TOKYO — Japan’s government says more than 50% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Japan’s vaccine rollouts began in mid-February, months behind many wealthy countries due to its lengthy clinical testing requirement and approval process. Inoculations for elderly patients, which started in April, were also slowed by supply shortages of imported vaccines, but the pace picked up in late May and has since achieved 1 million doses per day.
Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is in charge of COVID-19 measures, told NHK public television’s weekly talk show Sunday that about 60% of the population is expected to be fully vaccinated by the end of September, on par with current levels in Europe.
The government is studying a roadmap for easing restrictions around November. That would allow fully vaccinated people and those who test negative to travel, gather for parties or attend mass events.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— Tale of two clinics: Lines in Kenya, few takers in Atlanta
— From virus to storm, Louisiana’s marginalized see ‘no way out’
— Crowded U.S. football stadiums create combustible mix this fall
— Coronavirus infects several gorillas at Atlanta zoo
— See AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BEIJING — China on Sunday reported 46 new coronavirus infections, including 20 locally acquired cases in a southern province where authorities are trying to contain an outbreak. No deaths were reported.
Nineteen of the locally acquired infections were in Putian in Fujian province and one in nearby Quanzhou, the National Health Commission reported. It said all other infections were believed to have been acquired abroad.
China’s death toll stands at 4,636 out of 95,199 cases.
The Health Commission announced Saturday it was sending experts to Putian to oversee disease-control work.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand is buying an extra 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from Denmark as it tries to keep its coronavirus vaccination program running at full speed, the government said.
The doses are on top of New Zealand’s regular shipments from Pfizer and come a few days after officials announced a similar deal with Spain for more than 250,000 extra doses. New Zealand was slow to get its vaccination program running but has seen demand spike since an outbreak of the delta variant in Auckland last month.
That had left the country in danger of running out of doses ahead of a large scheduled shipment in October. New Zealand’s government has been attempting to eliminate the virus entirely in Auckland by imposing a lockdown but is finding the delta variant hard to stamp out, with another 20 daily community cases reported on Sunday. About 54% of people in New Zealand have had at least one dose and 28% are fully vaccinated.
YUCAIPA, Calif. — The husband of a California nurse who died of COVID-19 more than two weeks ago has died after battling the disease himself.
A family member told news station KTLA-TV that Daniel Macias of Yucaipa died on Thursday, leaving behind five young children, including a newborn girl. He and his wife, Davy Macias contracted COVID-19 after going on a family trip to the beach and an indoor water park.
They were admitted to the hospital days apart, and it was there that a doctor delivered the couple’s daughter several days before Davy Macias died. Her brother said she was hesitant to get vaccinated because she was pregnant.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Hospitals in Iowa’s second-largest city are limiting elective procedures because of increased numbers of patients driven partly by a surge in COVID-19 admissions.
The Cedar Falls Gazette reports that both UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital and Mercy Medical Center confirmed Friday their facilities are preserving capacity because of high patient counts in recent weeks. Cedar Rapids hospitals had not delayed or postponed elective surgeries and procedures since last fall.
St. Luke’s is limiting surgeries that require a hospital stay to 10 per day.
Mercy officials confirmed that it also is temporarily reducing the number of elective procedures that require hospital stays after surgery.