Egypt's stocks close in red on Monday as benchmark EGX 30 dips 0.07%    Egypt's stocks start week higher, benchmark EGX 30 gains 0.48%    Fitch affirms Egypt's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating at B+    The unvaccinated prohibited from entry to Egypt state institutions starting December 1    Russia to lift COVID restrictions on flights to Egypt's Red Sea resorts on Nov. 9    Egypt, Greece ink deal for first subsea power link between Europe and Africa    Egypt hosts regional conference of EU refugee agency EASO    SCOHRE sparks discussion on harm reduction, tobacco control    Egypt to receive first of six high-trains from Spain's Talgo in mid-November    Egypt's iron and steel exports jump 197% in 8 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Over 100 officials resign from Tunisia's main Islamist party    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egyptian court bans use of mosques for political purposes    Brazil calls up 8 EPL players for World Cup qualifying    Refugees in fear as sentiment turns against them in Turkey    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Sisi calls on House, Senate to commence second legislative sessions on 3, 5 October    Huawei Technologies has invested $10 mln over 5 years in innovation centres in Egypt    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    Qa'a play showing at Lycee El Horreya Theatre, Alexandria is a must go    Orange Egypt Introduces Amazon Prime Video    Tokyo Olympics: Cautious opening ceremony, shy start for Egyptians in competitions    Mallawi Museum in Upper Egypt holds recycling workshop for children during Eid Al-Adha    Egypt keen on stable tax policies to attract more investors: Finance Minister    Sudan declares state of emergency as water goes beyond Merowe Dam capacity    Niagara Falls illuminated in Egyptian flag to mark 23 July Revolution anniversary    Capital flows into EM keep recovering after March 2020 slump: Central Bank of Egypt    1 child orphaned every 12 seconds due to COVID-19-associated death: World Bank    Egypt, Japanese Olympic Committee discuss boosting sports cooperation    US emphasises AU's role in mediating Ethiopian damdispute    Ethiopia ready to resume dam talks with no legally binding agreements: Ethiopian official    Sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Egypt's Abu Qir bay yields new archaeological treasures    New films, concerts, and destinations for Eid Al-Adha holidays    Egypt, Oman discuss enhancing bilateral economic, investment relations    Al Ahly v Kaizer Chiefs: Cairo giants eye 10th CAF Champions League title    Tunisia hopes to have a UN role in resolving Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    







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Malaysia eases restrictions for vaccinated
Published in Ahram Online on 08 - 08 - 2021

Malaysia says it will ease lockdown restrictions for people who are fully vaccinated as the government seeks to allay public anger against perceived mismanagement of the pandemic.

Daily infections breached 20,000 for the first time Thursday despite a lockdown since June 1. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Sunday the government has decided to provide some leeway for those who have been fully vaccinated as ``many are faced with pandemic fatigue.''

From Tuesday, spouses can cross districts to meet each other and parents whose children are studying in other states.

Muhyiddin said local tourism, non-contact outdoor sports and exercise, as well as dine-in at eateries will also be allowed in at least eight states and areas where cases have dipped.

So far, 35% of the country's population has been fully vaccinated, and Muhyiddin said this should rise to 50% by end August.

Malaysia recorded 18,688 new coronavirus cases Sunday to push the country's tally to 1.26 million. Daily deaths hit a new record of 360, raising the toll to 10,749.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

_ To shake hands or not? An age-old human gesture now in limbo

_ Once lagging, Europe catches up to the US in vaccinations

_ Iran reports most daily virus cases, death, of pandemic

_ American motorists zooming along as summer highway travel peaks

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_ Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

RIYADH _ Saudi Arabia says it is giving half a million riyals, the equivalent of $133,000, to the family of each medical worker who died fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the kingdom.

An announcement made Sunday said the financial award would apply to all health care workers who died as a result of the virus, including non-Saudis and personnel who worked in private sector settings.

The Health Ministry has not said publicly how many of the kingdom's 8,320 pandemic deaths involved health workers.

Saudi Arabia, which has a population of 30 million, has administered nearly 30 million vaccine doses. The kingdom is currently reported fewer than 1,000 new cases a day.

Early on in the pandemic, King Salman ordered the government to cover the cost of medical treatment for COVID-19 patients in the country. The kingdom has recorded close to 533,000 confirmed cases overall, and currently has about 1,400 considered critical.

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PORTLAND, Maine _ American motorists put the pedal to the metal during the pandemic, and police are worried as roads get busy with the final stretch of summer travel.

The latest data shows the number of highway deaths in 2020 was the greatest in more than a decade even though cars and trucks drove fewer miles due to the pandemic.

