Australia to remove international travel ban for fully vaccinated citizens from Nov 1, Australia


Australia to remove international travel ban for fully vaccinated citizens from Nov 1

In big breaking news, Australia has announced to lift its international travel ban from its fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents from November 1. Now, the citizens would be able to travel internationally without requiring any special exemption or permission. The decision comes after Australia eases COVID-19 restrictions amid a spike in vaccination numbers.

The big decision comes after Singapore on Tuesday said it would allow fully-vaccinated travellers from Australia a quarantine-free entry from November 8. It’s been nearly 18 months that the Australians were not able to leave the country and travel abroad without a government waiver. On the other hand, thousands of fully-vaccinated residents had to live abroad because they were not allowed to return due to COVID-19.

Karen Andrews, Home Affairs minister, said, “Before the end of the year, we anticipate welcoming fully vaccinated skilled workers and international students”. She also said that for some non-citizens, travel restrictions would be eased as vaccination rates increased.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the local press, “The national plan is working … (it) is about opening Australia up and that is because the vaccination rates are climbing so high.”

During the outbreak, Australia was at a better place as compared to several other nations. Last year on March 20, Australia became one of those countries to levy some of the toughest border restrictions in the world. All the flights in the country were grounded and all the attractions were shut down.

Given its strict restrictions, the country till now has reported only 164000 COVID-19 positive cases and 1669 deaths.





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Australia to lift outbound travel ban for vaccinated residents from next week


SYDNEY, Oct 27 (Reuters) – All fully-vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to leave the country without a special exemption from Nov. 1, authorities said on Wednesday, as Australia eases coronavirus restrictions amid a rise in vaccination rates.

Australians have been unable to travel abroad for more than 18 months without a government waiver, while thousands of fully-vaccinated residents living abroad have been unable to return due to a cap on arrivals to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Many of these are now expected to return after Sydney and Melbourne ended quarantine rules for inoculated travelers from Nov. 1. Other cities, mostly virus-free, are expected to ease their border rules once they reach higher vaccination rates.

“The national plan is working … (it) is about opening Australia up and that is because the vaccination rates are climbing so high,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Seven News on Wednesday.

Australia’s drug regulator, meanwhile, provisionally approved a booster dose of Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) COVID-19 vaccine for people aged over 18, as first-dose vaccination levels in people over 16 neared 90%.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the rollout is expected to begin by Nov. 8 once the government receives advice from the country’s vaccination technical advisory group.

The decision to lift the travel ban from next week comes after Singapore on Tuesday said it would allow quarantine-free entry to travellers vaccinated against COVID-19 from Australia from Nov. 8.

A third wave of infections fuelled by the Delta variant forced lockdowns in Australia’s biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and both have been gradually easing restrictions after racing through their vaccination targets.

Even with the Delta outbreaks, Australia has fared better than many comparable countries, with around 164,000 cases and 1,669 deaths. Victoria state reported 1,534 new cases on Wednesday, up from 1,510 a day earlier, while those in New South Wales rose to 304 from 282.

Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Richard Pullin

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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Switzerland to ban foreign vaccine certificates for events


The government of Switzerland has announced it will no
longer accept foreign Covid-19 certificates, including the UK’s NHS Covid-19
app, as proof of vaccination status for entry to events or facilities.

From 25 October, anyone accessing events or facilities that
require proof of Covid status must have a Swiss Covid certificate or an
EU Digital Covid Certificate.

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has
updated its travel advice, saying anyone who has been fully vaccinated outside
of Switzerland with a vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency –
including AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen – or who has had a positive PCR test result abroad can obtain a
Swiss certificate online for a fee of 30 Swiss Francs for non-residents. It is
recommended visitors submit their application at least two weeks prior to their
arrival in Switzerland.



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NC congressman Cawthorn bill to ban travel vaccine mandates


U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn addresses a group of demonstrators opposing a mask mandate outside in Johnston County on Tuesday. The day prior, he was accused of bringing a knife to a school in Henderson county.

