Welcome back to our Covid blog where we’ll bring you all the latest news surrounding the evolving coronavirus crisis.
I’m Samantha Lock reporting to you from Sydney, Australia. Here’s just a quick guide on what you might have missed earlier.
A damning report to come out of the UK has lambasted the NHS test and trace system, saying it failed to achieve “its main objective” to cut infection levels and aid in returning to life as normal.
The initiative was handed an “eye-watering” £37bn in taxpayers’ cash but ultimately “has not achieved its main objective to help break chains of Covid-19 transmission and enable people to return towards a more normal way of life,” the Commons spending watchdog has said.
At the time of its launch, Boris Johnson claimed the programme would be “world-beating” but the watchdog says its aims had been “overstated or not achieved”. The funding - equal to about 20% of the health service’s entire annual budget - was used to hire more than 2,000 consultants who were employed on rates of more than £1,000 a day, the report by the public accounts committee (PAC) found.
- The Covid-19 crisis is far “far from finished”, the World Health Organization’s emergency committee has said. The 19-member committee, which meets every three months to discuss the pandemic and make recommendations, also called for research into next-generation vaccines and long-term action to control the virus.
- Vaccine booster rates are now exceeding first-shot rates across the US, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- In Thailand, businesses are pleading with the government to drop the nation’s current alcohol ban when the country reopens, saying it will deter tourists.
- China has locked down a city of 4m over 6 Covid cases. Residents in Lanzhou, Gansu, have been told to stay at home as buses, taxis and key rail routes are suspended.
- FDA advisers recommend approval of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for children aged 5-11. it will be the first vaccine available for younger children in the US. The nearly unanimous vote clears the way for possible approval for emergency use next month, making nearly 30m children eligible.
- Pregnant women are being turned away from Covid vaccine clinics despite clinical advice, experts have warned as they urged ministers to ramp up efforts to reach unvaccinated groups.
- The UK recorded 40,954 new Covid cases today and 263 more people have died, official figures show.
- A Brazilian Senate committee recommended on Tuesday that president Jair Bolsonaro face a series of criminal indictments for actions and omissions related to the world’s second highest Covid-19 death toll. The 7-to-4 vote was the culmination of a six-month committee investigation of the government’s handling of the pandemic.
- No exemptions are to be given for unvaccinated tennis players travelling from overseas for the Australian Open, the state’s premier has said. Players like Novak Djokovic has repeatedly refused to reveal his vaccination status.
- Fully vaccinated Australians will no longer have to apply for travel exemptions to leave the country, as Australia prepares to ease its international borders from 1 November.
- Australia could hit the 80 per cent full Covid-19 vaccination mark within a week.
- Russia, Bulgaria and the Ukraine all reported a record number of daily deaths on Tuesday. Russia reported 1,106 deaths in 24 hours, the most since the start of the pandemic bringing the total death toll to 232,775, Europe’s highest by far. Sluggish vaccination rates have allowed the virus to spread quickly across Eastern Europe.
- Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene has been fined for the third time for refusing to wear mask on House floor.