Revised international travel requirements coming Monday for the vaccinated, unvaccinated


Starting Monday all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 24 hours before their flights depart. Previously vaccinated travelers coming to the U.S. had three days to get a negative result, whereas those unvaccinated had one day.

“I just came back from Paris,” said Rancho Bernardo resident Luke Trowbridge. “You have to get like a test three days before and once you were clear, you were all set to go.”

Trowbridge said the one day test requirement is not an inconvenience.

“It’s really easy,” he said. “As long as you make a little bit of time for it.”

Other people said the same thing.

“I don’t think that’s going to affect me,” said Spring Valley resident Donovan Turner who was flying to Brazil Friday.

The measures are being taken by federal officials out of an abundance of caution and that is because there is still a lot unknown about this new variant Omicron. Researchers are racing to answer questions like if it’s more contagious or vaccine resistant or has a higher hospitalization rate.

The mask requirement inside of airports and plane was also extended this week. The measures come as travel out of San Diego has been rebounding.

“Domestic has done a lot better than international and that’s really because they haven’t been operating this entire time,” said San Diego International spokesperson Sabrina LoPiccolo.

Revised international travel requirements coming Monday for the vaccinated, unvaccinated

Airlines have not brought back all their flights, especially international carriers. This year Japan Airlines came back, along with flights to Canada and most recently in October flights resumed to London. Overall traffic is still down compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“Currently we’re between about 20% to 25% down from what we saw in 2019,” LoPiccolo said. “We are definitely a lot closer than what we saw last year around this time, but we haven’t fully recovered.”

For those with questions about the changes a good tip is to contact your airline carrier or check the CDC’s travel page on their website.





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US coronavirus: You don’t have to change holiday plans due to Omicron if you’re vaccinated, Fauci says. But don’t wait to get a booster


With the Delta variant still spreading — and travel expected to increase this month — vaccinations are key to safely enjoying end-of-the-year festivities.
“Just as I said and I’ll say it again, if you have a vaccinated situation, enjoy the holidays with your family in a family setting,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a CNN Global Town Hall on Wednesday.
But it’s clear that vaccinations have been effective against other coronavirus variants, including the Delta variant that is still raging in hotspots across the US. And Fauci said their success against Delta may also be seen with Omicron.

“That’s where we’re hoping we’ll see with the Omicron variant, that if you get your levels high enough it’ll spill over and get cross-protection against that variant,” Fauci said, adding that it is still not clear whether people will need yearly or more frequent Covid-19 booster shots.

Some Americans may be asking if they should wait to get a Covid-19 booster depending on what scientists learn about the Omicron variant, but Fauci said to not wait.

“Get that extra boost now,” Fauci said. “The level of antibodies that rise and go up following a boost is much, much higher than the peak level that you get after your second dose of a two-dose vaccine.”

As officials prep for Omicron, US hospitals are still battling severe Delta variant infections
The first confirmed case in the US of the Omicron variant was identified in California on Wednesday. Fauci said the person was fully vaccinated and is experiencing “mild symptoms, which are improving at this point.”

A second case has been found in a Minnesota resident who had traveled to New York City. The person — an adult male — was vaccinated, had mild symptoms on November 22 and was tested on November 24. He has since recovered, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

New York officials are asking individuals who attended a conference at the Javits Center between November 18-22 to get tested following revelations that the Minnesota resident also attended the conference. Proof of vaccination was required to attend the convention, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday.

Health officials expect to find more Omicron cases as genetic sequencing continues around the country.

The Delta variant is still at the forefront of health officials’ minds as it accounts for practically all new infections. Nearly 58,000 Americans are hospitalized with Covid-19, according to data from US Health and Human Services.

Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday that he hopes so-called “Covid-19 fatigue” will not prevent people from getting vaccinated.

“Even if the Omicron strain doesn’t turn out to be any worse, we are losing close to a thousand people every day from the Delta variant, and that in and of itself is a reason for people to get boosted,” Besser said.

A person is tested for Covid-19 inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport on December 01, 2021

Travel concerns remain

With Omicron detected in at least 25 countries and territories, officials are working to find those infected and are cautioning those at higher risk of severe symptoms to avoid travel.
In the US, the Biden administration announced restrictions last week against travelers, with the exception of US citizens and legal permanent residents, from entering the US from eight southern African nations. The Omicron variant was first identified by South African scientists.
Biden to extend transportation mask mandate through March
Following an earlier CDC order that airlines must collect contact information from passengers before their arrival to notify of possible Covid-19 exposures, the agency plans to provide the names of those on flights from southern Africa to state and local public health departments, a health official confirms. Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines told CNN they are complying with the directive.

Fauci told a White House news briefing Wednesday that the travel bans are meant to be “temporary” and were needed to slow the variant’s arrival, rather than the highly unlikely task of stopping it completely.

