JERUSALEM — Israel has reported more than 6,000 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily increase since February.
Israel rolled out one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns starting late last year, but in recent weeks has been battling a surge in new cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant.
Authorities have ramped up travel restrictions and restored mask mandates for indoor settings.
More than 85% of Israel’s adult population has been fully vaccinated, and authorities are now calling on those over 60 to get a third dose. The Health Ministry says 577,899 people have received a booster shot.
The ministry recorded 6,275 new confirmed cases on Monday, with 4.84% testing positive out of more than 130,000 tests. Data released by the Israeli government shows the unvaccinated, especially those over 60, are far more likely to become seriously ill.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— Bangladesh vaccinating Rohingya refugees amid virus surge
— COVID-19 vaccines to berequired for military under new US plan
— Governor of Texasappeals for out-of-state help against COVID-19
— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BANGKOK — Thailand’s government backed down Tuesday from widely-criticized regulations to broaden its ability to restrict media reports and social media posts about the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had long sought to crack down on what he deems fake news. But the new regulations, enacted at the end of last month, included the ability to prosecute people for distributing “news that may cause public fear.”
They also gave Thai regulators the ability to force internet service providers to turn over the IP address of the person or entity distributing such news, and to “suspend the internet service to that IP address immediately.”
Thailand is struggling with its worst wave yet of the coronavirus pandemic, and Prayuth said the new regulations were necessary to combat the spread of inaccurate rumors that could impede government efforts to vaccinate the population and implement measures to slow the pandemic.
But Thai media organizations said the restrictions were overly broad and an attack on freedom of expression, giving authorities license to crack down on the public or news organizations for publishing factual reports that the government didn’t like.
LAHORE, Pakistan— A provincial education minister in Pakistan on Tuesday asked teachers working at private and public schools in the eastern Punjab province to get vaccinated against the coronavirus by August 22 to prevent school closures.
Punjab Education Minister Murad Rass said if any teachers are found unvaccinated after that date, authorities will shut the school where they teach.
The warning comes amid a steady surge in the confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in Pakistan.
Pakistan on Tuesday reported 3, 884 new daily cases and 86 deaths. The country has reported 1,075,504 confirmed cases and 24,004 deaths since the start of the pandemic last year.
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors are set to meet to decide on how to handle pandemic measures amid a discussion about whether people who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 should have greater freedoms than those who aren’t vaccinated.
While Germany has relatively low numbers of virus cases compared with other European countries, cases are rising again and authorities fear that especially young people who are not vaccinated yet may contract and spread the virus in the coming weeks and months.
On Monday, the country’s disease control agency registered 2,480 new cases, about 700 more than a week ago. Some 45.6 million people or almost 55 % of the population are fully vaccinated.
In response to a drop in vaccinations, officials have begun pushing for more vaccine clinics at megastores and in city centers, or offering other incentives to get people to show up for shots.
Merkel and the state governors are also expected to decide Tuesday whether free antigen tests that are available everywhere and can be used to access restaurants or cultural venues should be paid for again.
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s Supreme Court has issued an order encouraging anyone entering a judicial facility to wear a mask in response to rising COVID-19 cases caused by the highly contagious delta variant.
The order issued Monday applies to judicial centers, courthouses or other judicial facilities. It’s in line with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, court officials said.
The order says the use of masks or other facial coverings is strongly encouraged for anyone entering a judicial facility.
The order also states that a chief circuit judge can mandate masks for a judicial facility.
The Administrative Office of the Courts — the operations arm of the state court system — supports the activities of nearly 3,300 court system employees and more than 400 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks.
The delta variant has caused a surge in coronavirus cases across Kentucky, leading to increased hospitalizations and concerns that the death toll will spike.
SYDNEY — Australia’s most populous state is reporting a new daily high of 356 coronavirus infections.
The New South Wales government also reported four more COVID-19 deaths Tuesday. The death toll since the latest outbreak was detected in Sydney in mid-June is now 32. One of the latest deaths is a man in his 80s who was infected overseas, while the rest caught the virus locally.
More than 80% of the state’s 8.2 million people are in lockdown, including the greater Sydney region. The Sydney lockdown began June 26, and hopes are fading that restrictions will be eased as planned on Aug. 28.
Only 22% of Australian adults had been fully vaccinated by Monday. Officials hope that by getting the number above 70% will enable restrictions to be eased even if the virus is continuing to spread.
DALLAS — Texas is looking for out-of-state health workers to help fight its third wave of coronavirus infections.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s move Monday came as a county-owned hospital in Houston raised tents to accommodate its COVID-19 overflow.
Abbott directed the Department of State Health Services to use staffing agencies to find additional medical staff from outside Texas. He also is urging the Texas Hospital Association to request that hospitals postpone all elective medical procedures.
The governor also ordered an expansion of coronavirus vaccine availability in underserved communities.
Abbott is not lifting his emergency order banning local governments from requiring mask use and social distancing. He says people are able to make their own decisions on protecting their health.
ATLANTA — Georgia hospitals are raising alarms about being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients as coronavirus infections rise rapidly across the state.
Clinical leaders from four coastal Georgia hospitals said at a news conference Monday that their institutions are rapidly running out of beds and pleaded that more people get vaccinated and wear masks.
Donna Cochrane is the chief nursing officer at Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville and says her 25-bed hospital has 33 patients as of Monday morning, holding eight additional patients in the emergency room. Many are ill with COVID-19.
Georgia’s seven-day average for new coronavirus cases rose to nearly 5,700 on Monday, the highest level since Feb. 1. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals statewide rose to nearly 3,500, eight times the lowest level earlier this summer.
SEATTLE — Most state workers in Washington, as well as private health care and long-term care employees, will be required to show proof of vaccination for the coronavirus by Oct. 18 or will lose their jobs.
Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday that weekly testing for the virus rather vaccination will not be an option. The only opt-out of the requirement is either a medical or religious exemption.
The order applies to about 60,000 employees of the 24 state agencies that are part of the governor’s executive Cabinet. Those include the departments of corrections, social and health services and transportation, as well as the Washington State Patrol.
Employees in the private sector who are covered under the order include those who work in health care and long-term care and other congregate settings, including nursing homes, assisted living and treatment facilities.
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s top public health official says that as COVID-19 cases continue to surge with the highly contagious delta variant, no intensive care beds are available in 35 of the state’s top-level hospitals.
Dr. Thomas Dobbs also said Monday that more than 200 people are waiting in hospital emergency rooms to be admitted. The wait times affect not only people with COVID-19 but also those with other health conditions.
The state Health Department said Monday that more than 6,900 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Mississippi from Friday through Sunday.
Dobbs said the intensive care units were full in Level 1, 2 and 3 hospitals in the state’s acute care systems. Those include the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson; North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo; Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg; Memorial Hospital in Gulfport and Singing River Health System in Pascagoula.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico will ask the United States to send at least 3.5 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccine as the country faces a third wave of infections
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday that he planned to discuss a transfer of vaccine with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris during a call scheduled for later in the day.
López Obrador said the U.S. government had initially offered the Moderna vaccine, but Mexican health authorities could not get the necessary approvals in time so now they are considering Pfizer or another approved vaccine.
Mexico has vaccinated more than 50 million people with at least one dose, representing about 56% of the adult population. It has received 91.1 million doses of five different vaccines.