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New York City Permitted Bars And Restaurants To Set Up On Sidewalks

New York City Permitted Bars And Restaurants To Set Up On Sidewalks

A federal appeals panel in Louisiana has temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s new safety regulations directing businesses with more than 100 workers to require their employees to get vaccinations against the coronavirus by early January.

The three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a temporary stay to a group of businesses, religious groups, advocacy organizations and several states that had filed a joint petition in court, arguing the administration had overstepped its authority.

Numerous Republican-led states have filed legal challenges against the new rule, among them Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah.

The court said in a brief order, signed by a deputy clerk, that the judges were blocking the regulation “because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.” It said the rule was suspended “pending further action by this court.”

The two-page order did not elaborate on what the constitutional and statutory problems were with the rule or give any indication of whether the judges agreed with the opponents of the rule. But it directed the Biden administration to respond by 5 p.m. Monday to the request for a permanent injunction from the groups opposed to the rule.
NEW DELHI — Eleven people died after a fire broke out in a coronavirus intensive care unit in the western state of Maharashtra, the latest in a series of fatal disasters in Covid-19 wards in India.

Hospital staff tried to douse the fire that started Saturday morning with fire extinguishers, but the flames spread quickly in the airtight room, cutting the power out and forcing people to flee to safety, said Shankar Misal, the fire chief in the Ahmednagar district.

“It created huge, black smoke inside. It was completely dark,” he said.

Within minutes, firefighters had shattered windowpanes and lifted out 15 patients from the 17-bed facility. Most of the 11 patients who died suffocated from smoke, Mr. Misal said. The survivors’ medical condition was not immediately known.

The fire department is investigating whether an electrical short circuit caused the blaze. The Covid-19 ward was among many built hastily across India to accommodate a deluge of patients through the pandemic.
A Rhode Island man who federal prosecutors said used stolen identities to obtain more than $450,000 in pandemic-related unemployment assistance was arrested in Michigan, the authorities said.

Dquintz Alexander, 34, of Cranston, R.I., was indicted and charged in federal court in Boston on five counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

As the coronavirus pandemic devastated the economy in March 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which among other things created a temporary federal unemployment insurance program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The program granted unemployment insurance benefits to people who lost their jobs or were unable to work because of the coronavirus.

The pandemic unemployment program, which is administered by each state, lowered the barriers to collecting benefits, and the usual security methods intended to prevent fraud were not able to keep up with security breaches. Last year in California, an underground internet bazaar that specialized in selling stolen accounts and data had for-sale ads for filched unemployment insurance claims in the state that had been approved and offered benefits worth $17,550.

The U.S. Labor Department says thousands of people have become victims of unemployment-related identity fraud. Last year, the department made fraud detection a priority, dedicating $100 million to combat the problem. In August, it updated the unemployment insurance system to help counter fraudulent claims.
GLASGOW — In a gathering with more than 20,000 people from nearly every country in the world, one of the biggest major international summits since the pandemic began, a Covid outbreak was always going to be a danger.

So far, organizers have not revealed the number of positive Covid-19 test results. But on Saturday, the State Department confirmed that a member of the United States delegation had tested positive. Earlier, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles tested positive days after arriving in Scotland.

The State Department statement on Saturday declined to identify the person but said the official had been fully vaccinated and was quarantining. The statement also said John Kerry, the U.S. presidential envoy for climate change who is leading the negotiations at the summit, had received several negative Covid-19 results, including daily lateral flow tests and a PCR test, since the delegate tested positive.

Asked this week about the number of positive tests at the conference, Alok Sharma, the British president of the talks, said the numbers were lower than in the rest of Scotland. “At this point, we’re comfortable where we are,” he said.

Still, delegates expressed concern.
Costa Rican officials said on Friday that they would require Covid-19 vaccinations for people under 18 “to safeguard the best interests” of children, becoming one of the first countries to implement such a mandate.

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Costa Rica, which has authorized Covid shots for those 12 and over since Oct. 25, will procure vaccines for children under 12 by next year, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Friday. The statement did not mention a minimum age for vaccination and the ministry did not immediately respond to an emailed request seeking comment.

Fifty-five percent of Costa Rica’s population has been fully vaccinated, higher than the global average of 40 percent, according to a University of Oxford data set. Its vaccination rate also exceeds those of several of its neighbors in Latin America, where vaccine access has been unequal. About 73 percent of Costa Ricans between 12 and 19 were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, the government’s statement said, following the start of that vaccination effort since Oct. 25.

Since a surge of cases in September, when Costa Rican officials recorded 17,667 cases in one week, weekly cases have dropped steadily, reaching 3,411 last week, according to government data. Officials reported 291 new hospitalizations last week, a decrease of 21 percent from the week prior.

This is not the first time Costa Rica has required a large number of its residents to get vaccinated. In February, health care workers were ordered to get shots. Two months ago, Costa Rica mandated them for all public sector workers. It has also empowered private companies to require their employees to get vaccinated.
Austria is tightening the rules of a national vaccine pass program starting Monday as it attempts to stem a coronavirus surge that has brought cases to levels unseen in almost a year.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced the changes Friday night, telling reporters after a meeting with state governors: “It is simply our responsibility to protect the people of our country.”

Austrians will need proof of vaccination or a past infection to be seated at a restaurant, enter a bar, visit a hairdresser or join any gathering of more than 25 people. Up until now, documentation of a negative test was also accepted.

The new federal rules match ones that the capital, Vienna, had planned to introduce a few days later, when it will also begin offering the Pfizer vaccine for children of ages 5 to 11, pre-empting a decision by the European medical regulator.

The country’s national health agency reports 522 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the past week — a rate not seen since November of last year, when Austria was forced to go into a full lockdown. Hospitalizations remain below what they were then, however, with about half as many Covid patients in intensive care as during the peak in November 2020, according to health agency figures.

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