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Finland: Municipality Elections Postponed Because of COVID-19 Pandemic

(Apr. 5, 2021) On March 26, 2021, the Finnish Parliament voted to approve a two-month postponement of the country’s municipal elections because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The elections, originally scheduled for April 18, 2021, will now be held on June 13, 2021. In accordance with the decision, early voting was also rescheduled for May 26 […]

European Union: Commission Amends Authorization Mechanism for Exports of COVID-19 Vaccines

(Apr. 1, 2021) On March 26, 2021, the European Commission’s Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/521, which amends the authorization mechanism for exports of COVID-19 vaccines adopted on January 30, 2021, entered into force. The regulation adds the principles of reciprocity and proportionality as new criteria to be considered when a European Union (EU) member state authorizes […]

Israel: With Half the Population Vaccinated, Ministry of Health Issues COVID-19 Certificates of Vaccination or Recovery and “Green Passes”

(Mar. 25, 2021) On March 15, 2021, Israel became the first country to have fully vaccinated more than half its population using the Pfizer vaccine. Vaccinated Israelis and those who have recovered from COVID-19 may apply to the Ministry of Health (MOH) for a certificate of vaccination or a certificate of recovery, as well as for […]

International: WTO Considers Waiving Certain Intellectual Property Protections for the Prevention, Containment, and Treatment of COVID-19

(Mar. 24, 2021) At a meeting on March 10-11, 2021, the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Council (TRIPS Council) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) continued its consideration of a waiver from the implementation, application, and enforcement of several sections of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19. […]

European Union: Commission Proposes COVID-19 Digital Green Certificate on Vaccination, Testing, and Recovery

(Mar. 18, 2021) On March 17, 2021, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation to create a framework for an interoperable “Digital Green Certificate” to prove that people have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative COVID-19 test result, or recovered from COVID-19. The purpose of the certificates is to facilitate the exercise […]

China: Digital Vaccination Certificate for Citizens Traveling Overseas Launched

(Mar. 18, 2021) On March 8, 2021, China launched a digital vaccination certificate for its citizens, named the International Travel Health Certificate, to “facilitate safe and orderly cross-border travel,” according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on the same day. The certificate shows details about the holder’s current COVID-19 vaccination […]

England: Government Introduces Law to Allow More Flexible Proxy Voting in Local Elections Due to COVID-19

(Mar. 18, 2021) In England on February 23, 2021, the Representation of the People (Proxy Vote Applications) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 were laid before Parliament. If enacted, the regulations will enable individuals who are self-quarantining or “shielding” due to COVID-19 to vote in local elections, scheduled for May 6, 2021, via a last minute proxy vote […]

Germany: All Residents Entitled to at Least One Free COVID-19 Rapid Test per Week

(Mar. 16, 2021) On March 8, 2021, a new Coronavirus Test Regulation (Coronavirus-Testverordnung, TestV) entered into force in Germany. The regulation introduces the right to “resident testing” (Bürgertestung), which entitles all asymptomatic people to at least one free COVID-19 rapid PoC antigen test per week. The number of free tests is subject to local availability. […]

Brazil: Mayor of the City of Rio de Janeiro Enacts Decree with Additional Restrictive Measures due to COVID-19

(Mar. 16, 2021) On March 10, 2021, in response to increased COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospital overload, the mayor of the City of Rio de Janeiro enacted Decree No. 48,604 (Decreto Rio No. 48,604, de 10 de Março de 2021), which extends measures to protect life throughout the territory of the municipality through March 22, […]

United States: President Biden Signs American Rescue Plan Act into Law to Address Ongoing Issues Related to Coronavirus Pandemic

(Mar. 11, 2021) On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law H.R. 1319, a $1.9 trillion supplemental appropriations bill commonly referred to as the American Rescue Plan. Although Congress enacted a number of emergency appropriations measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020, including the CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response […]