Brazil had 98,832 new cases of coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours and 2,495 deaths, the health ministry said on Friday, Reuters reports.
The South American country has now registered 17,801,462 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 498,499, according to ministry data.
Canada extending a ban on non-essential travel with the US and the rest of the world until July 21 has triggered frustration from businesses and US legislators.
“The inability of the U.S. and Canadian governments to reach an agreement on alleviating border restrictions … is simply unacceptable,” said U.S. Representatives Brian Higgins and Bill Huizenga, co-chairs of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group.
Harley Finkelstein, president of Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc, tweeted the extended border closure was the wrong decision.
“We need to open the border for fully vaccinated travellers immediately,” Reuters reports.
US president Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris have urged Americans to get Covid-19 vaccines on Friday, as the country looks likely to miss the White House’s goals for vaccination next month.
At the current pace, the US seems unlikely to hit Biden’s goal of 70 percent of adults receiving at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by July 4, the Independence Day holiday. As of Friday, around 65.1 percent of people had gotten at least one jab and that mark has increased by less than one percentage point over the past two weeks, Reuters reports.
Uganda’s president Yowreri Museveni has introduced sweeping new anti-coronavirus measures including a ban on all vehicular movement except for essential workers to help curb a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Reuters reports.
“The country has seen a more aggressive and sustained growth of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Museveni said. He said the daily number of people testing positive has jumped to over 1,700 from less than 100 just three weeks ago. “We are experiencing very high hospitalization rates and deaths for COVID-19 patients among all age categories.” In new measures to curb the pandemic, he banned movement of both public and private vehicles except those transporting patients and those used by essential workers like health workers. An existing curfew that began at 9 p.m. was brought forward to 7 p.m. while venues like busy shopping centers, churches and sports arenas were closed. The new restrictions will last 42 days, Museveni said. To date, Uganda has registered a total of 68,778 Covid-19 cases and 542 deaths.
Bolivia striker Marcelo Martins has been banned for one game and fined $20,000 by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) after criticising the organisation for hosting the Copa America in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic.
Martins was one of three Bolivia players who tested positive for COVID-19 on the eve of their 3-1 opening loss to Paraguay, Reuters reports.
He missed the game and posted some sharp words on social media about CONMEBOL*s last-minute decision to host the tournament in Brazil, a nation that has seen almost 500,000 people die from the virus.
“Thanks for this CONMEBOL,” Martins wrote on Instagram. “All the blame is totally yours. If someone died what are you going to do??? The only thing that*s important to you is MONEY. Is a player*s life worth nothing?”
He took down the comments and apologised but CONMEBOL banned the 34-year old from Bolivia’s next game against Chile on Friday.
Since Martins made the comments two more Bolivia players have tested positive for Covid-19.
Brazil’s health ministry said 27 players and officials have tested positive for coronavirus so far.
German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron have urged caution in allowing fans to crowd Euro 2020 stadiums while the coronavirus pandemic still posts major risks, AFP reports.
“We can’t act as if corona were over” despite dropping infection rates in much of Europe, Merkel told reporters when asked about plans for the upcoming matches.
“You can see based on the example of Lisbon how quickly things can change,” referring to a recent resurgence of Covid-19 cases in the Portuguese capital.
She noted that fully vaccinated people were still in the minority in most European countries “which is why caution is still necessary”.
Merkel said that applied in particular to “big events”.
“In Munich for example you had 14,000 fans (for the Germany-France match on Tuesday)“ under strict hygiene rules, she said.
“But when I see fully packed stadiums in other European countries, I am a little sceptical whether that is the right thing in the current situation.”
Prime minister Mario Draghi has urged Italians to get fully vaccinated against coronavirus, acknowledging that a government decision to ban AstraZeneca doses for people aged over 60 had created confusion.
The government unexpectedly restricted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week following the death of a teenager who had developed blood clots after receiving a first dose, Reuters reports.
Italy’s medicine agency AIFA said on Monday that those aged under 60 who had received a first dose of AstraZeneca could be given a different vaccine when they got their second dose.
However, officials have said the vaccination campaign saw a drop off in numbers over the past week, with many people apparently worried about mixing shots.
Draghi said he himself would be getting a different type of vaccine next week after tests showed that he had developed few antibodies after receiving an initial AstraZeneca shot in March.
Netherlands to ease restrictions next week
Face masks will mostly no longer be required across the Netherlands and other restrictions will ease from next week, after a drop in Covid-19 cases, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.
Most limits on group sizes will also be lifted from June 26, as long as people can keep at least 1.5 metres (5 ft) apart, he told a news conference. Reuters reports. No new limits will be set on the number of guests allowed in stores, bars and restaurants, Rutte said, as long as they keep their distance, or show that they have been vaccinated or have a negative test. People will still need to wear masks on public transport and in airports, where distancing is not possible.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) cancelled a deal on Friday to receive soon-to-expire Covid-19 vaccines from Israel after an initial Israeli shipment showed an expiration date sooner than had been agreed, the PA health minister said.
Israel and the PA announced a vaccine swap deal earlier on Friday that would have seen Israel send up to 1.4 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses to the PA, in exchange for receiving a reciprocal number of doses from the PA later this year, Reuters reports.
The doses were due to “expire soon”, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said in a statement announcing the deal. The PA said they had been “approved in order to speed up the vaccination process” in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
“They told us the expiration date was in July or August, which would allow lots of time for use,” PA Health Minister Mai Alkaila said.
“But (the expiration) turned out to be in June. That’s not enough time to use them, so we rejected them,” she said.
The PA cancelled the deal over the date issue, a PA spokesman said, and sent the initial shipment of around 90,000 doses back to Israel.