Published: 09:40, July 28, 2021 | Updated: 23:28, July 28, 2021
No quarantine for vaccinated US, EU travelers to England
By Agencies

A woman wearing a face mask walks past shops and restaurants at Leadenhall Market in the City of London on July 27, 2021. (TOLGA AKMEN / AFP)

WASHINGTON / PARIS / DUBLIN / RABAT / LONDON / MEXICO CITY /  ADDIS ABABA / ABUJA / HAVANA / TUNIS / QUITO / SANTIAGO / MILAN / OTTAWA / BUENOS AIRES / RIO DE JANEIRO / LISBON / GUATEMALA CITY / HARARE / BERLIN / MOSCOW - American and European Union travelers who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus will no longer need to spend 10 days in quarantine after they arrive in England from Aug 2.

Under plans backed by British ministers on Wednesday, international leisure cruises will also resume after being put on hold for more than a year.

The reforms to travel rules will allow visitors from the US and most EU countries to enter the UK on the same basis as Britons who have received both COVID-19 shots. UK residents are are no longer required to self-isolate when returning from most medium-risk countries.

The rule change takes effect at 4 am Monday and initially applies to England, though other nations in the UK have generally followed suit on international travel.

While the UK decision will ease the barriers to travel from the US, the Biden administration isn’t likely to reciprocate any time soon. Last week, the US advised Americans to avoid traveling to the UK because of a surge in coronavirus infections.

“We want people to be able to come from the US freely in a way that they normally do. We’re talking to them the whole time,” Johnson said in an interview with LBC radio Wednesday. “At the moment we’re dealing with a delta wave, the US is dealing with a delta wave, but be assured that we are on it the whole time.”

Britain reported on Tuesday 131 additional deaths from COVID-19, the highest daily total since March 17, taking the total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 129,303. 

Britain also reported 23,511 new cases, bringing the tally to 5,745,526.

The number of COVID-19 patients in British hospitals has also steadily risen to 5,918, also the highest since March, following a spike in cases earlier this month.


Zimbabwe approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use after previously blocking it, as the southern African nation struggles to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases.

The use of the drug is valid for 12 months or when the public health emergency ends, Richard Rukwata, acting director for the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Zimbabwean government said on Tuesday it will maintain the strictest level-four lockdown despite a 49.5-percent decrease in new COVID-19 infections over the past week.

The number of weekly infections declined to 14,275 from 21,346, reflecting the high efficiency of the country's efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said during a post-cabinet media briefing.

As it is necessary to strengthen efforts to better control the third wave of the pandemic, "the level four lockdown measures remain in force," Mutsvangwa added.

As of Tuesday night, more than 1.5 million people in Zimbabwe have received the first jab and nearly 700,000 people have got their second dose.

According to Mutsvangwa, two ports in the resort town of Victoria Falls, located on the border with Zambia, will be reopened to tourists who are fully vaccinated, as the famous tourist city has achieved herd immunity.

Zimbabwe has so far reported 101,711 infections, including 70,496 recoveries and 3,280 deaths.


AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine carries a small extra risk of rare blood clots with low platelets after the first dose and no extra risk after the second, a study led and funded by the drugmaker showed on Wednesday, after worries over side-effects.

The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, found that the estimated rate of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) after the first dose was 8.1 per million in those inoculated, AstraZeneca said.

After the second dose of the vaccine, branded Vaxzevria and invented by Oxford University, the rate was 2.3 per million, comparable to that seen in unvaccinated people, the Anglo-Swedish company added.

Wednesday's findings evaluated cases reported as of April 30 that occurred within 14 days of receiving the first or second dose, using AstraZeneca's global safety database, it said.

Global tally

Coronavirus cases worldwide exceeded 195.32 million while the global death toll topped 4.17 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 


The US government on Wednesday will ship nearly 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to two of the most populous African countries - Nigeria and South Africa - as the continent battles a third wave of infections, White House officials said.

Four million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will go to Nigeria and 5.66 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to South Africa, the officials said.

The South Africa shipment is the single largest sent by the United States since it began sending vaccine shots overseas, one of the officials said. The latest shipments bring the total number of US vaccine doses sent to Africa to 16.4 million.

As of last week, African countries had administered just 60 million vaccine doses to a population that numbers over 1.3 billion.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa reached 6,507,319 as of Tuesday evening, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The death toll from the pandemic stood at 165,294 while the number of recoveries reached 5,713,978, the Africa CDC said.

READ MORE: WB, COVAX to speed jab supplies to developing nations


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday updated its masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in COVID-19 hot spots.

Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should go back to wearing masks in indoor public places in regions where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, the CDC said.

In a toughening of guidance issued earlier this month, the CDC also recommended all students, teachers and staff at schools for kindergarten through 12th grade wear masks regardless of whether they were vaccinated.

Following the CDC’s announcement, the White House told staff that they must again wear masks starting no later than the start of business on Wednesday. 

President Joe Biden said that increased vaccination and mask wearing would help the United States avoid the pandemic lockdowns, shutdowns and school closures that the country faced in 2020. 

