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    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s prime minister says the country’s tourism industry will open on May 15 when a ban on travel between different regions in the country will also be lifted. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made the announcement in a televised address Wednesday, adding that restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen outdoor areas starting on May 3. Restrictions, many of which have been in effect since early November, will remain in place over Orthodox Easter on May 2. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia is extending its nighttime curfew by three hours and tightening other restrictions ahead of Ramadan following an uptick of COVID-19 infections. The measure will apply from 7pm until 5am, from Friday until at least April 30. Government spokeswoman Hasna Ben Othman also announced other measures late Wednesday, including a ban on all public and private gatherings, the shuttering of weekly markets, and stronger enforcement of mask-wearing and social distancing. Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi has ruled out a new nationwide lockdown, given what he described as the country’s difficult economic situation. The Muslim holy festival of Ramadan starts next week. The month of religious fasting usually sees large crowds gathering in shops, cafes and public spaces, and nationwide family gatherings. According to the latest figures published on Wednesday by the Tunisian Health Ministry, the number of COVID-19 deaths stands at more than 9,000, with overall infections...
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Police in the Netherlands have arrested a 37-year-old man on suspicion of plotting a crime with “terrorist intent” for allegedly planning to set off what they described as a “firework bomb” at a coronavirus vaccination center, prosecutors said Thursday. The man, whose identity was not released in line with Dutch privacy guidelines, was arrested March 18. He allegedly wanted to attack the former town hall in the northern port of Den Helder, 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of Amsterdam, which is being used as a vaccination center. Prosecutors said the alleged plot is being treated as a terror act because it “aimed to instill serious fear among the population and to disrupt the economic and social structures of the country.” The suspect “sought to sabotage a crucial government process, the nationally coordinated vaccination program, in an extremely violent manner,” the prosecution statement said. “This also...
    BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium is disregarding Wednesday’s advice from the European Union’s drug regulator and imposing a four-week ban on administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged under 56. The European Medicines Agency said that even though it found a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and a rare clotting disorder, it placed no new restrictions on using the vaccine in people 18 and over. The EMA insisted that the benefits of the shot still largely outweigh the risks. Nevertheless, Belgium imposed a ban on administering it to younger people. “We will keep it this way for the next four weeks and reassess it then,” said Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke. He said the decision would have little impact on the vaccination campaign since few from that age group are in line to get jabs this month. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak...
    BRUSSELS (AP) — Life expectancy across much of the European Union has dropped last year, as the 27-nation bloc struggled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The EU statistical agency Eurostat said Wednesday that “following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, life expectancy at birth fell in the vast majority of the EU member states.” It said the biggest drop was in Spain, with a loss of 1.6 years compared with 2019. Bulgaria followed with a loss of 1.5 years, followed by Lithuania, Poland and Romania, which all saw a drop of -1.4 years. Denmark and Finland were the only nations to see a rise in life expectancy, with 0.1 years. There was no overall EU statistic available since Ireland hadn’t reported data. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All...
    LONDON (AP) — Britain’s medicines regulator said it has identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events associated with the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine but stressed the benefits “continue to outweigh any risks.” The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency said the risk associated with this type of blood clot is “very small” and that the public should continue to take up the vaccine when offered it. The agency said late Saturday the cases relate to the period up to March 24, during which 18.1 million doses of the vaccine had been administered and that it hadn’t received any similar reports with regard to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine prompted some countries including Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands to restrict its use to older people. The World Health Organization has urged countries to continue using the jab. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic ...
    LONDON (AP) — More than 20 heads of government and global agencies on Tuesday called for an international treaty for pandemic preparedness that they say will protect future generations. But there are few details to explain how such an agreement might actually force countries to act more cooperatively. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and leaders, including Boris Johnson of Britain, Mario Draghi of Italy and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, called for “a renewed collective commitment” to reinforce the world’s pandemic preparedness and response systems, that would be rooted in the U.N. health agency’s constitution. “We are convinced that it is our responsibility, as leaders of nations and international institutions, to ensure that the world learns the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors wrote in a commentary that was published Tuesday. Although they called for “solidarity,” and greater “societal commitment,” there was no indication any country would...
