CORONAVIRUS GLOBAL UPDATE
New York City employees face suspension; South Africa registers 230 new cases
South Africa registered 230 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total to 2,922,116. A further 14 Covid-19-related deaths were reported, taking total official deaths to 89,177. A total of 22,381,951 people have been vaccinated.
Tens of thousands of New York City employees — including police, fire and sanitation workers — could face unpaid leave on Monday as a contentious vaccine mandate goes into effect.
Moderna said it had been notified that the US Food and Drug Administration will require additional time to assess the company’s emergency request to approve its vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 as regulators examine the risk of a rare heart inflammation.
India is ready to produce more than five billion vaccine doses next year to aid the global pandemic fight. Prime Minister Narendra Modi told G20 leaders that it was important for the World Health Organization to quickly recognise Indian vaccines in its emergency-use authorisation list.
Global Covid-19 fatalities closed in on five million.
- Virus Tracker: Cases approach 246.5 million; deaths surpass 4.99 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than seven billion shots given
- China’s Xi uses G20 talk to push for mutual recognition of shots
- Isolated China is cracking under the strain of keeping Covid out
- Shots for younger kids need doctors’ push to sway leery parents
- Homelessness surges in Brazil’s biggest cities as Covid fades
Bon Jovi to take stage, tests positive
Jon Bon Jovi cancelled a concert in Miami Beach at the last moment after he tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, the Asbury Park Press reported.
Bon Jovi (59) is “fully vaccinated and feeling fine”, the newspaper quoted a representative as saying. Fans had already gathered for the acoustic set.
Raimondo opposes delay to US vaccine mandates
Delaying President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandates until after Christmas would be “a big mistake,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said.
She cited United Airlines, which in August became the first US carrier to mandate vaccines for employees. She said job applications to the company are “through the roof”.
“People want to work in a workplace where they feel safe,” Raimondo said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “The best thing we can do to get people back to work is to make sure everybody is vaccinated.”
Moderna says FDA to evaluate teen risk
Moderna said it was notified that the US Food and Drug Administration will require additional time to assess the company’s emergency request to approve its Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 as regulators examine the risk of a rare heart inflammation.
The FDA is still evaluating recent international analyses of post-vaccination risks of myocarditis, a condition affecting the wall of the heart, and the review may not be completed before January, the company said in a statement on Sunday. Moderna said it’s fully committed to working closely with the FDA to support its review.
Thousands of NYC workers unvaccinated despite mandate
Tens of thousands of New York City employees — including police, fire and sanitation workers — could face unpaid leave from Monday as a contentious vaccine mandate goes into effect.
The consequences could be dramatic on the essential services the city depends on: Some 26,600 employees subject to the mandate hadn’t received a shot as of Friday, and already firefighters are calling in sick in higher numbers and trash has been reported to be piling up on sidewalks.
Tensions are high, with Mayor Bill de Blasio saying he won’t back down and city workers protesting in front of his home at Gracie Mansion. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigiro on Saturday said that some firefighters were already engaged in a work slowdown.
Shanghai Disneyland suspends visitor entry
Shanghai Disneyland and Disneytown have temporarily suspended visitor entries to cooperate with a coronavirus investigation.
Current guests will be required to undergo nucleic-acid testing when leaving the resort and a second test is required after 24 hours, Shanghai Disney Resort said in a statement on Weibo on Sunday.
Earlier on Sunday, Hangzhou city in eastern China reported that a person who tested positive for Covid-19 had taken a train from Shanghai.
German health minister calls for booster summit
German Health Minister Jens Spahn called for a summit with state and federal leaders to discuss a uniform strategy on Covid-19 boosters, saying in a newspaper interview that the country must move quickly to halt another wave of infections.
“The current pace of boosters in German doctors’ practices isn’t quick enough,” Spahn was cited as saying in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. Germany’s infection rate reached its highest since April on Sunday.
Russia sees record surge
Russia posted another unprecedented one-day surge in cases, with 40,993 new infections.
President Vladimir Putin declared that the period 30 October to 7 November will be non-working days in Russia in a bid to curb virus transmission. Lockdowns in some regions, including Moscow, began earlier last week.
