BERLIN — The German government says it will donate all future orders of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn told media group RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland on Wednesday that 1.3 million doses of the vaccine will be delivered to COVAX, which can then distribute them to countries in need.
“It is in our vested interest to get the world vaccinated because this pandemic is only over when the virus is globally under control,” he said.
The media group reported Germany will give away future orders of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That means 1.7 million doses to European Union countries and other third-party countries.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— WHO: 4 million new coronavirus cases reported globally
— Indonesia surpasses 100,000 deaths amid new virus wave
— Japan to limit hospital careas COVID-19 cases hit new high
— Obama curtails 60th birthday bash after delta variant surge
— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
WARSAW, Poland — Poland will return to COVID-19 restrictions, in regions with lowest inoculation rate, when the daily national number of infections reaches 1,000, the health minister said Wednesday.
The current daily rate of new registered infections hovers around 160.
Minister Adam Niedzielski said that more than 80% of the cases are of the delta variant.
Niedzielski said that he expects a spike in infections in late August and especially after the vacation season, in September. Restrictions will first be re-introduced to regions with the lowest number of vaccinated people..
“Vaccination, and vaccination alone can protect us against the scenario that would mean the return to a situation that we had previously,” Niedzielski said, recalling the lockdown.
Some 34.6 million shots have been administered in the nation of some 38 million. Some 17.6 million people have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna or one-jab Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
MILWAUKEE — Health officials have identified nearly 500 coronavirus cases statewide that could be linked to the large crowds that gathered in downtown Milwaukee as fans cheered on the Bucks’ run to the NBA championship.
Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson says contact tracing and testing for cases associated with those gatherings continues with the help of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Officials say 491 people with confirmed or probable cases said they had attended the Deer District or Bucks game “during their exposure or infectious periods.” But DHS could not say definitively that they caught the virus while viewing the game downtown or elsewhere.
In addition to the games, tens of thousands of fans packed the Deer District to cheer on the Bucks last month.
Officials also raised concerns about statewide hospitalization rates, the Journal Sentinel reported.
“We have four times as many people hospitalized with COVID in Wisconsin as we did one month ago, from 74 individuals to 310 today,” said Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services at the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.
GENEVA — There were more than 4 million new COVID-19 cases reported globally in the last week, driven mostly by spikes in the Middle East and Asia.
That’s according to the World Health Organization’s latest weekly report on the pandemic.
The U.N. health agency said Wednesday infections have been increasing for more than a month, although the worldwide number of deaths dropped by about 8%.
In the Middle East and Asia, however, deaths increased by more than a third. In the last week, the highest numbers of coronavirus cases were reported by the U.S., India, Indonesia, Brazil and Iran. More than 130 countries have now reported cases of the easier-to-spread delta variant, first identified in India.
After nearly a month of rising cases, WHO said the European region reported a 9% drop in COVID-19 infections, citing falling caseloads in Britain and Spain. Last month, the U.K. relaxed nearly all remaining COVID-19 restrictions amid heavy criticism the move would lead to another deadly wave of infections. Nearly 60% of the British population has been fully immunized against the disease.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia has surpassed 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, a grim milestone in a country struggling with its worst pandemic wave fueled by the delta variant.
It took 14 months for Indonesia to exceed the 50,000 deaths at the end of May, and just over nine weeks to double it. The Health Ministry recorded 1,747 new deaths of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, an independent data group has reported that since the beginning of June, more than 2,800 people have died during self-isolation at home. Some of those deaths are reflected in official figures but others are not. Indonesia’s per capita death rate is one of the worst in the region, second only to Myanmar.
BANGKOK — Thailand hit a new daily high of 20,200 confirmed coronavirus cases and 188 deaths on Wednesday.
The government pressed ahead with the creation of new field hospitals and medical facilities to treat the sick.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn donated about 100 million baht, or $3 million, to support the establishment of field hospitals, pre-admission centers and quarantine centers nationwide. The country has recorded a total of 672,385 confirmed cases and 5,503 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Most of the cases have been linked to the delta variant first discovered in India. Bangkok and its vicinity have been the most severely affected area, with the number of cases accounting for more than half the total nationwide.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistani authorities say the World Bank will provide $150 million assistance to the Islamic nation for the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccines.
According to a finance ministry statement, this assurance was given to Pakistan’s finance minister Shaukat Tarin by Hartwig Schafer, the bank’s South Asia Regional Vice President who met with him in Islamabad.
It said Tarin welcomed the World Bank Group’s proposed $12 billion initiative to help developing countries procure COVID-19 vaccines to treat up to 1 billion people.
On Wednesday, Pakistan reported 46 deaths from coronavirus.
The South Asian country of over 216 million people has reported 104,7999 confirmed cases and 23,575 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
AUSTIN, Texas — A federal judge has ordered Texas to keep state troopers from stopping vehicles that are carrying migrants on the grounds that the migrants may spread the coronavirus.
