The Latest: Hungary will offer 3rd shots beginning in August

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BUDAPEST, Hungary – Hungary’s government will provide citizens with the option to receive a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine beginning in August, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

“There is no reason to fear a third vaccine dose. If people don’t have to fear it and their sense of security is increased if they receive it, then why would we keep them from this option?” Orban said.

Hungary is the latest country to offer booster shots amid concerns that some jabs do not provide full protection from COVID-19 to all recipients. In May, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced they would offer third shots to some people who received China’s Sinopharm following concerns over insufficient development of antibodies, which protect against the virus.

In Hungary, which also uses the Sinopharm vaccine, some have also expressed worry that they are not fully protected from COVID-19, and have demanded third doses.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— UK’s top medic warns of ‘scary’ COVID numbers in hospital

— ‘I numb myself’: Hospital fire deepens Iraq’s COVID-19 crisis

— Freedom or folly? UK’s end to mandatory masks sows confusion

— Four NFL teams remain under 50% vaccinated, AP learns

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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:

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka has received 1.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine from the U.S. through the U.N.-backed COVAX facility.

It was the second shipment to Sri Lanka from the global COVAX effort after an AstraZeneca delivery in March.

Sri Lanka has given 36% of its population their first vaccine dose while 13% have received both doses.

Its vaccination campaign was set back by halted shipments of AstraZeneca from the Indian producer. It then turned to Sinopharm, Sputnik V and Pfizer to get its population inoculated.

Sri Lanka has confirmed 279,059 coronavirus infections with 3,611 fatalities.

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TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated Americans into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel and should be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September.

Trudeau spoke with leaders of Canada’s provinces and his office released a readout of the call. He noted that if Canada’s current positive path of vaccination rate and public health conditions continue the border can open.

“Canada would be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September,” the readout said. “He noted the ongoing discussions with the United States on reopening plans, and indicated that we could expect to start allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel.”

Trudeau noted Canada continues to lead G20 countries in vaccination rates with approximately 80% of eligible Canadians receiving one dose and over 50% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated. He said case numbers and severe illness continue to decline.

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SEOUL, South Korea – South Korean officials are pushing for tightened pandemic restrictions beyond the hard-hit capital area as they wrestle with a record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum during a virus meeting Friday called for all local governments outside the greater Seoul area to simultaneously enforce four-person limits on gatherings after 6 p.m. to slow the viral spread.

Permitted social bubbles are even smaller in Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi province and Incheon, where officials are enforcing the strongest “Level 4” restrictions that prohibit gatherings of three or more people after 6 p.m., ban visitors at hospitals and nursing homes, and shut down nightclubs and churches.

Lee Ki-Il, deputy minister of health care policy at South Korea’s Health Ministry, said national government officials will discuss Kim’s proposal with local governments and could announce a decision over the weekend.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported another new 1,536 coronavirus cases, the 10th straight day of over 1,000. The country’s caseload is now at 175,046, including 2,051 deaths.

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HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Thursday he will maintain a requirement that people wear masks indoors as the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant fuels a spike in cases.

Ige told a news conference the number of new cases in Hawaii has exceeded 100 during three of the last five days. That contrasts to the past couple of months when the seven-day average of new hovered around 50.

The governor said the overwhelming number of people contracting the coronavirus are unvaccinated, and he urged those who are eligible to get their shots.

Hawaii has one of the highest vaccination rates among the 50 U.S. states. So far 65% of the population has received one shot and 58.9% have been fully vaccinated.

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The capital of the United Arab Emirates has announced a sudden overnight lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic, even as the rest of the country remains open for tourism.

The state-run WAM news agency announced late Thursday the lockdown would begin Monday and last each day from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. It comes just ahead of the long Eid al-Adha holidays in the UAE, which begins Monday as well.

Abu Dhabi’s Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee euphemistically described the lockdown as being part of “the National Sterilization Program.” The UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms, used the same term during lockdowns in 2020 amid the start of the pandemic.

Abu Dhabi has struck a hard line after Dubai reopened for tourism a year ago, requiring PCR tests for those coming over the border. Dubai, like other emirates, have remained open to spur tourism and business even as daily reported new coronavirus case remain around 1,500 a day despite a mass vaccination program.

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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County will again require masks indoors even when people are vaccinated.

Meantime, the University of California system announced Thursday it will require coronavirus vaccinations for students, faculty and staff to return to campuses this fall.

The moves are prompted by a sharp increase in virus cases, many of them the highly transmissible delta variant.

Muntu Davis, LA County’s public health officer, said the mask requirement will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. Davis said the county has been recording more than 1,000 new cases each day for a week and there is now “substantial community transmission.”

On Thursday, there were 1,537 new cases and hospitalizations have now topped 400.

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