Predictions of when international flights may resume/bans lifted

Gremlin

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As a bit of a datapoint from overseas (given Australian media seems to report very selectively), latest numbers from South Africa have shown a massive drop in case numbers (well below 1000 per day) to the lowest point since the beginning of the pandemic. This is despite restrictions being rolled back to the lowest level (L1) and the scary, infectious African strain being prominent.
There are lots more datapoints than just South Africa and I think it's worth considering them all.

There are definitely countries where case numbers are falling. South Africa is one of them. As are the UK, Spain, Mexico and Japan. Some countries where numbers are falling cite lockdowns and other controls, vaccine rollout and seasonal impacts as driving their numbers. Even within countries, there doesn't appear to be a consensus as to the "why" though.

Unfortunately, in aggregate, since the 22nd of February, case numbers worldwide are increasing again. Countries such as Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, Greece, much of South America and parts of the Middle East are all seeing increases. But again, no real consensus as to why.

Whilst the USA and Canada have seen significant reductions in case numbers from their peaks in early Jan, the last week and a half their case numbers have plateaued rather than continued to fall.

And Israel, where over 38% of the population are now fully vaccinated and 53% of the population have received at least one jab, are also now seeing an increase in case numbers again.

Questions remain as to whether vaccination programs mean that those case numbers will eventually be controlled, the extent to which hospitalisations do or don't follow the uptick in case numbers and the extent to which deaths are then mitigated. None of that is known yet.

I think if it were clear as to why numbers were falling in the jurisdictions where they falling, or why numbers were increasing in the jurisdictions where they are increasing, it would be much easier for governments, both here and overseas, to plot a path out of this pandemic.
 
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N860CR

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There are lots more datapoints than just South Africa and I think it's worth considering them all.

I’m aware, however I provided data that I have a first hand knowledge on.

The overall worldwide trend is no doubt positive. It’s amazing how we’ve been so conditioned to actually fight positive reports.
 

Gremlin

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I’m aware, however I provided data that I have a first hand knowledge on.

The overall worldwide trend is no doubt positive. It’s amazing how we’ve been so conditioned to actually fight positive reports.
I'm not "fighting positive reports". I'm assessing what I'm seeing critically and I'm adjusting my own expectations as I'm seeing the experience emerge.

I think it's excellent that there are a number of countries, such as South Africa and UK, who are seeing a decline in case numbers. I fully expected the US to see a dramatic decline too. Unfortunately, they've plateaued much higher than I expected. That changes my perspective, unfortunately for the worse. I also expected Israel's case numbers to fall off a cliff - I was desperately hoping they would as they're a lead indicator for much of the rest of the world. Again, the emerging experience has changed my perspective, unfortunately for the worse.

I'm finding it difficult to rationalise why cases are falling in Spain and the UK, but rising across most of the rest of Europe. I'd expected to see numbers falling pretty consistently across the board. It's great to see isolated numbers falling, but without an understanding of why, and more importantly, why not elsewhere, we're still a long way from having a path mapped out of this pandemic.

EDIT: By the way, when you say, "the overall worldwide trend is no doubt positive", you do mean "case numbers worldwide are increasing" right? 'Cos that's what's happening.
 
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Flashback

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Surely the measure now must eventually change from infection numbers to hospital admissions. That was always the point of managing the pandemic.
That's certainly what is driving measures in the UK. Cases is of course the standard metric used by the CDC and ECDC but at a local policy level it's ICU utilisation and deaths that are driving things here in the UK.
 

Pushka

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That's certainly what is driving measures in the UK. Cases is of course the standard metric used by the CDC and ECDC but at a local policy level it's ICU utilisation and deaths that are driving things here in the UK.
Do you get any sense how arrivals from "safe" countries, or immunised people will be handled? Sill require home iso in say July?
 

OZDUCK

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I'm not "fighting positive reports". I'm assessing what I'm seeing critically and I'm adjusting my own expectations as I'm seeing the experience emerge.

I think it's excellent that there are a number of countries, such as South Africa and UK, who are seeing a decline in case numbers. I fully expected the US to see a dramatic decline too. Unfortunately, they've plateaued much higher than I expected. That changes my perspective, unfortunately for the worse. I also expected Israel's case numbers to fall off a cliff - I was desperately hoping they would as they're a lead indicator for much of the rest of the world. Again, the emerging experience has changed my perspective, unfortunately for the worse.

I'm finding it difficult to rationalise why cases are falling in Spain and the UK, but rising across most of the rest of Europe. I'd expected to see numbers falling pretty consistently across the board. It's great to see isolated numbers falling, but without an understanding of why, and more importantly, why not elsewhere, we're still a long way from having a path mapped out of this pandemic.

