Germany has introduced new tougher restrictions for travelers arriving from countries designated as high-risk due to COVID 19. Border police stepped up controls at German airports for passengers from around 30 countries designated as high-risk or with high numbers of virus variants. All travelers now need to show a negative coronavirus test taken not more than 48 hours before arriving in Germany.
Germany’s neighbor the Czech Republic is on the high-risk list. The new rules will affect thousands of people who cross the border every day to work in Germany. Big queues built up once the new regulations came into force.
Another country on Germany’s high-risk list is Portugal. Voters there are going to the polls to elect a new president today, despite a deepening coronavirus crisis in the country. Incumbent Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is regarded as the clear front runner — for the post, which is largely ceremonial. Election organizers have increased the number of polling stations and allowed for early voting to avoid overcrowding at the ballot box. Portugal is battling the worst coronavirus infection rate in the world. The seven-day incidence rate is 785. That’s means Portugal has a rate more than double that of the UK and US – and seven times that of Germany.
Israel has expanded its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include 16 to 18 year olds, with parental permission. The government says it will allow them to return to school and take exams. Israel has the world’s highest vaccination rate and hopes to re-open its economy next month.
EU Council chief Charles Michel has warned Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers of possible legal consequences after they announced delays in delivering doses. Vaccine partners BioNTech and Pfizer blamed supply chain issues, while AstraZeneca said a production glitch would hamper supplies to Europe.
German health authorities have imposed a quarantine on a Berlin hospital after after six employees and 14 patients tested positive for a highly infectious variant of the coronavirus. A spokeswoman said the Humboldt Hospital will no longer be allowed to admit new patients and expects the number infected to rise.
New Zealand has reported its first coronavirus case, outside of a quarantine facility, in more than two months. The case was a 56-year-old woman who recently returned from Europe and tested negative twice while in quarantine. Health officials are investigating how she caught the virus and which variant it was.
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