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Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Jan 2022

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Hong Kong police arrest two ex-flight attendants over COVID-19 rule breach

Hong Kong police said they have arrested and charged two former flight attendants over allegations they broke the city's coronavirus rules. The statement, which was published late on Monday, did not name the airline but the announcement comes after Cathay Pacific said in January it had fired two aircrew who were suspected of breaching COVID-19 protocols. Police said the two had returned to Hong Kong from the United States on Dec. 24 and 25 where they had "conducted unnecessary activities" during their home isolation period.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

British PM Johnson denies lying about lockdown party

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson denied on Tuesday an accusation by his former adviser that he had lied to parliament about a lockdown party, saying nobody had warned him the "bring your own booze" gathering might contravene COVID-19 rules. Johnson faces the gravest crisis of his tenure after revelations about gatherings during lockdowns, some when British people could not even bid farewell in person to dying relatives and the Queen was mourning her husband.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters UK

Djokovic has to comply with rules to go to Spain, PM says

World men's tennis No. 1 Novak Djokovic will have to comply with Spanish health rules to be able to travel to Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday. Answering a question on whether Djokovic would be allowed to enter Spain to compete after Australia deported him for being unvaccinated against COVID-19, Sanchez said: "Any sportsperson who wishes to compete in our country must comply with the health rules of Spain".
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Jan 2022

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Don’t demonise those who refuse the Covid vaccine

I read David Green’s letter on anti-vaxxers (12 January) and empathised with the letter written in response (13 January). The week before Christmas my dad died of Covid. The intensive care consultant couldn’t have been clearer that, in her opinion, if he had been vaccinated he would not have developed Covid pneumonia to the severity that he did. He died very frightened and asking his family to come and be with him, and we couldn’t. The experience traumatised my sister so badly that she was hospitalised with psychosis three days after his passing. The reason he wasn’t vaccinated is because his mind was poisoned with conspiracy theories and misinformation exacerbated by two years of lockdown and reduced social contact. While I am angry that he would not get vaccinated, I don’t think any good would ever come from criminalising his choice. Is it not anti-vaxxers who should be demonised and prosecuted. It is the people, organisations and companies who perpetuate lies and make money from the fear felt by vulnerable people.
17th Jan 2022 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Credit Suisse chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio resigns nine months into role after bank probe finds he breached quarantine rules

The departure of Mr Horta-Osorio, a former CEO of Lloyds Banking Group, was announced by Switzerland-based Credit Suisse on Monday in an abrupt move that comes less than a year after the Portuguese banker was brought in to clean up the company's corporate culture.
17th Jan 2022 - Sky News

Anti-vaccine far-right rally attracts hundreds in Hungary

Over a thousand people marched in Budapest protesting against COVID-19 inoculation at a rally organised by the far-right Our Homeland Movement, which has been campaigning on a fierce anti-vaccine and anti-immigration message ahead of April 3 elections. "Vaccines should not be mandatory! We don't tolerate blackmail," said the slogan of the rally where people held up banners saying: "I am unvaccinated, not a criminal" and "Enough of COVID dictatorship."
17th Jan 2022 - Reuters

British PM Johnson wishes he had not attended boozy lockdown gathering

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wishes he had not attended a "bring your own booze" gathering in Downing Street during Britain's first coronavirus lockdown and understands the public's anger, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said. "The prime minister understands the level of hurt in the country," Zahawi told Sky News on Monday. Zahawi said Johnson attended the event to support and encourage his staff but "he now wishes he hadn't done that, he wishes he'd said: 'Look get back to your desk because this is wrong.'"
17th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Vaccines Aren’t Done Shaping Djokovic’s Tennis Legacy

When Novak Djokovic boarded a flight from Melbourne, Australia to Dubai on Sunday night, he put an end to the strangest trip of his nearly two decades as a professional tennis player. But the past 10 days have made it clear that the cost of remaining unvaccinated is still rising for Djokovic’s career and legacy—and could undercut his effort to wind up with more major titles to his name than any man in history. Djokovic had flown halfway across the world and not played a single match, all because he believed he had secured an exemption to Australian rules requiring travelers to be vaccinated. Instead, he spent an entire night explaining himself to border officials who canceled his visa, moved into government detention for almost a week, and twice had lawyers plead his case to remain in Australia.
17th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Credit Suisse chief, architect of new strategy, quits over COVID-19 breaches

Credit Suisse will stick to its strategic overhaul despite the abrupt departure of its mastermind Antonio Horta-Osorio following an internal probe into his personal conduct, including breaches of COVID-19 rules, the bank's new chairman said on Monday. Horta-Osorio leavesless than nine months after he joined the bank to help it deal with the implosion of investment firm Archegos and the insolvency of British supply chain finance company Greensill Capital, while it was still reeling from the 2020 exit of CEO Tidjane Thiam over a spying scandal.
17th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Australia has decided to 'let Covid rip.' Is that a good idea?

As 2021 drew to a close, many Australians were cautiously optimistic that the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic was behind them. The country had surpassed ambitious vaccine targets, meaning its rolling lockdowns could cease, both internal and international borders would reopen, and as Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared, it was now possible to “live with this virus.” But as Australia moved to change course on its pandemic strategy, the highly transmissible omicron variant hit. In just over a month, cases have risen from around 1,000 a day to more than 100,000 a day. Hallmarks of the pandemic that Australia mostly avoided began to emerge. The health system is buckling. Many supermarket shelves are bare as sick workers stay home.
16th Jan 2022 - NBC

Protest in Netherlands against coronavirus measures

Thousands of protesters packed Amsterdam's streets on Sunday in opposition to the government-imposed COVID-19 measures and vaccination campaign as virus infections hit a new record. Authorities were granted stop and search powers at several locations across the city and scores of riot police vans patrolled neighbourhoods where the demonstrators marched with banners and yellow umbrellas. Regular anti-coronavirus protests are held across the country and Sunday's large gathering was joined by farmers who drove to the capital and parked tractors along the central Museum Square.
16th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Malta sees biggest protest yet against COVID measures

Malta saw its biggest protest yet against COVID rules on Sunday, with hundreds of people marching in the capital Valletta against new measures requiring production of a COVID certificate for entry to most venues including restaurants, gyms and bars. Malta has seen one of the biggest take-ups of COVID vaccination jabs in the European Union, and almost three-quarters of adults would have taken the additional booster jab by Sunday, according to Health Ministry data.
16th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Jan 2022

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Polish COVID advisers quit over lack of science influence on policy

Thirteen of the 17 members of Poland's Medical Council advising the prime minister on COVID-19 resigned on Friday, condemning what they said was a lack of scientific influence on policy. Even with one of the world's highest per capita death rates, Poland has introduced much more limited measures than many European countries to curb the spread of the coronavirus during the latest wave of infections. "The discrepancy between scientific and medical rationale and practice has become especially glaring in the context of the very limited efforts in the face of the autumn wave and then the threat of the Omicron variant, despite the enormous number of deaths expected," the 13 council members said in a statement to Reuters, confirming a report by the PAP state news agency.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Thousands protest in Vienna against mandatory vaccination

Thousands of people took to the streets of Austria's capital on Saturday to protest against government plans to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all next month. "The government must go!" crowds chanted at one rally in central Vienna in what has become a routine Saturday event. Parliament is scheduled to vote next week on the issue, which has polarised the country as coronavirus cases surge.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Australia Feared Letting Novak Djokovic Stay Would Fuel Antivaccine Sentiment

Australia’s decision to cancel tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time was driven by fear that letting him stay could foster antivaccine sentiment during a surge in Covid-19 cases, court documents show.
15th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Singapore Workers Who Refuse Vaccination Risk Losing Their Jobs

Workers in Singapore who refuse to be inoculated against Covid-19 may risk losing their jobs as new restrictions on office access take effect. From Saturday, a prior concession that allowed unvaccinated employees who test negative to go to workplaces will be removed, according to a government advisory. Employers can redeploy those with no jabs to suitable jobs that can be done from home, place them on no-pay leave, or as a last resort, fire them if they can’t perform their contracted work outside the office.
15th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Spotify Pressured by 270 Scientists, Medical Professionals Over Joe Rogan Episode

A coalition of 270 scientists and medical professionals this week issued an open letter to Spotify Technology SA, urging the streaming platform to establish a misinformation policy after an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, among its most listened-to podcasts, promoted what they said were “baseless conspiracy theories” about the pandemic. The Dec. 31 program featured Robert Malone, a doctor who has called himself the “inventor” of mRNA vaccines, the type that serves as the basis for the Covid-19 vaccine. Malone was banned from Twitter for circulating anti-vaccine misinformation. YouTube deleted a recording of the Rogan podcast shortly after it was uploaded to the website by a third-party.
15th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Australia Says Djokovic’s Vaccination Stance Poses a Public Risk

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke barred the world men’s No. 1 tennis player despite saying Djokovic had entered Australia with a valid medical exemption from being vaccinated and presents a negligible health risk himself, according to court documents released Saturday. His ongoing presence, however, “may lead to an increase in anti-vaccination sentiment generated in the Australian community, potentially leading to an increase in civil unrest of the kind previously experienced in Australia with rallies and protests which may themselves be a source of community transmission,” Hawke said in the filing.
14th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Lockdown party allegations facing UK PM Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologised for attending a "bring your own booze" gathering at his official residence during Britain's first coronavirus lockdown, and an internal inquiry is being carried out to establish the facts. British media have reported that at least 11 gatherings took place at Johnson's 10 Downing Street residence or in other government departments between May 2020 and April 2021, when COVID-19 rules limited how many people could meet socially. Sue Gray, a senior civil servant, is leading an inquiry. She has not said when her findings will be published.
14th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 14th Jan 2022

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French teachers strike over chaotic COVID-19 strategy for schools

Tens of thousands of French teachers angry with the government's COVID-19 rules walked off the job on Thursday and took to the streets to demand better protection for pupils and staff against infection. "Stop your contempt," and "We're fed up with tests" teachers proclaimed on banners in rallies across France, calling for the government to provide them with FFP2 face-masks and to stop changing the rules so often. Teachers, parents and school directors have struggled to cope with the many twists and turns in COVID rules on schools. New testing requirements announced a day before schools restarted after the Christmas holidays and changed twice since increased the anger.
13th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Britain's Next cuts sick pay for unvaccinated staff forced to self-isolate

British fashion retailer Next has cut sick pay for unvaccinated staff who must self-isolate due to exposure to COVID-19, it said on Thursday. "It's highly emotive but we have to balance the needs of the business with those of workers and shareholders," said a spokesperson for the group. He said unvaccinated workers who test positive will still receive Next's full rate of sick pay. Next's move follows a similar one by furniture retailer Ikea.
13th Jan 2022 - Reuters

U.S. Supreme Court blocks Biden vaccine-or-test policy for large businesses

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses - a policy the conservative justices deemed an improper imposition on the lives and health of many Americans - while endorsing a separate federal vaccine requirement for healthcare facilities. Biden voiced disappointment with the conservative-majority court's decision to halt his administration's rule requiring vaccines or weekly COVID-19 tests for employees at businesses with at least 100 employees. Biden said it now is up to states and employers to decide whether to require workers "to take the simple and effective step of getting vaccinated."
13th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 13th Jan 2022

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Tunisian Ennahda official says party will defy COVID rules for protest

A senior official in Tunisia's main opposition Ennahda party told Reuters it planned to go ahead with a protest against President Kais Saied on Friday in defiance of a new COVID-19 ban on gatherings. The government said earlier it was re-imposing a night curfew, banning all gatherings for two weeks and discouraging people from travelling abroad to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases. Ennahda and other parties accuse the government of using the rules to stop protests against Saied, who in July sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed broad powers in moves they call a coup.
12th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Spain doctors win suit for lack of protection from COVID-19

Spain’s medical community has scored a victory after a court ordered that a regional government must compensate doctors with up to 49,000 euros ($56,000) for having to work without personal protection suits during the devastating early months of the pandemic. The lawsuit brought by a doctor’s union is the first of its kind to be won in Spain, whose health care system was pushed to the brink when COVID-19 first struck. “This ruling is groundbreaking in Spain,” doctor Víctor Pedrera, secretary general of the Doctors’ Union of Valencia CESM-CV that filed the suit, told The Associated Press by phone on Wednesday. Pedrera, a family doctor, said that he got ill with the coronavirus shortly after it hit Spain in March 2020 and spent two months at home “quite badly off and with no idea of what was being done for treatment.”
12th Jan 2022 - The Independent

Will Boris Johnson Resign? UK PM Urged to Stand Down Over Lockdown Party Claim

Boris Johnson is facing opposition calls for his resignation, as his office confirmed officials are talking to U.K. police over an alleged drinks party at his Downing Street office while pandemic curbs were in place in 2020. The British premier’s hopes of a reset after a turbulent end to 2021 were ruined after it emerged members of his team were invited to a drinks party in his office garden on May 20, 2020, according to an email seen by ITV News. Social gatherings were banned during the first wave of Covid-19 infections.
12th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Students at New York City’s Largest High School Stage Walkout Over Covid Protocols

Students at Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City staged a walkout today in protest of the school’s in-person teaching mandates during the omicron-fuellde Covid surge. The walkout, which went viral on Twitter, happened at the largest in-person high school in the state. Brooklyn Tech had 6,043 students enrolled during the 2020-2021 school year.
12th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Djokovic: Not isolating after COVID infection was ‘error’

Novak Djokovic has acknowledged that his Australian travel declaration form contained incorrect information, as the government nears a decision on whether to deport the Serbian tennis star who is not vaccinated against COVID-19 on public interest grounds. The men’s tennis No. 1 had his visa canceled on arrival in Melbourne last week when his vaccination exemption was questioned, but he won a legal battle on procedural grounds that allowed him to stay in the country. He still faces the prospect of deportation — a decision that is entirely at the discretion of Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke if deemed to be in the public interest for health and safety reasons.
12th Jan 2022 - The Associated Press

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 12th Jan 2022

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Vaccine hesitancy changes over time: Attitudes toward vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic

Worldwide, vaccine hesitancy is proving to be a stumbling block to securing much needed protection against the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Now, researchers from Japan have uncovered specific factors that influence attitudes about vaccines, which is valuable knowledge for combating vaccine hesitancy. In a study published last month in Vaccines, researchers from the University of Tsukuba reported dramatic changes in vaccine acceptance over a five-month period during the COVID-19 pandemic. Detailed information about what causes these changes could help address low vaccine uptake in specific populations.
11th Jan 2022 - Medical Xpress

Anti-vax leader urges people to drink their urine instead of get vaccine in latest wild conspiracy

Some Anti-vaxxers will do anything to avoid taking the coronavirus vaccine, including, reportedly, drinking their own urine. The Daily Beast reports that a prominent figure in the anti-Covid-19 community, Christopher Key – who calls himself the "Vaccine Police" – is now telling his followers to drink their own urine in order to cure themselves of Covid-19.
11th Jan 2022 - The Independent

In vaccine-shy Poland, COVID deaths top 100000

The number of deaths per one million inhabitants was last week among the highest in the world, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford, at more than 57 compared to around 35 in the United States and 37 in Russia. "Today we can say it is another sad day, but especially so because we have passed the level of 100,000 COVID deaths," Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told private broadcaster TVN 24.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

UK’s Johnson faces lockdown-breach claims over garden party

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a wave of public and political outrage on Tuesday over allegations that he and his staff flouted coronavirus lockdown rules by holding a garden party in 2020 while Britons were barred by law from meeting up with more than one person outside their households. Opposition politicians called for a police investigation after broadcaster ITV published a leaked email invitation to “socially distanced drinks” in the garden of the prime minister’s Downing Street office and residence. The email from the prime minister’s private secretary, Martin Reynolds, was sent to dozens of people and urged attendees to “bring your own booze.”
11th Jan 2022 - The Associated Press

Biden wants U.S. agencies to mandate COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated employees by Feb 15

The Biden administration said on Tuesday that federal agencies should require weekly COVID-19 testing by Feb. 15 for unvaccinated government employees who are working on-site or interacting with the public. A vaccine mandate imposed by President Joe Biden in September covers about 3.5 million federal workers and required them to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22 or face potential discipline or even termination.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Mexican president's family, some government officials isolating after his COVID-19 diagnosis

Some members of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's family and cabinet were isolating and taking COVID-19 tests on Tuesday after he announced he was diagnosed with COVID-19 for the second time a day earlier. Lopez Obrador, who announced he had tested positive on Monday evening, may have met with at least four members of his cabinet, including Interior Minister Adan Augusto Lopez, earlier that day, according to a report by Mexican newspaper El Universal. A spokesman for the president did not confirm how many people he may have had contact with before testing positive, but said there were "members of the cabinet and his family." "So far none have symptoms and those who have been tested have been negative," the spokesman told Reuters.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 11th Jan 2022

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Ikea Cuts Sick Pay for Unvaccinated Staff Ordered to Isolate

Ikea imposed a financial penalty on unvaccinated U.K. employees who miss work if they are ordered to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone with Covid-19. If these workers become ill with the virus themselves, however, they will still receive sick pay as normal, Ikea said in a statement to Bloomberg. The changes, which came into effect in September, mean that unvaccinated staff only receive statutory sick pay of 96.35 pounds ($131) a week during the 10-day isolation period -- which is much lower than average weekly wages before taxes.
10th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

London hospital boss says he may lose 1000 staff over Covid vaccine mandate

A London hospital leader has said he may lose 1,000 staff to the Covid vaccination mandate, but hopes admissions from the Omicron wave have peaked in in the capital. The chief executive of King’s College hospital NHS trust, Prof Clive Kay, told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme that his organisation was working urgently to encourage staff to come forward for vaccination to avoid redeploying or losing them.
10th Jan 2022 - The Guardian

French politician attacked by anti-COVID vaccine pass demonstrators

French politician Stephane Claireaux, who is a member of President Emmanuel Macron's ruling La Republique En Marche party, said on Monday that he had been attacked over the weekend by protesters demonstrating against France's COVID health pass. The attack on Claireaux, which occurred on Sunday, comes amid public anger in France after Macron said he wanted to "piss off" unvaccinated people by making their lives so complicated they would end up getting the COVID vaccine.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Djokovic back in practice after winning appeal to stay in Australia

Novak Djokovic was back in training hours after winning a court challenge to remain in Australia on Monday, thanking the judge who released him from immigration detention and saying he remained focused on trying to win a record 21st tennis major. The fight over the world number one's medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter Australia and play may not be over, however, as the government said it was still considering another way to deport him. "I am pleased and grateful that the judge overturned my visa cancellation," Djokovic wrote on Twitter, where he posted a photograph of himself on court at Melbourne Park after a chaotic few days.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Brazil health regulator asks Bolsonaro to retract criticism over vaccines

The head of Brazil's health regulator Anvisa has asked the country's vaccine-skeptic President Jair Bolsonaro to retract statements he made criticizing the agency for authorizing the vaccination of children against COVID-19. In a letter to Bolsonaro made public late Saturday, retired rear admiral Antonio Barra Torres asked the president to back up his statement that there were undisclosed "interests" behind the vaccine decision or else retract his words.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 10th Jan 2022

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Australia treasurer tests positive for COVID-19 as cases hit a record

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he tested positive to COVID-19, joining other top government officials in contracting the disease as the daily infection rate surpassed 100,000 for the first time amid an outbreak of the Omicron variant. "Like thousands of Australians, I tested positive today to COVID-19," Frydenberg wrote in a short message which he posted to Twitter and Facebook late on Friday. "I have the common symptoms and am isolating with my family," he added without elaborating or disclosing which variant he had
8th Jan 2022 - Reuters

No need for a fourth Covid jab yet, say UK advisers

A fourth Covid jab is not yet needed, say UK experts, because booster doses continue to provide high protection against severe disease from the Omicron variant among older adults. UK Health Security Agency data shows three months after boosting, protection against hospitalisation remains at about 90% for people aged 65 and over. Protection against mild symptomatic infection is more short-lived. That drops to about 30% by about three months. Figures also show why it is important to get a booster dose if you have only had two doses so far.
8th Jan 2022 - BBC News

COVID-19: Sajid Javid directly challenged on mandatory coronavirus jabs by unvaccinated NHS doctor

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has been directly challenged by an unvaccinated hospital consultant over the government's policy of compulsory COVID jabs for NHS staff. During a visit to King's College Hospital in south London, Mr Javid asked staff members on the intensive care unit about their thoughts on new rules requiring vaccination for NHS workers. And Steve James, a consultant anaesthetist who has been treating coronavirus patients since the start of the pandemic, told the health secretary about his displeasure. "I'm not happy about that," he said. "I had COVID at some point, I've got antibodies, and I've been working on COVID ICU since the beginning.
8th Jan 2022 - Sky News

Supreme Court Justices Cast Doubt on Biden Workplace Vaccine Rule

The U.S. Supreme Court cast doubt on the linchpin of President Joe Biden’s push to get more people vaccinated amid a Covid-19 surge, questioning whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had authority to require that 80 million workers get shots or regular tests. In a special argument session Friday, the court’s conservative justices voiced skepticism about the rule, which business groups and Republican-led states say exceeds the workplace-safety agency’s authority. The pandemic “sounds like the sort of thing that states will be responding to or should be, and that Congress should be responding to or should be, rather than agency by agency the federal government and the executive branch acting alone,” Chief Justice John Roberts said.
7th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Biden Says Covid Won't Be 'New Normal' But Virus Here to Stay

President Joe Biden said surging Covid-19 cases won’t be the “new normal,” though the virus is likely to endure and can be managed with newly developed tools. “Covid -- as we’re dealing with it now -- is not here to stay,” Biden said to reporters at the White House on Friday. “Having Covid in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay.” The president’s remarks came after six of his former health advisers published articles saying the U.S. strategy to fight the pandemic needs to be overhauled and adjusted to the idea that living with the virus would become the “new normal.”
7th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Macron Doubles Down on Plan to ‘Piss Off’ the Unvaccinated

President Emmanuel Macron on Friday stood by the uncompromising stance and combative language he directed earlier this week at France’s unvaccinated citizens amid record numbers of new Covid-19 cases. Macron in a Tuesday interview with Le Parisien used salty language -- saying he wants to “p--- off” people refusing inoculation -- to express zero-tolerance for failing to get fully vaccinated. The government, he said, will keep up the pressure on the holdouts as a way to contain skyrocketing case counts. “You can get upset about ways of talking which may sound colloquial, for which I take full responsibility. But what upsets me is the situation in which we are in,” Macron said at a Friday news conference in Paris. “It was my responsibility to ring the alarm. That’s what I did this week so that things will move faster.”
7th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Brazil's Bolsonaro knocks vaccines for kids, criticizes health regulator

Article reports that President Jair Bolsonaro criticized Brazil's health regulator Anvisa on Thursday for authorizing the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years against COVID-19, one day after his health minister unveiled plans to inoculate that age group. Bolsonaro, who has bragged about not being vaccinated himselfand has consistently cast doubt on the efficacy and safety of coronavirus vaccines , said in a radio interview that he had not heard of children dying of COVID-19 and repeated that his daughter Laura, 11, would not be vaccinated.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Smash and shout: Dutch find new ways to vent COVID-19 frustrations

One swinging a sledgehammer and the other a crowbar, twin brothers Steven and Brian Krijger grin as they take turns pulverising a Peugeot 106 spray-painted with the words "F*** COVID". They are participants in "CarSmash", a Dutch project aimed at providing locked-down locals with ways of releasing anger and frustration built up during a pandemic now entering its third year. Dutch bars, restaurants and most stores have been closed since mid-December, when curbs took effect that the government - battling to contain record numbers of coronavirus cases - is not due to review until Jan. 14.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Citigroup to enforce 'no-jab, no-job' policy starting Jan. 14 - source

Citigroup Inc staff in the United States who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 14 will be placed on unpaid leave and fired at the end of the month unless they are granted an exemption, according to a company memo seen by Reuters on Friday. The U.S. bank announced its plan to impose new vaccination rules in October and now becomes the first major Wall Street institution to follow through with a strict vaccine mandate.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters

The American Chess Star Caught in a Polish Covid Nightmare

U.S. grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura went to Warsaw hoping to capture a world championship. He caught Covid instead—and hasn’t been able to figure out when he’s allowed home.
7th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Boris Johnson Calls Out U.K. Anti-Vaxxers 'Spouting Nonsense' Online

Boris Johnson slammed anti-vaxxers spreading “nonsense” about Covid-19 on the internet, a change in tone he said was driven by the “tragedy” that so many people admitted to U.K. hospitals are not vaccinated. “I want to say to the anti-vax campaigners, who are putting this mumbo jumbo on social media, they are completely wrong,” Johnson told reporters at a vaccination center in the East Midlands on Thursday. “And you haven’t heard me say that before, because I want a voluntary approach.” While the U.K. has one of the highest levels of vaccinations in Europe -- 60% have had a third booster dose -- a small and vocal minority has consistently campaigned against vaccination. Johnson said 30-40% of patients coming into hospital with Covid-19 haven’t had any vaccine doses.
7th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 7th Jan 2022

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Covid ‘vaccination doubt line’ receiving up to 1,000 calls a day in Netherlands

A “vaccination doubt line” set up by doctors in the Netherlands is receiving up to 1,000 calls a day from people who are still unsure whether or not they should get jabbed against the coronavirus. The helpline, originally launched as a local service in November by Robin Peeters, an endocrinologist at the Erasmus medical centre in Rotterdam, and Shakib Sana, a GP, was given a national number last month and has been inundated with inquiries. Staffed mainly by volunteer medical students from rooms made available in the university hospitals of Utrecht, Amsterdam, Nijmegen, Maastricht and Rotterdam, the service has met “an extraordinary response”, Peeters said.
6th Jan 2022 - The Guardian

Covid: Anti-vaccine campaigns are mumbo jumbo, says PM

Boris Johnson has accused anti-vaccine campaigners of speaking "mumbo jumbo" when it comes to coronavirus jabs. The prime minister said those spreading false information on social media were "totally wrong" and it was time for him "to call them out". Some European countries are making vaccination mandatory, but Mr Johnson stressed it was important for the UK to maintain its voluntary approach. In the UK, 90% of over-12s have now had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. And nearly 83% have had a second dose, while 60% have had their booster or third primary dose. Thursday's coronavirus figures showed 179,756 new cases had been reported in the UK and 231 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
6th Jan 2022 - BBC News

Covid-19: Hundreds of maskless London Underground passengers fined

Hundreds of passengers have been issued fines for not wearing face coverings on London's transport network since it was made mandatory. Compulsory face coverings were reinstated amid rising concerns about the Omicron variant of Covid-19. Penalty notices up to £200 were issued to 536 people between 30 November and 21 December, the Mayor of London said. Figures showed a further 287 passengers have penalties being processed by Transport for London (TfL).
6th Jan 2022 - BBC News

Djokovic in limbo as his lawyers fight to overturn Australia entry ban

Novak Djokovic faced at least 72 hours holed up in a Melbourne hotel for immigration detainees after he was denied entry into Australia on Thursday amid a political firestorm over hismedical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements. The tennis star, who is chasing a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, remained in the country after his lawyers launched an appeal seeking to overturn the federal government decision. A court agreed not to deport him before a full hearing scheduled for Monday.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Novak Djokovic Denied Entry to Australia Over Vaccine Fight

The family of Novak Djokovic accused Australia of trying to deny the top world tennis star a record 10th Grand Slam victory there, and his country’s president denounced what he called a “political campaign” over Covid-19 protocols. Djokovic’s lawyers mounted a legal challenge against Australia’s decision to hold him at a hotel used for detaining refugees and expel him after federal officials overruled a state vaccine exemption for the tennis star that sparked a national uproar. Due to compete in the Australian Open this month, the Serbian player offered insufficient proof to enter the country under current pandemic rules, the Australian Border Force said Thursday. While he was earlier granted a medical exemption to enter the state of Victoria, the federal government revoked that after officials questioned the athlete for hours at Melbourne Airport.
6th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 6th Jan 2022

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Pandemic-wary U.S. Supreme Court to weigh Biden vaccine mandates

The U.S. Supreme Court, which has restricted its own operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, is preparing to decide whether to block President Joe Biden's vaccine mandates for large businesses and healthcare workers in a test of presidential powers to address an unyielding public health crisis. The court will hear in-person arguments on Friday on emergency requests in two separate cases by challengers including business groups, religious entities and various Republican-led U.S. states for orders blocking the vaccine requirements, with rulings expected in short order. The challengers maintain that Biden and his administration have overstepped their authority. The court's 6-3 conservative majority in the past has shown skepticism toward sweeping actions by federal agencies.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

French parliament suspends COVID debate amid anger over Macron remark

The government on Wednesday defended President Emmanuel Macron's use of coarse language in a stepped-up campaign against France's unvaccinated, after his words drew condemnation from the opposition and mixed reactions from voters. Macron said he wanted to "piss off" unvaccinated people by making their lives so complicated they would end up getting jabbed. He was speaking in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper in which he also called unvaccinated people irresponsible and unworthy of being considered citizens.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Tempers fray in Australia as COVID-19 cases hit new highs

Australia's daily COVID-19 cases hit a record high for a third day on Wednesday, further straining hospital resources and testing facilities as public anger grew over the handling of the fast-moving outbreak of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Many Australians, already unhappy about long queues at public testing centres and a shortage of at-home tests, were further incensed when news broke that tennis world number one Novak Djokovic had been given a medical exemption to enter the country. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, under pressure at the start of an election year, announced a further relaxing of testing requirements to shorten long lines, and provided access to free rapid antigen tests for pensioners, the poor and veterans.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Djokovic’s Vaccine Exemption for Australian Open Stokes Anger

Tennis star Novak Djokovic was challenged by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to prove why he can’t be vaccinated after a decision to exempt some Australian Open players from virus rules sparked criticism in host city Melbourne, which endured one of world’s longest lockdowns. Djokovic, who has previously criticized vaccine mandates, is among a handful of competitors granted medical exemptions for the tournament, the first of the four annual Grand Slam events, which begins Jan. 17, according to organizers. Morrison told reporters that Djokovic must “provide acceptable proof” when he arrives in Australia that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
5th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Macron slammed for saying he wants to ‘p*** off’ unvaccinated

President Emmanuel Macron has faced anger from opponents and chaos in parliament after issuing a provocative warning to people in France not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 that he would pressure them as much as possible by limiting access to key aspects of life. Macron, who has not yet formally declared his candidacy for re-election in April, came under fire from challengers already in the race, accusing him of overstepping the line with his remarks.
5th Jan 2022 - AlJazeera

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U.S. judge blocks Pentagon from punishing Navy SEALs who refused COVID-19 vaccine

A federal judge on Monday barred the U.S. Department of Defense from punishing a group of Navy SEALs and other special forces members who refused COVID-19 vaccines on religious grounds. U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, acting in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of 35 special forces service members, issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Navy and Defense Department from enforcing the mandate. Reed, who was appointed to the federal bench in Texas by President George W. Bush, said the Navy had not granted a single religious exemption to the vaccine rule.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Texas Sues U.S. to Block Vaccine Requirement for National Guard

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sued the Biden administration Tuesday, seeking to halt a requirement that National Guard members be vaccinated against Covid-19. Earlier in the day, Mr. Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Military Department, ordering it not to force Texas Guardsmen to receive vaccines. “Unless President Biden federalizes the Texas National Guard…he is not your commander-in-chief,” the letter said. “I will not tolerate efforts to compel receipt of a Covid-19 vaccine.” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III ordered in August that all service members be vaccinated for Covid-19, saying that healthy forces are necessary for a national defense.
4th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Spanish students to go back to school after Christmas break, despite Omicron

Students at Spanish schools and universities will return to class in-person when the new term begins on Jan. 10, the Health Minister said on Tuesday, ending speculation that record COVID-19 infections might trigger a return to distance learning. Cases have hit new highs since the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus was detected. Omicron accounted for around 43% of cases in the week before Christmas, Spanish health authorities said on Monday. The nationwide infection rate as measured over the past 14 days rose to a new record of 2,433 cases per 100,000 people on Tuesday, a more than 10-fold increase since the beginning of December
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Johnson Says U.K. Can Ride Out Covid Wave Without Tighter Rules

Boris Johnson said the U.K. can weather a record wave of Covid-19 sweeping the country without tighter restrictions, even as he warned the National Health Service is under growing strain. A record 218,724 new cases of the virus were reported on Tuesday, driven by the fast-spreading omicron variant, and the prime minister warned that the weeks ahead will be “challenging” for the U.K. But he also said that the country’s booster vaccination program and the rules in place since before Christmas appear sufficient for now. “We have a good chance of getting through the omicron wave without the need for further restrictions, and certainly without the need for another lockdown,” he said.
4th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

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Brazil health agency warns against boarding cruise ships amid COVID-19 outbreaks

Brazilian health agency Anvisa on Sunday warned passengers against boarding cruise ships operating along the Brazilian coast after outbreaks of COVID-19 affecting crew and customers, according to a statement on its website. The move follows a call for the "immediate temporary interruption of the cruise ship season in Brazil" as they pose a risk to public health. "In view of recent events, Anvisa does not recommend the embarkation of passengers who have trips scheduled on cruise ships for the next few days," the statement said.
3rd Jan 2022 - Reuters

Dutch police disperse thousands protesting against lockdown measures

Riot police with batons and shields broke up a crowd of several thousand who had gathered in Amsterdam on Sunday to protest against COVID-19 lockdown measures and vaccinations. Public gatherings of more than two people are prohibited under restrictions imposed by the Netherlands in an effort to prevent the Omicron variant of the coronavirus overwhelming an already strained healthcare system. At least 30 people were detained after scuffles, during which four officers were injured, police said in a statement. Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema had issued an emergency ordinance, empowering police to clear the central Museum Square, after the protesters defied a ban on public gatherings.
2nd Jan 2022 - Reuters

Kuwait encourages citizens to leave UK on Omicron fears

The Kuwaiti embassy in the United Kingdom has encouraged its citizens to leave the country due to a "significant and unprecedented" increase in Omicron cases there, the Gulf country's state news agency reported on Sunday. The daily number of new COVID-19 infections across Britain rose to a record 189,846 on Friday, far higher than during previous peaks.
2nd Jan 2022 - Reuters

Anti-vax community blasts Trump after pro-shot comments

Former Republican President Donald Trump's recent comments touting COVID-19 vaccines as safe and a major achievement of his presidency have roiled extreme anti-vaxers, which include many of his ardent supporters. After months of a relatively low profile on vaccines and no photos of him getting inoculated, Trump on Dec. 19 told former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly during an event in Dallas that he'd received the booster - eliciting some boos from the audience. In an interview with right-wing pundit Candace Owens released two days later, Trump pushed back when Owens suggested the shots were not safe
30th Dec 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Police appeal for information after dozens of anti-vaxxers protest at testing site

Police have appealed for information after an anti-vaccine demonstration took place at a COVID testing centre in Milton Keynes. Footage from the protest showed a woman appearing to pick up medical equipment and papers from the site and then dumping them in a nearby bin. Another demonstrator allegedly knocked down a sign, and another man apparently threw a couple of traffic cones. Dozens of people were seen in the video, including some who were holding anti-vaccine placards and shouting anti-vaccine slogans. Police said that "where criminal offences have been disclosed, we will take swift action and bring offenders to justice".
30th Dec 2021 - Sky News

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Hard-hit by COVID, Israel's ultra-Orthodox slow to get shots

Yossi Levy has repeatedly booked and canceled his coronavirus vaccine appointment. The 45-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jew recovered from the virus earlier this year, as have his eight children and wife. But a combination of lethargy and procrastination has prevented him from following through and getting inoculated. “It isn't something pressing. I'm not opposed to it. It's just laziness," he said. Levy is among the hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews who have yet to receive their COVID-19 shots. The group has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country despite being hit hard by the pandemic. Facing the new coronavirus variant omicron, officials are now scrambling to ramp up vaccination rates in a population that has so far been slow to roll up their sleeves.
29th Dec 2021 - The Independent

Brazil's Bolsonaro says daughter, 11, will not get COVID-19 jab

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will not vaccinate his 11-year-old daughter against COVID-19, he said on Monday, maintaining the firm anti-vaccine stance that has drawn criticism from public health experts and hit his poll numbers. The right-wing leader added that the nation's health minister, Marcelo Queiroga, will divulge on Jan. 5 the manner in which Brazil will carry out its coronavirus vaccination campaign for 5 to 11-year-olds, which was approved earlier this month. "Children have not been dying in a way that justifies a vaccine for children," he told reporters in the southern state of Santa Catarina.
29th Dec 2021 - Reuters

UK's Johnson warns of hospital risk for unvaccinated

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Wednesday that the overwhelming majority of patients ending up in intensive care with COVID-19 had not received their booster vaccine, as he urged people to get their jabs. Johnson, on a visit to a vaccine centre, said he had been told by some doctors that up to 90% of patients with COVID-19 in intensive care had not received their booster vaccines. "I'm sorry to say this, but the overwhelming majority of people who are currently ending up in intensive care in our hospitals are people who are not boosted," he said. "I've talked to doctors who say the numbers are running up to 90% of people in intensive care."
29th Dec 2021 - Reuters