U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn addresses a group of demonstrators opposing a mask mandate outside in Johnston County on Tuesday. The day prior, he was accused of bringing a knife to a school in Henderson county.

rwillett@newsobserver.com

North Carolina Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn introduced legislation that would ban vaccine mandates for travel, he announced in a press release Wednesday.

The bill, called the ‘‘Let Me Travel America Act,’’ would ban the government from mandating vaccines for travel within the United States.

The legislation is unlikely to advance in either the U.S. House or the Senate, where Utah Sen. Mike Lee filed identical legislation, with Democrats in the majority in both chambers.

Still, the move is Cawthorn’s latest to publicly oppose COVID-19 related safety measures, like vaccine and mask mandates.

“Vaccine requirements for interstate travel are in direct opposition to the United States Constitution,” Cawthorn said in the release. “The Biden Administration continues to flaunt their blatant disregard for the law in pursuit of their left-wing radical agenda.”

No vaccine mandates for travel are currently in effect. President Joe Biden has proposed mandating vaccines in other settings but not for air travel, the Washington Post reported, although Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has said he would support such a mandate.

For more North Carolina government and politics news, listen to the Under the Dome politics podcast from The News & Observer and the NC Insider. You can find it at link.chtbl.com/underthedomenc or wherever you get your podcasts.

Under the Dome

On The News & Observer’s Under the Dome podcast, we’re unpacking legislation and issues that matter, keeping you updated on what’s happening in North Carolina politics twice a week on Monday and Friday mornings. Check us out here and sign up for our weekly Under the Dome newsletter for more political news.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

Lucille Sherman is a state politics reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. She previously worked as a national data and investigations reporter for Gannett. Using the secure, encrypted Signal app, you can reach Lucille at 405-471-7979.





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Bay Area Residents, Families Rejoice as U.S. Says It Will Lift Travel Ban – NBC Bay Area


The White House said Friday it would allow international travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 into the U.S. starting Nov. 8. It’s a date thousands of binational families have been eagerly waiting to hear.

Over the last several months, they even launched a social media hashtag, “love is not tourism,” to bring attention to their situation.

San Francisco resident Abbie Gould will be picking up her parents on Nov. 8 at San Francisco International Airport. It will be their first time coming to San Francisco.

It also will be the first time Gould will see them in more than a year. She even created a countdown for when they arrive at the airport.

“Yeah, I’m super excited,” she said. “We’ve got 36 days to go, so I’m definitely going to be checking it every day.”

Gould’s parents have not been allowed to visit because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Due to Gould’s type of visa to be in the country, she said she wouldn’t be able to return to the United States if she flew there to visit.

“Anybody who’s on a temporary visa can’t go in this situation. I’ve heard so many horror stories of people leaving the country, not being aware that they’re not going to be let back in,” she added.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden’s administration announced that beginning Nov. 8, fully vaccinated travelers from the United Kingdom, most of the European Union, China, Brazil and India will be able to enter the U.S. without any quarantines.

The borders with Mexico and Canada will also be reopening to fully vaccinated visitors from those countries.

The nearly 21-month-long ban has been a painful one for many binational families, including Connecticut resident Rebecca Lyons. She said the recent announcement meant her new husband will finally be able to see his family for Thanksgiving. His parents missed their wedding this summer.

“We hoped that they would be able to come if we postponed it for a year. But unfortunately they couldn’t,” Lyons said.

The FDA confirmed that visitors, who have had full doses of the six approved vaccines from the World Health Organization will be allowed to enter the U.S.

That includes visitors who may have mixed and matched doses of different manufacturers.

The exact details of how airlines and border agents will verify proof of vaccination for visitors are still being worked out. Travelers also will need to show a negative COVID-19 test before flying.

The return of international visitors to the U.S. will no doubt be a boost for tourism, but it will also be a big relief for many families who have been separated for a long time.



