Fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to leave the country without a special exemption from 1 November, authorities said on Wednesday, as Australia eases Covid-19 curbs amid a rise in vaccination rates.
* British finance minister Rishi Sunak will try to show that he is moving on from the Covid-19 pandemic on Wednesday when he announces multi-billion-pound investments to help Prime Minister Boris Johnson meet his spending promises to voters.
* Bulgaria’s tally of coronavirus infections has risen by 6 813 in the past 24 hours, a record daily increase as the European Union’s least vaccinated country grapples with a fourth wave of the pandemic, official data showed on Wednesday.
* Spain, which hit the grim milestone of five million cases during the pandemic, will give a booster injection manufactured by Pfizer or Moderna to people who received Johnson Johnson’s single-shot vaccine.
* US consumers, itching for a change of scene after more than a year-and-a-half of constricted pandemic life, are as eager to travel as at any time since Covid-19 sent the world into rolling waves of lockdowns, and now a record number of Americans plan to get out of the country in the next six months.
* Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the state was ending its indoor mask mandate, except for K-12 schools, because of the decline in the growth of new coronavirus infections.
* Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Ed Bastian said travellers should be prepared for initial long lines when the US lifts international travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers on 8 November.
* Mexico added 4 538 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 392 more fatalities on Tuesday, health ministry data showed, bringing the country’s overall death toll from the pandemic to 286 888 and the total number of cases to 3 788 986.
* Mexico’s Grupo Posadas has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a US court, the hotel chain said, after its business was hit by the pandemic.
* Australia’s drugs regulator on Wednesday provisionally approved a booster dose of Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine for people above 18 years old as first-dose vaccination levels in the country’s adult population neared 90%.
* With 100 days until the start of the Winter Olympics, Beijing is promising a “simple and safe” 2022 Games – although preparations are anything but simple as China readies to host thousands of athletes and personnel as it battles Covid-19 flare-ups.
* China reported 59 new confirmed coronavirus cases for 26 October compared with 43 a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Wednesday.
* After two years of stop-start Covid-19 lockdowns Australia is ready to party, but venues from restaurants to sporting stadiums are facing a difficult summer after a huge exodus of holiday workers and foreign students.
Middle East and Africa
* The African Union intends to buy up to 110 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna in an arrangement brokered in part by the White House, which will defer delivery of some doses intended for the US to facilitate the deal, officials told Reuters.
* An expert panel voted overwhelmingly to recommend the US Food and Drug Administration authorise the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, saying the benefits of inoculation outweigh the risks.
* Tech shares slipped and short-term Treasury yields jumped as investors expect inflation to prompt interest rate hikes, with a hotter-than-forecast reading in Australia the latest sign of prices pressuring central bankers to act.
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