WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Fiji reported a record 431 new daily coronavirus cases on Thursday as an outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant continued to grow.
Health authorities have reported nearly 5,000 cases and 22 deaths since the outbreak in the South Pacific nation began two months ago.
The government of the island nation of nearly 1 million people has resisted calls for a full lockdown as leaders try to protect an economy that last year contracted by 19% as international tourism evaporated.
Health authorities say that about 9% of people getting tested for the virus are returning positive results, a figure that has been increasing and indicates the outbreak is spreading.
Despite the growing outbreak, the government announced steps to reopen retail stores in and around the capital, Suva.
Faiyaz Koya, the minister for commerce, trade and tourism, said that without a reopening plan, some stores would need to close permanently, costing families jobs and years worth of hard-earned progress.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
— Thailand opens resort island of Phuketto vaccinated foreigners in ambitious plan to revive devastated tourism industry
— Bidenwell short on goal of delivering 80 million vaccine doses to world as White House cites local hurdles
— Indonesiavaccinates thousands in one-day event as it escalates its virus fight amid surge that’s filling hospitals
— California’sreopening and variant cases among the unvaccinated put health officials on edge, prompt LA mask recommendation
— Rebuildingthe post-pandemic world will be a colossal human effort aimed at gluing back the pieces of human divides
— Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemicand https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
TUBINGEN, Germany — German vaccine maker CureVac says younger people could benefit from its coronavirus shot, following disappointing results in a broader age group.
The company said Wednesday that its vaccine is 53% effective against COVID-19 of any severity in 18- to 60-year-olds. Overall, though, CurveVac says the shot is 48% effective, based on 83 cases in the vaccine group and 145 in the placebo group.
The World Health Organization has said vaccines with an efficacy above 50% are worth using, though many of those already approved have a far higher rate.
CureVac says it has sent the data to the European Medicines Agency, which is conducting a review.
CureVac CEO Franz-Werner Haas says the vaccine fully protects 18- to 60-year-olds against hospitalization. He calls it “an important contribution to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic and the dynamic variant spread.”
BILLINGS, Mont. — Montana’s governor is lifting the state of emergency for the coronavirus pandemic more than 15 months after it was imposed under his predecessor.
Wednesday’s move by Gov. Greg Gianforte comes as COVID-19 case rates continue to slowly drop in Montana. Almost half the state’s eligible residents are now fully vaccinated.
Broad public health mandates such as face mask requirements and occupancy limits for businesses were previously rescinded.
Other states also have lifted emergency declarations in recent days as the public health crisis eases.
The respiratory disease has caused at least 1,665 deaths in Montana.