    BERLIN (AP) — The German government on Monday welcomed a decision by state authorities to examine the police response to a weekend anti-lockdown protest during which participants openly flouted coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Scuffles broke out between some of the 20,000 people participating in the protest in the central German city of Kassel on Saturday and counterdemonstrators trying to block their path. Footage showed police letting protesters march trough the city largely unhindered, with officers at one point forcefully hauling counterprotesters out of their path. The top security official of Hesse state, Peter Beuth, criticized protesters who had refused to wear masks, saying they put the lives of others at risk. “The federal government welcomes the willingness of Hesse’s Interior Minister Beuth to, as he put it, thoroughly the review the entire police operation in Kassel,” government spokeswoman Martina Fietz said. Germany has seen a rise in the number of coronavirus...
    MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin said he will get a coronavirus vaccine shot on Tuesday, months after widespread vaccination has started in Russia. Speaking at a meeting with government officials on Monday, Putin said he will get his shot “tomorrow,” without specifying which vaccine out of three approved for use in Russia he will take. According to the Russian president, over 6 million people in Russia have already received at least one shot, and over 4 million have gotten both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Widespread vaccination with the domestically developed Sputnik V shot started in Russia in December, but has so far been going slower compared to many other countries. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    LONDON (AP) — The U.K. says half of the country’s adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, a milestone in the government’s drive to reach everyone over age 18 by the end of July. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Saturday that more people received injections on Friday than any day since the country’s vaccination program began in early December. “It’s a huge success,” Hancock said in a video posted on Twitter. “And I want to say many, many thanks to all those involved, including the half of all adults who have come forward. It’s so important because this vaccine is our way out of this pandemic.’’ But the celebration comes amid growing concerns about the failure of wealthy countries to share scarce vaccine supplies with developing nations. While Britain should be proud of the success of its vaccination drive, it is time to start thinking about...
    LONDON (AP) — Public health officials in England said Wednesday that the number of people getting their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be “significantly constrained” from April because of a reduction in the vaccine supply to the country. A letter to regional health leaders said they should expect a “significant reduction in weekly supply available from manufacturers” beginning from the week of March 29. The reduction will continue for four weeks, it said. When asked about the issue, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a news briefing that supply was “always lumpy.” He added that the supply from the European Union is “fulfilling contractual responsibilities and we fully expect those contracts to be delivered on.” He did not explain whether the expected supply reductions are related to the EU chief’s warning Wednesday that the bloc would not hesitate to take action — including possible export restrictions — to ensure...
    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s executive body on Wednesday proposed the introduction of coronavirus passes to let its 450 million residents travel freely across the 27-nation bloc by the summer. The plan, which will be discussed next week during a summit of EU leaders, foresees the creation of vaccine certificates aimed at facilitating travel from one member state to the other. The topic has been discussed for weeks and proved to be a divisive topic. The travel industry and southern European countries dependent on tourism like Greece and Spain have been pushing for the quick introduction of the measure, which could help avoid quarantines and testing requirements. But several member states, including France, argued that it would be premature and discriminatory to introduce such passes since a large majority of EU citizens haven’t had access to vaccines so far. To secure the agreement of all member states,...
    HELSINKI (AP) — Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has tested positive for COVID-19 and says she will self-quarantine until she has recovered from the virus. The 43-year-old Kallas, who became the Baltic nation’s first female head of government in January, said late Monday she was feeling well apart from a small fever and hasn’t developed any other symptoms. “I am closely monitoring my health and staying at home until I recover,” Kallas said in a Facebook post, adding that she would continue performing prime minister’s duties from home including holding remote Cabinet and other meetings. Estonia, a nation of 1.3 million people, has seen a substantially worsened coronavirus situation in the past few weeks and the country’s health care system and hospitals are having increasing problems in accommodating COVID-19 patients with current resources. The country recorded 1,281 daily new coronavirus cases on Monday, putting the total tally to 86,086 with...
    PRAGUE (AP) — A zoo in the Czech Republic is trying out a new way for its bored chimpanzees to monkey around during the coronavirus lockdown: face time with other primates. The Safari Park in the northern town of Dvur Kralove installed a big screen in their enclosure to show them a livestream of what their fellow chimpanzees are doing on the other side of the country at a zoo in the southern city of Brno. The Safari Park launched the experimental project Thursday to enrich the everyday life of their six chimpanzees amid a strict lockdown and give them some fun after crowds of visitors disappeared when the zoo closed on Dec 18. It’s not clear when zoos will reopen. Zookeep Radek Hlavka said Monday the chimpanzees miss people and can get bored. Hlavka said the youngest female, “M” seems to be the chimpanzee to get the most...
