Coronavirus News Briefing – Oct. 15: Italy’s Vaccine Mandate Enters the Workplace

By Anna Breuer on 15 October 2021
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A country road in northern Italy

A vaccine mandate for all workers – regardless of company size – went into effect Friday in Italy.  Government employees and those in the private sector must have the Certificazione Verde Covid 19, or Green Pass, or be fined and sent home on unpaid leave.  The green pass has been required in restaurants and other indoor venues.  Opponents of the pass tried to rally workers into protesting, but those efforts fizzled as most Italians accept the Certificazione Verde as necessary to combat the pandemic.

In Australia, Sydney will end its mandatory quarantine requirement, albeit only for fully vaccinated international travelers, starting November 1. The move was announced by New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet and comes after 19 months of virtual isolation.

Entry into the country was almost exclusively the province of  citizens and permanent residents who were then required to undergo a mandatory two-week hotel quarantine at their own expense.

“We want people back,” Perrottet told reporters.

As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 240.5 million Covid-19 cases and 4.9 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 217.8 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 86,287, a -22% change.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,818, a change of -8% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has as of Friday recorded over 45.6 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 739,898. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 34 million, and a death toll of 451,906, although experts believe that both numbers are in reality significantly higher.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 602,201, and has seen 21.6 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, 217.9 million people in the United States – or 65.6% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 56.7%, or 188.3million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 405.4 million. Breaking this down further, 78.6% of the population over the age of 18 – or 203 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 68.1% of the same group – or 175.9 million people – is fully vaccinated.

More than 3.73 billion people across the globe  have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a figure that roughly equates to 48.6% of the world’s population, a 0.3 percentage point increase in the past 24 hours. There remains, however, a stark gap between the percentage of individuals vaccinated in more advanced countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where at least 65% of the population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example, where vaccination rates are in the single digits, if not lower.

Figures from the World Health Organization show that well-off countries are vaccinating people at the rate of one person per second, while the majority of poor countries have yet to give a single dose to its citizens.

It is critical that the world do a better job of sharing vaccines with poorer nations.

Sharing vaccines is not merely a form of charity.  Rather, the equitable distribution of vaccines is in every country’s health and economic interest and no country will be able to move past the pandemic until other countries have recovered as well.

Jonathan Spira contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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