Covid-19 has infected more than 235M people and killed at least 4.8M globally. Here are the virus-related developments for October 3:
Sunday, October 3, 2021
Israel makes booster shot mandatory
Israel has restricted its Green Pass to allow only those who have received a vaccine booster dose or recently recuperated from coronavirus to enter indoor venues.
The new criteria mean that nearly 2 million people will lose their vaccination passport in the coming days.
Israel is the first country to make a booster shot a requirement for its digital vaccination passport. The move is widely seen as a step to encourage booster vaccination among those who have yet to receive a third dose.
Under the new guidelines, people must have received a booster shot to be eligible for a green pass.
Those who have received two vaccine doses, and those who have recovered from coronavirus, will be issued passes valid for six months after the date of their vaccination or recovery.
But WHO and health experts have appealed wealthy nations to think about millions of unvaccinated people in poor and developing countries before mandating booster shots.
Death toll hits another high in Russia
Russia reported a record daily death toll, the fifth time in a week that deaths have hit a new high.
The national virus task force said 890 deaths were recorded over the past day, exceeding the 887 reported on Friday.
The task force also said the number of new infections in the past day was the second-highest of the year at 25,769.
Overall, Russia, a nation of 146 million people, has Europe's highest death toll from the pandemic, nearly 210,000 people.
Yet despite the country's persistent rise in daily deaths and new cases, Russian officials say there are no plans to impose a lockdown.
Mask-wearing regulations are in place but are loosely enforced.
Boris on revitalising UK economy
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was ready to take “bold decisions” to rebuild the economy as the country recorded 30,439 new cases and 43 deaths.
Johnson's Conservative Party meets on Sunday for its first annual conference since 2019 as a shortage of truck drivers has led to fuel shortages.
Concerns about wider labor shortages, higher taxes, rising energy bills and a cut in welfare payouts beginning this week are among other challenges facing Johnson.
Delta tears through northeast US
Despite having the highest vaccination rates in the US, there are constant reminders for most New England states of just how vicious the delta variant is.
Hospitals across the region are seeing full intensive care units and staff shortages are starting to affect care.
Public officials are pleading with the unvaccinated to get the shots. Health care workers are coping with pent-up demand for other kinds of care that had been delayed by the pandemic.
According to statistics, the five states with the highest percentage of a fully vaccinated population are all in New England, with Vermont leading, followed by Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
New Zealand tightens travel rules as Covid spreads
New Zealand has announced tighter border restrictions, as new cases of Covid-19 emerged in areas previously free of the coronavirus.
The national flag carrier Air New Zealand announced it was introducing a "no jab, no fly" policy for passengers on all international flights from February 1.
The country has been hugely successful at containing the virus -reporting just 27 deaths in a population of five million - thanks to tight border controls and lockdowns, allowing pre-pandemic life to mostly resume.
But the upped border restrictions come as Hamilton city and neighbouring Raglan town were put into a five-day lockdown, with only essential movement permitted, after two people tested positive.
Russia records highest single-day death toll from virus
Russia has reported 890 virus-related deaths, the largest single-day death toll it has recorded since the pandemic began.
The government virus task force also said it had recorded 25,769 new cases in the last 24 hours, including 4,294 in Moscow.
Germany reports 6,164 cases
Germany has reported 6,164 coronavirus cases and 9 fatalities in the past 24 hours, bringing the total infections to 4,252,300 and deaths to 93,786, according to the Robert Koch Institute data.
China administered 2.213 bln doses of vaccines
China has administered about 755,000 doses of vaccines, bringing the number of doses administered to 2.213 billion, data from the National Health Commission showed.
Dubai's Expo 2020 reveals 3 worker deaths from virus
Dubai's Expo 2020 has acknowledged for the first time that three workers had died from the coronavirus over the course of building the world's fair during the pandemic, as the prestigious event draws scrutiny of labor conditions in the United Arab Emirates.
When asked at a press conference about deaths among Expo's vast foreign labor force, spokesperson Sconaid McGeachin said three workers had died from the virus in addition to three from construction incidents, without specifying when. She declined to describe the extent of the coronavirus outbreak among workers on site.