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Covid: US to lift travel ban for fully jabbed on 8 November


The announcement was swiftly celebrated by would-be travellers across the globe. Among them was Kent resident Dan Johnson, who told the BBC he had been unable to visit his father in the US before he died of cancer in March. “I never got to say goodbye and hadn’t seen him since 2019 due to the travel restrictions,” he said. “It’s been the hardest thing in the world. Lifting the ban feels much too late, but does mean that I can finally visit my step-mum and help her sort dad’s belongings.” Another UK resident, Kate Urquhart, said she would be travel to Los Angeles to see the final concert of American rock band The Monkees’ farewell tour in November. “I was almost resigned to not going,” she said. “Today’s announcement is great news.”



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Border residents rejoice as US says it will lift travel ban


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Beleaguered business owners and families separated by COVID-19 restrictions rejoiced Wednesday after the U.S. said it will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze.

Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential. New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set for air travel. By mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the U.S., such as truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated.

Shopping malls and big box retailers in U.S. border towns whose parking spaces had been filled by cars with Mexican license plates were hit hard by travel restrictions.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said the economic impact was hard to quantify but can be seen in the sparse presence of shoppers at a high-end outlet mall on the city’s border with Tijuana, Mexico. The decision comes at a critical time ahead of the holiday shopping season.

In Nogales, Arizona, travel restrictions forced about 40 retail businesses to close on the main strip in the city of 20,000 people, said Jessy Fontes, board member of the Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce and owner of Mariposa Liquidation Store, which sells household appliances. His sales fell 60%, and he considered closing but instead cut his staff from seven to two.

In Del Rio, Texas, Mexican visitors account for about 65% of retail sales, said Blanca Larson, executive director of the chamber of commerce and visitors bureau in the city of 35,000 people.

“Along the border, we’re like more of one community than two different communities,” she said.

The ban has also had enormous social and cultural impact, preventing family gatherings when relatives live on different sides of the border. Community events have stalled even as cities away from U.S. borders have inched toward normalcy.

In Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, where hockey and ice skating are ingrained, the Soo Eagles haven’t had a home game against a Canadian opponent in 20 months. The players, 17 to 20 years old, have been traveling to Canada since border restrictions were lifted there two months ago. Now the U.S. team can host.

“I almost fell over when I read it,” said Ron Lavin, co-owner of the Eagles. “It’s been a long frustrating journey for people on a lot of fronts far more serious than hockey, but we’re just really pleased. It’s great for the city.”

Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been allowed into Canada since August, provided they have waited at least two weeks since getting their second vaccine dose and can show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Mexico has not enforced COVID-19 entry procedures for land travelers.

The latest move follows last month’s announcement that the U.S. will end country-based travel bans for air travel and instead require vaccination for foreign nationals seeking to enter by plane.

The new rules only apply to legal entry. Those who enter illegally will still be subject to expulsion under a public health authority that allows for the swift removal of migrants before they can seek asylum.

Travelers entering the U.S. by vehicle, rail and ferry will be asked about their vaccination status as part of the standard U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection. At officers’ discretion, travelers will have their proof of vaccination verified in a secondary screening process.

Unlike air travel, for which proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required before boarding a flight to enter the U.S., no testing will be required to enter the U.S. by land or sea, provided the travelers meet the vaccination requirement.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. will accept travelers who have been fully vaccinated with any of the vaccines approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization, not just those in use in the U.S. That means that the AstraZeneca vaccine, widely used in Canada, will be accepted.

Officials said the CDC was still working to formalize procedures for admitting those who received doses of two different vaccines, as was fairly common in Canada.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he was “pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner” and lauded the economic benefits of it.

Mexico, Canada and elected officials from U.S. border regions have pressured the Biden administration for months to ease restrictions.

“This is a win for families who’ve been separated and businesses and tourism industries whose operations have been blocked since the start of the pandemic,” said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, echoing reactions of other federal, state and local officials.

