The purchases will be in addition to 1.5 million doses of vaccine which China is donating to Pakistan in phases.
Also Wednesday, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said the government is ordering the closure of schools in the capital, Islamabad and in several high-risk cities until April 11.
Pakistan has reported 637,042 virus cases and 13,965 deaths from coronavirus since last year.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Biden administration survey shows most nonwhite students learning entirely online
— Honduran company says seized vaccines were for employees and their families
— State of Illinois to release about 1,000 inmates early as part of a virus lawsuit settlement
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
WARSAW, Poland — Poland has recorded a record daily high of nearly 30,000 new coronavirus cases amid a huge surge in infections that is overwhelming hospitals.
Poland’s Health Ministry said Wednesday that it also recorded 575 more deaths since a day earlier..
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says the dire situation will lead to greater restrictions over the Easter holiday, with full details to be announced later this week.
The Health Ministry reported 29,978 new confirmed cases, above the last record high of 27,875 from Nov. 7.
ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatia’s prime minister has been vaccinated with an AstraZeneca coronavirus shot in an apparent effort to boost public confidence in the vaccine.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who contracted the virus last year, publicly received the jab on Wednesday together with Health Minister Vili Beros and parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic.
“I hope that with this message we have influenced others to follow our example and get vaccinated so we can defeat this pandemic and return to the normal life,” Beros said.
Croatia did not suspend administering AstraZeneca shots unlike some other European Union states over reports linking the vaccine with isolated cases of blood clots.
There have been reports in Croatia of people not showing up for their vaccination with AstraZeneca shots because of fears over its effectiveness. Like many other EU members, Croatia has been suffering with the lack of vaccines.
BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting Germany’s 16 state governors for a quickly arranged meeting on the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, German news agency dpa reported.
The news agency reported that Merkel and the state governors will meet virtually Wednesday at 11 a.m. local time. The leaders had met for hours on Monday and into early Tuesday to discuss new measures on the pandemic as infection rates in the country are going up again.
Among the most important measures decided on was a five-day Easter lockdown to get the numbers down again. However, that decision was met with lots of criticism and many questions on how extra holidays are legally possible.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Norwegian government has prohibited serving alcohol, closed gyms and put a two-person limit on the number of visitors residents can have at home in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Health Minister Bent Hoeie said the country is seeing outbreaks in new places “and the situation is more confusing.”
Hoeie said the virus variant first reported in Britain was spreading in Norway, which in recent weeks observed a spike in COVID-19 cases in Oslo and the nearby region.
The government’s decision “will provoke reactions in the places where there have hardly been cases of infection, but we must do this,” the minister said.
The government urged people to work from home and increased the social distancing requirement from one meter (3.3. feet) to two meters (6.6 feet).
The Scandinavian country has reported 89,120 cases and 649 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.
HONOLULU — A retired Honolulu police chief convicted of conspiracy in a tangled corruption case doesn’t have to report to prison until June so he can get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Louis Kealoha was scheduled to surrender next month to begin serving a seven-year prison term. A U.S. judge extended the date to June 1 after Kealoha’s lawyer said the ex-chief wants to be vaccinated before going to a correctional institution in Oregon.
Kealoha is 60 years old and not yet eligible for a vaccine in Hawaii. Kealoha and his now-estranged wife, a former high-ranking Honolulu prosecutor, were sentenced for using his position to frame a relative.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California state prisons will soon resume limited in-person visits with inmates more than a year after they were halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Officials said Tuesday that visits, with precautions, will start April 10 as the prison system stabilizes after outbreaks that killed 216 inmates and 26 employees.
The worst outbreak came after a botched transfer of inadequately tested inmates in late May that killed more than two-dozen inmates and a correctional officer at San Quentin State Prison north of San Francisco.
But corrections officials reported just 31 active inmate cases and 331 infected staff Tuesday.
In recent weeks, Latin America’s largest country has become the pandemic’s global epicenter, with more deaths from the virus each day than in any other nation. Tuesday’s record toll of 3,251 deaths was driven by the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous, which recorded 1,021 new deaths, far above the previous high of 713 last July.
The pandemic has brought the health systems of Brazilian states to near collapse, with hospitals watching their ICU beds fill up and stocks of oxygen required for assisted breathing dwindle. Most of the states in recent days adopted measures to restrict activity, over the fierce resistance of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Public health experts and economists have said Bolsonaro is presenting a false choice between preserving health and economic well-being.
On Tuesday, cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga was sworn in as health minister, becoming the fourth person to occupy the post since the beginning of the health crisis. He replaced active-duty army Gen. Eduardo Pazuello.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s governor plans to lift the statewide mask mandate and remaining COVID-19 business restrictions in two weeks.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a Tuesday evening speech that the state’s steep declines in coronavirus hospitalization and deaths rates along with the growing number of people fully vaccinated justify the steps starting April 6.
Holcomb said he hoped the state was seeing the “tail end of this pandemic” that has killed nearly 13,000 people in the state over the past year.
Holcomb said local officials would still have the authority to impose tougher restrictions in response to COVID-19 cases in their communities and that face mask use would still be required in K-12 schools for rest of this school year. He urged residents to continue wearing masks in public and that bars and restaurants continue to space out their tables.
Holcomb has faced public pressure and from conservative state lawmakers to ease restrictions, especially after governors in Texas and other states have done so recently.
But some health experts worry it is premature to lift the statewide restrictions.
CHICAGO — Chicago city officials have cut ties with a vaccine distributor that “knowingly misallocated” more than 6,000 doses.
Innovative Express Care, a Chicago clinic, had a contract to vaccinate employees of Chicago Public Schools. However, the Chicago Department of Public Health said Tuesday that said non-CPS employees were vaccinated and vaccines set aside as second doses were used as first doses.
City officials say the clinic will no longer be administering first doses and new providers have already been found.
A message left Tuesday for Innovative Express Care wasn’t immediately returned.