Coronavirus - 17 March
17 March 2021
• China resumes visas for those vaccinated with Sinovac
• Poland is to enter a new national lockdown
• Germany extends border controls with Austria & Czech Republic
• Philippines suspends arrival of foreign travellers
• Israeli study; vaccinated pregnant women pass on protection to babies
• Poland is to enter a new national lockdown. The country’s health minister said shopping malls, theatres, cinemas and hotels will close from Saturday, while schools will have to switch to online learning.
• The vaccine roll-out in England has been extended to all over 50s, who are now being invited to book their appointments.
• China is resuming visa processing for foreigners from dozens of countries, but only if they have been vaccinated with its own Sinovac vaccine. So far it is open to foreigners from countries including Hong Kong, the US, the UK, India, Australia, Iraq, Thailand, Croatia, Israel, Pakistan and the Philippines. Any prospective entrants must have taken either the full two-dose course of a vaccine, or a single dose vaccine at least 14 days before travelling, but the vaccine must be one of China’s domestically-produced shots. Negative Covid- 19 tests and quarantine rules still apply.
• An Israeli study suggests vaccinated pregnant women could pass protection on to their babies.
• Iceland is to allow entry to all visitors bearing proof of vaccination, starting from Thursday.
• The pandemic may have indirectly contributed to around 228,000 additional child deaths in 2020, 11,000 maternal fatalities and 3.5m unwanted pregnancies in South Asia, the UN said in a report today.
• The Philippines has said it will suspend the arrival of foreigners and some returning citizens. Exemptions to the rule include accredited officials of foreign governments, Filipino workers returning from overseas and cases that are considered to be an emergency.
• Donald Trump recommends vaccination to “a lot of people that don’t want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me.” A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research found that 42% of Republicans say they probably or definitely will not get the shot, compared with 17% of Democrats.
• Taiwan is to form its first travel bubble with the Pacific nation of Palau.
• The International Energy Agency has warned that the world’s oil demand could exceed pre-Covid-19 levels within the next two years as economies rebound.
• Thai sniffer dogs trained to detect Covid-19 in human sweat proved nearly 95% accurate during training.
• Germany has extended its border control with the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol region.
• Bosnia plans to buy Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine amid month-long delays in deliveries under the COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme and from the EU.
AstraZeneca vaccine developments
• According to the Forsa snap poll in Germany for broadcasters RTL and ntv, 54% of respondents said the decision by Health Minister Jens Spahn to suspend the AstraZeneca vaccine was right. Some 39% thought the suspension was wrong.
• Spanish health officials said today that they are investigating three cases of people who suffered from thrombosis after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, one of whom died.
• Bangladesh has said that the roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine will continue.
• Carnival – P&O is to restart domestic holidays this summer, but only for UK residents who have been fully vaccinated. Two vessels, the Britannia and the Iona, will take passengers on voyages of between three and seven nights around the UK, departing from Southampton between late June and September.