    BERLIN (AP) — The German government said Monday that it’s suspending use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine over fresh reports of dangerous blood clots in connection with the shot. The Health Ministry said the decision was taken as a “precaution” and on the advice of Germany’s national vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, which called for further investigation of the cases. In a statement, the ministry said the European Medicines Agency would decide “whether and how the new information will affect the authorization of the vaccine.” ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    BERLIN (AP) — Hairdressers across Germany reopened for business Monday after a 2½-month closure, another cautious step as the country balances a desire to loosen restrictions with concern about the impact of more contagious coronavirus variants. The move came after many elementary students returned to school a week ago, following a decision Feb. 10 by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 state governors. They will confer again on Wednesday to decide how to proceed with the rest of Germany’s coronavirus restrictions, which at present run until March 7. Some states also allowed businesses such as florists and hardware stores to open on Monday. Most stores have been closed nationwide since Dec. 16. Restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities have been closed since Nov. 2 and hotels are allowed only to accommodate business travelers. There are increasing calls for restrictions to be further relaxed, but also a desire to remain cautious....
    BRUSSELS (AP) — Ten months after promising free cloth facemasks to protect all Belgians from COVID-19, the country’s government is having second thoughts — warning they could be dangerous and shouldn’t be used. Belgian authorities said the masks contain miniscule traces of silver and a chemical compound that initial studies now show could affect the respiratory system when inhaled deeply. More studies are continuing. Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke told parliament on Thursday that “to be on the safe side while the studies continue, it is better to put (the masks) to the side.” In all, the government ordered 18 million masks. Authorities started handing them out for free last year, but have not yet completed the distribution. Ever since the virus hit Belgium last spring, the nation of 11.5 million has been beset with problems. For the first half year, it was a minority government with limited powers...
    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A coronavirus variant first identified in England has been discovered for the first time in Mississippi, state health officials said Monday. One case of the variant was confirmed during routine COVID-19 testing, the Mississippi State Department of Health said in a news release. Health officials said they're not aware of any international travel or spread to contacts, but they are still investigating. According to experts, the variants is known to spread more easily and quickly than other coronavirus variants. State health officials are continuing to expand surveillance for variants of the virus and said it is likely that more cases will be identified. They urged people to wear a mask, observe social distancing, avoid large gatherings and wash their hands frequently. They also advised that anyone who is eligible should get vaccinated against the coronavirus. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic,https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak...
    LONDON (AP) — The U.K. has ordered another 40 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by the French company Valneva as the government prepares for the likelihood that repeated vaccinations will be needed to keep the virus in check. Britain had previously ordered 60 million doses of the vaccine and retains an option for 90 million more. The total value of the 190 million doses is 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion), Valneva said in a statement. If the U.K. exercises all of its options, Valneva’s deliveries would continue through 2025, the company said. The vaccine, which will be made in Scotland, is still undergoing clinical trials and hasn’t been approved by regulators. “The Valneva vaccine showcases the best of Scottish expertise right at the heart of our U.K. vaccine endeavor, demonstrating the strength of our union and what the U.K. can achieve when it works together,” Health Secretary...
    LONDON (AP) — Police in southeast England have charged a 53-year-old man with sending a suspicious package to a coronavirus vaccine production site in north Wales earlier this week. A spokesman for Kent Police said Saturday that Anthony Collins has been charged with dispatching an article by post “with the intention of inducing the belief it is likely to explode or ignite.” Collins is set to appear before a court around 40 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of London. The arrest had taken place on Thursday, a day after all staff had to be evacuated from a site in Wrexham as the package was investigated. The U.K. arm of Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Wockhardt is producing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at the site. Britain’s Ministry of Defense sent an ordnance disposal team to assist authorities at the plant. The device was deemed as not being viable. Wockhardt U.K. had struck an agreement with...
    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek authorities on Friday said they will reimpose tougher lockdown restrictions in greater Athens after a January decline in infection rates was reversed this week. Most retail stores will close in the capital Saturday, retaining pickup services only, after being allowed to reopen on Jan. 18. Plans to reopen high schools in Athens Monday have been limited to the first three grades, while older students will remain in online classes, officials from Greece’s Health Ministry and Civil Protection Agency said. The additional restrictions will also be in effect on the eastern Aegean Sea island of Lesbos and in 10 municipal regions around Greece. Greece imposed lockdown measures — that eventually included a nationwide curfew as well as school and store closures — in early November amid a huge spike in cases. With a population of 10.5 million, Greece has recorded some 15,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections and...