“No one feels — I certainly don’t — that a travel ban is going to prevent people who are infected from coming to the United States,” Fauci said. “But we needed to buy some time to be able to prepare, understand what’s going on.”

The World Health Organization on Tuesday said those who are not fully vaccinated or do not have proof of prior infection, as well as those over 60 years of age or have comorbidities such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes should “postpone travel to areas with community transmission” due to the Omicron variant.

Prolonged pandemic effects discovered

With more than 785,000 Americans dead from Covid-19 and hospitals still stretched to capacity in some parts of the country, two recent studies further demonstrate how damaging the virus has been as well for those who survived.
People who lived through a severe case of Covid-19 — those requiring hospitalization — were about 2.5 times more likely to die within a year of diagnosis than those who did not have Covid-19, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, and were nearly two times more likely to die than those who had a mild or moderate case.

The study from researchers at the University of Florida found no significant difference in mortality risk between patients with mild or moderate Covid-19 and those who did not have Covid-19, suggesting that preventing severe Covid-19 infections is the most effective ways to avoid deaths.

Only about 20% of “downstream deaths” among Covid-19 patients were from respiratory or cardiovascular causes, the study determined.

“Since these deaths were not for a direct Covid-19 cause of death among these patients who have recovered from the initial episode of Covid-19, this data suggests that the biological insult from Covid-19 and physiological stress from Covid-19 is significant,” the researchers wrote. The de-identified medical records of nearly 14,000 patients in 2020 were used in their study.

Another analysis, from the United Network for Organ Sharing, found that one in every 10 lung transplants in the US in 2021 has gone to a patient with lung damage related to Covid-19.

In the last five months of 2020, only about 2% — one in every 50 — lung transplants went to Covid-19 patients, data showed.

CNN’s Jen Christensen, Maggie Fox, Deidre McPhillips, Jaime Gumbrecht, Jacqueline Howard, Taylor Romine, Virginia Langmaid, Kaitlan Collins, Pete Muntean and Greg Wallace contributed to this report.



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I Tried Singapore Airlines’ New Vaccinated Travel Lane Flight




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Singapore launches vaccinated travel lanes with Thailand, Cambodia, Fiji, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Turkey


RECOGNITION OF EU DIGITAL VACCINE CERTIFICATE

From Dec 7, Singapore will accept vaccination certificates issued in the European Union Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC) format as valid proof for VTL travel, said CAAS.

This comes after the European Commission announced on Wednesday that it would recognise the Singapore HealthCerts as equivalent to the EU DCC, connecting Singapore to this “trust framework”, said the authority.

With this, travellers from VTL countries with EU DCC certificates – even if those were issued in a non-VTL country – will be able to travel to Singapore on VTL, said CAAS.

These travellers must still meet other VTL conditions, it added.

RESTRICTIONS TIGHTENED FOR SOME COUNTRIES

Separately, Singapore will tighten border measures for six European countries, following the “worsening situation” in those locations.

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Liechtenstein and Slovakia will be classified as Category III countries from 11.59pm on Dec 1, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a separate news release.

Travellers from Category III countries are required to serve a 10-day stay-home notice at their place of accommodation, in addition to COVID-19 testing.

Belize, Costa Rica, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Panama, Peru and Uruguay will also be classified as Category III countries from 11.59pm on Dec 1.

MOH said it will also classify Thailand, Argentina, Kuwait, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan and Romania as Category II countries from the same date.

Those arriving from Category II countries must serve a seven-day stay-home notice at their place of accommodation and be tested for COVID-19.

UPDATE ON VTL TRAVELLERS

As of 11.59pm on Thursday, 79,335 vaccinated travel passes have been issued for entry into Singapore between Sep 8 and Jan 27, 2022, said CAAS.

This number does not include Singaporeans, permanent residents and children aged 12 and below travelling under the VTL, who do not need to apply for a vaccinated travel pass.

Just over 37,000 VTL travellers have entered Singapore as of Thursday, added CAAS.

More than 20,000 of these are short-term visitors or long-term pass holders. About 15,000 are Singaporeans or permanent residents, and about 1,700 are children.



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Hawaii wants vaccinated tourists to return, starting Nov. 1


“Because of this, it is now safe for fully vaccinated residents and visitors to resume nonessential travel to and within the state of Hawaii,” he said. “Beginning November 1, we want to invite and encourage fully vaccinated visitors and residents to travel for business or leisure, trans-Pacific and inter-island.”



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Australian Open Will Require Players to Be Fully Vaccinated


ImageNovak Djokovic in Melbourne, Australia, in February. He is the reigning Australian Open men’s singles champion and has declined to divulge his vaccination status.
Credit…Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Reuters

The Australian Open in January will become the first Grand Slam tennis tournament to require that players be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, a decision that casts doubt on the participation of Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the No. 1-ranked men’s player, who has declined to divulge his vaccination status.

Craig Tiley, the Australian Open tournament director, confirmed the tournament’s policy in a television interview in Melbourne on Saturday.

