World’s largest country moves to CDC’s highest risk travel category

On Monday afternoon, the world’s largest country by area (covering more than 17 million square kilometers or 6.6 million square miles), moved up to Level 4, the agency’s highest risk category. It was previously listed as Level 3, or “high” risk for Covid-19.

Belgium was also among a handful of destinations added to the Level 4 category.

Destinations that fall into the “Covid-19 Very High” Level 4 category have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days, according to CDC criteria.

People should avoid traveling to locations designated with a “Level 4” notice, the CDC

Polio and Measles Vaccines Lag for Children Across the World

The pandemic dealt a serious setback to global efforts to immunize children against diseases like measles and polio, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday, reducing worldwide coverage for some vaccines to levels not seen since more than a decade ago.

The proportion of eligible children who received a polio vaccine fell to 83 percent in 2020 from 86 percent the year before, as did coverage with the third dose of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, known as DTP3. Coverage with the measles vaccine also dipped slightly, to 84 percent last year from 86 percent in 2019.

Those setbacks,

Meeting of Francis and Biden Will Highlight Rift With U.S. Bishops

VATICAN CITY — When Joseph R. Biden Jr. visits the Vatican on Friday, he will be the third American president Francis has met since becoming pope in 2013. Each has marked a distinct phase not only of his papacy, but also of the political upheaval in the United States and in its Roman Catholic church.

President Barack Obama shared Francis’ global magnetism, celebrity wattage and a focus on immigrants, climate change and the poor. President Donald J. Trump, whose Christianity Francis once questioned for his anti-immigrant policies, ushered in a populist era that helped sideline Francis.

Now Mr. Biden, a

After Time of ‘Real Terror,’ City’s Resilience Is Symbolized in Statue

BRESCIA, Italy — Wearing a toga, the woman points out the top attractions of one of Italy’s more underrated cities: Look! Here’s the ancient Capitoline Temple. Over here you have the Renaissance-era piazza. And you simply must check out the side-by-side old and new cathedrals.

Then the tour guide performs a neat trick that would make Ovid proud: She metamorphoses into an winged statue, while a young girl looking on mouths: “Wow.”

The commercial, seen on national TV, encourages Italians to take in the sights of Brescia, an industrious northern city midway between Milan and Verona that is bypassed by

Why China Is the World’s Last ‘Zero Covid’ Holdout

The trip began in Shanghai, where the couple, both former professors, joined a tour group of other retirees. They traveled through Gansu Province and Inner Mongolia, staying at a bed-and-breakfast and eating three times at the same lamb chop restaurant. Flying south to Xi’an, they dropped in to a 1,300-year-old temple. Their fellow tour group members checked out an art museum, strolled through parks and visited friends.

Then, on Oct. 16, the day they had planned to visit the Terracotta Warriors, the couple tested positive for the coronavirus.

Since then, China has locked down a city of 4 million, as

Queen Elizabeth Will Skip Climate Summit in Glasgow

Advised by doctors to rest, Queen Elizabeth II, at age 95 the oldest and longest-serving monarch in British history, will not attend the global climate summit to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, starting next week, Buckingham Palace said on Tuesday.

The queen had been scheduled to attend a reception on Monday with world leaders, including President Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26.

“Her Majesty is disappointed not to attend the reception but will deliver an address to the assembled delegates via a recorded video message,” the palace said in

Australians will soon be allowed to freely travel abroad if they are fully vaccinated.

The health minister of Australia announced on Wednesday that fully vaccinated residents would finally be allowed to travel abroad starting on Nov. 1, a year and a half after borders were closed to most ingoing and outgoing travel.

“Fully vaccinated Australians will not require an exemption to depart Australia,” Greg Hunt, the country’s health minister, told reporters in Canberra. He added that they would also be able to return without restrictions.

The eased restrictions will be the first stage in Australia’s plan to reopen its international borders since slamming them shut on March 20, 2020, separating families and leaving thousands

Justin Trudeau Introduces ‘Reinvigorated’ Cabinet

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled his new cabinet on Tuesday, in a muted inauguration during which the Canadian leader laid out a sweeping agenda meant to reinvigorate support for his Liberal Party after an underwhelming and unpopular early election in September.

The swearing-in ceremony, dampened by pandemic restrictions and a chilly autumnal rain, was the first major event since the new government was formed by an election held last month that denied Mr. Trudeau the voting majority he had sought in the House of Commons.

The inauguration also came in the aftermath of a misstep by Mr. Trudeau

Moderna to Sell Up to 110 Million Covid Vaccine Doses to African Countries

Facing pressure for keeping its Covid vaccine out of reach of poorer countries, Moderna said on Tuesday that it had agreed to sell up to 110 million shots to African Union member nations.

The company said it would deliver 15 million of the shots by the end of this year and 35 million more by the end of March, offering a modest supply boost for a continent with severe vaccine shortages and some of the world’s lowest vaccination rates.

The New York Times reported this month that Moderna’s shots have gone almost entirely to wealthier countries. Moderna has shipped a

Who is Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan Leader Ousted in Coup

Until a military coup in Sudan, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok had the daunting task of trying to liberalize his country and lead it to democracy after three decades of dictatorship, while revitalizing its battered economy and normalizing relations with the world.

On Monday evening, his whereabouts remained unknown.

Mr. Hamdok, 65, an economist by profession, had spent much of his career working in international institutions. But in August 2019, he joined a three-year transitional government that was formed after a revolution that overthrew the dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir and left more than 100 Sudanese dead.

At the outset, the opposition