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Philippines reopens gyms, museums as surge

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities in the Philippines have authorized the reopening of gymnasiums, ice rinks, racket courts and museums in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces as the coronavirus wave continues to subside.

Commerce Secretary Ramon Lopez said Filipinos aged 65 and over who have been confined to their homes can now travel to the densely populated capital region two weeks after being fully immunized.

He says gyms and similar indoor businesses with safety certificates can reopen up to 30% of their capacity.

Lopez called for a further reopening of the struggling economy to fight unemployment and hunger. Museums and historic sites can also reopen at 20% of their capacity, but guided tours are prohibited.

The Philippines reported the second highest number of COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia with nearly 1.3 million with 22,312 dead. The government re-imposed a lockdown in the capital region and four neighboring provinces after infections spiked in March.



– Celebrations (and questions) hail US vaccine plan

– New Federal COVID-19 Safety Rules Exempt Most Employers

– US extends J&J COVID vaccine expiration dates by 6 weeks

– UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic following a series of damaging allegations by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

– Germany has started rolling out a digital vaccination card that can be used across Europe as the continent prepares for key summer travel season.


– Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at and



NEW DELHI – The Indian state of Bihar has increased the death toll from COVID-19 after thousands of unreported cases were discovered, raising concerns that many more deaths have not been officially recorded.

The health department of Bihar, one of the poorest states, on Thursday revised its death toll from COVID-19 to more than 9,429 from 5,424 – a jump of more than 70%.

Officials said the 3,951 unreported deaths occurred in May and reflect “deaths reported in private hospitals, in transit to health facilities, in home isolation and those dying from post COVID-19 complications “.

Health experts say many deaths from COVID-19 remain unrecorded in India, especially during the last wave of April and May, when hospitals were unbearably full and supplies of oxygen were low.

Indian federal ministers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata party dismissed reports of underestimates as exaggerated and misleading. In the past, states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have also recalibrated the death toll.

Overall, cases and deaths in India have steadily declined in recent weeks.

The 91,702 cases added in the past 24 hours brought India’s total to more than 29.3 million on Friday, just behind the United States. The health ministry also reported 3,403 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 363,079.


CHICAGO – Illinois is lifting all capacity limits on bars, restaurants, businesses and other venues on Friday, nearly 15 months after the first stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic.

Companies can still have their own rules for capacity, masks, and social distancing. Masks are still mandatory on public transport and at airports, schools and hospitals.

Governor JB Pritzker said on Thursday that “as we take this next step, let us do so with a renewed commitment to empathy, to community and to making every day together count.”

State health officials say more than 68% of Illinois residents aged 18 or older have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and 51% of adults are fully vaccinated.


WASHINGTON – U.S. health officials are investigating what appear to be higher than expected reports of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults after receiving a second dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

It is not clear whether the inflammation is caused by the gunshots and reports are still rare, according to the CDC. He urges all people 12 years of age and over to get vaccinated.

A CDC official said on Thursday that as of May 31, the agency had 275 preliminary reports of such inflammation in 16 to 24 year olds, representing more than 12 million second-dose injections of the vaccine.

The official says cases seem to occur more often in men and young people, and most have already fully recovered.


DENVER — Colorado Governor Jared Polis has announced the first five recipients of $ 50,000 scholarships in a program designed to encourage students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The state offers 25 scholarships to students aged 12 to 17 who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The winners selected by random draw may use the scholarships at post-secondary institutions of their choice. This includes colleges and technical, vocational, and accreditation programs inside and outside Colorado.

Five winners will be chosen each week until July 9. Colorado also offers a million dollar lottery program for five adults who get at least one stroke.


ATLANTA – Georgians receiving unemployment benefits will again be required to look for work and will be able to earn less before unemployment benefits drop from June 27.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced the changes on Thursday, also saying employers with large numbers of laid-off workers receiving benefits will face higher unemployment insurance taxes after that date.

Georgia announced last month that effective June 27 it would cut federal programs that provide a pandemic boost of $ 300 per week to unemployed people as well as programs that pay federal money to people who are unemployed. are generally not eligible for state unemployment.

Butler earlier signaled he would reinstate job search requirements, a decision pending in more than three-quarters of states.


CONCORD, NH – The nearly 15-month pandemic state of emergency in New Hampshire will end on Friday night, Governor Chris Sununu said Thursday.

Sununu first declared a state of emergency against the coronavirus on March 13, 2020. He renewed it every three weeks until two weeks ago, when he indicated he would let it expire at midnight on June 11.

In the words of the governor: “We’ve kind of ticked all the boxes and we’re very confident that moving away from it tomorrow still keeps us in a very strong position. “

Sununu thanked public health officials as well as citizens for their volunteerism during the pandemic, balancing safety with keeping the economy strong and immunization.


ST. IVES, England – President Joe Biden calls on world leaders to follow his example by sharing coronavirus vaccines with struggling countries around the world.

He pledged that the United States would donate 500 million doses to help accelerate the end of the pandemic and strengthen the strategic position of the richest democracies in the world.

In Biden’s words: “In times of turmoil, Americans reach out to offer help. “

Speaking ahead of the Group of Seven meeting, Biden announced the US commitment to vaccine sharing, in addition to the 80 million doses he has already pledged by the end of the month. .

He says the rest of the G-7 will join the United States in describing their vaccine donation commitments on Friday.


WASHINGTON – Johnson & Johnson say U.S. health officials have extended the expiration date of millions of doses of its coronavirus vaccine by another six weeks.

The drugmaker claims the FDA has approved a longer shelf life for single-dose injections. State officials recently warned that many unused doses will reach their initial three-month expiration by the end of June.

The expansion comes as the rate of new vaccinations in the United States continues to decline. The United States averaged about 800,000 injections per day last week. That’s down from a high of almost 2 million a day two months ago.

President Joe Biden’s goal is for 70% of American adults to be partially vaccinated by July 4. The CDC says about 64% of Americans 18 and older have received at least one dose.


ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey is expanding its vaccination campaign to include restaurant workers, barbers and hairdressers.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Twitter that workers in the food production and distribution sector as well as employees of cafes and restaurants will be included in the vaccination program from Friday.

Turkey is currently vaccinating those 45 and over as well as people in the health sector, police, teachers, journalists and workers in the tourism sector. Earlier this week, musicians, other performers and academics were added to the list of priority professions.

The country of 84 million people has administered some 32 million vaccines since the start of its vaccination campaign on January 14. Some 13.5 million people have received two doses.


CHICAGO – United Airlines says more than 830,000 people took part in the contest it launched last month to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

People who upload photos of their vaccination record to the airline have a slim chance of free flights.

The airline says the largest group of contest entrants are people in their 50s, and about one in eight are between the ages of 18 and 28.


SACRAMENTO, Calif .– California workplace regulators have withdrawn controversial mask regulations.

Their second such reversal in a week gives them time to consider a rule that more closely aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s promise that the state will fully reopen the pandemic on Tuesday.

But some business leaders on Wednesday continued to press Newsom to override the board. The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board rule would only have allowed workers to forgo masks if every employee in a room was fully immunized against the coronavirus.

This contrasts with the state’s broader plan to remove almost all masking requirements for those vaccinated.

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