MANILA, Philippines — Philippine officials say about 60 million Filipinos are being targeted for vaccination against the coronavirus next year at a cost of more than 73 billion pesos ($1.4 billion) to develop considerable immunity among a majority of Filipinos.
Carlito Galvez Jr., who oversees government efforts to secure the vaccines, said late Monday that negotiations were underway with four Western and Chinese pharmaceutical companies, including U.S.-based Pfizer Inc. and China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., to secure the vaccines early next year. One company based in the U.K., AstraZeneca, can commit to supply up to 20 million vaccines, he said.
“We will target the most vulnerable and the poorest communities in areas that were affected,” Galvez said, addressing who would be prioritized for vaccination.
President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted police and military personnel to be prioritized for their many sacrifices, including in disaster-response work. “I need healthy military and police because if they all get sick there’s nobody I can rely on,” he said.
The Philippines has had more than 420,000 confirmed cases, the second-most in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia, and 8,173 deaths.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Millions stick to Thanksgiving travel plans despite warnings
— States impose new rules, plead with public to stop spread
— Los Angeles on the brink of a stay-home order as coronavirus cases rise
— Washington, D.C., boosts limits on restaurants, gatherings amid virus spike
— Australia airline boss wants vaccine passport for travelers
— Virus restrictions lead Norwegian champ to drop Iditarod
Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BEIJING — China has reported new coronavirus cases in the cities of Shanghai and Tianjin as it seeks to prevent small outbreaks from becoming larger ones.
The National Health Commission said Tuesday that there were two new locally spread cases in the previous 24-hour period, one in each city. It also reported 20 cases among people who had arrived from overseas.
In Shanghai, the mass testing of 17,719 workers at the city’s Pudong aiport found one infection, a Fedex employee. Everyone else tested negative.
Three UPS workers at the airport have also tested positive in recent days, along with the wife of one of them. In all, Shanghai has reported eight non-imported cases since Friday.
In Tianjin, where 2.3 million people had been tested as of Monday, the city reported one case in a person who developed symptoms after testing positive earlier. China does not include people without symptoms in its confirmed case count.
To date, the health commission has recorded 86,464 confirmed cases and 4,634 deaths.
LOS ANGELES — Restaurant owners in Los Angeles County were trying to pivot Monday to a model that would keep them afloat when an order goes into effect Wednesday closing all dining for three weeks.
Owners said they were upset that the county had taken the action, claiming infections are more likely coming from private gatherings where rules aren’t enforced.
“The same people desperate to go to bars are going to party in their houses,” said Brittney Valles, owner of Guerrilla Tacos in downtown Los Angeles.
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said restaurants are part of the problem.
Outbreaks in the first two weeks of the month doubled at food facilities, including restaurants, processing plants, bottlers, grocery stores and related businesses, Ferrer said.
Valles was working Monday to develop a plan to keep as many of her workers employed as possible.
Greg Morena, who had to close one restaurant earlier in the year and has two at the Santa Monica Pier, said he was trying to figure out his next step but was mainly dreading having to notify employees.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner said Monday that he won’t defend his title at next year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race because of restrictions and uncertainty over travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I cannot find a way to get the dogs to Alaska,” Waerner said in an email to The Associated Press.
As he learned earlier this year, getting to Alaska is only half the battle: Waerner wasn’t able to return to his wife and five children in Torpa, Norway, for months after winning the world’s most famous sled dog race because travel was restricted as the pandemic took hold. The Iditarod was one of the few professional sports that wasn’t canceled last March.
While the defending champion says he won’t participate in the 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometer) race across the rugged Alaska terrain, the Iditarod is still scheduled to start March 7.
That includes a fan-friendly ceremonial start a day earlier that usually attracts thousands of people in Anchorage.
Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach said organizers are planning normal events for the ceremonial and official starts but have considered restricting attendance.
Organizers have developed a robust testing program with help from Dr. Jodie Guest, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Emory University in Atlanta who has been an Iditarod race volunteer for years.
Urbach said Waerner hopes to return to the race in 2022.
LOS ANGELES — The largest county in the United States is on the brink of a stay-home order after a coronavirus surge surpassed a level set by Los Angeles County public health officials to trigger such an action.
A swell of new cases Monday put the county over an average of 4,500 cases per day.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said no action would be taken until county supervisors meet Tuesday.
A stay-home order would be the first such action since mid-March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom followed several counties and issued a statewide order that closed schools and most shops.
Cases and hospitalizations have been rapidly rising across California in November. The state recorded its highest day of positive test results Saturday with more than 15,000. It had more than 14,000 cases Sunday. Hospitalizations have increased 77% over the past two weeks.
In Los Angeles, the county of 10 million residents has had a disproportionately large share of the state’s cases and deaths. Although it accounts for a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, it has about a third of the cases and more than a third of the deaths.
RENO, Nevada — The head of the Nevada agency promoting business growth has urged companies to embrace new restrictions as coronavirus cases soar.
Department of Business and Industry Director Terry Reynolds said Monday that the new rules are the best way to avoid future shutdowns.
The percentage of Nevadans testing positive for COVID-19 has doubled since mid-October.
Gov. Steve Sisolak has announced the state’s most expansive mask mandate to date and reduced the capacity at casinos, restaurants, bars and many other businesses from 50% to 25% effective Tuesday. Under Sisolak’s latest directive, masks will be required anytime a person is around someone not in their immediate household, including both indoor and outdoor private gatherings.