Coronavirus update, Sept. 21, 2021: US eases travel restrictions for EU countries

After a year of tough restrictions, travelers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil, and most of Europe can fly to the US from Nov. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 21.09.2021 10:02:00 (updated on 21.09.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

US eases travel restrictions for visitors from Europe

US President Joe Biden announced yesterday that the US will begin allowing fully vaccinated air travelers from 33 countries, who have undergone Covid testing and agree to contact tracing, to enter its territory. The change comes after a year of tough restrictions that applied to tourists from the European Union and Britain.

Travelers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil, and most of Europe (the 26 Schengen countries) will be permitted to travel to the US from November. According to the BBC, the move answers a major demand from European allies and means that families and friends separated by the restrictions can be reunited.

The current rules bar entry for most non-US citizens who have been in the UK and a number of other European countries, as well as China, India, South Africa, Iran, and Brazil within the last 14 days. Under the new rules, foreign travelers will need to show proof of vaccination before flying, obtain a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of traveling, and provide their contact information. Quarantine will not be required.

White House officials said there would be some exceptions to the new policy, including for children who are not eligible for vaccination. Whether the new rules apply only to US-approved vaccines was not clarified but a spokesperson said this would be determined by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Slovak archbishop infected with Covid during Pope's visit

Presov Archbishop Jan Babjak, the top dignitary of the Slovak Greek Catholic Church became infected with the coronavirus during the recent visit of Pope Francis to Slovakia, the Slovak media is reporting, saying that the Slovak Bishops Conference (KBS) has not yet elaborated on how many other bishops and priests are quarantined. KBS spokesman Martin Kramara told the TV Markiza that all parties who have been in contact with the Archbishop, as well as the Vatican, had been informed about his infection.

All of the church's bishops are vaccinated against Covid-19, he added. Last Thursday, Babjak learned that the Greek Archbishop with whom he had attended the Eucharistic Congress in Budapest in early Sept. tested positive for coronavirus. Subsequently, this Greek Archbishop took part in Pope Francis's visit to Slovakia from September 12 to 15. Some 40,000 people attended the liturgy, celebrated by Greek Catholics, with the Pope in Presov, east Slovakia on September 14.

Interest in Covid testing on the rise

Interest in testing for Covid-19, which is still free, is on the rise, reports Queues have been re-established in front of testing tents and laboratories in the Czech Republic in recent days. As cold season approaches, people are getting tested when they have cold symptoms and want to be sure it's not Covid, or when they need proof of a negative test for travel. 

The server reports that vaccinated individuals also go for regular testing. Interest in antigenic and PCR tests is greatest on Friday when the number of performed antigen tests is over 75,000 in the whole country, while between 25 and 30,000 of the more accurate PCR tests are performed per day.

Czech Republic has seventh-highest deaths per capita on a world scale

According to the latest data on the website of the Ministry of Health, laboratories in the Czech Republic confirmed 489 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, which is roughly the same as a week ago. There were 164 people in hospitals Covid-19, ten more than at the end of the weekend and seven more than last Monday. The number of infected patients in serious conditions is still around 30. The reproduction number showing the rate of spread of the disease has dropped slightly to 1.08 from 1.14. 

The incidence rate is 28 newly infected persons per 100,000 population in the past seven days, the same as on the previous four days. The incidence rate is still the highest in Prague with 49 cases, and the Moravia-Silesia Region with 41 cases. The situation is the best in the Liberec Region which has 11 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days. Among the districts, Opava, north Moravia, has the highest incidence rate at 87. There were four Covid-related deaths reported yeseterday.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Sept. 21, 2021)

  • New cases 489
  • Deaths 30,442
  • Currently hospitalized 164
  • PCR tests performed  21,834
  • Antigen tests performed 45,176
  • Total vaccinations 11,726,815
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 10,465
  • Vaccinations completed 5,904,421
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 28
  • R number 1.08
  • PES number 53
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