Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Wednesday, June 22, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.

To the relief of many parents nationwide, the United States on Tuesday began administering coronavirus vaccines to children younger than 5.

The 19 million Americans between the ages of 6 months and 5 years are the last in the country to become eligible for vaccines. In Seattle on Tuesday afternoon, 3-year-old Alba Kerr became one of the first children in Washington state to receive their vaccine shot.

To the North, Chrysler and Dodge manufacturer Stellantis NV was told Tuesday to end its coronavirus vaccine mandate for Canadian employees. In Asia, Hong Kong’s new health chief defended the country’s highly controversial “COVID Zero” policy. Meanwhile in North Korea, propaganda could triumph over public health as leader Kim Jong Un appears ready to declare victory over a COVID-19 outbreak that began only a month ago.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see the rest of our coronavirus coverage and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.

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COVID cases rise in Southeast Asia, Middle East and Europe

LONDON — The number of new coronavirus cases rose in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe last week, while the number of deaths globally dropped by 16%, according to the World Health Organization’s latest weekly pandemic report issued Wednesday.

The WHO said there were 3.3 million new COVID-19 infections last week, marking a 4% decrease, with more than 7,500 deaths. But cases jumped by about 45% in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and by about 6% in Europe. Southeast Asia was the only region to report a slight 4% increase in deaths, while figures fell elsewhere.

Globally, the number of new COVID-19 cases has ben falling after peaking in January.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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UN biodiversity summit moved from China over COVID-19 policy

BEIJING — A United Nations summit on biodiversity will be held in Canada instead of China, organizers announced Tuesday, the second major international event to be moved from China because of its strict anti-coronavirus policies.

China, which is the chair of this round of meetings, decided to move them outside of the country “due to the continued uncertainties related to the ongoing global pandemic,” Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the executive secretary of the convention, said in her statement.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Oregon sees severe COVID cases double in one week even as overall cases drop

Oregon health officials reported 8,944 new coronavirus infections over the last week, 14% fewer than the previous week.

The slight drop in cases has not coincided with a drop in positivity rates, a key marker of how widespread COVID-19 is in the community. More than one in ten of every reported coronavirus test since June 13 has come back positive, state data shows.

The drop in cases could also be attributed to a drop in testing, with 10% fewer tests reported over the last week compared to the prior week.

Read the full story here.

—Fedor Zarkhin, oregonlive.com

Tennessee GOP leaders urge delay of toddler COVID-19 shots

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Top Tennessee Republican House leaders on Wednesday urged Gov. Bill Lee to delay the state’s health department from distributing and promoting the COVID-19 vaccines to infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

In a letter sent to the Republican governor, House leaders said they had too many concerns surrounding the vaccine for those under 5 years old.

The lawmakers added that the “COVID-19 emergency has long passed in Tennessee” though that declaration is disputed by public health experts.

Read the full story here.

—Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press
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Constant cycle of restrictions is China’s COVID future

Chinese cities that were in lockdown just a few months ago are imposing pandemic curbs again, as the country’s zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 plunges it into a constant cycle of unpredictable, stop-start restrictions.

The snap mitigation measures come as China reported just 22 new infections in the whole country for Tuesday, the fewest daily cases in more than four months.

The fast action is based on the experience of Shanghai, which ultimately imposed a two-month hard lockdown this spring after an initially light-touch response failed to contain its outbreak. Officials are hoping the reflexive restrictions will help stamp out flare-ups and avoid harsher measures.

For residents and businesses, however, the approach means there is a constant threat of new curbs that could derail daily life.

Read the full story here.

—Bloomberg News

G20 agrees on global fund to deal with future pandemics

Health and finance ministers from the G20 group of the world’s major economies agreed to set up a permanent global fund to prepare for future pandemics, Indonesia’s finance minister said on Tuesday.

The ministers and senior officials met in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta to hammer out the details of the Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF), which will be jointly managed by the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The FIF establishment is now being finalized,” Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said at a press conference at the end of the meeting.

“I believe that the board of the World Bank will meet on June 30. By that time, if it is approved by the board, then this FIF will start to operate,” she said.

