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Cases at 6-month high in Tokyo before Olympics


As Tokyo is getting ready for the Olympics which start July 23rd, the city braces for a surge in infection cases. There are concerns about the possibility of hospitals being overrun. The Associated Press has the story:

New daily cases have been steadily climbing since mid-June

TOKYO — Coronavirus cases in Tokyo have surged above 1,300 for a six-month high, just one week before the Olympics.

Simone Biles and the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team arrive for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games at Narita International Airport Thursday, July 15, 2021, in Narita, east of Tokyo. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

There are concerns a dramatic increase could flood hospitals during the Olympics, which start on July 23.

Tokyo is under a fourth state of emergency. It began Monday and requires restaurants and bars to close early and not serve alcohol through the Olympics, which end in early August.

People walk by the Olympic rings installed by the Nippon Bashi bridge in Tokyo on Thursday, July 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

The tally Thursday is the highest since 1,485 were recorded on Jan. 21, when Japan was under an earlier state of emergency. It’s an increase from 1,149 cases on Wednesday.

New daily cases have been steadily climbing since mid-June. Health experts say cases could hit several thousand during the games. Last week, organizers banned local fans at most Olympic events.

A health worker administers a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Central Vaccination Center in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Health authorities in Thailand said Wednesday they will seek to put limits on the export of locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine, as the country’s supplies of COVID-19 vaccines are falling short of what is needed for its own population. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)


— US ships 3.2M Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses to Philippines

— Melbourne to lockdown for 5 days because of virus cases

— How the pandemic may have accelerated the creep of authoritarianism

— Vaccine deliveries in Asia finally picking up speed

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Spectators wear obligatory face masks when watching the riders line up for the start of the seventeenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 178.4 kilometers (110.9 miles) with start in Muret and finish in Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet, France, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)


BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona and the surrounding northeast corner of Spain plan to shut down once again to stem the delta variant of the coronavirus, especially among the unvaccinated young.

Regional authorities are waiting for a judge to give the legal go-ahead for their request to restore a nightly curfew. The curfew order will affect those towns with a population of more than 5,000 and surpass the rate of 400 infections per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days.

Catalonia, with numbers double the Spanish average, is currently among the most hard-hit areas in Europe with over 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days. Only Cyprus is worse off in Europe, according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Catalan health official Carmen Cabezas says summertime partying and the delta variant have created “the perfect storm.”

Manuela Meneses, 13, is inoculated with a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Jose Maria Torrijos school, in Panama City, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Panamanian health authorities began vaccinating younger people, 12 years and older as the country faces a third wave of new cornavirus infections. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

PARIS — Some French restaurant staff are concerned that new mandatory COVID-19 passes will turn them into coronavirus police instead of purveyors of culinary pleasures.

Starting next month, all diners in France must show a pass proving they’re fully vaccinated, or recently tested negative or recovered from the virus. Many restaurants are already struggling to respect France’s oft-changing virus rules.

Some 1,000 Paris restaurants were ordered to temporarily shut down for nine days for not respecting limits on visitors in recent weeks. President Emmanuel Macron’s government says the passes are necessary to protect hospitals from new virus waves and avoid lockdowns.

People stand in line for a coronavirus vaccine shot at a mobile vaccination station in the center of in Yerevan, Armenia, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Hundreds lined the streets of the Armenian capital to get free coronavirus shots, and some spent night on the streets to save on queueing. Under the Armenian government’s directives effective since Friday, foreign nationals can only get AstraZeneca shots at five mobile vaccination points in Yerevan. (Vahram Baghdasaryan/PHOTOLURE via AP)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Many Asian countries are experiencing their worst surge of coronavirus infections.

The slow flow of vaccine doses from around the world is finally picking up speed, giving hope that low inoculation rates can increase and help blunt the effect of the rapidly spreading delta variant.

Some 1.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived Thursday in Indonesia, which has become a dominant hot spot with record high infections and deaths. Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea have all imposed new lockdowns as they struggle to contain rapidly rising infections amid sluggish vaccination campaigns.

