3 lawmakers who fled Texas over vote have virus

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WASHINGTON — Three of the Democratic state lawmakers who fled Texas to stymie a Republican-backed effort to impose broad new voting restrictions have tested positive for COVID-19 in the nation’s capital.

The Texas House’s Democratic caucus says in a statement that one of the three tested positive on Friday and the others did so on Saturday. It didn’t release their names or conditions. It said all three were fully vaccinated against the disease.

More than 50 Democratic Texas lawmakers left the state to deny the Republican-controlled Legislature the necessary quorum to pass a bill that would enact new voting restrictions.

Republicans and others had criticized the Democrats after a photo showed them on a charter flight to Washington without masks, though federal pandemic guidelines don’t require masks on private flights.

Members of the caucus have met with Vice President Kamala Harris, but it was not immediately known whether the three who contracted COVID-19 did so. Harris’ office said it would issue a statement later Saturday.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Biden grappling with “pandemic of the unvaccinated”

— Thailand tightens measures as daily cases cross 10,000

— European nations impose incentives, penalties to boost shots

— Desperate for vaccines amid surge, Iranians flock to Armenia

— Arkansas governor’s vaccination tour reveals depths of distrust.

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— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

LAS VEGAS — Some Las Vegas resorts and casinos are again requiring employees to wear masks, a response to a recommendation by regional health officials amid rising COVID-19 case rates.

The Southern Nevada Health District on Friday recommended that all people, vaccinated or not, wear face coverings in public settings such as stores, malls, casinos and events.

The recommendation isn’t a mandate, but local media outlets reported that it prompted properties such as Westgate Las Vegas, The Venetian and Las Vegas Sands to impose masking requirements for employees.

Some also offered complimentary masks to visitors.

Restrictions affecting casinos and other venues were lifted in May when the state fully returned pandemic control measures to counties.

Nevada health officials on Thursday reported 938 new cases of COVID-19 statewide — the biggest one-day coronavirus case jump since February — and 15 new deaths. An additional 866 cases were reported Friday.

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PHOENIX — Arizona on Saturday reported over 1,000 additional COVID-19 cases for the fourth straight day as virus-related hospitalizations continued to increase.

The state Department of Health Services’ coronavirus dashboard reported 1,152 additional cases and 14 deaths, increasing Arizona’s pandemic totals to 907,268 cases and 18,114 deaths.

Public health experts attribute the increases to low vaccination rates, the fast-spreading delta variant and July Fourth gatherings.

The number of virus-elated hospitalizations in Arizona generally ranged between 500 and 600 during May and June but rose in the past week, with 745 COVID-19-related hospitalizations as of Friday, according the dashboard.

Virus patients occupied 9% of in-patient beds as of Friday, up from 6% a week ago but far below the pandemic peak of nearly 60% seen in mid-January during the winter surge.

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ATHENS, Greece — The island of Mykonos has become the first location in Greece to have a curfew reimposed due to a spike in coronavirus cases.

Greek authorities said Saturday that one in 10 individuals tested on the island in recent days tested positive.

The 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. curfew took effect Saturday and authorities also imposed a round-the-clock ban on music in bars, cafes and restaurants starting 6 pm Saturday. Fines for renting out properties for parties of more than 20 people can range up to 200,000 euros ($236,000).

The ban on music and the curfew will end on Monday, July 26, unless the government decides to extend it.

Police on the island, a high-end tourist destination, say that violations of social distancing norms had gotten out of hand recently.

Authorities say the single hotel assigned to people quarantining has overflowed and visitors who have tested positive have been camping on beaches.

Greece continued to report a relatively high number of new infections Saturday, with 2,562 cases reported in the 24-hour period ending 3 pm Saturday. There were also seven deaths.

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HELSINKI — Residents in the Finnish capital were able to get coronavirus jabs without advance appointment on Saturday at four dedicated walk-in vaccination points in a one-day trial meant to lure young people in particular to get vaccinated.

Health officials in Helsinki, a city of 631,000 inhabitants, urged all those aged 16 and above, and those 12 to 15 who belong to a risk group, to get vaccinated.

“Now it’s possible to drop by and get the vaccine if you go for a walk or drive, or even in a group….



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