Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: Doctors warn on Australian vaccine hesitancy
Australia’s peak medical body on Thursday warned the country’s residents were “sitting ducks” for COVID-19, as business leaders call for the international border to be reopened faster despite a sluggish national vaccination drive. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) said it was worried many Australians were delaying getting vaccinated because of the country’s success in stamping out the virus, and urged authorities to roll out a more effective advertising campaign.
Australia’s federal government budget assumes vaccination of the country’s 20 million adult population will be completed by the end of year. The rollout has speeded up in recent weeks – around a third of the 3.3 million doses administered so far were given in the last three weeks – but remains behind many other developed nations. FB, Twitter in Singapore ordered to carry correction notice
Singapore on Thursday ordered Facebook and Twitter to carry a correction notice to users of the social media platforms in the country over what it says is a false statement about a new virus variant originating in Singapore. The ministry of health said it was aware of the statement circulating online on media outlets and social media platforms, which implied that a new, previously unknown variant of COVID-19 originated in Singapore and risked spreading to India from the city-state.
The move came after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a Twitter post this week that a new form of the virus that was particularly harmful to children was present in Singapore, and urged for a ban on flights. Both the Singapore and Indian governments have criticised the opposition politician, saying his comments were not based on facts and were “irresponsible”. U.S. weighs changes to COVID-19 travel restrictions
The Biden administration has been weighing changes to sweeping travel restrictions that bar much of the world’s population from coming to the United States, but has reached no decisions, government and industry officials told Reuters. Ambassadors from the 27 European Union countries on Wednesday approved a European Commission proposal from May 3 to loosen the criteria to determine “safe” countries and to let in fully vaccinated tourists from elsewhere, EU sources said.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told a news conference on Wednesday that any decision to lift restrictions “ultimately is a public health decision and there is an interagency process and obviously the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)” is taking a leading role. Pfizer vaccine can be stored in fridge for month, U.S. says
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized storage of Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine at standard freezer temperatures for up to one month, in an effort to make the vaccine more widely available. Unopened, thawed vials of the vaccine can be stored in a refrigerator at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius for up to a month, up from a previous maximum limit of five days.
The change is especially important for remote facilities that have poor transport and storage infrastructure. COVID-19 sends Japan’s lonely workers home
Solo assignments have been a regular duty for hundreds of thousands of white collar workers since at least Japan’s recovery from wartime devastation, becoming a crucial step in career progression despite their unpopularity among many workers. But as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, Japan’s firms are deciding to bring their far-flung workers home, making a start in ending the long-established practice.
“My kids are happy about it because we can play together, but my wife says she’ll find it hard to relax if I am around the house all the time,” said 44-year-old IT engineer Tsuyoshi Tatebayashi. (Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editng by Lincoln Feast.)