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Wednesday December 8th, 2021 10:37PM

The Latest: Extra flights to Mallorca laid on from Germany

By The Associated Press
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BERLIN — A German airline says it is laying on extra flights to Mallorca over the Easter period after the lifting of a German travel warning for the Spanish island prompted a big increase in bookings.

Germany’s disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, said on Friday that it was removing parts of Spain — including the Balearic Islands — from its list of “risk areas” effective Sunday. People arriving in Germany from such areas must go into quarantine.

Germany-based travel operator TUI said on Friday that it was moving up the start of flights from some German airports to Mallorca by six days to March 21.

Lufthansa’s budget airline, Eurowings, said Sunday that many flights were booked out within hours of the announcement. It said it is expanding its so-far limited program of services to Mallorca by adding another 300 flights over the Easter period. Passengers to Mallorca require a negative coronavirus test. The German foreign ministry is still advising, though no longer warning, against nonessential tourist travel there.

Germany’s own lockdown is set to stay largely in place until at least March 28, and prospects of further relaxation are uncertain as infections are rising again. Hotels in Germany haven’t been allowed to accommodate tourists since early November.

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THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Medically vulnerable in U.S. put near end of vaccine line

— Virus tolls similar in some states despite governors’ contrasting actions

— Nurses fight conspiracy theories along with the coronavirus

— California governor acknowledges mistakes, says recall unjustified

— Warp-speed spending and other surreal stats of COVID times

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

ISLAMABAD — Amid a third wave of the coronavirus that is gripping Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab, and the northern part of the country, Pakistani health and administrative authorities have imposed a partial lockdown in affected areas.

Punjab authorities fined scores of marriage halls and restaurants for violating restrictions imposed again to fight the virus.

Officials in the capital, Islamabad, warned citizens that they must wear face masks and maintain social distancing in public.

Pakistan has reported 605,200 cases, including 13,508 deaths.

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DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University issued a quarantine order for all of its undergraduates effective Saturday night due to a coronavirus outbreak caused by students who attended recruitment parties, the school said.

The university said in a statement that all undergraduate students will be forced to stay-in-place until at least March 21. Suspension or dismissal from the school are potential punishments for “flagrant or repeat violators.”

Over the past week, the school has reported more than 180 positive coronavirus cases among students. There are an additional 200 students who may have been exposed and have been ordered to quarantine.

The school said in the statement that the outbreak was “principally driven by students attending recruitment parties for selective living groups.”

Duke said it would provide a policy update on Thursday.

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LOS ANGELES — Coronavirus hospitalizations in California’s most populous county have slipped below 1,000 for the first in four months.

The number of patients with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County hospitals hit 979, the lowest since Nov. 23. There are 3,250 people hospitalized statewide, a drop of more than 85% since peaking around 22,000 in early January.

Case rates also remain low and much of the state is preparing for some restrictions to be lifted in the coming days.

State officials announced Friday that 13 counties would be eligible to open restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and museums at limited capacity on Sunday.

On Monday the state is opening up vaccinations to an estimated 4.4 million people ages 16-64 with disabilities and certain health conditions, including severe obesity, type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease at stage 4 or above and Down syndrome.

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ROME — The new Italian government says it aims to have 80% of the population vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of September.

Premier Mario Draghi’s office on Saturday announced more goals of the national vaccination program, which only recently has started picking up its pace after delays in vaccine deliveries and other logistics slowdowns.

Just under 2 million people in Italy – or roughly 3% of the population – had been fully vaccinated as of Saturday.

On Monday, much of the country, including Rome’s region, Lazio, will be put under tougher restrictions on citizens’ movements outside the home. Hospitals are struggling with an increase of ICU admissions for COVID-19 patients. Daily new caseloads of confirmed infections have soared above 20,000 in recent days, including on Saturday, with the Health Ministry reporting 26,062 cases.

Italy has now tallied some 3.2 million cases in the pandemic. After Britain, Italy has Europe’s second-highest known death toll, with 101,881 dead.

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PHOENIX — Arizona on Saturday reported 262 new cases of COVID-19 — the lowest one-day total since September at the trough between the summer and winter surges.

The state has now recorded 823,094 cases and 16,546 deaths with the 27 newly reported. Hospitalizations for the disease dropped to 814, down from the Jan. 11 pandemic peak of 5,082, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

The state also reported fewer than 1,000 additional cases on three of the previous six days.

But the state Department of Health Services announced late Friday it has detected three cases of a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus that was first discovered in Brazil. It’s unclear how widespread that variant is in Arizona, but studies indicate vaccines are effective against it, the department said in a news release.

Also Friday, Gov. Doug Ducey said Arizona can meet President Joe Biden’s goal to offer vaccinations to everyone who wants one by May as long as the federal government supplies enough vaccines.

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WASHINGTON - Commercial air travel appears to be on the upswing despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The Transportation Security Administration said its agents screened more than 1.3 million passengers at airport security checkpoints nationwide on Friday.

Spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said in a tweet that the last time the number was that high was March 15, 2020 – about a year ago.

Public health officials generally have cautioned against commercial travel.

Farbstein included a reminder in her tweet, saying “if you choose to fly, wear that mask!”

President Joe Biden marked Thursday’s first anniversary of the pandemic with a prime-time address to the nation in which he said he expects to have enough coronavirus vaccine for all Americans by May 1.

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