The World Today for January 18, 2022


Unbending Science


Australia deported Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic after federal court judges upheld the immigration minister’s decision to override an earlier court decision to allow him to play in the Australian Open. As the Associated Press wrote, officials kicked him out because he is not vaccinated, as Australian law mandates for noncitizens. Djokovic maintains that he doesn’t need a vaccination because he recently recovered from Covid-19.

The incident showed how Western governments in much of the world can be unbending when it comes to coronavirus vaccinations.

French President Emmanuel Macron recently told the French press that he would not jail unvaccinated people or force them to receive jabs, according to Axios. But he said he would mandate Covid passports for anyone seeking to ride public transport or commercial airliners or to dine or participate in group activities in public. He’s not worried about the passports angering French anti-vaxxers.

“I really want to piss them off,” said Macron. “And so we will continue to do so, to the bitter end. That’s the strategy.”

Writing in the Local, journalist John Litchfield didn’t see Macron suffering much among voters due to his pugnacious attitude. More than 90 percent of those eligible for vaccines have received two shots in France.

Italian police were checking Covid passports and masks recently on public transport to enforce similar measures, Euronews noted. Remembering how their country was an epicenter of the virus in 2020 – the Italian death toll of 140,000 was one of the highest in the world – most Italians supported the measures.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently signaled his support for local officials who barred unvaccinated folks from government-operated alcohol and cannabis stores, the Washington Post added. People were putting off cancer treatments and elective surgeries because Covid-19 sufferers who didn’t receive vaccinations were occupying beds in overwhelmed hospitals, he said.

German lawmakers in the new Social Democratic government, as well as members of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, expect to go farther, proposing to make vaccination mandatory in March, Reuters wrote. Their move follows in the footsteps of Austria, where officials made vaccinations compulsory for everyone age 14 and over starting in February.

Thousands turned out to protest the Czech government’s proposed vaccine mandate, which would make Czechs 60 and older as well as some people in high-risk professions receive inoculations, according to the Hill. Carrying signs in Wenceslas Square that said “Freedom“ “Cowards” and “Hands off our children,” the protesters lamented how they were being forced to participate in a massive scientific experiment, reported Radio Prague International.

Of course, their critics would say that while the need to vaccinate is massive, the process is no longer an experiment.

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