• Malaysia to enter a month-long lockdown
• Spain ends state of national emergency
• Norwegian commission advises against AZ and J&J vaccines
• UK house prices up 1.4% in April, Halifax
• Taiwan quarantines all China Airlines pilots for 14 days
• The Halifax said that house prices rose sharply in April, up by 1.4% compared with March. The average price of a UK home hit £258,204, a record high. Prices are up 8.2% in the past 12 months.
• The Republic of Ireland has further eased restrictions from today. Close-contact services, such as hairdressers, can reopen and click-and-collect retail can resume. Residents will also be able to travel outside the county for the first time in more than four months, while sports training can resume.
• According to the National Cyber Security Centre, there has been a 15-fold rise in the removal of online scams and fraudulent campaigns compared with 2019. The increase was driven largely by Covid-19-related scams including fake vaccine shops, fake PPE shops and fake NHS apps.
• France is to reopen outdoor bars and restaurants on 19 May.
• Roughly 58% of US adults have received at least one vaccine dose. More than 34% of the US population is fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.
• The head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, has postponed a trip to Japan next week. He was due to take part in a torch relay event, and to meet the Japanese Prime Minister.
• Saudi officials are going to allow some foreign citizens to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage this July.
• Spain ended a six-month long state of emergency last night. The measures included an overnight curfew and restrictions on travel between regions.
• In Norway, a government-appointed commission said the country should exclude the vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson in its inoculation programme.
• Germany has opened access to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines to all adults, lifting a priority system determining who gets the vaccine first.
• Malaysia’s government has announced that it will impose a national lockdown on 12 May, lasting until 7 June. Social gatherings will be banned during lockdown, while schools will be closed.
• Cyprus is welcoming fully vaccinated tourists for the first time today. Visitors from 65 countries who have received two doses will be able to travel to the country without having to provide a negative test or quarantine upon arrival.
• Anthony Fauci says there’s “no doubt” the United States has been undercounting fatal cases.
• China is to set up a “separation line” on the peak of Mount Everest to avoid possible infections by climbers. Over 30 climbers with the infection have been evacuated from base camp on the Nepalese side of the world’s highest peak in recent weeks.
• Taiwan is to quarantine all pilots for its largest carrier, China Airlines, for 14 days. Effectively grounding the airline.
• The United Arab Emirates is to bar entry for travellers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka starting on Wednesday.
• The federal court in Australia earlier today rejected an urgent application to overturn the India travel ban, meaning 9,500 Australians stranded there will not be able to return until after it is repealed on Friday.
• BioNTech – Has said today that it will build a South-East Asia headquarter and manufacturing site in Singapore to produce hundreds of millions of mRNA-based vaccines per year. Construction of the site will start this year, and it could become operational by 2023.