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Coronavirus live news: Portugal to allow UK tourists with negative test; France adds countries to high-risk list Coronavirus live: second pandemic year to be deadlier than first, warns WHO; France adds countries to high-risk list
(32 minutes later)
Tourists from the UK will be allowed to visit Portugal from Monday; France puts Bahrain, Colombia, Costa Rica and Uruguay on high-risk list WHO chief asks countries to donate jabs instead of vaccinating children; France puts Bahrain, Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay on high-risk list
Italy has lifted quarantine rules for all travellers from the European Union, UK and Israel upon their arrival, Health authorities announced.
Starting on Sunday 16 May, all travellers arriving in Italy from these countries are no longer obliged to quarantine for a period of five days upon arrival.
Last April, Italy had joined the list of European Union Member States imposing additional restrictions on arrivals from fellow EU countries and had extended the rule till 15 May.
As the country prepares to reopen for tourists, Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza on Friday said he has dropped the quarantine restrictions for those countries.
Speranza said that a negative Covid-19 test result will still be required upon arrival.
Over eight million people in Italy are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, ANSA has reported. Almost 26 million COVID vaccination shots have been injected in the country so far.
Delta Air Lines will require all new hires in the United States to be vaccinated against Covid-19, becoming one of the first major companies to issue such a mandate.
In an interview late Thursday, Chief Executive Ed Bastian told CNN, “Any person joining Delta in the future, future employees, we’re going to mandate they be vaccinated before they can sign up with the company.”
However, the company is not making the requirement for current employees, he said.
Bastian added that employees who are not vaccinated may not be able to work on international flights given possible entry requirements by other countries.
Delta said in a statement on Friday:
Delta called the move to require vaccines for new hires important as “our business recovers and demand for air travel continues to rise.”
World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the second year of the pandemic was set to be more deadly than the first, with India a huge concern.
The WHO also urged rich countries on Friday to reconsider plans to vaccinate children and instead donate Covid-19 shots to the COVAX scheme for poorer countries.
An international cybercrime gang has been announced as being behind a significant ransomware attack on Ireland’s health service operator that halt diagnostic services on Friday and led to the cancellation of appointments, the minister responsible for e-government said.An international cybercrime gang has been announced as being behind a significant ransomware attack on Ireland’s health service operator that halt diagnostic services on Friday and led to the cancellation of appointments, the minister responsible for e-government said.
Ossian Smyth told the national broadcaster RTE, “This is not espionage. It was an international attack, but this is just a cyber-criminal gang looking for money.”Ossian Smyth told the national broadcaster RTE, “This is not espionage. It was an international attack, but this is just a cyber-criminal gang looking for money.”
While he said he could not share all the information he had, he added: “This is a human-driven attack using an exploit that was previously unknown. It is widespread and possibly the most significant cybercrime attack on the Irish state. It’s a high-impact attack, but it appears to have low transmissibility.”While he said he could not share all the information he had, he added: “This is a human-driven attack using an exploit that was previously unknown. It is widespread and possibly the most significant cybercrime attack on the Irish state. It’s a high-impact attack, but it appears to have low transmissibility.”
Sweden has registered 9,192 new coronavirus cases since Wednesday, health agency statistics showed on Friday, Reuters reports.Sweden has registered 9,192 new coronavirus cases since Wednesday, health agency statistics showed on Friday, Reuters reports.
The country of 10m recorded eight further deaths, taking the total to 14,275. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.The country of 10m recorded eight further deaths, taking the total to 14,275. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.
Sweden’s death rate per capita is several times higher than its neighbouring countries but lower than in most European countries that had lockdowns.Sweden’s death rate per capita is several times higher than its neighbouring countries but lower than in most European countries that had lockdowns.
The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said that a state of emergency was being extended to a broader area due to a rapid rise of Covid-19 cases in those regions.The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said that a state of emergency was being extended to a broader area due to a rapid rise of Covid-19 cases in those regions.
