Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Latest: China punishes 30 officials for failing to contain pandemic

by Associated Press

BEIJING — More than 30 Chinese officials have been fired or received other penalties on charges of failing to properly respond to the latest surge of the coronavirus in the country.

Among those sacked were a deputy mayor, heads of the city’s districts and health commissions, and employees of hospital management, airport and tourism departments.

China’s National Health Commission announced on Monday that 94 new cases of domestic transmission have been reported in the past 24 hours.

The latest outbreak is linked to the airport in the eastern city of Nanjing. The highly contagious Delta variant spread among airport workers and has since spread from tropical Hainan province in the south to Inner Mongolia in the far north.

The outbreak has prompted renewed travel restrictions, community lockdowns and the sealing of the entire city of Zhangjiajie, with a population of 1.5 million.

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More on the pandemic:

– To shake hands or not? A centuries-old human spirit is now in limbo

– The uncertain pandemic ended the Olympics

Weary US businesses face new round of mask mandates

– Once lagging behind, Europe catches up to the US in vaccination

– Iran reports highest daily virus cases, deaths, pandemic

– US motorists zooming in as summer highway travel peaks

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– Get more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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Here’s what else is happening:

MELBOURNE, Australia – The state of Victoria in Australia is lifting its pandemic lockdown starting Tuesday, except for the city of Melbourne.

Australia’s second most populous state imposed a seven-day lockdown last Thursday due to concerns about the spread of the delta version of the coronavirus.

But Victoria Premier Daniel Andrew says all the cases detected in Victoria in recent days have been in Melbourne, where 11 more cases were reported on Monday. So the lockdown will end in the rest of the state at the end of Monday.

The neighboring New South Wales state on Monday reported 283 new coronavirus infections and one COVID-19 death in the latest 24-hour period. The death toll from the latest outbreak which was first detected in Sydney on 16 June is now 29.

Sydney has been under lockdown since 26 June and will remain under stringent pandemic restrictions until at least 28 August.

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NEW ORLEANS — With new coronavirus cases rising in Louisiana, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will not return this year after aide.

The festival is traditionally held in the spring, but was scheduled to run from October 8-10 and October 15-17 after it was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But organizers announced on Sunday that the festival would not go as planned, citing the “current exponential growth” of new cases in the city and region.

They say the next year’s dates are April 29 to May 8.

Jazz Fest celebrates the indigenous music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana. Music includes almost every genre imaginable: blues, R&B, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, folk, Latin, rock, rap, contemporary and traditional jazz, country, bluegrass and everything in between.

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Ready to party at one of the most glamorous nightclubs in Miami – South Beach? Then roll up your sleeves. LIV Miami is offering a free COVID vaccine outside the club where high rollers spend up to $20,000 for just one table.

The star-studded nightclub, where Super Bowl champs celebrate at parties that have inspired Drake and Kanye West’s songs, set up a pop-up COVID vaccine site over the weekend to woo the younger demographic.

The Sunshine State set another record high over the weekend. On Saturday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 23,903 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. This tops the previous day’s record of 22,783 new cases.

Clubs LIV and Storey were closed for almost a year during the pandemic and reopened in April. David Grutman, owner of South Beach’s nightlife scene, who also owns a restaurant and hotel with Farrell, said, “We’re excited, we want to be open, and we know the only way to do that is if People get vaccinated, so we want to make it as accessible as possible.”

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NEW YORK — Moviegoing, which has so far been expected to be near semi-normal levels, has been battered by the pandemic, the delta version of the coronavirus, and in-home streaming.

Latest Casualty: James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad,” the critically acclaimed, carnage-ridden-smash that disappointed with an estimated $26.5 million in ticket sales.

The Warner Bros. film, which was released simultaneously on HBO Max, can lay claim to a pandemic record: top R-rated opening. But “The Suicide Squad,” featuring “Guardians of the Galaxy” director’s first DC Comics film, was poised to be a huge hit — and the Delta version may not be keeping a lot of filmmakers home.

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LONDON — Britain’s competition watchdog says Health Secretary Sajid Javid, complaining that high prices for government-mandated tests are preventing some people from going on holiday, says it will look into the cost of coronavirus testing for travellers.

Required PCR tests average around £75 ($104) for most travelers, or £300 for a family of four, but many companies charge significantly more. Prices quoted by providers listed on the government website range from £17 ($24) to £250 ($347).

Javid said on Sunday that he asked the Competition and Markets Authority to crack down on “unfair market practices” by testing providers.

The watchdog has the right to intervene directly when unfair practices are uncovered, but it can also directly advise ministers so that they can take swift action.