What to do about the UK’s unvaccinated? No 10’s Covid dilemma

A growing sense of frustration with people who have not been vaccinated against Covid has been creeping into the speeches of senior government figures from Sajid Javid to Boris Johnson in recent weeks. The health secretary has accused those who have chosen not to take up the offer of free vaccination of taking up hospital beds, damaging society and potentially harming their families as well as themselves. The prime minister also began rolling the pitch for a possibly tougher approach towards the unvaccinated when he spoke of the need for a “national conversation” about how the NHS would cope with the Omicron wave and further new variants. “I don’t believe we can keep going indefinitely with non-pharmaceutical interventions, restrictions on people’s way of life, just because a substantial proportion of the population still, sadly, has not got vaccinated,” he said.
28th Dec 2021 - The Guardian

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Hong Kong Finds Suspected Local Omicron Case in Airport Cleaner

Hong Kong has detected a suspected omicron case in an airport cleaner, marking the first time the more infectious variant has jumped through the city’s fortress-like border controls and infected a person living in the community who hasn’t recently traveled. The 64-year-old man who cleaned toilets designated for use by new arrivals thought to be infected with Covid-19 has himself tested preliminarily positive, according to the government statement. Initial tests suggest he is carrying the omicron variant, though whole genome sequencing is needed to confirm the findings. He appears to be the first person in Hong Kong who hasn’t recently traveled and yet contracted the highly infectious omicron variant.
24th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

White House says it is 'grateful' Trump got, promoted COVID-19 booster shot

The White House is grateful that former U.S. President Donald Trump received and promoted getting the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday. The Republican former president recently said in an interview that he received a booster shot, and called the COVID-19 vaccines "one of the greatest achievements of mankind." "The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don't take the vaccine," Trump said in an interview with conservative commentator Candace Owens. "If you take the vaccine, you're protected."
24th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Italy bans New Year events as COVID infections surge

Italy has tightened restrictions to curb surging COVID-19 infections, including banning all public New Year's Eve celebrations, as daily infections hit a record high, the government said on Thursday. Health Minister Roberto Speranza said mask wearing would be compulsory outdoors again and ordered people to use the more protective Ffp2 face masks on public transport and in public places, such as theatres, cinemas and at sports events. In addition, concerts and open-air events will be banned until Jan. 31, and discos and dance clubs will have to shut their doors until that date, in an effort to prevent mass socialising during the holiday period.
24th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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S.Korean businesses protest against return of strict COVID rules

Some 300 South Korean small business owners protested in Seoul on Wednesday over the return of strict social distancing rules, urging the government to compensate them for financial losses and scrap its "vaccine pass" policy. South Korea restored tough distancing curbs this week after easing them in November, as new infections and serious cases continue to make new records and stretch medical services, despite a vaccination rate of over 92%. The measures, effective until Jan. 2, include a 9 p.m. dining curfew and a ban on gatherings of more than four people, who have to be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated people can only eat out alone, or should use takeout or delivery options.
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Australian PM says no Xmas lockdown as hospitals coping with rising Omicron

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday ruled out a Christmas lockdown, saying hospitals were coping well with a record surge in COVID-19 cases fuelled by the Omicron variant. Australia is grappling with the more transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus as restrictions ease ahead of the Christmas holidays after higher vaccination levels were reached. "Despite these rising cases, hospitals and health systems remain in a strong position but of course they will be tested," Morrison told reporters in Canberra after an emergency Cabinet meeting.
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

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America’s Mixed Response to the Omicron Variant Comes Down to Geography

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious-disease expert, said Sunday on ABC News that he doesn’t anticipate the U.S. moving toward broad shutdowns, even as some European countries have imposed new restrictions. He also said vaccinated Americans who have received booster shots can feel comfortable traveling this month to see family. The U.S. is now averaging more than 125,000 new Covid-19 cases a day, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The seven-day average for Covid-19 hospital admissions fell 4.8% in the week ended Dec. 18 to 7,501 a day, but hospitalizations are up 49% from a recent low in early November, CDC data show. Deaths increased to a seven-day average of 1,182 a day as of Dec. 17, up 3.6% versus the previous week.
21st Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Indian man fined for wanting Modi’s face cut from vaccine drive

An Indian man who went to court to complain about Prime Minister Narendra Modi promoting himself as the face of the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination drive has walked away with a fine for “wasting” the judge’s time. India’s Hindu nationalist prime minister has been the focus of an enormous advertising blitz touting his government’s triumphs in fighting the pandemic despite nearly 500,000 Indians dying of COVID-19, according to official data. Health experts fear the actual toll could be much higher.
21st Dec 2021 - Al Jazeera English

UK offers 1 billion pounds to businesses hurt by omicron

Britain announced 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) in grants and other aid to help the hospitality industry survive the onslaught of the omicron variant of COVID-19, bowing to days of pressure from pubs, restaurants and other businesses that complain public health warnings have torpedoed the vital Christmas season. Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-time grants of up to 6,000 pounds ($7,954) each. An additional 100 million pounds ($133 million) will be given to local governments to support businesses in their areas hit by the sudden spike in COVID-19 infections driven by the highly transmissible new variant. While industry groups welcomed the funding, many said it was too narrowly focused and more assistance would be needed if the surge in infections continues or the government imposes more restrictions.
21st Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

'We Haven't Invested in Public Health': Trump CDC Leader Speaks

Robert Redfield spoke to Bloomberg News for more than an hour last month, discussing his time running the CDC and how he thinks it should change. He was often criticized as too deferential to then-president Donald Trump as the U.S. struggled with consistent messaging during the first year of the pandemic. Now retired from government, he says running the agency was a privilege but that it needs substantial changes to prepare for the future — including deploying more people around the U.S. and the globe, modernizing its data operations and abandoning a slow-moving culture.
21st Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Romanian crowd tries to storm parliament in protest at COVID-19 pass

Romanian protesters tried to force their way into parliament on Tuesday, blocking traffic and vandalising some cars in the capital Bucharest in an attempt to prevent lawmakers from making a COVID-19 health pass mandatory for workers. Riot police were caught off guard when hundreds of protesters poured in through a yard gate, spray painting cars and forcing security staff to block the building's entryways. The protesters later left. Police did not use force. While the ruling coalition of centrists and leftists is currently negotiating the terms of a health pass mandate, no such bill is on parliament's legislative agenda at the moment.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

The Guardian view on Boris Johnson’s Covid plan: decided by Tory rebels

Mr Johnson’s behaviour, and the suggestion that he is beholden to no one, has provoked a crisis of government. Caught between the spread of a highly infectious Omicron variant and a Tory revolt, the prime minister dithered and delayed. His own scientific advisers say that there are likely to be between 1,000 and 2,000 Covid hospital admissions a day in England by the end of the year. The case for more Covid restrictions, they say, is overwhelming. Yet cabinet ministers dismiss the modelling – signalling to backbench rebels that they are with them. Others are perhaps afraid of being blamed for cancelling Christmas when people begin travelling around the country. Mr Johnson calculated that he was too weak in office to risk a Commons showdown with his party over new restrictions. Policy is being decided by Tory MPs, many of whom have no plan beyond “let Omicron rip”.
21st Dec 2021 - The Guardian

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UK PM's wine and cheese gathering was not a party, deputy PM says

Boris Johnson issued the latest of a string of denials on Monday that he and his staff had broken lockdown rules after a photograph appeared of the prime minister and more than a dozen others drinking wine in the garden of his Downing Street office. The photograph of the gathering, reportedly taken in May last year, follows reports of other apparent social events during times when his government had told Britons they should not mix with others.
20th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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Head of UK COVID-19 lockdown parties probe drops out over own event

Britain's top civil servant Simon Case has stepped down from leading an investigation into alleged parties last year in government offices in breach of COVID-19 lockdowns after an event was held in his own office. "To ensure the ongoing investigation retains public confidence the Cabinet Secretary has recused himself for the remainder of the process," a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office said. "The work will be concluded by Sue Gray, second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. "She will ascertain the facts and present her findings to the Prime Minister."
17th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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Thousands protest COVID-19 rules as New Zealand marks 90% vaccine rates

Thousands marched in New Zealand's capital Wellington on Thursday to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and lockdowns, as the country reached the 90% fully vaccinated milestone. New Zealand's tough lockdown and vaccination drives have helped keep coronavirus infections and related deaths low, but it has also drawn criticism from some calling for more freedoms and an end to mandatory vaccine requirements. The government has mandated vaccinations for teachers, workers in the health and disability sectors, police and other public service sectors.
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Vaccine skeptics in Eastern Europe having change of heart

Some former vaccine skeptics in Eastern Europe have shifted over to the other side as coronavirus infections surge, countries are making it more difficult for the unvaccinated to travel abroad and authorities battle against government distrust and vaccine disinformation. When she rolled up her sleeve in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo to take her first COVID-19 vaccine dose, Fata Keco was afraid of possible adverse side effects. But she said the worst she had to contend with over the next few days was “moderately discomforting pain” in her left arm around the site of the injection. More significantly, the 52-year-old self-employed cleaning woman has joined the global community of vaccine-believers after months of “being very susceptible” to what she now describes as “the most ridiculous theories.”
16th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

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Kremlin’s hand seen in eastern Europe’s hostility to Covid vaccine

Adrian Onciu had a tough time finding somewhere to publish his coronavirus vaccine stories. The Romanian journalist’s reports alleged nefarious ties between European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and the Covid vaccine maker Pfizer, as well as schemes by American firms and officials to manipulate media on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. His pieces were rejected by just about every news outlet in Romania, including one website that recently featured an article about chewing gums that ward off Covid. But Mr Onciu, who conceded in an interview he had no documentary evidence to substantiate his claims, eventually found a platform that would not only publish his work but prominently promote it as a multi-part series on its website: Russia’s state-owned Sputnik news service, which is seen as a propaganda tool of the Kremlin.
15th Dec 2021 - The Independent

SQREEM’s New AI-powered Study Examines Motivations Surrounding COVID-19 Vaccine Resistance in the US

Leveraging proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) built to understand online human behavior in a completely anonymous way, SQREEM Technologies ′ recent U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Study provides a striking insight into the attitudes and motivations of anti-vaxxers and the vaccine-hesitant. The study utilizes anonymized digital engagement scores as the main metric to understand audience relevance to topics/aspects surrounding COVID-19 vaccination. In the study, ‘anti-vaxxers’ are audiences that do not agree with the COVID-19 vaccine and its use, while ‘vaccine-hesitant’ are audiences that are reluctant to use the COVID-19 vaccine despite its availability. For both groups, digital engagement scores with values greater than 5 signify awareness, while values greater than 10 signify a strong engagement with the topic.
15th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

How a Kennedy built an anti-vaccine juggernaut amid COVID-19

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. strode onto the stage at a Southern California church, radiating Kennedy confidence and surveying the standing ovation crowd with his piercing blue Bobby Kennedy eyes. Then, he launched into an anti-vaccine rant. Democrats “drank the Kool-Aid,” he told people assembled for a far right conference, branded as standing for “health and freedom.” “It is criminal medical malpractice to give a child one of these vaccines,” Kennedy contended, according to a video of the event, one of his many assertions that ignored or went against legal, scientific and public health consensus. Then, Kennedy hawked his book. If just 300 attendees preordered it on Amazon that night, he told the crowd, it would land on the bestseller list and they could “stick it to Amazon and Jeff Bezos.”
15th Dec 2021 - The Independent

"Shameful": Auschwitz-style banner at Polish COVID vaccine protest condemned

The Auschwitz Museum and Poland's prime minister on Wednesday condemned anti-COVID vaccination protesters as "shameful" and "mindless" for displaying a banner that mimicked the infamous sign at the gates of the Nazi concentration camp. The banner featured the words "Vaccination makes you free" on an arch shaped to echo the one that reads "Work makes you free" outside Auschwitz. It appeared at a demonstration in Warsaw on Tuesday organised by deputies of the far-right Confederation party against what it says is Poland's programme of forced vaccinations.
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters

After stinging revolt, UK PM Johnson defends COVID record

Britain's prime minister defended his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, saying new restrictions were needed to fight a new variant as the number of daily infections in the United Kingdom soared to a record high. Boris Johnson's government sought to play down what was the largest parliamentary vote against his administration by lawmakers from his own party a day earlier, with one minister saying it was not surprising that there were different views over the restrictions, dubbed draconian by many Conservatives.
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters UK

We'll all be dead before FDA releases full COVID vaccine record, plaintiffs say

In advance of a court hearing before a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration has offered by the end of January to make public 12,000 pages of data that it relied on to license Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. At first glance, that sounds like a lot of material. Except a group of scientists and doctors who’ve sued the agency under the Freedom of Information Act is seeking an estimated 400,000-plus additional pages of information about the vaccine’s approval. Under the FDA’s proposed schedule – the agency pledges to release “a minimum” of 500 pages a month after the initial dump – the full trove might not be made public until the year 2097.
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters

German police foil 'anti-vaxxer murder plot' against state premier

German police have foiled a plot by anti-vaccination activists to murder the state premier of Saxony in eastern Germany, they said on Wednesday, as concerns grow over an increasingly violent pushback against COVID-19 vaccination plans. The plot to kill Michael Kretschmer is the latest in a series of incidents that underscore the anger of some Germans over restrictions on the unvaccinated and plans to make vaccinations compulsory for the general population. Saxony has one of Germany's highest levels of COVID-19 infection but also its lowest vaccination rate. It is a stronghold of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which harbours many vaccine sceptics and anti-lockdown protesters.
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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COVID-19: Tory backbenchers prepare to turn on Johnson over COVID restrictions as PM calls for a vaccine volunteer army

Boris Johnson is facing the biggest Tory rebellion since the 2019 general election in a bitter Commons showdown with many of his own MPs over his Plan B COVID rules. Nearly 80 Conservative backbenchers have signalled they are prepared to vote against new regulations on face masks, isolating, vaccine passports and compulsory vaccinations for NHS staff. Sir Keir Starmer has pledged Labour support for the measures, so there is no danger of a government defeat. But a huge backbench rebellion will be a humiliating blow to the prime minister's authority.
14th Dec 2021 - Sky News

U.S. Air Force removes 27 service members for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

The U.S. Air Force on Monday said 27 service members had been discharged for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the first active-duty troops believed to have been removed for declining the vaccine. The Pentagon made the vaccine mandatory for all service members in August and the vast majority of active-duty troops have received at least one dose. Ann Stefanek, a spokeswoman for the Air Force, said the troops were given a chance to explain why they had refused to get vaccinated, but none of them were given exemptions.
14th Dec 2021 - Reuters

British PM Johnson faces rebellion in parliament over COVID measures

Almost 100 Conservative lawmakers voted on Tuesday against new coronavirus restrictions, dealing a major blow to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's authority and raising questions about his leadership. After a day of frenzied failed lobbying, Johnson was handed the biggest rebellion against his government so far by his party over measures he said were necessary to curb the spread of the new Omicron variant. The new rules, which included ordering people to wear masks in public places and use COVID-19 passes for some venues, passed thanks largely to the main opposition Labour Party.
14th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects religious challenge to New York vaccine mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected challenges brought by a group of Christian doctors and nurses and an organization that promotes vaccine skepticism to New York's refusal to allow religious exemptions to the state's mandate that healthcare workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. Acting in two cases, the justices denied emergency requests for an injunction requiring the state to permit religious exemptions while litigation over the mandate's legality continues in lower courts. Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said they would have granted the injunction.
14th Dec 2021 - Reuters

California to re-institute statewide mask mandate amid rise in COVID cases

California will impose a statewide mask mandate in all indoor public spaces as COVID-19 case rates soar, the state's senior government health official said on Monday as precautions ramp up against the Omicron variant. The mandate, which will take effect on Wednesday and last a month, is one of several measures the most-populous U.S. state is taking to slow a wave of infections that is already straining hospitals in areas where vaccination rates are low.
14th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Israel's education minister fires top official after spat on COVID vaccines in schools

Israel's Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton dismissed the ministry's director general on Sunday. According to sources in the ministry, the two had an ongoing friction over Yigal Slovik's support for administering the coronavirus vaccine in schools, something that the education minister had reservations about. Shasha-Biton wrote on Facebook that "the coronavirus and the dismissal are unrelated", and her associates said she fired Slovik due to her more general dissatisfaction over his professional performance and not specifically over coronavirus policy.
13th Dec 2021 - Haaretz

COVID-19: PM facing major revolt over coronavirus curbs, amid 'authoritarianism' warning

The Conservative Party is drifting into authoritarianism, a senior Tory MP has warned, as he confirmed he would oppose new coronavirus restrictions. Former Brexit minister Steve Baker told Sky News he believed at least 60 of his party colleagues at Westminster would join him in voting against the imposition of further COVID-19 measures by Boris Johnson this week.
13th Dec 2021 - Sky News

Norway bans serving of alcohol in bid to halt Omicron outbreak

Norway will ban the serving of alcohol in bars and restaurants, impose stricter rules in schools and speed up vaccination as part of new efforts to curb the outbreak of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the government said on Monday. "For many this will feel like a lockdown, if not of society then of their lives and of their livelihoods," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.
13th Dec 2021 - Reuters

France: 400 investigations into fake COVID-19 health passes

France has opened 400 investigations into networks providing fake COVID-19 health passes, the interior minister said Sunday, as virus-related hospitalizations rise sharply across the country. The case of a woman with the virus who died in a Paris regional hospital after showing a false vaccine certificate has drawn attention in French media in recent days. The hospital’s intensive care chief said they would have given the woman immediate antibody treatment had they known that she wasn’t vaccinated. Authorities have identified several thousand fake COVID-19 health passes in use around France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Sunday on RTL radio. He said some 400 investigations have been opened into peddling fake passes, including some “connected to health professionals.”
13th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

Thousands protest in Prague against COVID vaccine mandate

Several thousand people marched through the Czech capital on Sunday, protesting a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for certain groups including people age 60 and over. The participants didn’t wear face coverings or follow social distancing rules despite a request by police to do so. One person was detained. The protesters, chanting “Freedom!” alleged their constitutional rights are being violated. They said they weren’t against voluntary vaccination but opposed a vaccine mandate. The outgoing government released an order this week, making vaccination mandatory for the 60 and over age group, as well as medical personnel, police officers, firefighters and medical students.
13th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

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Billionaire's Bet on Pfizer Vaccine for China Fails to Pay Off

As Covid-19 started spreading in Wuhan early last year, Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang’s drugmaker appeared to have scored a big win: A partnership with Germany’s BioNTech SE, which went on to produce with Pfizer Inc. one of the world’s most successful vaccines against the coronavirus. Yet almost a year later, the shot is yet to be approved in mainland China, and in recent weeks Beijing has thrown its heft behind a homegrown mRNA vaccine, allowing China’s Walvax Biotechnology Co. to test its own experimental shot as a booster. The developments are raising new questions about whether the U.S.-German vaccine, licensed for the potentially lucrative Greater China region by Guo’s Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co., will ever be used on the mainland, where President Xi Jinping’s administration has backed a nationalist agenda on all fronts, including in the fight against the virus.
12th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Austria’s Restrictions on the Unvaccinated Appear to Be Working

Austria, one of the worst-hit countries in Europe’s latest Covid-19 surge, has seen infections plummet and vaccination rates soar after imposing a lockdown and saying it would make the shots mandatory next year. The measures, and the steep fall in new cases since they were announced, could offer some options to countries in a region where infections are still rising rapidly or plateauing at a high level. The Alpine republic introduced a lockdown and said it would mandate vaccines beginning next February on Nov. 22, when the weekly rolling average of daily new cases exceeded 1,500 and hospitals in areas with low vaccination rates were struggling to cope with the influx of patients.
11th Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Bulgaria's vaccine battle: the mistrust driving COVID's surge

Fortunately, everything began with a bit of luck. I landed in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital, on a late November Sunday afternoon. The weather was mild and sunny. After checking into my hotel, I went for a walk in the city centre with my filming kit. "I'm not a killer of grandpa and grandma." Scarcely five hundred meters from the hotel, I stumbled on around two hundred people noisily chanting and shouting. Among them were children and elderly people; whole families banging on drums and waving big Bulgarian flags. I approached and asked them what they were protesting about.
11th Dec 2021 - Euronews

Party furore deepens for Britain's Johnson, spokesman was at lockdown gathering

UPDATE 3-Yahoo FinanceUK PM Johnson loses poll lead after lockdown party revelationsNasdaqUK PM Johnson's party loses poll lead after lockdown party ...Thomson Reuters FoundationUK PM Johnson loses poll lead after lockdown party revelations By Reuters | Editorials 24Editorials 24View Full coverage on Google News
11th Dec 2021 - Reuters

With Vaccine Mandate Looming, Business Owners Face Wary Workers

Small-business owners are confronting challenges preparing for the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate, with some saying efforts to comply are exacerbating hiring problems and stoking tensions with and among workers. Under new federal rules, employers with 100 or more workers must ensure employees get fully vaccinated or else test negative for Covid-19 at least weekly and wear a mask at work. A federal appeals court temporarily blocked implementation of the rules in response to legal challenges, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration agreed not to begin enforcement pending a court decision. Many business owners are nonetheless preparing for the mandate, slated to take full effect Jan. 4.
10th Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

As COVID surges, Greece pursues unvaccinated with fines and vans

When a mobile COVID vaccination unit arrived at his Greek village, Yiorgos Toumanidis showed up for his booster shot. “I know what it’s like,” said the 71-year-old, who has had the virus. “I spent a month at home with antibiotics … That’s when we understood what’s going on, how dangerous the situation is. I didn’t hesitate. With the first opportunity, I did the vaccine.”
10th Dec 2021 - AlJazeera

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Coronavirus: Vaccine refused by more than 230 Hertfordshire hospital workers

More than 230 hospital workers in parts of Hertfordshire have refused to have a Covid-19 vaccination, NHS bosses said. Last month the government announced proposals that health workers undertaking any CQC-regulated activity should be fully vaccinated by April. A meeting of the West Herts Hospitals Trust board identified 239 staff who had so far refused the vaccination and the status of 132 staff was "unknown". The trust said 91% of its staff had been vaccinated. The report presented to the board said senior leaders and clinicians would play a role in proactively encouraging staff to take the vaccine, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
9th Dec 2021 - BBC News

U.S. Senate passes Republican bill to overturn Biden vaccine mandate

The Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved a Republican measure that would overturn President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test mandate for private businesses, with two Democrats joining Republicans to back the initiative. The 52-48 vote sends the legislation to the Democratic-led House of Representatives, where it faces strong headwinds, while Biden has threatened to veto it.
9th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Ukraine spa town stands out amid nation’s vaccine hesitancy

A small spa town in western Ukraine is standing out in a European country where only 29% of the people have received COVID-19 vaccine shots, and locals credit their community spirit for fending off the worst of the pandemic. In Morshyn, a scenic town nestled at the Carpathian foothills in the Lviv region, 74% of its 3,439 residents had been fully vaccinated as of late November. While Ukrainian authorities have imposed new restrictions amid a surge of infections and deaths blamed on a slow pace of vaccination and designated the region around Morshyn as a “red zone” where most public places have been shut down, the wellness centers in Morshyn have remained fully open.
9th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

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Johnson imposes COVID-19 'Plan B' in England to contain Omicron

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed tougher COVID-19 restrictions in England on Wednesday, ordering people to work from home, wear masks in public places and use vaccine passes to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Undermined by accusations that his staff partied at Downing Street during a Christmas lockdown last year, Johnson said Omicron was spreading rapidly and he had no choice but to move to "Plan B" while a vaccine booster programme rolls out.
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Under fire, UK PM apologises for staff joking about Christmas lockdown party

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologised on Wednesday after a video surfaced showing his staff laughing and joking about a party in Downing Street during a Christmas COVID-19 lockdown last year when such festivities were banned. Hours later the main aide featured in the video, Johnson's press secretary at the time, Allegra Stratton, resigned as an adviser to the prime minister. In a tearful statement, she said she would regret the remarks she made in the video for the rest of her days. For more than a week, Johnson and his team have repeated that no rules were broken in late 2020 after the Mirror newspaper reported there had been several parties including a wine-fuelled gathering of 40 to 50 people to mark Christmas.
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters

UK’s Johnson orders probe of staff party during lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday ordered an inquiry and said he was “furious” after a leaked video showed senior members of his staff joking about holding a lockdown-breaching Christmas party. The video has poured fuel on allegations that government officials flouted coronavirus rules they imposed on everyone else. “I understand and share the anger up and down the country” at staff members seeming to make light of lockdown rules, Johnson said. “I was also furious to see that clip,” he told lawmakers in the House of Commons. “I apologize unreservedly for the offense that it has caused up and down the country, and I apologize for the impression it gives.”
8th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

With vaccine resistance high, Poland faces surge of deaths

As 83-year-old Hanna Zientara endured subfreezing temperatures to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot in Warsaw, her 30-year-old grandson was starting a Canary Islands vacation while unvaccinated and stubbornly refusing his grandmother’s repeated pleas to protect himself. “I am worried about him, but I have no influence over him. None,” Zientara said. “He has many doctor friends who aren’t getting vaccinated, and he says if they aren’t getting vaccinated, then he doesn’t have to.” Poland and several other countries in Central and Eastern Europe are battling their latest surges of coronavirus cases and deaths while continuing to record much lower vaccinations rates than in Western Europe.
8th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

Unvaccinated parents highly unlikely to OK COVID vaccine for their kids

A research letter yesterday in JAMA Pediatrics shows that 25.6% of a sample of US parents responding to an online survey said they were hesitant to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19, and these parents were highly unlikely to approve of COVID vaccination for their children—by a wide margin. In the ongoing CHASING COVID nationwide cohort study, City University of New York researchers analyzed responses from the June 2021 survey of 1,162 parents of 1,651 children 2 to 17 years old. Willingness to have their children vaccinated varied from 8.3% to 13.9% in vaccine-hesitant parents, depending on the age of the child, compared with 64.9% to 86.4% among parents who had already gotten the COVID vaccine or were willing to receive it.
7th Dec 2021 - CIDRAP

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Slovak Ruling Parties Agree on $337 Bonus for Vaccinated Seniors

Slovakia’s ruling parties agreed on a lower-than-planned payment worth 300 euros ($337) to people aged 60 and over for getting fully inoculated against Covid-19 to increase one of the European Union’s lowest vaccination rates. The government is expected to give final approval on Wednesday, but that should be a formality given the cabinet’s makeup, daily newspaper Sme reported. The coalition also agreed to relax some coronavirus measures for the vaccinated, such as access to all shops, from Friday. Children attending sixth grade and higher will switch to online learning from Monday. “We have a good agreement,” Prime Minister Eduard Heger said after the coalition meeting on Tuesday.
7th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

As many as 6 million eligible Britons may not have had a Covid jab. Who are they?

The Omicron variant has refocused attention on vaccination rates as data shows disparities in uptake across age, region and ethnicity. Hundreds of cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant have now been confirmed in the UK and experts have called for a renewed focus on vaccination rates.
7th Dec 2021 - The Guardian

COVID rules were not broken at Downing Street party, UK's Johnson says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's staff appeared to joke about holding a Christmas party last year while much of the country faced tough COVID-19 restrictions, in a leaked video released by broadcaster ITV on Tuesday. Johnson has faced questions and criticism since the Mirror newspaper reported last week there were many social gatherings at Johnson's 10 Downing Street office over the Christmas period. In the video from Dec. 22, 2020, Johnson's staff hold a mock press conference and appear to joke about holding a Christmas party.
7th Dec 2021 - Reuters UK

Bolsonaro dismisses vaccination requirement for entry into Brazil

Brazil will require that unvaccinated travelers entering the country go on a five-day quarantine followed by a COVID-19 test, its health minister said on Tuesday, after its president said he opposed the use of a vaccine passport. President Jair Bolsonaro criticized Brazil's health regulator Anvisa for proposing the vaccination passport be required for arriving travelers to help prevent the spread of new coronavirus variants. "Anvisa wants to close the country's airspace now. Not again, damn it," Bolsonaro, a vaccine skeptic, said at a business event in Brasilia.
7th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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France can avoid return to lockdown and still save Christmas -PM

France will close nightclubs ahead of Christmas and tighten social distancing measures in response to the emergent Omicron variant of the coronavirus but there is no need for new lockdowns or curfews, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Monday. Castex said a fifth wave of the pandemic was now surging through the country. But he said that with 52 million people now vaccinated - nearly 90% of those eligible - the situation is better than in previous outbreaks and there is no need for drastic measures to save Christmas.
7th Dec 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Boris Johnson denies government acted too late in bringing back pre-departure tests amid spread of Omicron variant

The prime minister has rejected suggestions the government acted too late in reintroducing travel restrictions after the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. "We're still waiting to see exactly how dangerous it is, what sort of effect it has in terms of deaths and hospitalisations," Boris Johnson said about the variant. From tomorrow, pre-departure tests for all travellers are being brought back amid the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. It follows on from the reintroduction of day two PCR tests for anyone who enters the UK from abroad. Nigeria has also become the latest African country to be added to the travel red list.
6th Dec 2021 - Sky News

Italy begins lockdown of the unvaccinated: Only the double jabbed will be able to fully participate in public life using a 'super green pass' from TODAY

Italy has brought in tougher restrictions for unvaccinated people as the holidays draw near, excluding them from indoor restaurants, theatres and museums to reduce the spread of coronavirus and encourage vaccine skeptics to get their jabs. Only those who have the 'Super Green Pass', which requires Italians to be double-jabbed rather than providing a negative Covid test result, will be able to fully participate in public life from Monday. Italian police will be checking whether those visiting indoor restaurants, bars, concerts, sports events, theatres and public events, have the 'super' green health pass until January 15. The restrictions follow a steady rise of Covid cases in Italy for the past six weeks, with 15,021 infections recorded on Sunday, and a concern about the new Omicron variant which is believed to be more transmissible than the Delta strain.
6th Dec 2021 - Daily Mail

Anti-lockdown protesters hit with water cannons and tear gas in Belgium

Belgium became the latest European country to see disorder linked to reimposed Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday. Police deployed water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters in Brussels rallying against new measures designed to slow the winter wave. The government announced new rules for the third Friday in a row last week in a bad to dampen infections and take pressure of the struggling health system. Thousands chanted ‘freedom, freedom’ while others carried anti-vax placards as the crowd headed towards the headquarters of the European Union.
6th Dec 2021 - Metro

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How a Vaccine Side-Effect Database Sowed Doubt in Vaccinations

Midway into the pandemic, University of Alabama epidemiologist Bertha Hidalgo realized her Covid communication strategy needed a makeover. She was skipping basic biology lessons in favor of simply telling people the best ways to moderate their behavior in response to the virus. Instead of helping people better understand the virus, her approach sometimes backfired, introducing more doubt instead of less. “My method was, ‘These are the facts and this is what you need to do,’” she said. What she quickly learned was that people didn't have enough base knowledge to accept what she was presenting as fact.
5th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Hundreds march against COVID-19 restrictions in Belgium

Belgian police used water cannon and tear gas Sunday to disperse some rowdy protesters in Brussels after most demonstrators marched peacefully to protest tightened COVID-19 restrictions that aim to counter a surge of coronavirus infections. Thousands came to reject the new measures announced Friday, the third week in a row that the government has tightened its rules as an avalanche of new cases strains the country’s health services, depriving people with other life-threatening diseases of treatment.
5th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press on MSN.com

Australia's Covid Update: Parliament to Close After Staffer Infected

Australia’s Parliament House will be closed to the public for the foreseeable future after a political staffer for Greens leader Adam Bandt tested positive for the coronavirus. The staffer is fully vaccinated and tested positive upon return to Melbourne after attending parliament last week, a spokesperson for Bandt said in a statement. Bandt, who is vaccinated, and other employees who were in Canberra last week tested negative for the virus, according to the statement. Given the positive result, officials “have decided that Parliament House should close to the public until further notice,” the Department of Parliamentary Services said in a separate statement. Authorities said they are investigating possible close contacts, exposure locations in parliament as well as in the broader community.
5th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

More than 40000 march in Vienna against coronavirus lockdown

More than 40,000 people marched through Vienna on Saturday to protest against a lockdown and plans to make vaccinations compulsory to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Faced with a surge in infections, the government last month made Austria the first country in Western Europe to reimpose a lockdown and said it would make vaccinations mandatory from February. People carried signs saying: "I will decide for myself", "Make Austria Great Again", and "New Elections" - a nod to the political turmoil that has seen three chancellors within two months - as crowds gathered.
5th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Germany's Scholz Sets 30 Million-Shot Goal to Start His Term

Sitting alone in a blacked-out studio, a somber soundtrack lending gravitas to his five-minute monologue, Olaf Scholz implored the people of Germany to get real and get vaccinated. A full year after the first Covid-19 shots were administered and the world hoped to turn the corner on the pandemic, Germany finds itself overwhelmed by a fourth wave of infections more destructive than previous outbreaks. Politicians and scientists point to the relatively low level of full protection, which stands at 69% in Germany. That means almost 17 million people age 12 and older aren’t properly vaccinated, including more than 4 million age 60 and up, the most vulnerable group.
4th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Brazilian Supreme Court orders probe into Bolsonaro for linking COVID-19 vaccines to AIDS

A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ordered on Friday that a probe be opened into President Jair Bolsonaro for having said during a live broadcast on multiple social media platforms in October that COVID-19 vaccines may raise the chance of contracting AIDS. Bolsonaro, who has declined to take the vaccine, was temporarily suspended from both Facebook and YouTube after his comments. The decision by Justice Alexandre de Moraes came in response to a request from a Senate investigative committee, known in Portuguese as a CPI, which found in October that Bolsonaro committed nine crimes related to his widely criticized handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including crimes against humanity.
4th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Gilead Recalls 55,000 Vials of Covid Drug Due to Glass Shards

Gilead Sciences Inc. said it was recalling two lots of its Covid-19 drug remdesivir in the U.S. after receiving a complaint about glass particles in the vials that was confirmed by a company investigation.
4th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Biden and Local Officials Avoid Lockdowns, New Mask Mandates in Omicron Fight

President Biden and many state and local leaders are urging Americans to wear masks and take other precautions in response to the Omicron variant but are largely avoiding endorsing broad mask mandates and lockdowns that marked earlier stages of the pandemic. The steps reflect a view that the pandemic is in a different phase, with vaccines and boosters available, as well as a recognition that many Americans won’t accept a return to the toughest restrictions. “The fatigue is high, as well as the mental-health impact,” said John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster who advised Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign. “People are in a mentality of how to live with Covid.” Some workers, business owners and congressional Republicans have pushed back against Mr. Biden’s efforts to require more people to get vaccinated, and the continuing impact of Covid-19 on supply chains and inflation has presented lingering challenges for the president.
4th Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Faith in Singapore Leaders Hit by Record Covid Wave, Poll Shows

Singaporeans’ trust in their government’s ability to manage Covid-19 fell as community cases soared when the worst wave hit early last month, according to the Institute of Policy Studies. The survey showed the proportion of people who believed the authorities had shown good political leadership fell to a low of 53% during Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, compared to around 70% in the July to early September period, results released Thursday showed. It has since improved to almost 60%. Older respondents were more likely to be disgruntled, amid constant reminders to vaccinate and avoid social gatherings, according to the survey. “As Singapore carefully plans its next moves and learns to live with the virus, it must also balance the diverse needs of different groups with the overall needs of society,” the survey said. The IPS polled about 500 people during specific periods of the country’s pandemic journey, such as when stricter measures were introduced to counter the virus spread.
4th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Opinion | Vaccine Hesitancy Is About Trust and Class

First, people are unlikely to trust institutions that do little for them. And second, public health is no longer viewed as a collective endeavor, based on the principle of social solidarity and mutual obligation. People are conditioned to believe they’re on their own and responsible only for themselves. That means an important source of vaccine hesitancy is the erosion of the idea of a common good.
3rd Dec 2021 - The New York Times

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Facebook, Instagram remove Chinese network over fake 'Swiss biologist' COVID claims

Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc said on Wednesday it had removed accounts used by an influence operation originating in China that promoted claims of a fake "Swiss biologist" saying the United States was interfering in the search for COVID-19's origins. Meta said in a report the social media campaign was "largely unsuccessful" and targeted English-speaking audiences in the United States and Britain and Chinese-speaking audiences in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Bristol Myers is sued for refusing COVID-19 vaccine religious exemptions

Bristol Myers Squibb Co was sued on Wednesday by four employees who said the drugmaker refused to grant them religious exemptions from its COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and threatened to fire them on Dec. 6 for remaining unvaccinated. The plaintiffs in the proposed class action filed in Manhattan federal court accused Bristol Myers of violating a federal civil rights law known as Title VII by "systematically manufacturing" reasons to refuse religious accommodations.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

The Fifth Circuit Court got the science wrong on OSHA’s vaccination mandate

Before the Sixth Circuit was randomly chosen for this task, the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit preemptively put a hold on the mandate, issuing an opinion that bitingly characterized OSHA’s emergency temporary standard as “staggeringly overbroad.” But the Fifth Circuit’s opinion got the underlying science completely wrong. For that reason alone, the Sixth Circuit needs to reverse the Fifth’s order and start over with a clean slate that accurately encompasses the scientific evidence on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, the health consequences of the virus, and the prevention of Covid-19.
2nd Dec 2021 - STAT News

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Greece imposes monthly fines of 100 euros on the over-60s who refuse a Covid vaccine

Failure to get a first dose of a coronavirus shot by Jan. 16 for anyone aged 60 and above will result in a monthly fine of 100 euros ($114). As of Tuesday, about 62% of the Greek population was fully vaccinated against the virus. This is below the EU’s average of 66%, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Greece’s announcement comes at a time when other European nations are also considering compulsory vaccination.
1st Dec 2021 - CNBC

