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The U.S. plans to open its borders to vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 8, the biggest travel policy shift since the virus’s early days.

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And in Asia-Pacific, some of the world’s longest and toughest Covid-induced border curbs are finally being eased, with countries taking their firmest steps yet toward reopening to international travel in recent days. China, meanwhile, ordered five airlines to halt flights after cases were detected on board.

New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, achieved the milestone of fully vaccinating 80% of its adult population, Premier Dominic Perrottet said in a tweet. Virus-related restrictions will be further eased on Monday, he said.

Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine booster gained a key recommendation from advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that brings it a step closer to clearance. Authorization of Moderna Inc.’s shot for adolescents is being delayed by the FDA to review myocarditis risks, Dow Jones reported.

Key Developments:

Virus Tracker: Cases top 240 million; deaths exceed 4.8 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 6.64 billion shots givenInternational travel: Barcelona, Frankfurt, Sydney ease restrictionsU.S. labor unions are having a moment, and Covid-19 is to thankVaccine lotteries didn’t move the needle on Covid inoculationsNYC sees big gains in vaccine equity as rate slows across U.S.

New South Wales Fully Vaccinates 80% of People (2:06 p.m.)

New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, achieved the milestone of fully vaccinating 80% of its adult population, Premier Dominic Perrottet said in a tweet, adding virus-related curbs will be further eased Monday. Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote on Facebook that the country is just over 2.5 million jabs away from hitting a similar 80% target nationally.

Australia maintained a pause on green zone, or quarantine-free, travel from the North Island of New Zealand until Oct. 31, while adding that the lane for the South Island will recommence Oct. 19 amid differing regional virus trends. Thousands of people joined an anti-lockdown protest in Auckland on Saturday, the same day as a government vaccination push, according to local reports.

China Orders Five Airlines to Halt Flights (10:49 a.m. HK)

China’s Civil Aviation Administration ordered five domestic and foreign airlines to suspend some flights from Monday after multiple coronavirus cases were found on board, it said in a statement.

The carries included Air China Ltd., which had six infections detected on an inbound flight from Frankfurt to the northeastern city of Changchun, the administration said in the statement released Friday.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, EL Al Israel Airlines and Condor Flugdienst GmbH were required to pause two flights each after cases were found on flights to Shanghai and Xi’an, it said. Shandong Airlines Co. was also required to suspend some services.

NYC Subways Reach Pandemic Record (5:03 p.m. NY)

New York City subway ridership topped 3.2 million for the first time since the start of the pandemic, an “encouraging” signal that the city is recovering, Governor Kathy Hochul said. 

There were more than 3.2 million subway customers and more than 7,000 Staten Island Railway customers on Thursday, which had seen steep declines during the coronavirus health crisis. 

The average weekday subway ridership totals fell to about 300,000 daily trips in April 2020 during the height of the pandemic, a 95% drop from over 5.5 million trips pre-Covid-19, Hochul said in a news release.


Video: Asian airlines ramp up flights as travel returns (Reuters)

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