UK to impose hotel quarantine for returning Britons

  LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — British citizens returning home from roughly 30 countries deemed at “high risk” from new coronavirus variants could soon have to quarantine in hotels, reports said on Wednesday. Beefed-up rules will require the travellers to stay in hotels near airports for 10 days, according to the Times and BBC. Non-UK arrivals from the targeted destinations — which include South America, Portugal, Cape Verde and South Africa — are already barred […]

Hong Kong turns to ‘ambush lockdowns’ to fight virus

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Hong Kong has begun using “ambush lockdowns” to suddenly close off and test everyone inside neighbourhoods where coronavirus cases have spiked, as a spate of recent outbreaks lay bare the rampant inequality in the wealthy Chinese finance hub. Police cordoned off a row of densely packed tenement buildings in the Yau Ma Tei area overnight on Tuesday through to Wednesday morning to conduct mandatory tests. The new tactic involves authorities […]

Wildfire ravages massive section of Argentine forest

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AFP) — A wildfire raging in the south of Argentina has consumed a huge patch of forestland in two days, local authorities said Tuesday — the equivalent of almost 20 Central Parks. The blaze, its origins still unknown, is threatening a vast region around El Bolson, a town of some 18,000 inhabitants in the Rio Negro province in northern Patagonia. More than 100 firefighters have been deployed, working side by side with […]

100 million cases worldwide, as US seeks to reset its Covid fight

By Ben Sheppard and AFP Bureaus WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — More than 100 million Covid-19 cases have now been recorded worldwide, according to an AFP tally on Tuesday, as newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden pledged to ramp up the United States’s struggling vaccine program. The number of cases, compiled from data provided by national health agencies, represents just a fraction of the real infections as the coronavirus has spread around the globe. The United States, […]

Senator presiding over Trump impeachment trial taken to hospital

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The 80-year-old senator presiding over the impeachment trial of Donald Trump was hospitalized on Tuesday after sounding hoarse and unwell while swearing in lawmakers as jurors. Patrick Leahy, who was elected in 1974, is presiding over the trial as he is the senior senator of the party with the majority in the Senate, currently the Democrats. “This evening, Senator Leahy was in his Capitol office and was not feeling […]

AstraZeneca ‘not selling EU doses to other countries’: CEO

PARIS, France (AFP) — AstraZeneca’s CEO insisted Tuesday that the company was not selling vaccines ordered by the European Union to other countries at a profit, after delayed orders sparked fury from EU leaders. The British-Swedish drugs firm admitted last week that it would not meet its contractual delivery commitments to the EU because of “reduced yields” in its European supply chain. That prompted European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides to announce that the EU plans […]

House sends Trump impeachment article to Senate, triggering trial

by Chris Lefkow and Elodie Cuzin Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The US House of Representatives presented a single article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday accusing Donald Trump of inciting the storming of the Capitol, setting in motion the first-ever impeachment trial of a former president. In a solemn procession, the nine House impeachment managers silently walked the article through the same ornate halls of Congress overrun by Trump supporters […]

More than 150 charged over US Capitol rampage

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — More than 150 people have been charged with federal crimes so far over the January 6 rampage at the US Capitol by supporters of then president Donald Trump, the Justice Department said Tuesday. Investigators have opened probes into more than 400 people who participated in the violent attack on the US legislature, said Michael Sherwin, the acting federal prosecutor for Washington. Making use of copious video footage and social […]

Tornado leaves one dead, several injured in Alabama

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — A tornado killed one person and left several people critically injured in Alabama, US media said Tuesday. The storm, which hit the town of Fultondale in Jefferson County late Monday, caused “significant damage,” the National Weather Service (NWS) tweeted. One person has died and at least five people have been hospitalized with critical injuries, Fultondale Police Chief D.P. Smith told local news media “It looks like a bomb went […]

Tornado leaves several injured in Alabama

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — A tornado has left several people critically injured and serious damage in Alabama, US media said Tuesday. The storm, which hit the town of Fultondale late Monday night, caused “significant damage,” the National Weather Service (NWS) tweeted. At least five people have been hospitalized with critical injuries, Fultondale Police Chief D.P. Smith told local news media “It looks like a bomb went off,” local pastor’s son Sam Moerbe, 18, […]

New Zealand PM expects closed borders for much of 2021

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — New Zealand’s borders are likely to remain closed for much of the year as health officials assess global vaccine rollouts, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned Tuesday. Ardern said the emergence over the weekend of New Zealand’s first case of community transmission in more than two months showed the danger Covid-19 still posed to a nation hailed for its response to the coronavirus. She said her government would not re-open its […]

US detects first case of Brazil coronavirus variant

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The first case of a coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Brazil has been confirmed in the United States, health authorities in the state of Minnesota said Monday. The Minnesota Department of Health said in a statement that the “Public Health Laboratory has found the variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as the Brazil P.1 variant in a specimen from a Minnesota resident with recent travel history to Brazil.” The […]