Tribune de Geneve reports the World Health Organisation has given the green light for the emergency use of Moderna’s anti-COVID vaccine. This procedure will allow countries that do not have the means to determine the efficacy and safety of a drug on their own to have faster access to doses. It will also allow the Covax system, set up by WHO with international partners, to distribute vaccines particularly in disadvantaged areas.
In another massive boost to Britain’s return to normality, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has given the green light to foreign holidays. In an exclusive front-page lead, London’s Daily Express says this means COVID-weary families will be able to jet off to destinations such as Portugal, Malta, Gibraltar, the Maldives and some Caribbean Islands as soon as May 17. Johnson will formally announce a “green list” of countries where non-essential travel will be allowed next week.
The Age says the Australian government will introduce penalties including fines and jail time for anyone who tries to return home from India after the government, earlier in the week, banned all direct flights from COVID-ravaged India. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the strengthening of border controls late on Friday night, saying that anyone who attempted to defy the rules would be hit with fines of up to $66,600 (app €43,000) or five years in prison, or both. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg defended the move as “drastic” but needed.
Times of India reports at least 12 COVID-19 patients died in the fire in the hospital where they were being treated – the latest in several episodes of fires in hospitals overwhelmed by the epidemic. The Indian health system has long suffered from underfunding and the current epidemic has resulted in severe shortages of oxygen, medicine and hospital beds, with patients dying outside hospitals.
Le Soir says the presidents of the EU institutions, Charles Michel, Ursula von der Leyen and David Sassoli have written a joint note, underlining that “the EU reserves the right to adopt measures appropriate in response to the decision of the Russian authorities to ban eight EU citizens from entering Russian territory. Italian news agency Ansa quotes the note as saying “this action is unacceptable, devoid of any legal and substantive justification”. They said the move was addressed directly to the EU, not only to the people concerned “.
Meghan Markle held an online roundtable with 13 to 18-year-olds and spoke of “everyday struggles during COVID-19”. She said these included mental health, racism and “identity loss and isolation”. The Daily Mail says that during the virtual chat, she told the teenage girls – “young activists with ambitions of being senators, doctors and presidents” – to “challenge injustice”.
For a long time it was thought to be a mummified priest. Further studies have instead revealed that it is the mummy of a pregnant Egyptian woman and it is the first time that researchers have made such a discovery. The novelty emerges in an article just published in the Journal of Archeological Science. Experts believe that the remains under study are attributable to a woman of high social rank, between 20 and 30 years of age, who lived in the first century BC.