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Here's a recap of today's top news:
Almost two-thirds of people under 50 who have died in England with the delta variant were unvaccinated, new figures from Public Health England show
The MHRA approved the use of the UK's first preventative treatment for Covid made of artificial antibodies, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid saying he hoped it could be rolled out for NHS patients "as soon as possible"
The World Health Organization (WHO) put out an open call for experts for a new group investigating the origins of the pandemic - after the last one was disbanded
International vaccine-sharing programme COVAX has delivered just a tenth, or 209 million doses, of its 2021 goal of two billion doses so far
Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett received a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine as the country extended its booster campaign
The 2021 Emmy Awards will require all attendees at September's event in Los Angeles to show proof of vaccination and a negative Covid test, as the host city sees a surge in delta variant cases
Afghan arrivals in UK will be offered Covid jab
A first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine will be offered to everyone arriving from Afghanistan, the Government has said.
Vaccination points will be set up at each quarantine hotel and those arriving will be invited to get their jab after they have received a negative Day 2 PCR test, and will be issued with a vaccine card.
In addition to Covid vaccinations, the Afghanistan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme will provide councils in England, Scotland and Wales with access to a share of £5 million intended to help give the necessary services and support to Afghans who arrive in the UK.
Thus far, the UK has secured the evacuation of 1,615 people since Saturday, including 399 British Nationals and their dependants, 320 embassy staff, and 402 Afghan nationals under ARAP.
PHE: More than 3,000 people caught Covid at Euros final
A new report by Public Health England (PHE) estimates that 3,404 cases of Covid-19 were caught at England's Euros 2020 final against Italy at Wembley, while 2,092 cases were likely to have been caught at the semi-final.
The events were held as part of the Government's large-scale events research programme, along with Wimbledon, the Grand Prix and multiple music festivals.
The PHE report shows the greatest number of cases were associated with the Euro finals - with figures suggesting that 2,295 people attending the final already had the virus, and 3,404 caught it there.
Dr Jenifer Smith, Deputy Medical Director, Public Health England, said: “Euro 2020 was a unique occasion and it is unlikely we would see a similar impact on Covid-19 cases from future events.
“However, the data does show how easily the virus can spread when there is close contact and this should be a warning to us all as we try and return to a cautious normality once again.”
Has the WHO just advertised the toughest job in the world?
Imagine: a firefighter, trying to put out one blaze and investigate what caused it at the same time, is then also tasked with sniffing out where the next conflagration will come from - and it could be anywhere in the world - and stopping it before it becomes a raging inferno.
That's a rough analogy for what the World Health Organisation is looking for in its new panel of experts, known as Sago, or the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens.
The team will be tasked with guiding "WHO on next steps for understanding the SARS-CoV-2 origins" as well as advising on the "technical and scientific considerations regarding the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential", according to the announcement on Friday.
That includes anything from Ebola to bird flu, Marburg to Mers, a huge and growing challenge as the world enters what has been termed the "pandemic era". It also encompasses "Disease X" - a catch-all term for emerging pandemic threats.
Jennifer Rigby has more details on this story here
Vaccines halve risk of household transmission, study suggests
By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
Vaccination can half the risk of passing coronavirus to a close household contact, a study by Public Health England (PHE) has shown.
The research looked at more than a million people in England between January 4 and February 28 and found around 10 per cent caught the virus from a household member.
But the risk fell by 40 to 50 per cent if the person who caught Covid had been vaccinated at least 14 days before a positive test. Most people in the study had only had their first dose, suggesting the effect may be greater after a second jab.
Commenting on the research, Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Oxford said: “As well as preventing infections and severe disease, Covid vaccination also reduces household transmission. Get vaccinated to protect yourself and others.”
The research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Portugal eases some hospitality restrictions
Portugal has eased some restrictions on hospitality and cultural venues two weeks earlier than planned after Covid-19 cases in the country began to level out, a government minister said.
Reuters reports that cabinet minister Mariana Vieira da Silva said the number of people allowed to sit together inside restaurants or cafes rose to eight from six, and to 15 from 10 for outside seating.
Cultural events, weddings and baptisms can fill up to 75 per cent of the venue’s capacity, up from 50 per cent.
Cultural venues, restaurants and other businesses can stay open until 2am.