The president said he was weighing a requirement for federal workers to get vaccinated as the highly contagious delta variant spreads throughout the US.

The CDC said that 63.4 percent of US counties had transmission rates high enough to warrant indoor masking and should immediately resume the policy. Manhattan, Los Angeles and San Francisco meet the transmission criteria as does the entire state of Florida, but Chicago and Detroit do not.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the CDC had gathered data suggesting that some vaccinated people infected with the delta variant can transmit the virus to others.


Germany has reached a key milestone in its efforts to overcome the pandemic with more than half the population fully inoculated against COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, 41.8 million people, or 50.2 percent of residents, were completely vaccinated, while 61.1 percent had at least one shot, Health Minister Jens Spahn said in a Twitter post.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 2,768 to 3,761,169, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday. 

The reported death toll rose by 21 to 91,586, the tally showed. 


Half of the French population have completed their vaccination against COVID-19, marking a milestone in the vaccination campaign and the fight against the highly infectious variants of the virus, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

So far, 34 million people have received two doses of the vaccine, representing 50.5 percent of the total population, according to the ministry.

The ministry said  40.71 million people have gotten their first jab, or 60.4 percent of the population.

On Tuesday, the number of new daily infections hit a nearly three-month high at 26,871, data from showed.

After a steady decline since mid-May, coronavirus-linked hospitalization figures increased for the third day in a row. The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients increased by 58 to 7,137, including 978 in intensive care, up by 26 from Monday's figure.  


Chile recorded on Tuesday 753 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily tally since April 2020, Health Minister Enrique Paris said.

The South American country's caseload now stands at 1,611,090.

Another 32 more deaths were recorded, bringing the death toll to 35,151.

More than 80 percent of the target population has been fully vaccinated in several regions.


Moderna Inc. said its COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing partners outside the US are “facing delays” due to laboratory testing issues that occurred in recent days.

While the problem has been resolved, it has slowed release of Moderna’s vaccine to markets outside the US, a company spokeswoman said in an email.

The problem will cause short-term adjustments to vaccine delivery outside the US, she said in the email. 


Argentina's government has signed a deal with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc to acquire 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered this year, Health Minister Carla Vizzotti told reporters on Tuesday.

The agreement comes after Argentina modified at the beginning of the month the law regulating purchases of vaccines against COVID-19 to be able to access the doses of US companies. Those companies had been reluctant to sign with the South American country under previous regulations.

As of Wednesday, 104,105 people have died of COVID-19 in Argentina since the start of the pandemic. Only 6.1 million people in the country have gotten both vaccine shots so far.


Ireland became the latest European Union member state to commit to offering COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 12-15 as it opened its strongly subscribed program to 16 and 17-year olds on Tuesday.

Ireland's vaccine program is currently running at one of the fastest rates in Europe, with almost 70 percent of its adult population fully vaccinated and more than 84 percent partially protected with the first of two doses - greatly reducing the rate of serious illness and death from COVID-19.

The Irish government hopes those aged 12 to 15 will be fully vaccinated within the first half of September, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told national broadcaster RTE.

Meanwhile, Ireland will also double the number of people allowed to attend weddings to 100.

The country has reported 294,272 COVID-19 cases among its 4.9 million population, with 5,026 related deaths.


The mortality rate from COVID-19 has been "very substantially reduced" in Mexico thanks to progress in the vaccination drive, even as the country faces a third outbreak, the Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Tuesday.

The COVID-19 mortality rate currently stands at 1.9 percent, down from the 11 percent registered in January 2021 and the 22 percent of July 2020, the two worst pandemic months in Mexico.

Deaths from COVID-19 are currently 87 percent lower than January and 77 percent less compared to July 2020, said Lopez-Gatell, who was accompanied by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The drop in the mortality rate is largely due to the fact that 89.4 million people, 48 percent of the population over 18 years of age, have already gotten at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, especially older people who are more vulnerable to the pandemic, the official said.


Canada has enough coronavirus vaccine to inoculate everyone who is eligible nearly two months earlier than had been promised, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday, ahead of a likely election in which his record on fighting the pandemic will be center stage.

Trudeau had pledged that every Canadian who wanted to be vaccinated would receive two shots of vaccine by the end of September. He told a televised news conference on Tuesday that his Liberal government had bought more than 66 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, enough to inoculate everyone who was eligible.

As of July 17, 79.7 percent of Canadians aged 12 and above had received one shot and 57.5 percent had been given two shots of the Moderna, AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. 

Trudeau also said Canada was likely to see an increase in coronavirus cases among unvaccinated people over the coming months due to variants of the virus.

In another development, Canadian border guards and customs officials voted on Tuesday to go on strike just days before fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents will be allowed into Canada, unions representing the workers said, a move that could potentially cause disruptions and hurt businesses emerging out of the pandemic-driven economic downturn.

ALSO READ: IMF: Global recovery gap widens on unequal vaccine access


Brazil recorded 41,411 newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 1,333 deaths from COVID-19, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

Brazil has registered more than 19.7 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 551,835, according to ministry data.

The board of Brazilian health agency Anvisa has provisionally suspended its import authorization for Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine while it seeks information, it said on Tuesday.

