COVID-19 cases top 500k

Actual infection numbers are estimated to be much higher than the 4,000+ reported each day due to low rates of testing and high positives as the country’s total rose above half a million – the highest in SE Asia. Read more. Japan’s third wave is gaining pace with five days of 2,000 or more infections registered recently. Elsewhere, 13 European countries are reporting a decline in new cases after the introduction of public health measures, according to the Nov 20 JH newsletter, and now the ECDC has released its projections for each country in the region up to Dec 25. More on the global situation in the Nov 24 WHO epi update.

In related news:

-The results from phase 2 of the AstraZeneca vaccine’s Phase 2/3 clinical trial were published in The Lancet last week. CIDRAP reported that ‘WHO officials said they have been in talks with Oxford and AstraZeneca about the vaccine being submitted for WHO prequalification, and they hope for a formal assessment at the beginning of the new year’.

-Some countries are requiring proof of negative COVID-19 test results from arriving passengers but the validity of the proof may in some cases be questionable after the discovery of counterfeit digital certificates in the UK, France and Brazil. Two apps in development should stymie this black market trade - CommonPass (Commons Project & World Economic Forum) and IATA’s Travel Pass are digital platforms where a traveller’s health status and test results can be uploaded from verifiable sources in order to satisfy country requirements. Read more

-The US CDC has updated its advice for cruise travel, now including it in its Level 4 advisory: Very high level of COVID-19.

Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.