Anti-vaccine Christian broadcaster Marcus Lamb dies from Covid-19

Texas-based Daystar Television Network announced Lamb's death on Tuesday. Conservative christian network has been a vocal opponent of Covid vaccines. The broadcaster becomes the latest anti-vaccine radio host to succumb to virus
1st Dec 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19: Downing Street denies Boris Johnson broke COVID lockdown rules with No 10 parties at Christmas

Downing Street has denied claims that Boris Johnson broke coronavirus rules with parties at No 10 last Christmas. The Mirror claims the PM made a speech at a leaving do on 27 November - when the country was in the second lockdown - and allowed a festive party to proceed on 18 December when London was in the grips of Tier 3 restrictions. A No 10 spokesperson told Sky News: "COVID rules have been followed at all times."
1st Dec 2021 - Sky News

Courts block two Biden administration COVID vaccine mandates

The Biden administration was blocked on Tuesday from enforcing two mandates requiring millions of American workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a key part of its strategy for controlling the spread of the coronavirus. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Monroe, Louisiana, temporarily blocked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from enforcing its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers until the court can resolve legal challenges. Doughty's ruling applied nationwide, except in 10 states where the CMS was already prevented from enforcing the rule due to a prior order from a federal judge in St. Louis.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

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The life and tragic death of John Eyers – a fitness fanatic who refused the vaccine

Argument aside, it was a great get-together. “John was on really good, funny form,” says Jenny. They went for dinner at a Turkish restaurant and played darts in the garden. John scored a bullseye with his eyes closed and bragged about it all weekend. There was only one other difficult moment, when the family went to a local health club. John refused to wear a mask. The twins had a fight in reception. “I said: ‘John, put your face mask on,’” Jenny remembers. “‘He said: ‘You aren’t my mother – don’t tell me what to do.’” John eventually acquiesced, then made another easy joke. They went swimming and played tennis and forgot about it. A perfect weekend, then. Twins enjoying each other’s company after the enforced separation of the pandemic. Neither had any idea it would be their last time together.
30th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Public inquiry should examine 'mishandling' by NHS 111 service during first wave of pandemic

Families who have lost loved ones to coronavirus believed the public inquiry into pandemic should examine the alleged "mishandling" of the crisis by the NHS 111 service. The COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group said the role of the telephone advice service in the early days of the crisis was to "alleviate the burden on the NHS", with "horrific consequences". Despite an extra 700 call handlers being added, the service was "swamped" as the first wave hit and operators were making life and death decisions with just 10 weeks of training, it argued.
30th Nov 2021 - Sky News

Vegan dies of Covid-19 after refusing vaccine over animal testing

A vegan man who rejected the Covid-19 vaccine citing concerns about animal cruelty, died regretting his decision, his wife said. Glynn Steel “begged for the vaccine,” his wife Emma Steel said, before he was shifted to life support. But by then it was too late for the vaccine to be effective on him, she said. “The last thing Glynn (Steel) said to me was ‘I have never felt so ill, I wish that I had the vaccine’,” Ms Steel, who is double-vaccinated, told The Sun.
30th Nov 2021 - The Independent

Russian coronavirus-denying monk given prison sentence

A rebel Russian monk who castigated the Kremlin and denied that the coronavirus existed was convicted Tuesday on accusations of encouraging suicides and given a 3½-year prison sentence. The monk, Father Sergiy, was arrested in December 2020 on charges of inciting suicidal actions through sermons in which he urged believers to “die for Russia,” breaching the freedom of conscience and making arbitrary moves. He rejected the accusations and his lawyers said they would appeal Tuesday’s ruling by Moscow’s Ismailovo District Court.
30th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

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Fauci fires back at Cruz over COVID claims about Chinese lab

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, blasted Sen. Ted Cruz for suggesting that Fauci be investigated for statements he made about COVID-19 and said the criticism by the Texas Republican was an attack on science. “I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?” Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” It was a reference to the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump that was stoked as Cruz helped lead GOP objections to Congress’ certifying the 2020 election results. “I’m just going to do my job and I’m going to be saving lives, and they’re going to be lying,” Fauci said.
29th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Judge blocks U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rule for health workers in 10 states

A federal judge on Monday blocked in 10 states a Biden administration vaccine requirement, finding the agency that issued the rule mandating healthcare workers get vaccinated against the coronavirus likely exceeded its authority. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp in St. Louis prevents the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from enforcing its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers until the court can hear legal challenges brought by the 10 states. CMS in a statement said it was reviewing the ruling, adding that unvaccinated healthcare staff pose a threat to patient safety.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Russian Vaccine Skeptics Oppose Covid Passes

Russia’s rollout of a nationwide QR code system that would restrict access to public places and transport to encourage vaccination is running into widespread opposition from anti-lockdown activists, even as Russia’s pandemic death toll continues to soar. With vaccine skepticism rife and only around 35% of Russians having received their jabs, moves to make jabs all but obligatory have been met with dismay, as polls show almost half of the population opposing the use of QR codes under any circumstances. “Forcing people to get vaccinated through QR codes violates at least six articles of the Russian Constitution,” said Yevgeny Stupin, a Communist member of the Moscow City Duma who has campaigned against Covid restrictions.
29th Nov 2021 - The Moscow Times

Omicron COVID-19 variant not a worry for Mexico, president says

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday that there was no reason to worry in Mexico about the new COVID-19 variant omicron. Speaking in his regular morning news conference, he added that there was no information that existing vaccines are not effective against new variant.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Thousands protest against Czech COVID measures as hospitals fill

Several thousand people protested in Prague against anti-coronavirus restrictions on Sunday as many Czech hospitals halted non-urgent procedures in the face of one of the world's fastest rates of new infections. Gathered in a park overlooking the Czech capital's centre, protesters waved national flags and carried signs with slogans such as: "Get vaccinated? Over your dead bodies".
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Covid: South Africa 'punished' for detecting new Omicron variant

South Africa has complained it is being punished - instead of applauded - for discovering Omicron, a concerning new variant of Covid-19. The foreign ministry made the statement as countries around the world restricted travel from southern Africa as details of the spread emerged. Early evidence suggests Omicron has a higher re-infection risk. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that the new variant was "of concern". Several cases have now been identified in Europe - two in the UK, two in Germany, one in Belgium and another one in Italy, while a suspected case was found in the Czech Republic. The new variant has also been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel. Hundreds of passengers arriving in the Netherlands from South Africa are being tested for the new variant.
27th Nov 2021 - BBC News

U.S. President Biden says not considering new vaccine mandates

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday his administration was not considering new vaccine mandates following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa, which led to travel bans from that country and seven other nations. "We don't know a lot about the variant except that is of great concern," Biden told reporters. "I decided that we are going to be cautious."
26th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Chief Minister criticises 'misinformation spreading online' about NT COVID-19 outbreak

Northern Territory's Chief Minister Michael Gunner has used a COVID-19 update press conference to denounce misinformation spread by anti-vaxxers and overseas conspiracy theorists who, he says, could harm Indigenous Territorians. At the press conference, Mr Gunner announced one new case in the outbreak and the lifting of the hard lockdown for one of the communities that, earlier in the week, had been considered most at risk. Mr Gunner also called it a "positive day" in the current outbreak, which has predominantly impacted Aboriginal Territorians.
25th Nov 2021 - ABC News

Australia to deploy police, military to Solomon Islands as protests spread

Australia will deploy more than 100 police and military personnel to aid the Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday, as protesters in the Pacific Island nation defied a curfew to protest for a second consecutive day. Morrison said Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare had requested Australian assistance, which Canberra's national security committee quickly approved. Australia will send 23 police officers immediately to assist with riot control, Morrison said, with a further 50 personnel to enforce security at critical infrastructure.
25th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Louisiana spends $27M and counting on vaccine outreach work

Trying to boost one of the nation’s lowest coronavirus vaccination rates, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration has spent $27 million and counting on incentive programs, community door-knocking and advertising in hopes of persuading people to get the shot. The Louisiana Department of Health’s vaccine outreach costs continue to grow weekly and are entirely federally financed. The work began in November 2020, according to the agency, and has reached a spending pace of about $2 million a month on its paid media campaign alone. The state has sought to chip away at immunization hesitancy with TV, radio and digital advertising, direct mail to homes, telephone town hall meetings, billboards and a hotline to answer vaccine-related questions. Local organizations have been hired to make phone calls, show up at local events and walk neighborhoods promoting the vaccine benefits.
25th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

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Solomon Islands enters 36-hour lockdown after protests turn violent

The Solomon Islands imposed a 36-hour lockdown in the capital Honiara after protesters calling for the prime minister to resign looted stores and set fire to buildings, including in the Pacific nation's parliament. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare called for the lockdown in an address that was broadcast late on Wednesday, after police had earlier deployed tear gas to break up protests. People from the country's most populous island, Malaita, had travelled to the capital in a spillover of anger about a host of domestic issues including unrealised infrastructure promises, media reported.
25th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Seven doctors contract Covid after attending Florida anti-vaccine summit

Seven anti-vaccine doctors fell sick after gathering earlier this month for a Florida “summit” at which alternative treatments for Covid-19 were discussed. “I have been on ivermectin for 16 months, my wife and I,” Dr Bruce Boros told the audience at the event held at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, adding: “I have never felt healthier in my life.” The 71-year-old cardiologist and staunch anti-vaccine advocate contracted Covid-19 two days later, according to the head event organizer, Dr John Littell. Littell, an Ocala family physician, also told the Daily Beast six other doctors among 800 to 900 participants at the event also tested positive or developed Covid-19 symptoms “within days of the conference”.
24th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Former Trump adviser claims to ‘expose unvarnished truth’ of Covid in new book

In a new book, former Trump adviser Scott Atlas blames Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci for “headline-dominating debacles” about quack cures for Covid-19 – but omits to mention the chief proponent of snake-oil treatments, including hydroxychloroquine and disinfectant, was the US president he loyally served.
24th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Can people in Guadeloupe be persuaded to get the COVID vaccine?

Infections and distrust are causing people on the French Caribbean archipelago of Guadeloupe to resist getting inoculated. Protests against COVID-19 containment measures have descended into violence on the streets of the French Caribbean archipelago of Guadeloupe. French President Emmanuel Macron has called the situation “explosive”. People have been angered by the government after it declared all healthcare workers must be vaccinated against the coronavirus, while everyone has to carry proof they have had the injections. However, people in Guadeloupe are resisting. They say they do not trust the vaccines, the authorities on the island or the French government.
24th Nov 2021 - Aljazeera.com

Martinique: Shots fired at police as anger rises over COVID curbs

Gunshots have been fired at police in the French Caribbean island of Martinique in a sign that unrest triggered by COVID-19 restrictions that rocked the nearby island of Guadeloupe could be spreading. No police were injured and things have calmed since the unrest overnight, a Martinique police official said on Tuesday, but traffic was still slowed by barricades erected by demonstrators.
24th Nov 2021 - Al Jazeera English on MSN.com

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Nov 2021

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COVID-19 rules fueled ‘explosive’ unrest in Guadeloupe: Macron

Anger about a vaccine mandate in the French overseas territory of Guadeloupe has created an “explosive” situation, President Emmanuel Macron has said. A general strike called by trade unions has entered its second week following nights of looting and violent protests against coronavirus measures imposed by Paris, including health pass rules and mandatory vaccinations for health workers. Macron’s prime minister and lawmakers from the Caribbean archipelago will hold crisis talks in Paris on Monday. Home to roughly 400,000 residents, police in Guadeloupe arrested 38 people overnight on Sunday after curfew violators looted and torched shops and pharmacies. “We just don’t know how far this will still go,” the mayor of Point-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe’s main city, told France Info radio.
23rd Nov 2021 - Aljazeera.com

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Nov 2021

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Kansas plan on COVID mandates faces bipartisan skepticism

Conservative Kansas legislators are trying to tamp down fears about the cost and other potential problems with their proposal to provide unemployment benefits to workers who lose their jobs for refusing COVID-19 vaccines.
23rd Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Angry COVID-19 protesters hurl abuse at WA Premier

Flanked by police, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan had to be led to safety after he was subjected to a barrage of personal insults while leaving a town hall meeting yesterday. COVID-19 protesters demonstrating against the vaccine surrounded the premier at an engagement in Eaton, south of Perth, hurling abuse and chants of "dog" at Mr McGowan. The premier said the protesters, who claimed they were not anti-vaxxers but pro-choice, will only strengthen his resolve. Dozens of protesters waving the Australian red ensign - a red version of the Australian flag adopted by anti-government groups - could be seen on video rushing towards a convoy of government cars. Yesterday's demonstrations are the latest in a spate of protests and threats targeting the premier, whose office has confirmed no one was harmed in yesterday's encounter. Protesters have reportedly issued death and rape threats to Mr McGowan's staff members.
22nd Nov 2021 - 9News

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner labels vaccinated people opposed to COVID-19 mandates as 'anti-vaxxers'

A fiery Northern Territory Chief Minister has accused opponents of vaccine mandates of being "anti-vaxxers", even if they have willingly received the COVID-19 jab themselves. Michael Gunner's comments at a press conference today are in sharp contrast to the Prime Minister, who has called on state and territory governments to allow Australians to "move forward with the freedoms that should be theirs". The NT — which is dealing with a growing coronavirus outbreak — has one of the country's strictest vaccination mandates, which has helped lift the jurisdiction's double-dose rate to 81 per cent. Under the mandate, most workers were required to have had at least one jab by November 12, and a second dose before Christmas.
22nd Nov 2021 - ABC News

Romania is battling its worst Covid-19 wave yet. Wide suspicion over vaccines isn't helping

"It's relentless -- relentless," sighed nurse Claudiu Ionita, standing in front of a line of gurneys in Bucharest University Hospital's morgue. On each gurney lay a body inside a black plastic bag. The morgue has a capacity for 15 bodies, but on the day CNN visited, it had received 41. The excess bodies filled the corridor outside, while wails echoed from within the morgue. A woman had been allowed inside for a final glimpse of her father. Bucharest University Hospital is the Romanian capital's largest medical facility treating Covid-19 patients and is struggling through the country's fourth wave, its worst yet. "I never thought, when I started this job, that I would live through something like this," said Ionita. "I never thought such a catastrophe could happen, that we'd end up sending whole families to their graves."
22nd Nov 2021 - CNN

Clashes break out in Brussels in protests over coronavirus restrictions

Police and protesters clashed in the streets of Brussels on Sunday in demonstrations over government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions, with police firing water cannon and tear gas at demonstrators throwing rocks and smoke bombs, witnesses said. About 35,000 people took part in demonstrations, police said, which began peacefully before violence broke out. Protesters wearing black hoods threw stones at police as they advanced with water cannon at the main junction in front of the European Union Commission headquarters, Reuters journalists said.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 unrest has created 'explosive' situation in Guadeloupe, says Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron said violence in Guadeloupe over COVID-19 restrictions had created a "very explosive" situation, as a general strike entered a second week on Monday and many stores remained shuttered after nighttime looting. Hours before Macron's prime minister and lawmakers from the Caribbean archipelago were to hold crisis talks in Paris, there were signs of protests spreading to Martinique, another French overseas territory 190 km (120 miles) south of Guadeloupe.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

French presidential hopeful Zemmour says COVID fears are overblown

Eric Zemmour, the hard-right French political commentator and likely presidential candidate, said on Monday that fears about the new coronavirus had been overblown. Zemmour's stance contrasts with the position of governments across Europe, which are reintroducing restrictions on movement to curb a fifth wave of the pandemic, with Austria on Monday going into a full lockdown. "We need to put this epidemic back in the right proportion. We have played a lot on people's fears. We have gone too far, and we've been going too far since the beginning," Zemmour told France Info radio.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

Third night of rioting erupts over Dutch COVID-19 rules

Riots broke out in cities across the Netherlands on Sunday, the third night in a row that police clashed with mobs of angry youths who set fires and threw rocks to protest COVID-19 restrictions. Unrest was reported in locations including Leeuwarden and Groningen in the north, the eastern town of Enschede and Tilburg in the south. In Enschede, where an emergency ordinance was issued, police used batons to try to disperse a crowd, according to video on social media. In Leeuwarden, police vans were pelted with rocks and black-clad groups chanted and set off flares.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

Dutch COVID riots ‘pure violence’ by ‘idiots’: PM Rutte

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has criticised three nights of riots over anti-COVID measures, calling the unrest “pure violence” by “idiots” and vowed to prosecute those responsible. The riots in several cities around the country since Friday were “violence under the guise of protest”, the prime minister said. He added he would always defend the right to protest, but “I will never accept is that idiots use pure violence against people … who keep this country safe,” he told Dutch media.
22nd Nov 2021 - AlJazeera

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Nov 2021

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Two in hospital after police fire on Dutch COVID-19 protesters

Two people were being treated in hospital in the Dutch city of Rotterdam on Saturday after they were seriously injured when police fired shots during a violent protest against COVID-19 measures, authorities said. Crowds of several hundred rioters torched cars, set off fireworks and threw rocks at police during the protests on Friday evening. Police responded with warning shots and water canons. Rotterdam police said on Twitter Saturday that 51 people had been arrested, half of whom were under 18.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Tens of thousands march in Vienna against COVID measures before lockdown

Tens of thousands of people, many of them far-right supporters, protested in Vienna on Saturday against coronavirus restrictions a day after Austria's government announced a new lockdown and said vaccines would be made compulsory next year. Whistling, blowing horns and banging drums, crowds streamed into Heroes' Square in front of the Hofburg, the former imperial palace in central Vienna, in the early afternoon, one of several protest locations.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Two wounded as Dutch police fire shots at protest over new COVID-19 restrictions

Crowds of rioters in the port city of Rotterdam torched cars and threw rocks at police who responded with shots and water canon, as protests against COVID-19 measures turned violent on Friday night. "We fired warning shots and there were also direct shots fired because the situation was life-threatening," police spokesperson Patricia Wessels told Reuters. "We know that at least two people were wounded, probably as a result of the warning shots, but we need to investigate the exact causes further," she said.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Austria infuriates many with full lockdown as Germany warns it may follow suit

Austria will become the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full COVID-19 lockdown, it said on Friday as neighbouring Germany warned it may follow suit, sending shivers through financial markets worried about the economic fallout. Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic, accounting for half of global cases and deaths. A fourth wave of infections has plunged Germany, Europe's largest economy, into a national emergency, Health Minister Jens Spahn said, warning that vaccinations alone will not cut case numbers.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Dutch police fire warning shots as COVID protests rock Rotterdam

Dutch police opened fire on protesters and seven people were injured in rioting that erupted in downtown Rotterdam at a demonstration against recently introduced COVID-19 restrictions and government plans to restrict access for unvaccinated people to some venues. The Dutch city’s Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told reporters in the early hours of Saturday morning that “on a number of occasions the police felt it necessary to draw their weapons to defend themselves” as rioters ran rampage through the port city’s central shopping district, setting fires and throwing rocks and fireworks at officers in what Aboutaleb called “an orgy of violence”. “[The police] shot at protesters, people were injured,” Aboutaleb said. He did not have details on the injuries. Police also fired warning shots. A number of police officers also were injured in the violence and officers arrested dozens of people and expect to arrest more after studying video footage from security cameras, Aboutaleb said.
20th Nov 2021 - Aljazeera.com

Netherlands Police Fire Shots as Rioters Protest Covid Curbs

Violent demonstrations broke out in Rotterdam over the Netherlands’ virus restrictions, with the police firing warning shots and deploying a water canon to push back the crowd. The police said in a statement that two people were injured “related to the fired shots” but said details of the injuries were unclear. Tweets showed at least one car on fire with a bicycle tossed on top, amid the anger of hundreds of protesters, some reported to be soccer hooligans.
20th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Austria Braces for Protests After Announcing Full Lockdown and Vaccine Mandate

Pockets of unrest are spreading across Europe as governments return to strict measures like lockdowns to reverse the latest coronavirus wave. New infections are at record levels and some countries, including Germany, the Czech Republic and Greece, are clamping down on the unvaccinated as health services are pushed to the limit. Austria has gone further, with a nationwide lockdown to start Monday. Violent demonstrations broke out in Rotterdam Friday night over the Netherlands’ virus restrictions. Police fired warning shots and broke up the crowd with a water cannon. At least seven injuries were reported. The Dutch government has proposed excluding negative tests from the national health pass, allowing only vaccination or recovery from infection.
20th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Biden vaccine rule faces roster of top conservative lawyers at 6th Circuit

Veteran appellate lawyers who have pursued high-profile conservative cases are lining up at the 6th U.S. Circuit of Appeals to challenge the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccination requirement. Among them is San Francisco-based lawyer Harmeet Dhillon, who is representing conservative media outlet The Daily Wire at the 6th Circuit and who represents the founder of Project Veritas in other matters. Dhillon has led a number of challenges to pandemic-related restrictions that California imposed to reduce the spread of the virus. She filed one of the first vaccine petitions at the appeals court contesting the vaccine rule requiring employers with 100 workers or more to mandate vaccination or implement a mask policy and weekly testing.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Pro and anti-vaccination protesters take to Australia streets

Several thousand people took to Australia's streets on Saturday protesting COVID-19 vaccination mandates, while smaller crowds gathered to support the measures that have elevated the country to be one of the most inoculated in the world. Nearly 85% of Australians aged 16 and above have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as of Nov. 19. While nationwide vaccinations are voluntary, states and territories have mandated vaccinations for many occupations and barred the unvaccinated from activities such as dining out and concerts.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Nov 2021

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The Australian Open’s Vaccine Mandate Could Keep Novak Djokovic at Home

When Novak Djokovic won the Paris Masters this month, he rounded out a tennis season for the ages. Not only did he win three major titles to join Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 apiece—he also surpassed Nadal’s mark for Masters titles, and finished as world No. 1 for a record seventh straight season. But if his 2021 ended with an exclamation mark, 2022 will open with a question: Will Djokovic play at the Australian Open? The doubts aren’t due to any injury or dip in form—in fact, Djokovic is playing some of the best tennis of his life. Instead, he is on a collision course with Australian vaccine mandates. Local officials have said that they want this to be the first Grand Slam tournament to require that all participants be vaccinated against Covid-19, without a quarantine option for unvaccinated players.
18th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Scott Morrison demands states like Queensland drop Covid-19 vaccine mandates

Queensland will introduce jab passports to enter hospitality venues next month. Scott Morrison has said jab mandates should not be in place to enter venues. Mandatory jabs should only apply to healthcare workers, he said on Thursday. It comes as Prime Minister faces pressure from pro-choice MPs in his party
18th Nov 2021 - Daily Mail

Novak Djokovic insists ‘freedom of choice essential’ on Covid vaccine

World number one Novak Djokovic has reiterated his stand about freedom of choice over taking the Covid vaccine as suspense grows over his participation at the Australian Open in January. Serbian Djokovic has repeatedly declined to disclose his vaccination status and said last month that he was unsure if he would defend his title at Melbourne Park, “things being as they are”. Government officials of the state of Victoria, where the major takes place in Melbourne, have said unvaccinated players will be barred from the tournament.
18th Nov 2021 - The Independent

Florida GOP limits vaccine mandates, flouting White House

Florida Republicans approved a sweeping bill Wednesday to hobble coronavirus vaccine mandates in businesses, rejecting claims that they were sacrificing public health to hand Gov. Ron DeSantis a win in his fight against White House virus rules. Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled statehouse expedited the measure, along with a package of virus bills, after hours of debate in which Republicans maintained they were protecting workers from onerous mandates by the federal government. “If you want to get a vaccine, you can get a vaccine. If you don’t want to get a vaccine, you can choose not to get a vaccine,” said Sen. Danny Burgess, a Republican. “That’s the entire purpose of this bill, trusting Floridians and allowing us to make that choice for ourselves.”
18th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

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The Ottawa Senators Have a 100% Vaccination Rate—and 40% of the Team Has Tested Positive for Covid

A substantial Covid-19 outbreak that this week has sidelined the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators—despite the entire team being vaccinated—carries a warning for the coming months of professional sports: even with blanket immunization, pandemic disruptions are far from over. The NHL announced the suspension of the Senators’ season through at least Nov. 20 after 10 players and one coach tested positive in recent days. The team says it is fully vaccinated, but hasn’t specified which shots players have received.
18th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Nearly 100 Maryland students get wrong COVID vaccine dose

Nearly 100 Maryland elementary school students received an incorrect dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a clinic last week, health officials announced Monday. Officials were notifying the parents of 98 students at South Lake Elementary School by telephone that doses of vaccine administered at a clinic at the Montgomery Village school Nov. 10 were diluted more than recommended, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services said in a news release. Students can get additional doses at a clinic Wednesday. A staffer realized their mistake and notified officials, the department said. State officials and Pfizer recommended an additional dose for students as soon as possible. Acting county Health Officer Dr. James Bridgers said staff already received more training on children’s doses.
18th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Lawsuits challenging Biden workplace vaccine rule sent to 6th Circuit

A judicial panel on Tuesday consolidated 34 lawsuits challenging the Biden administration's workplace COVID-19 vaccine rule in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a venue favored by opponents of the rule. President Joe Biden announced plans for the vaccine requirement in September, seeking to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases and get more people back to work.
17th Nov 2021 - Reuters

GOP opposition to vaccine mandates extends far beyond Covid-19

Right-wing politicians’ resistance to vaccine mandates is extending far beyond Covid-19 immunizations, a startling new development that carries vast implications for the future of public health. In Idaho, a lawmaker introduced a bill that would define vaccine mandates — of any kind — as a form of assault. In Florida, a prominent state senator has called for a review of all vaccine requirements, including those for immunizations that have enjoyed wide public acceptance for decades, like polio and the measles, mumps, and rubella shot. And in Montana, the Republican governor recently signed into law a new bill that forbids businesses, including hospitals, from enforcing any vaccination requirements as a condition of employment.
17th Nov 2021 - STAT News

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Nov 2021

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Amazon to Pay $500,000 in California Over Covid Notifications

Amazon has agreed to pay $500,000 to help enforce California’s consumer protection laws after the company was accused of concealing Covid-19 case numbers from its workers, officials said on Monday. The judgment, which is subject to court approval, is the first of its kind nationwide and is in line with a California “right to know” law that was designed to keep workers safe during the pandemic, according to a news release from the attorney general’s office. Under the arrangement, Amazon must also tell its warehouse workers within a day about the exact number of new Covid-19 cases in their workplaces, ensure that notifications adequately inform workers of the company’s disinfection and safety plans, tell health officials about new cases and submit to monitoring by the attorney general’s office regarding its Covid-19 notifications.
16th Nov 2021 - The New York Times

'They See Us as the Enemy': Schools Nurses Face Pandemic Rage

When a junior high school student in western Oregon tested positive for the coronavirus last month, Sherry McIntyre, a school nurse, quarantined two dozen of the student’s football teammates. The players had spent time together in the locker room unmasked, and, according to local guidelines, they could not return to school for at least 10 days. Some parents took the news poorly. They told Ms. McIntyre that she should lose her nursing license or accused her of violating their children’s educational rights. Another nurse in the district faced similar ire when she quarantined the volleyball team. This fall, after facing repeated hostility from parents, they started locking their office doors.
16th Nov 2021 - The New York Times

Court lottery gives Biden administration a chance to revive COVID vaccine mandate

A judicial panel on Tuesday consolidated 34 lawsuits challenging the Biden administration's workplace COVID-19 vaccine rule in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a venue favored by opponents of the rule. President Joe Biden announced plans for the vaccine requirement in September, seeking to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases and get more people back to work. The Cincinnati appeals court was chosen randomly and will take up the challenges to the rule, which compels employers with at least 100 workers to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing combined with face masks at work
16th Nov 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Covid scammers cash in as they exploit pandemic with fake vaccine passport emails and texts

Millions of Britons have been targeted by Covid passport scams. Some received emails which looked like they were from their GP inviting them to claim Covid passport. Others had texts telling them to click a link to buy a Covid passport
16th Nov 2021 - Daily Mail

Greek health sector workers protest as hospitals struggle with COVID spike

Greek public health sector workers protested in Athens over pay and conditions on Monday as hospitals struggled with a new surge in COVID-19 cases and authorities considered further restrictions.The protesters said they were underpaid, overworked and understaffed. They called for more hirings, for the government to include them on a list of hazardous professions which receive hazard pay benefits, and for private doctors to be ordered to help. A decision by the government to suspend unvaccinated health sector workers has increased staff shortages, they said. Greece made vaccinations mandatory for nursing home staff in July and for healthcare workers in September.
16th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 16th Nov 2021

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Maori Ask Anti-Vaccine Protesters to Stop Using Ceremonial Dance

Ngati Toa, an indigenous tribe in New Zealand, denounced a group of anti-vaccine protesters for performing a ceremonial Maori dance known as the Ka Mate haka during a demonstration in Wellington on November 9th. “As the descendants of Te Rauparaha, we insist that protesters stop using our taonga immediately,” said senior member of Ngati Toa Taku Parai, in a statement on Radio Waatea this week. “We do not support their position.” Last week, thousands gathered across New Zealand to protest Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s vaccine mandate, which requires all healthcare and education workers be fully vaccinated. An estimated 3,000 marched to the Wellington parliament building last Tuesday demanding an end to vaccine mandates and Covid 19 lockdowns. During those demonstrations, some performed the Ka Mate haka, a dance used before some rugby games.
15th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

OSHA, South Dakota pork plant settle coronavirus complaint

Federal workplace safety regulators announced Monday that they have reached an agreement with Smithfield Foods to settle a contested citation of the company’s coronavirus safety measures during a massive outbreak last year at a South Dakota pork processing plant. Under the agreement, Virginia-based Smithfield Foods will develop a plan to prevent infectious diseases at meatpacking plants nationwide and pay a $13,500 fine. Smithfield’s Sioux Falls plant was one the nation’s worst COVID-19 hotspots during the early days of the pandemic. By June 16, 2020, four workers were dead and nearly 1,300 had tested positive for the virus, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. After an investigation, the federal agency said Smithfield did not do enough to space workers out or provide other safety measures such as face coverings or physical barriers.
15th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Alaska doctors seek COVID-19 misinformation investigation

Alaska doctors plan to ask the State Medical Board to investigate concerns about the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments by other physicians. Merijeanne Moore, a private practice psychiatrist, said she drafted the letter out of concern over an event about COVID-19 treatments that featured prominent vaccine skeptics in Anchorage last month, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Moore said Saturday that nearly 100 doctors had signed the letter and more could before she plans to submit the letter on Tuesday. “We are writing out of concern that medical misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine and treatment is being spread in Alaska, including by physicians,” the letter stated.
15th Nov 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

Families fight over covid vaccines as Thanksgiving approaches

With Thanksgiving approaching, infections high or on the rise in many parts of the country and the vaccines now widely available to children, family breaches over immunization status are reaching new levels of rancor and intensity. Summer is over, and fall is ending — seasons when many gatherings could be held outdoors. Now American families must simultaneously confront the time of year when all respiratory viruses spread most easily and the challenge posed by loved ones who have rejected the best way to protect themselves — and others — from a respiratory virus that has claimed more than 750,000 lives in the United States.
15th Nov 2021 - The Washington Post

Māori tribe tells anti-Covid vaccine protesters to stop using its haka

Anti-vaccine protesters in New Zealand have been told to stop using the “ka mate” haka by the tribe who have ownership of it. The haka, a Māori war dance made internationally famous by its performance by the All Blacks at rugby matches, is considered a cultural treasure, or taonga, in New Zealand. It was performed last week by anti-vaccination and “freedom” protesters, who marched in their thousands to parliament. Ngāti Toa, the tribe that has legal guardianship of the ka mate haka, said on Monday that it “condemns the use of the Ka Mate haka to push and promote anti-Covid-19-vaccination messages” and “request that anti-vaccination and anti-mandate protesters cease the use of Ka Mate at their protests immediately”.
15th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

‘Detox’ routines won’t undo Covid vaccine, experts tell anti-vaxxers

Medical experts are speaking out against Covid-19 vaccine “detoxes” that some inaccurately claim can remove the effects of vaccinations received under mandates and other public health rulings. In one TikTok video that has received hundreds of thousands of views, Carrie Madej, an osteopath based in Georgia, falsely claims a bath containing baking soda, epsom salts and the cleaning agent borax will “detox the vaxx” from anyone who has received a jab. Experts say such a bath could irritate the skin and eyes – but will not remove the effects of a Covid vaccine. In Kansas, Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control for the state university health system, told the Kansas City Star borax was “potentially caustic and harmful”.
15th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

New Zealand's Māori ask anti-vaccine protesters to stop using haka

A Māori tribe that claims New Zealand's most famous haka as its heritage on Monday told anti-vaccine protesters to stop using the traditional performance to promote their message. Vaccine protesters have performed the "Ka Mate", a Māori haka composed in about 1820 by Te Rauparaha, war leader of the Ngāti Toa tribe, at their rallies over the past few weeks against vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions. "We do not support their position and we do not want our tupuna or our iwi associated with their messages," the Ngati Toa tribe, or "iwi" in Māori, said in a statement, referring to the tribe's ancestry or "tupuna". "Our message to protesters who wish to use Ka Mate is to use a different haka. We do not endorse the use of Ka Mate for this purpose."
15th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Florida lawmakers to meet in special session over vaccine mandates

Florida lawmakers will meet in a special legislative session Monday, called by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis with the goal of thwarting coronavirus vaccine mandates. In a week-long session, the lawmakers, largely dominated by the Republican party, are slated to consider four bills that would impose new penalties on businesses and local governments that require workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the agenda released last week by the governor's office.
15th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Australia vaccine-mandate protesters compare state govt to Nazis - media

Several thousand people rallied in Melbourne against new vaccination mandates on Saturday, with a few comparing the state government to Nazis and calling for violence against politicians, local media said. In Australia, where 83% of people aged 16 and above have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus, nationwide vaccinations are voluntary. But states and territories have mandated vaccinations for many occupations and barred the unvaccinated from activities such as dining out and concerts.
15th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Biden's Shot-or-Test Mandate Dealt Another Blow by Fifth Circuit

A U.S. appeals court has extended its Nov. 6 order pausing President Joe Biden’s shot-or-test mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. The ruling, issued today by the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, solidifies its earlier order blocking implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s emergency regulation. Its ruling comes ahead of a Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation lottery to determine which federal appeals court will be assigned to adjudicate the many legal challenges to the measure now pending across the country. The lottery is slated for Nov. 16. In a 22-page opinion, the court had harsh words for the vaccine mandate. The mandate “threatens to substantially burden the liberty interests of reluctant individual recipients put to a choice between their job(s) and their jab(s),” the court said.
13th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

'Caregivers are getting burned out by the pandemic': Labor shortages are taking a huge toll on nursing homes

The U.S. is experiencing one of its worst labor shortages in decades. It’s likely the reason why your pizza took longer than usual to get delivered or why your flight may have been canceled. And it’s also the reason why you’re probably going to have a tough time getting a friend or loved one into an assisted living facility or nursing home, and why you may be more concerned about a vulnerable family member currently residing in one. Since the beginning of the pandemic, some 221,000 people have left the industry. That amounts to a 14% drop in employment, according to a report published by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, trade organizations that collectively represent some 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country. Among all health-care sectors, nursing homes have lost the most jobs since before the pandemic, according to the report, which is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
12th Nov 2021 - MarketWatch

Covid-19 Vaccines Are Now Reaching Poor Countries, but Not People’s Arms

After months of severe shortages, Covid-19 vaccine supplies for the world’s poorest nations are finally ramping up. But many countries say they will struggle to get them into people’s arms, as they grapple with the potential delivery of more vaccines in the coming weeks than they have received so far this year. Authorities lack funds to conduct public awareness campaigns and set up more vaccination sites, including the necessary fridges and freezers to store the shots. Misinformation and low case numbers have also left many in poor countries skeptical of the shots. Just 4.2% of people in low-income countries have received a first dose. Across Africa, only 6.3% of people are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data, a project based at Oxford University.
12th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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LAPD Union's Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate Challenge Rejected by Judge

The union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers failed to win a court order blocking a mandate that all city workers be vaccinated against Covid-19. California Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff on Wednesday denied the union’s request for a temporary restraining order on the mandate, which sets a Dec. 18 deadline for vaccination. The judge didn’t give a reason for denying the union’s request for a temporary restraining order. The union will get another shot at blocking the mandate at a Dec. 12 hearing before Beckloff on its request for preliminary injunction. A group of LAPD officers was also previously denied a restraining order in federal court.
11th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Judge rules Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on school mask mandates violates federal law

A federal judge in Texas ruled Wednesday that Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates in schools violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, setting the stage for school districts in the state to decide whether they want to impose mask rules. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in a 29-page ruling that the ADA, a federal law enacted in 1990, supersedes Abbott's July order banning facial coverings in schools.
11th Nov 2021 - NBC News

Judge overrules Texas governor's ban on mask mandates in schools

A federal judge overruled Texas Governor Greg Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools, clearing the path for districts to issue their own rules. Judge Lee Yeakel of U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled the governor's order violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark 1990 federal law that includes protections for students with special needs. In his ruling, Yeakel said the executive order put children with disabilities at risk. "The spread of COVID-19 poses an even greater risk for children with special health needs," the judge said in the order. "Children with certain underlying conditions who contract COVID-19 are more likely to experience severe acute biological effects and to require admission to a hospital and the hospital's intensive-care unit."
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Thousands of care home staff to lose their jobs as mandatory COVID-19 vaccine deadline passes

As of Friday, all care home workers in England must have been double jabbed, unless they are medically exempt, and the latest NHS figures show more than 60,000 staff have not been recorded as fully vaccinated as of 31 October.
11th Nov 2021 - Sky News

