US to allow foreign travelers vaccinated against COVID
Washington, Aug 06: The United States is planning to make it mandatory for all foreign travelers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, domestic media reported on Thursday. Under the current travel restrictions in the US, international travelers have been severely curtailed to control the spread of the delta variant.
Multiple US media outlets cited anonymous White House sources for the reports. The Biden administration reportedly wants to reopen to visitors from abroad in a "safe and sustainable manner," but no time frame was given.
Currently, non-US residents who have been to China, the EU, UK, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India in the previous 14 days are prohibited from entering. The Biden administration has faced pressure to lift some restrictions from other nations as well as those separated from their loved ones.
Here are other major coronavirus developments from around the world.
"Pass Over," a modern twist on "Waiting for Godot," will be the first Broadway show to open in New York City since the pandemic forced theaters to shut in 2020.
The rules require audiences, actors, stage crew and staff to be fully vaccinated. Theaters will be at full capacity, and audiences will be required to wear masks.
In the Cuban province of Ciego de Avila, hotels have been converted into hospitals, as cases are soaring.
Officials say hotel Ciego de Avila will be able hold up to 240 low-risk pediatric patients, and the Las Canas Motel will have 53 beds for infected pregnant women. Cuba had been successful in controlling an outbreak last year, but cases of the delta variant are now raising alarm among health authorities.
A new factory is being constructed in Chile, to make doses of China's Sinovac COVID vaccine. A production center in the Santiago area and a research facility in Antofagasta have been planned, said the health ministry.
Chile had stopped producing vaccines 20 years ago when its public health institute shut down. Doses from the Sinovac center should be ready by March next year.
Olympics organizers reported 31 new cases related to the Games, which brings the total since July 1 to 353. Tokyo reported a record high of 5,042 new cases on Thursday, as numbers soar in the city hosting the games.
Japan is seeing a spike in cases and authorities plan to impose restrictions on eight more prefectures. "The situation on the ground [at hospitals] is extremely severe," said economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.
Thailand reported a record 20,920 coronavirus cases in a day on Thursday. The country has been seeing a surge in cases over recent weeks.
Melbourne joined Sydney and Brisbane as it went into yet another lockdown, its sixth so far. Some in Australia have blamed the slow rollout of vaccines for the spike in cases in recent weeks.
"No one who has died has had both doses of vaccine. I cannot stress enough how it's so important for everybody of all ages to come forward and get the vaccine," said New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Lufthansa Airlines halved its losses in the second quarter, compared to the same period from the previous year, when pandemic-related travel restrictions were more severe.
The airline said it had drawn an additional €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) in aid from the German government. During this year, flights are expected to reach around 40% of the levels seen in 2019.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 3,539 new cases in Germany, while the death toll rose by 26 on Thursday.
The Constitutional Council of France, the country's highest court, upheld a new law put forth by President Emmanuel Macron, requiring the public to hold a health pass to access bars and restaurants, and requiring health workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-September.
The court said the law complied with the republic's founding charter. But in the same ruling, the court rejected other clauses in the legislation, saying that enforcing a compulsory 10-day quarantine on anyone testing COVID-19 positive was an impingement on freedoms.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has appealed for a moratorium on giving booster shots to reduce vaccine disparity among developing nations.
Ghebreyesus said richer countries have administered about 100 doses for every 100 people on average, while low-income countries hampered by short supplies have provided only about 1.5 doses per 100 people.
The health body has repeatedly asked developed countries to donate vaccine doses to countries with low inoculation rates. WHO officials say the science is unproven about whether giving booster shots to people who have already received two vaccine doses is effective in preventing spread of the coronavirus.