However, he added that holding a “safe and secure” Olympic games were still possible if tight preventive measures were implemented that would keep ordinary Japanese citizens from coming into contact with those arriving to compete.However, he added that holding a “safe and secure” Olympic games were still possible if tight preventive measures were implemented that would keep ordinary Japanese citizens from coming into contact with those arriving to compete.
The Olympics, postponed for a year due to the pandemic is set to start on July 23.The Olympics, postponed for a year due to the pandemic is set to start on July 23.
In a televised address, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he feels the pain of all Indians battling the pandemic after weeks of largely avoiding public comment on the country’s fatal coronavirus wave.In a televised address, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he feels the pain of all Indians battling the pandemic after weeks of largely avoiding public comment on the country’s fatal coronavirus wave.
Many Indians have taken to social media to accuse Modi’s populist right-wing administration of abandoning them as his address comes as the country of 1.3bn reported 4,000 deaths for a third straight day and 343,144 new infections.Many Indians have taken to social media to accuse Modi’s populist right-wing administration of abandoning them as his address comes as the country of 1.3bn reported 4,000 deaths for a third straight day and 343,144 new infections.
While the opposition Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the Prime Minister had gone “missing” like the oxygen and hospital beds.While the opposition Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the Prime Minister had gone “missing” like the oxygen and hospital beds.
Modi said Friday that his government was working on a “war-footing” against Covid-19.Modi said Friday that his government was working on a “war-footing” against Covid-19.
AFP reports:AFP reports:
India has fully vaccinated just over 38.2m people amid jab shortages and glitches in the online registration system.India has fully vaccinated just over 38.2m people amid jab shortages and glitches in the online registration system.
British holidaymakers were previously left in limbo as Portuguese authorities were yet to decide whether the country will allow them to visit from next week.British holidaymakers were previously left in limbo as Portuguese authorities were yet to decide whether the country will allow them to visit from next week.
But the country’s minister of state for foreign affairs has now announced that travel between the two countries, among other countries, that Portugal has put on a green list, will commence on Monday 17 May from 0001.But the country’s minister of state for foreign affairs has now announced that travel between the two countries, among other countries, that Portugal has put on a green list, will commence on Monday 17 May from 0001.
Travellers will still need a negative PCR test 72hrs before their flight to gain entry into the country.Travellers will still need a negative PCR test 72hrs before their flight to gain entry into the country.
Visit Portugal said in a statement:Visit Portugal said in a statement:
Sky News also reports the new travel development here:Sky News also reports the new travel development here:
Since the coronavirus outbreak began, at least 3,346,813 people have died due to a tally combined from official sources by AFP.Since the coronavirus outbreak began, at least 3,346,813 people have died due to a tally combined from official sources by AFP.
The figures are based on daily tolls by health authorities in each country and exclude later re-evaluations by statistical organisations, as has happened in Russia, Spain and Britain.The figures are based on daily tolls by health authorities in each country and exclude later re-evaluations by statistical organisations, as has happened in Russia, Spain and Britain.
Based on the latest reports, the countries with the newest deaths in India with 4,000 new deaths, followed by Brazil with 2,383 and United States with 818.Based on the latest reports, the countries with the newest deaths in India with 4,000 new deaths, followed by Brazil with 2,383 and United States with 818.
The United States is the worst-affected country, with 584,487 deaths from 32,852,998 cases.The United States is the worst-affected country, with 584,487 deaths from 32,852,998 cases.
Followed by Brazil with 430,417 deaths from 15,433,989 cases, India with 262,317 deaths from 24,046,809 cases, Mexico with 219,901 deaths from 2,375,115 cases, and the United Kingdom with 127,651 deaths from 4,444,631 cases.Followed by Brazil with 430,417 deaths from 15,433,989 cases, India with 262,317 deaths from 24,046,809 cases, Mexico with 219,901 deaths from 2,375,115 cases, and the United Kingdom with 127,651 deaths from 4,444,631 cases.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said it expects the second batch of its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine will be delivered to India by the end of the week.The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said it expects the second batch of its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine will be delivered to India by the end of the week.
In a statement, the RDIF said:In a statement, the RDIF said:
As vaccine programmes continue to gain momentum throughout the world, for New Zealand, the question of how to reopen is becoming pressing.As vaccine programmes continue to gain momentum throughout the world, for New Zealand, the question of how to reopen is becoming pressing.
Tess McClure in Christchurch reports on the issue of travel in New Zealand:Tess McClure in Christchurch reports on the issue of travel in New Zealand:
As vaccination continues around the world, the New Zealand government has begun providing glimpses of how the country will eventually reopen its borders.As vaccination continues around the world, the New Zealand government has begun providing glimpses of how the country will eventually reopen its borders.
But there’s no immediate end in sight, even for ex-pats who have received vaccinations overseas.But there’s no immediate end in sight, even for ex-pats who have received vaccinations overseas.
New Zealand has been closed to most international visitors for more than a year now. Anyone entering the country – except via recently-opened travel bubbles with Australia and the Cook Islands – is required to spend two weeks in government-run isolation.New Zealand has been closed to most international visitors for more than a year now. Anyone entering the country – except via recently-opened travel bubbles with Australia and the Cook Islands – is required to spend two weeks in government-run isolation.
Even those spaces are only open to citizens, permanent residents or essential workers. For those eligible, access is still limited – at times, all spots in isolation have been booked out for months in advance. And while there are now spaces available, the cost of a visit is prohibitive for many: NZ$3,100 for anyone who left the country temporarily, or who is visiting for less than three months, and NZ$5,520 for those on a work visa.Even those spaces are only open to citizens, permanent residents or essential workers. For those eligible, access is still limited – at times, all spots in isolation have been booked out for months in advance. And while there are now spaces available, the cost of a visit is prohibitive for many: NZ$3,100 for anyone who left the country temporarily, or who is visiting for less than three months, and NZ$5,520 for those on a work visa.
Those strict border protections have kept the country largely safe from incursions of Covid-19. But they have also closed off New Zealand to the world: freezing international tourism, separating families, and leaving some expats and migrants feeling alienated and abandoned.Those strict border protections have kept the country largely safe from incursions of Covid-19. But they have also closed off New Zealand to the world: freezing international tourism, separating families, and leaving some expats and migrants feeling alienated and abandoned.
As other countries vaccinate more and more of their people, the question of when and how New Zealand will reopen the border becomes pressing – and there’s still no clarity on a date or re-opening process from the government.As other countries vaccinate more and more of their people, the question of when and how New Zealand will reopen the border becomes pressing – and there’s still no clarity on a date or re-opening process from the government.
More on the report here:More on the report here:
Stocks fall as Singapore announced on Friday its strict guidelines on gatherings and public activities, amid a rise in infections and new clusters forming in recent weeks.Stocks fall as Singapore announced on Friday its strict guidelines on gatherings and public activities, amid a rise in infections and new clusters forming in recent weeks.
The measures which will be in place from Sunday to mid-June include limiting social gatherings to two people, a halt on dining in at restaurants and for employers to make working from home a default arrangement for staff.The measures which will be in place from Sunday to mid-June include limiting social gatherings to two people, a halt on dining in at restaurants and for employers to make working from home a default arrangement for staff.
Reuters reports:Reuters reports:
France has added Bahrain, Colombia, Costa Rica and Uruguay to its list of countries deemed as high-risk zones. This will mean that people arriving from those countries will have to undergo quarantine measures on arrival.France has added Bahrain, Colombia, Costa Rica and Uruguay to its list of countries deemed as high-risk zones. This will mean that people arriving from those countries will have to undergo quarantine measures on arrival.
The French Prime Minister’s department added that those quarantine measures for travellers from those countries would take effect from May 16, as France aims to ensure that its third wave of the virus declines, Reuters reports.The French Prime Minister’s department added that those quarantine measures for travellers from those countries would take effect from May 16, as France aims to ensure that its third wave of the virus declines, Reuters reports.
