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Israel ‘closes skies’ to air travel to prevent virus spread
Israel on Sunday announced a week-long ban on most incoming and outgoing flights in a bid to slow the spread of new coronavirus variants, AFP reports.
The measure will begin at midnight from Monday into Tuesday and remain in effect until Sunday, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.
Exceptions will be made for cargo and firefighting flights, as well as trips for medical treatments, funerals and legal procedures.
A panel of health and interior ministry officials will be able to issue exemptions on request “for humanitarian or personal needs”, the statement said.
The decision came with the country in its third national coronavirus lockdown, initiated late December and extended on Tuesday until the end of the month due to a surge in deaths.
Earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had announced his government’s intention to close the airport, as variants of the coronavirus have been detected in rising numbers.
“We’re closing the skies hermetically, except for rare exceptions, to prevent the entry of virus mutations, and to ensure that we make swift progress with our vaccination campaign,” he said ahead of a cabinet meeting.
Biden to reinstate travel ban and add South Africa
US president Joe Biden on Monday will formally reinstate Covid travel restrictions on non-US travellers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders, according to two White House officials.
AP: the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the order, also confirmed Sunday that South Africa would be added to the restricted list because of concerns about a variant of the virus that has spread beyond that nation.
Biden is reversing an order from President Donald Trump in his final days in office that called for the relaxation of the travel restrictions as of Tuesday.
The decision to reverse the order is not surprising, but the addition of South Africa to the restricted travel list highlights the new administration’s concern about mutations in the virus.
The South Africa variant has not been discovered in the United States, but another variant — originating in the United Kingdom — has been detected in several states.
Reuters was first to report Biden’s decision to add South Africa to the list.
Biden last week issued an executive order directing federal agencies to require international air travellers to quarantine upon US arrival. The order also requires that all US-bound passengers ages 2 and above get negative test results within three days before traveling.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
As always, you can find me on Twitter @helenrsullivan.
The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has passed 99 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, as the total moves rapidly towards a shocking 100 million people infected with Covid-19 in just over a year.
In the US, president Joe Biden on Monday will formally reinstate travel restrictions on non-US travellers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders, according to two White House officials.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the order, also confirmed Sunday that South Africa would be added to the restricted list because of concerns about a variant of the virus that has spread beyond that nation.
Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:
- Israel is set to ban passenger flights in attempt to prevent Covid variant imports, coming into effect from Monday 10pm for two weeks
- Greek health authorities have reported a jump in the number of cases of the coronavirus variant first spotted in the UK, with 32 infections detected.
- The UK has reported a further 30,004 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases, according to government data. This compares with 38,598 cases registered last Sunday.
- Jeremy Hunt, the former UK health secretary, has echoed calls from epidemiologists urging the use of medical-grade masks to be compulsory on public transport and in shops.
- Serbia has detected its first case of the UK coronavirus variant, in a woman who travelled from London but no new lockdown is planned in the country, President Aleksandar Vučić said.
- Airbus has announced that some 500 employees have entered quarantine following an outbreak at its aircraft factory in Hamburg in which 21 workers have tested positive, according to Reuters.
- Police used water cannon and dogs against protesters after hundreds gathered in a square in central Amsterdam on Sunday to protest against a new coronavirus curfew.
- France probably needs to enter into a third lockdown because of the spread of new coronavirus variants in the country, the government’s top medical adviser on Covid-19 policy has said.
- Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will telephone Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Monday to discuss Mexico’s procurement of the Sputnik V vaccine, the Mexican government said on Sunday.
- France has reported 18,436 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, down from 23,924 on Saturday. However, today’s figure is higher than last Sunday’s, when 16,642 infections were registered.
- Ecuador has approved the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, the country’s health ministry said on Sunday.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Coronavirus live news: Biden to reinstate Covid travel ban as world nears 100m cases | World news