Latest: American colleges may tap into COVID-19 relief fund

WASHINGTON – Colleges and universities across the nation have now begun tapping the $ 36 billion in relief funding that Congress approved in March, the Biden administration announced Tuesday.

The US Department of Education said it is beginning to provide funding to more than 5,000 public and private colleges. The funding was included in a $ 1.9 trillion relief package that also included $ 123 billion for K-12 schools.

Higher education aid is being allocated to public and private institutions using a formula that factors in the share of low-income students they enroll. Colleges will have to spend at least half of the money on direct relief for students. The other half can be used at various expenses related to the epidemic.

Contrary to Trump’s policy, the Biden administration said student grants could be given to international students and those who are illegally in the US.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the funding ensures that the hardest-hit students “have the opportunity to enroll, continue their education, graduate, and advance their careers.”

Broadly speaking, the guidance states that colleges should use the funds to support vulnerable students, reduce the spread of coronaviruses and retain students whose education was disrupted by the epidemic.



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Mexico officials said MEXICO CITY – Russia is having so much trouble making a second dose of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine that it might not be able to supply enough to those who had received the first dose.

This is the latest account of production problems for Sputnik V, which the Russian government is promising for other countries, but has not been able to supply in sufficient quantities.

Sputnik coronovirus vaccines are unusual in that both doses are different and not interchangeable.

Mexico’s assistant health secretary, Hugo López-Gatel, said the Russians have found that the first adenovirus grows much faster than the second.

Lopez-Gatl said Russian scientists are now suggesting abandoning the idea of ​​giving two different Sputnik V shots for several weeks and instead giving another booster shot after six months.

“Over the course of months, the amount of the first dose they managed to produce went out of alignment with the amount of the second dose they were able to produce,” Lopez-Gatl said.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund that bankrupt Sputnik V, denied the Mexican reports.

“Both components of Sputnik V are being manufactured to fully meet the growing demand for vaccines in Russia and abroad,” the fund said in a statement.


BERLIN – German investors are increasingly optimistic about the country’s economy as the latest growth of new coronovirus infections slows, a closely watched poll on Tuesday.

The Mannheim-based ZEW Institute said that economic expectations for Germany over the next six months increased by 13.7 points in May from the previous month, to a reading of 84.4, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. higher price.

The last time the indicator was high was in February 2000.

The increase followed an unexpected decline in April when new daily cases of coronovirus infection were high.

Germany’s Center for Disease Control, the Robert Koch Institute, confirmed 6,125 new cases on Tuesday, while 17,855 new cases were reported on the same day a month earlier.


Brussels – As the strict lockdown loosens across Europe and many EU citizens dream about sunshine holidays, the bloc of 27 countries has yet to agree on promoting summer travel and tourism How to implement a virus certificate scheme for.

European Affairs Ministers gathered in Brussels on Tuesday to assess progress in discussions with European MPs. An agreement in May is needed between Parliament and EU countries to ensure that the system will be operational by the end of June, but many sticky points remain.

When it proposed the scheme in March, the European Union Commission said that the coronovirus certificate would be given to EU residents who could prove they had been vaccinated or who tested negative for the virus or had it. There is evidence.

EU legalists and nations agree on this, but Parliament says that the COVID-19 certificate should be sufficient to allow EU citizens to move freely and that EU countries such as certificate holders No additional restrictions should be allowed on quarantine, testing or. Measures of self-isolation.

This is a major deterrent, as border control is a national responsibility.


Islamabad – The Prime Minister of Pakistan said on Tuesday that his government is working on a plan to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine locally.

Prime Minister Imran Khan made the comments in a live live chat by state-owned Pakistan Television in which he answered questions from the public.

Khan did not provide any further information. But Pakistan is in talks with some international manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines, including China and Russia manufacturing the vaccine locally.

Pakistan is currently in the midst of a third surge of infections and deaths, and Khan has urged people to follow social distances. Pakistan reported 113 single-day deaths on Tuesday, for a total of 19,106 deaths.


Tokyo – A city in central Japan is secretly facing criticism for offering reservations for COVID-19 vaccinations to a major pharmacy chain executive when hundreds of thousands of elderly people elsewhere in Japan made their reservations Struggled for

Yoshihide Kondo, the deputy mayor of Nishio, made reservations for jobs for Hirokazu Sugiura, president of Suzy Holdings Company, which operates more than 1,400 drugstores and his wife’s operations in Japan, in return for the municipality’s company. In lieu of “contribution”.

City officials said that on Tuesday they made reservations after repeated requests from the company and apologized after the deal was revealed in the regional taxing newspaper. He said the reservation was canceled and Sugiurus did not receive shots.

Under pressure to speed up Japan’s slow vaccine rollout, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has promised two doses for the 36 million elderly by the end of July. Japan has so far completely inactivated only 1% of its population.


TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan investigated seven domestic COVID-19 cases with a source of six infections, its Central Epidemic Command Center said on Tuesday.

Five cases were discovered at a gaming cafe in Yilan County on the east coast of Taiwan. Another was found in New Taipei City outside the capital. In any case there was no history of international travel.

A seventh person was already in quarantine who was in contact with a cluster discovered in recent weeks after testing positive for pilots working for Taiwan’s China Airlines. More than 30 cases have been discovered so far.

In response, health officials said they would ban indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and ban outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people.

There is a success story during the epidemic in Taiwan, with deaths and cases kept to a minimum with strict border control and two weeks of quarantine mandated for arrival.

Hong Kong – Hong Kong authorities have dropped plans to vaccinate foreign domestic workers against coronovirus, as it was described as discriminatory.

Officials initially proposed the plan was that a foreign domestic worker tested positive for an unknown source of infection with the coronovirus variant in April.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said at a regular news briefing on Tuesday that the plan was abandoned after authorities assessed public health needs, as well as legal issues that may arise.

Lam also announced a second round of mandatory tests for the city’s more than 370,000 domestic workers as a precaution. The new round of testing will begin on Saturday.


SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea has told the World Health Organization that it has tested 25,986 people for coronovirus through April but has not yet detected a single infection.

The WHO said in a weekly surveillance report that the test data from North Korea included 751 people who were tested during April 23–29, of whom 139 had influenza-like illness or serious respiratory infections.

Experts have expressed skepticism about North Korea’s claim in keeping COVID-19, given its poor health infrastructure and a porous border shared with China.


San Salvador El Salvador – The president of El Salvador says he will donate coronovirus vaccines to seven cities in Honduras, although his own country’s vaccination efforts are still struggling.

El Salvador has managed about 1.25 million shots, not nearly enough for the country’s 6.5 million people.

But President Naib Bukele was apparently touched by an appeal from the mayors of seven cities in neighboring Honduras, who sought help from El Salvador, claiming that his own government had abandoned him. He said that the donation on Monday would not affect El Salvador’s vaccination campaign.


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have established a travel corridor for tourists who have been vaccinated against coronoviruses.

Gulf Sheikhs jointly announced on Monday that fully vaccinated passengers would be able to fly between countries without having to undergo mandatory quarantine.

The deal begins this weekend with Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam’s biggest holidays. Travelers should display their vaccine status with the approved COVID-19 Health Pass apps.

Similar quarantine-free travel bubbles are in effect elsewhere in the world, such as Australia and New Zealand.


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