Mexico President Andres Manuel López Obrador said it took “many meetings to achieve the opening of the border.” Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of public safety, called the announcement “one more step toward returning to normal.”

Cross-border traffic has plummeted since the pandemic, according to U.S. Department of Transportation figures.

The number of vehicle passengers entering the U.S. in Niagara Falls, New York — the busiest land crossing on the Canadian border — fell 83% to 1.7 million in 2020 and has remained low this year.

“Losing those customers over the last 18 months has been one of the primary reasons our hotels, restaurants and attractions have been suffering,” said Patrick Kaler, president and chief executive of Visit Buffalo Niagara, the area’s tourism agency.

At San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing, the nation’s busiest, crossings dropped 30% last year to 18 million. Taxi drivers were largely idled Wednesday on a nearby bridge, including one who did exercises.

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have dropped to about 85,000 per day, the lowest level since July. Per capita case rates in Canada and Mexico have been been markedly lower than the U.S. for the duration of the pandemic, which amplified frustrations about the U.S. travel restrictions.

___

Miller reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Rob Gillies in Toronto; Juan A. Lozano in Houston; Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vermont; Ed White in Detroit, Anita Snow in Phoenix, Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, New York, Alexis Triboulard in Mexico City and Julie Watson in San Diego contributed.



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The Latest: US to Drop 19-Month Ban on Nonessential Travel | World News


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration says the United States will reopen its land borders for nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New rules to be announced Wednesday will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals entry to the U.S. regardless of the reason for travel.

That starts in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel. Senior administration officials previewed the new policy late Tuesday on the condition of anonymity to speak ahead of the formal announcement.

Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic. Both Mexico and Canada have pressed the U.S. for months to ease restrictions on non-essential travel that have separated families and curtailed leisure trips.

Political Cartoons on World Leaders

Political Cartoons

— Apostolic church leaders in Zimbabwe preach vaccines unrelated to Satanism

— US to reopen land borders in November to fully vaccinated vacation travelers

— Conservative state Republicans move to undercut private employer vaccine mandates

— Russia hits new record for COVID-19 deaths, resists lockdown

See all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SEKE, Zimbabwe — The Apostolic church is one of Zimbabwe’s most skeptical groups when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines. It is also one of the southern African nation’s largest religious denominations.

But many of these Christian churches, which combine traditional beliefs with a Pentecostal doctrine, preach against modern medicine and demand followers seek healing or protection against disease through spiritual means like prayer and the use of holy water.

Some secluded Apostolic groups believe vaccines are linked to Satanism. To combat that, authorities have formed teams of campaigners who are also churchgoers to dispel misconceptions about the vaccines in their own churches.

Vaccine activist Yvonne Binda stands in front of a church congregation, all in pristine white robes, and tells them not to believe what they’ve heard about COVID-19 vaccines.

“The vaccine is not linked to Satanism,” she says. The congregants are unmoved. But when Binda, a member of an Apostolic church herself, promises them soap, buckets and masks, there are enthusiastic shouts of “Amen!”

While slow and steady might be best in dealing with some religious hesitancy, the situation is urgent in Africa, which has the world’s lowest vaccination rates. Zimbabwe has fully vaccinated 15% of its population, much better than many other African nations but still way behind the United States and Europe.

JUNEAU, Alaska–Two Alaska state senators have tested positive for COVID-19 and a third was not feeling well and awaiting test results, Senate President Peter Micciche said Tuesday.

He did not identify the lawmakers who had tested positive.

Lawmakers are in the second week of their fourth special session of the year. Six of the Senate’s 20 members attended Tuesday’s floor session, which was a so-called technical session where no formal business was taken up.

Micciche said along with the COVID-19 cases some senators had put off trips and were unable to be in Juneau Tuesday, prompting the technical session.

Masks are required at legislative facilities, including the Capitol, though individual lawmakers can decide if they want to wear masks in their respective offices. Legislators and legislative staff also are to participate in regular COVID-19 testing under a recently adopted policy.

