(Bloomberg) -- U.S. regulators approved the mixing of vaccines as they cleared boosters for the shots made by Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. 

Singapore extended pandemic restrictions for a month amid a record wave of cases. Russia, Serbia, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Austria are also imposing curbs because infections are rising. 

New York City will mandate vaccination and eliminate a testing option for all municipal employees, including police and firefighters. Shot mandates are hurting the ability of some employers in the U.S. to hold onto workers, a Federal Reserve survey found.

Apple Inc. will begin to force unvaccinated corporate employees to get tested each time they want to enter an office, a move that tightens its virus protocols while still stopping short of a vaccine requirement.

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: Cases top 241.7 million; deaths surpass 4.9 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 6.74 billion shots given
  • NYC, Chicago confront police-union blowback on vaccine mandates
  • As U.K. cases surge, Israel offers a lesson in boosters
  • Bolsonaro accused to crimes against humanity in Covid probe
  • Alpha, delta and more. Why virus variants cause alarm: QuickTake
  • Is this one Covid vaccine more than we need?: Raphael and Fazeli

Unvaccinated Apple Workers to Get Daily Tests (5:30 a.m. HK)

Apple Inc. will begin to force unvaccinated corporate employees to test for Covid-19 each time they want to enter an office, a move that tightens its virus protocols while still stopping short of a vaccine mandate.

The new requirement will also apply to employees who decline to report their vaccination status to Apple, the company told employees this week. Vaccinated staff will be required to take rapid tests once per week.

Apple retail store employees, meanwhile, will have slightly different rules. Unvaccinated staff will be asked to test twice per week instead of each day they come to work. Vaccinated workers will also need to take a rapid test each week.

Boosters and Vaccine Mixing Approved (5:05 a.m. HK)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared a broad path for millions of Americans to receive Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, as the nation looks to bolster its defenses and prevent another virus surge.

The agency said in a statement on Wednesday that Moderna Inc. vaccine recipients over 65 and over can receive a third shot, as can adults 18 and up at high risk of severe Covid or with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to the virus that causes the disease.

Additionally, all J&J recipients 18 and older are eligible for a booster shot at least two months after receiving their first dose. 

The agency also allowed each of the available Covid vaccines to be used as a booster dose for eligible individuals following completion of a primary vaccination.

Ivermectin Poisonings Rise (5 p.m. NY)

Poisonings from taking ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug that some people have used in an attempt to treat or prevent Covid-19, rose sharply in August, according to a report from the Oregon Poison Center.

The center, which also serves Alaska and Guam, received 21 calls from people reporting ivermectin toxicity in August, up from a previous average of less than one per month, according to the report published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Approved to treat parasitic worms in both people and livestock, ivermectin has surged in popularity recently as fringe groups, vaccine skeptics and social-media figures hype it as a cheap and accessible treatment for the coronavirus. 

Among the 21 reported poisonings, six people were hospitalized, including four who required intensive care. All six hospitalizations were in people taking ivermectin to prevent the viral disease, according to the report. Symptoms included gastrointestinal distress, confusion, weakness, loss of muscle coordination, low blood pressure and seizures. 

Shot Mandates Contributing to Labor Turnover (4:30 p.m. NY)

Employers across the U.S. are struggling to attract and retain talent, and in some areas, vaccine mandates have made it even more challenging to hold onto workers, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book said Wednesday. 

The central bank said vaccine mandates were “widely cited” as contributing to high labor turnover, along with child-care issues and Covid-related absences. However, diving into the comments of the five regional Fed banks that mentioned vaccines, the repercussions of mandates varied. 

Latvia Resumes Shutdowns as Infections Soar (12:51 p.m. NY)

Latvia became the European Union’s first member to resume significant shutdowns as soaring infections -- the world’s highest per capita during the past week -- threatened to overwhelm hospitals. For the next month, the country will close bars and shops, impose curfews and resume distance learning for students.

Neighboring Estonia said it may follow if its situation gets much worse. Romania -- where less than a third of the population is vaccinated -- has turned to the World Health Organization for help after deaths and new cases hit records.

VP Harris to Meet With Workers on Mandate (11:55 a.m. NY)

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will meet with federal workers on Wednesday morning ahead of the president’s deadline for government employees to prove their vaccination status.

Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja, who leads the federal government’s human resources agency, will also attend the meeting. Federal workers will have to prove they’re vaccinated by Nov. 8 or face unpaid suspension followed by termination, her team said earlier this month.