``Summer is an incredibly dangerous time. And it culminates with Labor Day, that last hurrah,'' said Pam Shadel Fischer of the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Traffic data indicates the higher death toll was related to higher average speeds in conjunction with more of those on the roads driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and a slight decline in seatbelt use.

Tickets issued by the California Highway Patrol for speeding in excess of 100 mph from January to June were nearly double pre-pandemic levels.

In New York state, the percentage of fatalities for which speeding was the primary cause and the total number of speeding tickets grew from January through June, compared to the year before the pandemic, officials said.

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JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says people are rushing to get a third vaccine shot as protection from the surging delta variant of the coronavirus.

Bennett pointed to government statistics Sunday showing that more than 420,000 Israelis older than 60 have received a booster shot, more than a third of the total targeted population. Bennett said the number is expected to grow to half a million people by the end of the day.

The prime minister spoke after a weekly Cabinet meeting. Israel is seeing a rising number of people hospitalized with COVID-19, almost all of them infected with the highly contagious delta variant. The government has reinstituted its mask mandate for indoor settings and is weighing more restrictions.

Israel became a world leader in vaccinating against the virus during its initial public campaign, About 5.4 million of the country's 9.3 million people have received two vaccine doses.

The World Health Organization in recent days called for a moratorium on administering booster shots to help preserve supplies so people in poorer countries can get their first doses.

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BRUSSELS _ The European Union has caught up to the once-vaunted U.S. coronavirus vaccination effort despite a sluggish start.

In mid-February, less than 4% of people living in the 27-nation bloc were at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, compared with nearly 12% in the United States.

Now, some 60% of EU residents have received at least one dose, compared to less than 58% of Americans.

European authorities attribute the success to the nationalized health care in some countries and public confidence in the safety of immunizations in general.

The EU's slow process for approving the vaccinations set the bloc back at the beginning, but Dr. Peter Liese, a European Parliament member from Germany, said the deliberation paid off because it reassured people the rapidly developed COVID-vaccine formulas had been thoroughly evaluated.

Still, not all is well within the EU. Discrepancies between member nations are huge. For example, in the Netherlands, 85% of adults have received at least one dose. In Bulgaria, it is less than 20%.

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As workers return to the office, friends reunite and more church services shift from Zoom to in person, the question of whether to shake hands is befuddling growing numbers of people.

The handshake has been around for centuries. A widely held belief is that it originated to prove to someone that a person was offering peace and not holding a hidden weapon.

These days, a handshake can symbolize connection, particularly after a long period of no touching. But hands can be germy. And that's where the conflict lies. Is the handshake ever coming back? The answer depends on who you ask.

As the pandemic took hold in the United States, a Kansas City-area meeting and event planning business began hawking ``I Shake Hands'' stickers to help ease awkward social encounters.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the 'leading infectious disease expert in the U.S., cautioned last year, ``I don't think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you.''

On the other side is Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University. He thinks the whole shaking controversy is overblown.

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TEHRAN _ Iran has reported more new infections and deaths across the country than any other single day since the pandemic began.

Health authorities logged over 39,600 new cases and 542 deaths from the virus. The daily death toll on Sunday shattered the previous record, set in November. The new all-time highs push Iran's total number of infections over 4.1 million and pandemic deaths to over 94,000, the most in the Middle East.

The crush of new cases, fueled by the fast-spreading delta variant, have overwhelmed hospitals. The country has never seen so many COVID-19 patients in critical condition, with 6,462 more severe cases reported Sunday.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week ordered officials to discuss the possibility of a total national shutdown. The government has been loath to enforce such a lockdown, fearing the damage it would do to an economy reeling from years of American sanctions.

Only 3.3% of the total population of some 80 million has been fully vaccinated, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford.

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HARERE, Zimbabwe _ Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls usually teems with tourists who come to marvel at the roaring Zambezi River as it tumbles down more than 350 feet (108 meters) to the gorge below, sending up a mist that is visible from miles away.

``The Smoke That Thunders'' - the English translation of what the waterfall is called in the Sotho language - is still mighty, but the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced visitors to a trickle. Ordinarily, Victoria Falls attracts 350,000 tourists a year, but their numbers have dropped to almost none as a result of travel restrictions.

To promote Victoria Falls as a safe destination, President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government has made vaccines available to all 35,000 residents of the town that shares a name with the waterfall. An estimated 60% of the people there have been vaccinated with either the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines, both from China.

Although tourists have not returned in large numbers, Victoria Falls mostly has been spared the current wave of COVID-19 that has swept across the rest of Zimbabwe and southern Africa, which health officials attribute to the town's relatively high level of vaccinations.

On the strength of the vaccination rate in Victoria Falls, the government last week reopened two land borders that link the town to the neighboring countries of Zambia, Namibia and Botswana.


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