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Pandemic

Biden Administration to Ease Covid-19 Travel Restrictions at Canada and Mexico Land-Border Crossings

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WASHINGTON – The Biden government plans to relax travel restrictions on Covid-19 for land border crossings from Canada and Mexico and requires foreigners who take these routes into the US for non-essential reasons to provide proof of vaccination by November.

The Department of Homeland Security’s new rules will change the land traffic restrictions first imposed by the Trump administration in 2020, which have become a source of frustration for the Canadian and Mexican governments as well as US border cities, especially as Covid-19 vaccines have become in widespread in the United States

For the first time in 20 months, Canadian and Mexican citizens are allowed to enter the US at their land border crossings for purposes such as shopping or visiting family and friends, as long as they are fully vaccinated. Mexican and Canadian citizens were always allowed to enter the country for important reasons such as attending school or transporting goods across the border.

Unvaccinated travelers are still prohibited from entering the United States for unnecessary travel.

Senior officials told reporters Tuesday night that the new rules are designed to bring land borders in line with a new vaccination requirement for international air travelers, which is also due to come into effect in November.

In January, the US will extend land border vaccination to foreign nationals coming to the US for important travel. Administrative officials said this extra time would allow for a smooth transition to the new system for truckers and others. Officials said the implementation dates for the new rules would be announced later.

The relaxed border restrictions do not affect a separate immigration policy known as Title 42 that the Biden government has used to quickly deport migrants who illegally cross the border to Mexico or send them back to Mexico without allowing them to to apply for asylum after the crossing.

The government has also not allowed migrants to present themselves at legal ports of entry to apply for asylum, as it did before the Covid-19 pandemic. When asked whether migrants would allow this now, administrative officials did not immediately answer.

The border closings separated cross-border families and took a financial toll on border towns in the United States, many of which rely heavily on Mexican or Canadian pedestrian traffic for sales tax revenues. The US rules, however, allowed Mexican and Canadian citizens to fly in – without even a Covid-19 test before January.

“We are a major commercial and commercial artery, and we have families and two communities that have been separated for far too long,” said Veronica Escobar (D., Texas), who represents El Paso, whose downtown area borders on Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.

Ms. Escobar said the White House informed her of the upcoming rule changes on Tuesday evening. Together with other congressmen who represented parts of the northern and southern borders, she had urged the government to take this step for months. “For the White House, security was the number one consideration,” she said.

The US closed its land borders with Canada and Mexico for the first time in March 2020, a week after imposing travel restrictions across much of Europe. While U.S. citizens are free to continue to enter and exit via land entry ports, Canadians and Mexicans have been banned unless they came for a substantial reason.

The restrictions were renewed monthly as the Canadian and Mexican governments lobbied the US to lift them. In August Canada unilaterally reopened the border with the United States to allow American travelers to enter the country.

The Biden government had already prepared for a gradual reopening of the land borders in July, but reversed course with the rise of the delta variant. US officials told their Canadian counterparts at the time they wanted to see US vaccination rates spike before restrictions were eased, officials in both countries said.

US officials had another reason to keep the borders closed: The restriction is related to Title 42, the immigration measure. Lifting a number of restrictions while keeping the other in place could make it harder to defend immigration restrictions, an official said.

A senior administrative official said the rules of Title 42 would continue to apply, and said such rules were still necessary as social distancing was almost impossible in border guards where migrants are first admitted after they have crossed.

Biden administration officials said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing guidelines for foreigners who have received two doses of different Covid-19 vaccines, a common practice in Canada.

Write to Ken Thomas at ken.thomas@wsj.com and Michelle Hackman at michelle.hackman+1@wsj.com

Copyright © 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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Pandemic

Bayern Munich on Joshua Kimmich’s COVID-19 vaccine caution: Jab is not mandatory

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Bayern Munich have stated that they support vaccinating their players to protect against COVID-19, but this is not mandatory amid an excitement caused by Joshua Kimmich’s announcement that he has not been vaccinated.

The Germany international said on Saturday that he had not been vaccinated due to concerns about the long-term effects of the vaccine, but added that he could do so in the future.

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This triggered a storm of criticism across Germany, with many arguing that footballers should be role models.

The German Football League (DFL) announced on Tuesday that more than 90 percent of the players and employees in the first two German divisions had been vaccinated.

