Breaking News: Rebel-held northwestern Syria faces unprecedented surge | Your money

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BEIRUT – Rebel-held northwestern Syria faces an unprecedented wave of coronavirus, and aid agencies call on the world to provide humanitarian and medical aid, increase hospital capacity and ensure that people are vaccinated.

The surge apparently caused by the more contagious delta variant has overwhelmed hospitals with sick patients and is causing oxygen shortages, according to local officials. The rebel-led local authority imposed a nighttime curfew from Tuesday as schools and universities were closed and students learn remotely.

The region is home to 4 million people, many of whom are internally displaced by the 10-year conflict in Syria.

Dr Khaula Sawah, president of the International Union of Medical Relief and Care Organizations, or UOSSM, said international aid was urgently needed “to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.” Millions of lives are at stake.

The rate of positive test results – an indication of how far the virus has spread – is around 55%, according to UOSSM and Christian aid organization World Vision. Only 1.3% of people are vaccinated, according to World Vision.

Local medical authorities say the number of coronavirus cases recorded in the region has reached nearly 77,000 while deaths have reached 1,357.

“People are dying in northwestern Syria because they cannot access hospitals,” Johan Mooij, World Vision’s Syria response director, said in a statement Thursday.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

– More than 120,000 American children saw their caregivers die during the pandemic

– WHO tries to get COVID-19 medical supplies to North Korea

– Virus measures prevent the legal return of thousands of people to New Zealand

– Health officials say it’s okay to get the COVID-19 and flu shot at the same time

– See all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS:

HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnamese airlines will resume domestic flights on Sunday, after the country suspended operations in July to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

In the first phase of the recovery, passengers must be vaccinated with at least one vaccine and hold a negative virus test to board flights, according to the plan announced Thursday by the Civil Aviation Authority. Carriers can only carry half the seating capacity of each aircraft.

Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam’s main city in the northern region, will remain closed to domestic flights. City officials said on Wednesday they were not ready to receive large numbers of travelers, who could potentially spread the virus.

The delta-fueled epidemic that began in July was Vietnam’s worst, infecting more than 800,000 people and killing more than 20,000. More than half of the 98 million people were confined for nearly three month.

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TOLEDO, Ohio – The death toll from COVID-19 in the United States is dropping and the number of new cases per day is set to drop below 100,000 for the first time in two months.

All are encouraging signs that the summer flare is fading. Government leaders and employers not wanting to lose momentum are looking to strengthen and expand vaccine mandates.

Los Angeles has enacted one of the country’s toughest vaccine mandates. The governor of Minnesota calls for vaccine and testing requirements for teachers and long-term care workers. Health experts say there are still far too many unvaccinated people. In New York City, a statewide vaccination mandate for all hospital and nursing home workers will be extended to home care and hospice workers on Thursday.

Across the country, deaths per day have fallen nearly 15% since mid-September and stand on average at around 1,750. New cases have fallen to just over 103,000 per day on average, a 40% drop in the last three weeks.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has declined by about a quarter since its most recent peak of nearly 94,000 a month ago.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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