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As vaccines continue to be administered across the islands, other countries are moving ahead with their own plans. That includes three countries in the Asia Pacific that are on different timetables for vaccinating their residents.

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The city of Tokyo is under a state of emergency today. New cases of the coronavirus have been spiking this week, and have set new daily records.

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Several parts of Asia that were successful in dealing with containing the early wave of coronavirus are now facing new challenges with the disease. And that includes Thailand

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Nearly every location around the world has been hit by the coronavirus. One of the few exceptions is in the Asia Pacific, and it's a country that's taking further steps to stay that way.

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The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a broad impact around the world, and not only with illness, death and economic disruption. The virus is showing up as one reason for a declining birthrate in some locations — including South Korea. But that's not the whole story.

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At the start of a new year, thoughts can turn to the promise of new beginnings. Sometimes that takes the form of resolutions, or aspirations that haven't yet been met. In Japan, that includes hopes to increase the national birthrate with a new strategy.

Lachlan Fearnley / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

On this New Year's Day, there is a small but significant change for citizens of Australia. It's an adjustment to the national anthem — in support of the country's indigenous people.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

It's been another week of developments in the continuing story of vaccines against COVID-19. Except for China, most of the Asia Pacific has been moving more slowly with actual injections than in places such as the United States and the United Kingdom. But plenty of vaccines have already been ordered.

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Many university students around the world are on break this week. But when classes resume, there is still a question about how much instruction can be done in person. And that's sparking a controversy in one Southeast Asian country.

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Two versions of the COVID-19 vaccine have been approved for emergency use in the United States. One made by Pfizer and the other by Moderna. But there are other vaccines in production and in trials — including some from China.

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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, each country has adopted its own policies to control the spread of the virus — with mixed success. Thailand has had a relatively low number of cases, but a new spike has led to a quick and concentrated response from the government.

AP Photo/Kin Cheung

More than half of adults in China are overweight. That’s according to a new government study out this week that blames a variety of factors for a dramatic rise in the numbers.

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Spending around the world continues to increase on fighting the spread of the coronavirus. That includes budgeting for events that are still in the planning stages, such as the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The games are scheduled to start seven months from today, but it's still far from certain that they will take place.

AP Photo/Mark Baker

The combination of COVID-19 and the Christmas holidays is turning out to be a difficult one across the country and around the world. That's true this week in Australia's largest city, where one area has seen a recent spike in cases.

AP photo/Wally Santana

COVID-19 vaccines are just starting to make their way through the first phase of health workers in Hawaii. But a number of tourism destinations are already adjusting some of their policies and plans when it comes to visitors.

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We're a week away from Christmas, and doctors are reminding people to be cautious about holiday gatherings in the midst of the pandemic. That's true across the United States, and it's also the case in the Philippines — which is starting to see the beginnings of a spike in new cases.

AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

An international group of scientists is heading to Wuhan, China next month to find out more about the initial outbreak of COVID-19. That word comes from the World Health Organization -- which is putting together the research trip.

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It’s been a week of progress in the distribution of vaccines for the coronavirus. But some locations are already looking ahead to the possibility of increased travel. And in some cases, even before vaccines are widely available. 

Indonesian Presidential Palace via AP

The first does of vaccines for COVID-19 have been sent to locations across the country this week—including here in Hawaii. Vaccinations are also being distributed in Indonesia—but with some significant differences.

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International travel plans are still on hold for much of the world. That’s definitely the case in most parts of the Asia Pacific — but visitors from one location are getting a warmer welcome.

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Hawaii’s “safe travels” program is understandably focused on air travel. But the cruise industry also has plans to eventually return to the islands. For now, there’s more activity in that area elsewhere in the Pacific.

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As progress continues on approvals of vaccinations for COVID-19, more countries are working on plans for how to handle future travel. And more people in the Asia Pacific are saying that vaccines may become as necessary as a passport for international travel.

AP Photo/Taimy Alvarez, File

Vaccines for COVID-19 have moved from testing to injecting. The vaccine is not yet available in the United States — and the country that has bought the most doses in the world is on the other side of the world.

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One of the world’s top gatherings of business and government leaders is moving from Europe to Asia. It’s a temporary shift, and the reason is safety.

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While parts of the mainland U.S. are facing snow and freezing rain, much of Australia has been broiling through record heat. And that’s raising concerns about the potential spread of bush fires.

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It’s been a week of arrests and sentencings for pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.

Jimmy Lai publishes the Hong Kong tabloid “Apple Daily” — with a wide circulation and frequent jabs at governments in both Hong Kong and mainland China. Today he’s in jail, arrested with two other senior executives from his media company, charged with fraud, and denied bail.

That means he’ll stay behind bars until his trial in April.

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Travel restrictions are in the news locally this week as Kauai has dropped out of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program and state officials are considering other adjustments to the process. In Japan, there is controversy about a different kind of travel program.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Many states and countries are struggling with a rise in the number of cases of coronavirus. That includes South Korea, where tomorrow there will be an additional focus across the country — one that will be complicated by the virus.

AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi

The coronavirus pandemic continues to hit economic growth around the islands, and around the world. Now one of the world’s largest economies has officially entered its worst recession in decades.

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Trade tensions between the United States and China will be among the many challenges facing the incoming administration of President-Elect Joe Biden. Other U.S. allies are also dealing with trade disputes with China. And this weekend marked a new round in a standoff with Australia.