Ten states sue Biden administration over COVID-19 vaccine mandate for U.S. health workers

Ten Republican state attorneys general sued on Wednesday to stop the Biden administration's requirement that millions of U.S. health workers get vaccinated against the coronavirus, saying it would worsen staff shortages. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, said last Thursday he will enforce the mandate starting Jan. 4. The attorneys general of Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire jointly filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine patent dispute headed to court, U.S. NIH head says

U.S. National Institutes of Health scientists played "a major role" in developing Moderna Inc's (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine and the agency intends to defend its claim as co-owner of patents on the shot, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told Reuters on Wednesday. In a story first reported by the New York Times on Tuesday, Moderna excluded three NIH scientists as co-inventors of a central patent for the company's multibillion-dollar COVID-19 vaccine in its application filed in July.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Pfizer CEO says people who spread vaccine disinformation are 'criminals'

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday that people who spread disinformation about coronavirus vaccines are “criminals.” Bourla, in an interview with the Atlantic Council think tank, said a “very small” group has been responsible for spreading vaccine disinformation to the millions who remain hesitant about getting vaccinated.
10th Nov 2021 - The Washington Post

Fewer Than 1% of NYC Workers on Leave Due to Vaccine Mandate

Emmanuelle Pinault, Director of City Diplomacy, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and C40-MMC Task Force Member; and Raphaela Schweiger, Program Director Migration, Global Issues, Robert Bosch Stiftung explore how city governments can deliver inclusive climate action with Bloomberg’s Mallika Kapur.
10th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Singapore will stop covering the medical bills of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients

Singapore's government has been covering the medical bills of COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic. But it says unvaccinated people will soon be on their own. Those who are "unvaccinated by choice" will have to start paying for their own COVID-19 treatment starting Dec. 8, the Ministry of Health announced on Monday, citing the strain they are putting on the nation's health care system. "Currently, unvaccinated persons make up a sizeable majority of those who require intensive inpatient care, and disproportionately contribute to the strain on our healthcare resources," it said in a statement.
10th Nov 2021 - NPR

COVID-19: One of UK's longest-suffering coronavirus patients confronted by conspiracy theorist in hospital

Cancer survivor Andy Watts, 40, fell seriously ill with COVID in December and spent 10 months in hospital. He tells Sky News that some visitors in his ward believed the virus was a hoax despite his ordeal.
10th Nov 2021 - Sky News

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APEC affirms stand against vaccine nationalism, driven to manage climate change

Members of Asia-Pacific trade group APEC have reiterated a "strong stance" against vaccine nationalism to support the region's recovery from the pandemic and are committed to tackle climate change, host New Zealand said on Wednesday. New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta and Minister of Trade Damien O'Connor said all 21 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member countries had contributed to the region's pandemic response and work towards progress on trade.
10th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Don't wait on vaccine rules, White House tells companies amid legal fight

The White House on Monday urged employers to go ahead and push worker vaccinations, as legal challenges to President Joe Biden's vaccine rule work their way through the courts. A U.S. federal appeals court issued a stay Saturday freezing the Biden administration's efforts to require COVID-19 vaccines for workers at U.S. companies with at least 100 employees or weekly tests, citing "grave statutory and constitutional" issues with the rule. The ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes after numerous Republican-led states filed legal challenges against the new rule, which is set to take effect on Jan 4.
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 vaccine debate takes a strange turn

The Covid-19 vaccine debate is getting weird. On Twitter, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz accused Big Bird of pushing "Government propaganda...for your 5 year old!" after the Muppet tweeted about getting the shot in his wing. CNN aired a special on Saturday with "Sesame Street" to explain the vaccine to children ages 5-11, who are now eligible to get the shot. Watch Rosita, a green Muppet, overcome her fear and bravely get her first Covid-19 vaccine dose.
9th Nov 2021 - CNN

Singapore to start charging Covid patients who are ‘unvaccinated by choice’

Singapore will no longer pay the Covid-19 medical bills for people “unvaccinated by choice”, the government said, as the country grapples with a surge in cases. The government currently covers the full Covid medical costs for all Singaporeans, as well as permanent residents and long-term visa holders, unless they test positive soon after returning home from overseas. However from 8 December, the government said it will “begin charging Covid-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice”.
9th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

EXCLUSIVE Boeing U.S. worker vaccine exemption requests top 11000 -sources

The number of Boeing Co employees seeking a vaccine exemption on religious or medical grounds has reached more than 11,000 - or nearly 9% of its U.S. workforce - a level many times higher than executives initially estimated, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The widespread reluctance has left executives scrambling for a strategy that keeps employees safe and complies with President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors, but avoids an exodus of engineering and factory labor, the people said.
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Israel to rule on child COVID vaccines out of public eye amid anti-vax threats

Israeli health officials will decide behind closed doors on whether to allow child COVID-19 vaccinations, citing concerns that decision makers would otherwise not speak freely due to aggressive anti-vax rhetoric by members of the public. Israel has been a world leader in vaccinations and more than 40% of the population has received a third shot. Following the green light given by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for using the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on children aged 5 to 11, Israel's Health Ministry is set on Wednesday to hold a decisive discussion among experts on whether to follow suit.
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

U.S. tells court that blocking COVID-19 vaccine rule to cost lives

The Biden administration told a court on Monday it has clear authority to impose a COVID-19 vaccine rule on employers with at least 100 staff and that a court's order on Saturday blocking the rule could cost dozens or even hundreds of lives daily. People are increasingly returning to work and they risk accelerating the spread of COVID-19 without the rule, said the filing in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals by government lawyers. "With the reopening of workplaces and the emergence of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the threat to workers is ongoing and overwhelming," said the filing.
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Thousands protest in New Zealand against COVID-19 rules

New Zealand beefed up security measures at its parliament on Tuesday as thousands of people gathered to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and government lockdowns aimed at controlling the pandemic. All but two entrances to the parliament building, known as the Beehive, were closed off in unprecedented security measures, as mostly unmasked protesters marched through central Wellington and congregated outside parliament. While the demonstration was peaceful, many people were seen holding signs and placards with messages like "Freedom" and "Kiwis are not lab rats" and shouting slogans as they demanded the government roll back compulsory vaccination and lift restrictions.
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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He nearly died of covid, then apologized to hospital staff for not being vaccinated: ‘It all could’ve been avoided’

Richard Soliz developed multiple blood clots on his lungs after catching the coronavirus this summer, and the staff at the Seattle hospital where he was being treated told him they were concerned one might move to his heart or brain.
8th Nov 2021 - Washington Post on MSN.com

N. Ireland official suing Van Morrison over COVID criticism

Northern Ireland’s health minister is suing Van Morrison after the singer called him “very dangerous” for his handling of coronavirus restrictions. The Belfast-born singer opposes restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, and has released several songs criticizing lockdowns. He denounced Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann during a gathering at Belfast’s Europa Hotel in June after a Morrison concert was canceled at the last minute because of virus restrictions. The defamation suit relates to three incidents in which Morrison criticized Swann, calling him “a fraud” and “very dangerous.”
8th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

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U.S. federal appeals court freezes Biden's vaccine rule for companies

A U.S. federal appeals court issued a stay Saturday freezing the Biden administration's efforts to require workers at U.S. companies with at least 100 employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly, citing "grave statutory and constitutional" issues with the rule. The ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit comes after numerous Republican-led states filed legal challenges against the new rule, which is set to take effect on Jan 4.
6th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Unvaccinated in Greece face new restrictions as COVID cases soar

Queues formed outside shops in Athens on Saturday on the first day of new restrictions to curb soaring coronavirus infections which require the unvaccinated to have negative COVID-19 tests. COVID-19 infections in Greece hit a new daily high almost every day in November, prompting authorities to announce new measures on Tuesday, which also restrict access to cafes and restaurants, state services and banks to those who are either vaccinated or have a negative test.
6th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Republican governors lead attack on Biden vaccine mandate

Republican governors began filing lawsuits on Friday to stop the Biden administration's requirement that nearly 2 million U.S. employers get workers tested or vaccinated for COVID-19, saying it trampled civil liberties. After President Joe Biden, a Democrat, said on Thursday he will enforce the mandate starting Jan. 4, the states of Florida, Georgia and Alabama jointly sued in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. "The federal government can't just unilaterally impose medical policy under the guise of workplace regulation," Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference on Thursday.
6th Nov 2021 - Reuters

How a vaccine-hesitant sheriff became a vocal proponent

Every morning before the dew has dried on Andre Brunson’s 80 acres of land along Alabama’s Uphapee Creek, he swings his pickup truck out on to the gravel road leading from his house in Alabama. When heading for his eight-hour shift, he packs his bulletproof vest, gun, flashlight and now – since coronavirus sent him to the hospital in January – an asthma inhaler and a nebulizer. Brunson lives in Tuskegee, where he’s the county sheriff. “I’m a big strong guy and I just thought it was never going to affect me. Once I got Covid I realized I’m just like everybody else,” he said.
5th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Man dies two weeks after sharing video boasting about Covid-19 symptoms but saying virus wasn’t real

A Canadian man has died two weeks after he boasted about having Covid-19 symptoms while insisting the virus isn’t real in a livestreamed video. Mak Parhar was found dead by paramedics at his home in New Westminster, British Columbia, on Thursday morning. His cause of death is still under investigation, Global News reported. Mr Parhar, who was an outspoken opponent of Canada’s mask and vaccine mandates throughout the pandemic, dismissed the existence of Covid-19 — which he referred to as “convid” — in an October 21 Twitch livestream.
5th Nov 2021 - The Independent

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Pregnant Women Who Doubt Covid-19 Vaccine Safety Worry Doctors

Jaime Francis is avoiding all medication during her pregnancy, including Covid-19 vaccines. Her obstetrician advised her not to take some common painkillers including ibuprofen, she said, and she didn’t fill a prescription she was given for nausea. With the Covid-19 vaccine, the 22-year-old delivery driver from Sparta Township, N.J., said she fears potential long-term developmental effects of the vaccine that might not be known yet. Doctors and researchers say the shots are safe, effective and crucial for pregnant women, who face higher risks of severe Covid-19 than the rest of the population.
4th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Senate Republicans to Force Vote to Block Biden Business Vaccine Mandate

Senate Republicans plan to force a vote to block President Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandates for workers, an effort that is all but certain to fail in the Democratic-controlled Congress. The mandate fight, however, could soon head to the courts and potentially be an issue in the 2022 midterm elections. Under the Congressional Review Act, a Senate minority can force votes to block regulations like the new vaccine mandates scheduled to take effect Jan. 4, but it would take Democratic defections to send such a bill to Biden’s desk and a two-thirds majority to override a veto. Action isn’t likely to take place until December.
4th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

White House Sets Jan. 4 Shots-or-Tests Deadline for Workers

OSHA has issued a federal rule mandating Covid-19 vaccinations or at least weekly testing for workers at U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. The OSHA rules are a key pillar of President Joe Biden’s push to use employer mandates to drive up vaccination totals nationally. Biden already has expanded the rules for federal workers and contractors, which will take effect over the next five weeks, requiring vaccination and offering no alternative for regular testing. The OSHA rules, while less strenuous, essentially extend that push widely into the private sector. Biden—elected in part on a pledge to quell the pandemic—views vaccination as the fastest path to reopening society and the economy, including employer mandates, booster shots and vaccines for kids aged 5 to 11 that began this week. About 80% of U.S. adults have received at least one dose.
4th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

‘He was adamant he didn’t want it’: the pro-vax parents with vaccine-hesitant kids

Even if children have avoided anti-vaccine misinformation on social media, they may have come across it at the school gate. There have been demonstrations outside schools across the UK; some protesters have loudhailers, and give alarming leaflets to children, or point them in the direction of websites with misinformation. At least one school was targeted by protesters showing images of what appeared to be dead children, falsely claiming they had been killed by the vaccine, which unsurprisingly distressed children. The Association of School and College Leaders union found nearly 80% of British schools had been targeted in some way – mainly emails threatening legal action – and 13% had reported seeing anti-vax demonstrators directly outside the school gates; 18 schools said protesters had actually got inside.
4th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Vaccine certificates-for-sale scam undermines Lesotho’s Covid effort

The Lesotho government’s plans to implement a Covid passport system this week are being undermined by widespread fraud involving certificates being sold to unvaccinated people. Covid-19 vaccination certificates are being sold for less than £20 by unscrupulous health workers to the largely vaccine-averse population in Lesotho, where there has been little positive campaigning around the jabs. The prime minister, Moeketsi Majoro, announced in October that from this week, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, gyms and sporting facilities would only admit people who had a Covid-19 vaccination certificate.
4th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Australian customer service workers subjected to violence and abuse for Covid-19 compliance checks

Customer Service staff face increase of abuse amid Covid compliance checks National Retail Association (NRA) received 89k reports of abuse in last 6 months Aggressive & violent behaviour mainly occurred where Covid rules are in place NRA says shoppers need to remember staff are not responsible for Covid laws
4th Nov 2021 - Daily Mail

Aaron Rodgers’ Covid-19 case is a failure of leadership that won’t be forgotten

Aaron Rodgers may be a lot of things but stupid he is not. A noted bookworm and fill-in Jeopardy host, Rodgers of all people is keenly aware that words matter. In hindsight this explains why back in August when he was asked about his vaccination status by a reporter, he replied with a cryptic: “I’ve been immunized.” If you’re like me, you thought Rodgers’ response was him being him – eccentric with maybe a touch of arrogance – but you assumed immunized equaled vaccinated. Sigh. Well, now it’s looking likely that Rodgers misled us all along. On Wednesday, the news broke that Rodgers tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs because he is, indeed, not immunized with an actual Covid vaccine.
4th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Johnson's COVID-19 gambit steers Britain into uncharted winter waters

Inside the British hospital that saved Prime Minister Boris Johnson from COVID-19, intensive care nurse Dave Carr just wants out. "We are dead on our feet physically. We are dead on our feet mentally," he said. "I don't know how to get out of this mess. I can't walk away because of the guilt of leaving my colleagues." Britain, its hospitals and its COVID-19 strategy are under the microscope as the country enters the dangerous winter period while accounting for almost a tenth of the world's recorded new infections.
4th Nov 2021 - Reuters UK

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Ukrainians protest vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases soar

More than a thousand people blocked several streets in the center of the Ukrainian capital Wednesday, protesting against COVID-19 vaccine certificates and state-imposed restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus. The protesters, mostly women and young people, didn’t wear masks and held up signs reading “Say No to COVID Passports”, “Say No to COVID Genocide” in front of the Ukrainian parliament building in Kyiv. The rally comes in response to restrictions that require teachers, government employees and other workers to get fully vaccinated by Nov. 8 or have their salaries suspended.
3rd Nov 2021 - Seattle Times

Top Sage expert Jeremy Farrar quits amid ‘concerning’ Covid-19 rates

Sir Jeremy Farrar has revealed he quit the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) last month, warning of “concerning high levels of transmission” in Britain and vowing to focus on his role as a clinical scientist. The director of the Wellcome Trust was a leading member of the government’s Covid-19 advisory body during the pandemic. He was reportedly pushing for ministers to enforce a so-called “vaccine plus” strategy that includes measures such as mask wearing, ventilation and continued testing, according to Sky News. However, the government has so far declined to enforce stricter measures – which it refers to as plan B – and is sticking with its current, more relaxed guidance.
3rd Nov 2021 - The Independent

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Nurse films herself being escorted from work for refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine

A nurse has filmed herself supposedly being escorted from her job at a hospital because of her refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccine. The video, posted on Twitter on Saturday, shows the woman telling the camera she is being removed from the Kaiser Permanente hospital “because I don’t want to get the jab”. The nurse says she is not willing to get the vaccine because of her “sincerely held religious beliefs” as she urges people to “count the costs” and says she is willing to lose “everything, for my freedom”.
2nd Nov 2021 - The Independent

NYC puts 9,000 workers on unpaid leave as vaccine mandate kicks in

New York City placed 9,000 city workers on leave without pay Monday as its coronavirus vaccine mandate for the public workforce kicked in. The requirement ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio — one of the most aggressive in the nation — has pushed the vaccination rate among all city workers to 91 percent. But at least 21,000 city workers covered by the mandate remain unvaccinated: 9,000 who have now been barred from working, and another 12,000 who have applied for religious or medical exemptions. The latter group is being allowed to work until decisions on those exemptions are made in the coming days. The total city workforce is roughly 378,000. “This mandate was the right thing to do,” de Blasio said Monday. “We now see it worked.”
2nd Nov 2021 - POLITICO

Covid anti-vaxxers are refusing to pay tax bills mistakenly thinking they are immune from prosecution

A number of Covid conspiracists have started abstaining from paying utility bills and their council tax in protest against the “tyranny” they claim to live under in the UK, according to messages posted to Telegram. Groups on the social media platform – where thousands of Covid anti-vaxxers congregate and organise protests – have started branching out from discussing conspiracy theories about coronavirus and the vaccine and have begun justifying the reasons for no longer paying their bills. Many have a misguided belief they will not face prosecution for cancelling their payments, thanks in part to disinformation spread by an influencer on the platform with a significant following who claims stopping the payment of council tax will put pressure on the Government to scrap the Coronavirus Act.
2nd Nov 2021 - iNews

Australians fired for refusing Covid vaccine search social media for ‘welcoming’ employers

Unvaccinated Australians who have lost their jobs for refusing to comply with Covid vaccine mandates are using social media to find and share employment opportunities at workplaces where the new rules are not being enforced. Telegram and Facebook have had an influx of people searching for paid jobs after states and territories implemented mandates covering a range of industries from health and aged care workers, teachers and police to construction and hospitality workers. On some job boards, businesses that are happy to accept unvaccinated people advertise that they are “welcoming of everyone”.
2nd Nov 2021 - The Guardian

From Boeing to Mercedes, a U.S. worker rebellion swells over vaccine mandates

In Wichita, Kansas, nearly half of the roughly 10,000 employees at aircraft companies Textron Inc (TXT.N) and Spirit AeroSystems (SPR.N) remain unvaccinated against COVID-19, risking their jobs in defiance of a federal mandate, according to a union official. "We're going to lose a lot of employees over this," said Cornell Beard, head of the local Machinists union district. Many workers did not object to the vaccines as such, he said, but were staunchly opposed to what they see as government meddling in personal health decisions.
2nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

‘There was no plan’: Throwing spaghetti at the wall to overcome Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy

One or two donuts, a car, $1 million, $25, Super Bowl tickets, french fries. There’s a remarkable range of incentives and other methods devised to overcome Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy. While some of these ideas have stuck like spaghetti thrown against a wall, it’s not clear which are most effective. Even when researchers have demonstrated the success of certain strategies, they haven’t been widely adopted. The White House announced Monday that 70% of adults across the country are now fully vaccinated, and 80% have gotten at least one shot. But progress is slow, as daily vaccination rates remain low compared with the peak in April.
2nd Nov 2021 - STAT News

U.S. to publish rules on private-sector COVID-19 vaccinations, testing in days

The Biden administration said on Monday that a planned rule requiring private-sector employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or regular testing will be published in the coming days. The Labor Department said the White House Office of Management and Budget had completed its regulatory review of the rule known as an emergency temporary standard (ETS). The White House said in September the rule would cover more than 80 million private-sector employees.
2nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Mayor: 9 in 10 NYC workers vaccinated as deadline nears

Nine in 10 New York City municipal workers received COVID-19 vaccinations as a Monday deadline loomed under a city mandate, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio tweeted Saturday night that 91% of city workers had received the vaccine, which represented a jump from about 83% as of Friday night. Under a city mandate, those who haven’t received at least one dose of the vaccine will be put on unpaid leave starting Monday, raising the possibility of shortages of police, fire and EMS workers. New York has more than 300,000 employees.
1st Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

NYC Vaccine Mandate Kicks In With Little Disruption, Mayor Says

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the vast majority of municipal employees are complying with the Covid-19 vaccine mandate, resulting in little disruption to services as the requirement kicked in for police, firefighters and sanitation workers. De Blasio said Monday that about 9,000 employees have been placed on unpaid leave for not receiving the shot while another 12,000 will keep working as requests for exemptions are reviewed. That amounts to a small share of the city’s workforce of nearly 400,000.
1st Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Critics of Biden vaccine mandate 'lobby' for change in rare meetings

The meetings are normally used by well-connected groups trying to win an advantage for companies or unions. But few things are normal about the vaccine mandate, which could be published as soon as next week. Thirty-six of 129 half-hour teleconference meetings on the vaccine rule were scheduled with individuals, according to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, or OIRA, which schedules the meetings. The others were with businesses such as United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) and Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) or with trade groups, which have urged delaying the rule or want employees pay for testing, according to information on the OIRA site.
1st Nov 2021 - Reuters

Travel agent under investigation over allegations it was selling fake Covid-19 certificates

A travel agent is under investigation over allegations that it sold fake Covid-19 travel certificates to customers. Bolton council says 'a substantial number of fraudulent documents' were found when its trading standards officers raided the business. It is alleged that the Bolton -based travel agent, which has not been named, was selling certificates of negative PCR test results claiming to be from a legitimate test clinic.
1st Nov 2021 - Manchester Evening News

Moroccans protest vaccine pass required for work, travel

Protests erupted across cities in Morocco on Sunday against a coronavirus vaccine passport that is required to access indoor activities and travel. Proof of vaccination has been mandatory since Oct. 21 for all Moroccans to enter their place of work and restaurants and for domestic and international air travel. The North African kingdom’s vaccination rate is the highest in the continent, with more than 58% of its 36 million people fully inoculated. But a vocal minority is opposed to the abrupt decision to require the vaccine pass, and hundreds of demonstrators marched in the capital of Rabat for the the second time in a week to voice opposition to the rule.
1st Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Eleven states sue U.S. government over vaccine mandate for federal contractors

Eleven U.S. states with Republican governors sued the Biden administration on Friday seeking to block a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, arguing it is unconstitutional and violates federal procurement law. Saying they were necessary to fight COVID-19, President Joe Biden issued a pair of executive orders on Sept. 9 requiring all executive branch federal employees and federal contractors be vaccinated
1st Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Supreme Court declines to block Maine vaccine mandate

The Supreme Court has rejected an emergency appeal from health care workers in Maine to block a vaccine mandate that went into effect Friday. Three conservative justices noted their dissents.
30th Oct 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

As vaccination mandate looms, New York prepares for shortage of firefighters, police

New York City officials on Friday were preparing for shortages of firefighters, police officers and other first responders as a showdown looms between the city and its unvaccinated uniformed workforce, who face a 5 p.m. deadline to be immunized. De Blasio, who announced the mandate nine days ago, said officials would manage any staffing gaps with overtime and schedule changes and by enlisting private ambulance companies to cover for the city's paramedics.
30th Oct 2021 - Reuters

U.S. spy agencies say origins of COVID-19 may never be known

U.S. intelligence agencies said on Friday they may never be able to identify the origins of COVID-19, as they released a new, more detailed version of their review of whether the coronavirus came from animal-to-human transmission or leaked from a lab. The Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a declassified report that a natural origin and a lab leak are both plausible hypotheses for how SARS-COV-2 first infected humans. But it said analysts disagree on which is more likely or whether any definitive assessment can be made at all.
30th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Brazil senators back criminal charges against Bolsonaro

Brazilian Senate commission approved a damning report on Tuesday that recommends criminal charges be brought against President Jair Bolsonaro, including crimes against humanity, for his Covid policies. Seven of the panel's 11 senators voted to endorse the text – presented last week after a six-month investigation into Brazil's pandemic response – which also calls for the indictment of 77 other people, including several ministers and three of Bolsonaro's children. The nearly 1,200-page report also urges Brazil's Supreme Court to suspend the far-right leader's access to his accounts on social media platforms YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for falsely alleging that Covid-19 vaccines were linked to AIDS.
30th Oct 2021 - Buenos Aires Times

U.S. Spies Say Covid-19's Origins Will Remain Unclear Without China's Help

Covid-19 was probably not a biological weapon and most U.S. analysts believe it wasn’t genetically engineered at all, but a final conclusion on the virus’s origins is impossible without cooperation from China, a declassified U.S. report says. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released its long-awaited public findings on the virus’s origins on Friday, a declassified version of the secret report submitted to President Joe Biden this summer. The intelligence community remains divided on where the outbreak began, but believes two causes are plausible -- that it spread through animals to humans, or that it sprang from an incident at a lab in the city of Wuhan.
29th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Canada says decision on allowing Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children still weeks away

A Canadian decision on whether to approve Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 5 to 11 will not come before mid- to end-November, a senior official said on Friday. “I think we’re still at least a few weeks away from a final decision ... we’ve received some additional information just this past week that we’rem looking through,” Supriya Sharma, the federal health ministry’s chief medical adviser, told a briefing.
29th Oct 2021 - Reuters

China’s Real Covid Crisis Is Yet to Come

Chinese leaders can claim enviable success in tamping down the pandemic using massive lockdowns but they’re going to struggle to return the country to normalcy.
29th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

U.S. Supreme Court rejects religious challenge to Maine vaccine mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday turned away healthcare workers seeking a religious exemption to Maine's COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the latest battle over vaccination to reach the justices. The court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, rejected a request made by nine unnamed plaintiffs who identified themselves as healthcare workers who object to receiving the shots on religious grounds. The court previously rejected challenges to vaccine mandates in New York and Indiana, though those cases did not involve religious objections. The justices were divided, with three conservative members saying they would have granted the request.
29th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Sweden acted too slowly as pandemic swept country, commission finds

Sweden's response to the spread of coronavirus was too slow and preparations to handle a pandemic were insufficient, a commission investigating the country's response to COVID-19 said on Friday. Sweden's strategy, shunning lockdowns and measures such as widespread use of face masks and only gradually tightening curbs, made the country an outlier in the first year of the pandemic when many countries across Europe chose to implement far tougher restrictions. The country kept most schools, businesses, bars and restaurants open in startling contrast with a locked-down Europe, relying on voluntary recommendations even as its death toll rapidly eclipsed those if its Nordic neighbours
29th Oct 2021 - Reuters

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NYPD Has 10000 Unvaccinated Officers as Mandate Deadline Approaches

Nearly a third of New York Police Department cops are unvaccinated against Covid-19 ahead of the city’s Friday deadline. The Police Benevolent Association, which represents 24,000 cops in the most populous U.S. city, said 10,000 of the roughly 35,000 uniformed NYPD officers have not gotten the shot. Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio eliminated the test-out option and said all city employees must receive their first vaccine dose by Oct. 29 or face unpaid leave. The union is fighting the mandate in court, but a judge has refused to block it in the meantime. It’s not clear what effect the drop in staff will have on the operations of the nation’s largest police force, but de Blasio on Thursday sought to assure New Yorkers they will be safe.
28th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

NYC firefighters are planning a protest at the mayor's home over vaccine rules

New York City firefighters plan to take their protests over the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandates to the residence of Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday. The mayor approved a vaccine mandate that forces all public employees in the city to get a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 1, or risk losing their jobs. He added: "Death from coronavirus appears much closer than I imagined." Ukraine is suffering through a surge in coronavirus infections, along with other parts of Eastern Europe and Russia While vaccines are plentiful, there is a widespread reluctance to get them in many countries — though notable exceptions include the Baltic nations, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Hungary.
28th Oct 2021 - NPR

Vaccine reluctance in Eastern Europe brings high COVID cost

Truck driver Andriy Melnik never took the coronavirus seriously. With a friend, he bought a fake vaccination certificate so his travel documents would appear in order when he hauled cargo to other parts of Europe. His view changed after the friend caught COVID-19 and ended up in an intensive care unit on a ventilator. “It's not a tall tale. I see that this disease kills, and strong immunity wouldn't be enough -- only a vaccine can offer protection,” said Melnik, 42, as he waited in Kyiv to get his shot. “I'm really scared and I'm pleading with doctors to help me correct my mistake."
28th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19 Victoria: Daniel Andrews is labelled a 'dictator' over pandemic laws in Parliament

Victoria's state of emergency laws expire on December 15 after 21 months. Premier Daniel Andrews wants to pass sweeping new laws to replace them. The Health Minister will have the power to enforce lockdowns and quarantine. There will be fines of up to $90,870 for individuals and $454,350 for businesses
28th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

Brazil probe of Bolsonaro offers COVID-19 families solace

The morning after a Brazilian Senate committee recommended criminal indictments for President Jair Bolsonaro over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bruna Chaves, who lost her mother to the disease, was venting her pain in an emotional grief support group session. “It wasn’t my mom’s time to go,” she told the others Wednesday inside an ecumenical chapel in Rio de Janeiro. “Somebody needs to be blamed.” A government body laying blame at the president’s feet in the form of a nearly 1,300-page report is already helping bring solace and validation to the mournful nation with the world’s second highest death toll from the virus and eighth highest per capita.
28th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 28th Oct 2021

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Head of New York City firefighters union says members 'insulted' by vaccine mandate

The head of the New York City firefighters union said on Wednesday he had instructed unvaccinated members to keep working, even though they feel "insulted" by Mayor Bill de Blasio's order to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination by Friday or be placed on unpaid leave. "I have told my members that if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, told a news conference.
28th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Miami private school scraps policy to send home vaccinated students after funding threatened

A Miami private school known for its aggressive stance against coronavirus vaccines is abandoning an attendance policy that would have forced students to stay home for 30 days after each dose. Centner Academy reversed course less than two weeks after announcing the controversial policy, spurred by a letter from the Florida Department of Education warning that the pre-K-8 private school could lose state funding if it pursued the post-vaccination attendance plan.
27th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Facebook is having a tougher time managing vaccine misinformation than it is letting on, leaks suggest

Facebook has touted the resources it has dedicated to tackling Covid-19 and vaccine misinformation, even scolding US President Joe Biden for his harsh criticism of the company's handling of the issue. In doing so, it claimed that "more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet." But internal Facebook (FB) documents suggest a disconnect between what the company has said publicly about its overall response to Covid-19 misinformation and some of its employees' findings concerning the issue.
27th Oct 2021 - CNN

Colorado lawsuit tests religious exemptions to COVID vaccine mandates

The doctor, one of the protagonists of this story, is a pediatric intensive care specialist in Colorado Springs working with some of the sickest children in the state. She’s unvaccinated against COVID-19, despite both state and employer mandates requiring vaccination. In one telling of this tale, the doctor is the hero, a devoutly religious person who has made a moral choice consistent with those beliefs and is being unconstitutionally punished for them. In another telling, the doctor is the villain, using her religion as cover for a personal belief that is recklessly endangering her patients and colleagues. Both versions of the story are contained within the pleadings of an ongoing lawsuit in federal court in Denver that challenges the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus’s vaccination requirement for physicians and medical students.
27th Oct 2021 - The Colorado Sun

My daughter was bullied at school for having the Covid jab. No wonder UK take-up is low

I’m worried that part of the reason for a slow uptake of the vaccine among 12 to 15-year-olds is that their issues around it are not being addressed adequately: there’s a sense that they are just being tacked on at the end of the successful adult rollout. They need to be addressed directly and clearly, and their concerns listened to. I’ve seen a lot of “what I need to know about my child and the vaccine” articles for parents in recent weeks, but there don’t seem to be many equivalents for 12 to 15-year-olds to read themselves. Reels and videos on social media help, particularly those made by people in the same age group, but surely there needs to be more official – and factchecked – dedicated communications for teens who may have concerns about the vaccine.
27th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Test and trace failed to curb Covid-19 infection rates despite ‘eye-watering’ spending, watchdog says

The test and trace programme failed to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission despite being awarded “eye-watering” sums – billions of which have not been spent – MPs have said. NHS Test and Trace (NHST&T) did not prevent national lockdowns or reduce the number of Covid-19 cases, a report by the Public Accounts Committee argued. The system was allocated a budget of £37bn over two years – 20 per cent of annual health spending – but underspent by nearly £9bn in the first year, with much of the testing and contact tracing capacity left unused.
27th Oct 2021 - iNews

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 27th Oct 2021

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Raytheon warns of worker losses as companies impose vaccine mandate

Raytheon Technologies' top boss warned on Tuesday the U.S. aerospace and defense firm will lose 'several thousand' employees who refused to take COVID-19 vaccines, as it prepares to meet the Biden administration's Dec. 8 deadline for immunization. "We will lose several thousand people," Raytheon Chief Executive Greg Hayes said in a CNBC interview on Tuesday, adding that staff hiring was underway. The company has a total of 125,000 U.S. employees
26th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Why people believe Covid conspiracy theories: could folklore hold the answer?