    PARIS (AP) — At least two dozen French police officials are facing internal punishment for holding a party inside a police station where they were filmed dancing the Macarena and violating multiple virus protection rules. A police headquarters spokesperson said Thursday that those involved in the party in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers were ordered to file reports on their actions and that “sanctions are planned.” He wouldn’t detail the planned punishments. Parties and other “convivial gatherings” are banned in all police facilities, while masks and social distancing are required and the number of people allowed in any room is limited to keep the virus at bay, the spokesperson said. In a video of the event posted by online media Loopsider, several people are seen dancing closely together without masks in a crowded room. The video prompted criticism at a time when French police are out every night enforcing a...
    LONDON (AP) — British police are dealing with an “incident” on an industrial complex in Wales where doses of the 0xford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine are produced and stored. North Wales Police said the incident was ongoing Wednesday at the Wrexham Industrial Estate, about 42 miles (68 kilometers) south of Liverpool. “The roads are currently closed and we would ask the public to avoid the area until further notice,” the force said in a statement. It did not provide details. The BBC reported that a bomb disposal unit has been called to deal with a suspicious package and said there were no reports of injuries. Wockhardt UK, an arm of the Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company that is producing the vaccines at the Wrexham manufacturing site, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The company struck an agreement with the British government, which reserved a production line at the plant to guarantee the...
    BRUSSELS (AP) — AstraZeneca has pulled out of meeting with the European Union to discuss delayed vaccine commitments to the bloc, an EU official said. The official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the talks said the EU would “insist on them” coming back to the negotiating table to explain the delay in deliveries once the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine gets approved for use by the European Medicines Agency. Wednesday’s talks with the EU Commission and member states were slated to be the third in as many days, as an ever angrier EU is demanding an explanation about the delays. On Monday, the EU threatened to impose tight export controls within days on COVID-19 vaccines made in the bloc. The EU, which has 450 million citizens and the economic and political clout of the world’s biggest trading bloc, is lagging badly behind countries like Israel and...
    PARIS (AP) — French drug maker Sanofi said Wednesday it will help manufacture 125 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by rivals Pfizer and BioNTech, while its own vaccine candidate faces delays. The Germany-based BioNTech will initially produce the vaccines at Sanofi facilities in Frankfurt, starting in the summer, according to a Sanofi statement. The company did not reveal financial details of the agreement. The French government has been pressing Sanofi to use its facilities to help make vaccines from its rivals, given high demand and problems with supplies of the few vaccines that are already available. “We are very conscious that the earlier vaccine doses are available, the more lives can potentially be saved,” Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said in the statement. Sanofi and British partner GlaxoSmithKline will start a new phase-2 trial of their COVID-19 vaccine next month, Sanofi said. The two companies said last month that...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s health minister, who has faced criticism for consuming and endorsing a herbal syrup made by a sorcerer, has tested positive for COVID-19. A Health Ministry official on Saturday confirmed that Pavithra Wanniarachchi became the highest-ranking official to be infected with the virus. She and her immediate contacts have been asked to self-quarantine. Doctors have said there is no scientific basis for the syrup as remedy for the coronavirus. It’s said to contain honey and nutmeg. Thousands of people gathered in long queues in December in the village of Bandara, northeast of the capital Colombo, to obtain the syrup, just days after Wanniarachchi and several other government officials publicly consumed it. The maker of the syrup said he got the formula through his divine powers. In local media, he claimed the Hindu goddess Kaali appeared to him in a dream and gave...
    BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding a virtual meeting Tuesday with the governors of Germany’s 16 states to discuss the country’s pandemic measures amid concerns that new mutations of the coronavirus could trigger a fresh surge in cases. The country’s infection rate has stabilized in recent days, indicating that existing restrictions may have been effective in bringing down the numbers. On Tuesday, the country’s disease control center reported 11,369 new virus infections and 891 new deaths, for an overall death toll of 47,622. The government tightened the country’s lockdown in early January until the end of this month. However, surging infections in Britain and Ireland, said to be caused by a more contagious virus variant, have experts worried that the mutation could also spread quickly in Germany if measures are not extended or even toughened. Therefore, Merkel and the state governments are meeting earlier than planned to considered...
    BERLIN (AP) — The Austrian government is extending the country’s lockdown until Feb. 7 in a drive to push down still-high infection figures as officials worry about the possible impact of new coronavirus variants. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Sunday that some measures will also be tightened as a result of the more infectious variants that were first detected in Britain and South Africa. He said people will now be asked to stay 2 meters (61/2 feet) apart instead of 1 meter. Beginning on Jan. 25, they will also be required to wear full protective masks on public transport and in shops, rather than just fabric face coverings. People on low incomes will get such masks free, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said. Austria’s current lockdown, its third, started on Dec. 26 and was to end on Jan. 24. Kurz said Austria is keen to avoid a situation such as that...
