The Latest: Tokyo sees surge, residents urged to stay home

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TOKYO — Tokyo is seeing a record surge in coronavirus cases as the governor of the Japanese capital implored people to stay home.

“The coronavirus knows no year end or New Year’s holidays,” Gov. Yuriko Koike told reporters.

She asked people to skip countdown ceremonies, and expressed concern people were out shopping in crowded stores.

“Please spend a quiet New Year’s with your family and stay home,” she said, switching to English for “stay home.”

She said the latest figures for Tokyo showed 1,300 new infections. The previous biggest daily number of cases for the capital was 949 people reported last Saturday.

Japan has had more than 230,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 3,000 deaths. Sixty-five of the deaths came on Wednesday, the health ministry said Thursday.

Government-backed discounts for travel have been discontinued after infections started climbing.

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THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— 2020 is finally ending, but New Year’s Eve revelries around the world will be muted by the coronavirus

— A homegrown coronavirus vaccine has won the first approval for general use in China; Sinopharm says it’s 79.3% effective

— More contagious variant found in California, where health officials warn people to avoid New Year’s Eve gatherings

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Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

BANGKOK — Thailand will receive the first 2 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine in February, as the country grapples with a surge in cases.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul made the announcement Thursday but did not identify the manufacturer.

Thailand has signed a deal with Oxford-AstraZeneca to locally produce 180 million-200 million doses for Southeast Asia. Out of that, it has reserved 26 million for its population. Media reports quoted officials as saying the first locally produced shots aren’t expected before May.

Anutin said that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had assigned him to negotiate with every company that has started selling vaccines.

“Today we will continue the negotiation to secure more vaccine and get them as soon as possible for the safety of Thai people, which is the most important mission of the Thai government at the moment,” he told reporters.

On Thursday, Thailand reported 194 new cases, including 181 local transmissions. The new outbreak, which began at the country’s largest wholesale seafood market south of Bangkok, has spread to 51 out of the 76 provinces.

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan says it will initially purchase 1.2 million vaccine doses from Chinese company Sinopharm as COVID-19 deaths rise in the country.

Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Twitter the vaccine will be provided for free and health workers will get it on priority. Pakistan has said the vaccine will be available in the…



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