San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)

India mounts vaccine fight against surge

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In hopes of taming a monstrous spike in COVID19 infections, India opened vaccinatio­ns to all adults Saturday, beginning a huge inoculatio­n effort that is sure to tax the limits of the federal government, the country’s vaccine factories and the patience of its 1.4 billion people.

The world’s largest maker of vaccines was still short of critical supplies — the result of lagging manufactur­ing and raw material shortages that delayed the rollout in several states. And even in places where the shots were in stock, the country’s wide economic disparitie­s made access to the vaccine inconsiste­nt.

The country’s ambitious effort was also overshadow­ed Saturday by a fire in a COVID19 ward in western India that killed 18 patients, and the reported deaths of 12 patients at a New Delhi hospital after it ran short of oxygen.

Less than 2% of the population has been fully immunized against COVID19 and around 10% has received a single dose. Immunizati­on rates have also fallen. The average number of shots per day dipped from over 3.6 million in early April to less than 2.5 million now.

India thought the worst was over when cases ebbed in September. But mass gatherings such as political rallies and religious events were allowed to continue, and relaxed attitudes on the risks fueled a major humanitari­an crisis. KENYA

Nation eases restrictio­ns

President Uhuru Kenyatta loosened infectionc­ontrol measures Saturday after the number of coronaviru­s cases in the country dropped from an early spring surge.

Kenyatta announced that a nightly curfew will move to 10 p.m., after a 72% reduction in new cases. On March 26, 2020, the president ordered the yearlong curfew to start at 8 p.m. and prohibited travel in and out of five areas, including Nairobi. That ban also has been lifted.

Kenyatta says the government is allowing church services to resume at onethird capacity and restaurant­s may serve food on their premises instead of only takeout orders.

CANADA

Pfizer vaccines due to arrive

Drugmaker Pfizer says it will start sending U.S.produced COVID19 vaccines to Canada this week.

It’s the first time the U.S. has allowed that company’s vaccine exported north. Canada has close commercial ties with the U.S., but it has been getting Pfizer vaccines from Belgium.

U.S. authoritie­s had kept supplies made in the U.S. for domestic use. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says starting this week, Canada will be receiving 2 million doses a week from Pfizer alone.

Vaccinatio­ns have ramped up in Canada in recent months. All adults in Quebec will be eligible to make a vaccine appointmen­t starting May 14. In Ontario, Canada’s largest province, adults can book an appointmen­t starting May 24. HUNGARY

Controls lifted for vaccinated

Hungary on Saturday loosened several COVID19 restrictio­ns for people with government­issued immunity cards, the latest in a series of reopening measures that have followed an ambitious vaccinatio­n campaign.

As of Saturday, individual­s with the plastic cards may enter indoor dining rooms, hotels, theaters, spas, gyms, libraries and museums. Opening hours for businesses were extended to 11 p.m. and an overnight curfew in place since November will now start later, at midnight.

People who have received at least one vaccine dose and those who have recovered from COVID19 are eligible for the immunity cards, which must be presented at establishm­ents before entry. Businesses may be fined if they allow noncardhol­ders to enter.

The issue of COVID19 passports is fraught in many parts of the world, with critics saying they discrimina­te against people in poorer nations or younger age groups who do not have access to vaccines.

UNITED STATES

TSA extends mask mandate

The Transporta­tion Security Administra­tion has extended a requiremen­t that passengers on planes, trains and buses wear face masks.

The rule was set to expire May 11 but will run through Sept. 13. TSA says children up to 2 and people with certain disabiliti­es will continue to be exempt from the rule.

Airlines and their unions had pushed for an extension, saying mandatory masks have helped keep passengers and airline workers safe during the pandemic. CALIFORNIA

Ballpark site closing in L.A.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says the COVID19 mass vaccinatio­n site at Dodger Stadium will close by the end of May.

Winding down operations at the stadium marks the transition of the city’s vaccinatio­n efforts to appointmen­t-free options as well as putting more doses into walkup centers and mobile clinics, the mayor said.

Dodger Stadium became one of the nation’s most prominent sites for coronaviru­s response, first for testing and then delivery of vaccine doses to people waiting in long lines of cars.

More than 1 million people were tested at the stadium and the number of vaccine doses given has topped 420,000, the city reported.

 ?? Sanjay Kanojia / AFP / Getty Images ?? People wait for vaccinatio­ns at a hospital in Allahabad on the first day of India’s new inoculatio­n drive.
Sanjay Kanojia / AFP / Getty Images People wait for vaccinatio­ns at a hospital in Allahabad on the first day of India’s new inoculatio­n drive.

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