SALT LAKE CITY — With the governor of Texas leading the charge, conservative Republicans in several states are moving to block or undercut U.S. President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private employers before the regulations are even issued.

The growing battle over what some see as overreach by the federal government is firing up a segment of the Republican Party base, even though many large employers have already decided on their own to require their workers to get the shot.

The dustup will almost certainly end up in court since GOP attorneys general in nearly half of the states have vowed to sue once the rule requiring workers at private companies with more than 100 employees to get vaccinated or tested weekly is unveiled.

The courts have long upheld vaccine mandates, and the Constitution gives the federal government the upper hand over the states, but with the details still unannounced and more conservative judges on the bench, the outcome isn’t entirely clear.

On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order barring private companies or any other entity from requiring vaccines.

States weighing or advancing bills include Arkansas and Ohio, and there are calls for special sessions in Wyoming, Kansas, South Dakota, Indiana and Tennessee.

WASHINGTON — The Biden’s administration’s mandate that employers with 100 or more workers require coronavirus vaccinations or institute weekly virus testing has moved one step closer to enforcement.

On Tuesday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration finalized the initial draft of the emergency order and sent it to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. That’s according to the Department of Labor.

OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will conduct a standard review of the regulation.

Officials did not immediately provide an estimate for the OMB examination. The agency has 90 days to review the rule or send it back to OSHA for revision. Text of the proposed order won’t be published until OMB completes its review.

Owing to the bureaucracy surrounding the rulemaking process, President Joe Biden has encouraged businesses to implement mandates ahead of the final rule being implemented.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s governor announced Tuesday that he would be lifting a curfew and a ban on alcohol sales as the U.S. territory reports a drop in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

Current restrictions prohibit certain businesses from operating between midnight and 5 a.m. and also bar alcohol sales during that time, two measures that will be lifted Thursday.

However, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said other restrictions, including an indoors mask requirement, remain in place.

He noted that 70% of the island’s 3.3 million people are vaccinated, and that the positivity rate for coronavirus tests dropped to 3%, compared with 10% in August.

Puerto Rico has reported more than 150,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 3,000 deaths from COVID-19, the disease that can be caused by the virus.

LEWISTON, Maine — Staffing shortages at one of Maine’s biggest hospitals have forced it to halt pediatric and trauma admissions, sparking a renewed debate over the governor’s vaccine mandate for health care workers.

Citing “acute staffing shortages,” Central Maine Medical Center temporarily suspended but later reinstated heart attack admissions and will be reviewing trauma admissions on an ongoing basis, the hospital said in a statement Tuesday.

The neonatal intensive care unit is closing and the suspension of pediatric admissions will continue until further notice, the hospital said.

Earlier this month, the hospital’s chief medical officer said about 70 employees left due to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. The deadline was Oct. 1 but state officials said they would not start enforcing it until Oct. 29.

Republican leaders in the Maine Legislature sent a letter to Democratic leaders urging lawmakers to return to session to include a testing option for health care workers who don’t want the vaccine.

SEATTLE — Boeing Co. has told employees they must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or possibly be fired.

The Seattle Times reports that the deadline for getting shots is Dec. 8.

The newspaper says an internal Boeing presentations says that employees failing to comply with the mandate “may be released from the company.” Employees granted exemptions “due to a disability or sincerely held religious belief” will have to be tested frequently for the virus and be ready to “present a negative test result upon request.”

The policy will apply to roughly 140,000 employees companywide, with about 57,000 of those in Washington state.

The white-collar union the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace says it is communicating with Boeing “to ensure implementation gives proper consideration to members’ concerns.”

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida has issued its first fine to a county it accuses of violating a new state law banning coronavirus vaccine mandates and for firing 14 workers who failed to get the shots.