“The pandemic is not over,” she said. “It has surprised us with new variants we did not expect. It is our responsibility to continue monitoring its evolution and maintaining necessary behaviours to control the pandemic.”
Vaccine certification or proof of a negative test result remain a requirement for indoor dining on weekends and holidays, and staying at hotels.
Emmy's attendees require jab and negative test amid LA case surge
Organisers of this year's Emmy's have announced all attendees will need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test and having been vaccinated.
The requirement comes as cases surge in Los Angeles, where the event will be held, with 4,000 new cases confirmed in the county in a single day this week.
The scaled-back award ceremony will take place on the 19 September, with nominated teams of three or more being limited to four tickets.
Olivia Colman, Emma Corrin, Rege-Jean Page and Kate Winslet are among the British nominees.
Queues build in South Africa as vaccination opened to all adults
South Africans queued in massive lines to get their Covid-19 vaccines on Friday, after the country's vaccination programme opened up to 18 to 35-year-olds.
At a convention centre in Cape Town, the line of people was a mile long, while dozens of cars queued at a drive-through vaccination clinic at a converted car racing track in Johannesburg.
"I just wanted to get it out the way. I've been waiting so long for it," Lisa Heyneke, a 23-year-old medical student from Johannesburg, said.
So far, only around 8 per cent of South Africa's population of 60 million is fully-vaccinated, with just 14 per cent having received one dose.
UK records 37,314 new Covid cases and a further 114 deaths
The UK has recorded 37,314 new cases of Covid-19 and a further 114 deaths within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, according to official Government data.
This is a slight rise from yesterday's figures, when 36,572 new cases were reported and 113 deaths.
WHO puts out open call for experts for new pandemic origin group
The World Health Organization has put out an open call for experts for a new group investigating the origins of the pandemic - and to help predict where the next threats may come from.
The Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (Sago) will be tasked with advising on the "technical and scientific considerations regarding the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential", the WHO said.
It will also investigate further the origins of Sars-CoV-2, a now highly contentious topic. Most scientists agree it has natural origins, and "spilled over" from animals to humans, although some have argued it may have come from a lab leak, possibly within Wuhan, where the first cases were identified at the end of 2019.
The existing group of investigators, who travelled to Wuhan in March this year, has been effectively disbanded, although members of the team may be renominated for Sago.
It is unclear if any more "on-the ground" investigations will take place.
The WHO said the group would "advise on additional studies as needed" and its work "may include participation in future WHO-international missions to study the origins of Sars-CoV-2 or for other emerging pathogens."
Chris Whitty: Some hospital patients are 'very sick' unvaccinated young people
England's chief medical officer has urged people not to delay getting their Covid-19 vaccine, saying there are some "very sick" young adults in hospital with the virus.
Professor Chris Whitty tweeted: "The great majority of adults have been vaccinated.
"Four weeks working on a Covid ward makes stark the reality that the majority of our hospitalised Covid patients are unvaccinated and regret delaying. Some are very sick including young adults.
"Please don't delay your vaccine."
Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows that 74 per cent of people under 50 in hospital with the delta variant had not been vaccinated.
Coronavirus around the world, in pictures
Mexico City, Mexico
Quezon City, Philippines
Marietta, Georgia, US
Sri Lanka to impose national lockdown amid surge in hospitalisations
Sri Lanka has announced it will implement a nationwide lockdown, after the country's president succumbed to pressure from medical professionals who warned that hospitals were becoming overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has resisted calls for a lockdown for weeks, has agreed to a 10-day closure and is set to address the nation tonight to discuss the public health emergency and control measures.
“Nationwide Lockdown in effect from 10pm today to 30 August,” health minister Keheliya Rambukwella said on Twitter. “All essential services will function as normal."
Rambukwella said 10 days ago that the country had not reached a “critical stage” and any lockdown would be a “last resort”.
COVAX has so far delivered just a tenth of 2021 vaccine target
COVAX, the international vaccine-sharing programme backed by the World Health Organization (WHO), has delivered 209 million vaccine doses to 138 different countries, new figures show.
It aims to administer two billion doses by the end of 2021 - but is only just over a tenth of the way there so far.
COVAX was formed to promote vaccine equity and give poorer countries better access to Covid-19 vaccines to speed up the end of the pandemic.
