Beijing tightens Covid rules; New Zealand, Italy, Greece Relax

Chinese authorities are aiming to control an ongoing covid outbreak and are trying a new round of restrictions that stop short of a full lockdown. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the government is opening borders to tourists – and Italy, Greece are relaxing their rules to boost tourism.

The New York Times: Beijing steps up restrictions after Covid outbreak, but no full lockdown

As new coronavirus cases continue to pile up in Beijing, authorities introduced sweeping new restrictions over the weekend while pausing before a full lockdown, a sign of the political and economic challenges of controlling a epidemic in the Chinese capital. As the five-day May Day holiday began on Saturday, local authorities announced a ban on eating in restaurants until Wednesday. They also said that from Thursday, proof of a negative test within the last week would be required to enter public spaces, including public transport. And they ordered the closure of Universal Beijing Resort, one of the city’s top tourist attractions. (Wang, 5/1)

AP: New Zealand welcomes tourists again as pandemic rules eased

New Zealand welcomed tourists from the United States, Canada, Britain, Japan and more than 50 other countries for the first time in more than two years on Monday after dropping most of its pandemic border restrictions remaining. The country has long been renowned for its breathtaking scenery and adventure tourism offerings such as bungee jumping and skiing. Before the spread of COVID-19, more than 3 million tourists visited each year, accounting for 20% of New Zealand’s overseas revenue and more than 5% of the overall economy. But international tourism came to a complete halt at the start of 2020 after New Zealand imposed some of the toughest border restrictions in the world. (Perry, 5/2)

AP: Tourists, rejoice! Italy and Greece ease COVID-19 restrictions

For travelers to Europe, summer vacations just got a whole lot easier. Italy and Greece eased some COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday ahead of Europe’s peak summer tourist season, a sign that life is increasingly returning to normal. Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority has announced that it is lifting all COVID-19 rules for international and domestic flights, except for the wearing of face masks during flights and at airports. Previously, air travelers had to present proof of vaccination, a negative test or a recent recovery from the disease. (Winfield and Nellas, 5/1)

Reuters: South Africa’s Aspen COVID-19 vaccine factory faces closure after no orders, executive says

Africa’s first COVID-19 vaccination factory, touted last year as a pioneer for an undervaccinated continent frustrated by slow Western distributions, is at risk of closing after receiving no orders, an executive said on Saturday. of the company. South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare brokered a licensing deal in November to package and sell Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine and distribute it across Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called the deal a “transformative moment” in the drive to level stark inequalities in access to COVID vaccines. (Roosters, 5/2)

Bloomberg: EU wants central, cross-border digital health space

The European Union wants to make it easier for people to access their prescriptions and health records online, wherever they are in the EU, under new plans to be unveiled next week. The European Commission’s proposal for a European health data space would create a central online system where all EU citizens could access their health data, according to draft internal documents seen by Bloomberg. The proposal could also improve researchers’ and policy makers’ access to data for the development of medicines and health policies. (German, 4/29)

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