US basketball player to miss Tokyo Olympics due to health and safety protocols
From CNN’s Seamus Fagan
Team USA Basketball and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal will miss the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to health and safety protocols, USA Basketball announced Thursday.
Beal, 28, was placed in protocols on Wednesday afternoon, according to the team’s statement.
Jerami Grant, a forward for Team USA, was also placed under USA Basketball’s health and safety protocols on Thursday afternoon. The team said they did so “out of an abundance of caution” and did not provide further details on Grant’s status for the Tokyo games.
The national team begins the Olympic play against France on Sunday, July 25.
10:02 a.m. ET, July 16, 2021
Australian and WNBA star Liz Cambage withdraws from Olympics
Australian and WNBA star Liz Cambage has withdrawn from the Australian Olympic Team and will not compete in Tokyo, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has announced.
“It’s no secret that in the past I’ve struggled with my mental health, and recently I’ve been really worried about heading into a ‘bubble’ Olympics,” Cambage said in posts on Instagram and Twitter. “No family. No friends. No fans. No support system outside of my team. It’s honestly terrifying for me. The past month I’ve been having panic attacks, not sleeping and not eating."
“Relying on daily medication to control my anxiety is not the place I want to be right now. Especially walking into competition on the world’s biggest sporting stage. I know myself, and I know I can’t be the Liz everyone deserves to see compete for the Opals. Not right now at least. I need to take care of myself mentally and physically.”
Prior to the announcement of Cambage’s withdrawal, an Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) spokesperson had told CNN that they was aware of a potential incident involving Cambage and were awaiting a report from Basketball Australia, but no details had been provided by the AOC.
CNN has reached out to Basketball Australia for more information, but has not heard back.
The Australian team is in Las Vegas preparing for the Olympics, and is scheduled to play the USA later on Friday in an exhibition game.
The AOC says it will explore the potential for a late replacement for Cambage for the Australian team.
“Liz has made a great contribution to the Australian Olympic Team over two Olympic Games campaigns. We respect her decision and wish her the best in returning to full health,” said Ian Chesterman, Chef de Mission of the Australian Team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
9:51 a.m. ET, July 16, 2021
Pop star Olivia Rodrigo and Fauci encourage young people to get vaccinated in new White House video
From CNN's Arlette Saenz
In a new video released by the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci and pop singer Olivia Rodrigo teamed up to encourage young people to get their shots.
“The sooner all of us get vaccinated, the sooner we can like hang out with our friends and sing songs and all of the fun things,” Rodrigo said in a video filmed at the White House Wednesday.
Fauci, 80, and Rodrigo, 18, read a series of tweets related to vaccinations. In response to one of the tweets about Rodrigo returning to concerts in the future, she said “Get your vaccines! I’m so excited to tour one of these days and I’m just so excited to go to a concert aren’t you?”
“I want to go to a concert, for sure, for sure,” Fauci said, before revealing his favorite show was a Motown concert in New York City in the 1950’s. “I’m a really old guy.”
Rodrigo, who said she experienced symptoms after receiving the second dose of her vaccine, also explained the phrase “Man Crush Monday” to Fauci, after one tweet wished the doctor a “Happy man crush Monday.”
“If Man Crush Monday makes you get vaccinated, go for it,” Fauci said.
9:32 a.m. ET, July 16, 2021
Uganda athlete missing from hotel after his Covid-19 test sample was not submitted
From CNN's Junko Ogura and Bex Wright in Tokyo
A 20-year-old Ugandan athlete, who traveled to Japan for a pre-Olympics training, has gone missing from his hotel on Friday, officials told CNN.
City officials learned he was missing at noon local time on Friday after realizing his Covid-19 test sample was not submitted, said Osamu Mizoguchi, a government official with the city of Izumisano, where he has been training.
The athlete was Julius Sekitoleko, who is a weightlifter, according to a statement from the Uganda Olympic Committee on Friday. He was initially expected to qualify for the games, but ultimately did not make the quota. He was expected to return to Uganda on Tuesday, the statement added.
Local police have been looking for him without success, Mizoguchi added.
The Ugandan delegation was among the first teams to arrive in Japan for the Tokyo Olympics. The team started training in the western Japanese city on July 7 after they completed a mandatory quarantine.
9:22 a.m. ET, July 16, 2021
Tokyo continues to see high Covid-19 cases a week out from the Olympics
Tokyo reported 1,271 new coronavirus cases on Friday, one week out from the Olympics, according to the country's public broadcaster NHK.
This is the third straight day of cases above 1,000, which, NHK reports, did not happen in the last wave in April and May.
9:22 a.m. ET, July 16, 2021
Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean will require unvaccinated passengers to buy travel insurance
From CNN's Melissa Alonso
Carnival Cruise Line will require unvaccinated guests "to purchase travel insurance for cruises leaving from Florida homeports, effective with sailings departing July 31, 2021," according to Covid-19 guest protocols listed on the company's website.
