The Latest: Virus rules make for long lines at German border

BERLIN — German police say hundreds of cars and pedestrians are lining up at border crossings along the Czech-German border after Germany declared the Czech Republic a high risk area in the pandemic, meaning it requires proof a negative coronavirus test results before entry.

At the crossings in Waldmuenchen and Fuerth im Wald authorities said hundreds of cars lined up on the Czech side trying to get into Germany in the early morning hours. Further backup was expected during the day Monday.

Since Sunday, people from the Czech Republic need to show negative test results no older than 48 hours every time they enter Germany.

The Czechs who commute to work in neighboring Germany formed long lines at some border crossings, waiting for required tests on the coronavirus.

The Czechs were boosting the capacity of their testing site at the crossings and elsewhere to meet the growing demand.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis was scheduled to discuss the situation with his Bavarian counterpart Markus Söder.

Other Czechs who don’t work in the neighboring country on a daily basis have to have a test but also need to isolate for 10 days if they travel to Germany.

___

THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Facing questions about its vaccines and its early COVID response, China is hitting back by encouraging fringe theories that may harm

— Mexican President López Obrador says he has mild COVID-19 symptoms as his country registers its highest infections and deaths

— For emergency medical technicians, the coronavirus is constant, riding with them in ambulances from patient to patient

— Follow all of 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:

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka's government says it will start vaccinating people for COVID-19 this week.

Sri Lanka will receive 500,000 shots of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India as a donation on Wednesday and the inoculation will begin on the next day. The vaccine will be first given to the frontline members of the health sector, military and police.

Sri Lanka has also ordered a stock of Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine and separatelyis supposed to receive vaccines for 20% of the population through the WHO’s COVAX program.

___

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh has taken delivery of 5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from an Indian producer.

Bangladesh has planned to buy 30 million doses of vaccines from the Serum Institute of India in phases. Bangladeshi company Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has received the consignment of 5 million doses as distributor in the South Asian country.

On Thursday, the country received 2 million doses of the vaccine as a gift from India while Monday’s vaccines were purchased.

The vaccines, manufactured under license by Serum Institute of India, will primarily be given to frontline workers including doctors and nurses. The government says the inoculation is expected to start soon.

Since March, Bangladesh has recorded more than 8,000 deaths from coronavirus.

___

SYDNEY — Australia has suspended its partial travel bubble with New Zealand after New Zealand reported its first coronavirus case outside of a quarantine facility in two months.

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said Monday the suspension would last for three days and was being implemented out of an abundance of caution. Travelers affected need to cancel or face two weeks in quarantine upon arrival.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she’d told Morrison she had confidence in New Zealand’s systems and processes, but it was up to Australia to decide how they managed their borders.

Health officials in New Zealand say genome tests indicate the woman contracted the virus from another returning traveler just before leaving quarantine. However, there was no evidence the virus has spread further.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the 56-year-old woman had recently returned from Europe. During her mandatory two weeks in quarantine, she tested negative twice. She developed symptoms at home later and tested positive.

Officials say the woman appears to have caught the more infectious South African variant of the virus from another traveler on her second-to-last day in quarantine, and they’re investigating how the health breach happened.

___

SYDNEY — Australia’s medical regulator has approved use of its first coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for inoculations to begin next month.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration on Monday gave provisional approval for people aged 16 and over to use the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Residents and workers at aged-care facilities, frontline healthcare workers and quarantine workers are among the groups being prioritized for the first doses.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the development. He said Australia was among the first countries to complete a comprehensive process to formally approve a vaccine rather than just grant an emergency approval.

Australia has an agreement for 10 million doses of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and an option to buy more if supplies allow. It also has ordered, conditional on regulatory approval, 53.8 million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, 50 million of which would be made in Australia in a partnership with Melbourne-based biopharmaceutical company CSL.

Australia is aiming to complete inoculations by October. The nation of 26 million people has reported fewer than 30,000 virus cases and a little over 900 deaths.

___

HONG KONG — A lockdown in part of Hong Kong’s Kowloon neighborhood was lifted Monday after thousands of residents were tested for the virus.

The lockdown that began early Saturday covered 16 buildings in the working-class Yau Tsim Mong district. During the lockdown, residents were not allowed to leave their premises until they had tested negative for the coronavirus.

The district has been at the center of a worsening coronavirus outbreak, with over 160 cases reported over the first three weeks in January. Higher concentrations of the virus were also found in sewage samples, prompting fears the virus could be transmitted via poorly installed plumbing systems in subdivided units that lack ventilation.

The government said in a statement early Monday that about 7,000 people were tested for the coronavirus during the lockdown, with 13 positive infections found. As of Sunday, Hong Kong has reported 10,086 cases of the coronavirus overall, with 169 deaths recorded.

___

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported another new 437 infections of the coronavirus as officials raised alarm over an outbreak at a missionary training school.

Around 130 students and teachers were found infected so far at the church-run academy in the central city of Daejeon.

Prime Minster Chung Sye-kyun during a virus meeting called for health officials to deal swiftly with the outbreak at the Daejeon school and prevent transmissions from spreading further.

South Korea throughout the pandemic has repeatedly seen huge infection clusters emerge from religious groups, including more than 5,000 infections tied to the secretive Shincheonji Church of Jesus that drove a major outbreak in the southeastern region in spring last year.

“We cannot let that situation repeat,” Chung said.

The numbers released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Monday brought the national caseload to 75,521, including 11 deaths.

Bg pattern light

UPGRADE TO PREMIUM

Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?