Italy’s vaccination campaign is gathering speed. The country is considering the possibility of letting citizens receive second shots while on holiday.
Europe’s third-largest economy has accelerated its vaccination campaign, with more than 500,000 shots given per day. This means most second doses are scheduled for August, when most Italians are on holiday.
While regional and national authorities debate the logistics of such a step, allowing shots away from home would boost the country’s battered tourism industry.
COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective even after the first dose, according to a large-scale study by the Italian National Institute of Health.
Infections, hospitalizations and deaths all declined significantly about 14 days after the first shot. After 35 days, infections were 80 percent lower than among those who had not received a dose, while hospitalizations were 90 percent lower and deaths 95 percent lower.
More than 7 million Italians who had received at least one vaccine dose between Dec. 27 last year and April 4 were surveyed. Two-thirds were given the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine, while 29 percent received AstraZeneca PLC’s shot.
A health travel pass in the EU could be available from about June 20, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune said in an interview yesterday on Europe 1 radio.
The pass would show either proof of vaccination against COVID-19, immunity due to past infection or the result of a negative polymerase chain reaction test.
France would implement its own health pass from June 9 for major gatherings of more than 1,000, Beaune said.
In the UK, which is allowing leisure travel to resume from today, the spread of the Indian variant could threaten the final phase of lockdown easing set for June 21, British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said.
Meanwhile, a cyclone is set to hit the western coast of India, prompting authorities already grappling with a deadly second virus wave to begin evacuating citizens.
Cyclone Tauktae is expected to make landfall on Tuesday morning in the southern districts of Gujarat, with wind speeds touching 175km per hour, the India Meteorological Department said.
Authorities in Mumbai have already moved hundreds of COVID-19 patients to other facilities.
‘UNPRECEDENTED’: Taiwan’s envoy said that official wording framing Taiwan-China issues as not about unification or independence counters the narrative Beijing wants Use of the phrase “democratic Taiwan” by Germany’s new coalition government in official document shows that Taiwan-China issues are not about “independence” against “unification,” but about democracy against authoritarianism, Representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said yesterday. Germany’s Social Democratic Party, Free Democratic Party and the Greens — known as the “traffic light coalition” for their colors — on Wednesday inked a coalition agreement following elections on Sept. 26. The agreement, a blueprint for their governance for the next four years, mentions “Taiwan,” which is unprecedented, showing that the new German government is paying close attention to cross-strait peace and supports Taiwan’s
BIDEN NOD: A China watcher said that the inclusion of Taiwan is notable, as it is the only democratic state on the list that Washington does not officially recognize Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) and Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) are to attend the US-led Summit for Democracy on Dec. 9 and 10, the government said yesterday, after US President Joe Biden announced the list of guests for the virtual event. The US Department of State on Tuesday announced a list of 110 invited participants, including Taiwan, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan and the UK. China and Russia were not invited, and Beijing expressed anger at the decision to invite Taiwan. The summit is to revolve around three key themes: Defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting
China said it would punish businesses and political donors with links to individuals supporting Taiwanese independence after it fined Taiwanese conglomerate Far Eastern Group (遠東集團). “Businesses and financial sponsors associated with supporters of Taiwan independence will be penalized according to law,” Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) told reporters on Monday, according to a statement from her agency. Zhu said that backers of independence undermine cross-strait relations and risk instability in the region. Zhu made the remark as she responded to a question about whether the punishment Far Eastern received earlier on Monday was connected to China’s efforts to sanction Taiwanese
‘REMAIN VIGILANT’: The CECC said that the COVID-19 situation in neighboring countries is still severe, so it is not considering easing border controls at this point About 35,500 rooms are expected to be available at quarantine hotels and centralized quarantine facilities for Taiwanese returning to the nation from abroad between Dec. 14 and Feb. 14, up from 29,600 rooms announced previously, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) early this month said 26,000 rooms were available at quarantine hotels and that the CECC planned to make 3,600 rooms available at government quarantine facilities. The center announced the capacity expansion at an inter-ministerial meeting on COVID-19 prevention at the Executive Yuan yesterday morning. The CECC told the meeting that COVID-19 cases