BERLIN (Sputnik) - Germany extended its restrictions on entering the country from territories with new COVID-19 variants on Wednesday, which were about to to expire on 27 July, Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
At the moment, those arriving in Germany from a virus variant zone must self-isolate for 14 days. PCR tests are mandatory, in addition to a certificate of vaccination with an EU-approved shot. Arrivals from other at-risk zones face a 10-day quarantine.
"The circumstances make it necessary to extend [the government decree on entry] and such was the cabinet's decision made today", Spahn said at a press conference.
The minister noted that the move aims at preventing a rapid spike of new cases in the country, adding that the authorities and experts are discussing what to do next given current incidence dynamics.
Until the end of June, the country operated under the so-called "emergency brake" mechanism, which allowed setting tougher restrictions in areas with higher infection rates. Spahn stated that due to the high vaccination rates, the infection threshold may be raised. Nevertheless, the government is still preoccupied with keeping incidence rates low through wearing masks, testing, and following social distancing rules.
VIENNA (Sputnik) - Vienna has decided to keep wearing face masks in shops mandatory even after lifting the restriction in the country on 22 July, Mayor Michael Ludwig said on Wednesday.
"It is necessary to continue wearing face masks — when you buy bread, milk, clothes, shoes, furniture or books. In addition to this, wearing masks is compulsory at cultural events in enclosed spaces", Ludwig said.
On Thursday, Austria will lift the compulsory wearing of masks in shops in compliance with the gradual plan of lifting COVID-19 restrictions. However, it will remain necessary to put masks on faces in transport, supermarkets, banks and other public places. According to the federal government, regions can either ease or strengthen restrictive measures if they deem this step necessary.
Although Austria lifted almost all COVID-19 restrictions, the country has been witnessing the rising number of cases since last week. The overall number of people infected with the disease surpassed 654,000, while 10,729 of them died. According to Health Minister Wolfgang Muckstein, the vast majority of new cases were caused by the Delta strain.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is extending its ban on non-essential travel via its land borders with Canada and Mexico until at least 21 August, the US Homeland Security Department (DHS) said on Wednesday.
“These restrictions go into effect at 12 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on July 22, 2021 and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. EDT on August 21, 2021, unless amended or rescinded prior to that time,” DHS said in a notification.
The notification means that the United States will not at present be reciprocating Canada’s move to open its border to vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents, who will be eligible to enter Canada through land borders for recreational purposes beginning on 9 August.
Canadian and Mexican citizens have been barred from entering the United States via the country’s land borders since the inset of the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The first test batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 was produced in Vietnam and some samples will be shipped to Russia's Gamaleya research centre, which developed the vaccine, for quality control, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced on Wednesday.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Health approved the Russian vaccine in March.
"RDIF ... and VABIOTECH, one of Vietnam’s leading pharmaceutical companies, announce the production of a test batch of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus. The first validation samples taken from the produced batch will be shipped to the Gamaleya Center for quality control. RDIF and VABIOTECH are actively implementing the technology transfer", RDIF said in a press release.