Using Danish witchcraft folklore as a model, the researchers from UCLA and Berkeley analysed thousands of social media posts with an artificial intelligence tool and extracted the key people, things and relationships. The tool enabled them to piece together the underlying stories in coronavirus conspiracy theories from fragments in online posts. One discovery from the research identifies Bill Gates as the reason why conspiracy theorists connect 5G with the virus. With Gates’ background in computer technology and vaccination programmes, he served as a shortcut for these storytellers to link the two. Gates is a persistent figure in the anti-vaccine stories. “He’s a great villain,” says the folklorist Prof Timothy Tangherlini one of the authors of the research. It’s Gates’ world-spanning influence in tech and then health that lodges him at the heart of a lot of conspiracies. “Bill Gates is in Africa, he’s in everybody’s house because everybody’s got computers, and then he’s pushing these vaccines.”
26th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Facebook froze as anti-vaccine comment swarmed users

In March, as claims about the dangers and ineffectiveness of coronavirus vaccines spun across social media and undermined attempts to stop the spread of the virus, some Facebook employees thought they had found a way to help. By altering how posts about vaccines are ranked in people’s newsfeeds, researchers at the company realized they could curtail the misleading information individuals saw about COVID-19 vaccines and offer users posts from legitimate sources like the World Health Organization. “Given these results, I’m assuming we’re hoping to launch ASAP,” one Facebook employee wrote, responding to the internal memo about the study. Instead, Facebook shelved some suggestions from the study. Other changes weren’t made until April.
26th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Facebook, YouTube remove Bolsonaro video over vaccine claims

Facebook and YouTube have removed from their platforms a video by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in which the far-right leader made a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines were linked with developing AIDS. Both Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube said the video, which was recorded on Thursday, violated their policies. “Our policies don’t allow claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement on Monday. YouTube confirmed that it had taken the same step later in the day. “We removed a video from Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for violating our medical disinformation policy regarding COVID-19 for alleging that vaccines don’t reduce the risk of contracting the disease and that they cause other infectious diseases,” YouTube said in a statement. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), COVID-19 vaccines approved by health regulators are safe for most people, including those living with HIV, the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, known as AIDS.
26th Oct 2021 - AlJazeera

Congress has bipartisan support to try to deal with the next pandemic. But those talks are already falling behind

Already, the federal government’s failures to prepare for a pandemic cost more than 700,000 American lives over the last 18 months. Public health experts have decried outdated data systems and supply chain vulnerabilities, and warned that without legislative action, all those problems will persist until the next crisis. They see a rare but fleeting opportunity to break the cycle of ignoring public health funding until times of crisis.
26th Oct 2021 - STAT News

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th Oct 2021

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Facebook takes down Bolsonaro video over false vaccine claim

Facebook late on Sunday removed a video by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro from its platforms, in which the far-right leader made a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines were linked with developing AIDS. "Our policies don't allow claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people," a Facebook spokesperson said on Monday.
25th Oct 2021 - Reuters

NBA and Covid-19 vaccinations: Anti-vaccine demonstrators support Kyrie Irving in New York

Anti-vaccine demonstrators gathered outside the Barclays Center on Sunday to show their support for Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving before his team's NBA home opener. Irving has refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and is not allowed to play or practise with his team until he does so because of local vaccine rules. Some protesters broke through barriers outside the arena before being confronted by security. No arrests or injuries were reported.
25th Oct 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Exclusion zones around schools could be used to stop 'idiot' anti-vaxxers, health secretary says

Exclusion zones around schools could be used to prevent "idiot" anti-vaxxers from targeting children with their "vicious lies", the health secretary has said. Sajid Javid said the protesters are doing "so much damage" and it was "heartbreaking" that three children were injured during a recent protest after COVID-19 vaccines were opened up to 12-15-year-olds. He told Sky News' Kay Burley: "You've got, frankly, these idiots outside their school spreading vicious lies. "It is becoming a growing problem as time goes by."
25th Oct 2021 - Sky News

Florida’s top doctor refuses mask, is told to leave meeting

Florida’s top health official was asked to leave a meeting after refusing to wear a mask at the office of a state senator who told him she had a serious medical condition, officials have confirmed. Florida Senate leader Wilton Simpson, a Republican, sent a memo to senators Saturday regarding the incident at the office of Democratic state Sen. Tina Polsky, asking visitors at the building to be respectful with social interactions. Polsky, who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, had not yet made public her breast cancer diagnosis. Polsky told The Associated Press about the tense exchange with state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo that was first reported by the news site Florida Politics. She said Ladapo and two aides were offered masks and asked to wear them when they arrived for the Wednesday meeting. She did not tell him she had breast cancer, but said she had a serious condition.
25th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th Oct 2021

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Singapore to Limit Workplace Access for Unvaccinated People

Singapore is set to restrict access to the workplace for those who are unvaccinated from January unless they test negative daily as part of plans to resume normal activities in the pandemic.
25th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid adviser fears 'another lockdown Christmas' as he blasts inaction as 'unacceptable'

One of the government's scientific advisers has said he fears 'another lockdown Christmas' following an 'unacceptable' lack of action amid rising coronavirus case numbers. Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said he was "very fearful" that strict measures would need to be introduced. He fears it would be the second festive season in a row under lockdown conditions if the government does not act urgently to bring down Covid-19 infection rates. Ministers have so far refused to implement so-called 'Plan B' measures, which may include a return to mandatory face coverings in some settings and home working, and the introduction of Covid vaccine passports for venues such as nightclubs.
23rd Oct 2021 - Manchester Evening News

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Oct 2021

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Right-wing radio host says Covid vaccines coup d’etat by ‘evil cabal’

A right-wing talk show host and anti-vaxxer has come up with a conspiracy theory which suggests the government is inserting eggs in people using the Covid-19 vaccines that hatch into synthetic parasites and grow inside the human body. In a video on TruNews, a far-right Christian video streaming platform, Rick Wiles called vaccines a “global coup d’etat by the most evil cabal of people” to control the world. Mr Wiles added: “They’re putting eggs in people’s bodies. If you didn’t see yesterday’s TruNews, you need to watch it. It’s an egg that hatches into a synthetic parasite and grows inside your body. This is like sci-fi nightmare, and it’s happening in front of us.”
21st Oct 2021 - The Independent

Instagram displays ad offering fake Covid vaccine certificates in Australia

Instagram has displayed an ad promoting fake vaccination certificates in Australia at a time when New South Wales and Victoria are emerging from Covid lockdowns and requiring people to present proof of vaccination. Vaccination status can be proven at venues in the two states over the next few months using a printed certificate from the Australian Immunisation Register, a digital certificate on a person’s phone, or a record added to QR code check-in apps.
21st Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Covid: Nicola Sturgeon urged to challenge UK Gov's vaccine 'selfishness'

Nicola Sturgeon has a “duty” to challenge the UK Government over its “staggeringly selfish” stance on providing coronavirus vaccines to poorer nations, campaigners have said. Scottish members of the People’s Vaccine Alliance made the plea to the First Minister as global leaders, including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, prepare to take part in the G20 summit in Rome. A new report for the organisation claims that of 1.8 billion Covid vaccine doses that have been promised by richer nations, only 261 million jabs – 14% – have actually been delivered. The Dose of Reality report also said the UK Government had taken 500,000 doses from the Covax programme, a worldwide initiative aimed at ensuring fair access to vaccination.
21st Oct 2021 - HeraldScotland

Brazil’s Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity over COVID

A Brazilian Senate report has recommended pursuing crimes against humanity and other charges against President Jair Bolsonaro over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 66-year-old leader quickly rejected the accusations on Wednesday, insisting that he was “guilty of nothing”. More than 600,000 people in Brazil have died from COVID-19, the second-highest death toll in the world after the United States. The decision to proceed with the charges will depend on Brazil’s prosecutor-general, a Bolsonaro appointee and ally. Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the threat of COVID-19 and touted misinformation and unproven treatments while ignoring international health guidelines on mask use and public activity.
21st Oct 2021 - AlJazeera

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 21st Oct 2021

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U.S. workers face layoffs as U.S COVID-19 vaccine mandates kick in

Thousands of unvaccinated workers across the United States are facing potential job losses as a growing number of states, cities and private companies start to enforce mandates for inoculation against COVID-19. In the latest high-profile example, Washington State University (WSU) fired its head football coach and four of his assistants on Monday for failing to comply with the state's vaccine requirement. The coach, Nick Rolovich, had applied for a religious exemption from the mandate earlier this month.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Hundreds protest against Bulgaria's COVID health pass

Hundreds of anti-vaccine protesters joined some political leaders in Sofia on Wednesday to demonstrate against Bulgaria's decision to make a COVID-19 "Green Certificate" mandatory for access to restaurants, theatres and shopping malls. The interim health ministry announced the move on Tuesday to try to slow a surge in infections and deaths in the European Union's least vaccinated country.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Poland facing COVID-19 'explosion' says health minister

Poland has seen an explosion of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two days and if the current trend continues drastic steps will be needed, the health minister said on Wednesday, after the country reported over 5,000 daily cases for the first time since May. "Over the last two days we have seen an explosion of the pandemic," Adam Niedzielski told a news conference, adding that next week daily cases could be "well above" 5,000.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

They take an oath to do no harm, but these doctors are spreading misinformation about the Covid vaccine

She was a frequent guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show -- an Ivy League-educated OB-GYN who often spoke about women's health and holistic medicine. She was a media darling, and in 2013 made Reader's Digest's annual list of 100 most trusted people in America. If you go to Dr. Christiane Northrup's Facebook page, her posts dispensing advice on health and aging to her 558,000 followers seem consistent with that persona of several years ago. But Northrup also uses her Facebook page to direct followers to Telegram, where another side of her is apparent. Here, on this platform with lax moderation, lies a miasma of misinformation and conspiracy theories. "Best Explanation I've Seen About Why the Covid Jabs Are Killer Shots," reads one post that she shared.
20th Oct 2021 - CNN

Senate report recommends Bolsonaro face murder charge over handling of Covid-19

A draft report by lawmakers in Brazil has recommended that president Jair Bolsonaro be indicted on criminal charges for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic that led to thousand of deaths. More than 600,000 people have died due to the coronavirus or related complications in Brazil since the beginning of the pandemic. The country has had the second-highest death toll in the world, second only to the US. The 1,200-page Senate draft report said that Mr Bolsonaro was “principally responsible for the government’s errors committed during the Covid-19 pandemic” and accused him of acting against the advice of the health ministry.
20th Oct 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Minister rules out another lockdown as PM is urged to enforce 'Plan B' to avert winter crisis

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has insisted there will not be another national lockdown after an NHS leader warned the PM that 'Plan B' coronavirus restrictions must be enforced immediately to prevent the UK "stumbling into a winter crisis". NHS Confederation chief executive Matthew Taylor has urged the government to bring back certain measures, including mandatory face coverings in public places, telling Sky News: "The overwhelming evidence is that we do need to act."
20th Oct 2021 - Sky News

A UK COVID lockdown would be wrong right now, business minister says

Another COVID lockdown would be completely wrong right now as Britain is learning to live with the novel coronavirus, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on Wednesday. "I absolutely think that it would be completely wrong for us to go back into a lockdown," he told Times Radio. He said the critical indicators were hospitalisations and death rates - and that those were much lower. "And we are learning, I think, to live with the virus," Kwarteng said.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Bolsonaro should face charges over pandemic: Senate inquiry

Brazil’s Senate formally presented a report calling for President Jair Bolsonaro to be indicted on criminal charges for allegedly mishandling the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – pushing Brazil into second place in the number of global COVID-19 deaths. The nearly 1,200-page report presented on Wednesday by opposition Senator Renan Calheiros is based on six months of work. It calls for Bolsonaro to be indicted on 10 charges, including crimes against humanity.
20th Oct 2021 - AlJazeera

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 20th Oct 2021

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New York's $2 Billion Fund for Undocumented Workers Runs Dry

Earlier this year, New York created a $2.1 billion fund to help undocumented immigrants and others who weathered the pandemic without access to government relief. The Excluded Workers Fund, by far the biggest of its kind in the country, was intended to provide eligible workers with one-time payments to help cover costs associated with joblessness, such as back rent and medical bills. But just a few months after the state began accepting applications, the fund is about to run out of money, following a blitz in claims and a speedy distribution of aid. State authorities announced they would stop accepting new applications as of Oct. 8, adding that even those who had applied in the two weeks before that deadline might not be approved.
19th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Washington State head football coach ousted after refusing Covid-19 vaccine

Washington State University's head football coach, Nick Rolovich, and four assistant coaches are losing their jobs because of not complying with the state's Covid-19 vaccine mandate, the university's athletics department said Monday.
19th Oct 2021 - CNN

Religious exemptions threaten to undermine US Covid vaccine mandates

Epidemiologists are concerned that the loophole will embolden the vaccine-hesitant to evade requirements and undermine the state’s progress against the pandemic. And lawyers and legal experts are bracing for a deluge of complaints over the blurry lines that define “sincerely held” objections to the vaccine. Many parents and even some teachers have raised opposition to the mandates, with walkouts and protests already taking place across the state. In rural northern California and conservative patches of the south, parents picketed against the public health measures on Monday, insisting that they wouldn’t “co-parent with the government”. Last week, teachers at a school district in Los Angeles who were denied religious exemptions demonstrated outside the headquarters.
19th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Australian state could fire more than 40 police staff for refusing a Covid-19 vaccine

A total of 43 police staff in the Australian state of Victoria have been stood down from duty and could face being fired after they failed to comply with a Covid-19 vaccine mandate, Victoria Police said. Under Victorian state law, all emergency service workers including police officers were set an October 15 deadline to book a vaccination, and must receive their first dose by Friday. In a statement sent to CNN on Tuesday, Victoria Police said 34 police officers and nine public safety officers who had "not complied with the vaccination direction" had been stood down from active service while they are investigated by the state's Professional Standards Command.
19th Oct 2021 - CNN

Politics derails debate on immunity you get after recovering from Covid-19

“It’s hard to know where the data will finally land, and it’s hard to know where the shouting will land,” said Wendy Parmet, a Northeastern University law professor who has written extensively about the legality of government-imposed quarantines and vaccine mandates. “People on the right scream, so people on the left say no. We’re in this horrible, awful feedback loop of vitriol right now.” There’s still no scientific consensus about the exact strength or durability of the natural immunity a person gains when they recover from Covid-19, or how much it varies from person to another.
19th Oct 2021 - STAT News

Workers denied COVID-19 vaccine exemptions sue hospital

Several employees at the largest hospital system in Massachusetts say in a lawsuit that they were subjected to discrimination and retaliation in violation of federal law when their requests for medical or religious exemptions from the organization’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate were denied. The federal suit was filed Sunday by eight workers at Mass General Brigham. Attorneys for the workers said in a memo attached to the lawsuit that they are not challenging the legality of the vaccine mandate, but are attempting to “prevent discrimination and retaliation based on religion or disability.” “Defendant’s offering of medical and religious exemptions was illusory and not based in accordance with federal law,” the suit says.
19th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Italy's president criticizes violent COVID-19 pass protests

Italy’s president on Monday strongly criticized the violence that has erupted amid protests over the country's new coronavirus workplace health pass requirement, saying it appeared aimed at jeopardizing Italy’s economic recovery. President Sergio Mattarella spoke out as riot police again clashed with protesters at the port in the northern city of Trieste at times using water canons to push them back. The protesters, who have included right-wing agitators in previous episodes, oppose Italy s Green Pass requirement. Italy on Friday became the first major European economy to require all workers — from hairdressers to factory workers — to present proof of vaccination, a negative test within the past 48 hours or proof of having been cured recently of COVID-19 to enter workplaces. The pass had already been required to enter indoor venues like restaurants, museums and theaters, or for long-distance domestic travel.
18th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Oct 2021

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UK lab investigated for false negative Covid tests is not fully accredited

The private laboratory that is under investigation for potentially issuing more than 40,000 false negative Covid tests was not fully accredited to perform the work, contrary to assurances made by health officials. The UK’s independent accreditation service, Ukas, told the Guardian on Monday that neither Immensa Health Clinics Ltd nor its sister company, Dante Labs, had ever been accredited by the service, and that it had informed the Department of Health that statements suggesting otherwise were incorrect. The UK Health Security Agency announced on Friday that it was suspending operations at Immensa’s laboratory in Wolverhampton pending an investigation into concerns that at least 43,000 people with coronavirus had been wrongly told their swabs tested negative for the virus.
18th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Reluctant men: reaching South Africa’s most hesitant groups with the Covid-19 vaccine

Many men must choose between hustling to find something that will put bread on the table, or going to queue at a health facility.” Laura Lopez Gonzalez explores South Africa’s efforts to persuade men to get the jab.
18th Oct 2021 - Yahoo News UK

COVID-19: Italian police use water cannon to disperse workers protesting against mandatory COVID pass

Italian police used water cannon and tear gas to break up a demonstration in the port of Trieste, where workers protested against the government's mandatory COVID pass. Under the new rule, workers will be suspended without pay and could face a fine of up to 1,500 euros if they try to work without the COVID pass.
18th Oct 2021 - Sky News

The political fight over COVID-19 vaccine mandates is deepening

The science is clear: Vaccines are a safe and effective way to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from the coronavirus, and vaccine mandates are an effective tool in promoting widespread vaccinations. Still, the battle to inoculate the nation against the coronavirus has reached a fever pitch in recent months. President Biden has focused on getting as many Americans as possible vaccinated against the coronavirus, most notably rolling out wide-reaching vaccine mandates for government employees and for businesses with more than 100 workers.
18th Oct 2021 - NPR

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Oct 2021

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Brazil pandemic probe to recommend Bolsonaro face 11 criminal charges, senator says

A Brazilian Senate probe into the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic will recommend in its final report due next week that President Jair Bolsonaro face 11 criminal charges, the senator leading the inquiry said on Friday, though it remains highly unlikely that he will face a trial on any such charges.
17th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 Precautions Prompt Backlash on College Campuses

Life on college campuses is as close to pre-pandemic normalcy as it has been in 18 months, but as the semester progresses with few interruptions, some students are pushing back, calling the mitigation measures schools have imposed an overreach. Student complaints include objections to restrictions on their travel on and off campus, increased surveillance and what they consider erosion of civil liberties. Student-led petitions have prompted some schools to drop the use of location-tracking apps and requirements to wear sensors that monitor vital signs. At the core of their concerns is a fear that universities are constructing a bureaucracy designed to control a generation just coming of age.
16th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Boeing workers stage protest near Seattle over U.S. vaccine mandate

Waving signs like "coercion is not consent," and "stop the mandate," some 200 Boeing Co employees and others staged a protest on Friday over the planemaker's COVID-19 vaccine requirement for U.S. workers. Boeing said on Tuesday it will require its 125,000 U.S. employees to be vaccinated by Dec. 8 under an executive order issued by President Joe Biden for federal contractors.
16th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Fourteen U.S. state attorneys general press Facebook on vaccine disinformation

The attorneys general of 14 U.S. states sent a letter to Facebook Inc (FB.O) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg asking if the top disseminators of vaccine disinformation on the platform received special treatment from the company. The line of inquiry was generated after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen used internal documents to disclose that the social media platform has built a system that exempts high-profile users from some or all of its rules. In the letter, which was sent on Wednesday, the 14 Democratic attorneys general said they are "extremely concerned" with recent reports that Facebook maintained lists of members who have received special treatment, and want to know if the "Disinformation Dozen" were part of those lists.
16th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Cities, police unions clash as vaccine mandates take effect

Police departments around the U.S. that are requiring officers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are running up against pockets of resistance that some fear could leave law enforcement shorthanded and undermine public safety. Police unions and officers are pushing back by filing lawsuits to block the mandates. In Chicago, the head of the police union called on members to defy the city’s Friday deadline for reporting their COVID-19 vaccination status. Seattle’s police department sent detectives and non-patrol officers to emergency calls this week because of a shortage of patrol officers that union leaders fear will become worse because of vaccine mandates. The standoffs are playing out at a time when many police departments already are dealing with surging homicide rates and staff shortages unrelated to the vaccine.
15th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

They Resisted Getting Vaccinated. Here’s Why They Changed Their Minds.

Mandates have prompted a surge in vaccinations among those who had held out. Some report feeling relief; others, anguish and resentment. The uptick in vaccinations has contributed, experts say, to a flattening of the virus curve in New York City, where the numbers of new infections and hospitalizations have been falling — a trend across the United States as well. Yet with winter approaching, public health experts are watching closely for yet another rise in infections. New York’s vaccination rate is higher than that of the country as a whole, with two out of every three residents fully inoculated. Still, about one million adult New Yorkers have not gotten at least one vaccine dose.
15th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Biden’s Moderna Vaccine Double-Cross

Moderna has already pledged 500 million doses to Covax, the World Health Organization-backed group distributing donated vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. But progressives want the White House to use the Defense Production Act (or other means) to make Moderna share its intellectual property with the world. In a letter to Dr. Kessler on Tuesday, 12 Democrats in Congress, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, asserted that the government may have the right to confiscate Moderna’s IP because it has received “huge sums of public funding from American taxpayers.” The feds have held Moderna “‘by the hand on a daily basis,’” they said.
14th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 15th Oct 2021

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Anti-vaxxers paying $500 for fake Australian Covid vaccine passports that work to enter venues

More than a dozen accounts selling fake vaccine passports set up on Telegram One website is offering counterfeit Australian government documents for $500 Sources have told Daily Mail Australia they are aware of them working in Sydney A woman said her colleague was using one to successfully enter businesses The reports comes as Victoria and ACT prepare to reopen as they hit jab targets
14th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

U.S. pastors, advocacy groups mobilize against COVID-19 vaccine mandates

From the outside, First Harvest Ministries in Waveland, Mississippi, could almost be mistaken for a storage shed were it not for the steeple. From the modest building however, Shane Vaughn, the Pentecostal church's pastor, has helped spearhead an online movement promoting personal faith as a way around workplace COVID-19 vaccine mandates. He posts form letters for U.S. workers seeking religious exemptions that have been downloaded from his website around 40,000 times, according to a screen shot of web traffic he shared with Reuters.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Gambian women's voices on COVID-19 vaccines: "We are afraid"

Oyster harvesting in Gambia is considered women’s work. It's a grueling task — they paddle rickety boats, then get into water up to their necks to lay nets. Many of the women are the sole family breadwinners, and that burden has only intensified with the pandemic's economic hardships. Oysters bring income just two months a year — the rest of year, the nets catch crabs and small fish. The TRY Oyster Women’s Association represents more than 500 women, many of whom are reluctant to get vaccinated against COVID-19. These women fish under darkness of night without fear but are anxious about the vaccine. They say they can’t miss a day of work if it means being sidelined — even briefly— because of side effects from the jab.
14th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19 in Brazil: 'My mum was used as a guinea pig'

A Brazilian healthcare provider is accused of giving unproven drugs to Covid-19 patients and conducting experiments on elderly people without their relatives' consent. The allegations have been linked to deaths that, families say, could have been prevented. Katia Castilho's grief keeps her awake at night. In March, Norberto, her father, was admitted to a public hospital in São Paulo with Covid-19. Brazil, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, was then at the height of its second wave, with daily deaths numbering 4,000.
14th Oct 2021 - BBC News

Women left behind: gender gap emerges in Africa's vaccines

The health outreach workers who drove past Lama Mballow’s village with a megaphone handed out T-shirts emblazoned with the words: “I GOT MY COVID-19 VACCINE!” By then, the women in Sare Gibel already had heard the rumors on social media: The vaccines could make your blood stop or cause you to miscarry. Women who took it wouldn’t get pregnant again. Lama Mballow and her sister-in-law, Fatoumata Mballow, never made the 3.4-mile trip (5.5 kilometers) to town for their vaccines, but the family kept the free shirt. Its lettering is now well-worn from washing, but the women’s resolve has not softened. They share much — meal preparation duties, child care, trips to the well with plastic jugs, and their outlook on the vaccine.
14th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

How to Deal With an Anti-Vaxxer at a Holiday Dinner

So at a holiday gathering, plan a collaborative activity, like a puzzle, or Legos, or prepping dinner. Then get people telling stories—about how they made big life decisions, about lessons from loved ones they never forgot. Personal stories, personal truths—that’s how you coax out their values. You allow people to build bridges to their better selves. You’ll return to those values to find common ground and make your case. You persuade them by reminding them of the trust you’ve built and the values you share.
14th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

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Florida fines key county $3.5 million for mandating vaccines

Florida has issued its first fine to a county it says violated a new state law banning coronavirus vaccine mandates and for firing 14 workers who failed to get the shots. The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday issued the $3.5 million fine for Leon County, home to the state capital, saying the municipality violated Florida’s “vaccine passport” law, which prohibits businesses and governments from requiring people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. “These are people that, presumably, have been serving throughout this whole time and now all of a sudden they’re basically getting kicked to the curb,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in St. Pete Beach.
13th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Son whose father died of Covid-19 said he went to work wearing a scarf and gloves because he didn’t have PPE

A man whose late father was forced to wear a scarf and gloves due to a lack of to PPE at work has hit out at the Government over its treatment of Black and minority ethnic communities during the pandemic. Lobby Akinnola, 30, lost his 60-year-old father Olufemi “Femi’ Akinnola, a Mencap support worker, to Covid-19 in April last year. Lobby said his father died at his home in Leamington Spa despite making multiple calls to 111 and his GP about his worsening condition. He described his father Femi as a “nurturing, caring and wickedly smart man,” who “gave everything” and visited his clients outside of his shift pattern to ensure they were safe. But he did so wearing makeshift PPE fashioned from his scarf and gloves because he didn’t have proper equipment.
13th Oct 2021 - iNews

COVID-19: Minister apologises for 'hurt and distress' suffered by bereaved families in wake of damning report on pandemic handling

A minister has apologised for the "hurt and distress" suffered by families who have lost loved ones to coronavirus, the day after a colleague refused 11 times to say sorry for the government's handling of the pandemic. "The prime minister apologised earlier this year for all the hurt and distress all those families have suffered and I share that and of course I offer that as well," Conservative Party chair Oliver Dowden told Kay Burley.
13th Oct 2021 - Sky News

Neo-fascists exploit ‘no-vax’ rage, posing dilemma for Italy

An extreme-right party’s violent exploitation of anger over Italy’s coronavirus restrictions is forcing authorities to wrestle with the country’s fascist legacy and fueling fears there could be a replay of last week’s mobs trying to force their way to Parliament. Starting Friday, anyone entering workplaces in Italy must have received at least one vaccine dose, or recovered from COVID-19 recently or tested negative within two days, using the country’s Green Pass to prove their status. Italians already use the pass to enter restaurants, theaters, gyms and other indoor entertainment, or to take long-distance buses, trains or domestic flights. But 10,000 opponents of that government decree turned out in Rome’s vast Piazza del Popolo last Saturday in a protest that degenerated into alarming violence.
13th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

W.H.O. Will Announce New Team to Study Coronavirus Origins

The position is unpaid. The world’s scientists and internet sleuths will scrutinize every move. Completing the first assignment with the available tools, and to everyone’s satisfaction, will be nearly impossible. Despite those considerable obstacles, more than 700 people have applied for spots on a new committee charged with breathing life into the World Health Organization’s stalled inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. The committee, expected to be announced this week, represents an attempt by the embattled global health body to reset its approach to determining how the pandemic began.
12th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

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Texas Governor Bans Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates for Employees

Texas businesses and other private entities are now banned from requiring Covid-19 vaccinations for employees, Gov. Greg Abbott said in an executive order issued Monday. Mr. Abbott, a Republican, said he was adding the issue to the agenda for the current special session of the Texas Legislature and would rescind his order if lawmakers passed a similar ban into law. “The Covid-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” Mr. Abbott said in a news release Monday. Until now, elected officials in Texas have banned governmental entities from requiring vaccines and have banned places of public accommodation from requiring vaccines of their customers, but have allowed private businesses to determine whether to require vaccinations of their staff.
12th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Covid Has Killed Hundreds of Police Officers. Many Still Resist Vaccines.

Over the last year and a half, a majority of the roughly 40 police officers who patrol Baker, La., a suburb of Baton Rouge, tested positive for the coronavirus. All of them recovered and went back to work — until Lt. DeMarcus Dunn got sick. Lieutenant Dunn, a 36-year-old shift supervisor who coached youth sports and once chased down someone who fled the police station after being arrested, died from Covid-19 on Aug. 13. His wedding had been scheduled for the next day.
12th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Brazil's Bolsonaro says he is 'bored' by questions on COVID-19 deaths

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday that he did not want to be "bored" with questions about the milestone of 600,000 COVID-19 deaths that Latin America's biggest country passed a few days ago. Bolsonaro's poll numbers have fallen due to his handling of the pandemic, rising inflation and a weak economy. Brazil has the world's second highest COVID-19 death toll after the United States, and Bolsonaro has long sought to minimize the impact of the virus, touting unproven cures and railing against lockdowns.
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Schools are new battleground in war of disinformation over Covid-19 vaccines

The rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations to schoolchildren in the United Kingdom has opened up a new front in the disinformation war: anti-vax campaigners are now taking their protests to the school gates. Groups opposed to vaccination have sought to stoke the fears of parents and children by falsely claiming that the vaccines are untested and dangerous. Last week, a small group of protesters demonstrated outside St. Thomas More Catholic School in the town of Blaydon, near Newcastle in northeastern England, as children entered the school gates.
12th Oct 2021 - CNN

COVID-19: Reaction to highly critical COVID report, as Cummings brands prime minister and Labour leader 'jokes'

The prime minister's former adviser, Dominic Cummings, has branded both Boris Johnson and the Labour leader as "jokes" in the wake of the highly critical report into the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. His remarks were made following the publication of the MPs' report which said thousands of lives were lost due to delays and mistakes by both ministers and their scientific advisers as coronavirus began to spread. The report published by the health and social care committee and the science and technology committee, titled Coronavirus: Lessons learned to date, covers a variety of successes and failings across 150 pages.
12th Oct 2021 - Sky News

Demand for Holyrood inquiry on Covid-19 handling after damning MP report

The call comes after the publication of a report by Westminster MPs labelled the UK Government’s early response to the pandemic “one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced”. The report, from the cross-party joint committee of the health and social care and science and technology committees, concluded that there was an element of “groupthink” around the UK Government’s approach to herd immunity.
12th Oct 2021 - The Scotsman

Covid-19: Ethnic minority deaths were ‘unacceptably high’ during pandemic, MPs say

A damning report from MPs has slammed the “unacceptably high” death rates among people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities that occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. The study, from the cross-party Science and Technology Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee, said serious errors and delays, including on testing, care homes and the timing of the first lockdown, have cost lives during the virus outbreak. The pandemic exacerbated existing social, economic and health inequalities among ethnic minority communities, the MPs said.
12th Oct 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Minister refuses to apologise for government's pandemic handling as report says errors 'cost thousands of lives'

A minister has refused to apologise 11 times for the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, after a highly-critical report by MPs said thousands of lives were lost due to delays and mistakes by both ministers and their scientific advisers. "We followed, throughout, the scientific advice. We got the vaccine deployed extremely quickly, we protected our NHS from the surge of cases," Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay told Sky News' Kay Burley when she asked if the government would apologise.
12th Oct 2021 - Sky News

Naive and arrogant: the UK’s response to Covid-19 cost countless lives

The joint report issued today is a stark and largely damning appraisal of the UK’s Covid response. The report asks why, despite being ranked alongside the US as best prepared for a future pandemic, the UK was among those countries worst affected by Covid during 2020. While it avoids directly apportioning blame, this document will doubtless inform the long-awaited public inquiry. Dr Michael Ryan from the World Health Organisation wisely said at the very start of the pandemic: “Be fast, have no regrets […] the greatest error is not to move.” This evokes the “precautionary principle” – ie assume the worst case scenario and hope to be proven wrong. Indeed, where the UK has succeeded, this principle is in evidence. Funding for vaccine research in 2016 led directly to the rapid development of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine, while the Vaccines Task Force successfully secured the national supply, which was ably distributed by the army and public volunteers.
12th Oct 2021 - The Independent

British government waited too long to implement COVID-19 lockdown, parliamentary report concludes

The British government waited too long to impose a lockdown in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, missing a chance to contain the disease and leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths, a parliamentary report has concluded. The deadly delay resulted from ministers' failure to question the recommendations of scientific advisers, resulting in a dangerous level of "groupthink" that caused them to dismiss the more aggressive strategies adopted in East and South-East Asia, the joint report from the House of Commons science and health committees concluded on Tuesday.
12th Oct 2021 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Report says UK’s slow virus lockdown cost 1000s of lives

Britain’s failure to impose a lockdown in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic cost thousands of unnecessary deaths and ranks among the country’s worst public health blunders, lawmakers concluded Tuesday in the nation’s first comprehensive report on the pandemic. The deadly delay derived from the failure of British government ministers to question the recommendations of scientific advisers, resulting in a dangerous level of “groupthink” that caused them to dismiss the more aggressive strategies adopted in East and Southeast Asia to limit infections, the report said.
12th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

UK's 'policy approach of fatalism' early in pandemic was major error, lawmakers say

The delay to England's first coronavirus lockdown was a serious error based on groupthink that went unchallenged, lawmakers said in a report published on Tuesday, adding that failures in testing positive cases and tracing their contacts exacerbated the crisis. Parliament's health and science committees have jointly published a 150-page report on lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic after hours of testimony from more than 50 witnesses, include government policy, health and science advisers.
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters UK

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WHO advises a third COVID shot for users of Chinese vaccines

The World Health Organisation recommended that people over 60 receive an additional dose of the shots made by Chinese vaccine makers Sinopharm and Sinovac, citing evidence in studies in Latin America that they perform less well over time. Observational data on Sinopharm and Sinovac shots “clearly showed that in older age groups ... the vaccine performs less well after two doses”, said Joachim Hombach on Monday (Tuesday AEDT) secretary of the independent panel of experts who held a five-day closed-door meeting last week.
12th Oct 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

Crew from Stolt Sakura COVID ship docked off Fremantle discharged from hospital as two remain in ICU

Two more crew members from a COVID-riddled oil and chemical tanker docked off Fremantle have been transferred from hospital to hotel quarantine. The MV Stolt Sakura has 12 positive crew, five of whom remain aboard the ship. Two are in intensive care at Fiona Stanley Hospital, with one in a serious and unstable condition. The other is also serious, however, his condition is stable. Another two seafarers are being treated in the hospital’s respiratory ward and are stable.
11th Oct 2021 - PerthNow

Covid vaccine: Why these US workers won't get jabbed

Joe Biden has been urging US employers to issue ultimatums to their staff: get vaccinated, or lose your job. The president says he will soon bring in a mandate that requires all healthcare workers to have had the jab, and has urged states to do the same with teachers. In Concord, New Hampshire, it is striking to see some of those attending a large protest against vaccine mandates wearing hospital scrubs. Leah Cushman is prepared to lose her nursing job rather than get vaccinated. "My beliefs are religious. I believe that my creator endowed me with an immune system that protects me, and if I get sick, that's an act of God.
11th Oct 2021 - BBC News

Jeremy Vine ‘unnerved’ after home targeted by anti-vaccine protesters

The television and radio presenter Jeremy Vine has said he was unnerved after anti-vaccine protesters targeted his home. Vine tweeted that the group tried to serve what it called an “anti-vaxx writ” while he was out, instead giving it to his wife. The BBC and Channel 5 broadcaster said the group was angry at the BBC’s reporting on the issue of coronavirus vaccines, adding: “They were polite, for which I’m grateful, but coming to my home on a Sunday? And I’m a little unnerved by the heavy breathing too.”
11th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Romania remains vaccine sceptical despite surge in COVID-19 cases

In leafy Romanian villages surrounding the capital Bucharest, few people realise one person has died from COVID-19 every six minutes in the country during the first 10 days of October, and vaccine scepticism remains high. These villages have some of the highest COVID-19 infection numbers and lowest vaccination rates in the country, which is being ravaged by the fourth wave of the pandemic, with ambulances queuing outside hospitals filled to the brim. Daily transmission numbers are rising across Central and Eastern European states, and Romania is experiencing record case and death rates as it grapples with the European Union's second-lowest vaccination rate.
11th Oct 2021 - Reuters

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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Robin Swann issues fresh plea against 'vaccine lies' as four further deaths recorded

A further four deaths linked to Covid and a further 1,274 positive cases in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health has recorded. The department’s figures, published on Saturday, now means the death toll stands at 2,585. To date, 2,548,548 vaccines have been administered here. The statistics come as Health Minister Robin Swann warned that those spreading "misinformation and lies" about Covid vaccines are putting lives at risk. Speaking at the Ulster Unionist Party conference in Belfast, its first gathering since 2018, Mr Swann praised the health service response to the Covid pandemic but also criticised those sceptical about vaccines.
9th Oct 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

NBA stars speak out against coronavirus vaccine mandate

Brooklyn Nets say Kyrie Irving is ineligible to play in a home preseason game, and people speculate it may be over his COVID vaccination status; Outkick founder Clay Travis provides insight on ‘Fox & Friends Weekend.’
9th Oct 2021 - Yahoo News

Indonesian volunteers help to bury COVID victims

The COVID-19 situation in Indonesia has improved, but the pandemic is still claiming victims. And where there are victims, there are funerals. Here's where tireless volunteers have stepped up to provide much-needed help.
9th Oct 2021 - Deutsche Welle

The callous cretins who kill during a pandemic

Jason Hargrove should be alive. For years, the 50-year-old married father of six children drove a city bus in Detroit, Michigan to make an “honest living.” Every weekday, he went to work to provide for his family. The local union president called Hargrove a “professional” who was dedicated to his job. Driving a bus can be risky. But, I suspect, Hargrove did not think that contracting a lethal virus was among the hazards. That was until late March 2020, when COVID-19 began to infect the United States and much of the world with the swiftness of a jet stream. It prompted Hargrove to record a brief video and post it on his Facebook account. For several minutes, Hargrove vented his anger, frustration and dread about the invisible threat boarding his bus. One news story described his short, urgent soliloquy as “profanity-laced”. So, what? He had every right and reason to use blunt words to call out the dunces who put him in danger – on and off a bus.
9th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Anti-vaccine chiropractors rising force of misinformation

The flashy postcard, covered with images of syringes, beckoned people to attend Vax-Con ’21 to learn “the uncensored truth” about COVID-19 vaccines. Participants traveled from around the country to a Wisconsin Dells resort for a sold-out convention that was, in fact, a sea of misinformation and conspiracy theories about vaccines and the pandemic. The featured speaker was the anti-vaccine activist who appeared in the 2020 movie “Plandemic,” which pushed false COVID-19 stories into the mainstream. One session after another discussed bogus claims about the health dangers of mask wearing and vaccines. The convention was organized by members of a profession that has become a major purveyor of vaccine misinformation during the pandemic: chiropractors.
9th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

More organ transplant centers require patients to get Covid-19 vaccine or bumped down waitlist

A Colorado kidney transplant candidate who was bumped to inactive status for failing to get a covid-19 vaccine has become the most public example of an argument roiling the nation's more than 250 organ transplant centers. Across the country, growing numbers of transplant programs have chosen to either bar patients who refuse to take the widely available covid vaccines from receiving transplants, or give them lower priority on crowded organ waitlists. Other programs, however, say they plan no such restrictions — for now.
9th Oct 2021 - CNN

U.S. Pushes Back Against Military Vaccine Mandate Lawsuit

A Justice Department lawyer pushed back on military personnel claims that kicking them out of the service for refusing to get vaccinated will result in harm that can never be compensated by a court. The service members sued this week to vacate a Pentagon vaccine mandate for all those in the military, arguing they face imminent harm if a court order isn’t issued temporarily blocking the requirement. They say they face dishonorable discharge or even two years in jail. “There is case law out there that says separation from the military is not irreparable harm,” Justice Department lawyer Andrew Carmichael said during a phone hearing Friday. He also said the U.S. should be given time to verify the claims by the anonymous service members.
9th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Snow Leopard Dies at U.S. Zoo After Exhibiting Signs of Covid-19

A snow leopard died after displaying symptoms similar to Covid-19 at a U.S. zoo housing a confirmed case of the virus, officials announced Friday. Baya, age 2 1/2, exhibited signs of a cough followed by “inappetence and lethargy” and died Thursday, according to the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A necropsy is planned. One of the zoo’s Amur tigers tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19 this week, the zoo said. Other big cats have exhibited symptoms.
9th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg on MSN.com

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Amazon sued by warehouse workers over COVID-19 screening pay

Amazon.com Inc has been accused of violating Colorado state law by failing to pay warehouse workers for time spent undergoing COVID-19 screenings before clocking in at work. Jennifer Vincenzetti, who worked at two Amazon warehouses in Colorado Springs, filed a proposed class action in Colorado federal court on Tuesday claiming the company made workers wait in long lines to answer questions and have their temperatures checked. Seattle-based Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Divorced parents are going to court over vaccinating their kids against the coronavirus

Veronica was in her garden in New England when she got the email ping from her ex-husband in early May. “I started to have a panic attack,” says Veronica, who is not using her last name for privacy reasons. Her ex wanted a court to decide whether their 12-year-old daughter could be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The timing was terrible. “It was the day before I had her appointment scheduled,” she says. Divorced parents who disagree about coronavirus vaccination are taking their fights to court. The tensions have been fueled by inconsistent mask rules, misinformation and reports of more children hospitalized for covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
7th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

WLOX news anchor Meggan Gray loses job after refusing coronavirus vaccine

Meggan Gray signed off her Thursday morning news show with a cryptic announcement. From the desk of WLOX News in Biloxi, Miss., where she had co-anchored “Good Morning Mississippi” for 14 years, she said she “wanted to just take a little moment and let you know that I honestly do not know what the future holds for me as far as my career here.” The next day, she was off the show, and she took to Facebook to explain why: She lost her job after refusing to be vaccinated for the coronavirus as required by her station’s parent company, Gray Television. “In my opinion, a forced decision to decide between a vaccination and the livelihood of an individual is a dangerous precedent,” wrote Gray, 40, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
7th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Man sentenced to 15 months in prison for spreading COVID-19 hoax on Facebook

Christopher Charles Perez, 40, made a Facebook post in April 2020 falsely claiming that he paid a COVID patient to lick items at a San Antonio grocer. He also made a post threatening to spread the virus at another area store. Investigators and Perez's confession revealed his posts to be false. He was found guilty of criminal false information and hoaxes related to biological weapons. Perez was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release that requires him to seek mental health treatment, and fined $1,000
7th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: NI schools warned about hoax vaccine letters

