The Latest: France to let in travelers with India-made shot

International

People relax at the Champ-de-Mars garden next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Friday, July 16, 2021. The Eiffel Tower is reopening Friday for the first time in nine months, just as France faces new virus rules aimed at taming the fast-spreading delta variant. The “Iron Lady” was ordered shut in October as France battled its second surge of the virus. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS — France will allow international travelers who have had AstraZeneca’s Indian-manufactured vaccine into the country starting Sunday.

At the same time, France is tightening border checks to control the spread of the delta variant and protect hospitals, according to a statement from the prime minister Saturday.

The move to accept visitors vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s vaccine made by India’s Serum Institute came after global outcry over the fact that the European Union’s COVID-19 certificate only recognizes AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Europe. Several other EU countries already accept the Indian version. France still does not recognize vaccinations by Chinese or Russian vaccines, only those authorized by the EU medicines regulator.

Tunisia, Indonesia, Cuba and Mozambique have now been added to France’s “red list” of countries with high virus risk, according to Saturday’s statement.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— 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

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

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

LONDON — Tourists and the travel industry are vented frustration and anger after Britain reversed a plan to ease travel restrictions on France just two days after they were due to start, citing concerns about a variant of the coronavirus.

The U.K. government says people arriving from France must self-isolate for 10 days on entering Britain, even if they are fully vaccinated.

The announcement came just days after the government said fully vaccinated U.K. residents will no longer face quarantine starting Monday when arriving from European Union nations and dozens of other countries.

British health authorities say France is being singled out because of cases of the beta variant, which is believed to be more resistant to vaccines than other strains.

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ATHENS, Greece — European nations are scrambling to ramp up vaccination drives.

They are using a carrot-and-stick approach to persuade those who are reluctant to get their shots as the more transmissible delta variant drives a surge in infections.

Greece became the latest to enact new restrictions on Friday. The country is requiring proof of vaccination or recent recovery from COVID-19 for access to indoor restaurants, cafes, bars and movie theaters. Children can enter with negative tests.

Some European countries like France and Greece have also introduced mandatory vaccinations for certain professions.

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YEREVAN, Armenia — A surge of new coronavirus infections in Iran fueled by the fast-spreading delta variant has threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

Thousands of Iranians are taking matters into their own hands and flocking to neighboring Armenia as the urgency of vaccination grows.

Vaccine uptake has remained sluggish in the ex-Soviet Caucasus nation amid widespread vaccine hesitancy. Authorities have been doling out free doses to foreign visitors.

That has been a boon for Iranians afraid for their lives and sick of waiting. Iran has the highest COVID-19 death toll in the Middle East, less than 2% of the country’s 84 million people have received both doses. But the trip has become so popular for Iranians that the price of the journey is soaring.

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BANGKOK — Thailand has tightened coronavirus restrictions and warned of further measures as daily cases surpassed 10,000 and the death toll hit a record 141 despite an overnight curfew in Bangkok and several other provinces.

The surge since April has overwhelmed hospitals, strained the economy and thrown tourism recovery plans in doubt.

The vaccine rollout, hindered by supply problems, is slugging with some 5% of the population fully vaccinated and 15% only partially.

Cases have been climbing particularly in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.

The government imposed additional measures overnight including a ban on any gatherings and activities that can spread the virus, including anti-government rallies that have criticized Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s handling of the pandemic.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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