Early trials of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine among children ages 12 to 17 have started in Moscow, city officials said Monday.
The new trial comes as Russia faces a sharp surge in coronavirus infections and struggles to ramp up its low vaccine uptake. As of last week, only 23 million people, or just over 15% of the country’s 146-million population, have received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine.
In the meantime, the number of daily new virus cases have more than doubled over the past month, going from roughly 9,000 a day in early June to over 24,000 this week. On Monday, Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 24,353 new cases and 654 deaths.
Russian authorities have registered over 5.6 million confirmed cases of the virus in the pandemic and 138,579 deaths.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— Indonesia seeks more oxygen for COVID-19 sick amid shortage
— Luxembourg prime minister hospitalized after positive test
— Iran reimposes virus restrictions as delta variant spreads
— Johnson says UK must live with virus as he announces easing
— Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BERLIN — The German government is rejecting calls to fine people who don’t show up to vaccination appointments and fail to cancel them beforehand.
The head of the German Red Cross’s Berlin branch, Mario Czaja, has suggested fines of 25 to 30 euros ($29.65 to $35.60) for people who fail to turn up for appointments at vaccination centers. He says the number of such no-shows has increased in recent weeks.
His call has drawn a mixed response. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday that appointments are “valuable” and appealed to people to cancel if they can’t keep them. But he said that “the federal government has no plans for fines.”
Health Ministry spokeswoman Parissa Hajebi said that “we want to motivate citizens to get vaccinated and we don’t to scare them off and threaten punishment.” She said the ministry didn’t have information that no-shows were a widespread phenomenon.
Germany had given 56.5% of its population at least one vaccine shot by Sunday and 38.9% were fully vaccinated.
ISLAMABAD — Normalcy returned at COVID-19 vaccination centers across Pakistan on Monday, days after Washington delivered 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Islamabad.
Moderna vaccines were delivered to Pakistan last week by Washington in partnership with the COVAX global vaccine initiative and UNICEF.
Before receiving this vaccine, Pakistan had mostly relied on Chinese vaccines.
Pakistan faced the shortage of specific vaccines last month after some Middle Eastern countries asked travelers to produce a certificate to show they’ve received specific vaccines, including the Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZeneca shots.
LONDON — Britain’s royal palace says the Duchess of Cambridge is self-isolating after a contact tested positive for the coronavirus.
Kate had been due to attend events with her husband Prince William on Monday celebrating the 73rd birthday of Britain’s National Health Service.
But the couple’s Kensington Palace office says the duchess is self-isolating at home after coming into contact last week with someone who subsequently tested positive.
Under current British rules, contacts of confirmed coronavirus cases must quarantine at home for 10 days.
The palace says Kate, who is 39, does not have any symptoms of COVID-19.
Both Kate and William received first doses of coronavirus vaccine in May.
BRUSSELS — Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has been hospitalized and is under observation “as a precautionary measure” after testing positive for COVID-19 a week earlier.
A government official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said there was no update with new information early Monday after Bettel had been taken in for 24 hours of testing and medical analysis on Sunday.
The 48-year-old Bettel announced his positive test just after he had attended an European Union summit with 26 other leaders from the bloc for two days. At first he experienced only mild symptoms. But on Sunday, he had to be hospitalized.
EU summit organizers said they were confident that all virus precaution measures had been strictly adhered to during the two-day meeting. So far, no other leader has said he or she tested positive.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka on Monday received a first batch of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the first country in South Asia to get the U.S.-made COVID-19 jab.
Officials say 26,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine directly purchased by the Sri Lankan government was flown into the country on Monday.
Health authorities say that Sri Lanka had signed agreements to purchase 5 million Pfizer doses this year. The country is expected to receive about 200,000 Pfizer doses this month.
Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa tweeted that “Sri Lanka becomes the first country in South Asia to acquire a contingent of Pfizer vaccines.”
Sri Lankan health authorities have so far used AstraZeneca doses manufactured in India, China's Sinopharm and Russia's Sputnik V in the country's battle against COVID-19.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 711 new cases of the coronavirus as infections continued to grow in the greater capital area.
It was the third straight day of over 700 cases and the highest daily jump for a Monday since early January, when the country was enduring its worst wave of the pandemic.
Usually a smaller number of cases are reported at the start of the week, due to reduced testing on weekends, and the country’s caseload may grow faster over the next few days.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said around 550 of the new cases came from the populated Seoul metropolitan area, where officials delayed a planned easing of social distancing measures to cope with a rise in transmissions.
Cases were also reported in most of the major cities and towns across the country, including Busan, Daejeon and the North and South Gyeongsang provinces.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden says the American people are closer than ever to declaring independence from a deadly virus.
The president made the comments Sunday at a July Fourth celebration at the White House.
He told the crowd of service members and first responders to think back to where this nation was a year ago and think about how far the nation has come.
During the brief and optimistic comments, Biden said that thanks to the power of science, the country is seeing a return to normal and the return of economic health.
But he warned that the nation has not defeated the virus, and he encouraged those who have not been vaccinated to get their shots. He said the vaccines are important for the nation to avoid where it was a year ago. The crowd at the upbeat event was chanting “Biden, Biden, Biden” as he came out to address them.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia is requiring foreign visitors to be fully vaccinated as one of the entry requirements as the country tries to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Ganip Warsito, National Task Force for COVID-19 Mitigation Chief, said Sunday that starting on July 6, both foreigners and Indonesian nationals entering the country have to show digital or physical proof that they have been fully vaccinated.
The obligation to show vaccination cards can be excluded in some cases, including diplomatic visas and service visas, and during official visits at ministerial level.
The government is also extending the quarantine time for foreign travelers from five days to eight days.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia will ease a coronavirus lockdown in five states next week in a bid to allow a quicker reopening of its economy.
The country has been under a national lockdown since June 1, the second in over a year that has severely bruised its economy.
Defense Minister Ismail Sabri said restrictions will be eased Monday in five states that have met the target, with more businesses such as barbers, computer outlets and bookshops allowed to reopen.
NEW DELHI — Indian company Bharat Biotech says its late-stage testing of a COVID-19 vaccine has shown an overall efficacy of 77.8% and effectiveness against all variants.
The company in a statement says it is now in discussions with the World Health Organization to obtain emergency use listing for its vaccine, marketed as COVAXIN.
The results set at rest questions raised by health experts over Bharat Biotech’s vaccine when it was given emergency use authorization by the Indian government in January. They felt that the company didn’t have enough clinical trials, making it almost impossible for the firm to have analyzed and submitted data showing that its shots are effective.