NEW DELHI – India has found six people who returned from Britain in recent weeks to be infected with a new variant of the coronavirus.
The health ministry in a statement on Tuesday said that the six patients were isolated and fellow travelers were being tracked. Close contacts of infected patients are also placed under quarantine.
India previously suspended flights to and from the UK until the end of the year, as the new variant “spreads and develops rapidly”.
India on Tuesday reported 16,432 new cases of the virus in all, bringing the total to 10.22 million infections and 148,153 deaths. India is expected to start a vaccination program for about 300 million people early next month.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
– Bill Trump signed the bill combining $ 900 billion in COVID-19 aid with $ 1.4 trillion in spending and other billions of pending bills.
– House strongly voted to increase the COVID-19 aid check to $ 2,000, fulfilling Trump’s request, but the Senate outcome is uncertain
– ‘Surge on the wave’ filled the hospital California, where the virus restrictions will most likely be extended
– 5th candidate reaching final stage testing in the US, an important step in getting enough vaccines to protect the world
– Mexico allows private companies to buy, distribute vaccines after questions about centralized control arise
– Follow AP coverage on https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE WHAT ELSE HAPPENED:
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s civil aviation authority has extended the ban on passenger flights from Britain for a week in an effort to avoid the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus.
The ban came into effect last week after Europe and other countries suspended air travel from Britain due to a new and apparently more contagious variant of the coronavirus in Britain.
In a statement, the Civil Aviation Authority said the ban on passenger flights from the UK would remain in effect until January 4.
Under government orders, Pakistani nationals traveling to the UK are allowed to return home as long as their COVID-19 test is negative.
On Tuesday, Pakistan reported 1,776 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 63 deaths in the past 24 hours.
There have been 9,992 deaths among 475,085 cases of COVID-19 since February, when the first infection was detected in the country.
SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea says more than 40 coronavirus patients have died in the past 24 hours, the highest daily number since the pandemic began.
Officials also reported 1,046 new confirmed coronavirus infections on Tuesday, bringing the total caseload to 58,725, with 859 deaths.
The previous South Korean daily high for deaths from COVID-19 was 24, reported on December 21 and December 22.
Some observers say the jump in deaths reflects an increase in cluster infections in nursing homes and long-term care centers where older people with underlying health problems live.
BEIJING – China has reported seven new cases of coronavirus infection in Beijing, where authorities have ordered testing of hundreds of thousands of residents.
Cases have accumulated mostly in villages on Beijing’s northeastern edge, but authorities are wary of any spread in the capital that could harm claims it has all but a local spread of the virus.
City authorities have urged residents not to leave the city during the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays. China has canceled large gatherings such as sporting events and temple fairs. Cinemas, libraries and museums operate at 75% capacity. The government also prohibits business travel.
LOS ANGELES – California officials say hospitalizations for COVID-19 have stabilized in some parts of the state but are still weighing on hospitals elsewhere, and Governor Gavin Newsom warns of a new spike in coronavirus cases after a strenuous holiday trip that deviates from recommendations to avoid meeting.
ICU units in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley have no remaining capacity. Newsom said the country was preparing for a spike in new cases by setting up hospital beds in arenas, schools and tents, even though the state is struggling to regulate them.
California regularly breaks records for the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19, while officials say the model used for planning predicts hospitalizations to more than double in the next month from about 20,000 to more than 50,000.
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The governor of Kentucky said the state hopes to start the next phase of its coronavirus vaccination program in early February and will target emergency responders, educators and people aged 70 and over.
Governor Andy Beshear said Monday that more than 26,000 doses of the vaccine have been given in Kentucky so far.
Health care workers along with residents and staff in long-term care facilities are at the top of the list to receive vaccinations in the first phase. The next designated groups are those aged 70 and over, school personnel and first responders such as police and firefighters.
The governor said the target date for the second phase would be around February 1, although that could be “plus or minus a week.” He said officials expected it would take most of February to vaccinate the groups.
ATLANTA – More than 4,000 people in Georgia have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and officials say hospital admissions are increasing at a pace that raises questions about the health system’s ability to handle demand.
The numbers increased again on Monday when Governor Brian Kemp highlighted the launch of vaccinations for nursing home employees, starting in the Gainesville nursing home.
The state has entered the top 20 for most new cases per capita in the past 14 days as infection rates have decreased in the Midwest and increased in the South.
The Northeast Georgia Health System is a four-hospital system based in Gainesville that continues to see an increasing number of COVID-19 patients. It has put beds in the gym to treat people with milder cases, but Dr. John Delzell said they were “basically in capacity” and operations were put on hold.
KIRKLAND, Wash. – Residents and staff members at a nursing home in the Seattle area that had the first deadly COVID-19 outbreak in the United States began receiving the vaccine on Monday.
The first deaths associated with the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, were reported in late February, and more than 40 people connected to the facility later died from the coronavirus. The Seattle Times reported that Monday was the first day long-care facilities were able to receive the vaccine under a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens, which handles injections for most of the state’s about 4,000 long-term care facilities.
Together with healthcare workers, Washington state has recommended that residents of nursing homes receive the vaccine first, followed by residents of assisted living facilities, adult family homes and other places of care.
LOS ANGELES – A cruise ship without passengers will visit the Port of Los Angeles in the coming weeks as a step toward resuming future services by the industry, which has been shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.
The port said visits for fuel, supplies and services were part of an operation to rebuild ships in US waters as a precondition for meeting federal regulations in order to resume future voyages.
Ships from Princess Cruises, Holland America and the Norwegian Cruise Line will dock periodically at the Los Angeles Cruise Terminal from this week to 2021.
The cruise ship has been suspended since March.
The Port of Los Angeles saw 93 cruise cancellations, or more than 70% of total cruise ships, this year.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.