(NEW YORK) — As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, more than 5.8 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including more than 935,000 Americans, according to compiled real-time data. by the Center for Systems Science and Systems at Johns Hopkins University. Engineering.
About 64.7% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here’s how the news developed on Monday. All times Eastern:
February 21, 4:29 p.m.
New Zealand will only lift COVID restrictions ‘well beyond’ omicron peak, PM says
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday the country will only lift COVID-19 restrictions when it is “well beyond” the peak of the omicron.
At a post-Cabinet press conference, Ardern said COVID-19 cases are expected to double every three to four days with an expected peak between mid-March and late March.
“It’s likely that very soon we’ll all know people with COVID or potentially have it ourselves,” she said.
Restrictions currently include unvaccinated people not being allowed into restaurants and bars, students being required to wear masks and events such as weddings being limited to 100 guests, or 25 guests if there are has unvaccinated people present.
Ardern also addressed protesters who have occupied the grounds of the parliament building over the past week to protest the COVID rules.
“Everyone is on COVID. No one wants to live with rules or restrictions. But if we hadn’t all been willing to work together to protect each other, we would all have been worse off as individuals. , including losing people we love,” she said. noted.
Ardern continued: “We all want to get back to the way life was, and we will, I guess sooner than you think. But when it does, it will be because the easing of restrictions will not compromise the lives of thousands of people, not because you asked for it.”
February 21, 3:24 p.m.
Maui ends vaccination requirement for indoor restaurants and gyms
Maui announced Monday that it is ending the requirement for people to be fully vaccinated to enter indoor restaurants and other businesses.
“As of February 21, 2022, proof of vaccination or testing will no longer be required for indoor service in restaurants and bars,” according to a statement posted on the island’s website.
People using fitness centers and gymnasiums will also not need to know how to present proof of vaccination.
This makes Oahu the last island in Hawaii to require people to be fully vaccinated to enter restaurants, bars and gyms.
However, Maui County still requires masks to be worn indoors and out-of-state travelers must show proof of vaccination to avoid a mandatory five-day quarantine.
February 21, 1:52 p.m.
Boris Johnson announces end of remaining COVID restrictions in England
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday the end of all remaining COVID-19 restrictions in England.
This includes requiring people who test positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate, and authorities will no longer conduct contact tracing.
People who contract the virus will still be asked to stay home, but they will not receive any financial assistance from the government for missing work, a measure that was introduced during the pandemic.
In addition, free laboratory PCR tests will only be available for the elderly and immunocompromised, while free rapid tests will no longer be distributed by the government.
“We now have sufficient levels of immunity to complete the transition from protecting people with government interventions to relying on vaccines and treatments as the first line of defence,” Johnson said in a speech to the House of Commons.
Johnson acknowledged that the virus “has not gone away”, noting that Queen Elizabeth II tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, but added that the country must “learn to live with this virus and continue to protect itself and to protect others without restricting our freedoms”.
February 21, 12:51 p.m.
US daily death average drops below 2,000 for first time in a month
The daily average of COVID-19 deaths in the United States fell below 2,000 for the first time in nearly a month over the weekend.
Over the past week, the average has fallen by around 15.3% to around 1,920 virus-related deaths each day.
Although the average remains high, experts say deaths are a lagging indicator and the country could finally see steep declines after several weeks of increases.
Additionally, the daily average of COVID-19 cases fell to 103,000 per day, hitting its lowest average since early December.
Since the country’s peak in early January, the average of new infections in the United States has fallen by 87%.
February 21, 12:19 p.m.
Justin Bieber tests positive for COVID and cancels shows
Justin Bieber has tested positive for COVID-19, his manager, Scooter Braun, confirmed on Sunday.
It comes just two days after the 27-year-old singer kicked off his “Justice” world tour in San Diego on Friday, which had been postponed until 2021.
“Rest Justin. Can’t wait to see you back doing what you love,” Braun wrote on Instagram.
Bieber was forced to cancel a show in Las Vegas on Sunday, which was rescheduled for June 28, 2022, as well as a Tuesday show in Glendale, Arizona, for June 30.
“Justin is of course extremely disappointed, but the health and safety of his team and his fans is always his number one priority,” a statement read.
“The tour launch in San Diego was a huge success, and Justin is thrilled to bring this spectacular show to his…fans as soon as possible,” the statement continued.
February 21, 10:50 a.m.
The COVID infection rate at the Winter Olympics was 0.01%
The COVID-19 infection rate at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics was 0.01 percent, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Monday.
Since January 23, more than 1.8 million COVID tests have been carried out and 437 people have tested positive, according to a press release.
Of these positive tests, 98 were for athletes, 87 for team officials and the remaining 252 for “stakeholders”.
Bach said in a statement that the closed-loop system used by the Games “has been one of the safest places on this planet, if not the safest.”
“The message to the world is that, if everyone respects the rules of solidarity, you can even have such a great event as the Olympics under the conditions of a pandemic,” the statement continued.
February 21, 9:45 a.m.
Australia reopens borders after nearly two years
Australia welcomed international travelers on Monday after the country reopened its borders for the first time in nearly two years.
The country had banned most non-residents without travel exemptions from visiting since March 2020.
“From February 21, 2022, all visa holders who are fully vaccinated for the purpose of international travel may travel to Australia without a travel exemption,” according to a statement from the government’s Home Office.
“Unvaccinated visa holders will still need to be in an exemption category or hold an individual travel exemption to enter Australia,” the statement continued.
According to Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Dan Tehan, 56 international flights will arrive in Australia on Monday, including from the United States, Canada, Britain and Japan.
February 21, 7:24 a.m.
New York delays recall warrant for healthcare workers
New York health officials have announced that the state will delay enforcement of its recall requirement for healthcare workers to avoid potential staffing issues.
The mandate was due to come into effect on Monday.
“While we are making progress with 75% of staff either having received or willing to receive their recall, the reality is that there are not enough healthcare workers who will be bolstered by next week’s needs in order to avoid major staffing problems in our already overburdened healthcare system.” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement Friday. “That’s why we are announcing additional efforts to work closely with healthcare facilities and ensure our healthcare staff are up to date on their doses.”
In three months, the state will reevaluate whether additional steps will be needed to increase the use of boosters among healthcare workers, officials said. The original vaccination requirement for healthcare workers remains in effect.
“The vaccine and booster are essential tools to keep healthcare workers and their patients safe, and we continue to urge everyone to get vaccinated and receive a booster dose when eligible.” , said Bassett.
The state said it would work closely with hospitals to increase recall rates among healthcare workers.
-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulous
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