By The Associated Press
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand will remove remaining coronavirus restrictions from Auckland on Monday after an outbreak discovered in the largest city fades away.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said more than 72,000 tests had found no evidence the virus was spreading in the community.
Auckland was placed into a three-day lockdown this month after a mother, father and daughter tested positive. Another five contacts later tested positive. After the lockdown ended, Auckland continued to have restrictions including on gatherings.
The source of the outbreak remains unclear, although authorities continue to investigate whether there is a connection between infected airline passengers and the mother, who works at a company which cleans laundry for airlines.
New Zealand has an elimination strategy with the coronavirus and has managed to stamp out its spread.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Britain speeds up vaccination plan; all adults to get 1st jab by July 31
— What’s safe after a COVID-19 vaccination? Don’t take the masks off yet, scientists say
— Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gavin Newsom of California are embroiled in political woes from the pandemic
— Airlines plan to ask passengers for contact-tracing details
— With no crowds during a coronavirus lockdown, the Louvre in Paris is using the down time to refurbish
Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
LOS ANGELES — California’s death toll during the coronavirus pandemic has topped 49,000, even as the rates of new infections and hospitalizations continue to plummet across the state.
California reported another 408 deaths Sunday, bringing the total since the outbreak began to 49,105 — the highest in the nation.
Health officials said Sunday that the number of patients in California hospitals with COVID-19 has slipped below 7,000, a drop of more than a third over two weeks.
The 6,760 new confirmed cases reported Sunday are more than 85% below the mid-December peak of about 54,000 in one day. Total cases are approaching 3.45 million.
The positivity rate for people being tested has been falling for weeks, which means fewer people will end up in hospitals.
CODOGNO, Italy — Italians are marking one year since their country was shocked to discover it had the first known locally transmitted COVID-19 case in the West.
With church services Sunday and wreath-laying ceremonies, including in small northern towns which were the first to be hard-hit by the pandemic, citizens paid tribute to the dead. Italy has a confirmed death toll from the virus of 95,500.
While the first wave of infections largely engulfed Lombardy and other northern regions, a second wave, starting in fall 2020, has raced throughout Italy, which so far has registered some 2.8 million cases.
The first locally transmitted case was discovered in a 38-year-old patient in a hospital in Codogno, Lombardy. That patient survived.
But in the northeastern town of Vo, which registered the nation’s first known death on Feb. 21, 2020, officials unveiled a memorial plaque at a tree-planting ceremony.
WASHINGTON — The White House says about a third of the coronavirus vaccine doses delayed by this week’s winter weather have been delivered this weekend.
Press secretary Jen Psaki says the administration has been working with shippers and states to close the roughly 6 million dose backlog created this week as power outages closed some vaccination centers and icy weather stranded some vaccine in shipping hubs.
Psaki says the administration is making sure those catch-up doses out to vaccination centers “as soon as they can handle them.”
Speaking to ABC’s “This Week,” Psaki says, “We’ve been able to get about 2 million of those 6 million doses out,” adding, “We expect to rapidly catch up this week.”
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci is calling the United States’ approaching milestone of half a million deaths from the coronavirus as “terribly historic” and stressed the need for continuing public health measures.
Fauci says with virus infections overall going down and vaccinations continuing things are improving but that the U.S. remains in a “terrible situation” and people should remain mindful of wearing masks and keeping social distance.
Currently there are over 497,000 deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S.
Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said he expects a “significant degree of normality” in everyday life toward the end of the year but that it was “possible” people will still need to be wearing masks into…