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Japan Begins Workplace Vaccination Program

Thousands of Japanese companies began the rollout of their workplace vaccine programs Monday, inoculating company workers and their families.

Some of the companies had been critical of what they said was the government’s slow pace of Japan’s COVID-19 inoculation campaign.

Toyota and Suntory are among the companies participating in the workplace program with vaccines provided by the government.

Thousands of people are expected to receive shots through the workplace initiative.

The start of the workplace program comes just weeks before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics.

In India, the health ministry reported 53,256 new COVID cases Monday in the previous 24-hour period, the lowest daily number in 88 days, or about 3 months.

Taiwan recorded its lowest number of new COVID-19 infections since May 15. Health officials announced 75 new infections Monday. Sunday Taiwan received 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccines from the United States.

There are more than 178 million global COVID infections as of Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The U.S. has the most with 33.5 million, while Brazil has 18 million.

Brazil became the second country, behind the United States, to record more than half a million COVID-19 deaths, a Health Ministry official said Saturday.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tweeted, “500,000 lives lost due to the pandemic that affects our Brazil and the world,” according to an the Agence France-Presse. “The third wave is arriving; there’s already a change in the case and death curves,” Ethel Maciel, an epidemiologist from Espirito Santo University, told AFP. “Our vaccination (program), which could make a difference, is slow and there are no signs of restrictive measures; quite the contrary.”

Britain held its first full music festival since all mass events were canceled in March of last year, the start of the pandemic.

About 10,000 fans attended a three-day Download Festival held at Donington Park in central England. The event, which ended on Sunday, featured 40 U.K.-based bands.

All of those who attended, which was only about a tenth of the festival’s pre-pandemic audience, were required to take COVID-19 tests before the event. Neither masks nor social distancing protocols was required, event organizers said.

Britain has recorded nearly 128,000 COVID-19-related deaths, the fourth most in the world and the worst in Europe. It also ranks seventh in the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 4.6 million.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed by four weeks a planned lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions.

The restrictions were set to be lifted Monday but will now run through July 19. Britain is battling the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, which was first identified in India.

Source: Voice of America