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The Newest: Saudi Arabia will reopen to vacationers on Sunday

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Saudi Arabia will reopen its borders to vacationers on Sunday for the primary time in 18 months after imposing restrictions at first of the pandemic to curb the unfold of the coronavirus.

The traditionally closed-off kingdom launched digital visas for vacationers in late 2019, simply earlier than the pandemic struck.

Saudi Arabia is trying to rebrand itself as a singular vacationer vacation spot for nature lovers and curious vacationers as a method to enhance non-oil income and create extra jobs.

Residents of 49 largely European international locations, in addition to the U.S. and China amongst others, can be allowed to enter the dominion beneath the brand new guidelines with out quarantine if they supply a adverse PCR check earlier than journey and have vaccine certificates proving two doses of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or a single dose of the vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson.

Vacationers vaccinated with the Chinese language Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccine will need to have obtained a 3rd dose of one of many different vaccines.

Earlier this week, the dominion warned that any citizen who travels to red-listed international locations, such because the neighboring emirate of Dubai the place the delta variant is current, may face a three-year journey ban.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Allegations develop that Myanmar authorities is utilizing pandemic to consolidate energy and crush opposition

Biden orders robust new vaccination guidelines for federal staff, aiming to spice up charges and set an instance

Japan is about to broaden its emergency past Tokyo amid file surge in infections whereas the capital hosts the Olympics

— US ban on housing evictions to run out Saturday, with laws to increase it going through uncertainty

States race to make use of COVID-19 vaccines earlier than they expire

— Olympics collects vial after vial of spit to make sure towards virus unfold, however such checks are laborious to seek out elsewhere in Tokyo

— Discover extra AP protection at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

NEW YORK — U.S. well being officers are anticipated to launch new knowledge concerning the unfold of COVID-19 on Friday that led to their choice to advocate that vaccinated individuals put on masks in some conditions, a reversal of earlier steering.

The report, to be launched by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, comes from a latest investigation of a coronavirus outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, based on a federal official who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to reveal the plan.

Earlier this week, the CDC modified its masking tips, recommending that even vaccinated individuals return to carrying masks indoors in elements of the U.S. the place the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling surges in new circumstances.

Citing new – however unreleased — details about the variant’s potential to unfold amongst vaccinated individuals, the CDC additionally really helpful indoor masks for all lecturers, employees, college students and guests at faculties nationwide, no matter vaccination standing.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia will provide free antibody checks to some absolutely vaccinated individuals to review whether or not some aged and immunocompromised people ought to obtain a booster shot.

State officers mentioned they’re following the lead of Israel, which mentioned Thursday absolutely vaccinated individuals older than 60 could be supplied a booster.

West Virginia will provide the testing for residents age 60 and older, significantly these dwelling in nursing properties, who obtained their last vaccine dose at the least six months in the past.

If their antibody ranges are low, a booster shot could also be really helpful. The transfer comes because the extra contagious delta variant takes a maintain in america, resulting in the return of masks mandates in some elements of the nation.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas’ Republican governor is looking lawmakers again to the Capitol to elevate the state’s ban on masks necessities in public faculties.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday mentioned he’ll name the majority-Republican Legislature into session probably subsequent week to amend a state legislation that prohibits state and native authorities entities from requiring face masks. Hutchinson mentioned he’ll suggest giving native faculty boards the facility to resolve whether or not to require masks in Ok-12 faculties.

“This isn’t a debate about masks mandates for these that may make their very own selections and have the means to get vaccinated,” Hutchinson mentioned a news convention on the state Capitol. “This can be a dialogue concerning the faculty atmosphere the place faculties could make selections concerning the public well being for his or her faculty atmosphere and the youngsters they’ve duty to guard.”

Hutchinson additionally declared a brand new emergency, two months after ending the declaration he’d put in place at first of the pandemic final yr.

Arkansas’ coronavirus circumstances have skyrocketed due to the delta variant and the state’s low vaccination charge. The state reported greater than 2,800 new circumstances on Thursday.

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ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sought to shift blame to President Joe Biden for Georgia’s poor vaccination charge Thursday as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continued to dash upward.

The Republican, talking to reporters, blamed the Democratic president for not doing sufficient to push the Meals and Drug Administration to improve their emergency authorization for the vaccines to a everlasting authorization. Kemp mentioned urging individuals to make use of masks once more is a “combined message” that might discourage vaccination.

The governor reiterated his name for individuals to get vaccinated towards the illness, saying he would solely search different options if Georgia hospitals started to get overwhelmed. Georgia ranks within the backside 10 states for vaccination charges.

“We all know that the vaccines work,” Kemp mentioned. “I need to encourage individuals to get vaccinated if you happen to’re comfy doing that.”

Democratic state Sen. Michelle Au, an anesthesiologist with a grasp’s diploma in public well being, mentioned Kemp’s strategy to growing vaccination charges is unimaginative and passive.

Georgia recorded greater than 4,800 circumstances of COVID-19 on Thursday, the worst quantity since Feb. 5. The state peaked on Jan. 8, with practically 13,000 recorded circumstances.

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