The temporary restraining order handed down Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone comes as coronavirus infections are rising along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last week authorized Texas’ growing presence of state troopers along the border to “stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion” that it transports migrants.
The Biden administration accused Abbott of potentially worsening the spread of the coronavirus. It argued that impeding the movement of migrants would prolong the detention of unaccompanied children in “increasingly crowded” facilities.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is pressing forward with efforts to allow schools to mandate face masks as coronavirus infections continue to rise in the state.
Hutchinson on Tuesday called the legislature back into session to consider revising a law he signed in April that prohibits mask mandates by schools and other governmental entities. Some lawmakers in the Republican-controlled body are opposing a mandate.
The session will begin Wednesday and include a proposal to prevent the state from having to resume making supplemental unemployment benefits to thousands of residents.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country music star Garth Brooks says he is reassessing whether to continue his stadium tour in light of the rising number of coronavirus cases across the country.
Brooks says in a statement that while he is scheduled to play the next two tour stops in Kansas City, Missouri, and Lincoln, Nebraska, he will not put tickets on sale for the next planned stop in Seattle.
The singer says he will take a three-week break to assess what to do about the remainder of the tour.
Brooks is one of the biggest selling entertainers in music. He restarted touring in July and regularly performs in front of 60,000 to 70,000 people. Many of his shows sell out well in advance.
PHOENIX — A science teacher in Phoenix has filed suit seeking to block a school district from imposing a mask mandate, arguing the requirement violates a new state law.
The Phoenix Union High School District confirmed the filing Tuesday, and says the superintendent and governing board members “stand behind our decision to require masks at this time and remain steadfast in our commitment to do all we can to protect our staff, students, families, and broader community.”
Phoenix Union resumed classes Monday and has roughly 28,000 students and 4,000 employees.
The fight over masks comes as Arizona reported 1,974 new coronavirus infections and 30 deaths from COVID-19.
JERUSALEM — Israel has reimposed a series of coronavirus restrictions amid a wave of rising infections, despite widespread vaccination.
The government said late Tuesday that the Cabinet had approved tighter measures, including allowing only vaccinated people at indoor gatherings of 100 or more persons and requiring the wearing of masks at outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people.
Earlier in the day, the Health Ministry ordered that all individuals — vaccinated and unvaccinated — arriving from the U.S. and 17 other countries must to quarantine for 14 days starting Aug. 11.
Authorities reported 3,834 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, the highest daily count so far in a month-long acceleration in new infections. Over 57% of the country’s 9.3 million citizens are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. This week Israel started administering booster shots to citizens over age 60.
DOVER, Del. — As the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads in Delaware, state health officials recommended Tuesday that unvaccinated people get tested weekly and they announced more opportunities to access testing, including take-home kits offered at libraries.
In a statement, Gov. John Carney, the Division of Public Health, and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency urged everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated and encouraged anyone who is unvaccinated to get weekly testing to prevent additional infections.
Cases climbed steadily in Delaware during the month of July and more than 100 new cases have been reported every day for the last 5 days, officials said.
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s hospitals are feeling the strain as coronavirus cases increase, the vast majority among unvaccinated people.
Gov. Spencer Cox on Tuesday called the latest wave a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” yet maintained the state wouldn’t be following New York in requiring people show they got the shot. But he said the state will support private companies that require some sort of proof.
Cox warns that “our hospital ICUs are filling up and our healthcare workers are feeling the strain.”
Officials say ICUs around the state have exceeded 100% capacity multiple times over the last several days.
LAYTON, Mo. — People in Missouri’s St. Louis County will not be required to wear masks for at least two more weeks, after a judge issued a temporary restraining order against a mask mandate imposed last month.
Circuit Judge Ellen “Nellie” Ribaudo on Tuesday sided with state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who sued seeking to stop the mask mandate issued by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and county health officials. A hearing has been set for Aug. 17.
The St. Louis County Council voted last week to rescind the mandate, but Page insisted it remained in effect.
Ribaduo said in her ruling the state is likely to prevail in its argument that the law gives the county council the authority to terminate the mask requirement issued by health officials.
LAS VEGAS — A surge in coronavirus cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant has pushed Nevada’s hospitalization rate past levels seen in last summer’s surge, well before vaccines were available.
Nevada on Monday reported 1,130 people hospitalized for confirmed cases of COVID-19. That level was last seen in late January, though it was well below the state’s pandemic peak of 1,857 hospitalizations on Dec. 15.
But the current outbreak has surpassed the highest rate when a surge in coronavirus virus infections began last summer, when there were 972 confirmed hospitalizations for COVID-19.
MINNEAPOLIS — The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul says they will require city employees to wear masks in indoor public spaces as the delta variant of the coronavirus spurs concern nationwide.
Mayors Jacob Frey and Melvin Carter said Tuesday that they also will require visitors to city-owned buildings to wear masks. The moves are in line with the latest recommendations from the CDC.
The mayors also are urging businesses to require masks indoors to lessen the chances of virus spread. Minnesota reported 1,667 more infections Tuesday.