New Zealand is to create a travel bubble with Australia allowing quarantine-free visits from 19 April. Both countries have effectively eradicated COVID-19 after closing their borders to the rest of the world. While most Australian states had allowed quarantine-free visits from New Zealanders for months, the Wellington government had continued to enforce an isolation restriction for its neighbor, due to concerns about small COVID-19 outbreaks there.
North Korea has announced it will not take part in the Tokyo Olympics this year, saying the decision is to protect its athletes from Covid-19. The decision puts an end to South Korea’s hopes of using the Games to engage with the North amid stalled cross-border talks. In 2018, both sides entered a joint team at the Winter Olympics which led to a series of historic summits.
Rare cases of blood clots in people who have been given the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine could raise questions over whether young people should receive it, a leading epidemiologist has said, amid reports the UK’s watchdog was considering new restrictions on the jab. It noted that 30 people out of the 18.1 million who had received the Oxford vaccine in the UK had developed blood clots, and seven of those had died, as of 24 March.
Alexei Navalny’s lawyer has said confirmed that the opposition leader is “seriously ill” after reports emerged that he had been transferred to a prison sick ward for a respiratory illness and had been tested for coronavirus. Navalny declared a hunger strike last week because he had been denied a visit from a personal doctor for growing numbness and pain in his back and legs that had made it difficult for him to walk.
Israel’s president has named Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the party leader to try to cobble together a governing majority. Reuven Rivlin’s announcement in Jerusalem on Tuesday nudged forward the twin dramas of the country’s future and Netanyahu’s fate as his corruption trial resumed across town. The March 23 election revolved around whether Netanyahu is fit to continue serving.