Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that vaccine passports that require a person who is vaccinated for COVID-19 to participate in certain activities is a “terrible idea” and won’t get support in Florida.
“The vaccine passport is a terrible idea. We are definitely not going to require anything from the state’s perspective. That is totally off the table,” DeSantis, a Republican, told reporters on Thursday. “If I have businesses that want to do that in Florida, I think that that’s more than just a private decision.”
The idea of a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine passport has been floated by some countries and businesses in recent months. However, critics say the proposal would be a violation of Americans’ civil liberties.
“Look, if you want to go to a movie theater or concert, all this stuff, go. If you don’t, don’t. But to require somebody to show some type of proof of vaccination, I think, is completely unacceptable, and it’s not something that we’re going to support here in any way in Florida,” DeSantis said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries not to use a CCP virus vaccine passport system due to how vaccines are being rolled out and distributed worldwide. Meanwhile, CCP mouthpiece The Global Times suggested earlier in March that the Chinese regime should build an international “vaccine passport” system.
Poll Shows Most Brazilians Think Outbreak out of Control
Almost eight out of 10 Brazilians think the CCP virus pandemic is out of control in their country and more than half are “very afraid” they will get infected with the virus, a new Datafolha poll said on Friday.
Those concerns come as President Jair Bolsonaro swaps the health minister for a third time and Brazil becomes the epicenter of the pandemic with more deaths each day than any country.
Datafolha said 79 percent of those surveyed said the situation is out of control, up from 62 percent in the last poll in January.
Greece Lifts Some Restrictions to Relieve Lockdown Fatigue
Greece will lift some CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus lockdown restrictions next week as part of a plan to gradually reopen the economy and relieve national fatigue even as its hospitals remain under severe pressure from stubbornly high infections, authorities said on Friday.
Hair and beauty salons and archaeological sites will open from Monday, Akis Skertsos, deputy minister to the prime minister, told a weekly news briefing. As part of the loosening of restrictions, a nighttime curfew nationwide will start two hours later at 9 p.m. during weekends, he said.
Finland Suspends Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine
Finland decided Friday to pause the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for a week out of precaution while the Nordic country is investigating two suspected cases of blood clots.
Two women in their 20s “have reacted and we do not know why,” said Hanna Nohynek of the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare.
On Friday, the head of the Danish Health Agency said Denmark would wait another week before saying whether or not it would resume the vaccine. Norway and Sweden officials have said the same.
Florida Vaccination Age Lowering to 50, DeSantis Says
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he’s opening COVID-19 vaccines to people age 50 and older on Monday.
The governor says the next step will be opening vaccines to anyone, likely before May 1. The governor’s announcement came a day after Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said he’s opening vaccination sites to anyone 40 and older.
Paris Goes Into Lockdown as Variant Rampages
France imposed a month-long lockdown on Paris and parts of the north after a faltering vaccine rollout and spread of highly contagious CCP virus variants forced President Emmanuel Macron to shift course.
France reported 35,000 new cases on Thursday and there were more COVID-19 patients in intensive care in Paris than at the peak of the second wave.
Latest Case and Death Count in the US
The U.S. reported 58,480 new CCP virus cases and 1,173 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to Johns Hopkins University. That’s second to Brazil, which reported 90,303 cases and 2,648 deaths.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP virus, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus.
Cameroon Suspends Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine
Cameroon’s health ministry has suspended the administration of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine it was scheduled to receive on March 20 as part of the global vaccines sharing scheme COVAX.
The ministry said in a statement that March 18 that the suspension was for precaution and prudence. It gave no further reasons for the decision or if it will go ahead and take delivery of its share of the vaccine.
New Analysis on Pandemic That Started in Hubei
A new analysis suggests the CCP virus pandemic likely began in China’s Hubei province a month or two earlier than late December 2019, when a cluster of cases tied to a seafood market was first detected.
Scientists traced mutations back in time to estimate when a common ancestral virus first emerged, did modeling exercises on how the new coronavirus spread, and reported their findings Thursday in the journal Science.
Evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey says the study is “pointing pretty strongly to that market not being the original source of the virus but the first place where it encountered sort of one of these superspreading events.”
Ontario Steps up Vaccine Rollout, Expands Online Appointments for Shots
Premier Doug Ford announced today that Ontario will accept appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations through its online booking system to residents aged 75 and above starting Monday, March 22, which Ford said is ahead of the planned schedule.
The premier’s office said more than 239,000 appointments have been made since the online booking system was launched on March 15. To date, more than 1.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered province-wide.
Swiss Postpone Plans to Lift Restrictions
Switzerland has postponed plans to relax its COVID-19 restrictions, the government said on Friday, citing increasing CCP virus cases and insufficient progress on vaccinations.
Switzerland had planned to allow outdoor events like football matches and concerts with up to 150 people from Monday as well as allowing restaurants to open terraces to outdoor diners, but instead opted for a more cautious approach as neighboring France and Germany also rein in reopening.
Isaac Teo, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.