Singapore will restrict arrivals from south Africa and countries nearby in an effort to keep out a new Covid-19 variant, its health ministry said in a statement on Friday.
All non-Singaporean or non-permanent residents with recent travel history to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe will be denied entry or transit through Singapore, it said.
The additional border restrictions will apply for four weeks, after which the ministry will review and extend the restrictions if necessary.
Welcome back to our global Covid live coverage.
I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be with you to report on all things coronavirus.
News of the recently identified B.1.1.529 variant has raised concern among scientists and world leaders, with the WHO set to assess its severity and potential impact in a meeting today.
Indian health officials on Friday put states on alert, asking them to carry out “rigorous screening and testing” of travellers who had arrived from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, and to trace and test their contacts.
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan urged all states to ensure that samples from Covid-positive travellers be swiftly sent to genome sequencing labs for testing.
China is continuing to pursue its strict Covid-zero policy in light of three new cases detected in the city of Shanghai.
Hundreds of flights have been cancelled while some schools were shuttered and tour groups suspended, AFP reports. Six Shanghai hospitals have also suspended outpatient services.
- Germany reports another 76,414 Covid cases and 357 deaths, according to data released from the Robert Koch Institute.
- The Netherlands is set to tighten its partial lockdown today to curb soaring Covid cases. Prime minister Mark Rutte is expected to announce new anti-Covid measures which could include closing bars, restaurants and non-essential shops. Police are preparing for possible new riots against the restrictions.
- Portugal is set to bring back Covid vaccination certificates for public spaces including bars, hotels, restaurants and gyms and once again make face masks compulsory indoors, reports Reuters.
- China sees another Covid-19 outbreak with 6 cases in 3 cities in single day after a dinner with friends reportedly led to infections in Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou, all in the country’s east. The source of the fresh outbreak is still being traced, the South China Morning Post reports.
- Hong Kong and Chinese authorities said a meeting on Thursday moved them closer to partially reopening the border between them. Hong Kong’s government said: “Good progress was made in the meeting on exploring the resumption of quarantine-free travel between the mainland and Hong Kong in a gradual and orderly manner.”
- Australia’s border is set to remain open to South Africa despite emergence of new Covid variant. Australia’s health minister, Greg Hunt, said officials were assessing the threat posed by the strain and would not yet introduce restrictions on arrivals from southern Africa.
- South Korean health authorities said a fetus has died of Covid-19 in the first case in the country, Yonhap news reports. A 24-week pregnant woman delivered the stillborn baby Monday, four days after being confirmed to have been infected with Covid-19, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
- India’s daily Covid cases rose by 10,549 and deaths by 488, the nation’s health ministry said.
- France says it plans to give Covid booster shots to all adults but has opted against a further lockdown or curfew to help combat an uptick in infections in the country.
- Ministers are urging millions of Britons to get their Covid booster jab by 11 December to ensure they have “very high protection against Covid by Christmas Day” as new evidence shows the risk of infection increases with the time since the second dose.
- Coronavirus cases are continuing to rise in the UK, recording 47,240 new cases, and 147 more people died. Yesterday there were 43,676 new cases and 149 deaths.
- Brazil registered 303 Covid deaths on Thursday and 12,126 additional cases, according to data released by the nation’s health ministry.
- Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are launching new features to encourage people to get their coronavirus booster jabs. From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.