Latest: Second Chinese city sees outbreak of delta variant

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A man wearing a face mask to help protect from the coronavirus carries goody bags as he walks by a row of bicycles parked along a pavement in Beijing, Monday, Sept 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING — A second city in southeastern China has seen a jump in COVID-19 cases in a delta variant outbreak that started late last week.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that 59 new cases had been identified in the latest 24-hour period, more than doubling the total to 102. All are in Fujian province on China’s east coast.

The port city of Xiamen has confirmed 33 cases in the past two days. Another 59 cases have been found in Putian, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north on the coast, where the outbreak was first detected.

Xiamen locked down affected neighborhoods, closed entertainment and fitness venues and canceled group activities including those for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival holiday. Long-distance bus service to other parts of the province has been suspended.

China has largely stopped the spread of COVID but has sporadic outbreaks. A delta variant outbreak in July and August spread to several provinces, raising concern about new and more contagious variants.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— FDA experts among group opposing U.S. booster shot plan

— Australia’s capital city of Canberra will remain locked down for second month

— UK to vaccinate 12-to-15-year-olds despite opposition from some scientists

— Washington state hospital execs say they have little capacity to help Idaho

— See AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s capital city of Canberra will remain locked down for a second month after the local government reported 22 new coronavirus infections.

The Australian Capital Territory locked down Aug. 12 after a single case linked to a Sydney outbreak of the virus’ delta variant was detected.

Territorial Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Tuesday that Canberra’s lockdown will be extended until Oct. 15.

Canberra is surrounded by New South Wales state, where Australia’s delta outbreak began when a limousine driver tested positive June 16. He was infected while transporting a U.S. cargo flight crew from Sydney’s airport.

Sydney is Australia’s largest city and has been locked since June 26.

Before delta came to Canberra last month, the city of 430,000 people had not recorded a single case of coronavirus community infection since July 10, 2020.

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CULLMAN, Ala. — As hundreds of mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 patients filled Alabama intensive care units, hospital staff in north Alabama contacted 43 hospitals in three states to find a specialty cardiac ICU bed for Ray Martin DeMonia, his family writes in his obituary.

The resident of Cullman, Alabama, was finally transferred to Meridian, Mississippi, about 170 miles (274 kilometers) away. The 73-year-old antiques dealer died Sept. 1 because of the cardiac event he suffered.

Now, his family is making a plea.

“In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies,” his obituary reads. After describing the search for an ICU bed for DeMonia, the obituary adds: “He would not want any other family to go through what his did.”

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GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Great Falls High School in Montana is moving to remote learning for the rest of the week due to an increase in coronavirus cases among students and staff.

School officials said Monday that more than 35 people have tested positive for the virus. Moving to remote learning will allow for quarantine or isolation times for students and staff to lapse and give sanitation crews time to disinfect more than 40 classrooms.

Student athletic activities will continue as scheduled, but there will be a mask requirement when students and coaches are in close proximity.

Other school districts have switched to remote classes because of outbreaks.

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DENVER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is urging the Food and Drug Administration to quickly authorize booster shots for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine as well as permit children ages 5 to 11 to be vaccinated.

Polis said Monday that foot-dragging by U.S. health officials has cost lives. In his words, “The FDA needs to get out of their ivory tower and realize there is a real life pandemic.”

In August, Pfizer said it had started the application process for a third dose of its vaccine for everyone age 16 and older. It asserts that people’s antibody levels jump fivefold to tenfold after a third dose, compared to their second dose months earlier.

The White House has begun planning for boosters later this month, if both the FDA and the CDC agree. Advisers to the FDA will weigh evidence about an extra Pfizer shot Friday. The U.S. already offers an extra dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to people with severely weakened immune systems.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The number of coronavirus infections and people hospitalized for COVID-19 in West Virginia have set new highs as Gov. Jim Justice scolds residents who continue to balk at getting vaccinated.

At least 40% of the state’s people older than 12 have not received all doses.

The governor said Monday that “this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” He has balked at issuing either a vaccination or mask mandate.

Officials said Monday that confirmed virus cases statewide totaled about 8,860 last week, breaking the previous weekly high of about 8,200 set in early January. A record 852 people were in hospitals Monday for COVID-19, the disease that can be caused by the virus. The previous high of 818 was set Jan. 5.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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