The Latest: CDC loosens mask guidance for summer campers

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Olympics bound rower Cris Nievarez poses for photographers after getting China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at a hotel turned into a temporary vaccination center on Friday, May 28, 2021 in Manila, Philippines. Several Filipino athletes, coaches and other delegates were vaccinated Friday in preparation for their travel to the Tokyo Olympics and Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

AP

NEW YORK — Kids at summer camps can skip wearing masks outdoors, with some exceptions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted the guidance Friday. Children who aren’t fully vaccinated should still wear masks outside when they’re in crowds or in sustained close contact with others – and when they are inside.

But fully vaccinated kids need not wear masks, indoors or outside. It’s the first in a wave of guidance updates that seek to incorporate recent CDC decisions to tell Americans they don’t have to be as cautious about using masks and social distancing outdoors.

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MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— CDC loosens mask guidance for kids at summer camps

— US, Britain seek new WHO look into COVID origins in China

— France’s Macron pledges vaccine help in visit to South Africa

— European regulator OKs Pfizer shots for kids 12-15

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Follow more of AP’s pandemic 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:

LONG BEACH, Calif.—Crew members of ships arriving at the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are being offered COVID-19 vaccinations.

The vaccinations are administered without charge to international crews aboard ships visiting San Pedro Bay.

The Port of Long Beach said in a statement Friday that more than 450 crewmembers from 27 ships have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Nearly 480 more sailors on 29 ships are booked for vaccinations.

“It’s great to see our city helping these sailors who serve on the ships that carry the world’s cargo across the oceans and keep this industry moving,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “These men and women are an important part of the supply chain, and they travel all over the world.”

The vaccinations are a joint effort of the Port of Long Beach, the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services and the National Guard.

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BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Friday issued an executive order repealing a mask mandate prohibition put in place while he was out of the state by the lieutenant governor, describing her actions as a tyrannical abuse of power and an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt.”

The Republican governor up to now had been reserved in his comments about Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, a member of the far-right who has worked to undermine Little’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week she announced her run for governor, challenging the first-term incumbent Little. Her executive order Thursday banning mask mandates in schools and public buildings is widely seen as part of that campaign, and she is already using that executive order in fundraising efforts.

Little has never issued a statewide mask mandate, but counties, cities and schools have issued their own directives. Many have been lifted as more Idaho residents have been vaccinated, but two counties and 10 cities still have them in place, as do multiple schools.

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DENVER — Two sheriff’s deputies who contracted COVID-19 have died in less than two weeks.

The Denver Sheriff’s Department announced the death of Deputy Daniel “Duke” Trujillo on Thursday. The former Marine was a seven-year department veteran who worked for the city’s downtown jail. His death followed the death of Deputy James Herrera. Herrera worked for the department for 25 years and was also assigned to the downtown jail.

After Trujillo’s death was announced, criticism of some of his social media posts that seemed to express skepticism about coronavirus vaccinations surfaced. Like other workplaces, the department says employees aren’t required to be vaccinated.

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TOPEKA, Kan.—Top Republican legislators are serving notice that they’re preparing to end the state of emergency in Kansas for the coronavirus pandemic and are accusing Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly of having no “exit strategy.”

Eight of the GOP-controlled Legislature’s leaders on Friday approved a shorter extension of the state of emergency than Kelly wanted until June 15. Six leaders are Republicans.

The state of emergency was set to expire Friday. State law required Kelly to get lawmakers’ approval to retain it. She sought the longest extension the law allows at one time, 30 days, until June 27.

Democrats say it’s still too early to end the state of emergency.

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MIAMI — It’s going to be crowded at airports and on the road this Memorial Day weekend, fueled by increased vaccinations and easing of social distancing guidelines.

More than 1.8 million people went through U.S. airports on Thursday, and the number could top 2 million over the weekend, the highest mark since early March of last year.

