The latest: Russia sets a new daily record for virus deaths

Russia reported 984 coronavirus-related deaths per day, despite a low vaccination rate.

The latest: Russia sets a new daily record for virus deaths

In the last few weeks, it has seen several records daily death tolls. With 28,717 confirmed cases reported Wednesday, infections have reached near-record highs.

Slow vaccinations are the Kremlin's explanation for the rising epidemic and deaths. Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of Russia, stated Tuesday that 29% of nearly 146 million citizens were fully vaccinated.

On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of speeding up vaccination rates. However, he cautioned against forcing people into getting the shots. Experts in health have linked the slow rate of vaccination to disinformation and widespread vaccine skepticism.

The Kremlin has rejected a nationwide lockdown that is similar to the one used during the pandemic, which severely damaged the economy and lowered Putin's ratings. It has given the authority to enforce coronavirus restrictions on regional authorities.

Russia's healthcare system is under increasing pressure due to the increased number of infections. Mikhail Murashko, the Health Minister of Russia, stated Tuesday that 11% of Russia’s 235,000 COVID-19 hospitalized patients are in critical or serious condition.

Russia's coronavirus taskforce has confirmed over 7.8 million cases and 219.329 deaths. This is the highest death rate in Europe. In terms of confirmed deaths worldwide, Russia is behind the U.S. (718,000), Brazil (61,000), India (451,000), and Mexico (283,000.

BUCHAREST (Romania) -- Romania was given 5,200 monoclonal antibodies from Italy in order to combat a rapid rise of infections and low vaccination rates.

In Romania, a European Union country of 19 million, Coronavirus infections have risen from approximately 2,000 daily cases to nearly 17,000 this week. On Tuesday, it recorded 442 deaths, which is the highest number of deaths since the outbreak.

The Romanian Defense Ministry stated that the antibodies were brought from Milan by the Romanian Air Force to Bucharest on Tuesday evening. They are used to treat COVID-19 victims in the early stages.

According to the ministry, the aid was part of a request Romania made last Wednesday to the EU for assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Romania is the EU's second-least vaccined country, with 34% of its adults not being fully vaccinated. Romania has confirmed over 1.3 million cases of vaccination and 40,461 deaths.

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WASHINGTON -- The United States will open its land borders next month to non-essential travel, ending a 19 month freeze imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new rules were announced Wednesday and will allow foreign nationals who have been fully vaccinated to enter the U.S., regardless of their reason for travel. This change is expected to take effect in November when similar restrictions for air travel to the country will be lifted. Essential travelers, such as truck drivers, who wish to enter the U.S. will need to have their vaccinations up to mid-January.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, only essential travel such as trade and travel by vehicle, rail, and ferry between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico was allowed.

Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security Secretary, said that he was pleased to "take steps to resume regular travel in safe and sustainable ways."

Contrary to air travel, where proof of a negative COVID-19 is required before you board a flight to enter America, there will not be any testing required to enter America by land or water, as long as the travelers comply with the vaccination requirements.

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SEKE, Zimbabwe -- The Apostolic Church is one of Zimbabwe's most skeptical organizations when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations. It is also the largest of the many religious denominations in southern Africa.

Many of these Christian churches combine traditional beliefs with a Pentecostal teaching and preach against modern medicine. They demand that followers seek healing and protection from disease through spiritual means such as prayer and holy water.

Some Apostolic groups, which are secluded, believe that vaccines can be linked to Satanism. Authorities have created teams of campaigners, who are also churchgoers, to dispel misinformation about vaccines in their churches.

Although slow and steady may be the best way to deal with religious hesitancy or other issues, it is imperative that Africa, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world, addresses the urgent situation. Although Zimbabwe is faring better than many African countries, it has vaccinated 15 percent of its population. This is still a long way from the United States or Europe.

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JUNEAU (Alaska) -- According to Senator President Peter Micciche, two senators from Alaska have tested positive for coronavirus. A third senator was not feeling well and is awaiting test results.

He did not identify the legislators who had tested positive.

The second week of the fourth special session is underway for lawmakers. Sixteen of the 20 senators attended Tuesday's session on the floor. This was a technical session in which no formal business was discussed.

Micciche stated that some senators delayed trips and were therefore unable to travel Tuesday. This prompted the technical session.

At legislative facilities (including the Capitol), masks are required. However, individual legislators can choose to wear masks in their offices. Regular testing is also conducted by legislative staff and legislators under a newly adopted policy.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The governor of Texas is leading the charge. Conservative Republicans in many states are trying to block or undermine U.S. President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandates for private employers, even before regulations are issued.

A segment of the Republican Party base is energized by the growing fight over federal government overreach. However, many large employers have made it clear that they will require workers to get the shot.

This dustup could end up in court, as nearly half the states' GOP attorneys general have pledged to sue once the rule that requires workers in private companies employing more than 100 people to be vaccinated or tested every week is revealed.

The courts have always upheld vaccine mandates and the Constitution gives federal government the upper hand. The outcome of the case is not certain due to the uncertainty surrounding the details and the presence of more conservative judges at the bench.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order Monday that prohibited private companies or any other entity from requiring vaccines. Greg Abbott issued an executive directive preventing private companies and any other entity from requiring vaccinations. Arkansas and Ohio are the states that weigh or advance bills. Special sessions may be called in Wyoming, Kansas and South Dakota.

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WASHINGTON -- Biden's administration has taken one step closer towards enforcement of its mandate that employers who employ 100 or more people must receive coronavirus vaccines or have weekly virus testing.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration completed the first draft of the emergency call on Tuesday and sent it to White House Office of Management and Budget. According to the Department of Labor, that's how it works.

OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OMB) will review the regulation in a standard manner.

Officials did not immediately give an estimate for OMB examination. The agency has 90-days to either review the rule or return it to OSHA for revising. The OMB will not publish the text of the proposed order until it has completed its review.

Due to the bureaucracy around the rulemaking process President Joe Biden encouraged businesses to execute mandates before the final rule is implemented.

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SAN JUAN (Puerto Rico) -- Puerto Rico's governor has announced that he will lift a curfew as well as a ban on alcohol sales. The U.S. territory reported a decrease in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations.

The current restrictions that prohibit certain businesses operating between midnight to 5 a.m., and bar alcohol sales during those hours, are two measures that will be lifted on Thursday. Gov. Pedro Pierluisi states that other restrictions, such as the indoors mask requirement, will remain in effect.

He claims that 70% of the island's estimated 3.3 million inhabitants are vaccinated. The positivity rate for coronavirus testing dropped to 3% from 10% in August.

Puerto Rico has confirmed over 150,500 coronavirus cases and more that 3,000 deaths.

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LEWISTON (Maine) -- A staff shortage at one of Maine’s largest hospitals has forced it to stop pediatric and trauma admissions. This rekindles a debate about the governor's mandate for vaccines for health care workers.

The hospital released a statement Tuesday stating that "acute staffing shortages" caused Central Maine Medical Center to temporarily suspend heart attack admissions but then reinstate them later. They will also be reviewing trauma admissions regularly, it added.

The hospital announced that the neonatal intensive care unit will be closing. However, pediatric admissions will not be suspended until further notice.

The hospital's chief physician stated earlier this month that about 70 workers had left because of the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. Although the deadline was October 1, state officials stated that they would not start enforcing the law until Oct. 29.

Republican leaders in Maine sent a letter asking Democratic leaders to send a request to lawmakers for a return to session. The request included a testing option to allow health care workers to refuse the vaccine.

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