The announcement ended months of speculation and mixed messages from Australian government officials. Federal authorities had indicated that unvaccinated players might be able to enter Australia and compete in the tournament in Melbourne after a 14-day quarantine period. But Daniel Andrews, the premier of the state of Victoria, has been adamant that players will need to be fully vaccinated, just as Australian Open spectators and on-site employees will be required to be vaccinated.

Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, has experienced some of the strictest coronavirus measures in the world, with six separate stay-at-home orders over an 18-month period.

“It is the one direction that you can take that you can ensure everyone’s safety, and all the playing group understands it,” Mr. Tiley said of requiring players to be vaccinated. “Our patrons will need to be vaccinated. All the staff working the Australian Open will need to be vaccinated, but when we’re in a state where there’s more than 90 percent of the population fully vaccinated — they’ve done a magnificent job with that — it’s the right thing to do.”

Steve Simon, the chief executive of the Women’s Tennis Association, said in an interview this past week that “over 70 percent” of the W.T.A.’s top 300 singles players and top 100 doubles players had been vaccinated and that all of the singles and doubles players who competed in the recent W.T.A. finals in Mexico had been vaccinated.

Andrea Gaudenzi, the chairman of the men’s tour, said in an interview on Friday that the vaccination rate for the top 100 men’s singles players was “above 80 percent.”

“We are moving toward 90 percent, 95 percent of fully vaccinated,” he said. “A lot will do it in the off-season with one shot.”

But it seems all but certain that some qualified players will not make the journey to Australia because of the policy.

All four Grand Slam tournaments, including the U.S. Open, allowed unvaccinated players to participate this year, as have regular tour events.

Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open singles champion, has yet to confirm whether he will defend his title next year. He and his wife, Jelena, contracted the coronavirus in June 2020 during an exhibition tour that he had helped to organize in Serbia and Croatia.

He has expressed concern about vaccines and has said repeatedly that he would wait for the Australian Open’s policy to be made clear before making a decision on participating.

Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday endorsed booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines for all adults, a move that brings tens of millions fully vaccinated people a step closer to a third shot.

Boosters are recommended six months after the second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. With this final step, boosters should be available this weekend, allowing many Americans to get a shot before the Thanksgiving holiday.

The new recommendations say that everyone 50 and older — most of whom have other risk factors — as well as those 18 and older living in long-term care facilities “should” get a booster. Other Americans who are 18 and older “may” opt for one if they wish, based on individual risk and benefit.

Several advisers said at the meeting that they hoped the simpler age-based guidelines would ease some of the confusion around who is eligible for the extra shots.

An advisory committee to the C.D.C. unanimously voted in favor of the booster shots. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the agency’s director, later formally accepted the recommendation. The recommendations align with President Biden’s promise in August that all adults would be eligible for extra doses.

Desperate to dampen even a dim echo of last winter’s horrors, the administration is betting that booster shots will shore up what some have characterized as waning immunity among the fully vaccinated.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for all adults on Friday, but the C.D.C. generally makes the recommendations followed by the medical profession.

In recent days, several states have broadened booster access to all adults on their own.

Addressing the panelists, Dr. Sam Posner, the acting director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, acknowledged that previous eligibility categories “were complicated to implement” and said he hoped that simplifying them “will reduce confusion.”

After a brief respite, coronavirus infections are inching up again, particularly in parts of the country where cooler weather is hustling people indoors. Research suggests that the shots may help forestall at least some infections, particularly in older adults and those with certain health conditions.

The C.D.C.’s decision lands just as Americans are preparing to spend the holidays with family and friends. Given the tens of millions of Americans who have yet to receive a single dose of vaccine, holiday travel and get-togethers could send cases skyrocketing, as they did last year.

Several European countries are also offering boosters to all adults in a bid to contain fresh waves of infections. France has gone so far as to mandate booster shots for people over age 65 who wish to get a health pass permitting access to public venues.

Noah Weiland and Dan Levin contributed reporting.

Credit…Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Pregnant women who had Covid-19 when they delivered their babies were almost twice as likely to have a stillbirth as healthy women who did not have Covid, according to a Centers for Disease Control study released on Friday that examined more than 1.2 million deliveries in the United States from March 2020 to September 2021.

While stillbirths were rare overall, representing less than 1 percent of all births, 1.26 percent of the 21,653 women with Covid experienced a stillbirth, compared with 0.64 percent of women without Covid. Even after adjustments were made to control for differences between the groups, women with Covid were 1.9 times as likely as healthy women to have a stillbirth.

The risk of stillbirth has been even higher for women with Covid since the Delta variant has been dominant: While the risk of stillbirth for women with Covid was 1.5 times as high as that of healthy women before July, when Delta became dominant, it was four times as high from July to September. As many as 2.7 percent of deliveries to women with Covid were stillbirths during the period studied while Delta was dominant.

