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US releases new travel guidelines – DW – 10/25/2021

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The Biden administration on Monday announced details on how the United States plans to reopen to international travelers beginning November 8.

As of that date, “non-citizen, non-immigrant air travelers to the US will be required to be fully vaccinated” and must provide proof of their status prior to boarding, “with only limited exceptions.”

Unvaccinated travelers, whether US citizens, permanent residents or those exempted international travelers, will have to provide proof of a negative test taken within one day of their departure to the US.

The US will accept travelers who have received vaccines approved or authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization.

Travelers under the age of 18 will not be required to be fully vaccinated, due to the inconsistency in the rollout of vaccines for younger age groups. Under the exemption rules, however, they will be required to present a negative COVID test. 

In announcing the new rules, President Joe Biden signed a proclamation lifting travel restrictions in place since early 2020, which have barred most non-US citizens from entering the US from places like China, India, South Africa, Brazil and much of Europe.

“It is in the interests of the United States to move away from the country-by-country restrictions previously applied during the COVID-19 pandemic and to adopt an air travel policy that relies primarily on vaccination to advance the safe resumption of international air travel to the United States,” the proclamation said.

 

Earlier, US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted that many 5- to 15-year-olds could be fully vaccinated by the end of the year. He said vaccines for the age group could be available in the first half of November.

“If all goes well, and we get the regulatory approval and the recommendation from the CDC, it’s entirely possible if not very likely that vaccines will be available for children from 5 to 11 within the first week or two of November,” said the White House chief medical adviser in an interview with broadcaster ABC.

Here are some more coronavirus headlines from around the world:

Europe

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has authorized a Moderna booster shot for people 18 and over after doing the same for BioNTech-Pfizer last month.

“Data showed that a third dose of Spikevax given six to eight months after the second dose led to a rise in antibody levels in adults whose antibody levels were waning,” the EMA said, using the trade name for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus infection figures in Germany climbed substantially once again on Monday, reaching 110.1 cases per 100,000 of the population.

On Saturday, Germany reached the threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 over the prior seven days. That milestone was previously used for imposing strict restrictions, although hospital admission rates are now viewed as a more meaningful indicator.

There is typically a lag time of several weeks before infection surges are reflected in increased deaths.

The government in Poland has said it will consider tighter pandemic restrictions if average daily cases exceed 7,000.

Infections are rising rapidly there, in line with much of Eastern Europe where vaccination rates are lower than on the rest of the continent.

“If, at the end of October, we are at an average level of over 7,000 cases per day, we will have to consider taking some more restrictive steps,” Health Minister Adam Niedzielski was quoted as saying by state-run news agency PAP. “Decisions will be made at the beginning of November.”

Niedzielski stressed that the government was not considering a lockdown.

Record COVID death toll surges

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Russia has once again reported its highest daily case tally since the start of the pandemic, ahead of a workplace lockdown starting later this week.

President Vladimir Putin has declared that October 30 to November 7 would be paid, non-working days. However, he said regions could extend the period or start it earlier, depending on what the epidemiological situation is there.

The TASS news agency reported that six areas, including the Samara and Perm regions east of Moscow, had already begun their non-working days on Monday.

Putin has also ordered increased testing, tougher controls on mask-wearing and social distancing and an acceleration of the vaccine campaign.

Salaried employees are to receive two days paid leave as a reward for getting inoculated.

Asia-Pacific

China has imposed lockdowns and other restrictions as it seeks to get a grip on recent outbreaks of COVID-19 ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Northern China has been the epicenter of the latest outbreak, accounting for the majority of cases and with mass testing underway in 11 provinces. Officials issued a stay-at-home order for some 35,000 people in the Ejin county of Inner Mongolia. 

Tourist sites were closed in neighboring Gansu province, which lies along the ancient Silk Road and boasts religious sites such as the Dunhuang grottoes. Numerous residential communities in Gansu were also placed under lockdown.

Games organizers on Monday published coronavirus guidelines, including strict mask requirements and limitations of movement. 

South Korea said it has achieved its target of vaccinating 70% of its 52 million people, paving the way for a return to normal, planned to begin next month.

South Korea’s battle against COVID-19

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In New Zealand, there were 109 new locally acquired cases on Monday, most of them in the nation’s largest city, Auckland.

For New Zealanders, it’s second worst day of daily infections since the pandemic began.

Americas

Canada has done away with a travel advisory that urged citizens to avoid nonessential foreign travel. At the same time, the province of Ontario has issued a timeline to lift all remaining restrictions. Its aim is to remove proof of vaccination and mask requirements by March 2022.

rc/aw (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)



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