Coronavirus digest: New Zealand suspends travel from India

New Zealand on Thursday said it will temporarily suspend entry for all travelers arriving from India.

The announcement comes after New Zealand recorded 23 new positive COVID cases at its border on Thursday, of which 17 were detected in arrivals from India.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the suspension will begin on Sunday April 11 and will remain in place until April 28.

Ardern said it is the first time New Zealand has suspended travel for its own citizens attempting to return home.

The travel suspension comes as India reported a record 126,789 new COVID cases in a 24-hour period on Thursday, topping the previous record of 115,736 set Wednesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday received his second vaccine shot and urged eligible Indians to get vaccinated to stem the surge in cases.

India’s recent surge in cases is concentrated in the western Maharashtra state, home to Mumbai.

Asia and Oceania

Australia has no plans to alter its rollout of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday — after Europe’s drug regulatory agency found “very rare” links between blood clots and its usage.

“At this point, there is no advice to suggest there would be any change to the rollout of the vaccine,” Morrison told reporters in the nation’s capitol of Canberra.

Morrison’s remarks come as Australian media reported that the UK sent a massive shipment of AstraZeneca doses to Australia.

Japan is considering prioritizing COVID-19 vaccines for athletes taking part in the Summer Olympics and Paralympics, theKyodo news agency reported.

Japan’s vaccination drive is far behind that of many other industrialized nations. Regulators have approved only one vaccine so far, and just 1 million people have received a first dose since February.

However, according to government officials quoted by Kyodo late Wednesday, Tokyo is evaluating the possibility of ensuring all its Olympic and Paralympic athletes are fully vaccinated by the end of June.

The report provoked outrage on social media, with many noting that the original plans prioritized vaccinations for medical workers, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions.


Chile‘s health regulator on Wednesday approved emergency use of the Chinese produced CanSino COVID-19 vaccine as the country moves ahead with its vaccination drive while fighting a surge of new cases.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said at the end of March that he had signed a deal to buy 1.8 million vials of the single-dose vaccine.

CanSino has also been approved for use in China, Mexico, Pakistan and Hungary. It is due to arrive in Chile next month.

Despite having carried out one of the world’s fastest vaccination campaigns, relaxed restrictions and the end of the summer have contributed to the increase in infections.

Venezuela‘s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Wednesday that economic sanctions against the government of President Nicolas Maduro are blocking the nation from acquiring vaccines.

“If Venezuela did not have its resources blocked we would have been able to buy the 30 million vaccines the country needs three months ago,” Arreaza said in an interview with AFP. “As they are blocked, here we are.”

The nation has so far received 250,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, as well as 500,000 of China’s Sinopharm.

Argentina on Wednesday announced new restrictions to fight a second wave of the COVID-19 infections on Wednesday.

Among the measures — set to begin Friday and last for three weeks— are a nightly curfew between midnight and 6 am; the closure of bars and restaurants after 11 pm; and restrictions on family gatherings.

To restrict movements and limit the spread of infections, only workers in essential sectors will be allowed to travel on local public transport.

On Wednesday, Argentina reported a record 22,039 new virus infections. This brings the total caseload to about 2.4 million.

By DW News

IMAGE: Getty Images/B. White

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