The European Commission said on Tuesday it would make sense for the United States to allow travel by people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot in Europe.
On Monday the White House said it would lift restrictions that bar EU citizens from travelling to the United States starting in November. It is not clear which vaccines will be accepted by U.S. authorities.
“We believe the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe,” a spokesperson for the EU Commission told a news conference.
“From our point of view, obviously it would make sense for people who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca to be able to travel.”
The spokesperson noted that this is a decision for U.S. authorities.
The AstraZeneca vaccine was authorized by Health Canada for use in people aged 18 and up in late February. As of Sept. 16, health officials had distributed more than three million doses of the vaccine to the provinces, according to a tracking list published by the federal government.
In the U.S., there are three COVID-19 vaccines that are either fully authorized or approved for emergency use — the two-dose mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna and the single-dose product from Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).
-From The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 7:35 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
Saskatchewan residents were able on Monday to start downloading a digital QR code from their eHealth account showing proof of vaccination.
The province announced last week that proof of vaccination will be required at non-essential businesses — including restaurants, casinos, movie theatres and indoor sports venues — beginning Oct. 1. It won’t be required for civil services, retail or grocery stores, places of worship, hotels or at non-ticketed amateur sporting events.
The government said in a news release that the code — which can be downloaded or printed — replaces the COVID-19 vaccination record that was made available in August but did not include a digital format.
Saskatchewan health officials on Monday reported having 253 people in hospital with COVID-19 — including 56 people in intensive care unit beds. The hospitalization figures represent a record high in the province, which recently announced a policy requiring masks in indoor public spaces.
“We have been very patient — possibly too patient — but the time for patience is over,” Premier Scott Moe said as he announced the restrictions last week.
-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 7:25 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of early Tuesday morning, more than 229.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Vietnamese authorities are relaxing some pandemic restrictions in Hanoi starting Tuesday after two months of lockdown to contain a surge in coronavirus cases.
In the Americas, shortages of masks and gloves that marked the early days of the pandemic have spread to a host of other items needed at medical facilities in the United States, from exam tables and heart defibrillators to crutches and IV poles.
Meanwhile, Washington state’s governor is asking the federal government to provide military personnel to help in staffing hospitals and long-term care facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter made public Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee says that “in Washington state, our hospitals are currently at or beyond capacity, and we need additional assistance at this time.”
Argentina is expected to begin rolling out an economic stimulus package from Tuesday, as centre-left President Alberto Fernandez tries to rev up growth and claw back support after a bruising primary election defeat a week ago.
In the Middle East, health officials in Iran said on Tuesday that 379 people had died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. The country reported 17,564 new cases in the same period.
In Africa, authorities in Burundi have decided to suspend all social events except on Saturdays and Sundays as concerns grow about a rising number of COVID-19 infections.
The country was one of the last in Africa to embrace vaccines after the administration of the late president was accused of taking the pandemic lightly. In a letter to governors and mayors, the chair of the committee in charge of fighting COVID-19 said the limits on gatherings come after authorities realized how such events can spread the virus.
The mayor of Burundi’s economic capital, Bujumbura, is threatening to fine anyone who doesn’t wear a mask or respect physical distancing. The mayor cites a worrying number of COVID-19 patients in the city.
-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 7:30 a.m. ET
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