The Latest: Czechs lift restrictions on regional travel
PRAGUE — The Czech Republic is lifting all restrictions on travel to neighboring Austria and Germany and also Hungary.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis says the Czechs will be allowed into the three countries without a certificate that they’ve tested negative for the coronavirus and a quarantine when they return home.
The same applies to the citizens of the three countries entering the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia on Thursday canceled all restrictions on their common border.
Babis has previously said the reopening of borders should boost tourism and trade that were badly hit by the pandemic.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Japan’s pandemic deaths low, but future success uncertain
— UK vaccine summit calls for freely available virus vaccine
— Navy carrier sidelined by virus is back operating in Pacific
— A second round of random testing in Spain for antibodies to the new coronavirus indicates that a third of those infected do not develop symptoms. National Epidemiological Center Director Marina Pollán says “it is a wake-up call for public health: it is not possible to control (an outbreak) by just considering those who are symptomatic.”
— Several authors of a large study that raised safety concerns about malaria drugs for coronavirus patients have retracted the report, saying independent reviewers were not able to verify information that’s been widely questioned by other scientists. Thursday’s retraction in the journal Lancet involved a May 22 report on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs long used for preventing or treating malaria but whose safety and effectiveness for COVID-19 are unknown.
— Prince Charles says he has missed giving his family members a hug during the long weeks of lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Prince of Wales also acknowledged in a interview with Sky News on Thursday that he had not seen his father, the Duke of Edinburgh for many weeks. Prince Philip, who is shielding at Windsor Castle with Queen Elizabeth II, is set to celebrate his 99th birthday next week.
Go to https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak for updates throughout the day.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING TODAY:
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Fiji has declared itself free of the coronavirus – at least for now – after all 18 people who tested positive have recovered.
Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Friday that the South Pacific island nation had just cleared the last of its active patients.
He wrote on Twitter: “And even with our testing numbers climbing by the day, it’s now been 45 days since we recorded our last case. With no deaths, our recovery rate is 100%”
He added: “Answered prayers, hard work, and affirmation of science!”
Fiji, which has a population of 900,000, imposed a lockdown in certain areas in April and put in place ongoing border restrictions.
NEW DELHI: India on Friday registered more than 9,800 new cases of the coronavirus in another biggest single-day spike.
The Health Ministry said the total number of confirmed cases touched 226,770 with 6,348 deaths, 273 of them in the past 24 hours. The overall rate of recovery is around 48%.
There has been a surge in infections in rural areas following the return of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who left cities after the lockdown in late March.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced India’s contribution of $15 million to the international vaccine alliance during his address to the virtual Global Vaccine Summit hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday.
Modi said the COVID19 pandemic has exposed the limitations of global cooperation and that for the first time in recent history, the world faces a clear common enemy.
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says that he is glad “Filipinos are really law-abiding” and that the Philippines is not going through unrest like America, which would make the coronavirus quarantine enforcement formidable.
Duterte made the remarks during a televised meeting Thursday night with key Cabinet officials, where he used expletives to express disgust over a range of quarantine problems.
He particularly fumed over the delay in the delivery of promised financial help to the families of 32 health workers who died after getting infected with the virus.
Duterte renewed his threat to jail any officials who steal cash aid meant for the poor amid the pandemic. Officials say the Philippines’ unemployment rate has soared to a record 17.7%.
The Philippines has reported 20,382 coronavirus infections, including nearly 1,000 deaths.
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations chief says the coronavirus pandemic has compounded “the dire humanitarian and security situations” in Mali and Africa’s Sahel region.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says in a report to the Security Council obtained Thursday by The Associated Press that the deteriorating security situation “remains of grave concern with terrorist groups allied with al-Qaida and Islamic State competing for control over areas of influence.”
He says terrorist attacks on civilians, Malian and international forces are continuing in northern and central Mali, posing the most significant security threat in the north. He adds that clashes between al-Qaida and Islamic State have also been reported.
Guterres says that “the impact of COVID-19 is exacerbating the humanitarian crises” in Mali, where 3.5 million people are suffering from “food insecurity” and 757,000 are “severely food insecure.”
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil has reported 1,473 more COVID-19 deaths, the biggest 24-hour increase in the country’s death toll since the outbreak began. That’s equal to more than one death per minute, and means the country now has the world’s third highest death toll.
For the second straight night, the health ministry delayed release of Thursday’s data until 10 p.m. local time, after Brazil’s widely watched evening news program ended. Thursday was the third straight day with a new daily high for Brazil’s coronavirus deaths.
Brazil has reported more than 34,000 deaths from the virus so far, meaning it surpassed the amount in Italy and trails only the U.K. and U.S. Experts consider the tally a significant undercount due to insufficient testing.
SEOUL, South Korea __ South Korea has reported 39 new cases of the coronavirus over a 24-hour period, a continuation of an upward trend in new infections in the Asian country.
The additional figures released Friday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the country’s total to 11,668 cases, with 273 deaths.
The agency says 34 of the additional cases were reported in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of South Korea’s 51 million people live.
South Korea has seen a rise in the number of new cases after easing much of its rigid social distancing rules in early May. But the caseload hasn’t exploded, unlike when the country reported hundreds of new cases every day in late February and early March.
BEIJING — China is reporting five new confirmed coronavirus cases, all of them brought by Chinese citizens from outside the country.
No new deaths were reported Friday, continuing a trend stretching back weeks.
Chinese officials say just 66 people remain in treatment and 299 more are under isolation and being monitoring as suspected cases.
China has reported 4,634 deaths among 83,027 cases since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
China has drawn criticism of its initial handling of the outbreak and allegations it withheld crucial information, but it has repeatedly defended its record. On Thursday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Beijing is committed to the “development of global public health.”
Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak