WASHINGTON – Three of the Democratic state lawmakers who fled Texas to thwart a Republican-backed effort to impose new broad voting restrictions have tested positive for COVID-19 in the nation’s capital.
The Texas House Democratic Caucus said in a statement that one of the three tested positive on Friday and the others did so on Saturday. He did not disclose their names or conditions. He said all three were fully vaccinated against the disease.
More than 50 Texas Democratic lawmakers have left the state to deny the Republican-controlled legislature the quorum necessary to pass a bill that would enact new voting restrictions.
Republicans and others had slammed Democrats after a photo showed them on a charter flight to Washington without masks, although federal pandemic guidelines do not require masks on private flights.
Caucus members met with Vice President Kamala Harris, but it was not immediately clear whether the three who contracted COVID-19 did so. Harris’s office said it would issue a statement later on Saturday.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
– Biden grappling with the “pandemic of the unvaccinated”
– Thailand toughens measures as daily cases cross 10,000
– European countries impose incentives, penalties to boost the blows
– Desperate for vaccines in full swing, Iranians flock to Armenia
– Vaccination of the Governor of Arkansas tour reveals depths of mistrust.
– Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS:
LAS VEGAS – Some Las Vegas resorts and casinos are once again requiring employees to wear masks, a response to a recommendation from regional health officials amid rising rates of COVID-19 cases.
The Southern Nevada Health District on Friday recommended that all people, vaccinated or not, wear face coverings in public places such as stores, malls, casinos and events.
The recommendation is not a warrant, but local media reported that it prompted properties such as Westgate Las Vegas, The Venetian and Las Vegas Sands to impose masking requirements on employees.
Some also offered free masks to visitors.
Restrictions on casinos and other venues were lifted in May when the state fully returned pandemic control measures to counties.
Nevada health officials on Thursday reported 938 new cases of COVID-19 statewide – the largest jump in one-day coronavirus cases since February – and 15 new deaths. 866 more cases were reported on Friday.
PHOENIX – Arizona reported more than 1,000 additional cases of COVID-19 on Saturday for the fourth day in a row as hospitalizations related to the virus continued to rise.
The state’s Department of Health Services Coronavirus Dashboard reported 1,152 additional cases and 14 deaths, bringing the Arizona pandemic total to 907,268 cases and 18,114 deaths.
Public health experts attribute the increases to low vaccination rates, the rapidly spreading delta variant and the July 4 rallies.
Arizona’s virus-related hospitalizations typically ranged between 500 and 600 in May and June, but increased last week, with 745 COVID-19-related hospitalizations on Friday, according to the dashboard.
On Friday, patients infected with the virus occupied 9% of hospital beds, up from 6% a week ago, but well below the pandemic peak of nearly 60% observed in mid-January during the winter surge.
ATHENS, Greece – Mykonos island has become the first place in Greece to reimpose a curfew due to a spike in coronavirus cases.
Greek authorities said on Saturday that one in 10 people tested on the island in recent days tested positive.
The 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. curfew went into effect on Saturday and authorities also imposed a 24-hour music ban in bars, cafes and restaurants from 6 p.m. on Saturday. Fines for renting properties for groups of more than 20 people can go up to 200,000 euros ($ 236,000).
The music ban and curfew will end on Monday, July 26, unless the government decides to extend it.
Police on the island, a high-end tourist destination, said violations of social distancing standards had recently spiraled out of control.
Authorities say the only hotel assigned to quarantined people overflowed and visitors who tested positive camped on the beaches.
Greece continued to report a relatively high number of new infections on Saturday, with 2,562 cases reported in the 24-hour period ending at 3 p.m. on Saturday. There were also seven deaths.
HELSINKI – Residents of the Finnish capital were able to be vaccinated against the coronavirus without prior appointment on Saturday at four dedicated walk-in vaccination points as part of a one-day trial intended to attract young people in particular to get vaccinated.
Health officials in Helsinki, a city of 631,000 people, have urged all people aged 16 and over, and those aged 12 to 15 who belong to an at-risk group, to get vaccinated.
“Now it is possible to come by for the vaccine if you are walking or driving, or even in a group. We are trying this for the first time on Saturday and depending on the outcome we could offer this possibility more frequently, ”said Leena Turpeinen, city director of health and addiction.
Finnish media reported long queues in front of vaccination points in four parts of the city.
So far, around 65% of adult Helsinki residents have received their first coronavirus vaccine, slightly more than the respective figure in the whole of Finland, a nation of 5.5 million, officials said. .
LONDON – The British Minister for Health has said he has tested positive for the coronavirus and is showing mild symptoms.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he had tested positive with a rapid test and is self-isolating while awaiting the results of a more accurate PCR test.
Javid said on Saturday: “I am grateful to have received two shots of the vaccine and so far my symptoms are very mild.”
Cases of the virus are increasing in the UK, driven by the highly infectious delta variant, despite a high level of vaccination.
Javid took over from Matt Hancock last month, who resigned after breaking social distancing rules. Hancock was ill with COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic last year. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent several days in intensive care with the virus in April 2020.
PARIS – France will allow international travelers who have received the vaccine made in India by AstraZeneca to enter the country from Sunday.
At the same time, France is stepping up border controls to control the spread of the delta variant and protect hospitals, according to a statement from the Prime Minister on Saturday.
The decision to accept visitors vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine made by India’s Serum Institute came after global outcry over the European Union’s COVID-19 certificate only recognizes AstraZeneca vaccines made in Europe . Several other EU countries already accept the Indian version. France still does not recognize vaccinations with Chinese or Russian vaccines, only those authorized by the European drug regulator.
Tunisia, Indonesia, Cuba and Mozambique have now been added to France’s “red list” of countries at high risk of the virus, according to the statement on Saturday.
LONDON – Tourists and the travel industry express frustration and anger after Britain rolled back a plan to ease travel restrictions in France just two days after the change began, citing concerns over a variant of the coronavirus.
The UK government has said people arriving from France must self-isolate for 10 days when entering Britain, even if they are fully vaccinated.
The announcement came just days after the government said fully vaccinated UK residents would no longer be subject to quarantine from Monday upon arrival from countries in the European Union and dozens of other countries.
British health authorities say France is being singled out for cases of the beta variant, which is said to be more resistant to vaccines than other strains.
ATHENS, Greece – European countries are working to step up vaccination campaigns.
They use a carrot-and-stick approach to persuade those who are reluctant to get vaccinated, as the more transmissible delta variant leads to an increase in infections.
Greece became the latest to adopt new restrictions on Friday. The country requires proof of vaccination or recent recovery from COVID-19 to access indoor restaurants, cafes, bars and cinemas. Children can enter with negative tests.
Some European countries such as France and Greece have also introduced compulsory vaccinations for certain professions.
YREVAN, Armenia – A wave of new coronavirus infections in Iran fueled by the rapidly spreading delta variant has threatened to overwhelm hospitals.
Thousands of Iranians are taking matters into their own hands and flocking to neighboring Armenia as the vaccination emergency grows.
Vaccination has remained slow in the former Soviet Caucasus country amid widespread reluctance to vaccinate. The authorities distributed free doses to foreign visitors.
This has been a godsend for Iranians who fear for their lives and are fed up with waiting. Iran has the highest death toll from COVID-19 in the Middle East, less than 2% of the country’s 84 million people received both doses. But the trip has become so popular with Iranians that the price of the trip is skyrocketing.
BANGKOK – Thailand has tightened restrictions on coronaviruses and warned of new measures as daily cases surpassed 10,000 and the death toll hit a record 141 despite a nighttime curfew in Bangkok and in several other provinces.
The surge since April has overwhelmed hospitals, strained the economy and called into question tourism stimulus plans.
Deployment of the vaccine, hampered by supply problems, is struggling with around 5% of the population fully vaccinated and only 15% partially.
Cases have increased especially in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.
The government imposed additional measures overnight, including a ban on all gatherings and activities that could spread the virus, including anti-government rallies that criticized Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s handling of the pandemic.