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Coronavirus live: second pandemic year to be deadlier than first, warns WHO; Germany to mark UK as risk area Coronavirus live: second pandemic year to be deadlier than first, warns WHO; Germany to mark UK as risk area
(32 minutes later)
WHO chief asks countries to donate jabs instead of vaccinating children; India variant behind Germany decision; France adds more countries to high-risk listWHO chief asks countries to donate jabs instead of vaccinating children; India variant behind Germany decision; France adds more countries to high-risk list
The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, has not ruled out the possibility of banning people crossing the border from England if cases of the Covid variant first detected in India continue to rise there.
Drakeford announced on Friday a string of relaxations to Covid restrictions coming into force on Monday, including the reopening of indoor hospitality and the restart of foreign holidays.
But he also revealed the Welsh cabinet had discussed the possibility of allowing more people to mix and giving the go-ahead for some small public events such as food festivals – and decided against this because of the variant.
Drakeford said there were 26 cases of the variant in Wales but added that there was more concern about the “significant spread of that India variant across our border” in England, including a “significant cluster in the north-west of England”.
He said: “We know that the border between the north-east of Wales and the north-west of England is a porous one, so we’re keeping a particular watch on developments there. Should it be necessary to take action, we will do so.”
More on Wales possibly banning travel into England here:
Italy has reported 182 coronavirus deaths, and 7,567 new cases.Italy has reported 182 coronavirus deaths, and 7,567 new cases.
Mainland China has reported 12 new Covid-19 cases today, inluding its first local transmissions in more than three weeks.Mainland China has reported 12 new Covid-19 cases today, inluding its first local transmissions in more than three weeks.
Reuters reports:Reuters reports:
The UK has reported a further 17 coronavirus deaths, and 2,193 new cases of the virus.The UK has reported a further 17 coronavirus deaths, and 2,193 new cases of the virus.
Government data also shows that 36.1 million people have received their first coronavirus vaccination dose.Government data also shows that 36.1 million people have received their first coronavirus vaccination dose.
Turkey is to ease coronavirus restrictions, emerging out of a full lockdown, president Erdogan has said today.Turkey is to ease coronavirus restrictions, emerging out of a full lockdown, president Erdogan has said today.
The country has been in a lockdown for two weeks after the number of daily new cases rocketed to above 60,000, the highest rate globally, and with deaths reaching almost 400 a day.The country has been in a lockdown for two weeks after the number of daily new cases rocketed to above 60,000, the highest rate globally, and with deaths reaching almost 400 a day.
The number of daily new cases has fallen to 11,000, sharply down from last month but still above the target of 5,000 set at the start of the lockdown. Around 10.7 million people have been fully vaccinated, or 13% of the population.The number of daily new cases has fallen to 11,000, sharply down from last month but still above the target of 5,000 set at the start of the lockdown. Around 10.7 million people have been fully vaccinated, or 13% of the population.
Reuters reports:Reuters reports:
Tobi here, taking over while my colleague Edna has a break. If you would like to get in touch please email tobi.thomas@theguardian.com. Thanks!Tobi here, taking over while my colleague Edna has a break. If you would like to get in touch please email tobi.thomas@theguardian.com. Thanks!
The World Health Organization (WHO) added that local conditions needed to be considered if a country is planning to allow vaccinated people not to wear masks in public.The World Health Organization (WHO) added that local conditions needed to be considered if a country is planning to allow vaccinated people not to wear masks in public.
WHO’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, told a virtual briefing in Geneva: “In the instance of a country that wishes to take away a mask mandate … that should only be done in the context of considering both the intensity of transmission in the area and the level of vaccine coverage.”WHO’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, told a virtual briefing in Geneva: “In the instance of a country that wishes to take away a mask mandate … that should only be done in the context of considering both the intensity of transmission in the area and the level of vaccine coverage.”
In the United StatesUS, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday advised that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks outdoors and could avoid wearing them indoors in most places.In the United StatesUS, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday advised that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks outdoors and could avoid wearing them indoors in most places.
A World Health Organization expert said on Friday that while more coronavirus variants are bound to be detected, “we know what to do,” Reuters reports.A World Health Organization expert said on Friday that while more coronavirus variants are bound to be detected, “we know what to do,” Reuters reports.
“I would like fear (of variants) to be turned into something productive, something of strength,” Maria van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for Covid-19 told a virtual briefing in Geneva.“I would like fear (of variants) to be turned into something productive, something of strength,” Maria van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for Covid-19 told a virtual briefing in Geneva.
Germany plans to classify Britain as a coronavirus risk region due to the emergence of the highly infectious variant first detected in India, government sources said on Friday.Germany plans to classify Britain as a coronavirus risk region due to the emergence of the highly infectious variant first detected in India, government sources said on Friday.
A final decision on the new classification could be made as early as Friday, the sources added, Reuters report.A final decision on the new classification could be made as early as Friday, the sources added, Reuters report.
On Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that his government was anxious about the spread of the variant discovered in India and was not ruling out any measures to tackle a sharp rise in positive cases.On Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that his government was anxious about the spread of the variant discovered in India and was not ruling out any measures to tackle a sharp rise in positive cases.
Dutch tourists who visit Spain’s Balearic and the Canary Islands will no longer have to take a coronavirus test on their way home. The Dutch ambassador in Spain said on Friday, as the Netherlands updates the list of destinations deemed safe.Dutch tourists who visit Spain’s Balearic and the Canary Islands will no longer have to take a coronavirus test on their way home. The Dutch ambassador in Spain said on Friday, as the Netherlands updates the list of destinations deemed safe.
Ambassador Jan Versteeg said on Twitter: “I am pleased to announce that from tomorrow Dutch tourism will be open to the Balearic and Canary Islands.”Ambassador Jan Versteeg said on Twitter: “I am pleased to announce that from tomorrow Dutch tourism will be open to the Balearic and Canary Islands.”
The Dutch government will revise its travel advice list on Saturday.The Dutch government will revise its travel advice list on Saturday.
The Balearic Islands, with 52 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days, and the Canary Islands, with 86 cases, are well below the Spanish national incidence of 166 cases.The Balearic Islands, with 52 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days, and the Canary Islands, with 86 cases, are well below the Spanish national incidence of 166 cases.
Spain expects foreign tourism to reach 45m this year, around half the pre-pandemic level, its tourism minister said this week, inviting potential visitors to start planning their Spanish vacations.Spain expects foreign tourism to reach 45m this year, around half the pre-pandemic level, its tourism minister said this week, inviting potential visitors to start planning their Spanish vacations.
Slovakia ends its state of emergency as the coronavirus pandemic has receded, Prime Minister Eduard Heger said on Friday.Slovakia ends its state of emergency as the coronavirus pandemic has receded, Prime Minister Eduard Heger said on Friday.
However, Heger cautioned that the struggle against the pandemic was not over and called for people to continue behaving responsibly, adding vaccination was the key to overcoming Covid-19.However, Heger cautioned that the struggle against the pandemic was not over and called for people to continue behaving responsibly, adding vaccination was the key to overcoming Covid-19.
Italy has lifted quarantine rules for all travellers from the European Union, UK and Israel upon their arrival, Health authorities announced.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.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.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.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.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.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.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.”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.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.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 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.”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.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.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.
In a virtual meeting in Geneva, Tedros said, “I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate vaccines to COVAX.”In a virtual meeting in Geneva, Tedros said, “I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate vaccines to COVAX.”
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.