Covid-19 global updates: New restrictions, travel bans in Asia region as delta variant cases rise

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee reported a record number of new daily coronavirus cases linked to the Olympic Games on Friday. At least 19 new infections were detected, including three athletes who tested positive, just hours before the Opening Ceremonies.
  • A new study from Hungary found that China’s Sinopharm vaccine offers weak protection against covid-19 among older populations. Researchers this week said that 50 percent of blood samples from individuals over 80 showed no protective antibodies against the virus, even after a full course of the two-dose vaccine.
  • Italy has ramped up pressure on its unvaccinated population, announcing on Thursday that a digital or printed health pass would be necessary for accessing many everyday leisure activities, including theaters and indoor dining.
  • Israel’s Health Ministry has released new data suggesting that the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is only 39 percent effective at preventing infection from the delta variant. Protection against severe illness remained high, however, at 91 percent, the ministry said.
  • Britain’s government announced late Thursday that it was exempting more than 10,000 food industry and other workers from covid-19 isolation rules that caused staff shortages at supermarkets and disrupted supply chains in other sectors such as hospitality.
  • The United States is at “another pivotal moment” in the pandemic as the more transmissible delta variant tears through unvaccinated communities, causing hospitals to reach capacity in some areas, Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday.
Source: WP