The Public Health Agency (PHA) has warned post primary schools in Northern Ireland about hoax Covid vaccine consent letters. Some schools have received emails claiming to come from the NHS, which contain a "consent checklist" for vaccination. The email asks them to share the checklist with parents and pupils. But the PHA said "the false email and 'consent form' content contains a number of important inaccuracies". It should "not be forwarded to parents," the PHA said. BBC News NI has been contacted by some principals in Northern Ireland whose schools have received the hoax consent forms. They are presented as a form with information to be sent to parents ahead of pupils being given Covid vaccinations.
7th Oct 2021 - BBC News

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Canada to put federal workers who refuse COVID-19 vaccination on unpaid leave

Canada will place unvaccinated federal employees on unpaid leave and require COVID-19 shots for air, train and ship passengers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, as he unveiled one of the world's strictest vaccine mandate policies. Federal employees will be required to declare their full vaccination status through an online portal by Oct. 29. Workers and passengers age 12 and older on trains, planes and marine transport operating domestically - which are federally regulated - must show they have been inoculated by Oct. 30.
6th Oct 2021 - Reuters

New Hampshire lawmaker made the absurd claim that COVID-19 vaccines contain a 'living organism with tentacles'

A New Hampshire lawmaker circulated the groundless and absurd claim that coronavirus vaccines contain a "living organism with tentacles." Rep. Ken Weyler, a Republican appears to support the claim made in a 52-page report he emailed to other lawmakers, prompting calls for his removal as the head of a government committee. State Rep. Mary Jane Wallner, a Democrat, on Monday released a statement describing the document she said was sent to her and other lawmakers.
6th Oct 2021 - Yahoo News UK

Covid-19: 'You can't be forced into doing anything' - Dallas, McGinn & Baraclough on vaccine debate

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough and players Stuart Dallas and Niall McGinn give their opinions on whether footballers should be vaccinated against Covid-19.
6th Oct 2021 - BBC News

Anti-vaxxers tear down Covid testing site in New York

Two anti-vaxx demonstrators attacked a Covid-19 testing site on Monday, during a protest against New York state’s vaccine mandate. A video caught the men in Union Square flipping over a table next to a mobile coronavirus testing van, tearing down the tent erected next to it and tossing a chair, before police intervened to stop them permanently destroying any property. Protesters at the rally shouted “boo” and “shame on you” at the staff member working at the Covid-19 testing site as they went past, followed by chants of “no vaccine mandate”.
6th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Hearings resume on Ohio House anti-vaccine mandate bill

The right of individuals to decline the coronavirus vaccine and the right of businesses to require it as a condition of employment are at the center of debate over proposed House Republican legislation limiting employers’ ability to mandate COVID-19 vaccination. Lawmakers on Wednesday began additional hearings on the bill after a failed effort last week to fast-track a full House vote on the legislation. All major business and health care organizations oppose the legislation that would allow public and private sector employees to seek exemptions from employer-mandated coronavirus vaccines. The hearing is meant to explore “the line between personal freedom and company rights to mandate your vaccination in terms of employment,” said House Commerce and Labor Chairman Dick Stein, a Norwalk Republican.
6th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Texas man sentenced to 15 months in prison for posting Covid-19 hoax on social media

A Texas man was sentenced to more than a year in federal prison for spreading a hoax related to Covid-19 on social media, prosecutors said. Evidence showed Christopher Charles Perez, 40, posted two threatening messages on Facebook in April 2020, falsely claiming he paid someone infected with Covid-19 to "lick items at grocery stores in the San Antonio area to scare people away" from the businesses, the US Attorney's Office in the Western District of Texas said in a news release Monday.
6th Oct 2021 - CNN

Covid-19: Nurseries demanding ‘invasive’ PCR tests on toddlers ‘should be challenged in court’

Children as young as two who develop coughing or a high temperature are having to endure “invasive” PCR tests by nurseries who are going further than Government guidelines state, according to a leading public health expert. Allyson Pollock, clinical professor of public health at Newcastle University, said it is “madness” that children who develop common cold symptoms are not allowed to return to the setting until they have a negative swab test – and that the issue should be challenged in court. Department for Education guidelines state that any child who develops symptoms, however mild, should be sent home where they should follow public health advice. Children aged under 5 years old who are identified as close contacts of someone with Covid will only be advised to take a PCR test if the positive case is in their own household.
6th Oct 2021 - iNews

Misinformation On Covid, Vaccines "Resulting In People Dying", WHO Warns

The World Health Organization's Covid-19 chief warned Tuesday "We're not out of the woods" in the fight against the pandemic, even if many people thought it was nearly over. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for WHO's Covid-19, said last week 3.1 million known new cases were reported to the UN health agency, and 54,000 more deaths -- though the true numbers would be much higher. "The situation is still incredibly dynamic. And it's dynamic because we don't have control over this virus," she said during a live presentation on the WHO's social media channels. "We're not out of the woods. We're very much in the middle of this pandemic. But where in the middle... we're not quite sure yet, because frankly we're not using the tools we have right now to get us closer to the end." She added: "What I really struggle with is in some cities we see ICUs (intensive care units) and hospitals full and people dying -- yet on the streets people are acting like it's completely over.
6th Oct 2021 - NDTV

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Walz calls for vaccine and testing requirements for teachers

Gov. Tim Walz called on lawmakers Tuesday to approve a series of new moves to respond to the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine and testing requirements for teachers, school staff, and long-term care workers, and measures to relieve strained hospital capacity. The Democratic governor detailed his proposal in a letter to lawmakers that he released after meeting privately with legislative leaders. He urged lawmakers to approve the measures during a special session that was originally envisioned for last month to approve a $250 million bonus package for frontline workers who risked their lives in the pandemic. Negotiations on that plan have yet to produce an agreement and missed a Labor Day target for completion. Since then, the governor has proposed that the special session also include drought relief for farmers. But Walz has also insisted that Senate Republicans agree not to use the special session to fire Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, as some senators have threatened.
5th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Anti-vaccine villagers in Guatemala hold coronavirus team

Anti-vaccine residents of a village in Guatemala seized and held a team of nurses who were trying to administer coronavirus shots Monday, authorities said. The team was held for about seven hours in the village of Nahuila, in the province of Alta Verapaz, north of Guatemala City. The villagers said they didn’t want the shots, and later blocked a road and let the air out of the nurses' tires. A cooler and about 50 doses of vaccine were destroyed. Police and local officials later negotiated their release. Officials said they had previously encountered villages that rejected vaccination teams, but Gabriel Sandoval, the director of the provincial health department, said it was the first time they faced such physical opposition.
5th Oct 2021 - ABC News

Schools could be big battleground in coronavirus vaccine mandate fight

The resistance to coronavirus vaccine mandates isn’t quite what it’s been cracked up to be. As businesses, hospital systems and governments have moved forward with such mandates, many of the earliest test cases have gained compliance numbers well north of 90 percent. As The Post’s Philip Bump wrote last week, the numbers suggest many supposed never-vaxxers were actually in the “I’ll get it if required” camp. But that doesn’t mean vaccine mandates won’t hit roadblocks in the months ahead. And one increasing prospect seems most likely to truly test people’s true opposition to the mandates: schools requiring them. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Friday became the first governor to say that his state would mandate fully approved vaccines for schoolchildren when they are available. (The Pfizer vaccine is fully approved only for children 16 and older and authorized for emergency use for children 12 to 15.)
5th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Sen. Lindsey Graham booed by South Carolina Republicans after promoting covid vaccine

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey O. Graham was only midway through his sentence when the crowd began shouting over him. “If you haven’t had the vaccine, you ought to think about getting it because if you’re my age — ” “No!” attendees at a Republican event held Saturday responded as others booed. Graham was speaking at a country club in Summerville, S.C., about 25 miles outside Charleston. Bowing his head and holding up a hand, the 66-year-old — who got his coronavirus vaccine in December — responded to the crowd, telling them: “I didn’t tell you to get it. You ought to think about it.”
5th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Three Vatican Swiss Guards ‘resign’ after refusing to get Covid vaccine

Three Vatican Swiss Guards have reportedly resigned after refusing to get the coronavirus vaccine. The guards left on a “voluntary” basis, according to a spokesperson for the corps, following the Holy See’s enforcement of new Covid-19 measures. Another three unvaccinated members who decided to get the jab have been temporarily suspended until they are fully inoculated, Swiss newspaper Tribune de Geneva reported. A spokesperson for the Swiss Guards, the elite colourfully dressed corps that protects the pope, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
5th Oct 2021 - The Independent

New York protesters chant 'save Australia' following Covid-19 vaccine mandates for teachers

Protesters in New York were seen chanting 'Save Australia' during bizarre rallies. Many were protesting against vaccine mandates for teachers in the US city. They referenced similar mandates in Victoria and never-ending lockdowns. White House Press Secretary was questioned on 'disturbing images' in Australia
5th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

By ending Covid elimination, Jacinda Ardern once again fails to turn compassion into policy

And so with that, a confusing 20-minute monologue in the Beehive theatrette, New Zealand’s virus-beating elimination strategy is over. As the Delta variant’s “tentacles”, to borrow the prime minister’s description, creep past the Auckland border, potentially wrapping themselves around parts of the Waikato, the government will no longer aim to cut the monster off at its head with tough alert level four restrictions. Instead public health officials will move to a suppression strategy aiming “to contain and control the virus” while we vaccinate our way out of the pandemic. At its simplest, Jacinda Ardern’s message from the threatrette was vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate. For 18 months New Zealanders were living life as if there were no pandemic. We were gathering outdoors and indoors in the thousands, mask mandates were literally a foreign concept, and business and public services were operating more or less as normal.
5th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Doctors grow frustrated over COVID-19 denial, misinformation

The COVID-19 patient’s health was deteriorating quickly at a Michigan hospital, but he was having none of the doctor’s diagnosis. Despite dangerously low oxygen levels, the unvaccinated man didn’t think he was that sick and got so irate over a hospital policy forbidding his wife from being at his bedside that he threatened to walk out of the building. Dr. Matthew Trunsky didn’t hold back in his response: “You are welcome to leave, but you will be dead before you get to your car,’” he said. Such exchanges have become all-too-common for medical workers who are growing weary of COVID-19 denial and misinformation that have made it exasperating to treat unvaccinated patients during the delta-driven surge.
5th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Australia’s far right gets COVID anti-lockdown protest booster

Recent anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne have exposed the rise of the far-right movement over fears stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment, and continuing lockdown measures. The most recent — and arguably most violent — protests were sparked by the state government’s decision to suspend work on building sites for two weeks and make vaccination mandatory for construction workers. Construction workers protesting at the trade union offices in Melbourne, Australia’s second-biggest city, were joined by several other groups, many from far-right backgrounds. The protest soon turned violent, with police responding with rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray. “Very quickly we saw ‘freedom marchers’ join the protests [with] other right-wing antagonists,” far-right analyst Josh Roose, a senior research fellow at the Alfred Deakin Institute in Melbourne, told Al Jazeera.
5th Oct 2021 - AlJazeera

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Thousands of Unvaccinated New York City School Employees Placed on Unpaid Leave

Thousands of New York City school staff were barred from returning to work Monday for failing to comply with a vaccination mandate that took effect Friday afternoon. About 95% of the 150,000 employees at the city’s Department of Education have been vaccinated, including 96% of teachers and 99% of principals, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. Roughly 4,000 employees represented by the United Federation of Teachers were missing from schools as of Monday afternoon, including about 2,000 teachers, the union said. Classes resumed in person on Monday as scheduled after school officials spent the weekend identifying potential shortages and deploying substitute teachers, the union said. The vaccination rate among staffers in some critical roles remained lower compared with that of teachers. About 84% of the school safety agents who provide security on campuses were vaccinated, leaving about 1,800 of the officers on unpaid leave from schools on Monday, according to union officials.
4th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

HS: Majority of Finns don't accept refusing coronavirus vaccine on principle

A clear majority of Finns do not approve of people who refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus on principle, finds a poll by Helsingin Sanomat. Almost two-thirds (63%) of the poll respondents viewed that refusing to get vaccinated on principle was unacceptable and over one-quarter (27%) that doing so was acceptable. Understanding for the decision was limited especially among older respondents, with over 80 per cent of over 70-year-olds saying refusing on principle is unacceptable. Roughly a half of under 30-year-olds estimated that it is acceptable and 41 per cent that it is unacceptable to turn down the vaccine on principle.
4th Oct 2021 - Helsinki Times

Norway insists it hasn't 'reclassified' Covid-19 as flu

The Norwegian health authorities have clarified reports they are ‘reclassifying’ the coronavirus as just another form of flu. The Scandinavian country has relaxed its Covid rules as vaccinations ramp up and the virus recedes. But it wants to make it clear it is not treating a Covid infection the same as the common cold. ‘It is not correct that the Norwegian Institute of Public Health [NIPH] has claimed that ‘Covid-19 is no more dangerous than ordinary flu.’ This statement is probably a misinterpretation of this interview in a large Norwegian newspaper,’ a spokesperson from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) told IFLScience.
4th Oct 2021 - Metro.co.uk

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COVID-19: 'Get the jab or get another job' Sajid Javid warns care workers

Staff in care homes who don't receive both vaccine jabs ahead of a looming deadline should "get out and get another job", Health Secretary Sajid Javid has warned. His warning comes ahead of the 11 November legal deadline for care home workers to have had both COVID-19 jabs, but some unions and care homes are warning that it could lead to a shortage of staff. Mr Javid told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If you work in a care home you are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our country, and if you cannot be bothered to go and get vaccinated then get out and go and get another job."
3rd Oct 2021 - Sky News

Indonesia’s pandemic-fuelled problem: Mounds of medical waste

The overpowering stench is the first thing that I notice, filling my nose and making my eyes water. Then I see the mountains of rotting waste. This is Burangkeng, one of Indonesia’s largest landfills, in the city of Bekasi some 30km from the capital, Jakarta. On the surface it looks like any other large dumpsite, but among the regular rubbish lies a growing amount of toxic medical waste. From blood-filled drip lines to masks, medical gloves and COVID-19 tests. All hidden in plain sight.
2nd Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera

Why are Nigerians paying for fake COVID test results?

In August, the University of Lagos temporarily closed its doors after positive cases of COVID-19 were reported in hostels on the main campus in Akoka. Twenty-three-year-old Bolu and 24-year-old Veronica were among the thousands of students whose studies were interrupted. The students, who asked Al Jazeera to refer to them by pseudonyms, are both in their final year of medical school. Neither was allowed to return to the classroom until the end of August – and only then if they could furnish the school with a negative COVID-19 test result. COVID-19 tests are free in government-owned hospitals in Nigeria, but students and medical professionals Al Jazeera talked to say that demand for them far outstrips supply, and that results can be delayed for days, inhibiting public health measures to combat the spread of the disease.
2nd Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English on MSN.com

India imposes retaliatory COVID restrictions on British nationals

Fully vaccinated British nationals arriving in India will be subjected to a 10-day mandatory quarantine, in response to similar measures imposed on Indian nationals. The move comes after India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla called Britain’s decision not to recognise the Indian version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, known as Covishield, “discriminatory”. He had warned of reciprocal measures should London fail to reconsider.
2nd Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Crunch Time Is Here for Players Who Oppose Covid-19 Vaccinations

Media day for the Brooklyn Nets was billed as a potentially explosive spectacle in which leading scorer Kyrie Irving might set out his reasons for not being vaccinated against Covid-19 and signal whether he was willing to miss every Nets practice, home game and potential playoffs this season in order to maintain that position. In the end, Irving spoke from an undisclosed location on Zoom because the 29-year-old guard wasn’t allowed to enter the Barclays Center. Then he declined to address how or whether he would comply with New York City’s requirement to prove vaccination in order to be in an indoor sports arena. “I just would love to just keep that private, and handle it the right way with my team, and go forward together with a plan,” he said. “Obviously, I’m not able to be present there today. But that doesn’t mean that I’m putting any limits on the future of me being able to join the team.”
2nd Oct 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Australia's NSW state premier resigns over corruption probe amid COVID-19 battle

The premier of Australia's biggest state economy New South Wales (NSW), Gladys Berejiklian, resigned on Friday after a corruption watchdog said it was investigating whether she was involved in conduct that "constituted or involved a breach of public trust". Berejiklian's shock resignation comes as the state, which has an economy larger than Singapore, Thailand or Malaysia, battles the biggest COVID-19 outbreak in the country and is poised to begin ending months-long lockdowns as Australia sets to reopen international borders in November
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

Studies provide insights into COVID vaccine hesitancy

Two JAMA Network Open studies yesterday that looked at COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in minority groups and opinions around less-preferred vaccines provide clues for how officials might better encourage immunization. The first study, involving 13 focus groups, reaffirmed a lack of communication and trust among racially and ethnically diverse communities in the United States. The second study examined the effect of emphasizing different data around the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines: People were more interested in uptake when they were presented with the vaccines' effectiveness against death versus their effectiveness against symptomatic infection.
1st Oct 2021 - CIDRAP

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Health workers once saluted as heroes now get threats

More than a year after U.S. health care workers on the front lines against COVID-19 were saluted as heroes with nightly clapping from windows and balconies, some are being issued panic buttons in case of assault and ditching their scrubs before going out in public for fear of harassment. Across the country, doctors and nurses are dealing with hostility, threats and violence from patients angry over safety rules designed to keep the scourge from spreading. “A year ago, we’re health care heroes and everybody’s clapping for us,” said Dr. Stu Coffman, a Dallas-based emergency room physician. “And now we’re being in some areas harassed and disbelieved and ridiculed for what we’re trying to do, which is just depressing and frustrating.”
30th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

U.S. Frackers Fear Vaccine Mandate Will Worsen Worker Crunch

American frackers, already struggling to hire enough workers, are concerned that the coming U.S. vaccine mandate will worsen the situation at a time of rising oil and gas prices. Many of the truckers, rig hands and roustabouts who used to work in Texas and other oil patch regions found other jobs after crude prices crashed last year during the onset of the pandemic. Oil-field service companies, which employ most of the ground-level workers who drill and finish wells, say many remaining employees are skeptical about Covid-19 vaccination, and some have warned they would quit before getting shots. The proposed mandate doesn’t require companies to terminate employees who don’t comply, but those workers would be subject to frequent testing. Some companies are concerned that such testing would frustrate unvaccinated employees and motivate them to leave their jobs.
30th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

As deaths rise, vaccine opponents find a foothold in Bosnia

Hospitals across Bosnia are again filling with COVID-19 patients gasping for air, and the country’s pandemic death toll is rising. Yet vaccination sites are mostly empty and unused coronavirus vaccines are fast approaching their expiration dates. When the European Union launched its mass vaccination campaign, non-member Bosnia struggled along with most other Balkan nations to get supplies. By late spring, however, hundreds of thousands of doses started pouring into the country. But after an initial rush of people clamoring to get jabbed, demand for shots quickly slowed. It is now down to a trickle even though Bosnia has Europe’s highest coronavirus mortality rate at 4.5%, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
30th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Brazil hospital chain secretly gave Covid-19 patients unproven drugs, whistleblowers' lawyer claims

A Brazilian hospital chain gave unproven Covid-19 treatments to patients without their knowledge, a lawyer for a group of whistleblowing doctors alleged to the country's parliamentary inquiry on the pandemic on Tuesday. At least nine patients at hospitals operated by Prevent Senior died of Covid-19 while they were unwittingly receiving the experimental treatments, said Bruna Morato, representing 12 anonymous doctors who worked for the health care provider. The company, which also offers private health insurance, has denied all allegations. Morato alleged that Prevent Senior hospitals were used as "laboratories" for studies with so-called "Covid kit," containing drugs that have been proven ineffective for the treatment of Covid-19, such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. These studies were allegedly conducted between March and April of 2020.
30th Sep 2021 - CNN

College student who promised his mom he would get vaccinated at school dies from Covid-19

A 20-year-old North Carolina student, who was hesitant about getting the coronavirus shot, died of complications after catching Covid-19 three days after returning to college. Tyler Gilreath, a student at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, died on Tuesday after testing positive for the coronavirus, which he contracted just days after returning to college. The student, according to his mother Tamra Demello, thought his age would protect him from the virus. "I cajoled, encouraged, threatened, and nagged for him to get vaccinated. He was too busy and/or concerned about the possible long term heart issues," Ms Demello shared on social media.
30th Sep 2021 - The Independent

NBA players who refuse Covid-19 vaccine could lose millions in salary

NBA players who choose not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 could lose millions of dollars, the league confirmed on Wednesday. “Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” Mike Bass, the NBA’s executive vice president of communications, said in a statement on Wednesday morning. The NBA does not require its players to be vaccinated, although they are under stricter protocols than those who have had the Covid-19 shot. However, local laws in cities such as New York and San Francisco prohibit the unvaccinated from certain public places, including indoor sports areas. That means unvaccinated players for teams such as the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors would not be able to participate in home games.
30th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

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YouTube Will Remove Videos With Misinformation About Any Vaccine

YouTube will begin removing content questioning any approved medical vaccine, not just those for Covid-19, a departure from the video site’s historically hands-off approach. The division of Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced Wednesday that it will extend its policy against misinformation to cover all vaccines that health authorities consider effective. The ban will include any media that claims vaccines are dangerous or lead to chronic health outcomes such as autism, said Matt Halprin, YouTube’s vice president for trust and safety. A year ago, YouTube banned certain videos critical of Covid-19 vaccines. The company said it has since pulled more than 130,000 videos for violating that rule. But many videos got around the rule by making dubious claims about vaccines without mentioning Covid-19. YouTube determined its policy was too limited.
29th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

YouTube to remove misinformation videos about all vaccines

YouTube is to remove videos that spread misinformation about all vaccines, as it steps up a crackdown on harmful content posted during the coronavirus pandemic. From Wednesday, the video streaming site, which has already banned Covid jab falsehoods, will take down content that contains misinformation such as claiming any approved vaccine is dangerous, causes chronic health defects or does not reduce spread of disease. Under previous guidelines, the platform demoted – effectively hiding from view – videos that spread misinformation about non-Covid vaccines or promoted vaccine hesitancy. Last year, YouTube implemented a ban on Covid vaccine misinformation videos, which has led to 130,000 pieces of content being taken down since then. YouTube, which is owned by Google, has removed a total of 1m videos for spreading general Covid falsehoods since the pandemic broke out.
29th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

North Carolina hospitals group has sacked employees who refused vaccines

A North Carolina hospital system has terminated about 175 employees in the latest in a slew of healthcare terminations due to Covid vaccine mandates, reports the Washington Post. Novant Health, whose headquarters are about an hour and a half away from North Carolina’s capital city of Raleigh, announced on Monday that it had fired the employees for failing to comply with the organization’s mandatory vaccine policy. “We stand by our decision to make the vaccine mandatory as we have a responsibility to protect our patients, visitors and team members, regardless of where they are in our health system,” said Novant Health in a statement.
29th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Brazil hospital chain hid Covid-19 deaths, whistleblowers' lawyer tells Senate

A Brazilian hospital chain gave unproven Covid-19 treatments to patients without their knowledge, a lawyer for a group of whistleblowing doctors alleged to the country's parliamentary inquiry on the pandemic on Tuesday. At least nine patients at hospitals operated by Prevent Senior died of Covid-19 while they were unwittingly receiving the experimental treatments, said Bruna Morato, representing 12 anonymous doctors who worked for the health care provider. The company, which also offers private health insurance, has denied all allegations. Morato alleged that Prevent Senior hospitals were used as "laboratories" for studies with so-called "Covid kit," containing drugs that have been proven ineffective for the treatment of Covid-19, such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. These studies were allegedly conducted between March and April of 2020. Patients and relatives were not made aware those drugs were being administered, and Prevent Senior doctors were pressured internally to prescribe and distribute such drugs, Morato also claimed. "Very vulnerable elderly patients were told there was a good treatment, but they did not know they were being used as guinea pigs," she said.
29th Sep 2021 - CNN

United says nearly 600 staff face termination for vaccine refusal

United Airlines has said that nearly 600 US-based employees faced termination after failing to comply with the carrier’s vaccination policy. In early August, the company became the first US carrier to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all domestic employees, requiring proof of vaccination by Monday. The carrier said it would start on Tuesday the process of firing 593 employees who decided not to get vaccinated. “This was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority,” Chief Executive Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart told employees in a memo. The workers can save their jobs if they get vaccinated before their formal termination meetings, the company officials said.
29th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

Wyoming city reflects vaccine hesitancy in conservative US

As her beloved grandmother’s health declined, Lauren Pfenning’s family insisted that she get a COVID-19 vaccine before paying her a final visit. She spent over a week researching vaccines on the internet and anguished over the decision during and after 12-hour shifts at her job hauling coal in an open-pit mine near Gillette, Wyoming. Her grandmother died earlier this month before she made a decision, but Pfenning stands by her choice to not get vaccinated. Pfenning embodies the fiercely independent, deeply conservative Wyoming way of life that has defined the state’s response to the pandemic and made it the second-least vaccinated state as of Tuesday, behind only West Virginia. Only 23% of residents in her county have been vaccinated, putting it among the bottom handful of places in America that have not cracked 25% with their COVID-19 immunization rates.
28th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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How Covid Misinformation Created a Run on Ivermectin

For months, the veterinary center in West Point, Miss., had watched its supplies of the drug dwindle. Dr. Karen Emerson, the veterinarian who owns the hospital, started the year with one 500-milliliter bottle of ivermectin, which she uses to kill parasites in dogs, chickens and other patients. But as the bottle emptied and her staff tried to find more, they were able to obtain only a 50-milliliter vial. Everyone else told them: None available. So Dr. Emerson began rationing the medicine to give to snakes and other exotic animals for which she had no other deworming treatment. She told dog owners to pay for a more available replacement drug that can cost seven times as much.
28th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Ford says U.S. salaried employees required to disclose COVID-19 vaccination status

Ford Motor Co became the second Detroit automaker to ask U.S. salaried employees to reveal their vaccination status against COVID-19 in a bid to comply with wider federal guidelines. Ford said salaried employees were required to submit their vaccination status against COVID-19 by Oct. 8 but the process was voluntary for its hourly employees represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. The automaker's move comes as the Biden administration pursues sweeping measures to increase vaccination coverage in the United States, while pushing large employers to have their workers inoculated or tested weekly
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Connecticut doctor's license suspended for providing blank, signed Covid-19 exemption forms, health department says

A Connecticut doctor's state physician and surgeon license has been suspended for providing blank, signed exemption forms related to the Covid-19 vaccine, Covid testing, general vaccines and medical opposition to wearing facial masks, the state Department of Public Health said. Connecticut's Medical Examining Board suspended the license through a unanimous decision last week, the department said in a news release. Retired physician Sue Mcintosh of Durham, who is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, was giving signed forms to people without physically meeting them or examining them, the department said. She would provide the exemption forms to anyone who provided a self-addressed stamped envelope requesting one, they said.
28th Sep 2021 - CNN

COVID-19: Younger children 'more hesitant than older teenagers to get jabbed' as researchers call for better vaccine messaging

The findings by researchers at the University of Oxford, University College London (UCL) and the University of Cambridge follow the government's confirmation earlier this month it would widen the vaccination programme to all 12 to 15-year-olds. More than 27,000 students in England, aged between nine and 18, took part in the survey which showed that 50% were willing to have a coronavirus vaccination, 37% were undecided while 13% wanted to opt out. Just over a third (36%) of nine-year-olds were willing to have a jab, compared with 51% of 13-year-olds and 78% of 17-year-olds.
28th Sep 2021 - Sky News

New Austrian anti-lockdown party seeking more seats after election coup

A new Austrian political party that opposes lockdowns, compulsory mask-wearing and other coronavirus restrictions hopes to spread across the country after surprisingly securing seats in one of Austria's nine provincial parliaments on Sunday. People Freedom Fundamental Rights (MFG), a newly created party that campaigned online and with a tour of bars and restaurants, stunned many observers by securing 6.2% of the vote in Upper Austria's election on Sunday, above the 4% threshold required to enter the provincial parliament. The province of Upper Austria, home to Linz, the country's third-biggest city, and bordering Germany and the Czech Republic, is home to much of Austria's heavy industry.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Party of Covid vaccine sceptics wins seats in Austria’s regional parliament

A newly created party of Covid-19 vaccine sceptics has been elected to one of Austria’s largest regional parliaments after a shock election result in which it swept up protest votes from across the political spectrum. Pollsters had expected Menschen-Freiheit-Grundrechte [People, Freedom, Rights] to fall short of the 4 per cent threshold needed to enter the Upper Austrian state parliament. But on Sunday the party overtook the liberals, scooping up 6.4 per cent of the vote to win three seats in the Landtag.
28th Sep 2021 - Financial Times

Jordan's crown prince contracts coronavirus

Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein has contracted coronavirus and his parents King Abdullah and Queen Rania, who tested negative, will protectively self-isolate for five days, the palace said on Monday. "His Highness Prince Hussein, who had received the vaccine against the coronavirus, showed mild symptoms and is in very good health," the Royal Court said in a statement. The 27-year-old prince has in the last year increased his public appearances and is seen regularly at most of the important meetings King Abdullah that attends with local and foreign dignitaries.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Violent street clashes break out as Norway lifts Covid restrictions after 561 days

A day after Norway lifted coronavirus lockdown restrictions, the police reported several violent clashes and mass brawls as people crowded streets, bars, nightclubs and restaurants in many cities in celebration. The restrictions had been in place for 561 days. Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg had announced on Friday that all Covid-19 restrictions will end the next day at 4pm local time. “It is 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime. Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life,” she said. The announcement caught many Norwegians by surprise. But hours after the restrictions were lifted, the police reported several rowdy celebrations across some of the big cities in the Nordic nation. Celebrations by Norwegians, which started on Saturday afternoon and lasted until the early hours of Sunday, led to unrest in several places, including in the southern city of Bergen and the central city of Trondheim.
27th Sep 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19 vaccine rollout for people living with disability 'seriously deficient', royal commission report finds

ustralian states and territories should not ease COVID restrictions until all people with disability have been given the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, according to the disability royal commission. In its draft report, released on Monday, the inquiry described the vaccine rollout as "seriously deficient" and recommended the federal government use its best endeavours to "ensure people with disability and support workers are fully vaccinated before any easing of restrictions".
27th Sep 2021 - ABC News

Covid-19: Experts accuse Government of ‘abandoning’ ethnic minorities during pandemic

A number of experts and equality groups have accused the government of failing to protect high-risk ethnic minority groups during the Covid-19 pandemic while rates of vaccine hesitancy continue to grow among parts of these communities. The latest figure for hesitancy among Black or Black British adults is 21 per cent, according to the Office for National Statistics — an increase on previous figures — while among white adults it remains at four per cent. Hesitancy is also higher for adults identifying as Muslim (14 per cent) or “other” (14 per cent) for their religion, compared with adults who identify as Christian (4 per cent).
27th Sep 2021 - The Independent

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A Canadian COVID-19 study that turned out to be wrong has spread like wildfire among anti-vaxxers

An inaccurate Canadian study suggesting an extremely high rate of heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccines has been retracted due to a major mathematical error — but not before it spread like wildfire on anti-vaccination websites and social media. The preprint study, which was released by researchers at the Ottawa Heart Institute last week but has not been peer-reviewed, looked at the rate of myocarditis and pericarditis cases after Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations in Ottawa from June 1 to July 31. The study identified 32 patients with the rare side effects out of a total of 32,379 doses of mRNA vaccines given in Ottawa in the two-month period, finding an inordinately high rate of close to 1 in 1,000 — significantly higher than other international data has shown. But the researchers made a critical error that experts say caused the study to be "weaponized" by the anti-vaccination movement at a time when concern over COVID-19 vaccine side effects are top of mind for parents whose kids may soon get the shot.
25th Sep 2021 - CBC.ca

This country claims it hasn't had a single Covid-19 case. Activists say that's a lie

Turkmenistan, a former Soviet republic home to nearly 6 million people, is one of at least five countries that have not reported any coronavirus cases, according to a review of data collected by Johns Hopkins University and the World Health Organization. Three of those are isolated islands in the Pacific and the fourth is North Korea, a tightly-controlled hermit state. Turkmenistan's repressive President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who has ruled since 2006, has dismissed reports of Covid-19 in the country as "fake" and told the United Nations in an address Tuesday that the response to the pandemic shouldn't be "politicized." But independent organizations and journalists and activists outside Turkmenistan say there's evidence the country is battling a third wave which is overwhelming hospitals and killing dozens of people -- and warn the President is playing down the threat of the deadly virus in a bid to maintain his public image.
25th Sep 2021 - CNN

The architect of Sweden's no-lockdown COVID-19 response said the approach was basically correct

Sweden's chief epidemiologist stood by the country's approach to the pandemic, even after facing fierce criticism from experts and the King of Sweden. Anders Tegnell said Sweden had made some mistakes in its approach to the pandemic, but "did not fare very badly at all" overall. He made the comments in an interview with Unherd, a UK website that focuses on contrarian reporting. The country's chief epidemiologist hit the headlines as Sweden captured the attention of the world for resisting the imposition of strict lockdowns to control the spread of the virus, instead putting the onus on the residents to chose what to do.
25th Sep 2021 - Yahoo News UK

Covid-19 Panel of Scientists Investigating Origins of Virus Is Disbanded

Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs said he has disbanded a task force of scientists probing the origins of Covid-19 in favor of wider biosafety research. Dr. Sachs, chairman of a Covid-19 commission affiliated with the Lancet scientific journals, said he closed the task force because he was concerned about its links to EcoHealth Alliance. The New York-based nonprofit has been under scrutiny from some scientists, members of Congress and other officials since 2020 for using U.S. funds for studies on bat coronaviruses with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research facility in the Chinese city where the first Covid-19 outbreak occurred. EcoHealth Alliance’s president, Peter Daszak, led the task force until recusing himself from that role in June. Some other members of the task force have collaborated with Dr. Daszak or EcoHealth Alliance on projects.
25th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Dutch protest against COVID-19 vaccine pass to enter bars, restaurants

Hundreds of protesters marched against the introduction of a "corona pass" in the Netherlands on Saturday, as proof of COVID-19 vaccination became compulsory to get into bars, restaurants, theatres and other venues. Hours after the requirement to show the pass or a recent negative coronavirus test took effect, the government of caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte sacked a cabinet minister who had publicly questioned the measure.
25th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Opinion | Biden’s Covid Booster Program Is Questionable

This year, it’s President Biden who has gotten ahead of the F.D.A., announcing a plan to make Covid booster shots available to all vaccinated Americans long before the agency finished its evaluations of the nation’s three authorized vaccines. Rather than push back against this maneuver, acting F.D.A. Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock endorsed it. Two of the agency’s top vaccine regulators resigned in protest, taking with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be both urgently needed and difficult to replace in the months ahead. The kerfuffle has once again undermined an agency that is supposed to be the regulatory gold standard not just in the United States but around the world.
25th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

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COVID-19: Police in Canada hunt man who punched nurse in the face after she gave his wife vaccine

Police in Canada are searching for a man they suspect punched a nurse in the face for giving his wife a COVID jab without his consent. The man confronted the female nurse on Monday morning in the office of a pharmacy in Sherbrooke, southeast of Montreal, Quebec, where she had been administering vaccines. "Our suspect went directly into the office and began to yell at the nurse," police spokesman Martin Carrier told Reuters news agency.
23rd Sep 2021 - Sky News

Aged care staff sacked in regional Australia for refusing to get Covid-19 vaccination

Aged care facilities struggling after exodus of anti-vaxxers are forced out. All staff must be fully vaccinated in order to work with the vulnerable group. Outstretched regional homes are particularly under pressure from the new rules
23rd Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

PM Morrison says Melbourne anti-lockdown protesters should be 'ashamed' for actions at war memorial

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called the actions of protestors on Wednesday at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance “disgusting.” More than 200 people were arrested after an intense stand-off between protestors and police at the war memorial. Two police officers were also struck in the head with bottles while one was admitted to hospital with chest pains.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Independent

Melbourne anti-lockdown protests fizzle out as daily cases hit pandemic high

Melbourne's streets were largely quiet on Thursday after three days of anti-lockdown protests, with hundreds of police officers on patrol in the city to prevent another rally as COVID-19 cases in Victoria hit a daily pandemic record. Police in central Melbourne were checking people's reasons for being outside, footage on social media showed, after a violent protest on Wednesday in Australia's second-largest city resulted in more than 200 arrests
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Sep 2021

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NYC's Vaccine Mandate for Teachers Is Cleared by State Judge

New York City’s requirement for teachers to be vaccinated was cleared by a state judge following a legal challenge from labor unions. New York State Supreme Court Justice Laurence L. Love removed a temporary restraining order he had imposed to stop the vaccine mandate from being enforced while the case is being litigated. Love dismissed the unions’ argument that the mandate violates the due process rights of teachers and staff, saying state and federal courts have “consistently held” that a mandatory vaccine requirement doesn’t impede such rights and is within the government’s power.
22nd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

A North Carolina-based health care system has suspended hundreds of employees for not getting a Covid-19 vaccine

A North Carolina-based health care provider announced Tuesday it has suspended hundreds of employees for not meeting the company's Covid-19 vaccine requirements.
22nd Sep 2021 - CNN

Brazil’s President turns down Boris Johnson’s request to get Covid vaccine in awkward exchange

