Singapore raises viral rules after new infections
SINGAPORE – Singapore has further tightened social distancing restrictions, banning eating in restaurants and limiting public gatherings to two people as it seeks to control a growing number of coronavirus infections not found in the city.
From Sunday to June 13, gatherings and domestic visitors will be limited to two people, and restaurants and eateries may only provide delivery or take out services. Businesses will need to make working from home the default mode of work for employees who can.
“A pattern of unrelated local community cases has emerged and persists,” Singapore’s health ministry said in a statement on Friday.
“This is worrying because it suggests that there may be unknown cases in the community with possible continued community transmission and that our past and current measures to break the chains of transmission may be insufficient.
Unrelated coronavirus infections jumped to 15 last week, more than double the previous week.
The number of new cases also jumped to 71 last week, from 48 the week before.
The tightening of restrictions in Singapore comes as there are plans to launch a long-delayed air bubble with Hong Kong on May 26, which would allow tourists from both cities to travel without having to self-quarantine. It is not known whether the air transport bubble will continue as planned.
Singapore has reported a total of 61,453 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 31 deaths.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
– CDC: fully vaccinated people can largely give up masks inside
– Misinformation is increasing amid COVID-19 calamity in India
– Plagued by virus, hospitals in Gaza now fight the wounded
– Follow more coverage of the AP pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE HAPPENS:
BEIJING – Authorities have ordered mass virus testing for residents of two towns in central Anhui province, where the first new cases of local transmission in days have been detected.
It’s not immediately clear how many people will be tested, but the number is likely in the tens or hundreds of thousands in the province’s only capital, Hefei.
Fast and inexpensive test kits have made testing in China extremely convenient, with results typically available on site within minutes.
China says it has all but eliminated national transmission of the virus.
The newly reported cases bring the total number of cases in China to 90,815 with 4,636 deaths since the virus was detected in central China’s Wuhan city in late 2019.
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine president has eased the coronavirus lockdown in the bustling capital and adjacent provinces to fight economic recession and hunger, but still banned public gatherings this month, when many Catholic religious festivals d summer are organized.
After an alarming spike in infections that began in March began to subside, President Rodrigo Duterte announced in televised remarks Thursday night that metropolitan Manila and four neighboring provinces, a region of more than 25 million people ‘inhabitants, would be placed under a so-called “general community quarantine”, which allows essential businesses and tourist destinations to develop their activities, in the last half of the month. But he said religious holidays in Asia’s largest Catholic nation would remain banned.
“Forget to gather, pile up and stand,” Duterte said, warning village officials that he would hold them accountable if quarantine restrictions were violated. “You go out, you just go looking for the virus to get into your body and pass it on and that’s a problem.”
Confirmed COVID-19 infections began to climb in March to some of the worst levels in Asia, surpassing 10,000 a day and prompting Duterte to impose a lockdown in the capital and neighboring regions in April. The Philippines has reported more than 1,120,000 infections and 18,821 deaths, the second highest total in Southeast Asia.
SALEM, Oregon – Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that the state will immediately follow guidelines from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which make it easier to wear face masks and social distancing for people entirely. vaccinated.
Brown said in a video statement Thursday that the new CDC guidelines meant Oregonians who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks or social distancing in most public spaces.
She also said the guidelines make it clear that vaccines are the fastest way to get back to the things “we all love” and to regain a sense of normalcy. Mask requirements will also remain in place in Oregon schools this school year, Brown added.
The Oregon Health Authority in the coming days will provide updated guidance to businesses, employers and others to enable them to lift mask requirements and physically distance themselves after checking immunization status.
RENO, Nevada – Nevada is adopting new mask-wearing guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday for people who are fully vaccinated. This allows them to stop wearing masks outside in crowds and in most indoor environments.
The updated guidelines are effective immediately in Nevada under a directive signed May 3 by Governor Steve Sisolak. She aligned the use of the state mask with CDC recommendations, including any subsequent directives the center issues.
Nevada also began making COVID-19 vaccines available to children as young as 12 for the first time on Thursday after federal health advisers approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children.
LOS ANGELES – California counties are awaiting state guidance after the federal government said Thursday that fully vaccinated people can stop covering their faces and walk away from society in most situations.
The California Department of Public Health did not immediately respond to questions about whether it would adopt the new guidelines announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is unclear what Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to do and when.
The state is on track to reopen its economy roughly next month, signaling the end of most pandemic restrictions. San Francisco and Riverside are among counties that say they expect updated advice from the state.
SANTA FE, NM – New Mexico is now administering the Pfizer vaccine to children between the ages of 12 and 15, as state health officials lobbied Thursday for more people to be vaccinated.
The state health department’s decision follows approvals this week from the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state encourages families to register their children on its vaccine website.
The expanded availability only applies to the Pfizer vaccine, which until now was only available to people 16 years of age and older.
OLYMPIA, Washington – Washington is set to fully reopen its economy by June 30, and a full reopening could happen even sooner if 70% or more of residents over 16 have received at least one dose of vaccine by then, Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday.
Inslee said the state will remain at 50% capacity for most indoor activities until it reaches full capacity at the end of June.
He said his decision does not mean the state of emergency triggered by the coronavirus pandemic will end on June 30, and he said if statewide intensive care capacity reached 90% at any time it would cancel activities again.
MORGAN, Utah – A Utah school district has announced that it is going against a standing public health order and is no longer requiring face coverings in K-12 schools.
The Standard-Examiner reported that the Morgan School District school board voted on Tuesday to change its mask policy to a recommendation that students and teachers wear masks, instead of a requirement. It’s one of at least seven school districts in Utah to reduce mask requirements.
The decision came after several residents and students criticized the warrant during public comments. Some educators have argued for the retention of the warrant, as many people rely on others to wear them to stay safe.
WASHINGTON – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is making it easier for people who are fully vaccinated to wear inner masks, allowing them to stop wearing masks indoors in most places.
The new direction was announced at the White House. It will still require masks to be worn in crowded indoor environments like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but could ease restrictions on reopening workplaces and schools.
The CDC will no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outside in crowds. CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky says, “We’ve all dreamed of that moment – when we can come back to some sense of normalcy.”