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PHOENIX – Arizona health officials on Sunday reported more than 2,000 additional COVID-19 cases for the fifth day in a row as hospitalizations related to the virus continued to rise.

The state’s coronavirus dashboard reported 2,639 additional cases and 12 deaths, raising the pandemic totals to 946,054 and 18,388 known deaths.

Health officials had recorded 2,653 cases with 34 deaths on Saturday.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases rose over the past two weeks from 1,145.1 on July 22 to 2,227.6 on Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The rolling average of daily deaths during the same period more than doubled, rising from 6.3 to 16.9.

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TUNIS, Tunisia – Tunisia has launched its biggest ever coronavirus vaccination campaign as cases surge in the country.

Officials aim to vaccinate more than 1 million people aged 40 and above in just one day, compared to 30,000 to 60,000 the day before.

In a televised address on Sunday, President Kais Saied called on people to take shots “so that life in Tunisia returns to normal.”

Authorities provided free buses for people going to vaccination centres, many were set up in schools.

Tunisia has a population of 12 million, and has reported more deaths per capita in the pandemic than any other African country. More than 20,000 Tunisians have died from COVID-19. So far 9% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

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Wilmington, Del – The US government’s top infectious disease expert expects the FDA to begin giving full approval to coronavirus vaccines by the end of the month. Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts that a wave of vaccine mandates will spur the private sector as well as schools and universities.

The FDA has approved the vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for emergency use only. It is expected that the agency will soon give full approval to Pfizer.

The Biden administration has said the federal government will not mandate vaccination beyond the federal workforce, but is urging state and local government as well as businesses to consider such a mandate.

Fauci told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that “the mandate needs to be met locally” to help stop the spread of the virus.

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WASHINGTON – Republican US Sen. Bill Cassidy says he disagrees with GOP governors in Florida and Texas who are pausing mask mandates despite a surge in coronavirus cases.

Cassidy is a physician from Louisiana. He said Sunday that “local authorities should be listened to” if hospital ICUs in a community are overcrowded due to rising infections and school officials want to implement safety measures such as wearing masks before students return in the fall.

In May, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order barring local governments from enforcing mask mandates. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an order in July requiring school districts not to wear masks for in-person instruction to children.

Infections are increasing in those states and elsewhere because of the highly contagious delta variant. While officials value vaccination as the best protection, children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia says it will ease lockdown restrictions for those who have been fully vaccinated as the government seeks to quell public anger against the alleged mismanagement of the pandemic.

Despite the lockdown since June 1, daily infections crossed 20,000 for the first time on Thursday. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Sunday that the government had decided to provide some exemptions for those who have been fully vaccinated because “many people are facing pandemic fatigue.”

From Tuesday, husband and wife can cross districts to meet each other and parents whose children are studying in other states.

Muhyiddin says local tourism, non-contact outdoor sports and exercise as well as dining at eateries will be allowed in at least eight states and regions where cases have decreased.

So far, 35 percent of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated.

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia says it is giving the equivalent of $133,000 to the family of each medical worker fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the kingdom.

An announcement made on Sunday said the financial award would apply to all health care workers who died as a result of the virus, including those working in non-Saudi and private sector settings.

The health ministry has not publicly stated how many health workers were involved in the state’s 8,320 pandemic deaths.

Saudi Arabia has a population of 30 million and has given about 30 million doses of vaccine. The state is currently reporting less than 1,000 new cases in a day.

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PORTLAND, Maine – American motorists pedal to the metal during the pandemic, and police are concerned as roads get busy on the final stretch of summer commute.

The latest data shows the number of highway deaths in 2020 was the largest in more than a decade, even though cars and trucks covered fewer miles because of the pandemic.

Traffic data indicates that higher death rates were related to higher average speeds, higher with those driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and a slight decline in seatbelt use.

Tickets issued by the California Highway Patrol for speeds in excess of 100 mph from January to June were nearly twice the pre-pandemic level. In New York State, the percentage of fatalities, for which speed was the primary reason, increased from January to June, compared to before the pandemic.

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JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says people are rushing to get a third vaccine shot as a form of protection from the growing delta version of the coronavirus.

Bennett pointed to government data Sunday showing that more than 420,000 Israelis over the age of 60 have received a booster shot, more than a third of the total target population. Bennett expected that number to reach one and a half million by the end of Sunday.

Israel is seeing an increasing number of people hospitalized with COVID-19, almost all of them infected with the highly contagious Delta variant. The government has restored its mask mandate for indoor settings and is weighing more restrictions.

Israel became the world leader in vaccination against the virus during its initial public campaign, with about 5.4 million of the country’s 9.3 million people receiving two vaccine doses.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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