The Latest: Czech government declares state of emergency
PRAGUE — The Czech government has declared a state of emergency because of a record surge of coronavirus infections.
Health Minister Roman Prymula says it will be effective for 30 days, starting Monday.
The new restrictive measures include a limit on public gatherings for a two-week period. All public outdoor gatherings with more than 20 people are banned, along with more than 10 for indoor events. Theater performances and movie theaters are excluded from the bans.
Also, no fans at sports competitions and high schools at the most hard-hit regions will be closed for at least two weeks.
The Czech Republic has reported a total of 67,843 cases, with more than 43,000 testing positive in September. There’s been 636 confirmed deaths.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK
— At virus milestone, Italian priest reflects on loss, lessons
— Israel approves law to curb protests during virus lockdown
— Planned surgeries suspended at hospital in Wales following virus outbreak
— U.S. restaurants are facing the new challenge of chilly weather amid a pandemic that’s expected to claim even more lives. New York reopens indoor dining, restricting capacity to 25%.
— Madrid, where a second coronavirus wave is expanding the fastest in all of Europe, is edging closer to stricter curbs on movement and social gatherings
— German leader Angela Merkel warns public not to ease up on anti-virus measures, says “we have a difficult time ahead of us in autumn and winter.”
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
ATHENS, Greece — Greece says it expects revenue from its tourism industry to drop by 80% on in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas says third-quarter data showed an estimated 3.9 million tourists visited Greece from July through September, a drop of 88% from 2019.
The pandemic followed a record year for the Greek tourism industry with 34 million visitors and some 18 billion euros ($21 billion) in travel receipts in 2019.
The tourism industry is a key source of income for Greece’s $200 billion economy. Greece began reopening to tourism in mid-June after strict lockdown measures kept infection rates lower than in most other EU countries.
TORONTO — The provinces of Quebec and Ontario have increased coronavirus cases and are adding restrictions to help limit the spread.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says Montreal and Quebec City are included in the “red zone” lockdown. Legault says there should be no guests in homes with a few exceptions for help. He also says restaurants and bars will close except for delivery, and outdoor gatherings require two meters of spacing. The measures will last from Oct. 1-28.
Legault says the objective is to protect schools from closing again. Quebec reported 896 new cases on Sunday, the province’s highest single-day tally in months.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford calls the 700 new daily cases in his province extremely troubling. Of Monday’s cases, 344 were reported in Toronto.
BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania has recorded the highest daily number of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic took hold in the country in late February.
The daily number of confirmed infections has hit 2,158 on Wednesday, taking the confirmed total to more than 127,500.
Romania, a country of 19 million, has confirmed more than 4,800 virus-related deaths.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia’s government is declaring a state of emergency in the country after facing a recent record surge of coronavirus infections.
Prime Minister Igor Matovic says the state of emergency that gives his government extraordinary powers to curb the spike will be effective for 45 days, starting on Thursday.
Slovakia’s day-to day increase in confirmed coronavirus cases reached 567 on Tuesday, a new record. The previous record of 552 was set on Friday.
Slovakia has a total of 10,141 confirmed cases and 49 deaths, significantly lower than most other European countries.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norway is easing up some of its restrictions by removing a ban on serving alcohol after midnight and allowing crowds of up to 600 people at outdoor events.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg says “this is not a total release but a new phase in the strategy to maintain control of the corona infection.”
The Scandinavian country had a previous limit of 200 people at indoor events. Abid Raja, the minister in charge of sports, says the changes apply Oct. 12 and “this will please many soccer fans.”
Norway has 13,914 confirmed cases and 274 deaths.
KARACHI, Pakistan — Pakistan’s top health official has urged authorities to place high-risk areas of Karachi under lockdown following an increase in coronavirus cases.
Faisal Sultan spoke at the military-backed National Command and Operations Center in Islamabad to review the coronavirus situation.
As many as 365 new cases were reported in Karachi among the country’s single-day 774 infections in the past 24 hours.
It prompted health official to suggest a “smart lockdown” after identifying high-risk areas in Karachi, the capital of southern Sindh province. The latest increases have occurred after Pakistan reopened schools this month.