"Each unvaccinated guest must provide proof of a valid travel insurance policy at the time of check-in that has a minimum of US$10,000, per person, in medical expense coverage and US$30,000 coverage for emergency medical evacuation and without COVID-19 exclusions," said Carnival.
The cruise line waived this requirement for children under the age of 12 who are ineligible for vaccines, according to the website.
Royal Caribbean will also require "a valid travel insurance policy" for unvaccinated guests 12 years of age and older, "for cruises departing from Florida homeports from August 1 through December 31, 2021," the company's website says.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not requiring cruise lines to test fully vaccinated passengers. Testing is required upon departure and for disembarkation, on voyages of more than four nights, for unvaccinated passengers, CNN has reported.
Canada may allow fully vaccinated US travelers by mid-August, Prime Minister Trudeau says
From CNN’s Amanda Watts
If the current vaccination trend in Canada continues, the country could potentially open its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September, and even sooner for US travelers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a call with Canada’s provincial and territorial premieres on Thursday.
“He noted the ongoing discussions with the United States on reopening plans, and indicated that we could expect to start allowing fully-vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel,” according to a readout of the Covid-19 briefing, provided by the Prime Minister’s office.
He indicated that ministers would share more details on these plans early next week, the readout added.
The First Ministers agreed they would work “on a proof of vaccination credential" to ensure that Canadians could “travel internationally with confidence.”
9:09 a.m. ET, July 16, 2021
Russia reports new daily record Covid-19 deaths
From CNN’s Zahra Ullah, Anna Chernova and Darya Tarasova in Moscow
Russia reported a record daily number of Covid-19 deaths on Friday, for the fourth day in a row, according to the country’s coronavirus response center, with 799 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. It recorded 791 deaths on Thursday.
Russia’s official death toll due to Covid-19 is now at least 146,868 since the beginning of the pandemic, although the death toll is believed to be much higher due in part to the way Russia classifies coronavirus deaths.
In total, Russia has registered 5,907,999 cases of Covid-19 across the country.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov admitted on Friday that Russia has not “advanced in vaccination of the population as we would like to,” but also said that coronavirus is becoming more aggressive and infectious.
“Indeed, the mortality rate has increased, the virus becomes more aggressive, more contagious. Unfortunately, despite all the efforts made, all existing treatment protocols, the virus claims many lives. Nevertheless, the treatment protocols are improving, the number of vaccinated is increasing, and this will help to minimize the sad numbers over time," Peskov said.
Meanwhile, Moscow residents will no longer need to present a QR code illustrating they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19, have a negative PCR test or immunity, to sit inside restaurants, cafes and bars from July 19, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced on Friday.
“From the July 19th, we are canceling mandatory QR codes in public catering. This is an important decision. I have received many requests from business, public organizations, party organizations, in particular from the organization of restaurateurs and hoteliers from United Russia. I would like to thank Moscow business for their responsible attitude to the measures that we have taken,” Sobyanin said in a televised conference call on state TV
9:10 a.m. ET, July 16, 2021
WHO: Covid-19 is still a public health emergency of international concern
From CNN’s Naomi Thomas
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said that the Covid-19 pandemic is still a public health emergency of international concern, in a WHO statement released Thursday.
This determination came after the eighth meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee regarding the pandemic, which happened on Wednesday.
“The Committee unanimously agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic still constitutes an extraordinary event that continues to adversely affect the health of populations around the world, poses a risk of international spread and interference with international traffic, and requires a coordinated international response. As such, the Committee concurred that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) and offered the following advice to the Director-General,” the WHO statement said.
“The Director-General determined that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute a PHEIC. He accepted the advice of the Committee to WHO and issued the Committee’s advice to States Parties as Temporary Recommendations under the IHR.
Speaking about the Committee meeting during a news briefing in Geneva on Thursday, Tedros said “the committee has expressed concern that the pandemic is being mischaracterized as coming to an end when it’s nowhere near finished. It has also warned about the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control.”
The Committee also “expressed deep concern” about the level of funding for WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan for Covid-19, Tedros said, which constrains the ability of WHO to coordinate the global pandemic response, “particularly in terms of having the flexibility we need to move at the speed this virus moves.”
The advice of the committee to WHO included recommendations such as continuing to work with States Parties to implement public health social measures to control transmission; continuing to advocate for equitable vaccine access and distribution; expediting the work to establish means for documenting Covid-19 status of travelers; continuing to strengthen the global monitoring and assessment framework for variants; strengthening communication strategies at all levels and collecting information from State Parties on the uptake and progress in implementing temporary recommendations.
The committee’s temporary recommendations to States Parties include continuing evidence-informed use of public health social measures; implementing a risk-management approach for mass gathering events; achieving at least 10% of all countries populations vaccinated by September; enhancing surveillance of the virus and report to WHO; improving access to and administration of WHO recommended therapeutics; continuing a risk based approach to facilitate international travel and share information with WHO; no requiring proof of vaccination for international travel; recognizing all vaccines that have receive WHO emergency use listing and addressing community engagement and communication gaps at national and local levels.