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World Coronavirus Dispatch: No cheering, singing and handshakes at Olympics

New Zealand approves Pfizer vaccine, Denmark to launch coronavirus passports, Singapore WEF pushed to August over travel restrictions and other pandemic-related news across the globe

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Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine

Akash Podishetty  |  Hyderabad 

Tokyo Olympics
The Olympic rings float in the water at sunset in Tokyo. Photo: AP | PTI

Tokyo Olympics organisers unveil plan to protect players and vistors

With the shadow looming over the Tokyo Games, and with just 170 days to go before the kick-off, the organisers had unveiled a plan that seeks to protect everyone, from athletes, to visitors, to media personnel from the virus. There will be no cheering, singing and handshaking whatsoever during the event. There have been growing concerns over the safe conduct during the Games lately, thanks to Japan's rising new wave of infections, but the organisers insisted that the event would be held as per schedule. In a 32-page document that seeks to assuage public concerns, the instructions also bar people from taking public transportation without special permission. Read here

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 104,411,671

Global deaths: 2,268,691

Nations with most cases: US (26,554,794), India (10,790,183), Brazil (9,339,420), United Kingdom (3,882,972), Russia (3,858,367).

Source: John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Singapore WEF pushed to August over travel restrictions

The World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting, shifted to Singapore over concerns, has been deferred by three months due to various travel curbs. The event, scheduled for May initially, will now be held in August. The move exposes the logistical concerns in conducting such large in-person gatherings in a world ravaged by the pandemic. "The change to the meeting's timing reflects the international challenges in containing the pandemic," the WEF said in a statement. Read here

New Zealand approves Pfizer vaccine

Having delayed the vaccination rollout for months now, New Zealand has finally approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNtech jab against coronavirus. The country warned against vaccine nationalism, which will delay the supplies to many countries after the medical regulator approved the rollout. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she still expected supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech product to arrive in the country by end-March, but was concerned about any attempt to limit exports. New Zealand had chosen the wait-and-watch approach to evaluate how the shots actually work before going for the inoculation, a move slammed by critics and opposition for putting at risk the vulnerable by delaying the vaccines. Read here

Denmark to launch coronavirus ‘passports’

As countries walk a tightrope with the raging pandemic on one side and reopening business travel on the other, there has been some debate about whether or not those who have been vaccinated can safely travel without restrictions. In this context, Denmark will launch coronavirus passports by the end of this month, as a first step in return to some sort of normalcy. It would allow business people and others to travel abroad and permit the reopening of sporting events, concerts and other indoor performances. Meanwhile, Sweden will demand a negative test result from visiting foreigners. Read here

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First Published: Thu, February 04 2021. 14:47 IST
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