In April, France had put Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and India on its list of Covid-19 high-risk countries, requiring people arriving from those countries to undergo a 10-day quarantine upon arrival in France.In April, France had put Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and India on its list of Covid-19 high-risk countries, requiring people arriving from those countries to undergo a 10-day quarantine upon arrival in France.
The Lithuanian government to donate 200,000 Covid-19 vaccine shots to its eastern European neighbours, including 100,000 to Ukraine.The Lithuanian government to donate 200,000 Covid-19 vaccine shots to its eastern European neighbours, including 100,000 to Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said, “Action is the real solidarity,” Reuters reports, announcing that the AstraZeneca vaccines would be donated.Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said, “Action is the real solidarity,” Reuters reports, announcing that the AstraZeneca vaccines would be donated.
The doses will go to EU Eastern Partnership countries, the government announced, including 15,000 going to Georgia and 11,000 to Moldova.The doses will go to EU Eastern Partnership countries, the government announced, including 15,000 going to Georgia and 11,000 to Moldova.
The distribution of the remaining 74,000 shots will be decided later, as the partnership also includes Belarus, Azerbaijan and Armenia.The distribution of the remaining 74,000 shots will be decided later, as the partnership also includes Belarus, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The vaccines are to be distributed by October 1, mainly between July and September, when the country expects to have a surplus.The vaccines are to be distributed by October 1, mainly between July and September, when the country expects to have a surplus.
In Lithuania, a nation of 2.8m, 35% of adults have been vaccinated with at least one shot, in line with the European Union average.In Lithuania, a nation of 2.8m, 35% of adults have been vaccinated with at least one shot, in line with the European Union average.
Nearly half the passengers due to arrive on a flight from India to Australia on Saturday after a two-week travel ban have been grounded because they tested positive for Covid-19 or are considered a close contact of someone who does.Nearly half the passengers due to arrive on a flight from India to Australia on Saturday after a two-week travel ban have been grounded because they tested positive for Covid-19 or are considered a close contact of someone who does.
In India, there are 10,000 Australian citizens and permanent residents registered with Australian authorities who want to go home. Among them, almost 1,000 were classified as vulnerable, with the Australian government giving them a priority.In India, there are 10,000 Australian citizens and permanent residents registered with Australian authorities who want to go home. Among them, almost 1,000 were classified as vulnerable, with the Australian government giving them a priority.
AP reports:AP reports:
The Australian government plans to fly the next repatriation flight on May 23. With six government-chartered flights expected to return Australian citizens from India before the end of May.The Australian government plans to fly the next repatriation flight on May 23. With six government-chartered flights expected to return Australian citizens from India before the end of May.
International flights are not expected to return to normal until mid-2022.International flights are not expected to return to normal until mid-2022.
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Hi, I’m Edna Mohamed; I’ll be taking over the blog from my colleague for the next few hours. If I’ve missed anything, you can either reach me on Twitter or email me at edna.mohamed.casual@theguardian.comHi, I’m Edna Mohamed; I’ll be taking over the blog from my colleague for the next few hours. If I’ve missed anything, you can either reach me on Twitter or email me at edna.mohamed.casual@theguardian.com
A ransomware attack has caused Ireland’s healthcare IT system to be shut down. The attack has been blamed on international criminals and was said to be targeting healthcare records, but officials said patient safety was not at risk. Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) has said that coronavirus vaccinations are going ahead as planned.A ransomware attack has caused Ireland’s healthcare IT system to be shut down. The attack has been blamed on international criminals and was said to be targeting healthcare records, but officials said patient safety was not at risk. Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) has said that coronavirus vaccinations are going ahead as planned.
Japan will declare a state of emergency in three more prefectures hit hard by the pandemic, economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said, in a surprise move reflecting growing concerns about the virus’s spread.Japan will declare a state of emergency in three more prefectures hit hard by the pandemic, economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said, in a surprise move reflecting growing concerns about the virus’s spread.