Boris Johnson told Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to “get the vaccine” when the pair met for a bilateral meeting in New York on Monday. The two leaders, who were joined by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, sat side-by-side as the UK Prime Minister described the AstraZeneca jab as a “great vaccine”. Mr Johnson then appeared to encourage the far-right South American leader, who is a known vaccine sceptic, to get jabbed.
22nd Sep 2021 - iNews

California woman who said she was ‘unmasked, unmuzzled, unvaccinated, unafraid’ has died of Covid-19, aged 40

A vocally anti-mask, anti-vaccine woman in California has died of Covid-19. Kristen Lowery, 40, was the mother of four school-age children in Escalon, California. In her Facebook posts, she proclaimed herself a “free thinker” who was “unmasked, unmuzzled, unvaccinated, unafraid”. In one photo, she held up a protest sign reading “Give a voice to the vaccine injured”. In September, her sister wrote that Ms Lowery had been hospitalised with the coronavirus.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Independent

Melbourne police arrest 200 at COVID-19 lockdown protests

Police in Australia's second largest city of Melbourne arrested more than 200 people after projectiles thrown by protesters injured two officers on Wednesday, the third consecutive day of demonstrations against COVID-19 curbs. Golf balls, batteries and bottles were among the items thrown at police during the protests held in defiance of stay-at home orders after a two-week closure of building sites to rein in infections, which rose again in the state of Victoria.
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

German cashier shooting linked to Covid-19 conspiracies

A man suspected of shooting dead a cashier at a German petrol station has been linked to Covid-19 conspiracy theorists and the far right. The 20-year-old student employee was shot after a row over face masks, in what is thought to be the first killing linked to German Covid rules. Researchers believe the suspect, named only as Mario N, was a far-right supporter and Covid-denier. Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the "heinous" killing. Prosecutors said the killer had initially tried to buy beer at the petrol station in the western town of Idar-Oberstein on Saturday, but left after the cashier refused to serve him as he was without a mask.
22nd Sep 2021 - BBC News

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Colleges struggling with Covid-19 in Republican states where up to 40% students unvaxxed

School leaders in Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Texas are battling lawmakers Governors are banning colleges from implementing vaccine mandates Meanwhile schools in states like Maryland and NY have high vaccine rates Colleges fear not just for student health but also for their balance sheets
21st Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

New Zealand increases fines for COVID-19 rule breakers

New Zealand on Friday announced higher fines of up to NZ$12,000 ($8,400) for individuals breaching coronavirus restrictions amid concerns that the current outbreak may spread beyond Auckland to other regions due to people breaking rules. "Our success has been really based on the fact that people by and large have been compliant," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Germans shocked by killing of cashier after COVID mask row

German politicians expressed shock on Tuesday over the killing of a 20-year old petrol station worker after an argument about a face mask and said that coronavirus deniers who are willing to use violence will not be tolerated. The killing on Saturday evening in the western town of Idar-Oberstein has hit the national headlines as it is one of the only such cases linked to COVID-19 restrictions.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Melbourne police fire pepper balls, pellets to break up COVID-19 protest

Police in Melbourne fired pepper balls and rubber pellets on Tuesday to disperse about 2,000 protesters who defied stay-at- home orders to damage property, block a busy freeway and injure three officers, leading to more than 60 arrests. It was the second day of demonstrations in the locked-down Australian city after authorities shut construction sites for two weeks, saying workers' frequent movement was spreading the coronavirus.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Anti-vaccine violence prompts Melbourne building site shutdown

Australian authorities have shut down construction sites in Melbourne for two weeks after an anti-vaccine protest in the city turned violent and COVID-19 cases in the states of Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) surged. The closure takes effect from Tuesday and follows clashes in which bottles and a crate were thrown at union officials, and police deployed special units.
21st Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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Melbourne construction sites shut down after anti-vaccine mandate protest

Australian authorities shut down construction sites in Melbourne for two weeks from Tuesday after an anti-vaccine mandate protest in the city turned violent and COVID-19 infections in the state of Victoria surged. Hundreds of people clashed with union officials with bottles and a crate thrown at them, footage on social media showed, after the Victorian government required all construction workers to have at least one vaccine dose by Friday.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Falters in Bulgaria Amid ‘Perfect Storm’ of Mistrust, Fake News

As a European Union member state, Bulgaria has access to Western-approved Covid-19 vaccines and enough doses for its population. But a mix of misinformation, low trust in authorities and conflicting messaging means less than a fifth of Bulgarians are fully vaccinated. With few takers at home and some shots soon expiring, the government recently donated 172,500 doses to the Kingdom of Bhutan, nearly 4,000 miles away. Some expired shots are being thrown away. Bulgaria, a country of some seven million people, has fully vaccinated far less of its population than the EU average of 61% and the U.S. rate of 54%, according to Our World in Data, a project based at Oxford University. It has emerged as an extreme case study of the challenge to convince vaccine holdouts to get the shot.
20th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Perspective | Doubters' push for religious exemptions from coronavirus vaccination may not work

Compulsory coronavirus vaccination has been a specter hovering over vaccine skeptics throughout the pandemic, but the issue is coming to a head, after President Biden announced federal mandates affecting up to 100 million Americans and such enormous institutions as the Los Angeles Unified School District mandated vaccinations, too. Opponents of vaccination mandates are ready to fight and are aiming to use religious, philosophical and personal-belief exemptions to abstain from required vaccinations. The history behind the process for gaining such an exemption suggests that those seeking religious exemptions to the coronavirus vaccination mandates will not be widely successful. In recent years, many states, including California, Connecticut, New York, Maine and Vermont, rolled back personal-belief exemptions from mandatory vaccination, making it nearly impossible to claim that individual convictions prevent you from being vaccinated.
20th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Unvaccinated Jair Bolsonaro to test UN General Assembly coronavirus 'honor system'

The United Nations is demanding world leaders arriving in New York for its General Assembly adhere to an “honor system” to attest they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. But that mandate will be tested in the general debate’s very first moments. Jair Bolsonaro, who contracted the virus last year and as recently as last week said publicly that he does not need to be vaccinated because he has naturally acquired antibodies, is scheduled to kick off the 76th U.N. General Assembly’s general debate on Tuesday.
20th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Covid-19 Australia: Melbourne construction workers protest over mandatory jabs

Melbourne construction workers protested outside CFMEU office on Monday Workers wearing hi-vis hurled verbal abuse at union officials in front of building One demonstrator hurled a plastic bread crate as tensions continued to escalate
20th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: 'Vaccine misinformation a dilemma for young people'

"Misinformation" is creating a "real dilemma" for young people considering whether they should take the Covid-19 vaccine, Northern Ireland's mental health champion has said. Prof Siobhán O'Neill said it had left young people questioning "whether the vaccine is safe". There should not be that level of "uncertainty", she added. She said trust needed to be put in the "experts and the scientists who are making the decisions". "We have to look to the scientific consensus and the public health leaders and the doctors and the main organisations, " she said.
20th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 20th Sep 2021

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They Shunned Covid Vaccines but Embraced Antibody Treatment

Lanson Jones did not think that the coronavirus would come for him. An avid tennis player in Houston who had not caught so much as a cold during the pandemic, he had refused a vaccine because he worried that it would spoil his streak of good health. But contracting Covid shattered his faith in his body’s defenses — so much so that Mr. Jones, nose clogged and appetite vanished, began hunting for anything to spare himself a nightmarish illness. The answer turned out to be monoclonal antibodies, a year-old, laboratory-created drug no less experimental than the vaccine. In a glass-walled enclosure at Houston Methodist Hospital this month, Mr. Jones, 65, became one of more than a million patients, including Donald J. Trump and Joe Rogan, to receive an antibody infusion as the virus has battered the United States.
19th Sep 2021 - New York Times

A doctor called coronavirus vaccines 'fake.' Now he sits on an Idaho regional health board.

In Idaho, the covid-19 patients filling hospital wards and prompting statewide rationing of care are almost all unvaccinated. Yet Idaho’s lieutenant governor recently suggested, falsely, that vaccinated people are more likely to die, and some officials in the heavily conservative state — where many preach “freedom” from government — consider even recommending the shots to be an overreach. As the delta variant fuels a new wave of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths nationwide, some see Idaho as just the latest example of a pandemic response hobbled by politics and a year of intense backlash against public health restrictions.
18th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Robin Swann facing legal action over bid to give Covid-19 vaccine to Northern Ireland children

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister is facing a High Court battle over plans to vaccinate children between the ages of 12 and 15. A pre-action letter has been sent to the Department of Health asking Robin Swann to reconsider his decision to extend Northern Ireland’s Covid vaccination programme to the age cohort. The legal action raises concerns about the decision coming after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) refused to approve the universal vaccination of healthy children. The letter argues that, if the programme is rolled out to children in Northern Ireland, they should only receive the vaccination with parental consent.
18th Sep 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Australian police clash with anti-lockdown protesters, arrest nearly 270

Australia's police arrested 235 people in Melbourne and 32 in Sydney on Saturday at unsanctioned anti-lockdown rallies and several police officers were injured in clashes with protesters. Victoria police said six officers required hospitalisation. Several officers were knocked to the ground and trampled, the police said and television footage showed. About 700 people managed to gather in parts of Melbourne, as 2,000 officers made the city centre virtually a no-go zone, setting up checkpoints and barricades. Public transport and ride shares into the city were suspended.
18th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Nicki Minaj's Covid-19 vaccine 'swollen testicles' claim is false, says Trinidad health minister

Trinidad and Tobago Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh criticized as "false" the claim by American rapper Nicki Minaj that a person on the Caribbean island suffered swollen testicles after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. Minaj sparked an international furor when she alleged on Twitter that her cousin in Trinidad refuses to get a vaccine because his friend became impotent after being vaccinated. "His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding," Minaj, who has 22.6 million Twitter followers, said. The comments triggered an international backlash, with senior US and British coronavirus officials condemning the claims.
17th Sep 2021 - CNN

UK scientist warns over relaxation of Covid travel rules

One of the scientists behind the UK’s testing network for quickly identifying Covid variants of concern has urged the government to continue surveillance of coronavirus cases brought in to the UK from abroad. Alan McNally, a professor in microbial evolutionary genomics who worked on setting up the lighthouse laboratories, made the comments amid reports ministers are preparing to overhaul Covid travel restrictions, including a relaxing of test rules. It has been reported that double-jabbed travellers will no longer need to take a more costly PCR test after returning from green countries, but take a cheaper lateral flow test instead, while pre-departure tests, taken 72 hours before a passenger flies home are also likely to be scrapped.
17th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Facebook targets German anti-lockdown movement

Facebook has cracked down on the anti-Covid restriction movement in Germany, removing dozens of accounts that contribute to “co-ordinated social harm”. Almost 150 accounts and pages on Facebook and Instagram — linked to anti-lockdown demonstrators in the European nation — have been taken off the platform, under a new policy focused on groups that spread misinformation or incite violent. The Querdenken movement includes vaccine and mask opponents, conspiracy theorists and some far-right extremists, and has long protested German virus measures. One post from such an account included a debunked claim that the Covid-19 jab was responsible for creating virus variants, while another wished death upon police officers who broke up violent anti-lockdown protests in Berlin.
17th Sep 2021 - News.com.au

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Brazil Stops Vaccinating Some Teens to Probe a Reported Death

Brazil ordered states halt immunizations of teenagers who aren’t part of at-risk groups for Covid-19 as it probes the details around the death of a young adult who received a Pfizer Inc. shot. The death was reported in Sao Paulo and is under investigation, Health Ministry officials said at a press conference on Thursday. They gave no details on how long after the shot the death was reported, nor on the cause of death.
16th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Facebook Removes Accounts Tied to German Anti-Lockdown Group

Facebook Inc. has removed a network of user accounts from its core site and Instagram tied to Querdenken, a movement in Germany that opposes Covid-19 measures like wearing masks and imposed lockdowns. “This network consistently violated our Community Standards against harmful health misinformation, incitement of violence, bullying, harassment and hate speech,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. The group helped organize a rally last year in Berlin to oppose pandemic-related laws, which it says infringe on German constitutional freedoms. Facebook, which said the movement is linked to violence and other social harms, removed fewer than 150 groups, pages or accounts linked to Querdenken, and isn’t banning all of the group’s content.
16th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Facebook shuts down network linked to German anti-COVID group, launches rules on 'social harms'

Facebook has removed a network of accounts linked to an anti-COVID restrictions movement in Germany as it announced a new crackdown on coordinated campaigns of real users that cause harm on and off its platforms. Reuters exclusively reported on Thursday that Facebook's security teams were expanding the tactics used to take down influence operations using fake accounts to do more wholesale shutdowns of coordinated groups of real-user accounts causing harm, through mass reporting or brigading.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

‘If I get fired, so be it’: the Louisiana nurses refusing to get the Covid vaccine

Louisiana’s largest hospital systems are requiring their employees to be fully vaccinated, but a minority of nursing staff say they are still considering leaving their jobs instead of getting the jab, citing concerns over personal liberty, lack of long-term studies and discredited conspiracy theories. The fourth Covid-19 wave has hit Louisiana hard, with the Delta variant causing a surge in new cases that outpaced any of the waves that came before it. “The speed with which Delta just took over the landscape, I don’t think we quite anticipated that,” said Dr Jennifer Avegno, director of the New Orleans health department and an ER doctor.
16th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

French hospital worker on hunger strike over vaccine mandate

A French hospital worker has said he is on a hunger strike to protest against a government rule that healthcare workers will be suspended if they are not vaccinated against COVID-19. Thierry Paysant, a fire safety officer with the public hospital system in Nice, southern France, has pitched a tent in front of the city’s Abbey of Saint Pons, and erected a placard reading “Hunger Strike” in large red letters.
16th Sep 2021 - Al Jazeera

Nicki Minaj Re-Tweets Tucker Carlson’s Video About Covid-19 Vaccine Claims

What do you do after tweeting a claim about testicles and getting some blowback? How about sharing a video of FOX News host Tucker Carlson? As I covered for Forbes, on September 13, singer and songwriter Nicki Minaj tweeted that her “cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen.” Here’s the tweet along with a hold-on-a-sec response from Vinny Arora, MD, MAPP, the Dean for Medical Education at the University of Chicago
16th Sep 2021 - Forbes

As COVID-19 vaccine mandates rise, religious exemptions grow

An estimated 2,600 Los Angeles Police Department employees are citing religious objections to try to get out of the required COVID-19 vaccination. In Washington state, thousands of state workers are seeking similar exemptions. And in Arkansas, a hospital has been swamped with so many such requests from employees that it is apparently calling their bluff. Religious objections, once used sparingly around the country to get exempted from various required vaccines, are becoming a much more widely used loophole against the COVID-19 shot.
16th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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Raytheon requires U.S. workers get COVID-19 vaccination

Raytheon, the maker of Tomahawk missiles, will require all U.S. employees to have a COVID-19 vaccination, the company said in a Wednesday statement. The employees need to get shots by mid-December in order to meet a Jan. 1 deadline for immunization, a source familiar with policy said.
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Fed regional banks mandate COVID-19 shots for employees

The U.S. Federal Reserve in Washington and the regional Fed banks will now require all of their nearly 23,000 employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Philadelphia Fed informed its staff of the new mandate in a memo on Wednesday, making it the last of the 12 regional Fed banks to make vaccination a requirement of employment. The Fed Board in Washington will also require its employees to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 30, a spokesperson for the U.S. central bank told Reuters on Wednesday.
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Fauci dismisses Nicki Minaj’s bizarre claim about Covid-19 vaccine: ‘A resounding no’

None of the Covid-19 vaccines in use in the United States cause reproductive issues, Dr Anthony Fauci has said in response to Nicki Minaj’s recent tweet. The rapper caused controversy after she tweeted the baseless claim that her cousin in Trinidad was not getting vaccinated because his friend took the shot and then allegedly became impotent. When CNN presenter Jake Tapper asked Dr Fauci whether there is any evidence that Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines pose the health risk Minaj outlined in her controversial tweet, the US’s top epidemiologist said the answer is “a resounding no”.
15th Sep 2021 - MSN.com

Conservative radio host who swore off Covid-19 vaccine dies after contracting virus, co-host says

Conservative radio host Pastor Robert "Bob" Enyart, who swore off Covid-19 vaccines, has died from complications due to the virus, his co-host announced on social media. "It comes with an extremely heavy heart that my close friend and co-host of Real Science Radio has lost his battle with Covid," said co-host Fred Williams on Facebook. In October, Enyart won a lawsuit against the state of Colorado over its Covid-19 restrictions, CNN has reported. In a phone call with CNN following the ruling, Enyart said, "We have a right, even an obligation to worship him (God), and that's without government interference."
15th Sep 2021 - CNN

COVID-19: Professor Chris Whitty says Nicki Minaj 'should be ashamed' over vaccine tweet - as rapper hits back after 'diss'

Professor Chris Whitty says rapper Nicki Minaj "should be ashamed" after she tweeted an unsubstantiated story about a man who had a COVID vaccine and then allegedly became impotent. Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, England's chief medical officer said: "There are a number of myths that fly around, some of which are just clearly ridiculous and some of which are clearly designed just to scare. "That happens to be one of them."
15th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Will coronavirus vaccine mandates make workers leave their jobs?

A controversial new mandate in the US will require millions of workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The move by the world's largest economy raises questions about how much a tight labor market can sustain — and about who else might follow suit. Many countries already require certain workers, like federal or health care employees, to be vaccinated. Starting today, millions of French frontline workers face termination should they remain unvaccinated. Germany's government, on the other hand, has been adamant that it won't require vaccinations, a shocking idea for many in a country where even the right for employers to know if their employees are vaccinated has received major pushback.
15th Sep 2021 - DW (English)

Chinese defector Wei Jingsheng claims US was warned about Covid-19 months before pandemic declared

A Chinese defector claims he tried to warn top US officials about a deadly new virus in Wuhan five months before the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic. Wei Jingsheng revealed in a shocking new documentary that he took his concerns about the unfolding situation to senior figures within the Trump administration but was subsequently ignored. The long-time democracy campaigner, who has served time in prison for 'counter-revolutionary activities', said he made the approach in November 2019, as whispers of a 'new SARS virus' began circulating on WeChat and other Chinese social media platforms.
15th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

NBA players' union 'rejects COVID-19 vaccine mandate' for 2021-22 season

While NBA coaches, officials, and many league staffers are facing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, players will not be required to get the injection in order to compete next season unless a compromise can be reached in the coming weeks. With the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) continuing to negotiate COVID-19 protocols, ESPN reported that there will be no vaccine mandate for players — a position the union considers a non-starter. A source familiar with the discussions told DailyMail.com that the NBPA has been very reluctant to agree to any mandate, but stopped short of conceding that the issue settled.
15th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19: 'They're not strangers' - Javid defends maskless cabinet meeting after government advised their use

In the UK, the health secretary has defended members of the cabinet not wearing face coverings during a meeting - saying they are "not strangers". A photo of yesterday's crowded cabinet meeting, with nearly 40 ministers and staff, showed none of them were wearing masks just hours before Boris Johnson laying out his winter plan, which included guidance that people should wear coverings in crowded spaces. But Health Secretary Sajid Javid claimed ministers' actions were "perfectly consistent" with that messaging. An open window could be seen in the room
15th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Big Truckers Say Vaccine Mandate Could Push Drivers Away

Big trucking companies say a federal vaccination and testing mandate aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus could push more workers away from their operations and deepen upheaval in U.S. supply chains. Executives say the proposed testing requirements for workers who choose not to get vaccinated could also pose challenges for trucking companies whose fleets haul goods long distances, often along irregular routes that send drivers from one corner of the country to another over several days or weeks.
14th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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Eight New Orleans Saints personnel test positive for COVID-19: report

Eight members of the New Orleans Saints including six coaching staff, a team nutritionist and a player have tested positive for COVID-19, two sources told
14th Sep 2021 - The Hill on MSN.com

How Science in India Became a 'Political Weapon' Under Modi

The forecast was mathematically based, government-approved and deeply, tragically wrong. In September 2020, eight months before a deadly Covid-19 second wave struck India, government-appointed scientists downplayed the possibility of a new outbreak. Previous infections and early lockdown efforts had tamed the spread, the scientists wrote in a study that was widely covered by the Indian news media after it was released last year. The results dovetailed neatly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two main goals: restart India’s stricken economy and kick off campaigning for his party in state elections that coming spring.
14th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Zimbabwe Bars Unvaccinated Civil Servants From Reporting to Work

Zimbabwe’s cabinet has barred unvaccinated civil servants from reporting to work with immediate effect. Only workers who have taken the coronavirus vaccine will be allowed to report for duty, Minister of Information Monica Mutsvangwa told reporters at a post-cabinet briefing in the capital, Harare on Tuesday. The country is slowly opening up economic and social activity after a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Only vaccinated people are allowed to attend church gatherings and sit-in at restaurants.
14th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

‘The virus is painfully real’: vaccine hesitant people are dying – and their loved ones want the world to listen

Matt Wynter, a 42-year-old music agent from Leek, Staffordshire, was working out in his local gym in mid-August when he saw, to his great surprise, that his best friend, Marcus Birks, was on the television. He jumped off the elliptical trainer and listened carefully. The first thing he noticed was that Birks, who was also from Leek and a performer with the dance group Cappella, looked terrible. He was gasping for breath and his face was pale. “Marcus would never usually have gone on TV without having done his hair and had a shave,” Wynter says.
14th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Conservative Colorado radio host and pastor dies from COVID-19 after railing against vaccines

The anti-vax radio host died on Monday after contracting COVID on September 1 He had called for his listeners to boycott the vaccines made by 'child killers' and was notorious for his ruthless stance against LGBT relations and abortions. In October 2020, Enyart filed a lawsuit against the state that reduced the number of people allowed at religious gatherings. Enyart said people have a 'God-given right to worship him, our creator, without the government interfering.' It comes days after Howard Stern mocked a slew of anti-vax radio hosts who died from Covid and described their deaths as 'really funny'
14th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Nicki Minaj Met Gala vaccine tweets highlight struggle against covid-19 misinformation

Nicki Minaj sparked a social media storm on Monday night after she tweeted about her cousin’s hesitancy to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, setting off a slew of critiques that she was spreading coronavirus misinformation. Minaj tweeted that her cousin in Trinidad, where the singer and rapper is from, “won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen.” Medical experts have said that claims about infertility linked to vaccinations are unsubstantiated.
14th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Boris Johnson risks backlash over face masks after packed Cabinet meeting

Boris Johnson hosted a meeting of his Cabinet in 10 Downing Street this morning. The packed Cabinet meeting saw the PM's ministers ditch their face masks. The PM later told nation to 'consider wearing a face covering in crowded places'
14th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Canada’s Trudeau pledges to crack down on hospital protests

Justin Trudeau has promised that if re-elected his party would crack down on protests outside healthcare facilities, as demonstrations denouncing coronavirus-related public health measures have taken place outside hospitals in recent weeks. Trudeau, whose Liberal Party is currently in a tight federal election race with the Conservatives, said on Monday that the Liberals would make it an offence to obstruct access to any building providing health services, such as hospitals, testing centres, pharmacies and abortion clinics.
13th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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Family: Man turned away by dozens of COVID-filled hospitals

As hundreds of mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 patients filled Alabama intensive care units, hospital staff in north Alabama contacted 43 hospitals in three states to find a specialty cardiac ICU bed for Ray Martin DeMonia, his family wrote in his obituary. The Cullman man was finally transferred to Meridian, Mississippi, about 170 miles (274 kilometers) away. That is where the 73-year-old antiques dealer died Sept. 1 because of the cardiac event he suffered. Now, his family is making a plea. “In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies,” his obituary read.
14th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

DeSantis threatens cities with fines for vaccine mandates

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday threatened local governments with $5,000 fines per violation for requiring their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that has overrun hospitals and killed tens of thousands across the state. Local municipalities, such as Orange County and the city of Gainesville, potentially face millions of dollars in cumulative fines for implementing a requirement that their employees get a COVID-19 vaccine, the Republican governor said. “We are not going to let people be fired because of a vaccine mandate,” DeSantis said at a news conference outside Gainesville. “You don’t just cast aside people who have been serving faithfully over this issue, over what is basically a personal choice on their individual health.”
14th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

UK PM Johnson to set out COVID-19 booster strategy under winter plan

Britain will roll out COVID-19 booster shots for the most vulnerable and elderly as part of his coronavirus strategy for the winter months. Johnson's government has already indicated it will scrap plans for vaccine passports to be required to get into nightclubs, end some of its emergency COVID powers and use lockdowns only as a last resort.
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters UK

Walgreens COVID-19 test registration system left patient data unprotected - Recode

Drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance's COVID-19 test registration system exposed data of potentially millions of people, including their phone numbers and email addresses, Recode reported on Monday.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Yoga, organic food and misinformation: Wellness influencers are taking the anti-vaccine movement mainstream

For many, the term “misinformation” conjures up images of conspiracy-theory chat forums and Russian bots. But an alarming amount of it is reaching audiences in the health and wellness realms. Many social media influencers who focus on natural remedies, holistic health and new age spirituality have been sharing posts and videos questioning the wisdom of vaccinating against the coronavirus. Public health experts say widespread vaccine hesitancy increases the threat of the virus mutating and helps keep the pandemic raging.
13th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Republican backlash against Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate grows

The political sparring match over Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate continued on Sunday with one Republican governor blasting the measure as “counterproductive” and the White House insisting it was necessary to end the coronavirus pandemic.
13th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

NY hospital to pause baby deliveries after resignations over Covid-19 vaccine mandate

A hospital in upstate New York is "pausing" deliveries of babies because of the number of maternity unit employee resignations over the state's Covid-19 vaccination requirements, health officials say. Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, about 60 miles northeast of Syracuse, will stop deliveries after September 24, said Gerald Cayer, chief executive of the Lewis County Health System. "We are unable to safely staff the service after September 24. The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital. It is my hope that the Department of Health will work with us in support of pausing the service rather than closing the maternity department," Cayer said at a news conference Friday.
13th Sep 2021 - CNN

Four-year-old girl dies of Covid after anti-vaxxer mom contracts virus

A four-year-old girl has become the youngest Covid-19 victim in Texas’s Galveston County since the onset of the pandemic, after several members of her family were infected. Kali Cook died in her sleep at home on 7 September, within hours of showing symptoms of the coronavirus. She was unvaccinated, with children below the age of 12 not yet eligible for inoculation.
13th Sep 2021 - The Independent

Ivermectin frenzy: the advocates, anti-vaxxers and telehealth companies driving demand

Health authorities have warned there’s no proof for Ivermectin’s value in treating Covid-19. Still groups are touting the drug as the way out of the pandemic
13th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Freedom Day was 'gamble' and has contributed to 40,000 hospital admissions, BMA says

More than 130,000 people in the UK have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. The British Medical Association says the loosening of restrictions, notably England's so-called Freedom Day, was a "gamble" - contributing to more than 40,000 hospital admissions.
13th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Nicaragua gov’t squeezes doctors, talk of ‘health terrorism’

Other countries have lured doctors out of retirement, pushed medical students to the front lines and buoyed medical personnel exhausted by COVID-19 cases, but in Nicaragua doctors have been harassed, threatened and sometimes forced into exile for questioning official handling of the pandemic. Vice President Rosario Murillo, who is also the first lady, has accused doctors of “health terrorism” and of spreading “false outlooks and news” by reporting that COVID-19 has been far more widespread than officials acknowledge.
13th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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Opinion | Biden's Vaccine Mandate, Enforced By OSHA, is a Big Mistake

There’s one person that President Biden desperately needs to consult about his new federal vaccine mandate: President-elect Biden. In December 2020, as the prospect of imminent mass vaccination against Covid-19 was finally becoming a reality, Mr. Biden leveled with the American people: He said he would not force anyone to get the jab. “No, I don’t think it should be mandatory,” he told reporters. “I wouldn’t demand it be mandatory.” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, recently reiterated Mr. Biden’s position. “That’s not the role of the federal government,” she declared on July 23, referring to the idea of a government mandate. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the same thing a week later: “There will be no nationwide mandate.”
11th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

COVID-19: Anti-vaccine posters found with razor blades attached to cut people who take them down, union says

Transport for London (TFL) workers have been warned about taking down unofficial COVID posters, after a union confirmed anti-vax signs have been found with razor blades attached to the back of them. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said the posters had been put up on rail and tube stations in London. The union has called for action to be taken against those responsible for the posters, which bear the message "Masks Don't Work" and have a razor blade attached on the rear - potentially injuring anyone who tries to take it down.
11th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Protesters form human chain against COVID-19 vaccines on Westminster Bridge, London

The footage, which was filmed today (September 11), shows protesters forming a human chain on Westminster Bridge, London. Demonstrators hold yellow banners reading messages against COVID-19 vaccines,
11th Sep 2021 - Yahoo News UK

White House says Biden, Xi discussed origins of COVID probe

U.S. President Joe Biden discussed the investigation into the origins of COVID-19 during a call on Thursday with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, according to the White House. "They did discuss a range of trans-national issues including COVID-19, and understanding its origins is of course a primary concern for this administration," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday. "Yes, it was a topic raised, but I'm not going to go into further detail."
11th Sep 2021 - Reuters

'Loved ones died confused and alone' - calls for urgent public inquiry into pandemic handling in Wales

Our loved ones are being let down, families across Wales say, as a campaign has been launched for an inquiry into the Covid-19 handling. A UK-wide campaign has been launched as 'families deserve answers' following hundreds of thousands of Coovid-related deaths across the country. As a result, a Wales-specific group was launched - Covid-19 Bereaved Families Cymru group to provide support for Welsh families and not to be a 'footnote' in UK findings. The groups is calling for an independent public inquiry which will 'not save lives' but lessons can be learnt.
11th Sep 2021 - North Wales Chronicle

Refugees fear COVID risk in Australian immigration detention

Campaigners in Australia are urging the government to release asylum seekers held in immigration detention after at least one COVID-19 case was officially confirmed at a facility in Melbourne. Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, is currently in its sixth lockdown amid a coronavirus outbreak driven by the highly infectious Delta variant.
11th Sep 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Is a Big Mistake

There’s one person that President Biden desperately needs to consult about his new federal vaccine mandate: President-elect Biden. In December 2020, as the prospect of imminent mass vaccination against Covid-19 was finally becoming a reality, Mr. Biden leveled with the American people: He said he would not force anyone to get the jab. “No, I don’t think it should be mandatory,” he told reporters. “I wouldn’t demand it be mandatory.”
10th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Ex-French health minister charged over COVID handling

France’s former health minister Agnes Buzyn has been charged over her handling of the COVID-19 crisis after investigators at a special court in Paris concluded there were grounds to prosecute her. Buzyn has been charged with “endangering the lives of others”, the prosecutor of the Republic’s Court of Justice said on Friday, but not for a second possible offence of “failure to stop a disaster”.
10th Sep 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Italian police warn of armed attacks by anti-vaxxers

Italian police warned on Thursday that anti-vaccine campaigners had called for armed attacks during planned anti-government protests this weekend, and that eight people were being investigated for incitement to crime. A police statement said searches had been conducted in six Italian provinces, including Milan, Rome and Venice, and that the eight placed under investigation were part of a group calling itself "the warriors" on the Telegram messaging app.
9th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Covid-19 Policies Ignite Battle at UT Austin

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin drew up a series of projections for how Covid-19 could move through the 50,000-member student body this semester. Two scenarios, which assumed aggressive protections such as twice-weekly surveillance testing, would limit spread to a few hundred students. Plugging in a set of less restrictive variables suggested the virus would infect about a quarter of the student body by the end of the term. Following a prohibition by Republican state policy makers, UT Austin doesn’t require surveillance testing, masking or vaccines. Now faculty worry the university is headed toward scenario No. 3.
9th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Schiff presses Facebook, Amazon on efforts to curb COVID-19 vaccine misinformation

U.S. Representative Adam Schiff on Thursday called on Facebook and Amazon to provide a more thorough explanation of their efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. "Despite some concrete and positive steps previously taken, these companies owe both the public and the Congress additional answers about the exponential and dangerous proliferation of misinformation, and what the platforms are doing to address the viral spread of conspiratorial falsehoods and myths, over good science," Schiff, chairman of the House intelligence committee, said in a statement after sending letters to the companies.
9th Sep 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

PM slams 'heroes of hindsight' over Pfizer vaccine revelations

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stood by Australia's vaccine strategy, following revelations Health Minister Greg Hunt did not take up an invitation to meet with Pfizer executives last year. Freedom of Information documents obtained by Labor MP Ged Kearney appeared to show emails from Pfizer representatives requesting a meeting with the government about vaccine supply in June 2020. "I think there are a lot of heroes of hindsight at the moment out there," Mr Morrison said today.
9th Sep 2021 - 9News

Detroit hospital employees file federal lawsuit to stop COVID-19 vaccine mandate

More than 50 employees at a Detroit hospital system have sued in federal court, hoping to stop a Sept. 10 mandate that requires all workers, volunteers and contractors to get coronavirus vaccines or lose their jobs. The lawsuit, filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court in Detroit, alleges that Henry Ford Health System's COVID-19 vaccine mandate is unconstitutional and infringes on workers' bodily autonomy and right to reject medical treatment.
9th Sep 2021 - USA TODAY

COVID-19: Anti-vaccine posters found with razor blades attached to back of them to cut people as they are taken down, union says

Transport for London (TFL) workers have been warned about taking down unofficial COVID posters, after a union confirmed anti-vax signs have been found with razor blades attached to the back of them. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said the posters had been put up on rail and tube stations in London. The union has called for action to be taken against those responsible for the posters, which bear the message "Masks Don't Work" and have a razor blade attached on the rear - potentially injuring anyone who tries to take it down.
9th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Jim Goodwin blasts Covid-19 vaccine passport calls and urges clubs to fight against them

St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin has urged Scottish football clubs to stand up and fight back against vaccine passports being introduced. The government are set to debate and vote on the introduction of vaccine passports in the coming hours but Goodwin feels it would be unacceptable.
9th Sep 2021 - Daily Record

Three Vermont state troopers accused of creating fake Covid-19 vaccination cards

Three Vermont state troopers have resigned after being accused of creating fake Covid-19 vaccination cards, state police announced on Tuesday. In a statement released on Tuesday, Vermont police said the three former troopers are suspected of having “varying roles” in creating false Covid-19 vaccine cards. “Based on an initial internal review, we do not believe there is anything more the state police could have done to prevent this occurring. As soon as other troopers became aware of this situation, they raised the allegations internally,” said the Vermont public safety commissioner, Michael Schirling.
8th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

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British man with Covid-19 faces eight years in a Polish jail over 'faked test certificate'

The 39-year-old man was detained by border guards trying to fly to Nottingham Officials discovered he had faked the test result at passport control in Poland He had altered his positive test result in a desperate attempt to return home He was fined £100 and faces between six months and eight years in a Polish jail
8th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Here's how the Covid-19 conversation is changing in the media

It's happening from Fox to CNN, from The New York Times to the Los Angeles Times. And it's happening on two tracks simultaneously. Vaccinated America is learning how to live with mostly mild flare-ups of the Covid-19 virus. Unvaccinated America is grappling with the death and suffering that comes from rejecting the protection of the vaccines. And in places where the two Americas intersect -- schools, shopping malls, cookouts, county fairs -- it feels like two languages are being spoken without a trusted translator.
8th Sep 2021 - CNN

Covid-19: Not getting vaccine jab was mum's biggest regret

A woman who became critically ill with Covid-19 said not getting the vaccine after listening to anti-vaxxers is her "biggest regret". Emily Burrows, 47, was admitted to hospital with dangerously low oxygen levels and tested positive on 23 July. She pleaded with staff to give her the jab but was it was too late and instead she was put on a ventilator. The mum-of-six, from the Forest of Dean, spent two weeks in an induced coma. She is still in hospital.
8th Sep 2021 - BBC News

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Scepticism and fraud hamper Covid vaccine take-up rates in Romania and Bulgaria

Vaccine scepticism is helping to keep Romania and Bulgaria’s Covid-19 vaccination rates the lowest in the EU, exposing the union’s poorest nations to higher risks amid a fourth wave of the pandemic fuelled by the contagious Delta coronavirus variant. Fraud is adding to official frustration in Romania over take-up rates, with instances of doctors allowing people to go without jabs while still issuing them with certificates that help to make it easier to work and travel.
7th Sep 2021 - Financial Times

Covid US: Anti-vaxx Georgia councilman urges conservatives to get jabbed after hospitalisation

Jim Sells, 71, urged people not to take the COVID-19 vaccine before he was hit with a bout of the virus that left hospitalized for more than two weeks. Sells is now pushing for others in his community to get vaccinated to ease pressure on the state's hospital system. More than 96% of Georgia ICU beds are currently occupied as the state sees a surge of virus cases. Only 35% of residents of Sells' county are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 60% are totally unvaccinated
7th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

New Zealand Covid-19: Anti-masker clashes with New World supermarket worker

New Zealand supermarket workers been praised for dealing with anti-masker. Woman films and posts herself ranting about mandatory masks in shops. States that wearing a mask is a 'breach of her human rights.' Workers calmly offer the woman to wear a mask or leave the store. In level 4 lockdown, masks are mandatory for NZ residents accessing essential services unless they have a medical exemption
7th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

‘Cheap shot’: Scott Morrison defends Father’s Day trip to Sydney during lockdown

Scott Morrison has defended a trip to see his family on Father’s Day, arguing he went home to Sydney then returned to Canberra under an essential work exemption. In an interview with Sky News on Tuesday, the prime minister said he understood people’s “frustration” given many Australians are unable to travel but claimed he had been the victim of “misinformation” about the issue.
7th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Covid-19 Australia: Cops swarm Melbourne synagogue after 100 worshippers celebrate Jewish New Year