EDIT: By the way, when you say, "the overall worldwide trend is no doubt positive", you do mean "case numbers worldwide are increasing" right? 'Cos that's what's happening.
Texas has just decided to drop their Covid measures "100%". This even though, as you said above, their cases and deaths have stabilized - with perhaps even a slight upswing over the last 14 days. In their case it may well be in an attempt to divert attention from the terrible state of their Electricity Grid, as demonstrated in the recent cold snap
 

Flashback

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Do you get any sense how arrivals from "safe" countries, or immunised people will be handled? Sill require home iso in say July?
Doesn't seem to be any signs of that going away any time soon. The question will be more so around how long the 'red list' remains in place.
 

hb13

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I also expected Israel's case numbers to fall off a cliff - I was desperately hoping they would as they're a lead indicator for much of the rest of the world. Again, the emerging experience has changed my perspective, unfortunately for the worse.

I'm with you here. I've been following Israel's numbers closely since vaccinations began, and let's be frank - they have not been impressive. We have heard from Israel some 'amazing' reports of vaccine efficacy, but to this point cases haven't dropped significantly, neither have deaths. And cases now have in fact plateaued at a pretty high clip.

Another territory is Gibraltar. They have actually given more first doses per 100k population than Israel (and about the same second doses at 40%), and their cases and deaths have effectively vanished. But Gibraltar's population is very small, only 33k - so this is not the greatest example, but an example nevertheless.

I'm finding it difficult to rationalise why cases are falling in Spain and the UK, but rising across most of the rest of Europe. I'd expected to see numbers falling pretty consistently across the board. It's great to see isolated numbers falling, but without an understanding of why, and more importantly, why not elsewhere, we're still a long way from having a path mapped out of this pandemic.

I can't talk for Spain, however I can speak for the UK, France and Germany. In the UK we have been under a fairly strict lockdown with borders pretty much closed since Jan 4th. Germany have had somewhat of a lockdown, I think the media has termed it as 'lockdown-light' since last October. In France, they have not been in lockdown since mid-December, they have just had these curfews which are hardly adhered to or strictly imposed.

Lockdowns work. However they come at a huge cost, and have gone on for too long. We now have vaccines, there are a few around and we need to understand which ones are best at reducing severe disease, hospitalisations and deaths. I think come June/July, this will become more evident, particularly as the US is planning to have its whole adult population vaccinated with at least one dose by the end of May, and the UK would have pretty much fully vaccinated everyone who is vulnerable or over the age of 50 by the end of June.

IMO, if vaccines cut down severe disease, deaths and long-covid to levels similar for the flu or less, economies must open up rapidly after their populations are fully vaccinated. I'm fairly certain every doctor and scientist has said 0-covid is impossible. Even Australia and NZ have still not achieved that.

If vaccines work, the shackles must be removed. A continued period like this will only hamper the globe and increase health and sickness in other forms.
 

OZDUCK

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I'm with you here. I've been following Israel's numbers closely since vaccinations began, and let's be frank - they have not been impressive. We have heard from Israel some 'amazing' reports of vaccine efficacy, but to this point cases haven't dropped significantly, neither have deaths. And cases now have in fact plateaued at a pretty high clip.

Another territory is Gibraltar. They have actually given more first doses per 100k population than Israel (and about the same second doses at 40%), and their cases and deaths have effectively vanished. But Gibraltar's population is very small, only 33k - so this is not the greatest example, but an example nevertheless.



I can't talk for Spain, however I can speak for the UK, France and Germany. In the UK we have been under a fairly strict lockdown with borders pretty much closed since Jan 4th. Germany have had somewhat of a lockdown, I think the media has termed it as 'lockdown-light' since last October. In France, they have not been in lockdown since mid-December, they have just had these curfews which are hardly adhered to or strictly imposed.

Lockdowns work. However they come at a huge cost, and have gone on for too long. We now have vaccines, there are a few around and we need to understand which ones are best at reducing severe disease, hospitalisations and deaths. I think come June/July, this will become more evident, particularly as the US is planning to have its whole adult population vaccinated with at least one dose by the end of May, and the UK would have pretty much fully vaccinated everyone who is vulnerable or over the age of 50 by the end of June.

IMO, if vaccines cut down severe disease, deaths and long-covid to levels similar for the flu or less, economies must open up rapidly after their populations are fully vaccinated. I'm fairly certain every doctor and scientist has said 0-covid is impossible. Even Australia and NZ have still not achieved that.

If vaccines work, the shackles must be removed. A continued period like this will only hamper the globe and increase health and sickness in other forms.
There was a very interesting article in the NY Times about the problems of dealing with the religious hardliners in Israel. The problems extended from enforcing lockdowns to convincing them to be vaccinated. Their lack of co-operation also caused and causes the actual reported infection figures to be treated with caution.