The United States, the European Union, Indonesia, Germany, Singapore and the London-based charitable foundation Wellcome Trust have already pledged contributions amounting to $1.1 billion, she said. Singapore is not a G20 member, but it was invited as a guest to the meetings.

Read the full story here.

—Ahmad Pathoni, Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Big spread, less illness: Latest California coronavirus wave changes the script

In the last two years, COVID-19 has followed a predictable, if painful, pattern: When coronavirus transmission has rebounded, California has been flooded with new cases and hospitals have strained under a deluge of seriously ill patients, a distressing number of whom die.

But in a world awash in vaccines and treatments, and with health care providers armed with knowledge gleaned over the course of the pandemic, the latest wave isn’t sticking to that script.

Despite wide circulation of the coronavirus — the latest peak is the third-highest of the pandemic — the impact on hospitals has been relatively minor. Even with the uptick in transmission, COVID-19 deaths have remained fairly low and stable.

And this has occurred even with officials largely eschewing new restrictions and mandates.

Read the full story here.

—Luke Money, Los Angeles Times
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Party scene while making Amazon’s ‘Expats’ was followed by COVID outbreak

On a Thursday morning in Long Beach last month, the crew of the Amazon Studios series “Expats” crowded onto a yacht. They were filming a party scene that had shots of a child pushing his way through a forest of adults, followed by star Nicole Kidman’s character, Margaret.

A few days later, the production alerted those who had worked at the location that three people on the set tested positive for COVID-19 and offered additional testing.

Some crew members were unhappy about the way the cases were communicated and raised concerns about whether quarantining protocols were being followed, according to interviews and emails reviewed by The Los Angeles Times.

“There was a general feeling of panic on set,” said a crew member with knowledge of the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly. “This was a very, very close-quarters set.”

Read the full story here.

—Anousha Sakoui, Los Angeles Times

Japanese man accused of COVID relief fraud deported by Indonesia

A Japanese man accused of defrauding the government of 1 billion yen ($7.3 million) intended for small Japanese businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic was arrested on board a flight Wednesday after being deported from Indonesia, where he fled 1 1/2 years ago.

Mitsuhiro Taniguchi, 47, was arrested by Japanese police who accompanied him from Indonesia. He was taken to a police station after landing at Tokyo’s Narita airport, Japanese media reported. Police confirmed his arrest.

Indonesian immigration official Douglas Simamora said earlier Wednesday that Taniguchi was deported after his passport was revoked by the Japanese government and because he had no Indonesian residence permit.

Indonesian authorities arrested Taniguchi on June 4 at a house owned by a fish trader in Lampung province. During his stay there, he described himself as an investor interested in fisheries. Indonesian authorities are investigating whether other people in that country were involved in the fraud scheme linked to Taniguchi.

Read the full story here.

—Mari Yamaguchi, Andi Jatmiko and Edna Tarigan, The Associated Press

Are COVID vaccines safe for kids under 5? What you should know

Children as young as 6 months old are now eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on the shots for an additional 19 million children across the United States.

The CDC on Saturday unanimously recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 6 months through 4 years as well as the Moderna vaccine for children ages 6 months through 5 years. The move came a day after the Food and Drug Administration amended both vaccine makers’ emergency-use authorizations to include the youngest age group.

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement after her endorsement. “We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can.”

Now that the vaccine is available for young children, there are several things you should know.

Read the full story here.

—Lindsey Bever, The Washington Post
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Denmark to offer fourth COVID-19 shot to some

A fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose will be offered to nursing home residents and people age 50 and over in Denmark later this year, the prime minister said Wednesday.

The reason for the move is a rise in cases of the BA.5 coronavirus variant in Europe, and Denmark’s government says it wants to move swiftly to avoid potential restrictions or a lockdown.

“The infection has been on the rise for the past three weeks,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said. “That is why we are acting now.”

The swift move was aimed at taking care of older people and the vulnerable and to avoid the congestion of hospitals, shutdowns and restrictions and to keep the economy going, Frederiksen added.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press