The Latest: Spain's vaccination plan to kick off in January

MADRID — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says a national COVID-19 vaccination plan will be launched in January.

Spain on Monday began demanding a negative PCR test for COVID-19 for most people arriving in Spain by air or by sea. The measure covers arrivals from 65 countries, including most of the European Union.

Meanwhile, the northeastern region of Catalonia on Monday eased some of the tight restrictions on bars and restaurants and cultural events introduced in mid-October. Although a 10 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew remains, Catalan bars and restaurants can have customers up to 30% capacity indoors and cultural venues can operate at 50% capacity.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Cut off: School closings leave rural students isolated

— Jury duty? No thanks, say many, forcing trials to be delayed

— Inequality ‘baked into’ virus testing access as cases surge

— New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern offers virus know-how to Joe Biden

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Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

LONDON — AstraZeneca says that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is easier to distribute than some of its rivals.

The results reported Monday are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca.

“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives,” said Oxford University Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial. “Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective.’’

Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries. All three vaccines must be approved by regulators before they can be widely distributed.

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MOSCOW — Daily new coronavirus infections in Russia hit a new high on Monday, with authorities reporting a record 25,173 new cases. The latest figure brings the country’s total to over 2.1 million. The government coronavirus task force also reported 361 deaths on Monday, raising the total since the start of the pandemic to 36,500.

Russia, which currently has the world’s fifth largest number of confirmed cases, has been swept by a rapid coronavirus resurgence since September. Despite this, authorities insist there are no plans to impose a second lockdown or to shut businesses nationwide.

The Siberian republic of Buryatia, which is near the border with Mongolia, last Monday closed a wide range of non-essential businesses for two weeks to curb the spread of the virus, and is currently the only Russian region to have done that.

When asked why other hard-hit Russian regions aren’t following Buryatia’s example, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that regional governments decide on which restrictions to impose in their regions depending prevailing conditions there, like the number of available medical workers and hospital beds.

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STOCKHOLM — Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has urged his countrymen to do what it takes to fight the coronavirus pandemic as “people’s health and lives are still in danger” and that danger “is increasing.”

In a rare televised address late Sunday, the somber-looking Lofven said “the reality is exactly that, harsh and brutal.” He said it was “utterly necessary” to act.

“A stranger you infect could get very ill. A friend you infect could need care. A grandparent you infect could die,” Lofven said. “These are the people for whom you have to show decisiveness, self-discipline and a sense of responsibility.

Sweden opted for a different — and much debated — approach to handling the pandemic by keeping large sections of society open and relied mainly on recommendations for people to maintain social distance.

In the fall as the virus resurged, Sweden saw a rapid increase in new cases and strains put on medical services pushed the government to take stricter measures, including a nationwide ban on the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. in bars and restaurants. Sweden also banned public gatherings of more than eight people.

Sweden has reported more than 201,000 cases and 6,340 deaths.

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JERUSALEM — The Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has announced a partial two-week lockdown to clamp down on the coronavirus’ spread as new cases have rapidly increased.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Monday that the West Bank will be under a full lockdown over the weekends, and a curfew will be imposed from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. on weekdays. All non-essential businesses will be closed during the periods of lockdown.

The Palestinian Health Ministry has recorded over 3,000 new cases of the coronavirus in the West Bank in the past week, and a total of more than 84,000 since the beginning of the pandemic. It says at least 714 Palestinians have died from the disease.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who contracted the coronavirus earlier this month and was hospitalized, said his latest test for the virus came back negative.

Zelenskiy posted on his Facebook account on Monday that he’s glad to be back at work and working normally.

Zelenskiy was moved to a hospital in Kyiv several days after a Nov. 9 test showed that he was positive for the coronavirus. Even though he displayed mild symptoms, his spokeswoman said he was hospitalized because “there are better conditions for self-isolation and care for coronavirus patients.”

Ukraine has experienced a resurgence of the coronavirus since late September, when new infections shot up again. On Monday, health officials reported 10,945 new coronavirus cases. Ukraine has so far reported a total of 635,689 confirmed cases and 11,075 deaths.

This month Ukraine’s government ordered non-essential businesses to shut down on weekends in an effort to stem the rapid growth of the outbreak without further damaging the country’s weakened economy.

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JAKARTA — Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed half a million as the government of the world’s fourth most populous nation scrambles to procure vaccines to help it win the fight against the pandemic.

The Health Ministry reported 4,442 new cases on Monday to bring the country’s total to 502,110, the highest toll in Southeast Asia and second in Asia only to India’s more than 9.1 million confirmed cases.

The ministry said that the death toll from the virus is 16,002, and that it has been adding 3,000-5,000 daily cases since mid-September.