“There had been reports suggesting an increased risk, but stillbirths are hard to study, because luckily they are uncommon,” said Dr. Denise Jamieson, the chief of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory Healthcare. “This is some of the strongest evidence of the increased risk, and probably the strongest data pointing to the risks specifically tied to Delta.”

The C.D.C. strongly encourages pregnant and breastfeeding women and women planning or trying to become pregnant to be vaccinated against Covid, but resistance has been strong, even though pregnancy is on the C.D.C.’s list of health conditions that increase the risk of severe disease.

Studies have shown that pregnant patients who are symptomatic are more than twice as likely as other symptomatic patients to require admission to intensive care or interventions like mechanical ventilation, and they may be more likely to die. They are also more likely to experience a preterm birth.

Another C.D.C. study issued on Wednesday described the cases of 15 pregnant women in Mississippi who died of Covid during their pregnancy or shortly afterward, including six who died before the Delta variant became dominant and nine who died from July to October, while Delta was dominant.

Of the women who died, nine were Black, three were white and three were Hispanic. The median age was 30. Fourteen of the women had underlying medical conditions, and none were vaccinated. Five of the deaths occurred before vaccinations were available.

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The country became the first Western democracy to announce that it would require Covid vaccinations for its entire adult population.CreditCredit…Christian Bruna/EPA, via Shutterstock

Austria on Friday became the first Western democracy to announce that it would mandate Covid vaccinations for its entire adult population as it prepared for a nationwide lockdown starting Monday.

The extraordinary measure by Austria, which only days ago separated itself from the rest of Europe by introducing a lockdown for the unvaccinated, who are driving a surge of infections, made for another alarming statement about the severity of the fourth wave of the virus in Europe, now the epicenter of the pandemic.

But it also showed that increasingly desperate governments are losing their patience with vaccine skeptics and shifting from voluntary to obligatory measures to promote vaccinations and beat back a virus that shows no sign of waning, rattling global markets at the prospect that still tentative economic recoveries will be undone.

Some European countries, including Germany, which once seemed a model of how to manage the virus, are now facing their worst levels of infections in the nearly two years since the pandemic began. The surge, health authorities say, is being driven by stubborn resistance to getting vaccinated in deep pockets of the population, cold weather driving people indoors, loosened restrictions and possibly waning immunity among those previously vaccinated.

Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The daily average is calculated with data that was reported in the last seven days.

“For a long time — maybe too long — I and others assumed that it must be possible to convince people in Austria to voluntarily get vaccinated,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg of Austria said on Friday. “We therefore have reached a very difficult decision to introduce a national vaccine mandate.”

With its latest move, Austria significantly moved ahead of other European countries that have inched up to, but not crossed, a threshold that once seemed unthinkable. The announcement drew an immediate threat of violent protest this weekend by leaders of anti-vaccine movements and the far-right Freedom Party, which compared the government’s latest mandates with those of a dictatorship.

Many European countries have already instituted mandates in all but name only — requiring strict health passes as proof of vaccination, recovery from infection or a negative test to partake in most social functions, travel or to go to work. Many already require children to be vaccinated against measles and other illnesses to attend school.

The notion of requiring vaccination in adults against Covid was a line that Europe had seemed unwilling to cross, however, with leaders often contrasting their respect for civil liberties with authoritarian-styled countries.

But just as lockdowns have become a fact of life, vaccine mandates are increasingly becoming plausible. German lawmakers in Parliament voted on Thursday to force unvaccinated people going to work or using public transit to provide daily test results. The country’s vaccination rate among adults is about 79 percent, one of the lowest in Western Europe.

On Friday, Jens Spahn, the acting health minister in Germany, was asked whether a general lockdown was possible for the country. “We are in a position where nothing should be ruled out,” he said.

The specter of a lockdown in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, sent jitters through European markets hungering for economic recovery and sales during the Christmas shopping season.

Austria’s new vaccine mandate will take effect in February, in the hopes that as many people as possible will be motivated to sign up for their initial inoculations, but also booster shots, Austria’s health minister, Wolfgang Mückstein, said.

It also gave leaders time to formalize legal guidelines for the mandate, he said, adding that there would be exceptions for people who are not able to be vaccinated.

Correction: 

An earlier version of this briefing item incorrectly described the nature of Austria’s planned nationwide lockdown. It will be among the first in Europe since the spring, not the first.

Credit…Caitlin O’Hara for The New York Times

Gov. Bill Lee said on Friday that he would not renew Tennessee’s state of emergency, ending measures that he first put in place in response to the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020.

The governor announced the decision in a tweet:

Mr. Lee added that he would consider temporarily reinstating the measures should the state “face any future surges,” but that his administration was “evaluating opportunities for permanent deregulation.”

Recently, cases in Tennessee reached a peak in early September before dropping steeply, but infections have been rising again in recent days.

Source: State and local health agencies. Daily cases are the number of new cases reported each day. The seven-day average is the average of a day and the previous six days of data.