More people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Some states eliminating their remaining pandemic restrictions amid improving numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

The U.S. Commerce Department said consumer spending increased in April, although not as much as in March.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is telling travelers to expect long lines at airports. AAA expects a 60% jump in travel over Memorial Day last year despite higher prices for airline tickets, gasoline and hotels.

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BOSTON — Massachusetts public schools will be required to offer full-time, in-person learning this fall, with most coronavirus-related restrictions lifted.

Schools will not be allowed to offer remote learning as a standard learning model, according to the guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released Thursday. Social distancing guidelines will be lifted, although some younger students may still be required to wear masks.

The agency also recommended that schools maintain ventilation upgrades, continue hand hygiene practices, and extend policies that encourage students and staff to continue staying home when sick. The changes were announced two days before the state plans to lift most remaining COVID-19 restrictions, and about two weeks before the state of emergency is lifted on June 15.

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RIO DE JANEIRO — A fire broke out Friday in the COVID-19 ward of a hospital in the northeastern Brazil city Aracaju, killing several patients, according to a statement from city hall.

The fire was quickly controlled, but not before dozens of patients were exposed to smoke inhalation. Four of them died and 35 were transferred to other hospitals, at least some of which aren’t designed for COVID-19 patients, the statement said.

Images on local television showed patients on gurneys outside the municipal hospital in Sergipe state’s capital, which is home to 665,000 people.

Aracaju’s city government said it was seeking another facility to guarantee care for the patients.

The cause of the fire was still being investigated, according to Aracaju’s press office.

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GENEVA — The United States and Britain are stepping up calls for the World Health Organization to take a deeper look into the possible origins of COVID-19, including a new visit to China, where the first human cases were detected.

WHO and Chinese experts issued a first report in March that laid out four hypotheses about how the pandemic emerged. The joint team said the most likely scenario was the coronavirus jumped into people from bats via an intermediary animal, and the prospect that it erupted from a laboratory was deemed “extremely unlikely.”

Late Thursday, the U.S. mission in Geneva issued a statement saying the first phase of the study was “insufficient and inconclusive” and called for a “timely, transparent, evidence-based and expert-led Phase 2 study, including in the People’s Republic of China.”

The statement — coming in the middle of the WHO’s annual assembly in Geneva — demanded access for independent experts to “complete, original data and samples” relevant to the source of the virus and early stages of the outbreak.

Also Thursday, the British ambassador in Geneva, Simon Manley, said the first phase study was “always meant to be the beginning of the process, not the end.”

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in an e-mail that a technical team — led by Peter Ben Embarek, who led the WHO team in China that co-authored the first report — was preparing “a proposal for the next studies that will need to be carried out.”

Jasarevik says that proposal would be presented to Tedros “for his consideration,” but says there was no timetable such a presentation.

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TORONTO — Canada’s most populous province is shortening the interval between doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, starting with adults aged 80 and older next week.

Ontario says it’s making the change because 65% of all adults have at least one shot and Ontario now has a steady supply of vaccine. The province says the shortened interval could be as small as 28 days for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in the coming months.

Those who got a first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered a second dose after 12 weeks, though it could be a different vaccine depending on awaited federal guidance.

Ontario has been administering COVID-19 shots for four months and will continue to administer by age groups. Those between the ages of 12-25 will become eligible in early August.

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WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security says there won’t be any federal vaccination database nor any mandate that requires people to get a single vaccination credential. It says there are no plans for anything like a U.S. passport.

DHS made the announcement Friday seeking to clarify what Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said earlier in response to a question in a TV interview. Mayorkas had said the agency was “taking a very close look” at the possibility of vaccine passports as the coronavirus pandemic eases and Americans begin to travel overseas.

A DHS spokesperson says the agency is looking at how to ensure Americans traveling abroad have a quick and easy way to enter other countries.