President Joko Widodo said his administration is working on a mass vaccination program for the vast archipelago nation, home to more than 270 million people.

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s government has warned that several “super-spreader” gatherings in the country recently may force it to impose a full lockdown amid a spike in coronavirus cases.

Pakistan recorded 2,756 new cases on Monday, one of the sharpest spikes since the outbreak began.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of supporters of opposition parties gathered in the province of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, on the border with Afghanistan. Last week, thousands gathered to bury a radical religious cleric in Lahore, the capital of eastern Punjab province.

At both gatherings, masks were worn by only a few people and there was no social distancing, with crowds of mostly men jammed into limited spaces.

Pakistan has recorded nearly 377,000 cases of the virus, including 7,696 deaths.

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BERLIN — Germany’s health minister is stressing the importance of dealing with multiple vaccine developers amid prospects that the country’s first coronavirus vaccinations could happen as early as December.

Minister Jens Spahn noted during a visit Monday to IDT Biologika, a German company developing a vaccine that it hopes will be ready next year, that European Union and German officials “are not just counting on one technology, on one company and one team of researchers.” He said “with vaccines, you can never know whether there might yet be setbacks, whether perhaps one won’t reach the finish line for whatever reason.”

Three developers have now published promising preliminary results. Spahn said there is good reason to believe “that we can begin vaccinating at the beginning of next year at the latest, perhaps even already at the end of this year.” Germany aims to have specialized vaccination centers ready in mid-December.

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BEIJING — Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week.

As temperatures drop and people move actitivies indoors, large-scale measures are being enacted in the cities of Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzhouli, despite the low number of new cases compared to the United States or other countries that are seeing new waves of infections.

On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Shanghai over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday. China has recorded 86,442 total cases and 4,634 deaths since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

In Tianjin, health workers have collected more than 2.2 million samples for testing from residents in the Binhai new district, after five locally transmitted cases were discovered.

In Manzhouli, a city of more than 200,000, health authorities are testing all residents after two cases were reported on Saturday. They also shut down all schools and public venues and banned public gatherings such as banquets.

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka has reopened some of the thousands of schools that have been closed for more than a month due to a second wave of the coronavirus.

The Education Ministry said that 5,100 of 10,165 state-run schools were reopened Monday.

The government did not reopen schools in the capital, Colombo, and its suburbs, where cases are still surging. Schools in areas that are still under lockdown also were not reopened. Schools were reopened only for students in grades 6 to 13.

Sri Lanka closed schools last month when two new clusters — one centered at a garment factory and the other at a fish market — emerged in the Colombo area.

There have been 16,639 confirmed cases from the two clusters. Overall, Sri Lanka has had 20,170 cases, including 87 deaths.

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SEATTLE — Health officials in Washington state said the number of people who were hospitalized to receive treatment for the coronavirus has reached a record high.

KOMO-TV reports there were 762 people receiving hospital care for the virus in Washington as of Saturday.

At the Swedish First Hill campus of Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center, 10 coronavirus patients were admitted within a span of five hours Wednesday.

Leaders from hospitals statewide met last week to consider strategies to ensure they have room to care for COVID-19 patients as the hospitalization rate climbs.

Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer says the cancellations of elective procedures under consideration to make room for coronavirus patients include joint and heart valve replacements and some cancer surgeries.

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CARSON CITY, Nev. — Gov. Steve Sisolak announced plans Sunday to tighten restrictions on casinos, restaurants and private gatherings such as Thanksgiving dinner in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The new restrictions, which go into effect on Tuesday, come amid an unprecedented surge that has broken records in the state in terms of cases, deaths and infection rates throughout November.

The virus has surged throughout the United States and prompted governors to issue a patchwork of area-specific restrictions.

Sisolak, who has avoided tightening mandates throughout the fall due to the havoc they could wreak on Nevada’s tourism-based economy, said the trends led to an “inescapable conclusion.”

“We are on a rapid trajectory that threatens to overwhelm our health care system, our frontline health workers, and your access to care. So it’s time to act,” said Sisolak, who recently contracted COVID-19.

The new restrictions reduce the capacity limits for high-risk areas including restaurants, bars, gyms, places of worship and casinos.

They will also be applied to public and private gatherings, which case investigators have identified as a major source of spread in Nevada. That includes on Thanksgiving, when home celebrations will be limited to no more than 10 people from no more than two households.

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PORTLAND, Ore. — New confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 have reached a record high for the third straight day in Oregon.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 1,517 new infections Sunday, bringing the state total to 65,170.

The state reported one additional death from COVID-19 on Sunday, a 65-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive Nov. 15 and died the same day. That brings the state’s death toll to 820.

The director of the state health department urged residents to cancel indoor Thanksgiving plans and those that involve large groups of family and friends.

source: abcnews.go.com

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