Vaccinated Travelers Will Be Allowed to Visit -European Union
The European Union agreed on Wednesday to reopen its borders to visitors who have been fully vaccinated with an approved shot and to those coming from a list of countries considered safe from a coronavirus perspective, permitting broader travel just in time for the summer tourism season.
Ambassadors from the 27 member states of the European Union endorsed a plan that would allow visits from tourists and other nonessential travelers, who have been mostly barred from entering the bloc for more than a year.
The move has been seen as an economic imperative for tourism-dependent countries such as Greece and Spain, and it has been months in the works. Other E.U. nations that are less reliant on tourists for jobs and income, particularly in northern Europe, had been eager to maintain higher barriers for nonessential visitors to keep the coronavirus at bay. But they relented as vaccinations advanced and after they were promised the ability to reverse course if cases surge again.
The new rules are set to become formal policy next week after clearing some bureaucratic hurdles, and, depending on how well each country has prepared to welcome tourists, could be implemented immediately. Some countries, like Greece, have already said that they will remove testing and quarantine requirements for vaccinated visitors. But most countries are likely to implement such changes more slowly and conservatively.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, the bloc’s executive, outlined the measures in an interview with The New York Times in April. The formalization of freer international travel for vaccinated people will deepen the divide between the majority of countries that still have extremely limited access to the lifesaving shots and the few richer nations that do. That is likely to sharpen the debate about how to improve equitable access to vaccines around the world.
Under the E.U. plan, the bloc would accept visitors who have completed their immunization at least two weeks before their arrival, using one of the shots approved by its own regulator or by the World Health Organization. That covers the vaccines from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm, according to a draft of the rules seen by The New York Times. That would open the door to immunized Americans, who have been receiving shots from Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer.
Travelers who have not been vaccinated but who are coming from a list of safe countries would also be allowed to visit for nonessential reasons, such as leisure and business. That list, drafted on the basis of epidemiological criteria and updated regularly, will be finalized on Friday.
The draft of the criteria seen by The Times indicated that the list would include nations whose “Covid notification rate” — or the number of new cases recorded over the previous 14 days per 100,000 people — is below 75. Travelers from those nations could still be required to show a negative PCR test to be allowed to enter the European Union.
And individual E.U. states would retain the freedom to tweak the measures if they wanted to take a more conservative approach, meaning that some countries could retain demands for negative PCR tests or quarantines for certain visitors.
The draft document of the rules indicated that children would not be required to be vaccinated when traveling with vaccinated parents but that they might be asked to show a negative PCR test conducted no more than 72 hours before arrival.
The bloc would also maintain an emergency brake option, a legal tool that would allow it to quickly snap back to more restrictive travel conditions if a threatening variant or other Covid emergency emerged.
Europeans will be furnished with digital certificates that will be readable across the bloc sometime in June. The European Union ultimately wants to bridge its own certificates with those issued by the national authorities in partner countries such as the United States, but that goal could be far off.
For visitors from outside the European Union, the draft document of the rules says, “Member states should be able to accept third country certificates containing at least the minimum data set based on national law, taking into account the ability to verify the authenticity, validity and integrity of the certificate and whether it contains all relevant data.”
That, too, would give border authorities in each E.U. country leeway to accept or reject a vaccination certificate based on whether it looks authentic and contains the information needed.
COVID-19 Quarantine: 18% in-bound passengers not traceable — Sanwo-Olu
By Gistflash News
July 12, 2021
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says 18 per cent of passengers that arrived Lagos through Murtala Mohammed Airport cannot be traced for COVID-19 quarantine.
Sanwo-Olu made this known on Sunday in the update of the coronavirus pandemic situation in Lagos State.
He said that between May 8, 2021 and July 7, 2021, a total of 50,322 passengers of interest arrived in Lagos via the Murtala Mohammed Airport.
”Of the 50,322 passengers, 18 per cent could not be reached by EKOTELEMED because of the provision of either wrong numbers or wrong Nigerian contact details to be reached on,” the Chief Incident Commander said.
