sunny.png
Monday August 2nd, 2021 8:06PM

The Latest: Hungary loosens restrictions for vaccinated

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BUDAPEST— Hungary will loosen several COVID-19 pandemic restrictions for holders of a government-issued immunity card in the latest round of reopenings that the government has tied to the number of administered vaccines.

Beginning Saturday morning, card holders may access indoor dining rooms, hotels, theaters, cinemas, spas, gyms, libraries, museums and other recreational venues. Opening hours for businesses will also be extended to 11 p.m., and the start of an overnight curfew in place since November will be extended until midnight.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban says the reopening comes as Hungary reaches 4 million first-dose vaccinations, representing about 40% of the population.

“In the past, we defended ourselves by closing, thereby slowing the spread of the virus. But now we are on the attack,” he said. “The vaccine is like a bulletproof vest, the virus bounces off of it.”

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto announced that travel between Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro would be permitted without quarantine or testing requirements for immunity card holders from those countries. Negotiations for similar agreements are underway with Greece and Israel, Szijjarto said.

Hungary is the only country in the European Union to use vaccines from China and Russia in addition to Western jabs. It has the second highest vaccination rate in the EU, but a devastating pandemic surge in the spring has given it the highest total death rate per 1 million inhabitants in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.

___

THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— As virus engulfs India, diaspora watches with despair

— Brazil backs away from the virus brink, but remains at risk

— Alarm grows in Africa as it watches India’s COVID-19 crisis

___

— Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

ROME — Italy is nearing its goal of administering a half-million COVID-19 vaccines a day.

Premier Mario Draghi’s office said early Friday that provisional data indicates some 497,993 doses were administered on Thursday, a daily record.

Italy’s vaccine czar has aimed to have at least 500,000 shots administered per day by the end of April, to reach the goal of inoculating 80% of the population by September. Italy was the one-time epicenter of the outbreak in Europe and still has the world’s sixth highest confirmed death toll at 120,544, second only to Britain in Europe.

The vaccination campaign got off to a slow start because of delivery delays, logistical hiccups and organizational decisions that didn’t fully prioritize Italy’s oldest and most vulnerable residents. Some 300 people are still dying each day.

But the campaign has accelerated in recent weeks and to date some 19.4 million doses have been administered, with 5.75 million people receiving both jabs, according to Health Ministry data.

___

PARIS — France has announced its first confirmed cases of the virus variant that is sweeping over India, just as the French president outlined a national reopening plan after six months of virus restrictions.

The Health Ministry announced late Thursday night that three people tested positive for the new variant in the Bouches-du-Rhone and Lot et Garonne regions of southern France. All three had traveled to India, and are under medical observation.

Authorities are seeking to trace their contacts and investigating other suspected cases, the ministry said. It noted that the variant has been detected in at least six other European countries.

France last week stepped up virus controls for travelers arriving from India as well as some other countries where variants are spreading.

The announcement came as French President Emmanuel Macron laid out a four-stage reopening process aimed at boosting the economy, welcoming back tourists and lifting nearly all of France’s virus restrictions by June 30.

The vast majority of France’s virus cases now involve the more contagious, more dangerous variant first identified in Britain. France has reported one of the worlds highest virus death tolls, at more than 103,000 deaths.

___

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state is changing the way it allocates coronavirus vaccine as demand for the shots declines in some places.

Previously the state doled out supplies to counties proportionate to their populations. But Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday that the amounts now will be based on requests from health care providers.

Inslee said: “It is a terrible thing to think we would have vaccine to save people’s lives and not see it in people’s arms.”

All state residents over age 16 have be eligible for a coronavirus vaccination since April 15. As of Thursday, more than 5.2 million doses of vaccine have been administered and nearly 30% of the state’s residents have been fully vaccinated.

___

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- A record surge in COVID-19 infections in Costa Rica forced the government to announce new restrictions Thursday that will dial back the country’s economic reopening.

