The Latest: Tokyo Olympics mass live broadcast canceled
TOKYO – Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said plans to hold mass public screenings of the Olympics at six venues have been canceled, as concerns grow about the coronavirus pandemic amid the one of the slowest vaccine deployments in the developed world.
“These are necessary steps to make the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics a success,” she told reporters after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
Venues included Inokashira and Yoyogi Parks as well as a university in Tokyo to watch the live stream of the games, which will open on July 23.
Koike said the sites will be offered as vaccination sites instead. Suga expressed her understanding, she added.
Some medical experts have expressed concern over the hosting of the games, with tens of thousands of athletes, officials and dignitaries entering the country.
Fans from overseas were banned several months ago, and organizers are expected to announce on Monday whether some local fans will be allowed. The recommendation from the advisers led by Dr Shigeru Omi, handed over to the Tokyo government and organizers on Friday, indicated that no fan would be safe any longer.
Only about 6% of Japanese are fully vaccinated. Companies, like the automaker Toyota Motor Corp. and tech conglomerate SoftBank, begin vaccinating workers and their families with the Moderna vaccine in a massive campaign starting Monday. Japan is now totally dependent on imports, and the only other vaccine used here is Pfizer. Various opinion polls show most Japanese people are opposed to holding the games
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
– Biden promotes stage of 300 million vaccines in 150 days
– German and French leaders call for vigilance regarding virus variant
– AP-NORC poll: Many Americans are resuming their pre-virus activities
– Senior medical adviser says ‘no fans’ are safest for Tokyo Olympics
– Brazil still debates drug against questionable virus amid 500,000 deaths
Follow more information on AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS:
KAMPALA, Uganda – Uganda is stepping up its lockdown measures in an attempt to stem a surge in coronavirus infections in the East African country that experiences an array of variants.
The measures announced by President Yoweri Museveni on Friday evening include a ban on private and public transport within and between districts, including in the capital Kampala. Only vehicles carrying goods and those carrying sick or essential workers are allowed to circulate on the roads.
The normally crowded shops in downtown Kampala have also been closed. An ongoing nighttime curfew will remain in place. The new measures will last 42 days.
Uganda is among the African countries experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of infections amid a shortage of vaccines. It confirmed a total of 68,779 infections, including 584 deaths. The actual totals are believed to be much higher. Only a few thousand samples are tested daily.
The director of Africa at the World Health Organization on Thursday spoke of a “sobering trajectory of an increase in cases” in Africa which she said “should prompt everyone to act urgently” .
Africa’s 1.3 billion people make up 18% of the world’s population, but the continent has only received 2% of all vaccine doses administered globally.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The Dutch government is removing almost all of its remaining restrictions on coronaviruses, except social distancing, from June 26 as vaccinations ramp up and infection rates drop sharply .
Dutch Acting Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday that from next Saturday people will no longer need to wear face masks in indoor public places where social distancing is possible. Masks will always be mandatory on public transport and at airports across the country.
Rutte says the government is also dropping its advice to work from home, freeing employees to return to their offices if they can do so while respecting social distancing.
The Netherlands is the latest European country to reverse lockdown measures as infection rates drop across much of the continent. Events such as music festivals will be allowed if those in attendance can prove that they have been vaccinated, tested negative, or have had COVID-19 in the past six months.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said on Friday that all pandemic-related public health restrictions on business and day-to-day activities in the state will be lifted on July 1, paving the way for restaurants and others venues to operate with no capacity limits and for cities to plan in person the 4th of July celebrations and other summer festivals.
The Democratic governor made the statement as state health officials continued to calculate immunization figures following a campaign that included a multi-million dollar raffle and other cash incentives.
Lujan Grisham had wanted at least 60% of residents aged 16 and over to be vaccinated two weeks before the reopening. His office said vaccinations stood at 59.4% on Thursday, but the state is expected to meet its target with the inclusion of federal data that had not yet been calculated.
Still, the governor said she had hoped the number of vaccinations would now be higher and warned of the dangers the virus variants pose to unvaccinated people.
State officials say businesses will still be allowed to demand masks, distancing or other health precautions against the spread of COVID-19.
BERLIN – German and French leaders have called for vigilance to prevent the spread of a variant of the coronavirus that this week prompted Britain to delay a planned easing of pandemic restrictions.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said if Germany has a low number of coronavirus infections, the “aggressive” delta variant could lead to an increase in the number of new cases.
âWe cannot pretend the crown is over,â Merkel said. âEven though there is a feeling on such a hot summer evening that it’s all over, you can see from the Lisbon example that things can change quickly.
Portuguese authorities on Thursday banned travel inside or outside the capital region for the coming weekends in response to a spike in cases of the delta variant.
Merkel met ahead of a working dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron, the first time she has hosted a foreign leader in Germany since last year. Macron said the European Union would discuss at an upcoming summit how to better harmonize travel restrictions during the pandemic.
JERUSALEM – The Palestinian Authority is canceling an agreement that Israel would transfer 1 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to it in exchange for a similar number later this year.
The Palestinian Authority says the doses, which Israel began shipping to the occupied West Bank on Friday, are too close to expiring. Palestinian officials came under heavy criticism on social media after the deal was announced earlier Friday, with Palestinians accusing them of accepting substandard vaccines and suggesting they may not be effective.
Announcing the deal, Israel said the vaccines “will expire soon” without specifying a date. There was no immediate comment from Israel, which had mostly shut down for the weekly Sabbath.
So far, around 380,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and 50,000 in Gaza have been vaccinated. More than 300,000 infections have been recorded in the two territories and 3,545 confirmed deaths.
.WASHINGTON – The White House has said President Joe Biden will announce that 300 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the 150 days after taking office on January 20.
But as Biden marks a new milestone in the fight against COVID-19 on Friday, another goal could fail – his self-imposed goal of having 70% of Americans at least partially vaccinated by July 4.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 305 million doses of the vaccine had been administered as of June 10. Globally, about 172.4 million people, or 51.9% of the total United States population, have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the CDC.
About 141.6 million people, or 42.6% of the population, have been fully immunized.
The pace of new vaccinations in the United States has declined significantly, from a high of nearly 2 million per day about two months ago. The administration is in the midst of a blitz to tackle vaccine reluctance, particularly in the South and Midwest.
Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Atlanta on Friday to visit a COVID-19 vaccination site at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as pastor until his assassination in 1968.
NEW DELHI – A health official has said that India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, wants to resume exports of coronavirus doses once its domestic needs are met.
Dr Vinod K. Paul said in an interview with The Associated Press: âOnce our immediate need to vaccinate a significant proportion of Indians is metâ¦. then we would like to play the role of serving others and providing them with vaccines. “
Paul defended the Indian government’s decision to restrict vaccine exports in April amid a huge rise in infections. In January, the country started exporting vaccines to more than 90 countries. But exports were halted when infections soared in India, leaving many developing countries without adequate supplies.
New cases are finally declining after surpassing 400,000 per day in May, a world record. But authorities are bracing for another possible wave of infection and are focused on increasing vaccinations. Currently, less than 5% of the Indian population is fully immune.
Confirmed cases of the coronavirus in India topped 29 million, while confirmed deaths topped 380,000. Experts believe both figures are vastly underestimates.
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