Covid-19 Live Updates: U.S. To Reopen Land Borders With Canada and Mexico in November

Live Updates

A 19-month ban on non-essential travel between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada due to COVID-19 will come to an end in early November for fully vaccinated travelers.

The new rules, to be fully announced later today, will allow foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November - when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel. Essential travelers, such as truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated by mid-January under the plans.

It signals a growing approval from the Biden administration of strict vaccine mandates - wanting Americans and foreign nationals to prove their status in workplaces as well as when traveling abroad. State legislators, most notably in Texas, have been attempting to block any such moves but were attacked by the White House yesterday as going "against all public health information", reaffirming that any state-wide attempts could be overruled by federal law.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog for all the latest updates...

Jen Psaki mocks 'world renowned business, travel and health expert' Ted Cruz over airline comments

The White House press secretary mocked the senior Republican and Texas senator over his claims vaccine requirements led to Southwest Airlines' staff shortages yesterday.

Asked by Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich whether it was true that vaccine mandates have reduced the workforce and contributed to the problem, she jokingly labeled him a "world-renowned business, travel and health expert" and went on to dispel the notion.

Almost eight million people receive COVID vaccine booster

A total of 7.79 million people have got their first booster dose - 4.2 percent of fully vaccinated people - as the program to increase the public's immunity heading into winter sets off.

#DYK? As of October 9, 2021, nearly 8 million people have received a #COVID19 booster. CDC’s COVID Data Tracker now has data showing how many people in the United States have received a booster shot. See the data: https://t.co/bk4Numz6Zz. pic.twitter.com/g1TabItSD8

— CDC (@CDCgov) October 12, 2021

Russia says 11 percent of COVID patients in serious or critical condition

The country is facing yet another surge of infections - similar to the magnitude of the Delta variant wave just passing in the U.S. - due to low vaccination rates and hesitation over a new nationwide lockdown.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said yesterday that the dramatic rise in infections is putting a heavy strain on Russia's health care system, with hospitals treating almost 250,000 virus patients.

FULL STORY: Russia Says 11 Percent of Hospitalized COVID Patients in Serious or Critical Condition

Hospital staff in Russia overwhelmed
Medics escort a woman into a hospital where patients infected with the COVID-19 novel coronavirus are being treated in the settlement of Kommunarka outside Moscow Dimitar Dilkoff/Getty Images

WATCH: Southwest Airlines pilot goes viral after speaking out against vaccine mandates

A clip of pilot Shawn Andrew Walker describing why he is against the vaccine mandate on airline staff has been viewed millions of times after being widely shared by right-wing figures.

During the video, Walker described how he is now "facing an ultimatum, not a choice, but an ultimatum," after being told that he must comply with President Biden's mandate meaning all federal employees must be vaccinated against the virus.

FULL STORY: Video of Pilot Speaking Out Against Vaccine Mandate Hits 2M Views

This is the single bravest thing I have seen in years. God bless these Pilots. The heroes we need right now 🇺🇸✈️ pic.twitter.com/ZxuRseDoAq

— Benny (@bennyjohnson) October 11, 2021

Democrats hedge bets on vaccinate mandates as key 2022 election issue

COVID politics - and the difficult social divides that come with it - will likely remain a key feature of the mid-terms next year as the White House seeks to fully back the idea of vaccine mandates at home and abroad.

Democrats claim to have evidence that the public is on their side, according to reports from The Hill, fueling hopes among party strategists that they can maintain control in the House and Senate. It will be the first major post-pandemic electoral test since the recall vote of California Governor Gavin Newsom - a battle fought and won largely on COVID issues.

Biden pushes on vaccination as key to 'accelerate the path out of the pandemic'

Ahead of the full announcement on vaccine mandates on land borders later today, the president has once again urged all Americans to get fully vaccinated against COVID.

In a tweet, he boasted of his "plan to accelerate the path out of the pandemic" but said its success hinged on people complying with the recommendation to get both shots.

Folks, it’s been a month since I laid out my plan to accelerate the path out of this pandemic. We’ve made real progress, but we still have a long way to go.

There’s no better way to beat this pandemic than to get the vast majority of Americans vaccinated. It’s as simple as that.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 12, 2021

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

The news of easing land border restrictions will be positive news for many - especially those in Mexico and Canada with friends and relatives in the U.S. - but a domestic battle over vaccine mandates continues to rage.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Wednesday for all the latest.