Health Minister Daniel Salas said that in the prior 24-hour period, Costa Rica had tallied 2,781 new infections, the highest daily total since the country’s first case was confirmed in March 2020. Fifteen people died of COVID-19 during the same period.

“Non-essential” businesses in central Costa Rica, including the capital, were told to close and stronger sanctions were announced for businesses violating reduced capacity rules for their venues.

The rapid increase in infections has stressed the country’s public health system. The intensive care units of public hospitals had reached 94% of their capacity.

Costa Rica will however continue in-person learning. Salas said that while infections had been identified at schools the vast majority were isolated and in total that represented only 6% of the country’s schools.

Costa Rica has confirmed more than 248,000 COVID-19 infections and more than 3,200 deaths.

___

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Brazil on Thursday became the second country to officially top 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, losing another 100,000 lives in just one month, as some health experts warn there may be gruesome days ahead when the Southern Hemisphere enters winter.

April was Brazil’s deadliest month of the pandemic, with thousands of people losing their lives daily at crowded hospitals.

The country’s Health Ministry registered more than 4,000 deaths on two days early in the month, and its seven-day average topped out at above 3,100. That figure has tilted downward in the last two weeks, to less than 2,400 deaths per day, though on Thursday the Health Ministry announced another 3,001 deaths, bring Brazil’s total to 401,186.

Local health experts have celebrated the recent decline of cases and deaths, plus the eased pressure on the Brazilian health care system — but only modestly. They are apprehensive of another wave of the disease, like those seen in some European nations, due to a premature resumption of activity in states and cities combined with slow vaccination rollout.

___

TRENTON, N.J. -- Pfizer says it will soon start shipping its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine in smaller packages meant to better suit U.S. clinics, pharmacies and other medical providers in remote and rural areas.

The new package holds 25 vials with six doses each, for a total of 150 doses. Pfizer’s boxes now contain trays of 195 vials with nearly 1,200 doses.

“In the U.S., we’re progressing away from mass vaccination, so the smaller package size would be helpful,” Tanya Alcorn, Pfizer’s head of supply chain, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The company will begin shipping vaccines in the smaller packages in the U.S. at the end of May. In other countries scaling up their vaccination campaigns, Pfizer will continue shipping the larger boxes, Alcorn said.

The drugmaker also is working on new vaccine formulations for easier distribution, including one designed to remain stable for months in powder form.

___

MEXICO CITY — A study suggests that as many as one-third of Mexicans may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the end of last year.

Coronavirus antibodies were found in 33.5% of samples from blood banks and medical laboratory tests in Mexico unrelated to COVID-19. The random samples were taken between February and December 2020.

The levels varied according to regions. The highest exposure rate was found in the northwest, from Baja California to Chihuahua, at 40.7%. The lowest came in western states, at 26.6%.

In general, areas along the U.S. border had higher rates.

Victor Borja of the Mexican Social Security Institute says the nationwide average may have risen as much as 10 percentage points following a steep rise in cases in January.