The U.S. has sent tens of millions of vaccine doses to Asia, part of President Joe Biden’s pledge to provide 80 million doses, including to Vietnam, Laos, South Korea and Bangladesh.

The International Red Cross warned this week of a “widening global vaccine divide,” saying wealthy countries need to increase the pace of following through on their pledges.___

Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga gives a second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Chief of Staff Minister Luiz Eduardo Ramos at a vaccination center Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is shipping more than 3.2 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines.

The White House tells the Associated Press the donated single-shot vaccines will begin arriving in the Philippines later this week through COVAX, the international program coordinating vaccine sharing with lower- and middle-income countries.

It’s one of the largest installments of shipments in the U.S.’s expanding vaccine diplomacy campaign, with the nation now sharing about 50 million doses with the world. More than 30 million doses are awaiting shipment to other countries, pending regulatory and logistical clearances.

The U.S. also will purchase 500 million Pfizer doses to share globally in the upcoming year, with the first doses delivered in August.

FILE – In this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, a health worker arrives to take a nose swab sample as part of testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus at a nursing and rehabilitation facility in Seattle. With COVID-19 on the rise again and many nursing home staffers unvaccinated, families still lack easy access to crucial Medicare immunization data that will help them pick the right facility for their loved one. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

MELBOURNE — Australia’s second-largest city will lockdown for five days from Thursday night due to growing COVID-19 clusters.

Melbourne’s fifth lockdown of the pandemic will apply across Victoria state, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday.

The news came after officials announced on Wednesday that Australia’s largest city, Sydney, will remain in lockdown for five weeks.

A three-week lockdown of Sydney and surrounding communities in New South Wales state had been due to end on Friday. But it will now last until July 30 at the earliest.

Health authorities are concerned by how quickly the delta variant is spreading in a vulnerable Australian population in which fewer than 13% of adults are fully vaccinated.

People wearing face masks walk across an intersection in Tokyo on Thursday, July 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

MADRID — Spain’s king and queen and government have paid tribute to victims of COVID-19, with emphasis on the more than 100 health workers who have died from the new coronavirus.

The Cabinet joined King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia for an open-air ceremony Thursday at the royal palace in Madrid.

The monarch handed Order of Civil Merit medals to the families of the health workers who died.

“We cannot forget what happened,” Felipe said. “We must remember those who are no longer among us and show our respect and recognition of health workers.”

Some 130,000 Spanish health workers have been infected by the coronavirus, and officials fear a new surge among staff as the delta variant spreads.

In Catalonia, for example, more than 800 health staff were this week off work after testing positive.

Priority for vaccinations is now being given to anyone over 16 who lives with a health worker.

A health worker inoculates a woman against COVID-19 at vaccination center in Mumbai, India, Thursday, July 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s planning minister on Thursday said the number of COVID-19 patients at hospitals had started rapidly increasing, weeks after health officials first detected the delta variant of the coronavirus in the country.

Pakistan reported 47 new deaths and 2,545 new cases in the past 24 hours, brining the country’s tally of deaths due to COVID-19 to 22,689 and number of total confirmed cases to 981,392.

Asad Umar urged people to follow social distancing rules and get vaccinated, saying that the delta variant, first identified in India, “has caused devastation in countries in the region.”

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto, left, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, center, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, right, pose for photos prior to their meeting in Tokyo, Japan Thursday, July 15, 2021. (Christopher Jue/Pool Photo via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has added 1,600 more coronavirus cases, with infections spreading beyond the hard-hit capital area where officials have enforced the country’s toughest social distancing restrictions.

The number of cases reported Thursday nearly match the one-day record of 1,615 set only a day earlier and marks the ninth straight day with more than 1,000 new cases recorded.

More than 1,100 of the latest cases are in Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi Province and Incheon.

Infections are also rising outside the Seoul area, prompting calls for virus restrictions to be elevated nationwide. The 457 infections outside the capital region is the highest level since February 2020, when the country dealt with its first major outbreak, which was mostly limited to the southern city of Daegu and nearby areas.

