The Latest: Boston delays reopening city schools by a week

BOSTON — Boston is delaying plans to reopen the city’s schools by a week after the coronavirus positivity rate increased beyond 4%, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Wednesday.

Remote learning began on Sept. 21 and families could opt in for hybrid learning scheduled to start this month.

Now, preschoolers and kindergartners who were scheduled to report to school the week of Oct. 15 instead will start Oct. 22, Walsh says. Grades 4 to 8 are now scheduled to transition to a hybrid model the week of Nov. 5, and grades 9 to 12 the week of Nov. 16.

Massachusetts has more than 133,000 confirmed cases and 9,323 deaths.



— What do we know about superspreader events in the pandemic?

— India registers 72,049 new coronavirus cases

— Gov. Cuomo issues restrictions in parts of New York

— Eli Lilly and Company has asked the U.S. government to allow emergency use of an experimental antibody therapy.

— Ethics experts say the special treatment Trump received to access an experimental COVID-19 drug raises fairness issues and public’s right to know about his condition.

— Spain’s prime minister unveils major plan to boost country out of recession by spending 140 billion euros ($162 billion) of European Union funds.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at and



LONDON — The Scottish government is banning indoor drinking at bars and forcing restaurants to close in the evening to help contain the coronavirus.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon say the measures were “a short, sharp action” and will last for 16 days starting Friday.

Cafes and restaurants can open between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. to sell food and non-alcoholic drinks. Drinking alcohol is only allowed outdoors and until 10 p.m.

Five areas with high infection rates, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, face other measures that include a recommendation to avoid public transportation.

Britain is experiencing increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Scotland already has tighter restrictions than most of the U.K.

Sturgeon says the measures were “tough” but were not a new lockdown. “We are not asking people to stay at home.”


BRUSSELS — Brussels will close all bars, dancehalls and cafeterias for a month to counter an uptick in coronavirus cases.

That follows nationwide restrictions announced Tuesday that closed bars at 11 p.m. Because the pandemic is hitting the capital especially hard, the Brussels region says the full closures will last at least a month.

Belgian cases have increased from 1,570 to 2,466 during the week ending on Oct. 3.

Belgium has a total of 134,291 confirmed cases and 10,092 deaths, according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University.


INDIANAPOLIS — Eli Lilly and Company says it has asked the U.S. government to allow emergency use of an experimental antibody therapy.

That’s based on early results from a study suggesting the drug reduced symptoms, the amount of virus, hospitalizations and ER visits for patients with mild or moderate COVID-19.

The company announced the partial results Wednesday in a news release. They have not yet been published or reviewed by independent scientists.

The drug is similar to one President Donald Trump received on Friday from a different company. These medicines supply concentrated versions of specific antibodies to help the immune system fight the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.


BOSTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, told current students at his Massachusetts alma mater to remain optimistic in the face of the “nightmare” coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci, a 1962 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, took questions from students for about 40 minutes during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

The head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a top member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force acknowledged that this relationship with President Donald Trump is challenging but working.

He told students to remain upbeat and there is likely to be a vaccine for the coronavirus by the end of the year.


BUCHAREST, Romania — Authorities in Bucharest have shut down a variety of businesses and public venues due to increased coronavirus cases.

Indoor restaurants, theaters, movie cinemas, plus gambling and dance venues in Bucharest were ordered to shut down Wednesday as the country reported a record one-day 2,958 coronavirus infections.

That takes the confirmed total to more than 142,570 cases and 5,200 deaths. Almost two thirds of the confirmed cases were reported since the end of July.


ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says there will be restrictions in certain coronavirus hotspots in the state, including shutdowns of businesses, houses of worship and schools.

The rules will take effect no later than Friday in parts of Brooklyn and Queens, sections of Orange and Rockland counties north of the city, and an area within Binghamton near the Pennsylvania border.

The planned restrictions include school and nonessential business shutdowns in some areas. Others would see limits on gatherings and in restaurants.

Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, criticized what it said was a “surprise” measure and the 10-person limit in red zones, saying religious practices were being targeted. Cuomo says it’s “about protecting people and saving lives.”

Some men gathered on Tuesday night in the streets of Borough Park, an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, and burned masks in bonfires.

In New York City, about 11,600 people have tested positive since Sept. 1, compared with less than 7,400 in August. In early April, 5,000 to 6,000 people or more tested positive each day when there was less testing.

The city has been averaging around four deaths from COVID-19 per day since Sept. 1, compared with nearly 550 daily in April.


TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian state TV say 239 deaths in the country is the highest number of daily deaths from the coronavirus.

The report quoted the spokesperson of the country’s health ministry Sima Sadat Lari saying 239 people died since Tuesday. The previous high was 235 daily deaths.

The ministry spokesperson says the latest increase brought the total to 27,658 confirmed deaths. There’s been 4,019 confirmed cases since Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Iran to 483,844.


CANBERRA, Australia — Australian officials consider a rollout of a coronavirus vaccine no sooner than mid-2021.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the Treasury and Health Departments have developed economic modelling based on an assumption that a vaccine would be widely available in Australia toward the end of next year.

More than 170 potential vaccines are in development. A June survey of 28 mostly U.S. and Canadian vaccine experts published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found most were pessimistic a vaccine would be available before mid-2021, but thought September or October was achievable.

If trials prove successful, the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and the University of Queensland/CSL will provide more than 84.8 million vaccine doses for the Australian population, almost entirely manufactured in Melbourne.

The government has committed to make any vaccine available for free to Australia’s population of 26 million.


