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Daily COVID Tracker: UK to start giving second booster shot

Daily COVID Tracker: UK to start giving second booster shot
March 21
07:59 2022

The UK will on Monday start giving a second booster shot to millions of people who are at a higher risk of COVID-19. Here are five updates about the pandemic this Monday.

North-east China enforces COVID lockdown

China has imposed a stay-at-home order in Jilin, the country’s north-east, as it tries to tackle its biggest COVID-19 outbreak in two years.

Jilin will lock down about 4.5 million inhabitants for three days from Monday night.

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More than 4,000 new infections were reported across China on Sunday, with two-thirds in Jilin province, which borders Russia and North Korea.

Changchun, Jilin province’s capital, said it would also tighten restrictions for three days.

UK to begin giving second booster shot

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The national health service (NHS) in England will on Monday start giving a second COVID vaccine booster shot to people who are at a higher risk of the infection.

Over-75s, care home residents and those who are immunocompromised will be contacted by the NHS and then be able to book an appointment online.

Nikki Kanani, a doctor who is the deputy lead for the NHS vaccination programme, said: “Sadly, we are still seeing large numbers of people seriously unwell in hospital with Covid, so it remains vital that those most at risk come forward when they are invited to do so”.

Hong Kong to ease strict COVID measures from April

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Hong Kong plans to relax some COVID-19 measures next month, lifting a ban on flights from nine countries, reducing quarantine time for arrivals from abroad and reopening schools.

The moves was announced on Monday by Carrie Lam, Hong Kong chief executive.

Lam said the flight ban would be lifted from April 1, while hotel quarantine for arrivals could be cut to seven days from 14 if residents tested negative.

Schools would resume physical classes from April 19, after the Easter holidays while public venues including sports facilities would also reopen from April 21.

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Austria to reintroduce indoor mask mandate

Austria has announced that it will reintroduce an indoor mask mandate.

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“It was simply necessary to take countermeasures now,” Johannes Rauch, the country’s health minister said.

This comes just weeks after Austria lifted its mask mandates in most indoor spaces.

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Starting on Wednesday, FFP2 masks will be required in indoor spaces again, and the government would soon revise the isolation rules for infected people.

Rauch said experts have corrected forecasts for the trajectory of the virus and that officials were concerned about staffing and the availability of beds in hospitals and retirement and nursing homes.

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Some US states closing COVID testing sites

Some US states will close mass COVID-19 testing sites in the coming weeks, despite concerns among some public health experts that the US may be unprepared for a new wave of cases.

New Hampshire closed all state-run sites on Tuesday. Massachusetts will reportedly have closed a majority by April 1. South Carolina has been gradually closing them this month; Utah has been doing so since February.

State health departments have cited sharp drops in demand for testing as a critical factor in their decisions, as well as a significant improvement in the availability of at-home rapid tests and decline in daily cases and hospitalisations, which have been recorded in nearly every state.

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