A man rides his bicycle past the closed bar Mama Kin Thursday, July 15, 2021 in Paris. French restaurant owners and workers are worried that new mandatory COVID passes will turn them into virus police instead of purveyors of culinary pleasures. Starting next month, all diners in France must show a pass proving they’re fully vaccinated, or recently tested negative or recovered from the virus. For restaurants, the new rule presents yet another headache after a punishing pandemic.(AP Photo/Nicolas Garriga)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina has reported more than 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, a blow to a country that intermittently imposed some of the most severe lockdowns in the world, only to see erratic compliance by many people.

Recent coronavirus variants have helped spread the disease even faster and the vaccine program, while making progress, is still falling short.

The Health Ministry said Wednesday that 614 people died from the disease in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 100,250.

Large gatherings people that defied social distancing guidance and may have contributed to the health crisis in late 2020.

Argentina was struggling economically even before the pandemic and many citizens ignored quarantine regulations so they could make a living and support their families.

Soldiers man a roadblock set up during emergency restrictions to help curb the spread of coronavirus outbreak in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Thursday, July 15, 2021. As many Asian countries battle their worst surge of COVID-19 infections, the slow flow of vaccine doses from around the world is finally picking up speed, giving hope that low inoculation rates can increase and help blunt the effect of the rapidly spreading delta variant. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

WASHINGTON — The 18-year-old Disney Channel pop star and internet sensation, Olivia Rodrigo, wants people to know that the COVID-19 vaccines are “good 4 u.”

Rodrigo was at the White House on Wednesday to meet with President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci as part of the administration’s efforts to encourage younger Americans to roll up their sleeves to get a coronavirus shot.

Rodrigo’s visit comes as the Biden administration is focusing its efforts on turning out people ages 12 to 27 to get a shot.

She also made an appearance at the daily White House press briefing.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut lawmakers voted Wednesday to again extend Gov. Ned Lamont’s emergency declarations first issued in March 2020 during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, though some lawmakers argued it’s time to get back to normal.

The House of Representatives and Senate passed separate resolutions during Wednesday’s special session.

The resolution in the House passed on a 73-56 vote. In the Senate, the resolution passed on a 19-15 vote.

The governor asked the General Assembly to renew his declarations of public health and civil preparedness emergencies through Sept. 30.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics officials receive foreign Olympic athletes and teams on their arrival at Haneda international airport in Tokyo, Thursday, July 15, 2021. (Kyodo News via AP)

LONDON — The British government has made changes beginning at 4 a.m. Monday, where passengers traveling from Croatia, Bulgaria, Hong Kong and Taiwan won’t have to self-isolate upon arrival in the U.K.

At the same time, the Balearic islands of Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera as well as the British Virgin Islands will be downgraded to “amber” status, meaning travelers who aren’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will have to quarantine for 10 days after they return to Britain.

However, the updated travel lists will have little impact on many people because they coincide with the previously announced relaxation of quarantine rules. Under the new rules, adults who are fully vaccinated, as well as British residents under age 18, will no longer have to self-isolate when returning from amber list countries, opening up travel to the U.S., European Union and many other countries around the world.

FILE – In this Tuesday, June 22, 2021 file photo, a health worker inoculates a woman with China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at a temporary vaccination center in Manila, Philippines. The U.S. is shipping more than 3.2 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines. The White House tells the Associated Press the donated single-shot vaccines will begin arriving in the Philippines later this week through COVAX, the international program coordinating vaccine sharing with lower- and middle-income countries. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

NEW YORK — New York City officials are touting a recent Yale study they say concludes the city’s aggressive vaccine rollout over the past six months has saved thousands of lives.

They’re hoping the findings will help convince holdouts to get shots and fend off the rise in the delta variant.

“If you have been waiting, if you have been on the fence, sign up and get that shot as soon as possible,” Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, said Wednesday at a briefing with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The city is deploying mobile vaccine units, door-to-door canvassing and scheduling home visits in a push to get people vaccinated, the mayor says.

By The Associated Press

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