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North Korea suggests that Sinovac shots be taken elsewhere

UNICEF procures and delivers vaccines for the COVAX program. UNICEF said Tuesday that North Korea’s Ministry of Public Health had informed UNICEF that the 2.97million Sinovac shots COVAX was planning to deliver to North Korea may have been sent elsewhere.

The North Korean ministry said that it would continue to communicate with COVAX Facility in order to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in the following months," UNICEF stated in an email to The Associated Press.

COVAX had also given 1.9 million AstraZeneca shots for the North, but delivery was delayed.

Experts believe that North Korea is still focused on strict quarantines and border control to prevent the spread of the virus. Vaccines seem to be secondary to this.

Experts believe that North Korea may be questioning the efficacy and rare side effects associated with the vaccines it has been given and waiting for other options.

Despite widespread doubt, the North claims that it has not confirmed any coronavirus infections. The North reported last week to the World Health Organization that it had tested 37,291 people in its latest coronavirus testing, and all of them were negative.

Classrooms must have masks. Teachers are required to have had a COVID-19 vaccination or to have passed a negative test to enter schools.

As the country struggles with a fourth wave, the Health Ministry reported that Tuesday saw a record number of close to 11,000 coronavirus cases. More than 700 Israelis are currently in critical condition, which is straining Israel's healthcare system.

Israel's new infections have increased in recent weeks, despite an international vaccination campaign that saw almost 60% of its population receive at least one dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The country began giving booster doses to its 9.3 million population last month.

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TAIPEI (Taiwan) -- Schools in Taiwan are reopening for the academic year after the largest COVID-19 epidemic subsides.

Many schools on the island were shut down in May as a result of the largest epidemic, which had already reached 15,000 cases. Taiwan now reports new COVID-19 patients in the single digits.

Students will now eat lunch at their desks which have plastic dividers that separate them. Masks are required and the classrooms will be equipped with exhaust fans to circulate the air.

Students arrived at Tienmu Elementary School Wednesday morning to find a joyful atmosphere created by two giant balloons and some music. The parents are relieved to see their children back at school. However, they also feel that online learning is not a good option for the long-term.

Liao Cherhao, president, of the Taipei parents' association, said, "You can see that parents today are really happy." They all want their children to return to school as soon as possible. We conducted a survey. Online classes do not produce great results.

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SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea reported over 2,000 coronavirus cases last month, a record that was set just one day after officials expressed cautious optimism about the possibility of infections slowing down.

Wednesday's 2,025 cases marked the 57th consecutive day with at least 1,000 cases. There are fears transmissions could get worse as the country approaches its largest holiday of the year.

Officials face a slow vaccine rollout, and a decline in public vigilance. This is despite the strictest social distancing rules that are not applied in Seoul or other large population centers. Private social gatherings of three people or more are prohibited after 6 p.m.

The virus could be more prevalent during the Chuseok holidays in Korea, which are the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving. During these holidays millions of people travel across the country to visit relatives.

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MELBOURNE (Australia) -- Australia's Victoria state has reported its first COVID-19 death this year. The government admits that coronavirus infection rates will continue rising.

Two deaths were reported by the state Wednesday, their first since Oct. 18. Four deaths were reported by New South Wales, the state's neighbor. This brings the total death toll from the delta variant epidemic that began in June to 102.

Victoria and New South Wales have been locked down and are working together to get their residents vaccinated in order to stop the spread of the disease.

On Wednesday, 120 new infections were reported. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews stated that these cases will not decrease. They will go up."

New South Wales had 1,116 cases of infection in the last 24-hours.

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RICHLAND (Wash.) Workers at Hanford Nuclear Reservation in eastern Washington state will need to submit proof of coronavirus vaccination to be allowed onto the site.

The Tri-City Herald reports Monday's announcement covers approximately 11,000 workers from the Department of Energy and contractors. Many workers may be required to comply before mid-September.

Visitors to the site with business will also need to show proof of vaccinations or negative viruses tests within the last three days.

Two-thirds of the plutonium produced at Hanford was used in the nation's nuclear weapons programs during World War II, and Cold War. Each year, the cleanup of the contaminated sites is estimated to cost $2.5 billion.

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