Wealthier countries with high levels of vaccination among their populations, such as the US and Israel, have been criticised by the WHO for announcing booster shot programmes, rather than giving surplus doses to poorer countries.
Northern Ireland 'Big Jab Weekend' starts tomorrow
Health officials in Northern Ireland are trying to persuade more people to get vaccinated this weekend with a 'Big Jab Weekend' drive across the country.
Walk-in centres are open in all areas to improve uptake among the young, including some for teenagers only.
'A lot' of Newcastle United footballers have not had Covid jab
Newcastle United's manager has admitted that "a lot" of the team's players have not been vaccinated against Covid-19, and cited "conspiracy theories" as a reason why so many professional footballers are reluctant to get jabbed.
Steve Bruce said: "We’ve got a lot of players who haven’t had the jab. It’s their prerogative. We’ve had two or three players really sick with Covid here and Karl Darlow spent the best part of a week in hospital with it, so we’ve seen the severity of it first hand. But there are a lot of conspiracy theories out there.
"I would urge everybody to get jabbed, and that’s the advice of this country’s top medics, but not everyone’s going to have the same opinion. If you get a group of 20 people you are not all going to have the same opinion."
Study: Moderna jab 97pc effective at preventing serious illness
A new study from Qatar has analysed the effectiveness of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on the delta variant.
The study shows that - like the Pfizer vaccine - two doses of the Moderna jab offers 97 per cent protection from severe illness or death caused by Covid-19.
First preventative treatment made of artificial antibodies gets MHRA approval
The medicines regulator has approved use of the first treatment in the UK using man-made antibodies to prevent and fight coronavirus.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said approval of the first drug designed specifically for Covid-19 in the country is "fantastic news" and he hoped it could be rolled out for patients on the NHS "as soon as possible".
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the clinical trial data they had assessed has shown Ronapreve may be used to prevent infection, treat symptoms of acute Covid-19 infection and can reduce the likelihood of being admitted to hospital due to the virus.
Trials took place before widespread vaccination and before the emergence of virus variants.
The drug, previously known as REGN-Cov2, was given to former US president Donald Trump when he was admitted to hospital with Covid-19 last year.
It is the first monoclonal antibody combination product approved for use in the prevention and treatment of acute infection from the virus for the UK.
Monoclonal antibodies are man-made proteins that act like natural human antibodies in the immune system.
North West and Yorkshire have highest Covid rates in England
England's Covid-19 rates remain highest in the North West (1.66 per cent) and Yorkshire and the Humber (1.69 per cent), while there has been a slight drop in the West Midlands (0.67 per cent), East Midlands (1.05 per cent) and North East (1.22 per cent).
In the week ending 14 August, rates of people testing positive also increased in the East of England.
In the South East (0.97 per cent) and London (1.42 per cent), percentages levelled off compared with the week before.
Hong Kong quarantine exemption for Nicole Kidman draws flak
Hong Kong's granting of a quarantine exemption to Hollywood star Nicole Kidman is drawing criticism from lawmakers as the city tightens entry restrictions for international travelers to control the coronavirus.
Kidman, who reportedly flew to Hong Kong last week from coronavirus-hit Sydney, was exempted from a weeklong quarantine and was spotted in the city this week filming a new Amazon Prime Video series titled Expats, according to local media reports.
The government said in a statement Thursday that it had granted the exemption "for the purpose of performing designated professional work."
It said the work was "conducive to maintaining the necessary operation and development of Hong Kong's economy."
Rich are more vaccine hesitant, says study
A study from Spain has revealed that income could be the most significant factor behind vaccine hesitancy, with wealthier people showing higher levels of scepticism towards being inoculated against Covid-19, reports James Badock in Madrid.
Published by Spain’s Health Ministry, the study said that “neither gender nor age were significant in the intention to get vaccinated, but the income level was”.
The 600 participants in the study were divided equally between wealth brackets above and below monthly income of 2,500 euros, with the researchers noting that “there was a greater propensity to reject the vaccine at the highest income levels”.
The study was carried out by researchers from three Spanish universities and one Portuguese university in September 2000, and focused questioning on people’s attitudes towards the possibility of being offered the AstraZeneca vaccine, which, the researchers explained, was the most obvious candidate for eventual use in Spain at that time.
Majority of under-50s in hospital not jabbed
Almost two thirds of people under 50 who died in England with the Delta variant were not vaccinated against the virus, the latest figures show.