The move is the latest upset to the country's vaccine rollout, which has been derailed by a Senate committee investigation into potential corruption in the process of procuring vaccines. 

Anvisa said the import permit, which was issued on June 4, would be suspended until Anvisa receives additional information about the vaccine, including technical and legal documents related to the shot.

Bharat Biotech did not have any immediate comment.

"The decision also took into account that illegitimate documents may have been submitted ... which could impact the agency's conclusions regarding the quality, safety and efficacy aspects of the vaccine to be administered to the population," reads Anvisa's statement said.


Morocco on Tuesday reported 6,971 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest daily increase so far, taking the number of infections in the country to 588,448.

The total number of recoveries from COVID-19 increased to 549,116 after 2,690 new ones were added, the health ministry said in a statement.

The death toll rose to 9,638 with 27 newly reported fatalities during the last 24 hours, while 746 people are in intensive care units.

So far, 12,520,195 people have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while 9,924,212 have gotten two doses.


Nigeria has so far recorded 10 cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, following the first case that was detected early this month, local authorities said on Tuesday.

The number of virus transmission in the country has begun to rise again, weeks after the country sustained a low test positivity rate, Chikwe Ihekweazu, head of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) noted.

Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said there would be a need for continued testing, noting it is part of the recommended control measures to limit the spread of the new variant.

Ehanire said monitoring teams have been deployed to all entry points to check the importation, particularly of the virulent strains of COVID-19, and to be able to identify and get them under control.

So far, Nigeria has reported 171,324 cases, 164,798 recoveries, and 2,134 deaths.


A total of 1,081,214 people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Tunisia, the health ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry said 1,608 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Tuesday, raising the tally in the North African country to 575,002.

The death toll from the virus rose by 164 to 18,968, while the total number of recoveries reached 479,032, it said. 


Cuba reported on Tuesday 7,903 new COVID-19 infections and 75 more deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 349,055 cases and 2,492 deaths, according to the Ministry of Public Health's daily report.

These indicators are the results of the impact of the new variants of coronavirus circulating in the country, the ministry's national director of hygiene and epidemiology, Francisco Duran, said.

The official noted that Cuba has reported over 6,000 infections in more than six days, showing the complexity of transmission.

More than 8.9 million vaccine doses have been administered with over 2.4 million people having received three doses. 


Ecuador has registered a total of 85 cases of the Delta variant after confirming another 45 cases in recent days, Minister of Public Health Ximena Garzon said Tuesday.

The official said the new cases were detected over the weekend and on Monday in six provinces of the South American country.

A man wearing a protective face mask walks past a tourist not wearing one as she poses in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy, on June 28, 2021, the day Italy passed into effect the "white zone", making it not mandatory to wear a protective mask outdoors. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP)


Almost 99 percent of people who have died of COVID-19 in Italy since February this year were not fully vaccinated, the National Health Institute (ISS) said on Tuesday.

The study, contained in a regular report on COVID-19 deaths released by the public health body, added that the few fully vaccinated people who died of COVID were also significantly older than those who died without full vaccination, at 88.6 years of age versus 80.

They also had more underlying health problems before contracting the virus.

Meanwhile, Italian authorities have recorded a marked pick-up in vaccination bookings. To date, almost 57 percent of the population over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated.

Italy reported 24 coronavirus-related deaths and 4,522 new cases on Tuesday.

From Feb 1 to July 21, there were 423 COVID-19 deaths among fully vaccinated people, representing 1.2 percent of the total of 35,776 COVID deaths, the Institute said in a statement.


People not immunized or having received only one dose of a vaccine constitute 98 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Portugal, the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) reported on Tuesday.

The drop in the risk of hospitalization was obvious among patients who were fully vaccinated, and immunization "reduces by up to three times the risk of death" of the coronavirus, according to Andre Peralta Santos, an expert from the DGS.

Most of the patients hospitalized at this moment in Portugal are over 60 years old, but a significant number of hospitalized people are aged 20-39.

"Where the vaccine advances, the virus retreats," and vaccination "is the key in the lives of Portuguese people," Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said.

The Portuguese Council of Ministers will meet on Thursday to decide whether to ease the current restrictions in force in the country after hearing experts' guidance at the meeting.


Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei said on Tuesday the Central American nation has renegotiated its contract for the delivery of Russia's Sputnik V vaccines and is also in talks with Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for their coronavirus shots.

Guatemala, with 18 million inhabitants, has only inoculated 309,339 people so far, according to the health ministry.

Guatemala had a contract for the delivery of 16 million doses of Sputnik V vaccines but the vaccines have been badly delayed, prompting some officials last month to talk about asking for a refund from Russia.

Giammattei said at a news conference that the original contract for the Russian vaccine has been renegotiated and now Guatemala would receive 8 million doses.

READ MORE: Dutch weekly COVID-19 cases drop almost 50%


Russia reported 22,420 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 6,195,232.

The government coronavirus task force said 798 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 156,178.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 2,768 to 3,761,169, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday. The reported death toll rose by 21 to 91,586, the tally showed.