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Wednesday July 28th, 2021 11:45PM

The Latest: Dutch govt tells people to work from home again

By The Associated Press
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Caretaker Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is urging people to work from home again amid a recent spike in coronavirus infections in the Netherlands.

Dutch infection rates shot up shortly after the government relaxed almost all lockdown measures last month, including allowing nightclubs to reopen.

Rutte subsequently apologized, called the easing an “error of judgment” and ordered nightclubs and discotheques to close again until mid-August.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Netherlands soared over the past two weeks from just under 5 to nearly 59 new cases per 100,000 people on July 18.

Health Minister Hugo de Jonge says the daily number of new infections appears to be stabilizing, “but is, of course, too high.”

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Olympic athlete tests positive in Tokyo days before 1st game

— Scientists, many Britons, apprehensive as ‘Freedom Day’ arrives in England

— French Holocaust survivor denounces anti-vaccination protesters comparing themselves to Jews during Nazi era

— Bangladesh lifts lockdown to celebrate Eid al-Adha, exasperating experts

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— Find 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:

TIRANA, Albania — Albania’s small tourist businesses are holding a 24-hour strike, closing restaurants and bars to protest against the government’s continued imposition of an overnight curfew.

Scores of restaurant and bar owners in Vlora, 150 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of the capital, Tirana, closed their premises Monday asking for a later curfew or none at all. A similar protest took place in northwestern Lezha.

The government previously set an overnight curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. That will change to start at 11 p.m. from Tuesday, but many owners want a later time or no curfew at all. They say it takes their clients away too early during the summer tourist period.

Prime Minister Edi Rama turned down their request saying their loud music in urban areas is environmental pollution.

After significant losses last year due to the pandemic, Albanian businesses are trying this year to fully exploit its pristine beaches on its 480-kilometer (300-mile) coastline along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. During the past few years tourism has turned into a key industry for one of Europe’s poorest countries.

Albania has registered some 130,000 coronavirus cases and 2,456 deaths so far but no deaths have been reported in the past month or so. During the same period the highest number of the daily new cases was 21 on Sunday.

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SKOPJE, North Macedonia -- North Macedonia began vaccinating children age 12 and over against the coronavirus on Monday in a bid to prevent a possible spike of COVID-19 in the fall, when the country plans to fully open schools.

Health authorities said that only about 1,800 teenagers had booked appointments through an electronic health system for their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which authorities consider to be the safest for children.

Authorities said the small number of young people registering to get vaccinated reflected parental concerns about potential side effects.

North Macedonia’s health minister, Venko Filipce, reiterated that mass immunization is the only way to end the pandemic and encouraged parents to have their children vaccinated.

So far North Macedonia has vaccinated about a quarter of its 2 million people.

The European country has reported dozens of new confirmed virus cases in the past week, mainly involving the more contagious delta variant.

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LONDON — Businesses in England warned Monday that a “pingdemic” of people receiving notifications on their phones telling them to self-isolate threatens to lead to widespread staff shortages and mayhem across the economy just as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Though nightclubs and other entertainment venues cheered the lifting of all remaining restrictions on social contact, they are increasingly grappling with staff shortages as the National Health Service’s test and trace app informs people they came into close proximity with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Supermarket chain Iceland and pub owner Greene King had to close certain locations due to the self-isolation requirements affecting their staffs.

There are also warnings of shortages of goods in supermarkets, cuts in production at factories and potential transport chaos, as illustrated by Saturday’s closure of the Metropolitan Line on the London Underground, due to key staff being pinged.

Mike Lynch, general secretary of The Rail, Maritime and Transport union warned that England’s so-called “Freedom Day” could “very easily collapse into chaos day.”

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TEHRAN — Iran on Monday imposed a week-long lockdown on the capital, Tehran, and the surrounding region as the country struggles with another surge in the coronavirus pandemic, state media reported.

The lockdown — the nation’s fifth so far — will begin on Tuesday and last until next Monday. All bazars, market places and public offices will close, as well as movie theaters, gyms and restaurants in both Tehran province and the neighboring province of Alborz.