    LONDON (AP) — Prince William is encouraging everyone in Britain to follow the example of Queen Elizabeth II, his grandmother, in being inoculated against COVID-19 as authorities battle unsubstantiated fears about vaccine safety. The second in line to the throne spoke about the queen and her spouse, Prince Philip, during a video call with National Health Service staff and volunteers that was released late Saturday. The medics told William some members of the public are reluctant to get any of the coronavirus vaccines authorized by regulators. “My grandparents have had the vaccine and I am very proud of them for doing that,’’ William said. “It is really important that everyone gets the vaccine when they are told to.” The queen, 94, last week disclosed that she and Philip, 99, had received the first dose of vaccine. The disclosure was meant to end speculation about the matter and to boost confidence...
    LONDON (AP) — England’s health care system may move patients into hotels to ease pressure on hospitals struggling to handle rising COVID-19 admissions. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Wednesday that the National Health Service was looking at various ways to reduce the strain on hospitals, including moving patients to hotels when appropriate. Discussions about the issue were first reported by the Guardian newspaper. “We would only ever do that if it was clinically the right thing for somebody,” Hancock told Sky News. “In some cases, people need sit-down care, they don’t actually need to be in a hospital bed.” Britain already has Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with over 83,000 deaths, and the number of hospital beds filled by COVID-19 patients patients is still rising. Hospitals in England English are now treating 55% more COVID-19 cases than during the first peak of the pandemic in April. ___ Follow AP coverage of...
    LONDON (AP) — The European Medicines Agency said AstraZeneca and Oxford University have submitted an application for their COVID-19 vaccine to be licensed across the European Union. In a statement Tuesday, the EU regulator said it has received a request for the vaccine to be green-lighted under an expedited process and that it could be approved by Jan. 29 during an EMA meeting, “provided that the data submitted on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine are sufficiently robust and complete.” The drugs agency for the 27-nation EU has already approved two other coronavirus vaccines, one made by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech and another by Moderna. Britain gave its approval to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine last month and has been using it. India approved it this month. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be a key vaccine for many countries because of its low cost, availability...
    MADRID (AP) — Emergency crews in central Spain cleared 500 roads and rescued over 1,500 people stranded in vehicles as the country slowly shovels out of its worst snowstorm in recent memory. Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas International Airport remained closed Sunday as it has since Friday night. Train lines traversing the capital were also shut down and over 150 roads were still impassable. Storm Filomena has lost strength as it moved eastward but authorities are still urging people to remain at home to limit the risk of falls on icy streets ahead of a severe drop in temperatures in the coming days. Spain’s weather service forecasts temperatures to drop as low as -14 degrees Celsius (6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the eastern province of Albacete by Tuesday. Army emergency brigades are focusing on clearing access to Madrid’s main fresh food distribution center and to hospitals as Spain also grapples...
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea has reported its largest daily increase in coronavirus infections on Christmas Day, as the prime minister pleaded for vigilance to arrest a viral surge that has worsened hospitalization and deaths. The 1,241 new cases confirmed by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Friday brought the country’s caseload to 54,770. Seventeen COVID-19 patients died in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 773. More than 870 of the new cases were from the greater capital area, home to half of the country’s 51 million population, where nearly 300 infections so far have been linked to a huge prison in Seoul. Clusters have been popping up from just about everywhere in recent weeks, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, churches, restaurants and army units. The country has been expanding its mass testing program to slow the rate of transmissions and more...
    RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Morocco has imposed a curfew, closed restaurants in major cities and banned public and private gatherings for three weeks — including the usually festive New Year’s Eve — to curb the spread of the virus. The curfew between 9 p.m and 6 a.m went into effect Wednesday night and is set to last until Jan. 13. All restaurants in the cities of Casablanca, Marrakech, Agadir and Tangier must close for that period, according to government orders this week. Elsewhere, restaurants, coffee shops, shops and supermarkets will have to close at 8 p.m. Morocco has reported more than 7,000 virus-related deaths and more than 420,000 cases, the highest in the region and second-highest official figures in Africa. The new restrictions come as Morocco prepares to launch a massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign using two different vaccines, one developed by China’s Sinopharm and the other by Britain’s Oxford...
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