Pakistan has reported 312,264 confirmed cases and 6,479 confirmed deaths.
LONDON — Planned surgeries are being suspended at a hospital in Wales following a coronavirus outbreak there.
The Royal Glamorgan Hospital, which is near the Welsh capital city of Cardiff and subject to local virus-related restrictions, says it has identified 82 cases of the virus, some linked to transmission within the hospital.
As a result, it has announced some temporary restrictions. Except for a small number of urgent cancer cases, the hospital has decided to suspend planned surgeries beginning Wednesday.
Paul Mears, chief executive of the local health board, says the restrictions have “not been taken lightly, and we understand that they will impact our patients, their families, our staff and partner organizations.”
Large parts of Wales have had an array of local lockdown restrictions imposed in recent weeks following a spike in coronavirus cases.
BANGKOK — Thailand is preparing to receive the first group of foreign tourists since scheduled commercial passenger flights into the country were halted in April.
Phuket Gov. Narong Woonsiew on Wednesday inspected the international airport at the popular southern resort island, where a new system including coronavirus testing and transport facilities has been installed to welcome the first 150 Chinese from Guangzhou province on Oct. 8.
Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says at least three groups of foreign tourists will arrive in October — two from China and one from Scandinavia. All will be subject to a 14-day quarantine and other restrictions on their movements.
The plan still needs final approval from the Cabinet. There has been speculation that the Oct. 8 start may be delayed, but Narong says Phuket is ready. Regular commercial air traffic remains limited.
Thailand has 3,564 confirmed coronavirus cases and 59 confirmed deaths.
PRAGUE — Czechs are casting ballot from their cars for the first time, a measure forced by the coronavirus pandemic.
A total of 156 drive-in temporary ballot stations have been established by the armed forces across the country for those quarantined due to coronavirus infections.
Those who cannot use a car can ask for a visit of a special electoral committee with a ballot box in their homes.
Previously, those quarantined were not allowed to vote because of health concerns. But as their numbers rose, new legislation was passed to make sure their voting rights were respected.
The Czechs are voting in regional elections and the first round of elections for one third of the upper house of Parliament, the Senate, on Friday and Saturday. The second round of the Senate elections is scheduled for Oct 9-10.
The Czech Republic has 67,843 confirmed cases and 636 deaths.
NEW DELHI — India recorded 80,472 new confirmed coronaviruses cases in the past 24 hours, showing a decline from a record high two weeks ago.
The Health Ministry raised India’s confirmed total to more than 6.2 million on Wednesday with 2.5 million in September alone. It also reported 1,179 deaths in the last 24 hours, raising the confirmed death toll to 97,497.
India’s Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu tested positive on Tuesday and was advised home quarantine. His office said in a tweet that Naidu, 71, is asymptomatic and in good health. Home Minister Amit Shah had tested positive last month and recovered in a hospital.
India’s recovery rate crossed 83% on Tuesday and the number of cases under treatment were less than 1 million. The daily testing covered more than 1 million people, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, a serological survey showed that the infections were more prevalent in urban centers with high population density. The survey by the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research also found that 6.6% of the population above age 10 have been exposed to the coronavirus.
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations chief says the COVID-19 pandemic has taken “an unprecedent toll” especially on the economies of many developing countries and the world has not responded with “the massive and urgent support those countries and communities need.”
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that in the United States, Canada, Europe and most of the developed world, governments have adopted packages valued in double-digits of GDP to help tackle the coronavirus crisis and its impact.
“The problem is to mobilize the resources to allow the developing countries to be able to do the same,” he told a joint press conference Tuesday with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who have been jointly spearheading high-level meetings to try to raise the resources.
Guterres urged the international community to increase resources to the International Monetary Fund, including through a new allocation of special drawing rights and a voluntary reallocation of existing special drawing rights. He said many countries urgently need debt relief and called for the current debt suspensions to be extended and expanded to all developing and middle-income countries that need help. The private sector, including credit-rating agencies, also “must be engaged in relief efforts,” he said.