Mr. Lee, a Republican, has been active in rolling back pandemic restrictions. Last week, he signed a bill into law that prohibited government entities, schools and private businesses in Tennessee from requiring Covid vaccinations or proof of vaccination and limited their ability to impose mask mandates. The law also prohibited health care providers from vaccinating minors without the written consent of a parent or legal guardian.

On Wednesday, the governor made a pitch to law enforcement personnel who were leaving states with “restrictive mandates” to join the Tennessee Highway Patrol, going so far as offering to help pay their moving expenses.

Credit…David Ryder/Reuters

With the holiday travel season nearing, Canadian officials announced several measures on Friday meant to standardize international travel and make it easier for Canadians taking short trips to re-enter the country.

Travelers who are fully vaccinated with the shots from Sinopharm, Sinovac and Covaxin will be allowed to enter Canada starting Nov. 30, opening the door wider to people from countries like India, Brazil and China, where those vaccines are more frequently administered.

Currently, Canada only accepts travelers who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the four shots approved in the country. The expanded list will align with the vaccines cleared for use by the World Health Organization.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said that the case rates associated with each of the vaccines were about the same.

“All that is very reassuring,” Dr. Tam said. She added that although Sinopharm, Sinovac and Covaxin “are not authorized in Canada, because they’ve gone through the W.H.O. process in terms of evaluation of safety, of efficacy and of quality, we’ve taken that into account as we increase the list of vaccines for Canadian border measures.”

Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The daily average is calculated with data that was reported in the last seven days.

Additionally, people leaving Canada by land or by air for less than 72 hours will no longer be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test to re-enter the country. The price and processing time of P.C.R. tests — which can cost more than $100 and take longer than a day for results — were widely seen as deterrents to travel.

This change applies only to Canadians, permanent residents and Indigenous people registered under the Indian Act. It also takes effect Nov. 30.

The government will take a firm stance against unvaccinated travelers entering and leaving the country beginning on that date as well, with “very few exemptions,” said Omar Alghabra, Canada’s transport minister. He added that only fully vaccinated travelers would be able to fly from a Canadian airport or board a Via Rail or Rocky Mountaineer train.

Starting Jan. 15, Canada will also phase out most previously granted travel exemptions for those who are unvaccinated. This will affect professional and amateur athletes, foreign students, truck drivers and other essential workers who cross the border, and adults over 18 traveling to reunite with a family member.

Other categories of unvaccinated or partly vaccinated travelers — such as refugees, marine crews and agricultural workers — will be able to enter only with limited approval.

Credit…Merck & Co Inc/Via Reuters

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s drug regulator on Friday recommended the use of a pill, developed by Merck, that was found in a clinical trial to halve the rate of hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk Covid patients who took it soon after infection.

The drug, molnupiravir, has yet to be authorized by E.U. countries, but in recommending its administration, the European Medicines Agency paved the way for its use within the next few months.

Several E.U. countries, including France and Italy, have already placed orders for supplies of the drug.

Britain became the first country this month to authorize the use of the pill. Its regulator authorized it for vaccinated and unvaccinated people who have Covid and are at high risk of becoming severely ill. The treatment could be authorized in the United States as soon as early December.

The European Medicines Agency said the drug could be taken by adults who do not require supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of developing severe coronavirus cases. The pill “should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis of Covid-19 and within five days of the start of symptoms,” the agency said in a news release.

The agency also said on Friday that it had begun reviewing a similar drug developed by Pfizer, called Paxlovid.

Scientists and government leaders have called the drugs game changers in efforts to end the pandemic if their efficacy in clinical trials holds up in the real world. Unlike monoclonal antibodies, which are typically administered by health care professionals at a hospital or clinic, the pills would be dispensed at pharmacies and taken at home, providing a cheaper and easier way to treat coronavirus infections, including in poorer countries.

Merck has agreed to let other manufacturers make and sell its pill in 105 developing nations, including many where vaccination rates are critically low. It has also licensed eight large Indian drug makers to produce generic and cheaper versions of Merck’s pill.

In the United States, Pfizer applied to the Food and Drug Administration this past week to authorize Paxlovid, and the Biden administration plans to buy a stockpile of the pill that could be administered to as many as 10 million people.

Credit…Carlos Osorio/Reuters

Canada approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 on Friday, adding more than 2.8 million young people to those eligible for a shot.

Some provinces, including Ontario and Saskatchewan, have already announced plans to start scheduling appointments for young children as soon as the doses arrive. Canada’s first order — enough for all eligible children to receive one dose — is expected to begin arriving on Sunday, Filomena Tassi, Canada’s minister of public services and procurement, said at a news conference. She added that the government was working with Pfizer on a second order.

“Overall, this is very good news for adults and children alike,” Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, the agency responsible for drug authorization in the country, said at another news conference. “It provides another tool to protect Canadians and, to the relief of many parents, will help bring back a degree of normality to children’s lives, allowing them to more safely do the things that they have missed during the last 20 months.”