The meeting marks the latest step in the president’s push to increase vaccination rates nationwide. Roughly 2.1 million civilians work for the federal government. 

Czech Republic Moves to Stem Outbreak (11:15 a.m. NY)

The Czech government will make wearing face-masks obligatory at all indoor spaces as of next week to stem coronavirus spread that has significantly accelerated this week, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said after an extraordinary cabinet meeting. Customers at the restaurants will have to provide certificates of either vaccination or negative test results. The government also shortened the validity of Covid-19 tests and stopped providing free tests to people, with the exceptions of children, to motivate people to get vaccinated.

Serbia Imposes Curbs as Cases Soar (9:40 a.m. NY)

Serbia is curbing access to indoor bars and restaurants, allowing in only people who have been fully vaccinated or recovered not more than seven months ago, Premier Ana Brnabic told reporters in Belgrade. Negative virus tests are valid for up to 72 hours, she said.

The health crisis is worsening again, with new infections spiking to more than 7,000 a day in the nation of barely 7 million people.

White House Gives Plans for Shots to Kids (9:23 a.m. NY)

The White House outlined its plan to vaccinate younger children, focusing on smaller doses given with smaller needles once the shots are authorized by regulators. 

“We will be ready to get shots in arms,” President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 response coordinator, Jeff Zients, said during a White House briefing on the plan, which includes supporting vaccination by primary care doctors and in pharmacies and schools.


The U.S. has ordered enough supply to vaccinate all kids 5 to 11, the White House said in a statement Wednesday.

Putin Orders Sweeping Curbs (8:27 a.m. NY).

President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s most sweeping restrictions since May as the numbers of new infections and deaths reached record levels. 

Putin approved a government proposal to declare Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 “non-working days” to slow the spread. The country’s worst-affected regions will be required to introduce the stay-at-home order from Oct. 23.

“Now it is especially important to bring down the peak of a new wave of the epidemic,” said Putin, who issued an unusually impassioned plea for Russians to protect themselves by getting vaccinated. 

NYC to Mandate Vaccines (8:09 a.m. NY)

New York City will mandate vaccination for all city workers, eliminating a testing option.

Starting Wednesday, all employees who get their first shot at a city-run site will receive an extra $500 in their paycheck. The benefit will end on Oct. 29, the deadline for employees to submit proof of at least one dose, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

Employees not vaccinated by then will be placed on unpaid leave, the mayor said. The city will immediately begin “impact bargaining” with affected unions, according to the statement. 

U.K. Health Secretary to Hold Briefing (8:09 a.m. NY)

U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. in London as pressure rises on the government to control a surge in cases. Javid is expected to encourage more elderly and vulnerable people to get booster vaccinations, and give an update on antiviral drugs.  

Javid will insist this is not yet the time for “Plan B” measures, which could include mandatory masks, vaccine passports and guidance to work from home, according to The Sun newspaper. It will be the first Covid press conference in five weeks.

Austria Sets Workplace Restrictions (7:32 a.m. NY)

Austria will require people who come into close contact with others at the workplace to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test. The measure, announced by the government in Vienna, takes effect next month.

Austria is struggling to curb the latest wave of infections, with more than 3,700 new cases registered on Wednesday, the most since March. Vaccinations have helped cap hospitalizations, however, with coronavirus patients in intensive-care units at less than a third of peak levels seen in April and a year ago.

Romania Seeks More Assistance (7:31 a.m. NY)

Romania is seeking more help from the European Union to get medicine and medical personnel to treat coronavirus patients, the country’s health ministry said. Its Covid hospitals had no available ICU beds Wednesday, with about 1,800 people occupying existing capacity.

The country is suffering one of the worst outbreaks in the world because of a low vaccination rate, insufficient restrictions and a disregard for social distancing measures. Top government officials are poised to discuss introducing tougher curbs later on Wednesday.

Kenya Lifts Curfew (7:31 a.m. NY)

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted a dusk-to-dawn curfew as the number of new coronavirus cases fell. Place of worship can also be filled to two-thirds of their capacity, double the previous limit, Kenyatta said in a televised address on Wednesday.

Singapore Extends Curbs by Extra Month (7:13 a.m. NY)

Singapore will maintain current virus restrictions for about another month as new infections threaten to overwhelm its health care system. The city-state set a record with almost 4,000 daily cases.

The strict measures limiting outdoor social gatherings to two people and making work from home the default will continue until Nov. 21, the health ministry said Wednesday. The government will extend aid amounting to S$640 million ($476 million) to help tide over businesses and people during this period. 


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