Vietnam seafood firms hit
Hundreds of workers at seafood companies in the south of Vietnam have tested positive after officials eased some restrictions in and around Ho Chi Minh City, the nation’s commercial hub.
Local authorities ordered virus tests for everybody in high-risk areas and have increased efforts to vaccinate factory workers, VnExpress reported.
China pushes back on US report
China said the US report on virus origins is “a lie”. It also urged the US to stop attacking and smearing the Asian nation, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a statement on Sunday.
India ready to make five billion shots in 2022 — Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi told G20 leaders in Rome that India was ready to manufacture more than five billion vaccine doses by 2022, which will boost the global fight against the pandemic. He also said it’s important for the World Health Organization to “quickly” recognise Indian vaccines in its emergency-use authorisation list.
India reported 12,830 new infections on Sunday as the total tally for the world’s second-worst-hit nation touched 34.3 million cases. Covid-related deaths rose by 446 to exceed 458,000, while 6.8 million vaccine doses were administered in a day to push the total to 1.06 billion shots.
Indonesia seeks travel lane with Australia
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has proposed setting up a vaccinated travel lane with Australia as he seeks to improve tourism and economic ties between the countries.
Under this arrangement, fully vaccinated people arriving from Indonesia and Australia will be able to enter without having to undergo quarantine requirements. Indonesia relaxed other travel restrictions in early October such as reducing quarantine periods to five days from eight, and reopened tourist hotspot Bali to foreign visitors.
Singapore boosts ICU beds
Singapore is increasing the number of hospital beds in intensive care units as serious Covid-19 infections in the current outbreak remain at an elevated level. Authorities will set up 280 ICU beds this week, up from about 200 now, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
About 70% of Singapore’s ICU beds are occupied after daily infections surged above 5,000 for the first time last week.
Australia opens for New Zealand tourists
Australia has further loosened its tight border controls, with fully vaccinated tourists arriving from New Zealand permitted to fly there without quarantining starting from late Sunday evening.
Quarantine-free travel will initially be limited to those arriving in New South Wales and Victoria, the two jurisdictions that have scrapped the isolation requirement for vaccinated international travellers.
“Australia’s rapidly increasing vaccination coverage has put us in good stead to take the next steps in reopening our borders to the world,” Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said in a statement.
Thailand reopens for vaccinated travellers
Thailand is ending quarantine for vaccinated visitors from more than 60 countries, the biggest reopening gamble in Asia and one that could mark a turning point for the revival of mass tourism during the pandemic.
Starting Monday, fully vaccinated travellers flying in from the US, China, Singapore, Japan, India and most of Europe will be able to freely tour Thailand after testing negative for Covid on arrival. Inoculated visitors from countries not on the list can travel to Bangkok and 16 other regions, but they will be confined to their initial destination for the first seven days.
It’s the biggest step Thailand has taken to welcome back a slice of the nearly 40 million visitors it hosted the year before the pandemic, and is billed as a “fight to win foreign tourists” as countries from Australia to the UK also loosen Covid curbs.
Johnson says UK will have lockdown-free Christmas
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is adamant that the UK will have a Christmas without restrictions, despite an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases.
“I see no evidence whatever to think that any kind of lockdown is on the cards,” Johnson told reporters en route to the Group of 20 summit in Rome. “Yes it’s true that cases are high, but they do not currently constitute any reason to go to Plan B.”
The promise of a lockdown-free Christmas this year is one Johnson will want to keep after he dramatically changed course last December and cancelled plans to allow families to see one another over the holidays.
US boosters reach one million daily
Vaccine booster shots have risen above one million for the past two days, amid an uptick in the pace of US inoculation. Slightly more than 1.6 million vaccinations were reported on Saturday, among the highest daily totals in the past four months.
Third shots and boosters have been outstripping first doses since the beginning of October, after an extra shot from Pfizer and BioNTec was approved for vulnerable populations. The numbers have soared since booster shots from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson were approved last week.
More than four million people have already received boosters from Moderna, with about 75,000 from Johnson & Johnson, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 13 million Pfizer boosters have been given.
As of Saturday, 69.5% of adults in the US were fully vaccinated and 9.9% had received a booster dose, according to the CDC. DM
– With assistance from Stephen Stapczynski, Yuliya Fedorinova and Naomi Kresge.
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