The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday issued the $3.5 million fine for Leon County, saying the home to the state capital of Tallahassee violated Florida’s “vaccine passport” law that bars requiring people to show proof of vaccination.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says that “no one should lose their jobs because of COVID shots.”

The law is being challenged in court and conflicts with a Biden administration order that companies with more than 100 employees require their workers to be vaccinated or face weekly testing.

The Leon County administrator says the county believes its vaccination mandate is legally justifiable and necessary to keep people safe.

NEW YORK — NBA star Kyrie Irving can keep refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but he can’t play for the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets announced Tuesday that Irving wouldn’t play or practice with the team until he could be a full participant, ending the idea he could play in only road games. Under a New York City mandate, professional athletes playing for a team in the city must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to play or practice in public venues.

Without mentioning his vaccination status, general manager Sean Marks said Irving has made a decision that keeps him from being a full member of the team. Irving hasn’t said he isn’t vaccinated, asking for privacy when he spoke via Zoom during the team’s media day on Sept. 27.

Marks said he and owner Joe Tsai together made the decision, adding it came through discussions with Irving and his associates. NBA players are not required to be vaccinated, but they face more testing and social distancing. The league had said that players wouldn’t be paid for games they miss because they are ineligible to play.

Marks said Irving will still be paid for road games.

WASHINGTON — Hunger and food insecurity across the United States have dropped measurably over the past six months, but the need remains far above pre-pandemic levels.

Specialists in hunger issues warn the situation for millions of families remains extremely fragile. An Associated Press review of bulk distribution numbers from hundreds of food banks across the country reveals a downward trend in the amount of food handed out by food banks across the country.

The decrease started in the spring as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout took hold and some closed sectors of the economy began to reopen.

However, Katie Fitzgerald of Feeding America says, “It’s come down, but it’s still elevated.” Feeding America is a nonprofit organization that coordinates 200 food banks across the country and provided the AP with the national distribution numbers.

Fitzgerald says despite the recent decreases, the amount of food being distributed by Feeding America’s partner food banks remained more than 55% above pre-pandemic levels.

Factors include the advancement of the delta variant, which has already delayed planned returns to the office for millions of employees and could threaten school closures and other shutdowns as the nation enters the winter flu season. Other obstacles include the gradual expiration of an eviction moratorium and expanded unemployment benefits.

BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania reported on Tuesday its highest number of coronavirus infections and deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Nearly 17,000 COVID-19 infections were confirmed Tuesday and 442 deaths, the first time the European Union country of 19 million has surpassed 400 virus deaths in a single day.

Romania’s intensive care units for coronavirus patients are stretched to capacity in what is the European Union’s second-least vaccinated nation. Only 34% of adults are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Romania has registered more than 1.3 million confirmed cases and 40,071 confirmed deaths.

NEW YORK — Many Americans who got Pfizer vaccinations are rolling up their sleeves for a booster shot. Meanwhile, millions who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine wait to learn when it’s their turn.

Federal regulators begin tackling that question this week. On Thursday and Friday, the Food and Drug Administration convenes its independent advisers for the first stage in the process of deciding whether extra shots of the two vaccines should be dispensed and, if so, who should get them and when.

The final go-ahead is not expected for at least another week. After the FDA advisers give their recommendation, the agency will make an official decision on whether to authorize boosters. Then a panel convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will offer more specifics on who should get them.

The FDA meetings come as U.S. vaccinations have climbed back above 1 million per day on average, an increase of more than 50% over the past two weeks. The rise has been driven mainly by Pfizer boosters and employer vaccine mandates.

LONDON — The German biotechnology company CureVac says it has withdrawn its application for the approval of its coronavirus vaccine from the European Medicines Agency and will focus on making next-generation messenger RNA vaccines.

In a statement on Tuesday, CureVac says recent communications with the EU drug regulator suggested its COVID-19 vaccine might only be authorized in mid-2022. Earlier this year, the company described its initial vaccine results as “sobering,” after data suggested the shot was only about 47% effective.

