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India could ship vaccines to COVAX in a few weeks

Based on an informal approval from India, COVAX officials have started planning allocations of the Covishield shot for various countries, said one of the sources, both of whom declining to be identified pending a final agreement.

The Bengal government will undertake a door-to-door Covid-19 awareness programme to identify beneficiaries who have not received the first dose of the vaccine yet. Meanwhile, India on Tuesday reported 10,126 new cases, its lowest daily figures since 266 days, and 332 deaths in the last 24 hours. The active caseload now stands at 1,40,638; which is the lowest in 263 days, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

After the US lifted travel restrictions put in place in 2020, Paul Campbell had waited nearly two years to reunite with his German fiancée at Boston’s Logan airport on Monday. “I’m just ecstatic that she’s here, I’m happy,” said Campbell, 63, a retired firefighter from Vermont who greeted her with a heart-shaped balloon. “Our relationship is still thriving even though we’ve been apart for two years.”

At John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, a child held a sign reading, “Do I look bigger?” as he waited for the first British Airways flight from London’s Heathrow. “730 days missed u! Aunty Jill + Uncle Mark,” his sign said.

The travel ban, imposed since early 2020, barred access to non-U.S. citizens travelling from 33 countries – including China, India and much of Europe – and had also restricted overland entry from Mexico and Canada. While travel continued for residents of other countries and visitors falling under exceptions, the ban eliminated the sources of more than half the visitors to the United States in 2019, according to trade group U.S. Travel, primarily tourists and other non-essential travellers to the United States.

“Today America is open for business. That is our message to the world,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Reuters in an interview at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. For many arriving on packed flights from Europe or lining up at border crossings in Canada and Mexico, Monday’s was an emotional journey that ended in the arms of joyful relatives clutching flowers, balloons and homemade signs.

Months of pent-up demand triggered a major spike in bookings on Monday, with travellers only required to show official proof of vaccination and a recent, negative viral test. Travel bookings for the holiday season in the United States continue to rise rapidly, according to airlines and industry data.

No major issues at airports were flagged in an early morning call among airlines and U.S. government officials although authorities have warned about possible long queues and delays.

Earlier, long-term rivals British Airways and Virgin Atlantic carried out simultaneous take-offs from Heathrow’s parallel runways, a stunt aimed at highlighting the importance of transatlantic business to the UK’s aviation sector.

“It’s a major day of celebration,” Weiss said, adding that planes were “filling up nicely,” in what he called a significant tipping point for an industry brought to its knees by the pandemic. News18