The U.N. chief said he is encouraged to see over 40 world leaders and the heads of the IMF, World Bank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the African Union “coming together around these bold policies.”
He urged the international community to provide $35 billion — including $15 billion immediately — to fund “the ACT-Accelerator to ensure equitable access to diagnostics, treatments and vaccines” for all countries.
RALEIGH, N.C. — The University of North Carolina system reported its first coronavirus-related student death on Tuesday since several campuses reopened with at least partial in-person learning last month.
Chad Dorrill, a 19-year student at Appalachian State University who lived off campus in Boone and took all of his classes online, died on Monday due to coronavirus complications, officials said.
“Any loss of life is a tragedy, but the grief cuts especially deep as we mourn a young man who had so much life ahead,” said a statement from Peter Hans, chancellor of the system overseeing the state’s 16 public colleges and universities. “I ache for the profound sadness that Chad Dorrill’s family is enduring right now. My heart goes out to the entire Appalachian State community.”
The university reported a new high of 159 current coronavirus cases among students on Tuesday. Nearly 550 students have tested positive for the virus since in-person classes resumed last month. Appalachian State remains open for in-person instruction.
Three North Carolina colleges, including UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and East Carolina University, have halted physical classes for undergraduate students, after reporting a series of coronavirus outbreaks shortly after students returned to campus.
O’FALLON, Mo. — The number of people hospitalized for the coronavirus has nearly tripled in areas outside of Missouri’s two largest metropolitan areas since the state reopened for business in mid-June, according to state health department data Tuesday.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ COVID-19 dashboard shows the state’s northwest, southeast, southwest and central regions all reached record highs for virus-related hospitalizations on Monday, based on seven-day averages. All told, Missouri reported 1,094 hospitalizations, five fewer than a day earlier, when statewide hospitalizations peaked.
Excluding the St. Louis and Kansas City areas, hospitalizations have risen 186% in the 3½ months since Republican Gov. Mike Parson allowed Missouri to reopen on June 16. The seven-day average for hospitalizations outstate on June 16 was 161; on Monday it was 461.
LIMA, Peru — Health workers for Peru’s social security system began a 48-hour walkout on Tuesday to demand higher pay and better working conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 9,000 doctors, dentists and pharmacists were taking part, prompting hospitals to suspend consultations and many surgeries, though emergency and intensive care facilities aren’t affected.
Teodoro Quiñones, secretary of the social security doctors union, said the government hasn’t kept its promises to raise salaries or pay bonuses during the pandemic.
Doctors in the public sector earn an average of $985 a month, though most supplement that with other jobs at private hospitals or offices.
The Peruvian Ombudsman’s Office said more than 4,000 health workers lack health, life and occupational risk insurance and don’t have the right to sick leave if they’re diagnosed with the virus.
A total of 166 doctors have reportedly died from COVID-19 in Peru. Overall, the country has reported 32,000 dead and more than 808,000 infected.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Businesses in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties will no longer have to adhere to social distancing guidelines, Gov. Bill Lee announced Tuesday, even though cases of COVID-19 in the state have been persistently high.
The Republican governor said he would lift all virus-related limits on businesses and social gatherings for most of the state. The action, which takes effect Thursday, notably does not apply to Tennessee’s six populous counties with locally run health departments. Sullivan, Knox, Hamilton, Davidson, Madison and Shelby counties can continue implementing their own restrictions.
According to data kept by The Associated Press, there were about 287 new cases per 100,000 people in Tennessee over the past two weeks, which ranks 13th in the country for new cases per capita. The state has seen at least 2,389 virus-released deaths
DENVER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is encouraging families to register students in online or in-person schools as the state experiences a decline in enrollment during the coronavirus pandemic.
Polis said the decline is based on anecdotal evidence, but it is widespread across the state, with the greatest decrease among preschool to third-grade students. At a news conference Tuesday, Polis and other officials warned about the “major deficit” that children who return to school after taking time off may face.
Other school districts across the U.S. have reported similar trends. Dr. Chris Rogers, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, says school is critical to the healthy development of children and adolescents.