NEW DELHI – New cases in India set a record on Thursday with 126,789, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi got a second attempt and urged others to follow their example, saying “vaccination is one of the few ways we have to defeat the virus.”
India started a vaccination campaign in January. So far, more than 90 million health workers and those over the age of 45 have received at least one bullet. Only 11 million have received both doses as India tries to build immunity to protect its nearly 1.4 billion people.
Dozens of cities are introducing night curfews to try to contain the wave, but the federal government has refused to impose a second blockade across the country for fear it would harm the economy.
The number of deaths has increased by 685 in the last 24 hours, the most since November. The western state of Maharashtra, the hardest hit in the country, accounted for almost 47% of new infections.
– UK advises restricting AstraZeneca to under 30 due to clot concerns
– Inviting the Elderly: A Great New Attempt to Vaccinate Older Americans
– Brazilian Bolsonaro ignores lock calls to slow down the virus
– French children, parents and teachers struggled with internet connection problems across the country after the abrupt transition to national online learning classes after seven months of teaching.
– Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey says the state is shifting to personal responsibility in the fight against COVID-19. Ivey says she issued a health order “greatly reduced” which has few restrictions, but encourages people to continue to take precautions, such as voluntarily wearing masks.
Follow AP pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING:
SEOUL, South Korea – Health officials in South Korea say they will decide whether to continue using AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccines to people aged 60 and under over the weekend.
Injections have been paused as regulators in Europe have questioned the possible link between injections and rare blood clots.
The Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that the European Medical Agency stressed that the benefits of receiving AstraZeneca vaccine still outweigh the risks to most people, although it said it found a “possible link” between the shooting and rare clots.
South Korea’s mass immunization campaign relied largely on AstraZeneca footage produced locally by BK Bioscience. The country has so far given the first doses to about a million people. In the age group of 60 years or less, South Korea vaccinated only hospital and emergency workers and people in long-term care facilities.
The KDCA said it would assess the potential risks of the vaccine on Thursday and review reported cases of blood clotting with a panel of experts.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – A security guard at a New Zealand quarantine hotel tested positive for coronavirus, although there is no evidence at this time that the outbreak is spreading further.
New Zealand has managed to stop the spread of the virus, so whenever someone who is not in quarantine tests positive, it is a significant concern. Health authorities said that person lives alone and that Kopule works with a colleague, and that both workers are now in isolation.
Health Director General Ashley Bloomfield said the 24-year-old guard was not vaccinated and they are doing an emergency repeat test on the worker to better understand the nature of the infection.
New Zealand has given preference to border workers for vaccination. A nation of 5 million people has reported 2,500 cases and 26 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
ATLANTA – As of Thursday, tables at a restaurant in Georgia may be a little closer, more people may gather and vulnerable residents should no longer stay at home as Governor Brian Kemp loosens COVID-19 restrictions.
The Republican governor said Wednesday that it is part of an effort to show “Georgia is open for business.”
Kemp announced on March 31 that he was easing the restrictions he had in force for almost a year. For example, restaurant tables will now be required to be only 1.07 meters away, not 1.83 meters from the previous 6 feet. People in cinemas can sit closer and there are no longer any restrictions on gatherings of 50 people when people are closer than 6 feet, which could allow for larger concerts and congresses indoors.
The governor portrays his new executive order as part of an effort to return to “normalcy”, continuing to stress that economic health is just as important as relief from the respiratory disease that has killed more than 19,000 Georgians.
But it is unclear whether restaurants will rush to reopen their self-service drinking stations, whether fitness instructors will quickly allow their students to be 6 feet away instead of the current 10.05 meters, and whether cinemas will allow people to come close to 3 feet (0.91 meter). Some business owners say they do not intend to change much for now.
BEIJING – Chinese officials say another 11 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in a southwestern city bordering Myanmar, which is the scene of China’s current only active outbreak.
The cases in Ruili city of Yunnan province exceeded 100, including those showing no symptoms.
However, the mass transmission seems to have been curbed by a campaign to vaccinate all 300,000 city residents. People there were told to stay at home, and 45 residential buildings were completely locked.
China has virtually kicked out new local cases across the country with aggressive locking, wearing masks, electronic surveillance and other measures. As most economic and social activities continue, these measures are gradually declining, although wearing masks indoors and on public transport remains almost universal.
SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea has reported another 700 cases of coronavirus as the rate of virus spread approaches the levels seen during the country’s worst outbreak in winter.
Figures released by the Korean Agency for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday led to a national number of 107,598 cases, including 1,758 deaths.
The daily jump was the largest since January 5, when 714 cases were recorded.
Approximately 500 new cases have been reported in the densely populated metropolitan area of Seoul, which has become the center of an epidemic in the country since a winter rush that peaked with more than 1,200 infected added on Christmas.
Health authorities, which are also battling the slow introduction of vaccines, are expected to announce measures to boost social alienation after Friday’s meeting.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The governor of Puerto Rico says officials will begin vaccinating all those 16 years and more from Monday, prompting celebrations across U.S. territory amid a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
Currently, only people aged 50 and older, as well as all those aged 35 to 49 who have a chronic health condition, are authorized to receive the vaccine.
Governor Pedro Pierluisi also announced on Wednesday that he is implementing tougher measures to fight the recent surge in coronavirus infections. The curfew from 22:00 to 05:00 will take effect on Friday, and businesses will be forced to close by 21:00, which is two hours earlier than allowed.
Puerto Rico has recorded more than 199,000 coronavirus cases and more than 2,000 COVID-19-related deaths.
DETROIT – The state health director of the state of Michigan says the government is focusing on vaccinating more people, instead of imposing new constraints on the economy amid a wave of new coronavirus cases and crowds of hospitals with COVID-19 patients.
Elizabeth Hertel said Wednesday: “Our focus currently continues to ensure we vaccinate as many people as possible. We still have certain restrictions that limit gathering sizes. ”
Her comments came when federal statistics showed Michigan leading the U.S. in new coronavirus cases. The state has recorded more than 46,000 cases in the last seven days, or 469 per 100,000 people. It is far ahead of No. 2 in New Jersey, at 321.
Public health reported 8,000 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday.
MADRID – Spain plans to join other European countries in limiting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the elderly due to concerns over links to extremely rare blood clots.
Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said after a meeting with regional health chiefs on Wednesday that authorities would restrict the use of the vaccine to those over 60.
The decision came after the European Medicines Agency said it had found a “possible link” between injections and rare clots.
Last week, Germany and France restricted the vaccine to older groups, and earlier Wednesday, British authorities recommended that the vaccine not be given to adults under the age of 30. Belgium said on Wednesday it would not allow use for people under the age of 56.
The EMA has not advised such age restrictions, saying the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the very rare cases of thrombosis.
TALLAHASSEE, Florida, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office confirms he received a single-dose coronavirus vaccine. He did so out of the public eye, even when governors elsewhere on the political spectrum were publicly vaccinated to convince Americans that the shots were safe.
A spokesman for the governor declined to give details on Wednesday, including when DeSantis received the dose. But it was revealed that the governor received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
DeSantis recently said he would be vaccinated soon – but his office did not release an announcement, nor was there a media presence to witness the event. Some of his top lieutenants said they did not know the governor had already been vaccinated, even though they were working to persuade Florians to vaccinate against a virus that infected more than 2 million people in Florida and killed nearly 34,000.
BOISE, Idaho – Idaho Governor Brad Little has issued an executive order prohibiting the state government from requiring or issuing COVID-19 “vaccine passports.”
The governor’s order issued Wednesday also prevents state agencies from providing information on anyone’s vaccine status to individuals, companies or government bodies.
He has received little vaccine and says he strongly encourages others to get vaccinated. But he says he has serious concerns that applying for a vaccine passport will violate medical privacy rights. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a similar order Wednesday, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday.
The White House has rejected the national “vaccine passport,” saying it leaves it to the private sector if companies want to develop a system for people to show they have been vaccinated.
TORONTO – Canada’s most populous province plans to vaccinate for 18 years or more in and around hotspots in Toronto, and plans to vaccinate some teachers amid a third increase in coronavirus infections fueled by more contagious versions of the virus.
Ontario has declared a new state of emergency and will now give all adults with certain zip codes priority access to vaccines. Ontario will also close irrelevant stores for personal shopping and limit large stores to basic items such as groceries and pharmacies.
The province calls its latest measure an order to stay at home, although schools in most provinces will remain open and golf courses will remain open. Ontario has seen more than 3,000 new infections a day in recent days and is recording a number of intensive care.