A very happy Monday to all and thanks for joining us for today’s live Covid coverage.
I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be reporting to you from Sydney, Australia, to bring you all the top headlines from around the world.
For the first time in 18 months, the United States is lifting travel restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated.
From today, 8 November, those travelling to the US by flight from 33 countries or through land borders with Mexico and Canada will be able to enter the country.
Up until now the US had restricted non-essential travel for non-US citizens from several destinations around the world, including the UK and EU.
It’s also good news for those in New Zealand’s largest city of Auckland after prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced it would likely end an almost three-month lockdown later this month, with some coronavirus restrictions to be eased from Tuesday, AP reports.
An outbreak of the delta variant has grown to more than 4,500 cases with about 150 new infections reported each day over the past week.
Summary of today’s developments
- US lifts bans on travel from specific countries from Monday, allowing in international travellers, but they must be vaccinated. The US is also reopening the land borders with Canada and Mexico for vaccinated people.
- Germany reports 15,513 new Covid cases in the past 24 hours, a decrease from yesterday’s 23,543 reported cases, the Robert Koch Institute reports.
- India’s daily Covid cases rose by 11,451 to reach a total of 34.37m and deaths rose by 266 for a total death toll of 461,057 the health ministry reports.
- Russia and Ukraine hit record Covid numbers. Low vaccination rates are a major factor in the sharp rise in cases.
- Australia will begin administering booster shots of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine from Monday amid an accelerating immunisation drive against the coronavirus.
- More than 10 million people have had Covid booster jabs in the UK, according to new figures, as people were told to get their top-up to help prevent restrictions this Christmas.
- Northern Ireland’s health minister is suing Van Morrison after the singer accused him of being “very dangerous” over his handling of Covid restrictions.
- UK government could restrict travel for people who refuse Covid boosters as government sources confirmed they are looking at plans for travel restrictions on people who do not take up the booster offer.
- The UK will start to roll out Merck’s molnupiravir Covid-19 antiviral pill through a drug trial later this month, Dr Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency said on Sunday.
- US president Joe Biden is pushing forward with an ambitious plan to require millions of private sector employees to get vaccinated by early next year, while simultaneously battling to convince workers in his own federal government to get the shot.
- New analysis puts the pandemic’s death toll between 10m and 19m people.