Significant Covid breaches occurred at a gathering in Ripponlea, Melbourne Gathering dispersed by Victorian police after fiery confrontations. People in two buildings understood to have gathered for Jewish New Year. Police blocked roads surrounding buildings on Glen Eira Avenue, Ripponlea. Victoria recorded 246 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday and remains in lockdown
7th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

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Hundreds of health centres at risk of closure in Afghanistan - WHO

Hundreds of medical facilities in Afghanistan are at risk of imminent closure because the Western donors who finance them are barred from dealing with the new Taliban government, a World Health Organization official said on Monday. Around 90% of 2,300 health facilities across the country might have to close as soon as this week, the UN health agency's regional emergency director, Rick Brennan, told Reuters in an interview.
6th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Fake COVID-19 vaccine passports for sale online

Fake COVID-19 vaccination certificates are being sold online for hundreds of dollars. One user on the encrypted message app, Telegram, told 9News he was selling counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination certificates for $500 in Bitcoin. He even produced a dummy version of the document, which was close to the real thing
6th Sep 2021 - 9News

First responders nationwide resist COVID vaccine mandates

The resurgence of COVID-19 this summer and the national debate over vaccine requirements have created a fraught situation for the nation’s first responders, who are dying in larger numbers but pushing back against mandates. It’s a heartbreaking situation for Tokley’s widow, Octavia, as the 21st anniversary of their first date approaches on Sept. 10. She said she has moved beyond her anger at other police officers who are refusing the vaccine, and is now disappointed. Her husband’s life couldn’t be saved, but theirs still can. “I don’t want to have to be there to support your family for this,” she said. “Nobody deserves this, especially when it can be prevented.”
6th Sep 2021 - Associated Press

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Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier halted after health officials intervene

A World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina was halted just minutes after kickoff on Sunday after Brazilian health officials objected to the participation of three Argentine players they say broke quarantine rules. Argentina walked off the pitch at the Corinthians Arena after the officials entered the pitch to stop the game. The players went to the dressing room, although the two coaches, along with Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Brazilian players, gathered at the side of the pitch a few moments later to discuss the stoppage. The game was suspended shortly after. The incident occurred just hours after Brazil's health regulator, Anvisa, said four Argentine players must isolate and could not play in the match
5th Sep 2021 - ESPN

COVID-19: Five police officers injured after violence breaks out at anti-vaccine protest in London

Five police officers have been injured after anti-vaccine protests in London turned violent, the Metropolitan Police said. Ten people were arrested amid demonstrations at the headquarters of the UK vaccine regulator in Canary Wharf, east London, and the Science Museum in South Kensington, according to the Met. "Crowds quickly became hostile when they reached a building in Canary Wharf," the force wrote on Twitter.
4th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Anti-vaccine protesters try to storm London offices of medical regulator

Police have prevented anti-vaccine protesters from storming the headquarters of Britain’s medical regulator during violent clashes in east London. At least four officers were injured and arrests were made during a confrontation as hundreds of people gathered outside the offices of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in Canary Wharf. Police drew batons and called for reinforcements as protesters attempted to force open the door of the regulator’s offices, with security guards looking on from inside.
4th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Brazil's Bolsonaro signs law that could break COVID-19 vaccine patents

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday signed off on a law allowing for vaccine and medication patents to be broken in a public emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. But the right-wing leader vetoed the provisions that patent holders would need to transfer the knowledge and supply the raw materials needed to duplicate the vaccines and medications.
4th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Gavin Williamson is being “reckless” with pupils’ health over covid-19 safety, world scientists warn

Scientists from across the world join forces with teachers, parents and unions to claim the Education Secretary is “endangering the health of hundreds of thousands of children” by not implementing Covid safety measure in schools
3rd Sep 2021 - iNews

COVID-19: Ministers face difficult decision on whether to overrule JCVI's finding on vaccinating children

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has resisted intense pressure from ministers by refusing to recommend coronavirus vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds. Yesterday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said parents would find it "deeply reassuring" if children were given jabs, and leaks from Whitehall insiders suggested the JCVI was ready to sign off on vaccines for teenagers as schools return in England.
3rd Sep 2021 - Sky News

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Oxford University says research not affected after media reports of COVID lab hack

Oxford University said on Thursday it was investigating a digital intrusion after a researcher said he had seen evidence that a laboratory researching COVID-19 had been hacked. The breach took place in mid-February and occurred at the Division of Structural Biology, known as Strubi, which has been carrying out research into COVID-19, according to Alex Holden, founder of Wisconsin-based Hold Security. Forbes first reported the breach. Strubi is distinct from the Jenner Institute, which develops the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with AstraZeneca.
26th Feb 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Anti-fraud probe as EU nations are offered 900 million 'ghost' jabs worth €12.7bn

Fraudsters are trying to cash in on mistakes made by the EU's coronavirus vaccination campaign by offering millions of scam jabs to member states. The bloc's anti-fraud agency OLAF said around 900 million vaccines have been pitched to several countries for €12.7bn (£11bn). These offers were said to be made by "alleged intermediaries," prompting OLAF to investigate. Pharmaceutical companies involved in making vaccines against COVID-19 say they sell to governments direct only.
25th Feb 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Almost 70,000 COVID lockdown fines handed out, with steep rise since Christmas

Police have handed out nearly 70,000 fines to people for breaching COVID-19 lockdown rules since they came into force, with more than 6,000 issued in a single week, new data shows. Figures published by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) on Thursday show that a total of 68,952 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were issues by forces. Of this figure, 63,201 fines were handed out in England and 5,751 in Wales between 27 March last year and 14 February.
25th Feb 2021 - Sky News

The Good, the Bad, and the Embarrassing in America’s COVID-19 Response

The pandemic has been both a bad and an embarrassing time to be an American. Bad in an actuarial sense, because per-capita death rates here have been among the highest in the world. Embarrassing at the level of national identity. In Washington, last year, the President promised that the virus would be gone by Easter, and when it wasn’t he mused that Americans might self-treat with bleach. In Michigan, armed men guarded a barbershop that had defied public-health orders to close. On South Padre Island, in Texas, spring break proceeded as usual—packed and unmasked—even as cases were climbing. The state’s lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, insisted that there were “more important things than living”; later, he urged Texans to keep the economy open even if it meant more deaths.
25th Feb 2021 - The New Yorker

Far right 'exploiting' anger at lockdowns to radicalise wellness community, police say

Rightwing extremist groups have “exploited” anger at Covid-19 lockdowns to radicalise Australians in wellness and alternative medical circles into adopting white supremacist ideologies, Victoria police have warned a parliamentary inquiry into extremism. The inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism has separately been warned by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation that Australians as young as 13 are involved in onshore terrorism, both in Islamist and rightwing extremist circles, and that encrypted online communication channels are preventing authorities from intervening before “lone actors” become radicalised and carry out attacks.
25th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Mark Woolhouse denies Sturgeon's claim Covid-19 was 'reseeded' into Scotland from other parts of UK

An adviser to Nicola Sturgeon has challenged the first minister’s claim that coronavirus was “reseeded” into Scotland from other parts of the UK and claimed her “elimination” strategy was unattainable. The first minister has claimed that coronavirus was “almost eliminated” in Scotland last summer but was brought back into the country from travellers coming in from outside.
25th Feb 2021 - The Times

EU says UK, U.S. have vaccine export bans, EU allows exports of Pfizer, Moderna shots

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that the EU was allowing exports of COVID-19 vaccines, mostly from BionTech/Pfizer and Moderna, while the United States and Britain had mechanism to block them. Von der Leyen told a news conference that approximately 95% of EU-made vaccines that had been exported since Jan. 30 were manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech, and the remainder by Moderna. She said that both were honouring their supply contracts with the EU and therefore there was no limitation on their export, while on AstraZeneca’s exports the EU was keeping “a very close eye” because of the company’s shortfalls in deliveries to the 27-nation bloc.
25th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Vaccinate prisoners en masse, not police or teachers, JCVI tells ministers

Teachers, police and other key workers should not get priority for Covid jabs but prisoners can be vaccinated en masse, the government’s advisory body has concluded. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) handed final recommendations to ministers on Sunday advising that under-50s be vaccinated by age rather than occupation, and that people from ethnic minorities should not get priority, The Times understands. At least 150,000 more people with learning disabilities have been added to the present vaccine priority list, after concerns that too many with severe problems were being missed. Ministers are due to sign off the next phase of the vaccine programme imminently and are expected to follow the committee’s advice. On Monday Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines deployment minister, said: “We will absolutely follow what they recommend.”
25th Feb 2021 - The Times

Israel passes law to name and shame those who decline Covid vaccine

Israel has passed a law allowing the identities of people who have not been vaccinated to be shared with other authorities. The decision on Wednesday raises concerns over privacy for those who may opt against getting the jab. It passed by 30 votes to 13 and gives local governments, the director general of the education ministry and some in the welfare ministry the right to receive the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone who has not had the vaccine. The objective of the measure – which remains valid for three months or until the Covid-19 pandemic is declared over – is ‘to enable these bodies to encourage people to vaccinate by personally addressing them’, according to a statement issued by parliament. Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2021/02/25/israel-passes-law-to-name-and-shame-people-who-havent-had-covid-jab-14143058/?ito=cbshare Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
25th Feb 2021 - Metro.co.uk

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Doctors and nurses face endless covid misinformation battle

Nakhasi is one of countless health-care workers who have found themselves combating the coronavirus on two fronts during a global pandemic that is now stretching into its 12th month. Beyond spending their working hours in hospitals and clinics, many doctors and nurses have also voluntarily entrenched themselves in “the information war,” as Nakhasi calls it. It’s a fight Nakhasi and other medical professionals say feels overwhelming. Baseless claims often spread faster than facts, and purveyors of misinformation are quick to retaliate with vitriol and threats. And yet, health-care workers, many of whom are already experiencing burnout and the emotional toll of witnessing covid ravage their patients, haven’t backed down. “It’s never-ending,” Nakhasi said. “There’s not a moment where I don’t feel some level of duty or responsibility” to take action.
24th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

EU President would take the AstraZeneca vaccine Germans are rejecting

The European Union’s chief said she would happily receive AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine as officials rushed to find ways of ensuring doses refused by skittish Germans did not go to waste. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen volunteered for the jab amid growing concerns that unfavourable comments by top European officials including French President Emmanuel Macron had slowed take-up of one of only three vaccines currently approved EU-wide. Earlier this month, Macron said Britain had taken a risk in authorising AstraZeneca so rapidly. A German official study also found evidence that, though effective, the vaccine has more severe side effects than its two main rivals.
24th Feb 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

India warns states of worsening COVID situation if rules ignored

India has warned that a breach of guidelines on testing and other measures to contain the coronavirus could worsen a recent spurt in infections in many states, particularly after it detected several variants. “Any laxity in implementing stringent measures to curb the spread, especially in view of new strain of virus…could compound the situation,” the health ministry on Wednesday said in a statement that singled out nine states and a federal territory.
24th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Condemnation as coughing Tanzanian minister gives news conference

Days after President John Mafuguli finally admitted Tanzania has a coronavirus problem, after months of apparent denial and increasing warnings of a resurgence in infections, the sight of the country’s finance minister coughing and gasping during a news conference to defend the state of his health has left many in shock. Finance Minister Philip Mpango, who did not reveal what he was suffering from, spoke to about 10 reporters on Tuesday at a hospital in the capital, Dodoma, after rumours that he had died of COVID-19. A recent spate of deaths attributed to “pneumonia” and “respiratory challenges” has struck both government officials and members of the public.
24th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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U.S. House plans vote on COVID-19 aid bill on Friday

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Friday on legislation to provide $1.9 trillion in new coronavirus relief, Representative Steny Hoyer, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, said. “The American people strongly support this bill, and we are moving swiftly to see it enacted into law,” Hoyer said on Twitter on Tuesday.
24th Feb 2021 - Reuters

World Bank threatens to halt funding for Lebanon’s COVID jabs

The World Bank has threatened to suspend financing for coronavirus vaccines in Lebanon over what it said were violations by legislators who were vaccinated inside Parliament. The comments by the international lender on Tuesday came as frustration grew among some residents and doctors that the national plan that requires people to get vaccinated at predetermined centres could be riddled with violations and favouritism.
24th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Covid-19: Frustration over London's maskless passengers

Mask wearing on public transport looks likely to be with us for some time. But the most recent figures from Transport for London (TfL) show there is still a significant minority that do not wear them. Commuters have also complained to me about maskless rail staff who also ignore social distance regulations. TfL said about 90% of its passengers wear masks. Around 137,000 maskless people have so far been stopped from using London's public transport and told to wear a face covering since it was made mandatory on 15 June, latest figures show.
23rd Feb 2021 - BBC News

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Israel’s coronavirus vaccines wielding political power

Forget about oil and arms. Coronavirus vaccines are emerging as the newest currency of choice in the Middle East. Israel’s reopening of its economy, combined with a murky prisoner swap with Syria and the arrival of a batch of vaccines in the Gaza Strip, have all underscored how those with access to the vaccines have political power in the turbulent region. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been at the forefront of this trend, pinning his re-election hopes on the success of his campaign to vaccinate Israel’s adult population. At the same time, he has offered rewards to those who vaccinate and punishments to those who do not. Israel has rolled out the world’s fastest vaccination campaign, administering at least one dose to more than half its 9.3 million people and the required two doses to about one-third in less than two months.
23rd Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

UK PM sets out road map to ease England’s COVID lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out a four-step plan to ease coronavirus restrictions in England, expressing a hope that life could get back to normal by the end of June. Johnson outlined a “gradual and cautious” approach to lifting curbs in England, starting with the return of pupils to schools from March 8. Non-essential retail and hairdressers will reopen April 12. So will pubs and restaurants, though only outdoors. Indoor venues such as theatres and cinemas, and indoor seating in bars and restaurants, are scheduled to open May 17, when limited crowds will be able to return to sports stadiums. It is also the earliest date Britons may be allowed foreign holidays. The government is aiming for the lifting of all limits on social contact from June 21. The government says the dates could all be postponed if infections rise.
23rd Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Bells toll for lives lost as U.S. reaches 500,000 COVID deaths

The United States on Monday crossed the staggering milestone of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths just over a year since the coronavirus pandemic claimed its first known victim in Santa Clara County, California. In a proclamation honoring the dead, President Joe Biden ordered the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff on public buildings and grounds until sunset on Friday. “On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind,” Biden said in the proclamation. “We, as a Nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one Nation to defeat this pandemic.”
23rd Feb 2021 - Reuters

False claims tying coronavirus vaccines to infertility drive doubts among women of childbearing age

As the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine ramps up across the United States, women of childbearing age have emerged as a surprising roadblock to efforts to halt the pandemic by achieving herd immunity. Officials have encountered hesitancy among other groups, including some Black and Hispanic adults and those who believe the pandemic is a hoax. But the reluctance of women in their 20s and 30s — largely around disinformation spread on Facebook, Twitter and other social media — has been more unexpected. With such women making up a large share of the health-care workforce, vaccine uptake at nursing homes and hospitals has been as low as 20 to 50 percent in some places — a far cry from the 70 to 85 percent population target that health officials say may be needed to stop the virus.
22nd Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

COVID-19: Australian Open fans criticised for 'disgusting' booing of vaccine rollout

The behaviour of Australian Open fans who booed the mention of a COVID-19 vaccine rollout after Sunday's men's final has been branded "disgusting". Tennis Australia president Jayne Hrdlicka was loudly heckled when she mentioned vaccines in her presentation speech after Novak Djokovic's victory. Michael McCormack, Australia's deputy prime minister said: "Well, that's un-Australian (the booing incident), I'm sorry that is just un-Australian." "This vaccine is going to get our country back to some sort of pre-COVID normality."
22nd Feb 2021 - Sky News

Australian woman refusing a Covid swab in MIQ had already protested against lockdowns

An Australian woman who is refusing to take a Covid-19 swab says she will finally leave MIQ in Wellington today - after 28 days. Lucinda Baulch flew into New Zealand almost a month ago to drop off children she had been fostering to their new home in Aotearoa. "I put my hand up saying I'll take the children on the plane, I'll stay with them during managed isolation." She claims that while she was in Australia, she was told by officials there she wouldn't need to take a Covid-19 swab because she flew in from Australia, but once she arrived she was informed that this was not the case. This isn't the first time Baulch has challenged Covid-19 rules, and back in Australia, she participated in an anti-lockdown protest.
22nd Feb 2021 - New Zealand Herald

Argentina’s president decries ‘unforgivable’ vaccine scandal

The president of Argentina has decried an “unforgivable” COVID-19 vaccine scandal that prompted the resignation of the country’s health minister. Gines Gonzalez Garcia stepped down on Friday after reports surfaced that he had aided people in the South American nation jump the queue to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
22nd Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Feb 2021

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Anti-coronavirus vaccine protests held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth

In Australia, a number of small rallies have been held in capital cities across the country in protest of the coronavirus vaccine. Gatherings were held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth on Saturday with a few hundred people at each. In Victoria, where the state has just emerged from a snap five-day lockdown, pepper spray was deployed and a number of arrests were reportedly made.
21st Feb 2021 - 9News.com.au

Amsterdam police clear square of anti-lockdown demonstrators

Police in Amsterdam forcibly cleared anti-lockdown demonstrators from the city's Museum Square on Sunday after they ignored instructions to leave amid a ban on public gatherings due to the coronavirus epidemic. The Museum Square has become a regular meeting place for people opposed to social distancing and other lockdown rules. At Sunday's demonstration, some were carrying signs saying "freedom" or held yellow umbrellas, but others appeared simply to have joined the throng of several hundred mostly young people. Police conducted raids on horseback and a handful of protesters were detained.
21st Feb 2021 - MSN.com

Reporters - Covid-19: The Swedish exception?

With the arrival of winter, the threat from Covid-19 increased, requiring a change in strategy: the Swedish government limited public gatherings but allowed shops to remain open. Our reporters have been to Sweden, but also to Finland and Denmark, to meet the Swedes who have left their country out of fear of catching coronavirus. Although Sweden's Covid-19 figures are no worse than the European average, the country has reported 10 times more deaths than its Scandinavian neighbours.
20th Feb 2021 - FRANCE 24

Victorian gym owner charged for running gym during lockdown

A Victorian gym owner who defied the state's five-day "circuit-breaker" lockdown by keeping his premises operating has been charged by police. The 50-year-old St Albans man was arrested on February 16 by police for operating his gym in Campbellfield in lockdown. Officers today confirmed he was charged with failing to comply with Chief Health Officer directions and was granted bail.
19th Feb 2021 - 9News.com.au

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Feb 2021

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Macron urges US, EU to rapidly divert COVID vaccines to Africa

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday urged fellow European nations and the United States to give up to five percent of their current COVID-19 vaccine supplies to developing countries in Africa, warning poorer nations are paying “astronomical prices” for jabs being made in the West. Macron said the current uneven distribution of doses marked an “unprecedented acceleration of global inequality” and cautioned some countries were being charged two or three times the price paid by the European Union for vaccines such as the one produced by Oxford-AstraZeneca.
19th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Angela Merkel's heir says Germany's lockdown treats public like children

The strongest contender to succeed Angela Merkel appeared to suggest that the German chancellor was “inventing” reasons to keep the country in lockdown after her government tightened conditions for lifting the restrictions. Armin Laschet, the chief minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, recently won the leadership of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, traditionally a springboard for the chancellorship. His barely disguised criticism of Merkel is regarded by some observers as an attempt to build an independent political profile but it also reflects widespread unease at the length of a lockdown now well into its fourth month. Last week Merkel, 66, brokered an agreement to extend the measures until at least March 7. The target seven-day infection rate has also been cut from 50 new cases per 100,000 to 35 per 100,000, as the government tries to stop mutant strains of the virus spreading.
18th Feb 2021 - The Times

Liberal MP Bernie Finn tells anti-lockdown protest Victorian restrictions were 'not about a virus'

Three Victorian Liberal MPs have addressed a group of vaccine conspiracy theorists and anti-lockdown protesters at an online rally, hours before the state's stage 4 restrictions were lifted.
18th Feb 2021 - ABC News

Dutch government races for plan B to uphold nighttime coronavirus curfew

The Dutch government raced on Wednesday to prepare legislation to keep a nighttime curfew in place after a court ordered it to scrap the controversial COVID-19 measure which has become the focus of campaigning a month before a general election. The stakes are high politically as Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the country’s top health officials argue the measure is essential to soften a third wave of infections they say is about to arrive due to variants of the coronavirus. Tuesday’s court ruling found the government’s current justifications lacked sufficient legal basis, sending authorities scrambling to draft a bill and enact it swiftly into law.
18th Feb 2021 - Reuters

COVID rumours hamper Brazil’s efforts to vaccinate Indigenous

Indigenous nurse Almeida Tananta battled heavy downpours of tropical rains as he rode his motorbike for hours across the red-soiled dirt tracks of Tabatinga, a municipality in Western Amazonas, which borders the Amazon rainforest and Colombia, and has the largest concentration of Indigenous Brazilians in the Amazon. Tananta was en route to apply the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the remote Umariacu villagers, in Alto Rio Solimoes. But when he arrived at the village of wooden-thatched houses skirting the banks of the Amazon river, the nurse’s hopes of vaccinating the 1,037 villagers quickly vanished.
18th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

'Horrifying' death toll prompts calls to prioritise jabs for disabled people

People with disabilities in England should be given priority for vaccination against Covid-19, according to leading charities, after official data showed that they accounted for 60 per cent of all deaths from the disease last year. Describing the data as “both illuminating and horrifying”, James Taylor, executive director of strategy for Scope, which campaigns for disability equality, said: “What they show is that there is an urgent need for the government to prioritise disabled people now.” This week, health officials announced that they were moving an extra 820,000 people up the vaccination priority list, including some with severe or profound learning disabilities who will be elevated into the sixth of the government’s top nine groups for receiving the jab.
18th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

Erdogan: Turkey to start lifting COVID curbs in March

Turkey will begin a gradual return to normal life on a province-by-province basis from March, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who added that nationwide weekend COVID-19 lockdowns would be lifted in some provinces based on infection rates. Turkey imposed curfews, weekend lockdowns and other curbs in December as cases rose sharply. It plans to reopen schools nationwide on March 1 and its vaccination programme has so far administered shots to nearly 5.7 million people using shots developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
18th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English on MSN.com

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Feb 2021

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Unprotected African health workers die as rich countries buy up COVID-19 vaccines

On 6 January, gastroenterologist Leolin Katsidzira received a troubling message from his colleague James Gita Hakim, a heart specialist and noted HIV/AIDS researcher. Hakim, chair of the department of medicine at the University of Zimbabwe, had fallen sick and had tested positive for COVID-19. He was admitted to a hospital in Harare 10 days later and moved to an intensive care unit (ICU) after his condition deteriorated. He died on 26 January. It is a crushing loss to Zimbabwean medicine, Katsidzira says. “Don’t forget: We have had a huge brain drain. So people like James are people who keep the system going,” he adds. Scientists around the world mourned Hakim as well. He was “a unique research leader, a brilliant clinical scientist and mentor, humble, welcoming and empowering,” wrote Melanie Abas, a collaborator at King’s College London.
17th Feb 2021 - Science Magazine

Glasgow priest Canon Tom White takes legal action against ministers to stop UK divide on lockdown right to worship

A Glasgow priest has launched a legal action to stop a north-south divide on the right to worship during lockdown. Canon Tom White whose St Alphonsus parish is in the heart of the city’s famous Barras has issued a pre-action letter to the Scottish Government demanding it ends the blanket ban on places of worship. A response must be made before Tuesday February 23. Lockdown measures designed to stop the spread of coronavirus have forced places of worship to shut.
17th Feb 2021 - heraldscotland.com

‘Public hanging’ outside church in protest of ‘unnecessary’ lockdown of hospitality trade in Spain’s Costa Blanca

A chef mannequin was hung from a lamp-post in Torrevieja as hospitality workers protested against what they see as an unnecessary lockdown of trade. Almost 200 people turned up at the central plaza yesterday, February 16, to voice their anger as the Valencian goverment continued the enforced closure of bars, cafes and restaurants
17th Feb 2021 - Olive Press

US state gives vaccines to aides for elderly, drawing criticism

Halee Barlow cannot wait for the COVID-19 vaccine. But it is not for her. She is desperate to get her father vaccinated – and soon. Brian Barlow, of Sutton, Massachusetts, about 77 kilometres (48 miles) west of Boston, is terminally ill with liver cancer and immuno-compromised enough to put him at higher risk for serious illness or death from the disease caused by the coronavirus. The stress of the pandemic and the wait for a vaccine are fraying nerves in Barlow’s family. “It makes it feel like we’re working against the clock,” she told Al Jazeera. “The more time we wait, the less time we have to really spend with him.” At 72, Barlow’s father is three years younger than residents now permitted to get the vaccine under the second phase of the state plan. The next leg of the phase – for people 65 years and older, people with two or more medical conditions listed by the state and residents and staff of low-income and affordable senior housing – is scheduled to start on February 18 but it is unclear when he will get an appointment for a jab.
17th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

World first: UK to deliberately infect volunteers with COVID

The United Kingdom is set to become the first country in the world to deliberately expose volunteers to the novel coronavirus in a so-called human challenge study hoped to eventually aid the development of vaccines and treatments. Up to 90 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 30 will be exposed to the virus in a “safe and controlled environment” during the trial, which will begin within a month, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said in a statement on Wednesday.
17th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Feb 2021

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COVID-19: 'Progress' made on vaccine hesitancy amid 'pandemic of disinformation', NHS chief says

"Meaningful progress" is being made in the campaign to overcome COVID vaccine hesitancy, but it is happening amid a "pandemic of disinformation", the head of the NHS in England has said. The country is fighting a "dual epidemic" and must take on both coronavirus and disinformation with "equal vigour", Sir Simon Stevens said at Monday's Downing Street news conference. He added that progress is being made on uptake among black and south Asian communities, and believes the involvement of local religious leaders will help build momentum.
16th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Spoons boss slams 'absurd' outdoor drinking plan after lockdown

In England, JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin has rubbished the idea of only reopening outdoor areas in pubs as a ‘random’ idea that will leave jobs hanging in the balance. The chain’s founder dismissed the notion that the Covid risk could be reduced by allowing customers to sit in beer gardens while keeping indoor spaces closed to the public. He also branded the suggestion of vaccine passports allowing entry to supermarkets and hospitality venues as ‘extreme’ as he addressed tentative plans to reopen pubs in April. The idea has been shot down by Boris Johnson, who said it is more likely to apply to people travelling abroad.
16th Feb 2021 - Metro.co.uk

German business groups berate government over lockdown extension

The German government is coming under mounting attack from business groups angry at its refusal to ease the country’s coronavirus restrictions, as pressure grows for an exit strategy out of one of Europe’s longest shutdowns. “Businesses are growing increasingly desperate, and angry,” said Guido Zöllick, head of DEHOGA, the German association of hotels and restaurants. “More and more fear for their existence.” He was speaking after a crisis meeting with German economy minister Peter Altmaier where 40 groups representing the hospitality industry, tourism, retail trade and other sectors lambasted the government’s pandemic policies.
16th Feb 2021 - The Financial Times

Madrid: an island in a sea of coronavirus restrictions

Compared to other major European capitals, Madrid is swimming against the tide with regard to its Covid-19 strategy. Although most of Europe’s main cities are imposing heavy restrictions on both mobility and social activities in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Spanish capital is opting for relaxing restrictions despite a 14-day incidence rate of 625 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In fact, while Lisbon, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Athens and Brussels remain in partial lockdown, Madrid plans to put the curfew and closing times in the hospitality sector back an hour. The Swedish capital, Stockholm, which took a controversial early approach to fighting the virus by trusting to individual responsibility, is one of the few big European cities to take a similar line. But experts warn of the risks of relaxing restrictions when transmission remains high.
16th Feb 2021 - El País

Police storm gym operating in Melbourne during lockdown

Dozens of police have stormed a gym in Melbourne's north operating under Victoria's lockdown, with three men arrested. Late this afternoon officers swarmed on the Campbellfield gym, open against the Chief Health Officer's directives during lockdown. "We can't afford to close the gym so we've been trading as per normal during the lockdown," Al Pope, part-owner of the gym told 9News. Mr Pope said about 175 people came through for a casual session today, plus normal members, and no masks were worn.
16th Feb 2021 - 9News.com.au

Dutch coronavirus curfew upheld temporarily after legal setback

Appellate judges ruled on Tuesday that a night-time curfew would remain in place in the Netherlands pending a government appeal of a lower-court ruling that found the measure lacked legal justification. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coronavirus policy was dealt a major blow earlier in the day when a district court in The Hague said his government had failed to make clear why it was necessary to use emergency powers at this stage of the pandemic. The government requested and was granted an injunction, or emergency order, in which the three-judge appellate panel in The Hague agreed to suspend that ruling and uphold the curfew pending the outcome of the appeal to be heard on Friday.
16th Feb 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Test and Trace 'now working really, really well', says Serco boss

The boss of an outsourcing giant involved in the much-criticised coronavirus Test and Trace programme has admitted it took "some time to settle down" but argued it was "now working really, really well". Speaking to Sky News, Serco chief executive Rupert Soames also rejected comparisons with the widely hailed COVID-19 vaccination rollout, arguing his firm had been "plunged straight into it" last year while there had been time to plan for the administration of jabs. The UK now had "the largest and most successful test and tracing system in Europe", Mr Soames told the Ian King Live programme.
16th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Covid: Dutch crisis as court orders end to Covid curfew

A court in The Hague has told the Dutch government that an overnight curfew to reduce the spread of coronavirus should be lifted, ruling that it breaches the right to free movement. The court said the 21:00 to 04:30 curfew was imposed by an emergency law when there was no "acute emergency". Later, a higher court ruled that the curfew could stay in place pending an appeal on Friday. The curfew, imposed in January, led to rioting in several Dutch cities. Police were patrolling streets near the Dutch parliament on Tuesday evening but no unrest has been reported so far.
16th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Israel blocks shipment of Russian Sputnik V vaccine to Gaza

Israel has stopped 1,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine that are intended for front-line medical workers from entering the besieged Gaza Strip. The Palestinian group Hamas which governs the Gaza Strip on Tuesday blasted Israel’s refusal to allow vaccine doses destined for Gaza health workers through its blockade of the territory as a “violation” of international law.
16th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Lebanon begins vaccinations with sceptics a major hurdle

Lebanon’s COVID-19 vaccination roll-out has begun, but there remain concerns the most vulnerable people in the country may be left out of the campaign or excluded altogether. Regardless of nationality or legal status, anyone living in Lebanon is supposed to be covered under its vaccination campaign, including refugees and migrant labourers, who count for about 1.5 million of the estimated six million people living here. “For refugees, one of the problems that we’ve noticed are very low registration — it could be a lack of awareness, or a lack of trust in the process,” said Aya Majzoub, Human Rights Watch’s Lebanon and Bahrain researcher. Of the almost 540,000 people who have registered in Lebanon for the vaccine so far, slightly more than 11,000 are Syrian or Palestinian, the two largest non-Lebanese populations in the country. Migrant labourers, the majority of whom hail from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, appear to be completely ineligible, as per a statement by the country’s Ministry of Labour last week.
16th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Biden extends foreclosure moratorium for struggling US homeowners

United States President Joe Biden extended a federal moratorium on foreclosures and mortgage forbearance policies on Tuesday, giving the more than 10 million homeowners who are behind on payments additional months of assistance as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the US economy. Biden’s announcement extends the moratorium on foreclosures through the end of June after it was due to expire at the end of next month. The policy also extends the mortgage forbearance window until June 30 and provides up to six months of additional mortgage payment relief for the 2.7 million Americans who are already receiving it, the White House said in a statement.
16th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 16th Feb 2021

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Coronavirus in the UK: New BBC Panorama research reveals rise in anti-vaccine propaganda accounts on social media

An investigation for the BBC’s Panorama has revealed an alarming increase in the followers of anti-vaccine accounts on social media – and the impact of the content being shared. Research for the programme, which airs on BBC One on February 15th, analysed anti-vaccine content available on the major social media platforms. It found that anti-vaccine accounts on Instagram increased nearly five-fold in 2020, reaching over four million followers. “Naturally we didn’t have the time maybe to do the sort of preliminary work that we do when we’re introducing vaccines,” said Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England. “I think it's fair to say that we didn’t have time to do all those things as well as we would normally do but we’re very much playing catch up now.” It comes at a time when more people are seeking health information online.
15th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

The superspreaders behind top COVID-19 conspiracy theories

As the coronavirus spread across the globe, so too did speculation about its origins. Perhaps the virus escaped from a lab. Maybe it was engineered as a bioweapon. Legitimate questions about the virus created perfect conditions for conspiracy theories. In the absence of knowledge, guesswork and propaganda flourished. College professors with no evidence or training in virology were touted as experts. Anonymous social media users posed as high-level intelligence officials. And from China to Iran to Russia to the United States, governments amplified claims for their own motives. The Associated Press collaborated with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab on a nine-month investigation to identify the people and organizations behind some of the most viral misinformation about the origins of the coronavirus. Their claims were explosive. Their evidence was weak. These are the superspreaders.
15th Feb 2021 - ABC News

Three arrested at anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne

A group of anti-lockdown protesters have rallied in Melbourne today, with three men arrested. Dozens of people came together at Eaton Mall in Oakleigh to defy the state's stage four lockdown in place until midnight on Wednesday. The largely maskless group clashed with police and became vocal towards them, swearing and shouting.
15th Feb 2021 - 9News.com.au

Victorian builders baffled by decision to stop construction in lockdown

Victorian builders say the state's latest five-day lockdown rules are excessive, especially for regional Victoria where work has ground to a halt just when it was getting back to normal. Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews says the statewide blanket lockdown is a "circuit breaker" to a growing cluster in Melbourne's north. But for Tanya McNamara, whose construction firm has been rebuilding homes in East Gippsland, all the lockdown has done is disrupt the flow of rebuilding after last summer's bushfires.
15th Feb 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Australian Proud Boys sought combat-trained supporters to 'arrest' police at Covid lockdown protests

The far-right Proud Boys in Australia sought people trained in combat to help confront police during anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne last year. Amid repeated warnings from security agencies in Australia and overseas about the way far-right groups have used the Covid-19 pandemic to recruit, Guardian Australia can reveal that senior members of the neo-fascist Proud Boys group were involved in protests during Melbourne’s second-wave lockdown last year. A series of messages posted to anti-lockdown social media groups in the past year reveal the increasingly blurred line between the loose coalition of conspiracy groups that orchestrated those protests and far right groups such as the Proud Boys.
15th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Wetherspoon's Tim Martin urges govt to reopen pubs, warns of economic mayhem

Wetherspoon founder and Chairman Tim Martin on Monday called on the government to open pubs at the same time as non-essential shops reopen, saying the pub industry was on its knees under the latest lockdown and warned of economic mayhem. Britain’s hospitality sector has been hit hard by the third coronavirus-led lockdown which forced Wetherspoon into a second cash call last month. The British Beer & Pub Association also urged the government last week to give a clear timeline and date for when pubs could reopen. Pubs reopened on July 4 last year after the first lockdown was lifted, followed by a second lockdown later that year.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Germany defends border controls as business demands lockdown exit plan

Germany said on Monday its decision to impose border controls with the Czech Republic and Austria is a temporary measure of last resort and it defended a lockdown extension against business demands for a roadmap to reopening. The new restrictions along the normally open borders were prompted by alarm over outbreaks in the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol region of strains of the coronavirus that spread faster and cause more illness. Germany installed frontier checks on Sunday, drawing protest from Austria and concerns about supply-chain disruptions that could damage the country’s export-oriented manufacturing sector.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

"The biggest mistake was failing to control the growth of infection in the autumn." - Professor Neil Ferguson

Imperial College Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson said the biggest mistake made by the government during the pandemic was failing to control the rise in infections in the autumn which led to a devastating second wave in the winter. Mr Ferguson, whose research led to the first UK lockdown, said the UK responded too late back in March but thought the government had 'learned that lesson' by the autumn. He said the failure to act with strict measures in the autumn was understandable but it set the country up for very high case numbers through the winter. He said: "It's unfortunate politicians need to see people in hospitals before they react."
15th Feb 2021 - ITV News

After hitting vaccine milestone, UK eyes way out of lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the path out of lockdown must be sensible to avoid being forced into a reversal of the relaxation of measures. Johnson’s comments on Monday came after the government reached its target to vaccinate 15 million people by the middle of this month, a milestone which has fuelled calls for the stringent restrictions to be loosened. Speaking to people waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine shot, Johnson said the key question was working out to what extent a drop in infections was being caused by the vaccination programme. “That’s the data we’re having to look at and really work out what is going on,” Johnson said. Asked about lifting lockdown, Johnson said: “The crucial thing is to make sure we just do sensible steps that are in proportion to where we are.” “What people don’t want to see is you know just being forced into reverse – we don’t want to do you know a reverse ferret – let’s take it at the right pace,” he said.
15th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 15th Feb 2021

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COVID-19: All restrictions must be lifted by end of April, lockdown-sceptic MPs tell Johnson

A group of lockdown-sceptic MPs has told Boris Johnson that coronavirus restrictions must be fully lifted by the end of April. In a l