The pilot project is limited to Vienna only and doesn’t apply to the rest of the country.
UK records 157 deaths and 38,351 new cases
The United Kingdom has recorded 157 deaths from Covid-19 and a further 38,351 cases, official data showed.
On a seven-day measure, cases edged up 0.4 percent on the week before while deaths of people who had tested positive for the disease within 28 days were down 7.9 percent.
Italy reports 53 deaths and 8,544 new cases
Italy reported 53 coronavirus-related deaths against 68 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections edged up to 8,544 from 8,516.
Italy has registered 132,739 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.8 million cases to date.
Patients in hospital with Covid-19 – not including those in intensive care – stood at 3,597 on Saturday, up from 3,525 a day earlier.
Singapore reports 2,304 new Covid-19 cases
Singapore has reported 14 additional virus-related deaths and 2,304 new infections.
The country reported 3,099 infections the previous day.
Vietnam welcomes first foreign tourists in nearly 20 months
The first international tourists touched down in Vietnam almost 20 months after the Southeast Asian nation closed its borders to contain the coronavirus.
Two charter flights brought more than 400 South Korean and Japanese fully vaccinated passengers from Seoul and Tokyo to the southern resort city of Nha Trang, state media reported.
Vietnam’s borders had been shut to international visitors since March last year, and there are almost no commercial flights entering the country.
Foreign tourists seeking to enter Vietnam must show Covid-19 vaccination certificates and negative pre-departure coronavirus test results.
Vietnam has clocked more than a million infections and almost 23,000 deaths since the highly transmissible Delta variant took hold in April.
So far, only 32 percent of the population have been fully vaccinated as the country scrambles to secure enough vaccines for its 100 million population.
Russia reports record daily Covid-19 deaths
Russia reported a new record one-day death toll of 1,241 from Covid-19.
The country also logged 39,256 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, compared to 40,123 cases the previous day.
Most of Russia’s 80-plus regions lifted a week-long workplace shutdown at the beginning of the week that was designed to curb a surge in case numbers.
Beijing Olympics venue restricted to 20% capacity over Covid fears
A major Beijing Winter Olympics venue will only let in one-fifth the spectators it normally holds due to Covid-19 fears, Chinese state media reported.
With less than 100 days to go to the Games, China is bracing for a major challenge to its zero-Covid strategy as thousands of international athletes and officials descend on its capital after months of strict border controls.
The National Aquatics Centre, the main curling venue, will allow “no more than 1,000 people” to attend 2022 Winter Olympics events, manager Yang Qiyong told the state-run Global Times in comments published.
All staff at the venue have received booster Covid-19 jabs, and backup personnel will be deployed to “take over if anyone has an epidemic-related problem”, Yang added.
No spectators from outside China will be allowed to attend, and the estimated 2,900 athletes must be fully vaccinated or face 21 days’ quarantine upon arrival. They will also be tested daily.
Merkel urges ‘national effort’ to beat Germany’s virus surge
Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a “national effort” to break a fourth wave of coronavirus that is sweeping Germany and again urged people to get vaccinated.
The EU’s most populous country officially recorded 50,196 new cases over 24 hours to Thursday, the first time the figure has exceeded 50,000.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) health agency reported 45,081 more cases with 228 deaths over the previous 24 hours.
“I am very concerned by the situation,” Merkel said in a weekly podcast.
“We face difficult weeks. We need a national effort…to break the difficult autumn and winter wave of the pandemic.
Infections and deaths have been climbing steeply since mid-October, in an outbreak blamed on Germany’s relatively low vaccination rate of just over 67 percent.
US appeals court affirms hold on Biden’s vaccine mandate
A US appeals court has upheld its decision to put on hold an order by President Joe Biden for companies with 100 or more workers which would require Covid-19 vaccines from their employees, rejecting a challenge by his administration.
A three-member panel of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed its ruling despite the Biden administration’s position that halting implementation of the vaccine mandate could lead to dozens or even hundreds of deaths.
Vaccine mandates are deeply controversial in the United States.
Supporters say they are necessary to put an end to the nearly two-year coronavirus pandemic, while opponents argue they violate the US Constitution and curb individual liberty.
China records 75 new cases
China has reported 75 new cases compared with 98 a day earlier.
Of the new infections, 57 were locally transmitted cases, according to a statement by the National Health Commission, compared with 79 a day earlier.
The northeastern port city of Dalian in Liaoning province accounted for 40 of the new local cases.
China reported 34 new asymptomatic patients, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, one less from a day earlier.
There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll unchanged at 4,636.
Mainland China has 98,174 confirmed coronavirus cases so far.
German liberal FDP back stretching virus debt repayment
The leader of Germany’s Free Democrats (FDP) and the likely future finance minister have said in remarks that he was in favour of stretching the repayment period of coronavirus debt until 2058.
Christian Lindner’s FDP are in talks with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens about forming a coalition government after an election in September narrowly won by the centre-left SPD.
The FDP and Greens are both vying for the finance ministry in the talks, which if concluded successfully would make Olaf Scholz of the SPD chancellor.
Brazil reports 267 deaths
Brazil has had 14,598 new cases and 267 deaths in the past 24 hours.
The South American country has now registered 21,939,196 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 610,491, according to ministry data, in the world’s third worst outbreak outside the United States and India and its second-deadliest.
As vaccination advances, the rolling 14-day average of the deaths has fallen to 240, compared to the toll o f almost 3,000 a day at the peak of the pandemic in April.