Mayorkas was asked on ABC’s “Good Morning America” if there could be “vaccine passports for travel internationally, either into or out of the U.S.” He replied, “We’re taking a very close look at that.” He added that a guiding principle during the pandemic has been “making sure that any passport that we provide for vaccinations is accessible to all and that no one is disenfranchised.”

The DHS statement said Mayorkas was referring to “ensuring that all U.S. travelers will be able to easily meet any anticipated foreign country entry requirements.” It did not elaborate on how that would be accomplished. And it did not directly address the question of vaccine passports.

Many conservatives oppose vaccine passports, calling them an intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices.

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LONDON — The U.K. has authorized for use another coronavirus vaccine amid growing concerns about a rise in new infections as the variant of the virus first identified in India spreads around the country.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency says the single-dose vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson has met “the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.”

That takes the number of vaccines in the U.K.’s armory to four following earlier approvals for the two-dose regimens developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, and Moderna.

The latest approval has come at a time when the U.K. has seen a modest uptick in new cases in recent days as a result of the so-called Indian variant, which is considered to be more transmissible.

The U.K. has been rapidly rolling out vaccines since December, with nearly 58% of the population having received at least one dose of vaccine and 35% having received two.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Confirmed coronavirus cases in Malaysia soared to another daily high, breaching 8,000 for the first time as the government struggles to contain large outbreaks.

The Health Ministry reported 8,290 new infections Friday, bringing the country’s total cases to 549,514. It reported another 61 COVID-19 deaths, raising Malaysia’s total to 2,552. Nearly 40% of all the deaths happened this month.

Senior Minister Ismail Sabri said many ethnic Malay Muslims have violated COVID-19 safety rules that banned them from visiting each other during the recent Eid festival. He said 24 Eid clusters have produced 850 confirmed cases.

More worrying, he said, is that many of the positive cases involved people who were asymptomatic.

The Malaysian government imposed a near-lockdown on the eve of the Eid festival to curb an aggressive outbreak that has strained its hospitals. Still, it refused to halt business activities for fear doing so would cripple the economy.

Malaysia’s total cases and deaths so far this year have jumped five-fold from the whole of last year. The government plans to ramp up vaccinations. So far, some 1.7 million out of over 11 million people who registered have received one dose.

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Danish government on Friday presented its digital coronavirus passport enabling people to travel abroad or, in Denmark, go to the hairdresser, a tattoo parlor, dine inside a restaurant or wherever else it is needed.

“The corona passport we present today can be used from July 1 when you can travel within the EU,” said Finance Minister Nicolai Vammen.

Some 20% of Denmark’s population of 6 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the latest figures, he said.

During a press conference outside the Copenhagen airport, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke held up his phone to show the app, which features a QR code and a green bar if the person has been vaccinated twice or recently tested negative for COVID-19.

If the app flashes red, it will not say why, according to Wammen.

People will either have the code scanned or will flash it before entering an airport, a harbor, a train station, a hairdresser or an eatery. In certain cases, a physical document can be sent in the mail to serve the same purpose as the app.

“What we get now is an app that makes it easier and simpler to use. There is no doubt that we will have to use it over the summer, but it is of course something that needs to be phased out,” Heunicke said.

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GENEVA — Member countries of the World Health Organization have approved an “ambitious increase” in the budget for the U.N. health agency at a meeting, with some noting that WHO’s chronic underfunding cripples its ability to protect global health.

Delegates at the World Health Assembly on Thursday approved a 16% increase to WHO’s proposed budget for the next two years, setting it at about $6.1 billion.

More than 90% of WHO’s funding is tied to specific health issues, and the agency often struggles to respond to urgent crises. Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, said there is currently a 70% funding gap, which has “left the organization in real and imminent danger of being unable to sustain core functions for urgent priorities.”

A commissioned review of the WHO in the wake of its global handling of the COVID-19 pandemic suggested the agency could have acted faster and more aggressively to stem the spread of the coronavirus, but also said it lacked power and money.

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