News related to the outbreak, impact and efforts to combat the novel coronavirus COVID-19

FDA votes on the future of Covid-19 vaccinations in the US
The Food and Drug Administration has updated the Emergency Use Authorization for Evusheld to limit its use as it is “unlikely to be active against certain SARS-CoV-2 variants.” According to the most recent CDC Nowcast data cited by the FDA, these variants are projected to be responsible for more than 90% of current infections in the U.S.
U.S. FDA proposes new COVID-19 prevention strategy
The US Food and Drug Administration wants to simplify the Covid-19 vaccine process to a single booster dose with an updated bivalent Covid-19 vaccine. According to a statement released by the FDA, "an updated bivalent Covid-19 vaccine provides broad protection against Covid-19 and is expected to provide better protection against Covid-19 caused by the currently circulating Omicron variant."
China reports nearly 60,000 COVID deaths in the past month
At a press conference on Saturday, Jiao Yahui, the head of China’s Bureau of Medical Administration, announced that there had been 59,938 COVID-related deaths in medical institutions between December 8 and January 12. She said China divides COVID-related deaths into two categories; those from respiratory failure due to coronavirus infection and those from underlying conditions coupled with infection.
Pentagon repeals COVID-19 vaccination mandate for military
The US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, issued a memorandum regarding the COVID-19 vaccination policy for members of the Armed Forces on January 10th. Austin repealed the August 24, 2021 memorandum mandating that members of the Armed Forces under DoD authority be vaccinated against COVID-19.
China reopens borders with Hong Kong after 3 years of lockdown
China removed the quarantine restriction for travelers inbound from Hong Kong on Sunday. This marked the end of almost three years of lockdown since the first surge of Covid-19 cases hit China. After years of travel to mainland China being impossible due to Covid-19 prevention, Hong Kong now has a daily quota of 60,000 residents allowed to enter the mainland from three different land control points, according to the HKSAR government.
Thailand revokes COVID vaccination rule for international tourists
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has clarified that Thailand will continue to welcome all international tourists under the fully Reopen-to-Tourism policy, introduced on October 1st, 2022. The announcement was made days after the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced new entry requirements for international passengers.
China reopens borders after three-year COVID-restrictions
After three years of COVID-19 restrictions, China officially opened its borders on Sunday. The new policy includes lifting the mandatory quarantine for inbound international travelers. Travelers will need to provide a negative PCR test conducted 48 hours prior to arrival; PCR tests upon arrival will be scrapped.
China to do away with mandatory quarantine for inbound travelers
China's National Health Commission (NHC) has announced that inbound travelers will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival, starting January 8th, 2023. China had strict requirements in place for inbound travelers, including a mandatory five-day quarantine at a government-supervised facility followed by three days of self-isolation at home.
Chinese Health Commission to cease reporting daily COVID cases
On Sunday, China's National Health Commission (NHC) announced that it would stop releasing its daily pandemic information, which included daily COVID-19 caseloads. The NHC stated, "The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will publish relevant pandemic information for reference and research."
WHO: ‘Too early to declare the Covid pandemic over’
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed concern over the Covid wave in China. Ghebreyesus stated, "WHO is supporting China to focus its efforts on vaccinating people at the highest risk across the country, and we continue to offer our support for clinical care and protecting its health system."