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US US to reopen land borders to vaccinated tourists; Florida county faces fine for vaccine requirement: COVID updates

11:40  13 october  2021
11:40  13 october  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

Over 25% of Americans are no longer living in high-transmission counties: Live COVID-19 updates

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Starting next month, the United States will allow fully-vaccinated foreign nationals to cross its land borders for non-essential purposes such as tourism or to visit friends and family.

The change would allow foreign tourists to enter the U.S. through land or ferry ports for the first time since March 2020. Government officials have not yet announced a date for the policy change but said it will take place in "early November," in tandem with the country's updated international air travel system.

“This is an important step that will further enhance the safety of international travel and the safety of Americans at home,” senior administration officials said in a call with reporters. “These new vaccination requirements deploy the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

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Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic. The new rules, to be announced Wednesday, will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel into the country.

Bradley Sharp, of Saratoga, New York, gets the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from registered nurse Stephanie Wagner in New York. © Mark Lennihan, AP Images Bradley Sharp, of Saratoga, New York, gets the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from registered nurse Stephanie Wagner in New York.

By mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the U.S., like truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated.

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Also in the news:

►Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals reversed course and announced proof of vaccination is no longer required to attend the Indio-based festivals.

►Atlanta Braves outfielder Jorge Soler was placed on the COVID-19 injured list Tuesday, just two hours before Game 4 of their National League Division Series game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

►A Rhode Island man was sentenced to 70 months in prison for COVID stimulus fraud. He received close to $600,000 in stimulus money from three different banks and spent the money on trips to Las Vegas and New Hampshire, a Camaro, home renovations and online gaming.

???? Today's numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 44 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 716,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 238 million cases and 4.8 million deaths. More than 187 million Americans — 56% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Natural infection isn't enough to protect against COVID-19, experts say. You still need a vaccine.

  Natural infection isn't enough to protect against COVID-19, experts say. You still need a vaccine. Although antibodies from having COVID-19 may provide some protection, health experts say nothing protects better than the vaccines.Health experts say that just isn't true.

???? What we're reading: Leaders and staff at a federal veterans’ nursing home in Illinois mismanaged a coronavirus outbreak that killed 11 residents in fall 2020, well after employees had been put on notice about the danger of the pandemic posed to its elderly population, a government investigation found. Read more here.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY's Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Florida county faces $3.57M state fine for vaccine requirement

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has made good on his threat to fine local governments that require employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, giving Leon County until Nov. 5 to pay a $3.57 million penalty.

In mid-September, DeSantis said he would not let Floridians be fired because of a vaccine mandate and announced he would begin leveling $5,000 fines per employee.

After Leon County Administrator Vince Long made vaccines a requirement of employment, all 714 employees had to get vaccinated or fall under a select few exemptions by Oct. 1. In all, 14 employees were fired because they declined to do so.

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In an Oct. 6 violation notice from the Florida Department of Health, Division Director Douglas Woodlief notified Long of the fine to be assessed in violation of state law.

Democratic lawmakers representing Tallahassee admonished the decision to impose a fine as an overreach by the governor’s office.

“The governor has gone too far,” said Rep. Ramon Alexander D-Tallahassee. “Local governments cannot just sit on their hands and should have the ability to issue emergency standards. Vaccines are an important tool that is helping us control this pandemic.”

— Karl Etters, Tallahassee Democrat

Brooklyn Nets ban Kyrie Irving from team activities

NBA star Kyrie Irving won’t play or practice with his team “until he is eligible to be a full participant,” Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement Tuesday.

The NBA has tried to get players vaccinated through education and health and safety protocols that will make the season easier for vaccinated players and more onerous for unvaccinated players.

New York City has a vaccine mandate that states Irving, who isn't vaccinated, and other Nets and New York Knicks players must be vaccinated to play at Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden.

The Nets faced a scenario in which Irving would play road games but not home games — a suboptimal situation for any team, especially one with the talent (Kevin Durant, James Harden) to win an NBA championship — and ultimately opted to play without the point guard unless he becomes vaccinated.

The Latest: Russia hits another record daily death toll

  The Latest: Russia hits another record daily death toll MOSCOW — Russia has reached another record daily death toll from COVID-19, with 968 deaths registered on Saturday. The national coronavirus task force has reported a persistent rise, with nearly daily records in October. It’s about 100 more daily deaths than in late September. The task force also reported more than 29,000 new daily infections. Authorities says the steep rise in cases and deaths is because of the nation’s low vaccination rate. The deputy prime minister says 47.8 million Russians, or 33% of the population, have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

— Jeff Zillgitt

Southwest, American Airlines among Texas businesses defying governor to comply with federal vaccine mandate

Two of the nation's largest airlines – Southwest Airlines and American Airlines – said Tuesday they plan to follow looming federal guidelines and require that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19, despite an order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that attempts to block such mandates.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines last week ordered all of its estimated 55,000 employees to be vaccinated against COVID 19 by Dec. 8. That followed a directive from President Joe Biden, who in September said all private companies with more than 100 workers must require employees to be vaccinated or conduct weekly tests for the coronavirus.

Southwest said in a statement Tuesday that the president's executive order “supersedes any state mandate or law,” adding that the company is required to adhere to it despite Abbott’s action “to remain compliant as a federal contractor.”

— American-Statesman staff

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US to reopen land borders to vaccinated tourists; Florida county faces fine for vaccine requirement: COVID updates

US to reopen land borders in November for fully vaccinated .
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the country moves to require all international visitors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic. The new rules, to be announced Wednesday, will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel into the country.

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