A petition calling for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics which garnered 350,000 signatures in nine days was submitted to organisers, reflecting growing public opposition to the event as a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections sweeps Japan.A petition calling for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics which garnered 350,000 signatures in nine days was submitted to organisers, reflecting growing public opposition to the event as a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections sweeps Japan.
Indian health ministry data show 4,000 deaths and 343,144 infections over the last 24 hours. But a lack of testing in many places meant the official count omits many deaths and infections, prompting experts to estimate the real figures could be five to ten times higher.Indian health ministry data show 4,000 deaths and 343,144 infections over the last 24 hours. But a lack of testing in many places meant the official count omits many deaths and infections, prompting experts to estimate the real figures could be five to ten times higher.
Taiwan reported another record rise in domestic Covid-19 cases with 29 new cases, as community transmissions in part of central Taipei spread.Taiwan reported another record rise in domestic Covid-19 cases with 29 new cases, as community transmissions in part of central Taipei spread.
Almost half the Australians due to fly home on the first post-pause repatriation flight out of India have been thrown off the passenger list after they either tested positive to Covid-19 or were deemed close contacts of cases.Almost half the Australians due to fly home on the first post-pause repatriation flight out of India have been thrown off the passenger list after they either tested positive to Covid-19 or were deemed close contacts of cases.
Surge testing is under way in areas of north-west England where cases involving the variant first detected in India are on the increase. The UK government is under growing pressure to deploy “surge vaccinations” in Covid hotspots.Surge testing is under way in areas of north-west England where cases involving the variant first detected in India are on the increase. The UK government is under growing pressure to deploy “surge vaccinations” in Covid hotspots.
The 2-metre social distancing rule in Wales will not change on Monday, mainly due to the variant first detected in India, first minister Mark Drakeford has said. He also urged “This is the year to take your holiday in Wales.”The 2-metre social distancing rule in Wales will not change on Monday, mainly due to the variant first detected in India, first minister Mark Drakeford has said. He also urged “This is the year to take your holiday in Wales.”
Scotland is experiencing a “loss of control” of the pandemic in some areas and it is premature to lift restrictions, an epidemiologist has warned.Scotland is experiencing a “loss of control” of the pandemic in some areas and it is premature to lift restrictions, an epidemiologist has warned.
Infection rates are continuing to go down in Germany, with the crucial indicator of infections per 100,000 people over seven days dropping below the threshold mark of 100 on Friday for the first time since 20 March.Infection rates are continuing to go down in Germany, with the crucial indicator of infections per 100,000 people over seven days dropping below the threshold mark of 100 on Friday for the first time since 20 March.
Airbnb has reported a surge in bookings as coronavirus restrictions are eased in some countries.Airbnb has reported a surge in bookings as coronavirus restrictions are eased in some countries.
Greece has officially launched its tourism season as both the government and travel operators hope the country’s natural beauty will bring a much-needed revenue boost after last year’s miserable holiday season.Greece has officially launched its tourism season as both the government and travel operators hope the country’s natural beauty will bring a much-needed revenue boost after last year’s miserable holiday season.
Hong Kong is are barring 13,000 refugees from accessing Covid-19 vaccines.Hong Kong is are barring 13,000 refugees from accessing Covid-19 vaccines.
Singapore has announced the strictest curbs on social gatherings and public activities since easing a lockdown last year, amid a rise in locally acquired infections and with new coronavirus clusters forming in recent weeks.Singapore has announced the strictest curbs on social gatherings and public activities since easing a lockdown last year, amid a rise in locally acquired infections and with new coronavirus clusters forming in recent weeks.
That is it from me, Martin Belam, for this week. I will see you again bright and early on Monday. Edna Mohamed will be here shortly to take you through the rest of the day’s global Covid news, while Mattha Busby has our UK Covid blog.That is it from me, Martin Belam, for this week. I will see you again bright and early on Monday. Edna Mohamed will be here shortly to take you through the rest of the day’s global Covid news, while Mattha Busby has our UK Covid blog.