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Coronavirus digest: Scandinavian airlines lift mask mandates

Four Scandinavian airlines have abolished mask requirements for regional trips. Meanwhile, New Zealand has extended a lockdown in its biggest city. Follow DW for the latest.

 A file photo showing Scandinavian airline SAS aircrafts.

SAS, Norwegian, Wideroe and Flyr will do away with their mask requirements

Starting Monday, four Scandinavian airlines are set to drop in-flight mask requirements for regional itineraries. Travelers flying between Denmark, Norway and Sweden will no longer require masks on board.

SAS, Norwegian, Wideroe and Flyr will do away with their mask mandates.

Wideroe spokeswoman Silje Brandvoll told Norwegian radio: "The Norwegian infection control guide no longer requires domestic passengers to wear face masks."

Here's the latest on coronavirus from across the globe.

Europe

In Latvia, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins announced a lockdown from October 21 until November 15, with only essential services available and a curfew in place from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Karins apologized to the fully vaccinated and pleaded with a reluctant public to get vaccinated in a country where only 54% of adults have gotten the shots so far, among the lowest rates in the EU.

In Germany, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced Monday that the country's seven-day incidence of new coronavirus infections has risen again and is now at 74.4. The number indicates how many new infections per 100,000 inhabitants are recorded within one week.

Russia sees highest daily deaths, infections

French biotech company Valneva on Monday reported positive phase three results for its inactivated, adjuvanted coronavirus vaccine contender VLA2001.

Valneva said its latest trial showed that the vaccine prompted a stronger immune response and fewer side effects compared with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Iceland will drop all coronavirus restrictions by November 18 if infections remain low, according to Health Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir. The island nation — where 89% of residents over 12 are fully vaccinated — will begin relaxing capacity limits and face mask requirements, for instance, from this Wednesday, and restaurants, bars and nightclubs will also be allowed to stay open later. 

Netherlands' health officials say relaxed coronavirus safety measures have led to a sharp spike in the number COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Weekly infections in the Netherlands have risen 44%, deaths (48) were also double the week prior. Authorities say hospitals have again been forced to postpone scheduled surgeries as emergency units are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients — 80% of whom are unvaccinated.     

In Russia, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered new coronavirus restrictions be put in place from next Monday until at least February 25, 2022. The restrictions are the first since summer and come as death and infection rates spike in a country where few are vaccinated. The new measures include at home work quotas and mandatory vaccination for service workers.

Oceania

In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended the lockdown in Auckland, the country's biggest city, by two weeks to control the spread of the delta variant.

Meanwhile, in Australia thousands of children returned to Sydney's schools on Monday after months of home learning as the country's largest city relaxed more coronavirus restrictions.

As vaccinations increase, the mask mandate in offices has also been lifted and large gatherings will now be allowed, both in homes and outdoors.

Asia

Indonesia and Malaysia will soon start a travel corridor between the two countries and decide maritime borders as per the international law, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Monday following a meeting with her Malaysian counterpart. 

Singapore is expanding its no-quarantine scheme to include fully vaccinated travelers from eight countries.

The Southeast Asian business hub will open its air travel lanes to passengers from Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States from Tuesday as it relaxes restrictions and prepares to live with the coronavirus.

Pakistan has recorded its lowest number of daily COVID-19 infections in almost 12 months.

The country reported 663 new cases and 11 deaths on Monday, according to government data. 

The record dip comes after a steady decline in the virus caseload over the last few weeks.

js,dvv,ar/rt (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)