Pfizer’s is the first coronavirus vaccine to be approved in Canada for children ages 5 to 11. Health Canada based its approval on a clinical trial comprising 4,600 children, Dr. Sharma said, with 3,100 children receiving two doses of the vaccine spaced three weeks apart and 1,500 receiving a placebo.

There were four adverse reactions unconnected to the vaccinations, and none of the children experienced heart inflammation or severe allergic reactions.

Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The daily average is calculated with data that was reported in the last seven days.

The pediatric doses — each one-third of the adult dose — will be stored in vials with an orange cap, and the cartons’ labels will have orange borders, to differentiate them from the adult vials, Christina Antoniou, a spokeswoman for Pfizer Canada, said in an email.

The reduced dose for children results in antibody levels comparable to those from the larger dose in adults, said Dr. Jeffrey Pernica, an infectious diseases specialist at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. For parents wondering if they should wait until their child turns 12 to get the larger dose, Dr. Pernica noted, the immune response produced by the pediatric vaccine is just as strong.

“I don’t think waiting would have any significant benefit,” he said.

Nearly 75 percent of all Canadians, or more than 28.5 million people, are fully vaccinated.

More than 16,800 coronavirus cases have been reported in Canada in the past seven days, according to national public health data, with the highest per capita rates in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. First Nations reserves are also experiencing high per capita infection rates.

While the number of severe cases has declined nationwide, hospitals in some areas are inching closer to capacity limits, said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer. She added that newly reported cases were highest among children.

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As coronavirus cases in Germany continue to reach record levels, officials warned of a possible nationwide lockdown. “With vaccinations and boosters alone, we will not be able to break the wave quick enough,” said Germany’s health minister.CreditCredit…Christof Stache/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As Austria prepares to go into a national lockdown next week, the health minister in neighboring Germany suggested on Friday that a similar measure remained an option for his far larger country as coronavirus cases there continue to reach record levels.

“We are in a position where nothing should be ruled out,” the minister, Jens Spahn, told a news conference in response to a reporter’s question about a lockdown for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

His remarks came one day after lawmakers in Parliament voted to force unvaccinated people going to work or using public transit to provide daily test results. The country’s vaccination rate among adults is about 79 percent.

Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The daily average is calculated with data that was reported in the last seven days.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and state governors also agreed on Thursday night to require proof of vaccination or recovery from coronavirus infection for people entering restaurants, bars and hair salons or attending events in states where hospital beds are becoming scarce.

But some German states are going it alone.

On Friday, the governor of Bavaria, which has some of the country’s worst hot spots, announced measures including the cancellation of all Christmas markets and the closing of bars, clubs and nightclubs until at least Dec. 15. The celebrated Christmas market in the state’s capital, Munich, was canceled earlier this week.

Theaters, cinemas, operas and spectator sports will be allowed to remain open at 25 percent capacity for people who are vaccinated or who have recovered from the virus and show a negative test result. Restaurants will close at 10 p.m.

Districts with high infection rates will close down completely, leaving only essential shops, day cares and schools open.

“We are facing a corona drama,” the state’s governor, Markus Söder, said. “The numbers are exploding in the shortest time span and the beds are full,” he added, referring to overwhelmed hospitals. Some patients there are being moved to less crowded hospitals in northern Germany.

The governor of Saxony also announced new restrictions on Friday. Starting on Monday, a ban will be introduced on some events and larger gatherings regardless of the inoculation status of those attending.

Credit…Emily Elconin for The New York Times

As Michigan confronts the most severe rise in recent coronavirus cases per capita in the United States, the state’s health officials announced on Friday that they will issue a face mask advisory in an effort to hamper the virus’s spread ahead of the holidays.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommended that all residents older than the age of 2 should wear a face mask at indoor gatherings, and urged businesses to implement a mandatory mask policy.

The advisory comes as Michigan tackles its highest surge of virus cases since the pandemic began, outpacing a jump that ravaged the state in the spring.

As of Thursday, the daily average of new cases increased 83 percent and the average number of hospitalizations increased 40 percent over the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database. The seven-day average of new cases was 8,393, and the average number of daily deaths was 67. The average number of hospitalizations, 3,224, remained lower than those in the spring.

Source: State and local health agencies. Daily cases are the number of new cases reported each day. The seven-day average is the average of a day and the previous six days of data.

“The increases in case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations have us very concerned,” Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan health department, said in a statement. “We are issuing the face mask advisory and are looking to Michiganders to do their part to help protect their friends, their families and their communities by wearing a mask in indoor settings and getting vaccinated for Covid-19 and flu as soon as possible if they have not already done so.”

With airline travel this Thanksgiving season expected to approach prepandemic levels, according to Transportation Security Administration officials, Michigan’s chief medical executive, Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, urged residents to abide by a range of mitigation measures as holiday season approaches.