New data from Public Health England (PHE) also shows that 74% of this age group in hospital with the variant had not had a jab.
The statistics come amid a continued push to get as many people vaccinated against Covid-19 as possible, with 16 and 17-year-olds getting letters and text reminders this week inviting them for a jab.
There were a total of 1,189 deaths up to August 15 of people who were either confirmed or likely to have had the Delta variant and who died within 28 days of a positive test, PHE said.
K-pop boyband cancel world tour due to pandemic
K-pop superstars BTS have officially cancelled their Map Of The Soul world tour amid uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
The chart-topping boy band had been due to embark on the tour in April last year before it was postponed as Covid-19 swept the world.
The tour, which had planned stops in cities including London, Toronto and Tokyo, has now been cancelled - the latest example of high-profile musicians being forced to rethink their live performances due to the virus.
News of BTS's cancelled tour follows similar announcements from artists including rock band Nine Inch Nails, country music star Garth Brooks and Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks.
1,189 people have died from Delta variant and 7,285 hospitalised as of mid-August
New data from Public Health England shows that 1,189 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for the Delta variant of Covid as of mid-August.
Out of 1,189 - 113 of them were under the age of 50, 72 of which were unvaccinated, 11 had received one dose of a vaccine and 27 had been given both doses.
Public Health England has also revealed that 7,285 have been hospitalised with the Covid variant, 4,112 of which were under the age of 50.
The data covers the period between 1 February and 15 August.
Mother of disabled 13-year-old says: 'Vaccine will let him experience life'
The mother of a profoundly disabled 13-year-old has said she "can't make him bulletproof" but getting him vaccinated will let him "live and experience life".
Donna Quinn's son Logan has serious respiratory problems and a rare neurological condition. He is one of around 4,000 children in Scotland with neuro-disabilities and other conditions to be offered a Covid-19 vaccine under new guidance.
Earlier this month, the Scottish Government announced children aged 12-17 with certain conditions would be offered a Pfizer vaccine in line with recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Ms Quinn said: "We've done as much as we can, I can't make him bulletproof, but I can just do as much as I can to move forward and start living again.
"He's about to be 14 next week and I've had to have faith in science and medical experts for him to be alive today."
Israeli PM has third Covid-19 shot as Israel extends booster campaign
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett received a third shot of Pfizer/BioNtech's Covid-19 vaccine on Friday, after Israel extended its booster campaign for people over 40 to try to curb the Delta coronavirus variant.
New cases in Israel have surged since Delta's emergence and Bennett, 49, has sought to avoid an economically painful national lockdown by ramping up third doses.
People over 60 began receiving third doses in July, before the minimum age of eligibility was dropped to 50. Health Ministry officials cited waning immunity and Delta's high infectiousness.
The Health Ministry said on Friday boosters would now be administered to people over 40 whose second shot was at least five months ago. It recommended teachers, health workers, carers of the elderly, and pregnant women of all ages have the shot.
The United States has announced plans to offer booster shots to all Americans, citing data showing diminishing protection. Canada, France and Germany have also announced booster campaigns.
Small-scale study on mixing Sputnik V and AstraZeneca shows positive result, says RDIF
Russian sovereign fund RDIF said on Friday it has achieved positive results from a small-scale study into the combined use of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the first component of the Sputnik V vaccine.
"Preliminary data from the first 20 participants shows antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein (S-protein) elicited in 100% of cases," RDIF said in a statement, citing a clinical trial carried out together with AstraZeneca in Azerbaijan.
No severe cases or deaths reported in phase three trials of AstraZeneca antibody treatment
In the phase three trials of AstraZeneca's antibody treatment, PROVENT, a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of symptomatic Covid-19 was achieved.
The trial showed that the antibody treatment reduced the risk of developing symptomatic Covid by 77 per cent compared to a placebo.
Additionally, the company reported that there were no cases of severe Covid-19 and no virus-related deaths in the those treated with the combination of the two antibodies.
The antibody combination, called AZD7442, is reportedly the first antibody combination, non-vaccine, that can potentially provide long-lasting protection and has demonstrated the prevention of Covid-19 in a clinical trial.
The trial included 5,197 participants in a 2 to 1 randomisation of the antibody treament to placebo.
