Close to 40m people in Russia have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, reports Reuters.
Authorities in the country, which has a population of 146m, have said they are aiming to reach 80% immunity by November.
Australian tourism minister Dan Tehan also said “there is light at the end of the tunnel” for the industry. When 80% of the country is vaccinated, he said outbound travel will resume and people will be able to travel freely.
He said he hopes home quarantine will also be introduced in the lead-up to Christmas – rather than requiring people to quarantine in hotels.
Australia on track to reopen borders ‘by Christmas’, says tourism minister
Australia’s tourism minister said the country is on track to reopen its borders “by Christmas at the latest”, reports CNN.
Dan Tehan said on Wednesday during a National Press Club of Australia talk: “I do empathise with the Australians who have been denied the opportunity to travel overseas this year.”
He added: “It’s another reason why everyone should get vaccinated and we have to stick to the national plan that will see our international border open up – at this rate by Christmas at the latest.”
In-person fashion shows have returned to Milan for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
At Milan fashion week, 43 of the 65 shows will have a physical audience and many of the parties are back, reports AFP.
However, audiences will be required to show either proof of vaccination or a negative test and to wear face masks. Many of the buyers and journalists were not able to attend as a result of travel restrictions and capacity has been restricted.
Carlo Capasa, chairman of the CNMI, Italy’s national Fashion chamber, said the shows “mark a moment of rebirth”.
Turkey, Egypt and the Maldives are among eight countries to be removed from the UK’s travel “red list” today.
From 4am on Wednesday, Kenya, Oman, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were also removed.
UK will pay ‘tens of millions’ to support CO2 producer, says environment secretary
The UK environment secretary George Eustice says the UK will pay “tens of millions” to support a CO2 producer as the country struggles with the ongoing energy crisis.
He told Sky News it is going to cost the UK “many millions, possibly tens of millions” over the next three weeks.
He said there is a “lot of turbulence” in the market following the pandemic as countries come out of lockdown.
If we the government did not act, he said some of the poultry processing plants would have to close.
Lawyers are still working on those final details. It’s going to be into many millions, possibly the tens of millions, but it is to underpin some of those fixed costs.
It’s going to be temporary … at the end of the day we need the market to adjust.
The food industry know that there is going to be a sharp rise in the cost of carbon dioxide, probably going from something like 200 a tonne eventually up to closer to 1,000 a tonne, so a big, sharp rise.
He claimed there had been a “perfect storm” created by two plants in the UK and Norway shutting for maintenance as CF Industries, which supplies much of the CO2 used in food production, suspended operations in two factories as a result of high energy costs.
New births in the US are rebounding after a decline during the pandemic, a report suggests.
In December 2020, births in the US were down by 7.7% on the previous year and by 9/4% in January 2021 compared with the January before, reports the Associated Press.
But according to a report released on Tuesday by the US Census Bureau, births hardly declined in March – down by only 0.15% compared with the previous year.
“This trend suggests that some people who postponed having babies last year had them this year,” said Anne Morse, a Census Bureau demographer on the report.
“The winter decrease in births may have been prompted by couples who consciously chose to delay having children amid the uncertainty of the pandemic. It may also have been influenced by stress or limited physical interaction with a sexual partner.”
It comes after the US centres for disease control and prevention (CDC) reported in May that the US birth rate dropped 4% last year – the most sizeable single-year drop in nearly half a century.
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India urges UK to resolve quarantine dispute
India’s foreign minister on Tuesday urged Britain to remove a rule requiring Indians visiting there to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated, Reuters reports.
India’s Covishield vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured in India by Pune-based Serum Institute, is not recognised by Britain under new rules despite being identical to the doses given to millions of Britons.
The rules, that come into effect next month, have caused anger, with many Indians branding the decision as discriminatory. Britons vaccinated in the UK with the same Indian-made doses are not required to quarantine.
They could also lead to a retaliation from New Delhi, with Indian government sources saying it was likely to take reciprocal steps if the issue is not quickly resolved.
“Urged early resolution of quarantine issue in mutual interest,” foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said in a tweet after a meeting with his British counterpart Liz Truss in New York, where both are attending the United Nations general assembly.
The British high commission (embassy) in New Delhi said the UK was working with India to resolve the issue.
“We are engaging with the government of India to explore how we could expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India,” a spokesperson said.
Brazil health minister tests positive for Covid at UN General Assembly
Brazil’s health minister tested positive for Covid in New York after president Jair Bolsonaro spoke at the UN general assembly on Tuesday.
Brazil’s government said in a statement that Marcelo Quiroga was in good health and would remain in isolation in the US. He got his first shot of coronavirus vaccine in January.
Other members of Brazil’s government in New York tested negative for the virus, the statement said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Bolsonaro spoke at the general assembly, flouting the requirement for all attendees to be vaccinated against the virus.
Bolsonaro has said several times over the last week that he remains unvaccinated. He said getting a shot is a personal, medical decision. He contracted Covid last year.
Queiroga was photographed side by side with Bolsonaro on several occasions this week. Tuesday morning he tweeted a picture with first lady Michele Bolsonaro.
Queiroga had breakfast Monday with several employees of investment funds in New York.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coronavirus coverage.
Brazil’s health minister tested positive for Covid in New York after president Jair Bolsonaro spoke at the UN general assembly on Tuesday. Brazil’s government said in a statement that Marcelo Quiroga was in good health and would remain in isolation in the US. He got his first shot of coronavirus vaccine in January.
India’s foreign minister on Tuesday urged Britain to remove a rule requiring Indians visiting there to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated.
Here are the other key recent developments:
- Cambridge University in England has reported that 96% of 12,000 students said that they had received a Covid-19 vaccination, or intended to get one, before arriving in the city for the new academic year.
- About 20% of workers in Nigeria have lost their jobs as a result of Covid-19.
- US president Joe Biden is betting on millions more rapid, at-home tests to help curb the latest deadly wave of the Covid-19 pandemic
- The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, described the world as getting an “F in ethics” over global vaccine distribution as he spoke at the UN general assembly on Tuesday. He said the inequitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is an “obscenity”.
- The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has warned that uneven vaccine distribution globally is affecting economic recovery from the pandemic.
- The mass take-up of the UK’s NHS app in order to use the Covid Pass feature has led to a surge in people registering their organ donation preference.
- Long Covid patients told a UK parliamentary committee that they are “struggling’” to get help on the NHS.
- The EU is expected to accept the NHS Covid pass as proof of vaccination across the union within days.