U.S. Warns on U.K., Indonesia Travel as Cases Rise: Virus Update

The U.S. warned citizens to not travel to the U.K. and Indonesia amid a rise in Covid-19 infections in the two nations. It lowered the advisory for India, telling citizens to reconsider travel.

Fully vaccinated U.S. residents will be allowed into Canada as of Aug. 9, according to a plan unveiled Monday in Ottawa. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser for the pandemic, said the administration is “practically pleading” with Americans to get inoculated. In Texas, the second-most populous U.S. state, virus-related hospitalizations topped 3,000 for the first time in more than three months.

South Africa vaccinated a record 223,969 people against Covid-19 on Monday, indicating that its inoculation program has overcome disruptions from widespread rioting last week.

Many Unvaccinated Cops in Omaha, Nebraska (5:30 a.m. HK)

In Omaha, Nebraska, 27% of city firefighters and 41% of police officers remain unvaccinated, according to records obtained by the Omaha-World Herald. The city government doesn’t require its employees to get vaccinated.

U.S. Travel Warnings (4:45 p.m. NY)

The U.S warned citizens not to travel to the U.K. and Indonesia, two nations that are seeing a jump in Covid infections. The State Department raised its advisory for both countries to Level 4, or do not travel, from Level 3, or reconsider travel.

India, where infections are still hovering near 40,000 a day but are a fraction of the highs in May, had its advisory lowered to Level 3 from Level 4.

Texas Hospitalizations Surge Most Since April (3:54 p.m. NY)

Virus hospitalizations in Texas topped 3,000 for the first time in more than three months, state health department figures showed.

Medical facilities across the Lone Star state said 3,046 beds were occupied by virus patients, the most since April 12, according to the health department. The hospital tally has been rising for 17 straight days, the longest upward streak since November.

Despite the surge, there were still almost 11,000 available hospital beds and more than 700 open intensive-care spots.

N.J.’s Murphy Touts Effectiveness of Vaccines (3:30 p.m. NY)

New Jersey has reported 31 deaths among the 4,432,769 individuals who were fully vaccinated as of June 28. Though the fatalities were tragic, Governor Phil Murphy said, they showed that as complete doses, the vaccines are 99.9993% effective at preventing death.

In all, 3,474 “breakthrough” cases were reported, demonstrating 99.92% overall efficacy, Murphy said at a Trenton virus update. Among those, 84 people required hospitalization, for a 99.998% rate of keeping individuals from becoming in-patients.

Those who died typically had conditions, including weakened immune systems, that made them more vulnerable to Covid-19, according to Ed Lifshitz, a physician and medical director of the state Health Department. One individual, the recipient of a donor organ, was particularly susceptible, and the governor said her family “wanted me to make the point that transplantees are in a pretty unique category,” Murphy said.

Lifshitz urged those who haven’t been vaccinated to do so for broad benefit. “You’re protecting not only yourself — you’re helping to protect those people for whom the vaccines may not work as well,” he said.

S. Africa Has Record Vaccinations After Riots (3:30 p.m. NY)

South Africa vaccinated a record 223,969 people against Covid-19 on Monday, indicating that its inoculation program has overcome disruptions from widespread rioting last week. Daily vaccinations last week fell to as low as about 137,000 as the administering of the shots was disrupted in Gauteng and brought to a virtual halt in KwaZulu-Natal, the province worst hit by the violence.

Canada to Allow Vaccinated U.S. Visitors (2 p.m. NY)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government presented a road map to reopening Canada’s borders to non-essential international travel by the beginning of September.

Fully vaccinated U.S. residents will be allowed into Canada as of Aug. 9, according to a plan unveiled Monday in Ottawa. Tourists will need to provide border officials with proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test completed before arrival. They will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine and two post-arrival coronavirus tests.

CDC Advises Americans to Avoid Travel to U.K. (1:40 p.m. NY)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its advisory on the U.K. to level 4 due to “very high” Covid rates and advised Americans to avoid travel there, BBC reports.

Florida Congressman Tests Positive (12:01 p.m, NY)

Florida Representative Vern Buchanan says he has tested positive for Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated earlier this year.

The top Republican on the Ways and Means subcommittee on trade said in a statement he was tested after experiencing flu-like symptoms and is now quarantining at his home.

U.K. Limits Shots to Most Vulernable Kids (12:01 p.m. NY)

Only the most vulnerable children and those living with at-risk adults will receive Covid-19 vaccinations in the U.K., the government said Monday, ruling out a broader program due to fears over rare side effects.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be offered to 12 to 15-year-olds with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, immunosuppression and profound learning disabilities, as well as children aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person, officials said. It will also be offered to healthy 17-year-olds within three months of their 18th birthday.

The decision puts the U.K. on a different path than countries including the U.S. and France. The British position is driven by fears of rare cases of myocarditis — an inflammation of the heart muscle — and pericarditis — an inflammation of membranes around the heart — in younger people who have had the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

NYC Has No Plans to Change Mask Rules (11:45 a.m. NY)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he has no plans to renew indoor mask mandates despite a spike in cases stemming from the delta Covid-19 variant and a move by Los Angeles to again require residents to wear masks inside.

The seven-day average Covid-19 positivity rate in the city jumped to 1.69% on Saturday, more than double the percentage of residents who tested positive from last month. The delta variant makes up 69% of cases sequenced, Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said at the mayor’s daily briefing.

Florida’s DeSantis Rips Vaccine Experts (11:30 a.m. NY)

Governor Ron DeSantis said Florida’s spike in positive test results is part of the cyclical nature of the coronavirus. He also suggested the problem lay not with people who were refusing to get Covid-19 vaccines, but with those trying to persuade unvaccinated people to get the shots.

“I do not agree with some of these people, some of these ‘experts’ who lambast people and criticize them or say they’re stupid or something. That’s not the way to reach folks,” the Republican governor said at a press briefing.

“Now you’re in a situation where you have folks who may be skeptical of it. Understand, if you’re communicating, you don’t want to say things that are going to cause them to retreat even further. And I’m sorry, there’s been a lot of misinformation and a lot of bad advice that’s been given by some of these experts over the last year. People saw that, they remember all this stuff. Have a little humility when you’re trying to carry that message. Understand there are some people that may have qualms,” DeSantis said.

Malaysia Eases Curbs With Vaccine Ramp-Up (8:27 a.m. NY)

Malaysia eased virus protocols following the speeding up of the nation’s vaccine rollout, Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Yaakob Sabri announced on Monday.

Office attendance in the public sector will be raised to 40% to boost productivity, and accounting services will be allowed to operate with 60% capacity, he said. Business hours for daily and wet markets will be extended from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ports, airports and logistics sectors can operate 24 hours, according to the statement.

Malaysia aims to fully vaccinate all its adult population by October, the country’s prime minister said on Sunday.

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