The Latest: Yemen’s national soccer coach dies of COVID-19

SANAA, Yemen – Yemen’s soccer association said the country’s national team coach died Sunday from COVID-19.

The Yemen Football Association says Sami al-Naash died in a hospital in the southern port city of Aden.

Local reports say al-Naash was infected while in a camp for the national team in the southern province of Shabwa last month.

Yemen’s national team was preparing for three games in the coming weeks in hopes to qualify for the Asian Cup and the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar. Yemen is playing in Group D along with Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Singapore, and the Palestinian territories.

The country, which has been convulsed by civil war since 2014, has been experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases that has overwhelmed Yemen’s depleted medical facilities.

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— India finds hundreds of bodies buried in riverbanks as the prices for cremations soar

— UK gears up for big reopening but fast-spreading virus variant first found in India threatens future plans

— Turkey eases some COVID-19 restrictions but keeps curfews on for weeknights and weekends

— Barefaced, footloose: New Orleans eases masking, OKs dancing

— Nepal scales back Hindu chariot festival amid virus surge

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Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

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KATHMANDU, Nepal — A special chartered flight filled mostly with U.S. nationals, stranded in Nepal because of a lockdown imposed last month, was flying out of the Himalayan nation on Sunday.

It is the first flight taking foreign nationals out of Nepal who have been stuck there since a lockdown was imposed in April in an attempt to stop spiking cases of COVID-19.

Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal official Raj Kumar Chhetri said the Qatar Airways flight was fully packed with 270 passengers, most headed for the United States. There will be two more similar flights later in the week.

Nepal has been recording its highest number of daily new cases and deaths this month, while the country struggles with shortages of hospital beds, medication and oxygen for patients. Nepal so far has reported 5,000 deaths from COVID-19.

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest say a member of the Icelandic delegation has tested positive for COVID-19.

The positive test Sunday came a day after a member of Poland’s delegation also tested positive during a routine test at the Ahoy venue in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam that is hosting the popular music event this week.

The positive tests mean that the Polish and Icelandic delegations were to miss the presentation Sunday afternoon of all 39 nations taking part in the contest.

The event was canceled last year amid the coronavirus pandemic. It is going ahead this year with a strict regime of testing, social distancing and hygiene among all the performers, staff and thousands of fans who are allowed to attend a series of dress rehearsals, two semifinals and the May 22 grand final.

Organizers say all members of the Polish and Icelandic delegations were undergoing testing and self-isolating.

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BERLIN — The head of Germany’s independent vaccine advisory panel says it’s likely that everyone will have to get vaccinated again next year against COVID-19.

Thomas Mertens told the Funke newspaper group in comments published Sunday that there isn’t yet enough data to say when exactly booster shots will be needed, and officials will have to wait a few months to see whether protection against the coronavirus weakens in some groups.

But he stressed that “the virus won’t leave us again” and so the vaccinations currently under way won’t be the last. He added: “In principle, we have to prepare for everyone possibly having to refresh their vaccine protection next year.”

Nearly 30.4 million people in Germany, or 36.5% of the population, had received at least one vaccine shot by Friday. More than 9 million, or 10.9% of the population, had been fully vaccinated.

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LONDON — Travelers in England were packing their bags, bartenders were polishing their glasses and performers were warming up as Britain prepared Sunday for a major step out of lockdown — but with clouds of worry on the horizon.

Excitement at the reopening of travel and hospitality vied with anxiety that a more contagious virus variant first found in India is spreading fast and could delay further plans to reopen.

Cases of the variant have more than doubled in a week in the U.K., defying a sharp nationwide downward trend in infections and deaths won by hard-earned months of restrictions and a rapid vaccination campaign. A surge testing and stepped-up vaccination effort was being conducted in the northern England areas hardest hit by that variant.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the variant, formally known as B.1.617.2, is more transmissible than the U.K.’s main strain and “it is likely it will become the dominant variant.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said if the new variant causes a big surge in cases, it could scupper plans to relax restrictions more fully on June 21.

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NEW DELHI — Police are reaching out to villagers in northern India to investigate the recovery of bodies buried in shallow sand graves or washing up on the Ganges River banks. There’s been speculation on social media that they are the remains of COVID-19 victims.

In jeeps and boats, police are using portable loudspeakers asking people not to dispose of bodies in rivers.

On Friday, rains exposed the cloth coverings of bodies buried on the riverbank in Prayagraj, a city in Uttar Pradesh state. A state government spokesman on Sunday denied local media reports that more than 1,000 corpses of COVID-19 victims were recovered from rivers in the past two weeks.

But others say COVID-19 deaths in the countryside are rising.

Ramesh Kumar Singh, a member of Bondhu Mahal Samiti, a philanthropic organization that helps cremate bodies, said the number of deaths is very high in rural areas, and poor people have been disposing of the bodies in the river because of the exorbitant cost of performing the last rites and a shortage of wood. The cremation cost has tripled up to 15,000 rupees ($210)

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