But even if the exposure rate is currently as much as 43.5%, Borja stresses that the country is still far from herd immunity.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Mapping the Afghan war, while murky, points to Taliban gains
Trying to map the long war in Afghanistan has become an increasingly challenging task as the planned withdrawal of all U.S. forces looms
3:35AM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: Hungary loosens restrictions for vaccinated
Hungary will loosen several COVID-19 pandemic restrictions for holders of a government-issued immunity card in the latest round of reopenings that the government has tied to the number of administered vaccines
3:13AM ( 42 minutes ago )
Religious festival stampede in Israel kills 44, hurts dozens
Israeli medical officials say at least 44 people have been killed in a stampede at an overcrowded Jewish religious festival in northern Israel
3:09AM ( 46 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
As virus engulfs India, diaspora watches with despair
Millions of Indians around the world are watching in horror and despair as their home country registers the fourth-highest death toll from the coronavirus pandemic
1:15AM ( 2 hours ago )
India's COVID-19 human crisis spirals with record new cases
India’s coronavirus cases have climbed again, prompting the army to open up its hospitals in a desperate bid to control a massive humanitarian crisis created by an acute shortage of beds, medicines and oxygen
12:50AM ( 3 hours ago )
Alarm grows in Africa as it watches India's COVID-19 crisis
Africa's top public health official says the continent is “watching with total disbelief” as India struggles with a devastating resurgence in COVID-19 cases
10:09PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Health
Counting the costs of America's 20-year war in Afghanistan
President Joe Biden's decision to end America's longest war has prompted a reckoning over the colossal cost of the two-decade-long conflict in Afghanistan
2:28AM ( 1 hour ago )
UN report says Myanmar poverty could double from coup chaos
A United Nations report says political turmoil and disruptions following the coup in Myanmar could undo years of progress and double the number of its people living in poverty to nearly half the population
1:44AM ( 2 hours ago )
Activist says he flew 500K leaflets across Koreas' border
A South Korean activist says he launched 500,000 propaganda leaflets by balloon into North Korea in defiance of a new law that criminalizes such actions
1:14AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
Beijing warns fintech firms against anti-monopoly behavior
Chinese financial regulators have summoned 13 companies engaged in online finance services, including Tencent and Bytedance, and told them to strengthen anti-monopoly measures
1:19AM ( 2 hours ago )
Key piece of Biden's $1.8T families plan expires after 2025
President Joe Biden couldn’t get everything he wanted into his own $1.8 trillion families plan
12:42AM ( 3 hours ago )
Social equity in marijuana industry still largely pipe dream
As marijuana legalization proliferates in the U.S., social equity has been a selling point
12:33AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
US average mortgage rates rise slightly; 30-year at 2.98%
Mortgage rates rose slightly this week as new economic data underscores the recovering economy's strength
3:52PM ( 12 hours ago )
Court: Germany must share climate burden between young, old
Germany’s top court has ruled that the government has to set clear goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after 2030, arguing that current law risks placing too much of a burden for curbing climate change on younger generations
2:17PM ( 13 hours ago )
New era begins at Merck as pandemic cuts Q1 sales, profit
Merck is entering a new era, with sweeping changes across its executive suite and the spinoff off its women’s health and other businesses, a bid to enable both resulting companies to grow faster
1:50PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
The Latest: Congo to return 1.3M AstraZeneca vaccine doses
Africa’s top public health official says Congo wants to give back some 1.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses so they can be distributed to other African nations
7:53AM ( 20 hours ago )
Widespread infections early in the year weigh on Merck Q1
Drugmaker Merck’s first-quarter profit dipped 1%, due to flat sales as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to limit doctor and hospital visits, along with higher spending on research and medicine production
7:39AM ( 20 hours ago )
Indians turn to black market, unproven drugs as virus surges
As India faces a devastating surge of new coronavirus infections overwhelming its health care system, people are turning to desperate measures to try to keep loved ones alive
7:39AM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Business - Health Care
Mapping the Afghan war, while murky, points to Taliban gains
Trying to map the long war in Afghanistan has become an increasingly challenging task as the planned withdrawal of all U.S. forces looms
3:35AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Religious festival stampede in Israel kills 44, hurts dozens
Israeli medical officials say at least 44 people have been killed in a stampede at an overcrowded Jewish religious festival in northern Israel
3:09AM ( 46 minutes ago )
The Latest: Italy close to goal of 500,000 shots a day
Italy is nearing its goal of administering a half-million COVID-19 vaccines a day
3:06AM ( 49 minutes ago )
Atlanta news crew spots Arizona murder suspect, films arrest
A local television news crew says it spotted an Arizona murder suspect and flagged police, resulting in the man being taken back into custody after a daylong search
3:06AM ( 50 minutes ago )
The Latest: France finds 1st case of variant sweeping India
France has announced its first confirmed cases of the virus variant that is sweeping over India, just as the French president outlined a national reopening plan after six months of virus restrictions
3:02AM ( 54 minutes ago )