JERUSALEM — Israeli police have clashed with hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews overnight as they sought to enforce restrictions on public gatherings during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

Footage released by police early on Wednesday shows huge crowds of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem chanting and hurling stones and metal bars at police officers. Clashes also erupted in an ultra-Orthodox settlement in the West Bank.

Segments of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community have defied restrictions on religious gatherings intended to contain the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

Separately, protesters held dozens of small demonstrations late Tuesday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after the government banned large, centralized demonstrations as part of a new coronavirus lockdown.



PRAGUE — Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have hit a record high, surpassing 4,000 cases in one day for the first time.

The Health Ministry said 4,457 people tested positive on Tuesday, almost 700 more than the previous record on Friday.

Most infected still have no or mild symptoms but the recent steep day-to-day increase is followed by an increase of people hospitalized and those who have died.

Of the total of 90,022 cases in the Czech Republic, 1,387 needed hospital treatment on Monday, according to government figures, with 326 in serious condition. That was up from 825 hospitalized at the beginning of last week with 187 in intensive care. Of the 794 people who have died of COVID-19 in the country, 169 were since Sept 28.

The government has declared a state of emergency and is strictly limiting public gatherings indoors and outdoors, limiting opening hours and number of people in bars and restaurants and closing some schools.


BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia has reported another record daily increase in coronavirus infections, reaching nearly 900.

The Health Ministry says 877 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Tuesday, up from the previous record of 818 on Saturday.

Prime Minister Igor Matovic says he hopes new restrictive measures imposed by the government last week will slow the surge by the end of this week.

Slovakia has reported a total of 14,689 cases, including 55 deaths, which is still low compared with other European countries.


LONDON — Pharma giant Roche says problems at a U.K. warehouse are delaying shipments of testing products to clinics and hospitals, triggering concerns the issue may curb COVID-19 testing at a time when infection rates are rising around Britain.

Roche informed doctors about the problem at distribution center in Sussex in a letter that advised customers to “prioritize essential services only.” Britain’s National Health Service needs the materials to conduct blood tests and screening for diseases like diabetes and cancer.

Roche issued a statement saying, “we are prioritizing the dispatch of Covid-19 PCR and antibody tests and doing everything we can to ensure there is no impact on the supply of these to the NHS.”


NEW DELHI — India has registered 72,049 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the country’s total to 6.75 million.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday also reported 986 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the toll to 104,555.

Almost 50% of the deaths due to COVID-19 in India are concentrated in 25 districts in eight states and nearly 10 states account for 77% of the total active cases in the country, according to the ministry.

India’s recovery rate stands at more than 84%. The government has cited that figure as a reason for further opening the economy by allowing movie theatres to partially reopen from Oct. 15 with 50% capacity.

The health ministry on Tuesday also issued guidelines for large gatherings during upcoming religious festivals and barred people from touching idols and holy books at such events to prevent the spread of the virus.


CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s economic leader says the country’s conservative prime minister and its health minister would not liken coronavirus to influenza as President Donald Trump had done.

Asked about Trump’s messages that people should not be afraid of COVID-19, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the National Press Club: “What I will say is that we take COVID-19 very seriously. It’s a deadly virus.”

Frydenberg was then asked whether Trump’s social media posts that liken COVID-19 to influenza were irresponsible.

“Well, you won’t see (Prime Minister) Scott Morrison putting out those sort of messages. What Scott Morrison, what (Health Minister) Greg Hunt, what myself and others have always said is that this virus is deadly and it is creating a massive health and economic challenge for us,” Frydenberg said.

“We put the health of all Australians first and that is what we have done and the result is that as a nation we have been able to suppress the virus very successfully to date,” he added.

Frydenberg on Tuesday had announced a raft of pandemic-relief measures in the budget that would create a record $153 billion deficit in the current fiscal year.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand has again eliminated COVID-19 in the community as life is about to return normal in its largest city, Auckland.

From midnight Wednesday, limits on public gatherings and activities in the city will be lifted, though social distancing is advised.

The Ministry of Health said the last six active cases associated with a minor outbreak in Auckland have recovered, an announcement that Health Minister Chris Hipkins described as a big milestone.

“New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus,” Hipkins said.

New Zealand went 102 days without a case of community transmission before the Auckland outbreak, which concluded with 186 cases between Aug. 11 and Sept. 25.

Three new cases were reported Wednesday in people quarantined after traveling overseas, bringing the number of cases in managed isolation or quarantine facilities to 37.


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Authorities in Sri Lanka have banned all public gatherings as a new cluster of coronavirus infections expands in the Indian Ocean island nation.

Health authorities said early Wednesday that the outbreak centered at a garment factory has risen to 830 confirmed cases while more than 1,000 people have been asked to quarantine at their homes.

The health ministry ordered a halt to gatherings such as exhibitions, parties, conferences, indoor or outdoor events, carnivals, musical shows and processions. Officials already imposed a curfew in two suburbs of Colombo where many of the patients live, closed schools and restrictws public transport.

The cluster emerged Monday, a day after Sri Lanka reported its first community infection in two months. The country has reported 3,733 cases during the pandemic, with 13 deaths.


SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 114 new cases of the coronavirus, its first daily jump of over 100 in a week.

Health officials had raised concerns that infections will rise because of increased travel during the five-day Chuseok harvest holiday that ended Sunday.

The figures released by health officials Wednesday brought South Korea’s case total to 24,353 for the pandemic, including 425 deaths.

Ninety-two of the newly confirmed cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of a viral resurgence since mid-August. Health officials have been struggling to track transmissions linked to various places, including an army unit in Pocheon, north of Seoul, where 37 soldiers so far have tested positive.


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