The Latest: Pakistan set to get AstraZeneca, Sinopharm shots

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ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s planning minister says the country will receive 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the WHO’s COVAX Facility, out of which up to 7 million would arrive by March.

Asad Umar in his Saturday night tweet said also a plane is being sent to China to bring the first tranche of half a million doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine – enough to inoculate 250,000 out of 400,000 health workers.

He said the rest of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be delivered in the second half of the year.

Dr. Faisal Sultan, the prime minister’s special aide on health, said the vaccination will start next week.

Pakistan reported 34 additional deaths amid 1,599 new cases. It has so far confirmed 544,813 cases with 11,657 deaths.

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THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

– UK sees smooth vaccine supplies after EU addresses ‘mistake’

– CDC requires face masks on airlines, public transportation

– Playing favorites? Hospital boards, donors get COVID shots

– A World Health Organization team looking into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic is visiting a market known to be the food distribution center for the Chinese city of Wuhan during the 76-day lockdown last year.

– The U.S. is backing off for now on a plan to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to the 40 prisoners held at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

– Across the U.S., many people at a loss for where to turn for help during the pandemic. So they’re reaching out to local journalists.

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Follow all of 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:

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Times reports that one of the largest vaccination sites in the nation temporarily shut down Saturday because dozen of protesters blocked the entrance, stalling hundreds of motorists who had been waiting in line for hours.

Officials say the Los Angeles Fire Department shut the entrance to the vaccination center at Dodger Stadium about 2 p.m. as a precaution. The protesters had members of anti-vaccine and far-right groups.

Some of them carried signs decrying the COVID-19 vaccine and shouting for people not to get the shots. There were no incidents of violence.

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SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico reported 752 additional known COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths on Saturday, increasing the state’s pandemic totals to 173,539 cases and 3,265 deaths.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

The counties with the most additional cases were Bernalillo (255), Sandoval (70), Dona Ana (70), McKinley (54), San Juan (41) and Santa Fe (32).

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

New Mexico’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases dropped in the past two weeks while the rolling average of daily deaths was nearly flat.

Santa Fe’s school superintendent announced Saturday that schools will reopen in a voluntary hybrid model on Feb. 22, two weeks after when state officials have said New Mexico school districts and charter schools can reopen.

The Feb. 22 date provides time to inspect schools and for teachers to set up their classrooms while giving families and staff at least two weeks notice Superintendent Veronica García said.

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HAVANA — Cuban authorities say they will tighten measures against the spread of COVID-19 to require tourists and other visitors to isolate at their own expense for several days until tests for the new coronavirus come out negative.

The announcement Saturday by Dr. Francisco Durán, Cuba’s director of epidemiology, came as the country announced 910 new infections of the new virus detected Friday, as well as three additional deaths.

Duran said that as of Feb. 6, arriving tourists and Cubans who live abroad will be sent to hotels at their own expense to wait for the results of a PCR test for the new coronavirus, which will be given on their fifth day in the country. A similar measure was imposed in the spring, and apparently helped stem the spread of the virus.

Cubans returning home from abroad will be housed in other centers at government expense to await test results.

Diplomats and some categories of foreign businesspeople will be allowed to isolate at home.

Cube has recorded 25,674 infections with the new coronavirus and 213 deaths since March.

Cuba had eased restrictions in November, opening airports to tourists and others, but the number of infections detected has risen sharply this month.

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BALTIMORE – Baltimore public health officials are canceling some COVID-19 vaccination appointments scheduled for next week after overbooking hundreds of first-dose appointments.

The city health department did not specify how many appointments would be canceled, or why the overbooking happened, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The department issued a statement saying it was working to identify potential issues in the state’s scheduling system, and the possibility that links to second-dose appointments were shared via email or social media.

“We are working to confirm that this situation will not occur moving forward,” the statement read.

Officials said they are prioritizing giving second doses to people who have already gotten their first shot because of limited inventory.

Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Saturday that state health officials have confirmed a case of COVID-19 caused by the new variant of the virus that was first detected in South Africa.

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — City officials in Alaska say multiple crew members on a seafood factory trawler in the Aleutian Islands have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Anchorage Daily News reported that the city of Unalaska said Friday that factory trawler Araho, owned by seafood company O’Hara Corporation, reported 20 of its 40 crew members tested positive.

City Manager Erin Reinders said a couple of crew members reported symptoms after the vessel arrived in Alaska from Seattle on Wednesday. Reinders said the city is developing a plan to coordinate care for infected crew members and determine what to do with the others.

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BOSTON – Starting Monday, 500 vaccinations per day will be administered at Fenway Park. The goal is to reach as many as 1,250 eligible residents per day under Massachusetts’ vaccination plan.

The site at the home of the Boston Red Sox is expected to stay open through the start of baseball season in early April.

Appointments are open for those people under Phase 1 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan and those 75 and older, who will start getting shots on Monday as the rollout moves into Phase 2.

Health care workers started receiving the vaccine at Fenway this week. The state’s first mass vaccination site at Gillette Stadium – home of the New England Patriots — opened this month.

State officials aim to open more than 100 public vaccination sites throughout Massachusetts.

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AUGUSTA, Maine – Some 2,400 businesses and people in Maine have been approved for more than $221 million in forgivable loans in the first two weeks of the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Those figures apply to loans between Jan. 11 and Jan. 24, according to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, one of the politicians behind the program. The federal government provided $284.5 billion for the program in the most recent COVID-19 relief package.

Small businesses that employ 300 or fewer people and experienced a 25% or greater gross revenue loss because of the coronavirus are eligible to apply for a second forgivable loan under the program.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina is reporting its first known case of the Britain-based variant of the coronavirus.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control says the agency was notified Friday that a sample from an adult in the Lowcountry “with an international travel history” had tested positive for the variant.

On Friday, 434 cases of the U.K. variant had been reported in the U.S.

This week, health officials reported the first two U.S. cases of a South African coronavirus variant in South Carolina.

Health experts say both variants possibly spread more easily and protective measures of wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings are recommended.

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ROME – The Italian Medicines Agency known has approved the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for persons older than 18.

It says the “preferential use” would be for ages 18–55. The approval on Saturday came a day after the European Union’s counterpart agency recommended granting conditional marketing authorization for the AstraZeneca vaccine in persons 18 years and older.

The Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) says data from the studies on the AstraZeneca vaccine showed a “level of uncertainty in estimating the efficacy in subjects older than 55” because that age group was “scarcely represented” in studies so far.

AIFA has already approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. So far, 1.8 million people have received one injection in the nation of 60 million. Italy has 2.5 million confirmed cases and more than 88,000 known dead, the second-highest death toll in Europe behind Britain.

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