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Pakistan bans domestic flights to unvaccinated people


ISLAMABAD – Pakistan banned flights from unvaccinated adults on Friday as it tries to push vaccinations and avoid further lockdowns to contain the coronavirus.

Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan announced the Twitter ban, stating that “only fully vaccinated passengers aged 18 and over will be permitted to make domestic air travel within Pakistan.”

The government said last week that unvaccinated people would not be allowed to work in offices and would not be allowed to enter malls from Friday. However, it was not known how they would be prevented from entering such places.

The bans do not apply to children, who are not yet eligible for Pakistan’s vaccination campaign.

Almost 30 million people are fully vaccinated in the country of 220 million. There is no shortage of vaccines, but many people are hesitant and the new measures are aimed at pushing them to get vaccinated.

Pakistan has reported 1.2 million cases of COVID-19 and 27,785 deaths since the start of the pandemic last year.



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– See all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic



PORTLAND, Maine – Rural Maine needs better access to COVID-19 testing, said the head of the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The percent positivity rate in some of rural Maine counties is much higher than in more densely populated areas such as Cumberland County. Federal data shows the percentage positivity rate in Cumberland to be around 2%, while in rural Somerset County it is over 9%.

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr Nirav Shah said Thursday it was the product of a lack of testing. He said the state is working hard to get more testing in rural parts of the state. Maine has the lowest population density of New England.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services also said Thursday that daycares in Maine can now access group testing for children and staff through a federal program that provides the tests for free to some community organizations and schools. The agency said Walgreen is also expanding testing options at nearly all of its Maine sites.

“Not enough testing done in these parts of the state. We are working to make testing at the community level more accessible, ”Shah said.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Supreme Court said Thursday it would not allow the state to enforce its ban on mask warrants by schools and other government agencies, keeping a ruling from a judge suspending temporarily the law.

Judges rejected the state’s request to stay the August ruling blocking the application of Arkansas’ warrant ban.

More than 100 school districts and charter schools have approved mask requirements since the ruling against the law. The requirements cover more than half of the state’s public school students.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who signed the law but later said he regretted the decision, had separately asked the court to dismiss the request to stay the decision.


ATLANTA – Governor Brian Kemp on Thursday warned unvaccinated Georgians not to assume COVID-19 is over, saying the state could risk a fifth outbreak of respiratory illness over the winter, even as cases decline sharply from a fourth flare which peaked a month ago.

“Today I want to stress the importance of not waiting for the next wave of COVID cases to get vaccinated,” Kemp said. “Given that our increase in cases and hospitalizations in 2021 was similar in schedule to the increases seen in 2020, we can only assume that a winter increase is also possible.”

Kemp says he still opposes federal plans to force employers of 100 or more workers to impose vaccination and will explore legal action with state attorney general Chris Carr.

Georgia’s vaccination rate has improved somewhat, with state data showing that 47% of all residents are now fully vaccinated. Kemp and Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey said Georgia is not experiencing a shortage of monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 treatment as demand is declining.


HAVANA – Beaches and recreation centers have reopened in the Cuban capital after authorities said it was time to resume outdoor activities, including taking a stroll on the Malecon coastal promenade, which has long been a meeting place for Havana.

Authorities say Thursday’s reopening was possible because 90% of the city’s residents are vaccinated against the coronavirus and the number of new cases has declined. Some were quick to take advantage of the announcement and headed for the beach to enjoy the sun and sand.

The Malecon was packed with people on Wednesday evening, with groups of young people with guitars and even street vendors for the first time since access closed earlier in the year. The city announced last week that restaurants and bars may allow returning customers.