“The holidays can be a time to spread great cheer and we recommend taking measures including wearing a mask indoors to not spread Covid-19 to loved ones,” she said in a statement.

Credit…Tang Chhin Sothy/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Cambodia reopened for fully vaccinated tourists from overseas this week without quarantine after a nationwide campaign succeeded in achieving one of the world’s highest vaccination rates.

The move was welcomed by desperate tourism operators and workers, who have struggled to make a living since the start of the pandemic.

“I rejoice at and fully support the news of reopening the country to vaccinated tourists without quarantine,” said Chhay Sivlin, the president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents. Tourism directly accounted for more than 12 percent of the country’s economy in 2019 and provided jobs to 630,000 people, she said.

Last month, the Southeast Asian nation of about 16 million announced plans to let fully vaccinated foreign tourists begin entering the country at the end of November if they first quarantined in selected areas for five days.

Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The daily average is calculated with data that was reported in the last seven days.

But citing the rapid pace of inoculations and a vaccination rate of 88 percent, Prime Minister Hun Sen accelerated that plan and said that fully vaccinated tourists could arrive without quarantine, effective on Monday.

“This is a big step towards reopening the entire country,” said Mr. Hun Sen, an authoritarian leader who came to power in 1984. “I hope our compatriots enjoy our reopening. It is widely due to the country having achieved such an outstanding rate of vaccination.”

While the prime minister put the fully vaccinated rate at 88 percent based on a population of 16 million, The New York Times database puts the rate at 80 percent, based on a population of nearly 16.5 million.

More than two million people have received a third dose.

About 90 percent of Cambodia’s vaccines came from China, including more than nine million doses of Sinovac and nearly four million doses of Sinopharm.

Under the new rules, travelers arriving from abroad can skip quarantine if they are fully vaccinated, test negative for the virus before departure and test negative again on arrival. Travelers who are not vaccinated must still spend 14 days in quarantine.

Ms. Sivlin said that tourist bookings were beginning to pick up and that airlines were working to increase the number of flights to Cambodia.

Some flights are scheduled to the capital, Phnom Penh, but none for Siem Reap, the town near the ancient city of Angkor that is one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia.

Like many of its neighbors, Cambodia reported relatively few virus cases in 2020 but faced a deadly surge this year. Still, its overall numbers have remained relatively low, with about 120,000 total cases and 2,900 deaths.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

About a third of people in the United States and Britain think their countries have suffered damage to their global reputations over their responses to the pandemic, according to a survey released on Friday, while Canadians rated their country’s response more positively.

Respondents to the poll, which was conducted by the Policy Institute at King’s College London, were split in the United States and Britain on whether their countries should cooperate internationally to quash the virus moving forward or whether they should work independently.

“The public in the U.K. and the U.S. seem in two minds on whether each country should hunker down and protect themselves or reach out to the rest of the world,” said Bobby Duffy, the director of the institute that conducted the survey.

“But it’s actually an understandable response,” he added. “People feel like we should think of ourselves first in the current crisis but work with others to help prevent future global health challenges.”

Source: State and local health agencies. Daily cases are the number of new cases reported each day. The seven-day average is the average of a day and the previous six days of data.

The United States and Britain have experienced two of the worst Covid outbreaks among wealthy nations.

New cases have been rising in the United States as colder winter temperatures and the holiday season approach, with nearly 95,000 additional infections recorded daily.

Britain is reporting an average of nearly 40,000 daily virus cases. And despite a surge in cases this fall, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has opposed introducing preventive measures such as mask mandates and health passes.

Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The daily average is calculated with data that was reported in the last seven days.

The survey, an online poll conducted in October and November, found that about 38 percent of respondents in the United States believed the country’s handling of the pandemic has damaged its global reputation, 21 percent said its impact had been positive and 25 percent said they felt it had no effect.

In Britain, about 36 percent said the government’s mishandling of the health crisis had damaged the country’s global standing, 21 percent said it had improved it, and 31 percent said they considered the impact insignificant.

Only 19 percent of people in Canada said their country’s reputation had taken a hit, while 33 percent said it had improved amid the government’s pandemic response and 37 percent said it had made no difference.

The poll included 1,099 adults in the United States, 1,129 people aged 16 to 75 in Britain, and 1,088 adults in Canada.

It follows a highly critical 151-page parliamentary inquiry into Britain’s initial response to the coronavirus, which ranked it as “one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced” and charged that it had cost thousands of lives.





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Travel update: Costly tests remain for vaccinated tourists when returning to UK | Travel News | Travel


Some Britons have expressed frustration at the news that double-jabbed travellers will still have to take a test. In many European countries, fully vaccinated tourists do not need to take a test after arrival.

Grant Shapps shared the update on Twitter saying: “There will be no countries or territories added to the red list.

“We will continue to keep all measures under review. From Monday, proof of vaccination will be recognised from 15 more countries.

