinated when the ban on overseas leisure travel is lifted on Monday, May 17.
11th May 2021 - Manchester Evening News

Medicare requires nursing homes to report COVID vaccinations

Medicare will require nursing homes to report COVID-19 vaccination rates for residents and staff, the government said Tuesday. Officials hope to nudge facilities to keep giving shots as the worst ravages of the pandemic ease but the danger of a rebound still lurks. “We’re hoping to drive increased vaccination rates among residents and staff, as well as transparency for residents and their families,” Dr. Lee Fleisher, chief medical officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told The Associated Press. Medicare’s move to sustain the pace of vaccinations comes as an initial effort to get shots to nursing homes across the country has wound down.
11th May 2021 - Associated Press


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