Comfort and joy over COVID vaccines clash with Christmas borders

By Alistair Smout

LONDON (Reuters) – Coronavirus vaccine approvals have brought comfort and joy to many this Christmas, but they have failed to stop new travel and assembly borders as COVID-19 cases rise worldwide and deaths in the United States have exceeded 3,000. for the third day in a row.

Scientists and government leaders have hailed vaccines as a huge success in attacking the pandemic, but only after their administration, a process that will take months, even in the richest countries in the world.

More than 73.68 million people have been reported to be infected with coronavirus globally and 1,655,424 have died, according to a Reuters report, with the United States being the leader in deaths and infections.

A rapid rise in the United States is pushing hospitals to the limit, a few weeks after millions of people took to the air and on the roads for Thanksgiving, with admissions rising to record highs for the 19th day in a row.

Many countries are now preparing for the Christmas rush, and Hans Kluge, director of the World Health Organization’s regional office, said the trip was not worth the risk.

“There remains a difference between what you are allowed to do by your authorities and what you should do,” he said in a statement. “The safest thing now is to stay home.”

Travel plans for thousands of Australians were thrown into chaos when states and territories imposed border restrictions after 28 COVID-19 cases were detected in Sydney.

Large areas in England will be added to the “very high alert” category of the COVID-19 level this weekend, placing residents under the strictest curbs even if the government tries to defend a plan to relax the curbs for five days at Christmas.

“Unfortunately, the tier system doesn’t seem to be holding back the epidemic wave,” John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies, told Sky News.

“I think we will have to look at these measures and probably strengthen them.”

South Korea, praised worldwide for its early-stage pandemic management, reported 1,062 new cases on Friday, the second-highest daily number, while the government agonized over stricter restrictions.

Austrians abroad were heading home early for Christmas, ahead of the new quarantine rules coming on Saturday. The country is in a third deadlock after Christmas, the national news agency APA reported on Friday.


The Swiss Minister of Health, Alain Berset, will ask his cabinet colleagues to close the restaurants for a month on Friday, two newspapers reported.

The Spanish capital Madrid, one of the worst hot spots in Europe COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic, has progressively reduced its spread without closing clubs or shops.

But with an average notification rate of 244 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, the region has returned to levels seen before the start of the second wave.

Poland could introduce even stricter borders, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in an interview published on Friday, a day after the government announced it would begin a “national quarantine” after Christmas.

Lithuanian police were planning to blockade to impose the blockade.

“There is no safe place in Lithuania,” Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte told reporters last week.

While government leaders around the world are addressing their nations on how to combat the pandemic, US President Donald Trump has been largely silent, and his critics have accused him of abrogating his responsibilities as cases escalate. grow.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence received his vaccine live on television on Friday, trying to support public support for vaccinations after U.S. coronavirus deaths exceeded 3,000 for the third day in a row.[L1N2IY0WG]

French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, leading to a follow-up effort across Europe following his numerous meetings with EU heads of government.

EU states will begin vaccinations against COVID-19 on December 27, as Europe tries to catch up with Britain and the United States after what some have criticized as a slow EU approval process for fires.

The European Union has been waiting for the European Medicines Agency to approve a vaccine from Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE. The EMA is expected to make an announcement on December 21.

The US Food and Drug Administration will work “quickly” to grant emergency approval to Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said on Thursday.

A group of FDA external advisors strongly supported the emergency use of the vaccine, virtually providing a second protection option.

Last week, the same group backed the Pfizer vaccine, leading to an FDA emergency use license a day later.

(Worldwide Reuters Reporting; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Jon Boyle, William Maclean)