“It is important to say that we can only advise everyone to get vaccinated,” Bayern boss Oliver Kahn told reporters on Monday evening. “We underlined this through a series of campaigns.

“Ultimately, you have to respect that others may disagree.”

Critics said Kimmich’s position on vaccination also violates his efforts to co-found #Wekickcorona, an organization that financially supports charities during the pandemic.

“Bavaria sustainably supports vaccination campaigns,” said Bavaria President Herbert Hainer. “But in the end there is no compulsory vaccination with us. It’s an individual choice.

Joshua Kimmich said he didn’t take the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Roland Krivec / DeFodi Images via Getty Images

“Joshua Kimmich said that he might be vaccinated in the future. I would be happy if that happened,” added Hainer.

The 26-year-old also got support from former Bayern boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who said the player would make the “right decision” at some point.

“If there is one player I know who is very responsible and a role model in many things in life, it was always Joshua,” said Rummenigge, who resigned earlier this year to be replaced by Kahn.

“In that case, I think he’ll make the right decision at some point.”

Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann will miss his DFB Cup second round match at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Wednesday after failing to recover from COVID-19 in time.

Nagelsmann has missed Bayern’s last two games in all competitions after testing positive for the virus last week, but is hoping to return to the Bundesliga game at Union Berlin on Saturday.

“I’m fine and everything is fine,” said Nagelsmann at a press conference. “But unfortunately I won’t be there at the Gladbach game.

“I’m staying in quarantine at home and have the next test on Thursday. I had a test yesterday that unfortunately didn’t go so well that I could be in Gladbach, ”he added. “I hope it will be different on Thursday.

“I would have liked to have been closer, but thanks to modern technology a lot is possible. I am happy that it has gone so well so far.”

With no Nagelsmann on the bench, the Bundesliga champions defeated Benfica 4-0 in the Champions League last week and then shot four more goals past Hoffenheim on Saturday to stay ahead of the table.

In both games, Nagelsmann was replaced on the bench by his assistant Dino Topmöller.

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Mayor Bronson in quarantine after head of Anchorage Community Development Authority tests positive for COVID-19

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Mayor Dave Bronson is in quarantine after coming into close contact with Mike Robbins, executive director of Anchorage Community Development Agency, who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

The mayor’s office confirmed on Monday that Robbins was infected with the virus and that Bronson is under quarantine.

Mayor spokesman Corey Allen Young said Bronson was following the city’s COVID-19 containment policy and would be in quarantine for six days and will be tested for the virus on day six.

Nobody else in the mayor’s office came in close contact with Robbins, Young said.

“Nobody else has tested positive or shown any signs of symptoms,” he said via email, adding that the mayor works from home.

Bronson was in close contact with Robbins at a Visit Anchorage event last week. Two other members of the administration were in attendance but had no long close contact with Robbins, Young said.

This is the second time this month that the mayor has been quarantined after close contact with a COVID positive member of his administration. Community leader Amy Demboski and community attorney Patrick Bergt tested positive for the virus earlier this month.

[Anchorage Assembly calls on Mayor Bronson to enforce mask mandate]

On Monday, Bronson gave the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce an “Address of the State” – from Zoom – during the organization’s “Make it Monday” forum.

“Please again accept my apology for not being there in person as I am falling (under) quarantine protocols,” Bronson told the audience.

The mayor has avoided strongly encouraging the wearing of masks or advocating vaccinations, both of which have been shown to reduce virus transmission and the risk of serious illness. Instead, he often leaves Dr. Michael Savitt – his Chief Medical Officer at the Anchorage Department of Health.

Speaking at the chamber’s forum on Monday, Bronson said the city health department’s top priority is coordinating the city’s response to COVID-19, including “advanced testing, targeted vaccinations and monoclonal antibody treatments for improved and targeted treatments, especially in our underserved communities . ”

Now “we are working to return to pre-COVID-19 service levels while returning to all of the traditional services that the Anchorage Department of Health normally provides,” Bronson said.

The health department has also focused on the city’s mass housing, including communal housing in the Sullivan Arena and out-of-community housing, he said.

Combating homelessness remains a top priority for his government, said the mayor.

“We continue to work with the congregation to develop adequate service capacity for those affected by homelessness in our city and will shortly be launching an initiative to reduce the scare-mongering on our streets,” said Bronson.

