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Latest: Philippines reopens gyms, museums as surge ebbs


Business Secretary Ramon Lopez says Filipinos aged 65 and older, who have been confined to home, can now travel to the densely populated capital region two weeks after being fully vaccinated.

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

Lopez has called for a reopening of the battered economy to address unemployment and hunger. Museums and historical sites can also reopen at 20% capacity but guided tours are prohibited.

The Philippines has recorded the second highest number of COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia with 22,312 dead at nearly 1.3 million. The government imposed a lockdown in the capital region and four surrounding provinces after infections increased in March.

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More on the pandemic:

— Celebrations (and questions) congratulating US vaccine donation plan

– New federal COVID-19 safety rules exempt most employers

US extends expiry date of J&J COVID vaccine by 6 weeks

– British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic after a series of hurtful allegations from the former top adviser.

Germany has started rolling out a digital vaccination pass that can be used across Europe as the continent prepares for its prime summer travel season.

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— Follow more of the AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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Here’s what else is happening:

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

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

Officials said there were 3,951 unreported deaths in May and reflect “deaths in private hospitals, in transit to health facilities, under home isolation and those who died after COVID-19 complications”.

Health experts say India has not recorded many COVID-19 deaths, especially during the latest surge in April and May, when hospitals were unbearably full and oxygen supplies were short.

India’s federal ministers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have dismissed reports of low count as exaggerated and misleading. In the past, states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have also recalculated the death count.

Overall, there has been a steady decline in India’s cases and deaths over the past weeks.

The 91,702 cases added in the last 24 hours pushed India’s total to over 29.3 million on Friday, second only to the United States. The health ministry also reported 3,403 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 363,079.

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CHICAGO — Illinois is lifting all capacity limits on bars, restaurants, businesses and other locations on Friday, nearly 15 months after the first stay-at-home orders were placed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses may still have their own rules for capacity, masks and social distancing. Masks are still required on public transport and in airports, schools and hospitals.

Governor JB Pritzker said Thursday that “as we take this next step, let’s do so with a renewed commitment to empathy, to the community, and to make each day count together.”

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

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WASHINGTON – US health officials are investigating what appears to be higher than expected reports of heart inflammation in male teens and young adults after receiving a second dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The CDC says it’s not clear whether the swelling is caused by the shots and reports are still rare. It urges everyone 12 years of age and older to be vaccinated.

A CDC official said Thursday that as of May 31, the agency had 275 preliminary reports of this type of inflammation in 16- to 24-year-olds.

The official says the cases are more common among men and younger people, and most have already made a full recovery.

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Denver-Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has announced the first five winners of a $50,000 scholarship in a program designed to encourage students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The state is offering 25 student scholarships for students ages 12 to 17 who have received at least one vaccine dose.

The winners selected in the random drawing can access the scholarships in the post-secondary educational institutions of their choice. This includes colleges and technical, vocational and credentialing programs in and outside Colorado.

Five winners will be selected every week until 9 July. Colorado is also offering a $1 million lottery program for five adults who get at least one shot.

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ATLANTA – Georgians receiving unemployment benefits will once again have to look for work and be able to earn less before the drop in unemployment payments begins June 27.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced the changes on Thursday, also saying that employers with many employees taking benefits will face higher unemployment insurance taxes after that date.

Georgia announced last month that starting June 27 it would cut federal programs that give people on the jobless roll a $300-a-week pandemic boost as well as programs that pay federal money that would normally be paid to the state. are not eligible for unemployment.

Butler previously indicated he would reinstate work-finding requirements, a move underway in more than three-quarters of states.

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Concord, NH – New Hampshire’s nearly 15-month pandemic status will end Friday night, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.

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

In the words of the governor: “We’ve checked all the boxes and we feel very confident that we are still in a very strong position to walk away from tomorrow.”

Sununu thanked public health officials as well as citizens for volunteering during the pandemic, maintaining a strong economy and balancing security for getting immunizations.

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scheduled tribe. IVES, England – President Joe Biden is calling on global leaders to follow his lead in sharing coronavirus vaccines with struggling countries around the world.

He promised that the US would donate 500 million doses to help speed the end of the pandemic and strengthen the strategic position of the world’s wealthiest democracies.

In Biden’s words: “In times of trouble, Americans step forward to offer help.”

Speaking ahead of the Group of Seven meeting, Biden announced America’s commitment to vaccine sharing, which comes on top of the 80 million doses he has already pledged by the end of the month.

He says other G-7 nations will join the US on Friday in outlining their vaccine donation commitments.

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WASHINGTON – Johnson & Johnson says US health officials have extended the expiration date of millions of doses of its coronavirus vaccine by an additional six weeks.

The drugmaker says the FDA has approved a longer shelf-life for one-dose shots. State officials recently warned that many unused supplements would reach their original three-month expiration by the end of June.

The expansion comes as the rate of new US vaccinations continues to decline. The US averaged about 800,000 injections per day last week. This is down from a high of about 2 million per day two months ago.

President Joe Biden aims to partially vaccinate 70% of American adults by July 4. The CDC says that about 64% of Americans age 18 and older have received at least one dose.

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

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Twitter that employees in the food production and distribution sector, as well as cafe and restaurant workers, would be included in the vaccination program starting Friday.

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

The country of 84 million has given nearly 32 million shots since launching its vaccination campaign on January 14. Some 13.5 million have received two doses.

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CHICAGO — United Airlines says more than 830,000 people have participated in a contest that began last month to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

People who upload photos of their vaccination cards to the airline have a slim shot at free flights.

The airline says the largest group of those entering the competition are people in their 50s, and nearly one in eight are between 18 and 28.

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Sacramento, Calif. – California workplace regulators have withdrawn a controversial mask regulation.

His second such reversal in a week gives him time to consider a rule that matches more closely with Governor Gavin Newsom’s promise that the state will fully reopen from the pandemic on Tuesday.

But some business leaders kept up the pressure on Newsom on Wednesday to override the board. The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board rule would have allowed workers to wear masks only if each worker in a room had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

This is in contrast to a state-wide plan to do away with almost all masking requirements for vaccinated people.

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