Covid-19: Italy introduces quarantine for EU travellers

Author : beritasiang
Publish Date : 2021-03-30 13:41:33

Covid-19: Italy introduces quarantine for EU travellers

The Italian government is to introduce a mandatory five-day quarantine for EU travellers amid a third wave of infections in a number of countries.

Previously, only arrivals from outside the bloc had to self-isolate.

Tuesday's decision comes as new rules requiring all air passengers to Germany to provide a negative coronavirus test come into effect.

Germany remains under a partial lockdown but coronavirus cases continue to rise.

On Tuesday, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced that the country would increase checks on its land borders to ensure compliance with the new rules.

Germany's restrictions on travellers were first announced on Friday as the head of the country's RKI public health institute warned that the number of daily cases could rise to 100,000 if the third wave continues.

New Oxford-AstraZeneca suspensions
In a separate development on Tuesday, the city of Berlin announced it was halting the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab for people under 60 as a "precaution" after 31 cases of blood clots were reported in Germany following vaccinations.

According to German news agency DPA, two hospitals in the capital had already stopped offering the vaccine to women under 55 because of the risk of blood clots.

The news comes after Canada's vaccine committee announced it would stop the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs in people aged 55 and under, pending an investigation into the rare side effects.

Earlier this month, however, the European medicines regulator found that the vaccine was "not associated" with an increased risk of blood clots after a number of countries temporarily halted its rollout. The body also confirmed that the benefits of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine outweighed any risks, after reviewing evidence.

On Tuesday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and his wife Maria Serenella Cappello received their first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, after the country resumed use of the jab.

The EU's rollout of its inoculation programme initially faced delays because of issues with deliveries and production.

Other European travel restrictions
Since Sunday, passengers entering Germany from France have had to submit a negative test and remain in quarantine for 10 days, after German authorities designated the whole of the country a high-risk area.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has joined more than 20 world leaders in calling for a new global settlement to help the world prepare for future pandemics.

In a newspaper article the leaders, including the German chancellor and French president, said Covid posed the biggest challenge since World War Two.

The pandemic has shown "nobody is safe until everyone is safe", they said.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the UK would need a surplus of vaccines before it could export supplies.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph and publications such as Le Monde in France and El Pais in Spain, the 24 leaders argue that a treaty similar to that reached in the wake of World War Two is needed to build cross-border cooperation.

The signatories, who include the head of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: "At that time, following the devastation of two world wars, political leaders came together to forge the multilateral system.

"The aims were clear: To bring countries together, to dispel the temptations of isolationism and nationalism, and to address the challenges that could only be achieved together in the spirit of solidarity and co-operation - namely peace, prosperity, health and security."

France's President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the other leaders said that in the same spirit, countries must now "be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly co-ordinated fashion".

A new treaty would help to establish better systems for alerting people about potential pandemics, they said, while also improving the sharing of data and distribution of vaccines and personal protective equipment.

"There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. The question is not if, but when.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe."

The letter added: "At a time when Covid-19 has exploited our weaknesses and divisions, we must seize this opportunity and come together as a global community for peaceful co-operation that extends beyond this crisis."

Dr David Nabarro, a special envoy on Covid-19 for the WHO, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that without "some kind of special action, the world as a whole will not be vaccinated until well into 2022".

"During that time all sorts of problems with variants will emerge, and so all that leaders are saying is 'this problem is so huge we've got to work together to deal with it'," he added.

While the concept of an international vaccine treaty suggests cosy cooperation, elsewhere there is quite the battle going on between the signatories of this letter over the issue of the blueprints to the new vaccines.

South Africa and India are leading dozens of mainly developing countries seeking a temporary pandemic waiver to global rules protecting the technology and recipes for Covid vaccines.

Without these rules, they say they have the capacity to manufacture more vaccine doses.

Over the past few months, wealthier countries including the UK, the US and the EU have repeatedly blocked a waiver.

The argument is that the pharmaceutical companies have performed well in getting a vaccine into arms within a year, and need to be able to have the incentive of making money out of this innovation in years to come.

The drugs companies say the bottleneck is not the patents, but the ability to manufacture globally.

The big unknown factors here are suggestions that the Biden administration might be about to change sides in this battle for vaccines.

That would mark a stunning change, and leave the UK and the EU under pressure to change tack, or at least to put more flesh on the bones of the goal of this treaty - that the pandemic will not be over until it is over for everyone.

2px presentational grey line
Mr Kwarteng told the programme that making vaccines available to other counties "can happen once we have a surplus of vaccines here in the UK".

"There's still a way to go. We've got to make sure we do everything we can deal with the pandemic and coronavirus in this country," he said.

"But obviously we want to work in the spirit of co-operation as well, and when we do have surpluses we'll be looking to export those, I'm sure."

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