Coronavirus worldwide: USA to introduce proof of vaccination on entry, Japan tightens restrictions

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About 200 million people worldwide have tested positive for the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 4.2 million infected people have died. About 4.1 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.

The latest developments

China
Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac plans to produce vaccines against the coronavirus in a new factory in Chile. In addition to building the manufacturing plant in the greater Santiago de Chile area, a research center is planned in Antofagasta in the north of the country, the Chilean Health Ministry said Wednesday (Aug. 4). The first vaccine doses are expected to leave the plant next March. The plant will have capacity to produce 60 million doses per year, according to media reports. This will make the factory Sinovac’s center of operations in Latin America.

USA entry
According to media reports, the U.S. government plans to require proof of complete Corona vaccination from almost all foreigners entering the country in the future. With the introduction of this system, the current entry restrictions for people from Europe and other countries should then also be lifted, as reported, among others, by the “New York Times” on Wednesday (4. 8.) with reference to White House circles. According to the report, there is still no concrete timetable for the introduction of the proof requirement. The question of which vaccination certificates or which vaccines are to be accepted for vaccination certificates is also still unresolved. Currently, only vaccines made by Moderna, Pfizer/Biontech and Johnson & Johnson are approved in the United States.

Restrictions in Japan
The Japanese government plans to introduce tighter Corona restrictions in a further eight regions of the country. This was announced Thursday (Aug. 5) by Yasutoshi Nishimura, the economy minister responsible for combating the corona crisis. With the action, the government aims to combat the rapidly rising number of new infections with the highly contagious delta variant, which are increasingly burdening the health system. In the Olympic city of Tokyo, new infections reached record levels. A Corona state of emergency is already in effect in six prefectures, including Tokyo, and a” quasi-emergency” with fewer restrictions has been declared in five others. Japan recorded 14,000 new infections on Wednesday, 4166 in Tokyo alone. The number of seriously ill patients in hospitals has doubled in the past two weeks.

UK Greenlist
The British government has placed Germany and several other European countries on the so-called Green List as of 4 a.m. local time Sunday (Aug. 8). This downgrades Germany to the lowest risk category. All entrants from countries in this category can enter the U.K. without quarantine, but must bring a negative test and take a PCR test on day two after arrival. Switzerland remains on the U.K. government’s yellow list of countries that require a 10-day quarantine. However, fully vaccinated Swiss nationals can avoid quarantine upon entry to the U.K., but must present a negative PCR test.

Corona situation in Spain
The situation in the Corona high-incidence area of Spain is visibly improving. The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days has fallen from about 323 to 265 within a week, the Ministry of Health announced Wednesday evening (Aug. 4) in Madrid. Meanwhile, the Balearic Islands, with Mallorca, have one of the highest levels in all of Spain, with a 7-day incidence of 331, although these Mediterranean islands are also showing a downward trend. Health Minister Carolina Darias stated that caution must still be exercised, however. She attributed the positive trend to the restrictions adopted by many of the country’s 17 regions in July. These include curfews and restrictions on freedom of assembly.

17-year-olds in the United Kingdom are to be vaccinated against Corona
Under a new recommendation from the British Immunization Commission, 16- and 17-year-old adolescents in the United Kingdom are to be vaccinated against Corona. “I have accepted the expert recommendation and asked the health service to prepare for the vaccinations as soon as possible,” U.K. Health Minister Sajid Javid said Wednesday (Aug. 4), according to a statement. His decision applies to England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland decide on their own vaccination programs, but also follow the recommendations of the Vaccination Commission.

WHO is calling for a temporary halt to booster vaccinations against the coronavirus
The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for a temporary halt to booster vaccinations against the coronavirus as long as many poorer countries are still waiting for vaccine doses. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized plans for such vaccinations being discussed in several countries Wednesday (Aug. 4) in Geneva. Booster vaccinations already underway should be suspended and plans for them put on hold until at least the end of September, he said, until at least 10 percent of people in all countries around the world are vaccinated. “High-income countries have administered 100 vaccine doses per 100 population,” Tedros said. “At the same time, low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses per 100 people because they lack vaccine. We urgently need a turnaround so that the majority of vaccines go to low-income countries instead of high-income countries.”

EU Commission has approved a supply contract with U.S.-based Novavax
The EU Commission has approved a supply contract with U.S.-based Novavax to buy up to 200 million Covid-19 vaccine doses. It made the announcement Wednesday (Aug. 4). Under the contract, EU states can buy up to 100 million doses of Novavax’s vaccine, with the option to acquire another 100 million doses by 2023 once the vaccine has been approved by the EU Medicines Agency, the commission wrote.

Unvaccinated more likely to contact Corona
Unvaccinated people are three times more likely to contract Corona than fully vaccinated people, according to a study. In the study by researchers at Imperial College London published Wednesday (Aug. 4), 1.2 percent of 100,000 subjects in England tested positive for the virus, compared with only 0.4 among the fully vaccinated.
“These results confirm our previous data and show that full vaccination provides good protection against infection,” lead study author Paul Elliot said, according to a news release. Because no vaccine is 100 percent effective, he said, there is still some risk of infection even for those who have been vaccinated. The researchers also see evidence that vaccinated infected people are less likely to infect others because their viral loads may be lower. 100 percent of the samples analyzed in the study were cases of the delta variant, which is now widespread in the UK.

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