New Delhi: The coronavirus pandemic fueled by the Delta variant continues to devastate countries across the world — the latest count being 237,572,186 cases and 4,849,694 deaths.
England cuts red list countries from 54 to 7, leading to a furore on social media yet again. A study has found that over 120,000 children in the United States lost a parent or caregiver to Covid-19. Israel has begun a pilot scheme for Covid-19 PCR tests using saliva instead of a swab sample that can give results in 45 minutes, while Singapore and South Korea announced the launch of vaccinated travel lanes.
England’s ‘Red List’ countries — from 54, it’s down to 7
Only travellers from seven countries — earlier 54 — are now on England’s Red List and will be required to undergo strict hotel quarantine when they enter the United Kingdom, reports The Guardian.
The countries still on the red list include Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Venezuela, while India, Brazil, South Africa, and Thailand will be among the 47 removed from the list starting next Monday.
These arrivals can now avoid spending over £2,000 during the earlier mandatory 11-night hotel quarantine, depending on their vaccine status.
However, the decision to put seven South American and Caribbean countries on the ‘Red List’ led to a furore and their citizens enraged.
While some boasted their country’s higher vaccination rates than several others that were removed, some claimed the UK itself reports more daily Covid cases than their country despite having similar populations.
The United Kingdom has reported 8,046,390 Covid-19 cases and 137,417 deaths so far.
Over 120,000 children in the US lost a parent to Covid-19: Study
More than 120,000 children in the United States had a parent or caregiver die from Covid-19, according to a study published in the medical journal, Pediatrics Thursday, reports The New York Times.
The study also noted that the loss has more severely affected racial minorities.
According to the findings, for every four Covid-19 deaths between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2021, one child lost a parent or caregiver.
With the pandemic and the Delta variant having now claimed more than 700,000 American lives to date, the study warned that the crisis could leave tens of thousands of children dealing with trauma for generations to come.
Racial minorities have been disproportionately vulnerable to the pandemic the study revealed — one of every 168 American Indian/Alaska Native children, one of every 310 Black children, one of every 412 Hispanic children, and one of every 612 Asian children have lost a caregiver, compared to one in 753 white children.
The United States has reported 45,021,267 Covid-19 infections and 730,206 deaths.
Israel launches pilot for saliva PCR tests
Israel’s Health Ministry Thursday kick-started a pilot scheme for PCR tests using saliva instead of a swab sample, reports Haaretz.
Unlike swab sample tests which take up to 24 hours to produce the Covid-19 report, the saliva PCR test will take 45 minutes to generate the result and is considered less intrusive than the former, which is in fact the need of the hour regards to the mass testing campaign made mandatory ahead of the school reopening in Israel last month.
Developed by Professor Amos Danieli from the Faculty of Engineering from Bar-Ilan University, the first test was done in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square this week.
During this two-week pilot scheme, a sample of several hundred participants will be collected. Participants of different ages will receive both a swab and saliva test, and will share their judgments as per three criteria: comfort, safety, and the validity of the results and following this exercise, a decision will be made whether the tests will be used on a permanent basis.
Israel has been seeing a steady decline in serious coronavirus cases and deaths following which the government Wednesday relaxed a series of restrictions including doing away with the mandatory requirement of having to show one’s Green Pass — Israel’s proof of vaccination — when going outdoors.
Israel has registered 1,300,968 Covid cases and 7,882 deaths.
Singapore, South Korea to launch vaccinated travel lanes
The transport ministry of Singapore and the South Korean government Friday announced the launch of “vaccinated travel lanes” which will allow fully vaccinated travellers to travel between Changi Airport, Singapore, and Incheon International Airport, South Korea starting 15 November, reports Channel News Asia.
However, the arrivals in both these countries will be subjected to Covid-19 PCR tests, in lieu of serving quarantine or a stay-home notice, but will face no restrictions on the purpose of travel or requirements for a controlled itinerary or sponsorship.
The governments of Singapore and South Korea have also reached an agreement on the mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccination certificates.
The agreement was signed between the Singapore Minister for Transport S. Iswaran and the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport of South Korea, Noh Hyeong Ouk via a video conference Friday.
Speaking about how vaccinated travel lanes reflect the trust in both the countries’ ability to manage the Covid-19 situation, Iswaran said, “Singapore and the Republic of Korea enjoy excellent bilateral relations, with strong people-to-people ties. I am pleased that both countries have agreed to jointly launch Vaccinated Travel Lanes that will re-open general travel between our two countries, which has been disrupted for the past 20 months”.
Singapore is also working on establishing a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) with the United States before the end of the year, Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong Thursday said during an event at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC.
What else we’re reading:
Hong Kong’s 51-day streak without local Covid-19 infection over, after airport worker tests positive:The South China Morning Post
Some European Countries Are Limiting the Use of Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine in Younger Ages: The Wall Street Journal
(Edited by Paramita Ghosh)