Monday, 28 November, 2022
HomeWorldCovid-19: Social distancing lifted at Mecca's Grand Mosque, Scotland enforces vaccine passports

Covid-19: Social distancing lifted at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Scotland enforces vaccine passports

ThePrint brings you some important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic

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New Delhi: More than a year since the global Covid outbreak, cases continued to rise across countries, touching 24,14,96,250 infections and 49,14,485 deaths as of Monday. Countries are focusing on boosting vaccination efforts to offset surges in infections or to prevent future waves of the virus.

Social distancing rules have been lifted at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, a vaccine passport scheme enforced in Scotland and an Australian doctor’s unapproved Covid treatment raises ethical questions this week. 

Prayers at Mecca’s Grand Mosque nears normal

Social distancing rules have been dropped at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the first time since the Covid pandemic began, reports Al Jazeera. However, authorities said visitors must be fully vaccinated and mask-clad.

“This is in line with the decision to ease precautionary measures and to allow pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque at full capacity,” reported Saudi Press Agency.

However, the Kaaba, the sacred square building located near the centre of the mosque, remains cordoned off.

The ease in restrictions is in line with the Saudi interior ministry’s plans to ease restrictions in general starting 17 October in response to declining cases and rising vaccinations. The authorities also eased restrictions on fully vaccinated people at closed venues, gatherings, restaurants and transportation.

Saudi Arabia has recorded 5,47,931 cases and 8,763 deaths.

Vaccine passport scheme now enforced by law in Scotland

Starting Monday, people in Scotland will only be granted entry into nightclubs and mass events if they can show that they have had two doses of a Covid vaccine, reports BBC.

This is part of the Scottish government’s vaccine passport scheme in which everyone over 18 years must show that they have had both jabs before entering certain venues and events. 

These events include nightclubs, unseated indoor events with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor events with more than 4,000 people and any event with more than 10,000 people in attendance, among others.

People are expected to download or get a paper copy of a certificate with a QR code.

The scheme came into effect on 1 October and businesses were given a 17-day period to test out procedures.

The UK has recorded 84,49,165 cases and 1,38,584 deaths.

Also read: Covid-19 pandemic: Green Pass must for workers in Italy, S Korea to ease curbs on gatherings

Australian doctor promotes unapproved Covid treatment 

Australian gastroenterologist Professor Thomas Borody who has been promoting an unapproved “triple therapy protocol” to treat and cure Covid-19 has filed a patent in the US for the same treatment, reports The Guardian.

The newspaper notes that patenting a treatment allows a person to profit from it — a point Borody failed to mention when promoting the treatment to Australian politicians and practitioners. He also did not declare this in media interviews, or in his appeals to state and federal governments for funding and adoption of the treatment. 

Borody’s lawyers said in a statement to The Guardian: “My client has never hidden the fact that he applied for patents over his Covid-19 treatment. That is a matter of public record for some time now.”

Borody’s treatment involves a combination of ivermectin, zinc and the antibiotic doxycycline. He has in the past been quoted in prominent Australian news outlets like the Financial Review, The Daily Telegraph and The Australian.

Australia has recorded 1,45,314 cases and 1,543 deaths.

Frequent testing for Hong Kong’s high-risk workers 

High-risk employees in Hong Kong, including those working for the international airport, in quarantine hotels and those who drive travellers between the two, will all soon be tested for Covid more regularly, reports The South China Morning Post.

There will be daily screenings for the unvaccinated while frontline airport workers, such as those handling cargo, dealing face-to-face with passengers or cleaning airline cabins, are set to be tested every 3 days. The new rules are expected to come into effect within the next week.

This is the latest attempt to tighten border-control measures as the city attempts to assuage Beijing’s concerns over reopening the border between Hong Kong and mainland China.

The new measures follow an airport cargo handler recently emerging as the first local case in nearly two months, prompting mainland authorities to ban Hong Kong’s sole delegate to China’s top legislative body from attending a meeting in Beijing this week.

Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, has recorded 12,295 cases and 213 deaths.

What else are we reading

Israel Poised to Expand COVID Quarantine Exemption to All Schools, Preschools: Haaretz

UK reports most COVID-19 cases in a day since mid-July: Reuters

Also read: Covid-19: Workers flee Ho Chi Minh City as lockdown eases & S Korea to vaccinate pregnant women




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