McGeachin again claimed the information about worker casualties was previously available, without elaborating. However, authorities in the run-up to the $7 billion fair had not offered any overall statistics on worker fatalities, injuries or coronavirus infections despite repeated requests from The Associated Press and other journalists.
Brazil reports 468 deaths in 24 hours
Brazil had 13,466 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 468 deaths, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.
The South American country has now registered 21,459,117 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 597,723 according to ministry data, in the world's second-deadliest outbreak, after the United States.
Mexico reports 7,369 new cases
Mexico's Health Ministry on Saturday reported 7,369 new confirmed cases and 614 fatalities, bringing its total to 3,678,980 infections and 278,590 deaths.
The government has said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher, and separate data published recently suggested the actual death toll could be 60% higher than the official count.
Air New Zealand to require vaccination for international travellers
Air New Zealand, the flag carrier airline of New Zealand, said on Sunday it will require passengers on its international flights to be fully vaccinated, in what is one of the world's strictest policies for travellers.
"Being vaccinated against Covid-19 is the new reality of international travel – many of the destinations Kiwis want to visit are already closed to unvaccinated visitors," Air New Zealand's Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said in a statement.
Protest in Romania against new curbs
Thousands of protesters marched on Saturday in Romania's capital to reject upcoming restrictions that authorities hope will combat an alarming surge in infections.
The Bucharest demonstration was organised by Romania's far-right AUR party and attended by various other right-wing groups.
Daily infections in the European Union nation of 19 million have skyrocketed from around 1,000 daily cases a month ago to 12,590 new cases on Saturday. That was Romania's highest daily number of infections since the pandemic started.
The rise is putting the country's hospitals under serious pressure as intensive care units reach near-capacity nationally.
Authorities have said that new restrictions will be implemented when an area's infection rate exceeds six per one-thousand residents over a 14-day period. Bucharest's infection rate Saturday stood above eight per one-thousand residents.
The new restrictions — expected to take effect in the next few days — will require people to wear masks in public and make shops close at 10:00 pm. Restaurants will remain open at half capacity but only for people with Covid-19 passes.
The protest angered some medical workers, coming a day after a deadly fire tore through an intensive care unit in a hospital in Romania's port city of Constanta, killing seven patients.
Facing crises, UK PM Johnson says he will take 'bold decisions'
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will promise on Sunday to take "big, bold decisions" to transform post-Covid Britain, hoping to set the tone of the governing Conservative Party's conference already buffeted by fuel, gas and Christmas food crises.
Johnson had wanted to use the conference this week to turn the page on more than 18 months of pandemic and to refocus on his 2019 election pledges to tackle regional inequality, crime and social care.
Instead, the prime minister finds himself on the back foot more than nine months since Britain completed its exit from the European Union - a departure he said would hand the country the freedom to better shape its economy.
He is now faced with an outcry by those unable to fill up their cars with petrol, by retailers who fear there may be shortages of Christmas fare and by gas companies struggling with a spike in wholesale prices.
3rd Alaska hospital institutes crisis protocols
Three Alaska hospitals have now instituted crisis protocols that would allow them to ration care if needed as the state recorded the worst diagnosis rates in the US in recent days.
According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, one person in every 84 in Alaska was diagnosed from September 22 to 29. The next highest rate was one in every 164 people in West Virginia.
Fairbanks Memorial Hospital activated the protocol on Friday because of a critical shortage of bed capacity and staffing, along with the inability to transfer patients to other facilities.
Two other Alaska hospitals, in Anchorage and Bethel, have invoked the same protocol.
Fairbanks Chief Medical Officer Dr. Angelique Ramirez said the decision to move to crisis standards was because of many factors, including community spread caused by the low vaccination rates and a high number of patients waiting to be admitted.
Statewide, 60% of eligible Alaskans are fully vaccinated. The Fairbanks North Star Borough is the third-worst region for vaccination rates in Alaska, with just under 52% of eligible residents vaccinated.