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Humanitarian Crises

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MILAN (AP) — Italy is making life more uncomfortable for unvaccinated people this holiday season, excluding them from indoor restaurants, theaters and museums starting Monday to reduce the spread of coronavirus and encourage vaccine skeptics to get their shots.

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GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization said Monday that the global response to the longtime threat of malaria has taken a hit as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted health services in many countries, leading to tens of thousands more deaths worldwide last year — as questions remain on the possible fallout this year.

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday voiced hope for a quick approval of the country's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine by the World Health Organization, saying the move is essential to expand its global supplies.

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The arrival of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the U.S. has health officials in some communities reviving contact tracing operations in an attempt to slow and better understand its spread as scientists study how contagious it is and whether it can thwart vaccines.

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While all eyes are on the new and little-understood omicron variant that is popping up around the country, the delta form of the coronavirus isn't finished wreaking havoc in the U.S., swamping hospitals with record numbers of patients in the Midwest and New England.

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BERLIN (AP) — Unvaccinated people across Germany will soon be excluded from nonessential stores, restaurants and sports and cultural venues, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Thursday, and parliament will consider a general vaccine mandate as part of efforts to curb coronavirus infections.

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The U.S. recorded its first confirmed case of the omicron variant Wednesday — in a vaccinated traveler who returned to California after a trip to South Africa — as scientists around the world race to establish whether the new, mutant version of the coronavirus is more dangerous than previous ones.

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A pandemic-weary world faces weeks of confusing uncertainty as countries restrict travel and take other steps to halt the newest potentially risky coronavirus mutant before anyone knows just how dangerous omicron really is.

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization hailing a key step by its member states on Wednesday to launch work toward an international agreement to help prevent, prepare for and respond to future pandemics in the wake of COVID-19.

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BERLIN (AP) — Germany's next chancellor said Tuesday that he will back a proposal to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for everybody next year, but that lawmakers should be free to vote according to their conscience on the issue.

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