LONDON – The British Minister for Health has said he has tested positive for the coronavirus and is showing mild symptoms.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he had tested positive with a rapid test and is self-isolating while awaiting the results of a more accurate PCR test.
Javid said on Saturday: “I am grateful to have received two shots of the vaccine and so far my symptoms are very mild.”
Cases of the virus are increasing in the UK, driven by the highly infectious delta variant, despite a high level of vaccination.
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Javid took over from Matt Hancock last month, who resigned after breaking social distancing rules. Hancock was ill with COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic last year. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent several days in intensive care with the virus in April 2020.
– Thailand tightens measures as daily cases surpass 10,000
– European countries impose incentives, penalties to boost shooting
– Desperate for vaccines in full swing, Iranians flock to Armenia
– Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
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PARIS – France will allow international travelers who have received the vaccine made in India by AstraZeneca to enter the country from Sunday.
At the same time, France is stepping up border controls to control the spread of the delta variant and protect hospitals, according to a statement from the Prime Minister on Saturday.
The decision to accept visitors vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine made by India’s Serum Institute came after global outcry over the European Union’s COVID-19 certificate only recognizes AstraZeneca vaccines made in Europe . Several other EU countries already accept the Indian version. France still does not recognize vaccinations with Chinese or Russian vaccines, only those authorized by the European drug regulator.
Tunisia, Indonesia, Cuba and Mozambique have now been added to France’s “red list” of countries at high risk of the virus, according to Saturday’s statement.
LONDON – Tourists and the travel industry express frustration and anger after Britain rolled back a plan to ease travel restrictions in France just two days after the change began, citing concerns over a variant of the coronavirus.
The UK government has said people arriving from France must self-isolate for 10 days when entering Britain, even if they are fully vaccinated.
The announcement came just days after the government said fully vaccinated UK residents would no longer be quarantined from Monday upon arrival from countries in the European Union and dozens of other countries.
British health authorities say France is being singled out for cases of the beta variant, which is said to be more resistant to vaccines than other strains.
ATHENS, Greece – European countries are working to step up vaccination campaigns.
They use a carrot and stick approach to persuade those who are reluctant to get vaccinated, as the more transmissible delta variant leads to an increase in infections.
Greece became the latest to adopt new restrictions on Friday. The country requires proof of vaccination or recent recovery from COVID-19 to access indoor restaurants, cafes, bars and cinemas. Children can enter with negative tests.
Some European countries such as France and Greece have also introduced compulsory vaccinations for certain professions.
YREVAN, Armenia – A wave of new coronavirus infections in Iran fueled by the rapidly spreading delta variant has threatened to overwhelm hospitals.
Thousands of Iranians are taking matters into their own hands and flocking to neighboring Armenia as the vaccination emergency grows.
Vaccination has remained slow in the former Soviet Caucasus country amid widespread reluctance to vaccinate. The authorities distributed free doses to foreign visitors.
This has been a godsend for Iranians who fear for their lives and are fed up with waiting. Iran has the highest death toll from COVID-19 in the Middle East, less than 2% of the country’s 84 million people received both doses. But the trip has become so popular with Iranians that the price of the trip is skyrocketing.
BANGKOK – Thailand has tightened restrictions on coronaviruses and warned of new measures as daily cases surpassed 10,000 and the death toll hit a record 141 despite a nighttime curfew in Bangkok and in several other provinces.
The surge since April has overwhelmed hospitals, strained the economy and called into question tourism stimulus plans.
Deployment of the vaccine, hampered by supply problems, is faltering with around 5% of the population fully vaccinated and only 15% partially.
Cases have increased especially in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.
The government imposed additional measures overnight, including a ban on all gatherings and activities that could spread the virus, including anti-government rallies that criticized Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s handling of the pandemic.
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