Sydney faces curfew and longer lockdown as Australia's delta outbreak grows
Almost half of Sydney’s population will be under a nightly curfew and an extended lockdown from next week as Australia’s delta variant outbreak continues to grow.
New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian extended Sydney’s lockdown on Friday until the end of September and imposed new restrictions, including a curfew, limits on exercise and a requirement to wear a mask when outside.
The 9pm to 5am nightly curfew will take effect from Monday in the 12 worst-affected council areas, which covers about 40 per cent of Sydney’s population of five million people. Anyone caught entering those areas would be fined and required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Ms Berejiklian told a news conference: "I asked health and police to work together, to give me a final list of what we can throw at this, to leave no shadow of a doubt as to how serious we are about getting the rate of growth down, the case numbers down."
A similar curfew is already in place in Melbourne, which means that more than a quarter of Australia’s population will be confined to their homes from Monday, with the exception of essential workers.
NSW reported 644 new infections on Friday, most of them in Sydney, Australia’s biggest city.
With only about 28 per cent of people above 16 years of age fully vaccinated, Australia has failed to contain Sydney’s outbreak.
'Cowboy' travel test firms still operating despite government review
Sajid Javid’s review of “cowboy” travel test providers has seen less than two per cent removed so far, with misleading £20 offers still available.
A week after the Health Secretary announced an “urgent” review of false claims and rip-off practices by the firms, there are only eight fewer test providers on the 422-strong list than last week.
An investigation by The Telegraph found companies on the approved Gov.UK list are also continuing to promote offers to provide tests “from” £20, but which come with catches when a prospective holidaymaker clicks through from the government’s site to the firms’ websites.
Nearly all of the 16 companies offering tests from £20 could only deliver them at that price if the returning holidaymaker travelled in person to have the test at the testing firm, usually outside London and as far away as Glasgow or Livingston.
Today's front page
Here is your Daily Telegraph for Friday, August 20.
Businesses say Hong Kong quarantine threatens financial hub status
European business leaders have warned that Hong Kong's stringent quarantine measures have left its residents "indefinitely trapped" in the city, threatening its status as an international business centre.
In a rare open letter to chief executive Carrie Lam on Thursday, the European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said the city's most recent hardening of measures for inbound travellers were "out of proportion" and a "significant setback".
The Chinese financial hub maintains some of the strictest quarantine rules in the world, an approach that has kept virus cases low but left most residents cut off from the rest of the world for the past 18 months.
Arrivals from high-risk countries have to stay in hotel quarantine for 21 days, while for lower-risk countries that drops to seven days followed by another seven days of self-monitoring.
Last week, the authorities announced that a brief flirtation with relaxing some of these rules had to be scrapped.
Israeli doctors finding which vaccinated patients are most vulnerable
In Israel's Covid-19 wards, doctors are learning which vaccinated patients are most vulnerable to severe illness, amid growing concerns about instances in which the shots provide less protection against the worst forms of the disease.
Around half of the country's 600 patients presently hospitalised with severe illness have received two doses of the Pfizer shot, a rare occurrence out of 5.4 million fully vaccinated people.
The majority of these patients received two vaccine doses at least five months ago, are over the age of 60 and also have chronic illnesses. They range from diabetes to heart disease and lung ailments, as well as cancers and inflammatory diseases that are treated with immune-system suppressing drugs, according to Reuters interviews with 11 doctors, health specialists and officials.
Such "breakthrough" cases have become central to a global debate over whether highly-vaccinated countries should give booster doses of vaccines, and to which people.
Israel began offering booster doses to people age 60 and up in July, and has since expanded that eligibility.
The US, citing data out of Israel and other findings, said on Wednesday it would make booster doses available to all Americans beginning in September.
Other countries, including France and Germany, have so far limited their booster plans to the elderly and people with weak immune systems.
Japan to ramp up tests as it battles worst wave of infections
Japan plans to dramatically ramp up daily Covid-19 tests, borrowing from anti-contagion measures used in the recent Tokyo Olympics, as it battles its worst wave of infections, driven by the delta variant.
New infections exceeded 25,000 on Thursday for the first time, a tally by national broadcaster NHK showed, with the surge mainly among those in their 40s and 50s, most of whom are unvaccinated.