The pandemic was largely a footnote in Bronson’s Monday statements to the chamber. He highlighted his government’s other priorities: working with the Assembly to approve a budget for the next year; Replacing aging docks, broken piles and other infrastructure challenges in Port of Alaska modernization program; and promoting economic growth in the city, among other priorities.

The news of Robbin’s positive test result – and Bronson’s quarantine – comes as Anchorage struggles with persistently high virus transmission rates across the community, part of a spike that increased dramatically in late summer and was fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant.

Bronson had a mild bout of COVID-19 last fall and suffered long-term symptoms, he said.

[What’s bringing people to Anchorage’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics: Work mandates, high case counts and good timing]

The Mayor firmly opposes COVID-19 restrictions, including the city’s current Masking Ordinance, which the Anchorage Congregation passed earlier this month. Bronson vetoed the ordinance requiring the wearing of masks in indoor public spaces, but the congregation quickly voted to lift the veto.

Bronson and most of his administration have attended congregational meetings unmasked since he took office. The Emergency Mask Ordinance exempts Bronson and its administration from the requirement, and members said the ordinance was not about getting the mayor to wear a mask, but rather about protecting public health and safety.

Bronson has spoken out against vaccination regulations and against vaccination regulations for staff in local hospitals. In his campaign, at Congregation gatherings and other public forums, he downplayed the severity of the pandemic and its impact on hospitals.

Robbins did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Young didn’t immediately respond to a question about whether Robbins had symptoms.

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Gov. Pritzker to Give COVID-19 Update, Discuss Pediatric Vaccinations Monday – NBC Chicago

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NOTE: NBC Chicago will be streaming the governor’s address live starting at 1:30 p.m. CT. See it live in the player above.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is expected to give a COVID-19 update on Monday, which is expected to be a day before an FDA panel on pediatric vaccination to discuss whether Pfizer child-size vaccinations for children ages 5 through 11 years should be recommended or not.

The governor is expected to speak from the Thompson Center in Chicago at 1:30 p.m.

The governor’s address comes shortly after the White House announced that children ages 5-11 can get a COVID-19 shot at their pediatrician office, local pharmacy, and possibly even school, which the plans state Elementary school children will be listed for the expected approval of the Pfizer shot in a matter of weeks.

This week will be an important step in getting COVID vaccines approved for such age groups.

The Food and Drug Administration’s panel of experts will discuss Tuesday whether the Pfizer shots are ready for the roughly 28 million children ages 5-11.

Federal health officials said late Friday that child-sized doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appeared to be highly effective in preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children and did not cause any unexpected safety issues.

In their analysis, FDA scientists concluded that the vaccine’s benefits in preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19 would outweigh any serious potential side effects in children in almost any scenario. But the agency’s reviewers stopped asking for Pfizer’s shot to be approved.

If the FDA approves the syringes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make additional recommendations on who should be given them in the first week of November. Children could start vaccinations early next month – with the first children in line, fully protected until Christmas.

Full-strength Pfizer syringes are recommended for ages 12 and up, but pediatricians and many parents are eagerly awaiting protection for younger children in order to contain infections from the extra-contagious Delta variant and keep the children in school. Both Moderna’s and J & J’s vaccines can only be used in people aged 18 and over, although Moderna is also researching its vaccines in elementary school children.

While children are at lower risk of serious illness or death than the elderly, COVID-19 has killed more than 630 Americans under the age of 18, according to the CDC. Almost 6.2 million children contracted the coronavirus, more than 1.1 million in the last six weeks when the Delta variant increased, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Doctors at Advocate Children’s Hospital said last week that while children’s cases tend to be less severe than adults, “more children are hospitalized with severe COVID-19 infection than earlier in the pandemic”.

The group also warned that multiple cases of a life-threatening COVID-19-related illness called Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome have been reported in the Chicago area, and that experts are still unaware of the long-term effects of COVID-19 on children.

The Biden government has bought enough child-sized doses – in special orange-capped vials to distinguish them from the adult vaccine – for the country’s 5-11 year olds. When the vaccine is approved, millions of doses, along with child-sized needles, will be shipped across the country in an instant.

More than 25,000 paediatricians and general practitioners have already signed up to receive the syringes in little arms.

Pfizer and Moderna are also investigating vaccinations in even younger toddlers up to 6 months old. Results are expected later in the year.

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