CureVac says it will instead prioritize the development of second-generation mRNA vaccines with its partner GlaxoSmithKline and expects to be in “late-stage clinical development” by the middle of next year.

The EMA confirmed Tuesday it had ended the accelerated evaluation of the CureVac vaccine, a process started in February. COVAX, the U.N.-backed effort to share vaccines globally, had been waiting for possible doses from CureVac, which received funding from one of the COVAX partners.

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



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Portland to declare trade and travel ban against Texas


Portland will be voting on an emergency resolution Wednesday that would ban trading with Texas and bar city employees from traveling to the state as a direct response to the state’s new abortion law. 

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler made the announcement on Friday, stating, “The Portland City Council stands unified in its belief that all people should have the right to choose if and when they carry a pregnancy and that the decisions they make are complex, difficult, and unique to their circumstances.”

“We urge other leaders and elected bodies around the nation to join us in condemning the actions of the Texas state government,” Wheeler added.

Texas’ new law has made it illegal to access or provide an abortion in the state after the sixth week of pregnancy. 


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Everyday citizens and as well as government officials have spoken out and taken steps to combat the law.

TikTokers protested an online tip line that was created by the anti-abortion rights group Texas Right to Life, aiming to enforce the law by encouraging people to report violators, by inundating the tip line with memes, fake reports and porn.

On Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said he and the Justice Department would protect the reproductive rights of citizens by enforcing the FACE Act, which “prohibits the use or threat of force and physical obstruction that injures, intimidates, or interferes with a person seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services.”

“While the Justice Department urgently explores all options to challenge Texas SB8 in order to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons, including access to an abortion,” Garland said in a statement, “we will continue to protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services pursuant to our criminal and civil enforcement of the FACE Act … We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage.” 


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White House Lifts Ban on International Travel | News


The Biden administration has announced plans to lift the ban on international travel into the U.S. for foreigners who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The ban, first enacted by the Trump administration in January 2020, prevents travel from 33 countries, including members of the European Union, India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Iran. As vaccination rates increase globally, with more than six billion vaccine doses having been administered worldwide, the end of the ban after 18 months of closed borders is a step towards reopening and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Starting in early November, foreign nationals will be able to enter the U.S. as long as they have proof of full vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test within three days of travel. While no quarantine period will be required upon reaching the U.S., the C.D.C. will require airlines to obtain contact information of travelers as part of a new contact tracing system to limit travel-related spread of COVID-19. 

The new regulations allow for unvaccinated Americans to travel back to the U.S. as long as they have proof of a negative COVID-19 test within one day of flying and test again upon landing. 

Lifting the ban will revitalize the U.S. tourism industry, which has been devastated by the pandemic. Spending from international travel decreased by 79% in 2020, leading to job and revenue loss. It will also allow families separated by international borders to reunite after a year and a half of separation. 

Opening up travel to members of the EU will serve to ease tensions between the U.S. and Europe. The travel ban is among several issues in discussion at the UN General Assembly this week, and European allies of the U.S. have long demanded a lift of the ban. Reopening transatlantic travel is hoped to improve the Biden administration’s relations with Europe. 

The new regulations are the latest of a series of legislative actions by the Biden administration to encourage vaccinations. More than half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, and vaccinations are picking up pace in the EU. Travelers from countries that were not on the banned list, who currently do not need to be vaccinated to fly to the U.S., will be affected by the new legislation as well, as they too will need to be vaccinated come November in order to enter the country. 

While the new regulations allow a significant number of Europeans to resume travel to the U.S., they bar many travelers from parts of the world where vaccination rates are lower, including Africa and many parts of Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. Vaccine hesitancy and lack of access in these areas will prevent large numbers of foreign nationals from entering the U.S. 

The Biden administration has provided a general outline of the updated international travel policy, but several details of the new protocols are still yet to be released. These include details of the contact tracing system and the process by which foreigners will prove that they have been vaccinated. 



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