- ‘Out of control’: Saskatchewan doctors say record reported COVID-19 death toll in October sign of dire situation.
Australia’s biggest city will lift more COVID-19 curbs for vaccinated residents ahead of schedule next week, while delaying freedoms it has promised for unvaccinated Sydneysiders as officials aim to boost inoculations.
Vaccinated people in the harbour city of around five million will be allowed unlimited numbers of guests in their homes from Nov. 8. Pubs and clubs will also be able to accommodate more guests and reopen dance floors, in changes that were initially planned to come into force on Dec. 1.
According to health officials in the state of New South Wales, where Sydney is located, more than 93 per cent of people aged 16 and up have had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. More than 88 per cent of people in that age group are fully vaccinated.
Australia has seen a total of 173,165 confirmed cases and 1,756 deaths since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker.
Meanwhile, Sydney’s international airport came alive with tears, embraces and laughter on Monday as the country opened its border for the first time in 20 months, with some arriving travellers removing mandatory masks to see the faces of loved ones they’ve been separated from for so long.
Australia and other countries in the Asia-Pacific have had some of the world’s strictest COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures and travel restrictions, but with vaccination rates rising and cases falling, many are now starting to cautiously reopen.
Traveller Carly Boyd seized the opportunity presented by the new Australian regulations to jump on the first flight home from New York to surprise her parents, whom she said she hadn’t seen in three years.
“Just being able to come home without having to go to quarantine is huge,” she told reporters at Sydney’s airport.
-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 7:20 a.m. ET
What’s happening in Canada
What’s happening around the world
As of early Tuesday morning, more than 247.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than five million.
In the Americas, Brazil registered 98 new COVID-19 deaths on Monday, according to data released by the Health Ministry, the lowest daily number since April 2020.
The United States is rolling out Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 this week, but most of the 15 million shots being shipped initially are unlikely to be available before next week, the White House said.
In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates has approved for emergency use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 5-11, the health ministry said in a statement carried by state media.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan on Tuesday confirmed plans to gradually ease COVID-19 border restrictions, but fell short of calls from business lobbies to open up the country in line with its major trading partners.
In Africa, South Africa on Monday reported 106 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths.
In Europe, Russia’s daily COVID-19 death toll rose to a record high of 1,178 on Tuesday amid a surge that has forced officials to re-impose a partial lockdown nationwide. The government coronavirus task force also reported 39,008 new infections in the last 24 hours, including 5,736 in Moscow.
Latvia has received shipments of emergency medical equipment from the Netherlands, Finland, Hungary and Sweden as it fights the worst surge in new COVID-19 cases in the European Union amid a low take-up of vaccinations.
-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 7:25 a.m. ET