Iran reported 25,441 new cases on Monday and 213 deaths over the past day, bringing the overall death toll to 87,374 from among more than 3.5 million confirmed cases in the pandemic.

During an earlier surge in cases, in April, Iran reported the highest daily number of cases, 25,582. At the time, its daily death tolls surged to around 400, below the grim record of 486 reached last November.

Iranian authorities have lately been warning about a new surge, fueled by the fast-spreading delta variant. In sanctions-hit Iran, which has the highest COVID-19 death toll in the Middle East, less than 2% of the population of 84 million has received both doses, mainly of the imported Russian and Chinese vaccines.

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CANBERRA, Australia — Far-right British commentator Katie Hopkins was deported from Australia on Monday after she boasted on social media that she planned to breach the country’s quarantine rules.

Hopkins traveled to Australia to appear in a reality television program and was in a 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine in Sydney before filming was to start.

Her flight to Australia last week created outrage after the government halved the number of Australian citizens and permanent residents allowed to return home each week to 3,000 to try to reduce the risk of COVID-19 leaking from hotel quarantine. More than 34,000 Australians who want to come home remain stranded overseas.

Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are under lockdown to contain a coronavirus outbreak caused by the more contagious delta variant.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said Hopkins would be deported after boasting on Instagram her intention to flout quarantine rules.

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ISTANBUL - Turkey is warning its citizens to get second or third doses of COVID-19 vaccines to guard against rising cases involving the delta variant of the coronavirus.

“A rapid increase has begun in the countries around us. Particularly in countries such as Russia and Iran, the delta variant is currently dominant," Dr Nurettin Yiyit, a member of the government’s coronavirus advisory committee, told the private Demiroren news agency. "Obviously there is a valid danger for our country as well.”

According to Health Ministry data, 63% of adults in Turkey have received a first vaccine dose, while 33% have had two shots.

Thousands of Turks headed for vacations on the coast this week for the Eid al-Adha religious festival, raising fears of an oppotunity for infections to spread.

The health minister on Sunday announced 7,680 new confirmed cases over the previous 24-hour period, up from 5,261 daily cases a week earlier.

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DHAKA, Bangladesh — Millions of Bangladeshis are shopping and traveling this week during an eight-day pause in the country’s coronavirus lockdown that the government is allowing for the Islamic festival Eid al-Adha.

Health experts have criticized the suspension, which comes as Bangladesh is still battling a surge of infections fueled by the highly contagious delta variant.

With the spread of the virus rampant, most everything in Bangladesh was ordered shut on July 1, from markets to mass transportation. Soldiers and border guards patrolled the streets and thousands were arrested and sent to jail for violating the lockdown.

Now, crowds of people are jamming into malls and markets to do their holiday shopping and thronging ports and bus stations as they make their way to their rural hometowns.

"Already there is a scarcity of beds, ICUs, while our health care providers are exhausted,” Be-Nazir Ahmed, a public health expert and former chief of the government’s Health Directorate, said. “So if the situation worsens and more patients come to hospitals, it will be near impossible to deal with the crisis.”

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SEOUL, South Korea — The number of infected sailors on a South Korean destroyer on an anti-piracy mission off East Africa has soared to 247, the largest cluster for the country’s military during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Defense Ministry said Monday two military aircraft have been sent to bring back all 301 sailors aboard the destroyer Munmu the Great.

Authorities suspect the outbreak may have started when the destroyer docked in the region to load goods in late June. None of the crew has been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Health officials have said the crew are all in relatively good condition.

On Monday, South Korea reported 1,252 new coronavirus cases. It was the 13th straight day for South Korea to register more than 1,000 new cases.

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LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will spend 10 days self-isolating after contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.

The announcement by his office on Sunday reverses an earlier statement that unlike most people, he would not face quarantine. Johnson met Friday with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who later tested positive for COVID-19. Contacts of positive cases usually have to self-isolate for 10 days.

Johnson’s office initially said the prime minister would instead take a daily coronavirus test as part of a pilot project. And the same would apply to Treasury chief Rishi Sunak who also was contacted. But Johnson’s office said later after an outcry that both men would self-isolate and “will not be taking part in the testing pilot.”

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