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COVID-19: Cyprus to allow vaccinated Britons to holiday in the country without restrictions from 1 May | World News

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Cyprus will let British tourists who have had both COVID vaccination doses into the country without restrictions from 1 May.

This means visitors who have had both jabs will not need to supply a negative coronavirus test or have to quarantine, according to plans unveiled by Cypriot deputy tourism minister Savvas Perdios.

However, the UK government has said the earliest date people from England can travel abroad for a holiday is 17 May – provided the four tests for easing lockdown are met.

Empty sunbeds at Nissi Beach in Cyprus
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Empty sunbeds at Nissi Beach in Cyprus

Visitors to Cyprus will need to have been given vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency and the second dose must have been administered at least seven days before travel.

Authorities still have the right to carry out random tests on foreign arrivals, the tourism minister said.

“We have informed the British government that from 1 May we will facilitate the arrival of British nationals who have been vaccinated… so they can visit Cyprus without a negative test or needing to quarantine,” Mr Perdios told Cyprus News Agency.

British tourists are the largest market for Cyprus’ tourism industry, which will be keen to get back on track after suffering during the pandemic.

The industry represents about 13% of the Cypriot economy, with arrivals and earnings plunging 85% on average last year.

Cyprus has implemented various lockdowns during the pandemic but has had a milder outbreak than many other countries.

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The country had recorded a total of 232 coronavirus deaths and 36,004 infections by Thursday.

All UK adults are expected to have been offered a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July.

Nearly 21 million people in the country have now had their first dose, with people prioritised by age and clinical vulnerability to the virus.

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Police hunting gunman who shot two, one dead, outside Paris hospital | World News

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Two people have been shot outside a hospital in Paris, one of them fatally, according to reports.

The incident happened in front of the Henry Dunant hospital in the 16th arrondissement of the French capital, and the attacker fled on a motorcycle, a police source told Reuters news agency.

One of those shot has died, the source said, while the other is being treated at the hospital.

Police officers leave the scene. Pic: AP
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Dozens of officers were called to the scene. Pic: AP

A police spokesman said the gunman, who witnesses say wore a hood, fired several shots before fleeing.

Local television said the person killed was a man while the other injured person was a woman, who worked as a security guard at the hospital, which is also operating as a COVID vaccination centre.

Witness Noura Berrahmouni said: “It was so fast we suppose it was a score settling … If not, we think there would be more victims.”

Police say there is, as yet, no known motive for the shooting.

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Two people shot, one dead, outside hospital in Paris – reports | World News

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Two people have been shot outside a hospital in Paris, one of them fatally, according to reports.

The incident happened in front of the Henry Dunant hospital in the 16th arrondissement of the French capital, and the attacker fled on a motorcycle, a police source told Reuters news agency.

One of those shot has died, the source said, while the other is being treated at the hospital.

A police spokesman said the gunman fired several shots before fleeing.

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COVID-19: Top Chinese official admits efficacy of China’s vaccines is low | World News

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China’s top disease control official has admitted that the efficacy of the country’s coronavirus vaccines is low – and mixing them is among the strategies being considered to boost their effectiveness.

Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said efficacy rates needed improving, in the rare admission.

Giving people doses of different vaccines is one way to improve vaccines that “don’t have very high rates of protection”, he said.

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Gao Fu at a press conference earlier this year
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Gao Fu at a press conference earlier this year

“Inoculation using vaccines of different technical lines is being considered,” he added, during a conference in the Chinese city of Chengdu.

China has been at the forefront of COVID-19 vaccine development.

It started vaccinating some citizens as far back as last summer under emergency use approval.

Five vaccines have been developed in China, four of which require two shots and a fifth which is only a single dose.

It includes one from privately owned company Sinovac, two from the state-owned Sinopharm, one developed as a partnership between Mr Gao’s team and Anhui Zhifei Longcom, and a single shot vaccine from a company called CanSino.

The effectiveness of the vaccines range from as low as around 50% to 79%, based on what the companies have said.

Mr Gao later released a statement through the state-owned Global Times saying that he had been misunderstood and had in fact been talking about global vaccines in general.

No externally developed vaccines are authorised for use in the country.

Chile has received millions of doses of vaccines from China
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Chile has received millions of doses of vaccines from China

A study released on Sunday on the Sinovac vaccine, when given shorter than three weeks apart, showed that the jab had a 49.1% efficacy in Phase III trials in Brazil, below the World Health Organisation’s threshold.

However, increasing the gap between jabs over three weeks boosted the efficacy to 62.3%.

A real-world study at the University of Chile suggested last week the vaccine was 54% effective in reducing infection.

Chile has used the Chinese vaccine on a large scale, vaccinating millions of people, although it is still in the grip of a spike of cases – seeing as many as 8,000 daily diagnoses in recent weeks.

The Chinese developers – including Sinopharm – have not published any peer reviewed data for Phase III medical trials.

The jab developed by Mr Gao’s team was given emergency approval a month ago, despite data about its efficacy not being publicly disclosed.

Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna have all reported they are around 90% effective in late stage trials.

Both of the coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA to send genetic instructions to the body’s cells that result in them producing antibodies for the coronavirus without the virus actually being introduced to their body.

Earlier in the pandemic, Mr Gao had questioned the safety of mRNA jabs, but at the weekend he said: “Everyone should consider the benefits mRNA vaccines can bring for humanity.”

China has exported a large number of vaccines around the world, including to Europe, South America and Africa.

According to Mr Gao, as of 2 April, 34 million people in China had received two doses of a Chinese vaccine, and 65 million had received one.

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