he cost of NHS Covid tests for international travel is being reduced from Saturday, the government has announced.
Travellers returning from green list countries, or the fully vaccinated coming in from amber list areas, will pay £68 for an NHS PCR test – down from £88. The test must be taken on or before day two after the traveller arrives in England.
People who are not fully vaccinated and are returning from amber list countries will see the price of the two tests they are required to take fall from £170 to £136.
Meanwhile in Australia, New South Wales’ leader has warned this is “the worst situation” the country has been in since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia in “worst situation” since pandemic began
New South Wales’ leader has warned this is “the worst situation the country has been in” since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said restrictions would be tightened in Sydney, where there is currently a lockdown, and Covid fines will also increase to AU$5,000 (£2,656).
“This is literally a war, and we’ve known we’ve been in a war for some time, but never to this extent,” Ms Berejiklian said.
It comes as locally transmitted infections hit 466 and four deaths were reported on Saturday.
Anti-vax protests at clinic for pregnant women
Anti-vax protesters disrupted jabs being given out at a vaccination clinic for pregnant women in Northern Ireland.
The clinic for new and expectant mothers was run by the Western health trust in the Foyle Arena in Londonderry on Saturday afternoon.
Northern Irish health minister Robin Swann condemned those who demonstrated at the facility.
“This latest protest is contemptible,” he said. “I want to express my gratitude and solidarity to the vaccination team working at the Foyle Arena today.
“I am pleased to see pregnant women and new mothers coming forward to get protected through vaccination, in line with expert scientific advice. I would encourage more to do so.
“There is sadly no reasoning with these anti-vax crusaders, who remain wedded to their misinformed and distorted agenda.”
On Friday, the NI Health and Social Care Board expressed concern at increasing numbers of unvaccinated young people and pregnant women being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
China administered 1.84 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of August 13
China has administered a total of 1.84 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of August 13, the National Health Commission said on Saturday.
On August 13, about 11.93 million doses were administered, according to a Reuters calculation.
Carrie Johnson urges other pregnant women to get vaccinated
Carrie Johnson has received her second Covid-19 vaccine dose and has urged other pregnant women to come forward for their own jabs.
On her private Instagram, the Prime Minister’s wife said: “I know there are lots of pregnant women who are anxious about getting their Covid vaccine but the evidence is incredibly reassuring.
“Most importantly, the data shows there is no increased risk of miscarriage, something I was definitely concerned about.
“Nearly 200,000 pregnant women across the UK and US have received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines recommended during pregnancy, without safety concerns.
“The Royal College of Midwives has said that expectant mothers are at greater risk of serious illness if they get Covid so being vaccinated really is the best way to keep you and your baby safe.”
Mrs Johnson is expecting her second child with Boris Johnson in late December.
Queues at vaccine centres as children in Ireland receive jabs
Queues formed at vaccine centres in Ireland as children aged 12 to 15 received their jabs.
About 75,000 children in the age group had registered for a vaccine appointment by Saturday, 48 hours after the online portal opened to the cohort.
A number of centres administered vaccines to 12 to 15-year-olds on Friday but the main rollout began in earnest on Saturday.
The children, who need the consent of a parent or guardian to get vaccinated, are receiving Pfizer or Moderna jabs.
More than 80 per cent of the adult population in Ireland is now fully vaccinated and about 90% partially vaccinated.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has said it wants to vaccinate the 12-15 age group “rapidly and quickly”.
Iran to impose one-week lockdown and travel ban
Iran will impose a one-week lockdown and a ban on road travel amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.
All non-essential businesses and offices will have to close under the nationwide lockdown, which comes into effect from Monday to August 21, in an effort to curb the spread of the Delta variant.
Authorities are also imposing a driving ban from Sunday until August 27, with the exception of essential vehicles.
Alireza Raisi, a spokesman for the national coronavirus task force, said: “All roads will be closed except for trucks carrying food and essential goods and ambulances. This traffic ban will be very strictly imposed.”
New Orleans and San Francisco to introduce Covid passes
New Orleans and San Francisco have become the latest US cities to require proof of vaccination against Covid-19 to teach in schools, work at a hospital, attend live music events or visit indoor hospitality.
New York City became the first to implement mandatory vaccination for certain settings recently when it imposed its Covid pass to attend gyms and cinemas and to sit inside restaurants.
Los Angeles is reportedly considering the measure.
More than 75,000 Irish children sign up for Covid jabs
More than 75,000 children aged 12 and over signed up to receive a Covid-19 vaccination within 48 hours of Ireland opening registration for that age group, according to the head of the healthcare service.
Health service executive’s CEO Paul Reid said the first jabs were given on Friday, with the rollout set to continue throughout the weekend.
He said: “Children have sacrificed so much in this pandemic too and they have shown maturity beyond their years.”
A parent’s consent is required for a child to be vaccinated.
Egypt receives 1.7 million Covid vaccines via COVAX
Egypt received another 1.7 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine through the global COVAX programme, the health ministry said.
The doses make up the third shipment under COVAX, with Egypt having received around 4.3 million shots.
The country has also received doses of the Sputnik, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The government said in June it aims to vaccinate 40 per cent of its 100 million population by the end of this year.