 

N860CR

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I'm not "fighting positive reports". I'm assessing what I'm seeing critically and I'm adjusting my own expectations as I'm seeing the experience emerge.

Wasn't directly aimed at you. You’d have to agree that daring to report on anything positive or suggest that we are starting to move out of the “pandemic” is a major taboo.
I think it's excellent that there are a number of countries, such as South Africa and UK, who are seeing a decline in case numbers.

It certainly is. And one of the main reasons I raised ZA as a datapoint is its ownership of the scary, African strain. Seemingly, it’s maybe not so contagious, and not so scary. 16 cases in the western cape in total today. A region that is fully open to international arrivals.


EDIT: By the way, when you say, "the overall worldwide trend is no doubt positive", you do mean "case numbers worldwide are increasing" right? 'Cos that's what's happening.

Worldwide, cases have plummeted in the last month. I agree there have been a few days of increase, but the month-long trend is massively down (see what I mean about ignoring the positive and grasping the negative?). We’ve also got highly effective vaccines being distributed, regions reaching herd immunity and economies beginning to restart and rebound. So yes, the overall trend is positive. Even if there are some negative people out there.
 

OATEK

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Surely the measure now must eventually change from infection numbers to hospital admissions. That was always the point of managing the pandemic.
Agree that admissions and deaths are the only real measures that are useful. Infection rates in many countries are only estimates, and if the virus is with us forever, then there will be repeat cycles. But as you suggest, we need to know if the outcomes are improving, and particularly whether death rates are falling, as vaccinations increase.
 
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Border lockdowns get more and more farcical. So Zach Efron's brother - an all important influencer on social media - was allowed into Oz and took a place in hotel quarantine. The explanation given around his exemption:

"Stimulating the Australian economy is an important part of post-Covid-19 recovery, which is why the ABF is committed to keeping the economy moving as much as possible, while at the same time ensuring our borders remain strong and protected from the transmission of COVID-19,' the spokesman said."


What an effing joke this entire system is.
 

Pushka

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Stimulating the Australian economy is an important part of post-Covid-19 recovery, which is why the ABF is committed to keeping the economy moving as much as possible, while at the same time ensuring our borders remain strong and protected from the transmission of COVID-19,' the spokesman said."
I can use that text if, needs be, we must promote our Oz business overseas then.
 

hb13

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I thought this may be of interest to people here: Italy blocks export of AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia as tensions rise over jab access

I think it's behind a pay-wall, so I've pasted the text below, directly from The Daily Telegraph:

Italy became the first country to impose an EU export ban on coronavirus vaccines on Thursday after blocking a shipment of 250,000 AstraZeneca jabs to Australia.

Brussels introduced the export transparency regime during its row over supply shortfalls with the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company at the end of January.

Under the new rules, manufacturers in the EU must ask national authorities in the country of production and the European Commission for permission to export vaccines outside the EU.

Italy blocked the export of the vaccines and the commission did not raise any objections, the Financial Times reported. Rome notified Brussels of its decision at the end of last week.

EU allies such as Canada and Britain had raised concerns about the regime, which was a response to fears that vaccines bought by Brussels were being shipped elsewhere.

The commission was angered in January when AstraZeneca said it would miss targets for vaccine deliveries in the first quarter of the year.

Mario Draghi, the Italian prime minister, called for stricter export controls at an EU summit last month.

Belgium, Sweden, France and Germany have lifted age restrictions on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in response to data showing it is safe for the over-65s and in a bid to kickstart their stalled vaccination rollout campaigns.

EU sources confirm FT report, according to Italian media.
 

mviy

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This kind of action is one of the main reasons the government entered into an agreement to produce the vaccine locally. If the time to get everyone vaccinated is longer than was anticipated this will delay when we can travel.
 

drron

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It depends on which source you look at for world numbers but worldometers has been accurate IMHO and their world figures don't show the situation getting worse.
1614894944839.png .


Sure their are individual countries where the numbers are rising but overall it does seem the trend is down.
 

drron

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Some more unpleasant facts re vaccination and travel.
New York will let you travel without quarantine or testing if you are within 90 days of full vaccination.After 90 days back to quarantine/testing again.

And foreigners entering China will have a Covid test.By anal swabbing!Though not all arrivals.Mainly Beijing,Shanghai and Qingdao.

 

OZDUCK

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Howard Springs capacity to be more than doubled. I think everyone knew this was going to happen but it has now become official. The PM, Scott Morrison, also announced on a radio interview I heard that W.A & Qsld were accepting the same levels of people for hotel quarantine as before their ' lockdowns'. The W.A increase had already been reported over here.

 

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