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Covid 19 Pandemic

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TOKYO (AP) — Restaurants and bars will close early in Tokyo and a dozen other areas across Japan beginning Friday as the country widens COVID-19 restrictions due to the omicron variant causing cases to surge to new highs in metropolitan areas.

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox called for keeping children in school during the coronavirus pandemic, warned against making voting more difficult and lamented destructive political divisions during his State of the State address Thursday.

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he doesn't see his acceptance of former President Donald Trump's endorsement as hurting his relationship with the state's senior U.S. senator, Republican Lisa Murkowski, who voted to convict Trump at his impeachment trial last year and whose reelection bid Trump has vowed to fight.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Hundreds of Oregon residents claimed government overreach on Thursday, as officials at the state’s health authority consider indefinitely extending the current indoor mask requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Two California counties violated the Constitution's right to keep and bear arms when they shut down gun and ammunition stores in 2020 as nonessential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The percentage of hospital emergency room patients showing up with COVID-19-like symptoms in Louisiana has dropped for the second week in a row and the weekly percentage of positive tests also has dropped, state officials said Thursday.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order Thursday intended to continue offering hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers extra flexibility as they deal with the latest COVID-19 surge driven by the highly contagious omicron variant.

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's health director on Thursday ordered nursing homes to offer on-site booster shots to residents who are not up to date on the COVID-19 vaccine in a state that lags others in vaccinating people in long-term care facilities.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden launched into his second year in office Thursday with a new focus on making fatigued Americans believe they’re better off under his leadership as he embraces a pared-back agenda before the midterm elections.

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RENO, Nev. (AP) — University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval is defending his decision to begin the spring semester with mostly in-person classes this week after a group of faculty members called for a two-week classroom closure in the face of unprecedented growth in COVID-19 cases.

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — ESPN has joined the increasing number of media companies that will not be sending reporters to next month's Beijing Olympics due to continued concerns about rising COVID-19 cases worldwide and China’s strict policy about those who test positive.

PARIS (AP) — French Prime Minister Jean Castex says a new COVID-19 pass will go into effect Monday, severely restricting the public lives of those who refuse to get inoculated by banning them from domestic flights, restaurants, sports events and other venues.

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — After a two-year hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival returns this spring with headliners The Who, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, Lionel Richie, Erykah Badu, Ludacris, Nelly and Willie Nelson.

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VIENNA (AP) — Austria’s parliament voted Thursday to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for adults from Feb. 1, the first of its kind in Europe, with maximum potential fines of up to 3,600 euros ($4,000) for people who don't comply after a series of reminders.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A domestic assault suspect was freed from jail after testing positive for COVID-19, despite being deemed dangerous enough that prosecutors wanted him held without a chance of bail, the attorney for the St. Louis Police Officers Association said.

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