Hi, I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be giving you a rundown of the latest coronavirus updates as they happen.
Here’s a rundown of any highlights you might have missed.
In good news for those seeking a sea-side break, Fiji says it is already experiencing a boom in demand after announcing this week that it would open up quarantine-free travel to visitors from select countries, almost two years after closing its borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, a group of 26 experts will be tasked with examining new pathogens and how to prevent future pandemics after the World Health Organization unveiled a team to revive the inquiry into Covid-19’s origins.
Michael Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies director, said it may be the “last chance to understand the origins of this virus” in a collegiate manner.
- Malfunctioning NHS app for Covid vaccine status causes travel delays. Travellers have been blocked from boarding flights and ferries for trips abroad after a four-hour outage of England’s NHS app left people unable to access a Covid pass to prove their vaccine status.
- Scientists abused and threatened for discussing Covid, global survey finds. Scientists around the world have received threats of death and sexual assault after speaking to the media about Covid-19, a survey by Nature magazine revealed.
- The UK records 136 deaths and 42,776 new Covid-19 cases.
- Oliver Dowden, the chair of the Conservative party, said he was “very sorry” and admitted “we didn’t get everything right” regarding the handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Russia has set a record for the number of Covid deaths in a 24-hour period for the second day running. Wednesday’s official toll of 984 is slightly higher than yesterday’s then-record 973 deaths.
- A landmark report found the UK government’s management of the outbreak was one of the worst public health failures in British history.
- After a 19-month travel ban, the US announced it will reopen its land borders with Canada and Mexico for non-essential travel. It’s a huge relief for families who have been separated since the beginning of the pandemic and comes after multiple countries pressed the US for months to ease restrictions.