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American soldiers line up to receive the first COVID-19 vaccines at the Brian D. Allgood Army Community Hospital, U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on Tuesday. Photo: United States Forces Korea via Getty Images

World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a virtual briefing Monday people who've been vaccinated for COVID-19 "need to take the same precautions" as those who haven't "till there's a certain level of herd immunity."

Driving the news: Swaminathan was asked whether international travel without quarantine would be possible after mass coronavirus vaccinations. "I don't believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it's going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore being able to pass it on," she said.

  • WHO Health Emergencies director Mike Ryan noted "there's no guarantee of eliminating or eradicating an infectious disease" — even with a vaccine that has high efficacy as the ones being rolled out are.
  • "That is a very high bar for us to be able to get over," he said.

Why it matters: Many tourism-reliant countries, along with the travel and tourism industry, are hopeful that coronavirus vaccinations will see global travel start to make a comeback next year, with international borders reopening.

  • The airline industry has developed mobile apps that would receive coronavirus test and vaccination certificates — though Axios' Joann Muller reports that COVID-19 tests will be the passport to travel in 2021

The big questions: In addition to the uncertainty on whether vaccines will stop transmission of the virus or just prevent people from becoming sick, it's still unknown how long immunity through vaccination lasts, per Axios' Alison Snyder, Eileen Drage O'Reilly.

  • It's also unknown whether people can have rare or delayed side effects, which could be detected in long-term trials with millions of participants.

By the numbers: COVID-19 has killed nearly 335,000 people and infected over 19.3 million in the U.S., per Johns Hopkins.

  • Globally, almost 1.8 million people have lost their lives to the virus and nearly 81.3 million have tested positive.

Worth noting: Ryan said "the likely scenario" for the virus once brought under control is that it will "become another endemic virus that will remain somewhat of a threat, but a very low level threat in the context of an effective global vaccination program."

Go deeper: Coronavirus won't disappear, even with a vaccine

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

  1. Health: CDC expects new COVID surge starting this month — Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low
  2. Politics: Federal judge overturns CDC's eviction moratorium — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants — U.S. will support waiving vaccine patents — Education secretary: All schools expected to be fully in-person this fall
  4. Economy: U.S. may have added more than 2 million jobs in April — A surge in youth unemployment.
  5. World: True COVID-19 death toll is double the official numbers, study finds — Countries testing J&J vaccine doses after contamination at Baltimore plant — Germany opposes Biden's support for waiving vaccine patents
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.