Coronavirus News Update – April 3: Florida Attempts to Ban Vaccine Passports, Lockdown in Austria

U.K. Variant Now Dominant in Much of the U.S.

By Anna Breuer on 3 April 2021
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The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, issued an executive order that attempts to ban businesses as well as government agencies from requiring vaccine passports or the equivalent from patrons and customers.  Businesses that violate the order risk losing contracts and grants from the state. The order says that such vaccine passports wouldthe order “reduce individual freedom” and “harm patient privacy,” as well as “create two classes of citizens based on vaccination.”

As of early Saturday morning, the world has crossed the 131 million mark in Covid-19 cases and it has seen almost 2.9 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information.  In addition, 105.6 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year, the world has administered 637 million doses, the equivalent of 8.3 doses for every 100 people as of Wednesday morning, a 0.3 percentage point increase since Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Saturday, over to 101 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.  Almost 40% of the population over the age of 18 – over 101 million people – has received at least a first inoculation, including 57.8 million people, or 22.4% of the same population, who have received both doses. Overall, 16.9% of the population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, a 0.6 percentage point increase over Friday.

Health officials said that the U.K. variant of Covid-19 appears to be the predominant strain in numerous parts of the United States, just as new cases hit a seven-week high on Thursday at 80,000, according to figures from Johns Hopkins.

Bundeskanzler Sebastian Kurz said that Austria would probably order a million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine next week.  Kurz did not say whether the Alpine nation would await Sputnik V’s approval by the European Medicines Agency before using it, however. Only two other EU countries – Hungary and Slovakia – have ordered the vaccine, and only Hungary has administered it.

In guidelines issued Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that ship and port workers be vaccinated against Covid-19 before leisure cruises begin again. The CDC did not, however, say when those voyages might resume.

In California, indoor events will be allowed later this month as Covd-19 conditions continue to improve. The move includes live events and performances albeit with capacity limitations.

Queen Elizabeth II left Windsor Castle for a public engagement for the first time since the start of the pandemic on Wednesday.  The queen marked the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force, saying she was “delighted” to attend the service at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Air Forces Memorial in Runnymede, Surrey.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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