He said that it was the responsibility of passengers to ensure they provided the right details for them to be reached for proper monitoring.
”Going forward, passengers that do not provide the right details, including a phone number they can be reached for monitoring and an address for isolation, will face serious sanctions, including fines and imprisonment according to our Lagos State Coronavirus Law of 2021.
”As dictated by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC), passengers from red-listed countries (India, South Africa, Brazil and Turkey) are required to observe mandatory isolation.
”So far, we have successfully isolated 2,386 passengers in Lagos State. Of this number, 15 per cent have absconded,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He said that sanctions were being recommended and had already been meted out to defaulters.
The governor said that the sanctions for foreigners were revocation of their Permanent Residency and deportation; while for Nigerians were prosecution to the full extent of the Lagos State COVID-19 Law.
He also said that greater vigilance was required at this time in the churches and mosques and other places of religious worship.
Sanwo-Olu said that the state was pleased that religious houses were now open for worship, after the lengthy closures of 2020, however, worshippers must not be carried away by the illusion that all was now back to normal.
”This is especially critical, as Sallah approaches, in a little over a week from now.
”The festivities will no doubt bring people together in large numbers and create conditions that can sadly cause the spread of the coronavirus. We must not allow this to happen.
”For this reason, we are mandating full compliance with all protective protocols.
”There must be compulsory use of masks in all public places, social distancing, temperature checks, provisions for hand-washing and sanitisers, and a maximum of 50 per cent occupancy in enclosed spaces,” he said.
COVID-19 taskforce uncovers Delta variant in Oyo State
By Gistflash News
July 12, 2021
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on July 8 confirmed the index case of the deadly Delta variant in Nigeria.
NCDC confirms deadly Delta variant of COVID-19 in Nigeria
By Gistflash News
July 9, 2021
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has detected a confirmed case of the SARS-CoV-2, known as the Delta variant in Nigeria.
The NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Abuja.
NAN reports that the deadly Delta variant is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a variant of concern.
The WHO said that the Delta variant was ‘dangerous’ and continued to evolve and mutate, and thus requiring constant evaluation and careful adjustment of the public health response.
Ihekweazu said the variant was detected in a traveller to Nigeria, following the routine travel test required of all international travelers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.
“As part of Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, NCDC has been working with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) and other laboratories within the national network to carry out genomic sequencing.
”This is to enable the detection of variants of concern and initiate response activities.
“All data on variants from Nigeria have been published on GISAID, a global mechanism for sharing sequencing data.
”Given the global risk of spread of the Delta variant, positive samples from international travelers to Nigeria are sequenced regularly.
“The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has initiated several measures to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19.
”This includes the introduction of travel restrictions for countries where there is a surge in cases associated with widespread prevalence of variants of concern.
“The national travel protocol which includes compulsory seven-day self-isolation and repeat test on the seventh day after arrival, are in place to reduce the risk of spread of the virus.
”It is very important that this is strictly adhered to, to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria,” he explained.
Given the high transmissibility of the Delta variant and following its detection in Nigeria, the NCDC boss urged all Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to public health and social measures in place.
“Proven public health and social measures such as physical distancing, frequent hand washing and proper use of face masks prevent infections and save lives.
”The COVID- 19 vaccine is safe and effective and offers protection against the disease,” he advised.
Additionally, he urged states to ensure sample collection and testing for COVID-19 was accessible to Nigerians.
“Public settings such as schools with accommodation facilities, workplaces and camps should utilise the approved Antigen-based Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for rapid testing of their population,” he added.
He said although Nigeria had seen a low number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria in the last eight weeks, it is incredibly important that we do not forget to be careful.
“Please protect yourselves and the people you love by adhering to the known public health and social measures, getting vaccinated if you are eligible and getting tested if you have symptoms.”
The NCDC boss said the recommended control measures to limit the spread of the new variant was continued testing, following the existing public health guidance and abiding by the current travel and public restrictions.
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