The speed and severity of Japan's delta-driven infections are overtaking the strategy of targeted cluster tracing it has favoured over the mass testing used by many nations.
The cabinet office said Japan intends to employ its full daily capacity of about 320,000 PCR tests, or about triple the use now.
Sydney extends lockdown for another month
Sydney's lockdown was extended throughout September on Friday and tougher pandemic restrictions were imposed, including a curfew and compulsory mask wearing outdoors.
New South Wales state reported 642 locally acquired infections in the latest 24-hour period, the fourth consecutive day of tallies exceeding 600.
Australia's largest city has been locked down since June 26. Since then, 65 people have died from coronavirus in New South Wales, included four overnight.
The Sydney lockdown was to end on Aug. 28, but the state government announced it will continue until Sept. 30.
A curfew will apply from 9pm to 5pm from Monday in the worst-effected Sydney suburbs.
New Zealand outbreak widens
New Zealand's Covid-19 outbreak widened beyond its largest city Auckland on Friday as new infections were discovered in the capital Wellington and case numbers jumped to 31.
The findings meant Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will most likely extend a nationwide lockdown that she announced this week to try and curb the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
Health authorities said 11 new cases were recorded on Friday, of which three cases were in Wellington.
The three in Wellington had recently travelled to Auckland and had visited locations that were identified as exposed to the outbreak, the health ministry said in a statement.
S.Korea extends social distancing, allows fully vaccinated some leeway
South Korea has extended its social distancing curbs for two weeks to ward off a surge in coronavirus cases, while allowing vaccinated people some latitude, its prime minister said on Friday.
The country's fourth Covid-19 wave has shown few signs of abating six weeks after the toughest Level 4 distancing rules, which include a ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6pm, were imposed in the greater Seoul area.
South Korea reported 2,052 new cases on Thursday, 2,001 of which were locally acquired, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency data showed.
As part of the extended restrictions, authorities will require restaurants and cafes in the metropolitan area to close an hour earlier at 9 pm until Sept. 5, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum told a Covid response meeting.
In the same region, though previously only two people could gather after 6pm, one or two other fully vaccinated people can now join them, 14 days after their last shot, Kim said.
Australian children experiencing 'fear and anxiety' in Covid ward
A health care worker in Sydney, Australia, is concerned children are experiencing fear and anxiety when they are separated from their parents on a Covid-19 ward.
As the delta variant of coronavirus surges across the Australian state of New South Wales, a nurse at Sydney's Westmead Children's Hospital said children were distressed being in a foreign environment and not knowing anyone.
"[The] nurses not only attend to all clinical needs but try to support these children emotionally in a very frightening time for them," she told the ABC. "Seeing the effects of such young children separated from parents has left staff feeling pretty miserable and on top of that, the anxiety and stress of working with Covid-positive patients every day takes a toll on us all."
The children have been admitted to the Covid ward because their parents are too sick to care for them but most children with Covid-19 are treated at home, according to the Sydney Children's Hospital Network (SCHN).
Feds seize over 3,000 fake vaccination cards shipped from China
More than 3,000 fake Covid-19 vaccination cards have been confiscated at cargo freight facilities at the Anchorage airport as they were being shipped from China, officials said on Thursday.
Officers from US Customs and Border Protection seized the cards in the past week as they arrived in small packages, said Jaime Ruiz, an agency spokesperson.
There were between 135 and 150 packages found in Anchorage, all sent by the same person in China, Ruiz said. The packages contained small amounts of the fake cards, about 20 or 25 each.
The cards confiscated in Anchorage closely resemble the authentic Centers for Disease Control and Prevention certificates given out by health care workers when US citizens receive their vaccinations, the agency said.
The seizure comes as a cottage industry for counterfeit cards has sprung up online to accommodate people who say they won't get vaccinated for either personal or religious reasons.
Today's top stories
The mass rollout of Covid booster vaccines to all over-50s this autumn could be shelved, with government scientists considering limiting third jabs to the most vulnerable.
A leading university has become the first in the country to ban students from living on campus if they cannot prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, The Telegraph can disclose.
Sajid Javid’s review of “cowboy” travel test providers has seen less than two per cent removed so far, with misleading £20 offers still available.
Ministers breached their own guidance by failing to wear face masks in the House of Commons during a debate on Afghanistan on Wednesday, a Sage scientist has said.