July 28, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

In a move that will likely delay the restart of some international events, the US Government confirmed on Monday that the nation’s border will remain closed to a number of countries, including the UK, all 26 countries in Europe’s Schengen area, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, due to rising cases of the Delta variant both in the US and overseas.

Also in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released advice that fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in areas where there is significant spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. Meanwhile, mandating vaccination for some workers is gaining some traction stateside, with US President Joe Biden saying it is being considered for federal workers, while New York city has already announced all of its municipal workers – which includes teachers, emergency services and health workers – will be required to be vaccinated by mid-September or be tested for COVID-19 weekly. The Governor of California has announced a similar policy for those employed by the state and for health workers.

In the UK, after soaring cases of COVID-19 caused alarm as England moved to open up significantly from Monday July 19, the nation is now seeing significant decline in case numbers, although hospitalisations and deaths have continued to rise.

New cases have fallen by 31 percent – or over 102,000 – over the last week, but testing numbers are also down by 14 percent and hospitalisations are up 25 percent, with 5,851 people admitted in the last seven days. Deaths are also up 40 percent, with 480 people dying in the last week. In the latest reporting period, the nation has notched up 23,501 new cases of COVID-19.

The UK’s National Health Service COVID Pass, which allows uses to show proof of vaccination, natural immunity or recent tests, was released last week and the UK’s COVID-19 vaccine Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, has suggested it may be made compulsory for anyone wishing to enter crowded places in future – including events. Organisers are already being encouraged to use it.