“Including Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Senegal and Zimbabwe, another boost for business and leisure travel.”

Some Britons were expecting the Government to scrap day two lateral flow tests for fully vaccinated passengers.

READ MORE: British tourists issued passport stamp warning for Spain – ‘concern’

Daniel Ferney tweeted: “When are you scrapping testing for fully vaxxed? Still making a mint.”

Tweeter @thomasedde tweeted: “Scrap the pointless day two tests!”

SPD travels tweeted: “And why should there be (countries on the red list)? Let the vaccines do what they are supposed to do and do seem to be doing well.”

Others expressed relief that no countries had been added to the UK travel red list in today’s update.

John Forman tweeted: “I saw the red and my heart dropped, phew.”

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Some travel experts had speculated before the update that countries could be added to the red list.

Austria, Croatia and Slovenia were all mentioned as possible additions to the list after all three countries suffered an increase in rates.

While no countries are currently on the travel red list, the Government has said it remains an option.

Sajid Javid said: “The red list and quarantine system remain vital in protecting our borders and as we’ve said we will not hesitate to take action by adding countries to the red list if necessary.”

Donal Kane tweeted: “Today’s travel update seems only to consist of this (minor) good change adding a few more countries to the vaccine recognition list for entry.

“Otherwise no changes as expected. Still need to get all these foreign vaccine certificates recognised for domestic test and trace purposes!”

Under current restrictions, every fully vaccinated tourist must take a lateral flow test on or before day two after arrival.

Tests must be booked with a Government approved provider which can be found on the Government website.

Some tourists have complained that the tests are too expensive and feel they have been ripped off.

British tourists are advised to check the FCO website for the latest travel regulations before going on holiday.

Boris Johnson said that booster jabs would soon be recognised in the NHS Covid app which should make foreign travel ‘easier’ for Britons.

Several countries, including France, will require certain tourists to have a booster jab to visit by the end of the year.





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Why Can’t Some COVID-19 Vaccinated People Travel to the US? – NBC Chicago


Why can’t some COVID-19 vaccinated people travel to the U.S.?

Because they might not be vaccinated with shots recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization.

President Biden announced a new air travel policy that will begin on Nov. 8 and apply to all foreign, non-immigrant adults traveling to the U.S.

When lifting overseas travel restrictions in November, the U.S. required adults coming to the country to be fully vaccinated with shots approved or authorized by the FDA or allowed by WHO.

Among the most widely used vaccines that don’t meet that criteria are Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and China’s CanSino vaccine. Sputnik V is authorized for use in more than 70 countries while CanSino is allowed in at least nine countries. WHO still is awaiting more data about both vaccines before making a decision.

Vaccines recognized by the FDA and WHO undergo rigorous testing and review to determine they’re safe and effective. And among the vaccines used internationally, experts say some likely won’t be recognized by the agencies.

“They will not all be evaluated in clinical trials with the necessary rigor,” said Dr. William Moss, executive director of the Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center.

An exception to the U.S. rule is people who received a full series of the Novavax vaccine in a late-stage study. The U.S. is accepting the participants who received the vaccine, not a placebo, because it was a rigorous study with oversight from an independent monitoring board.

The U.S. also allows entry to people who got two doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of vaccines on the FDA and WHO lists.

Lockdowns and closures, plus masking, helped limit the spread of the flu in 2020. But 2021 could see more flu cases, says Dr. Alok Patel of Stanford Children’s Health. We break down the reasons why.



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Why Can’t Some COVID-19 Vaccinated People Travel to the US? | Health News


By VICTORIA MILKO, AP Science Writer

Why can’t some COVID-19 vaccinated people travel to the U.S.?

Because they might not be vaccinated with shots recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization.

When lifting overseas travel restrictions in November, the U.S. required adults coming to the country to be fully vaccinated with shots approved or authorized by the FDA or allowed by WHO.

Among the most widely used vaccines that don’t meet that criteria are Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and China’s CanSino vaccine. Sputnik V is authorized for use in more than 70 countries while CanSino is allowed in at least nine countries. WHO still is awaiting more data about both vaccines before making a decision.

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Vaccines recognized by the FDA and WHO undergo rigorous testing and review to determine they’re safe and effective. And among the vaccines used internationally, experts say some likely won’t be recognized by the agencies.

“They will not all be evaluated in clinical trials with the necessary rigor,” said Dr. William Moss, executive director of the Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center.

An exception to the U.S. rule is people who received a full series of the Novavax vaccine in a late-stage study. The U.S. is accepting the participants who received the vaccine, not a placebo, because it was a rigorous study with oversight from an independent monitoring board.

The U.S. also allows entry to people who got two doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of vaccines on the FDA and WHO lists.

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: [email protected] Read more here:

Can at-home COVID-19 tests make holiday gatherings safer?

Are COVID-19 boosters the same as the original vaccines?

Can I get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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