KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan has begun administering a COVID-19 vaccine with a ceremony at the presidential palace.

Afghanistan received 500,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the government of India earlier this month. After the vaccine’s approval by the World Health Organization, it has begun immunizing front-line personnel including health workers, reporters and security forces.

Afghanistan has recorded 55,646 coronavirus cases, including 2,435 deaths.

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THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Researchers in Scotland say its COVID-19 vaccination program has caused hospitalizations to plummet

— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lay out plan to ease coronavirus restrictions but pubs, gyms and hairdressers to stay closed for weeks

— Russia’s vaccine rollout picks up speed but experts say the campaign is still moving slowly

— Elementary schools and kindergartens reopen in over half of Germany’s 16 states

— Every Democratic vote is needed on $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, but minimum wage and other issues will force choices

— Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s government says it plans to vaccinate 14 million of the country’s 22 million people.

The government “will immunize 14 million people, for which we need 28 million doses, and the government is ready to purchase that,” government spokesman Ramesh Pathirana said Tuesday.

It plans to purchase 10 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for $52.5 million from the Serum Institute in India, he said. It will also buy 3.5 million doses directly from the AstraZeneca Institute in Britain. The vaccine is the only one that has been approved by Sri Lanka’s regulatory body.

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Sri Lanka is currently administering 500,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that were donated by India. By Tuesday, it had been given to 354,352 people.

Sri Lanka is witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases, mostly in the capital, Colombo. It has recorded a total of 80,516 cases, including 450 deaths.

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MEXICO CITY — Mexico has received its first shipment of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

Some 200,000 doses arrived to Mexico City’s international airport late Monday night aboard a British Airways flight from Moscow. Officials plan to use the doses to begin vaccinating seniors in the capital’s most marginalized boroughs on Wednesday. Mexico Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard confirmed their arrival via Twitter.

Mexico received its first shipment of vaccines from Pfizer in mid-December, but turned to Sputnik V in January when other expected vaccine shipments were delayed. Sputnik too arrives later than initially expected. Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke with Russia President Vladimir Putin in late January.

In early February, Mexican regulators gave Sputnik V emergency approval and the government signed a contract to bring 400,000 doses to Mexico in February. It was unclear when the next shipment of Sputnik would arrive.

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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine president will reject recommendations to further ease coronavirus quarantine restrictions across the country until a delayed vaccination campaign kicks off, his spokesman said.

President Rodrigo Duterte also rejected a plan to resume face-to-face school classes in some pilot areas …read more

Source:: News Headlines

      

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