Latest: Fiji outbreak escalates as government does not oppose lockdown

Fiji reports record 431 new daily coronavirus cases as outbreak of highly contagious Delta variant continues to grow

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Fiji on Thursday reported a record 431 new daily coronavirus cases, as the outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant continued to grow.

Health officials have reported nearly 5,000 cases and 22 deaths in the South Pacific nation since it began two months ago.

The government of the island nation of nearly 1 million people has resisted calls for a complete lockdown as leaders try to protect an economy that contracted by 19% last year as international tourism evaporated.

Health officials say about 9% of people who test for the virus are returning positive results, a figure that is rising and indicates the outbreak is spreading.

Despite the growing outbreak, the government announced steps to reopen retail stores in and around the capital, Suva.

Commerce, Trade and Tourism Minister Fayaz Koya said that without a plan to reopen, some shops would need to close permanently, adding jobs to families and years’ worth of hard work.


more on the pandemic

Thailand opens resort island of Phuket to vaccinated foreigners in ambitious plan to revive ravaged tourism industry

– Biden is well short on target to deliver 80 million vaccine doses to the world as White House cites local constraints

– Indonesia vaccinates thousands in a one-day event as it ramps up its virus fight amid a surge filling hospitals

– Health officials put on edge amid California reopening and isolated cases, LA masks recommended

– Rebuilding the post-pandemic world will be a massive humanitarian effort aimed at reversing the fragments of the human divide

— Follow more of the AP’s pandemic coverage at and


Here’s what else is happening:

TUBINGEN, Germany – German vaccine maker CureVac says young people may benefit from its coronavirus shot, after disappointing results in a wider age group.

The company said on Wednesday that its vaccine is 53% effective against COVID-19 of any severity in children aged 18 to 60. Overall, however, Curvac says the shot is 48% effective, based on 83 cases in the vaccine group and 145 in the placebo group.

The World Health Organization states that vaccines with more than 50% efficacy are usable, although many of the previously approved have much higher rates.

CureVac says it has sent the data to the European Medicines Agency, which is reviewing.

CureVac CEO Franz-Werner Haas says the vaccine completely protects children aged 18 to 60 from hospitalization. He calls it “an important contribution to help manage the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the dynamic version”.


Billings, Mont. – Montana’s governor is lifting the state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, more than 15 months after his predecessor imposed it.

Wednesday’s move by the government of Greg Gianfort comes as the COVID-19 case rate in Montana slowly declines. Nearly half of the state’s eligible residents are now fully immunized.

Broader public health mandates such as face mask requirements and occupancy limits for businesses were previously rescinded.

Other states have also lifted emergency declarations in recent days as the public health crisis eases.

There have been at least 1,665 deaths from the respiratory illness in Montana.


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