BERLIN — Hairdressers across Germany are reopening for business after a 2 ½ month closure, another cautious step as the country balances a desire to loosen restrictions with concern about the impact of more contagious coronavirus variants.
Monday’s move came after many elementary students returned to school a week ago. It follows a decision Feb. 10 by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 state governors. They will meet on Wednesday to decide how to proceed with the rest of Germany’s coronavirus restrictions, which at present run until March 7.
Some states also are allowing businesses such as flower shops and hardware stores to open. Most shops have been closed nationwide since Dec. 16. Restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities have been closed since Nov. 2 and hotels allowed only to accommodate business travelers.
Germany is expected to remain cautious because a decline in infection figures has stalled, and even been reversed in some areas, as a more contagious variant first discovered in Britain spreads.
On Monday, Germany’s disease control center reported 4,732 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, compared with 4,369 a week earlier. Another 60 deaths were reported, bringing the total to 70,105.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Calls grow for pharmaceutical companies to share vaccine know-how and technology more broadly to meet global shortfall
— India is expanding its vaccination drive to older people and those with medical conditions that put them at risk
— Optimism abounds as Major League Baseball begins a rite of spring that includes fans
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines launched a vaccination campaign Monday to contain one of Southeast Asia’s worst coronavirus outbreaks but faces supply problems and public resistance, which it hopes to ease by inoculating top officials.
Cabinet officials, along with health workers and military and police personnel, were among the first to be vaccinated in six hospitals after 600,000 doses donated by China were received Sunday.
The Philippines has reported more than 576,000 infections, including 12,318 deaths, the second-highest totals in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.
Aside from China’s donated vaccine from Sinovac Biotech Ltd., the government has separately ordered 25 million doses from the China-based company but no date has been set for the deliveries. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the delivery of an initial 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine that was initially scheduled for Monday would be delayed by a week due to supply problems.
The government has been negotiating to secure at least 148 million doses from Western and Asian companies to vaccinate about 70 million Filipinos for free in a massive campaign funded by foreign and domestic loans.
WASHINGTON — Nearly 4 million doses of the newest COVID-19 vaccine are being delivered to U.S. states for injections starting on Tuesday.
The White House said the entire stockpile of the newly approved single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will go out immediately. J&J will deliver about 16 million more doses by the end of March and 100 million total by the end of June, but the distribution would be backloaded.
Though the new shot is easier to administer and requires only one dose, the administration is not altering its distribution plans.
The White House is encouraging Americans to take the first dose available to them, regardless of manufacturer.
Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted overwhelmingly Sunday to recommend the vaccine for adults 18 years old and up. It adds to the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna that were authorized in December.
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