The Latest: Dutch urge tourists to stay away during Easter

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.


— Italy adds 760 to death toll as new infections continue leveling off.

— Trudeau concerned about reports medical supplies set for Canada have been diverted to U.S.

— Ferry in Greece has 119 people aboard with confirmed coronavirus cases.


THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is appealing to German and Belgian tourists not to visit the Netherlands over the Easter weekend.

Rutte said Thursday that the Dutch foreign ministry will be spreading the stay-away message in neighboring Germany and Belgium via social media in an effort to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

He says cross-border traffic has already largely dried up and many campsites and vacation parks in the Netherlands will be closed over the long weekend, when large numbers of Germans and Belgians traditionally visit the Netherlands.

The Dutch government has not imposed a full lockdown to battle the spread of the virus, but has shut bars, restaurants museums, schools and universities and appealed to people to remain home as much as possible, exercise social distancing and not gather in public places.


LONDON — A union representing thousands of workers at British Airways says a deal has been reached that will mean no one is fired in the coming weeks and months while the airline is largely grounded during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Unite said British Airways will introduce a modified version of the British government’s job retention scheme. Workers, such as cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and head office staff, will be retained rather than dismissed.

The agreement applies to 28,000 workers and will mean that the government pays 2,500 pounds ($3,100) of a worker’s monthly salary with BA paying the balance up to 80% of employees’ pay.


ROME — Italy added another 760 dead to its coronavirus toll, bringing the count in the country with the most deaths to 13,915. But new infections continued to level off three weeks into the West’s first nationwide shutdown, with 4,668 new infections for a total official caseload of 115,242.

Pressure on hospitals in hard-hit Lombardy continued to ease, with more than 800 people recovered and 165 fewer people hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to a day earlier. Intensive care units are still saturated, but overall, Lombardy added just under 1,300 new positive cases, with about half of those infected being treated at home.

More than 10,000 medical personnel have been infected nationwide and 69 doctors have died, according to the National Institutes of Health and the Italian association of doctors.


TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s very concerned about reports that medical supplies destined for Canada have been diverted to the U.S.

Trudeau has asked his public safety minister and transport minister to look into the reports. He says they need to make sure the personal protective equipment that was ordered in Canada makes it to Canada.

The prime minister says he’s working with the U.S. and is following up on this specific issue. He says he knows the needs are great in the U.S. but says it’s the same in Canada.

He also says the government has ordered hundreds of thousands of face shields from Bauer, the company that normally makes hockey equipment.


ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities say a total of 119 people aboard a passenger ship have been confirmed as positive for the new coronavirus.

The ferry with 380 people on board was chartered to house workers from various countries who were to work on a shipbuilding project in Spain. It has been anchored outside Greece’s main port of Piraeus for several days.

Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias says everyone on board the ship had been tested after an initial positive case was confirmed last week. Results came back negative for 259 people, positive for 119 and tests for two people need to be repeated. He says all on board did not present any symptoms.

The ship is to be allowed to dock at a pier set aside in Piraeus and those who have tested negative will be allowed to disembark. They will be transported to hotels before being repatriated to their countries.

Those who have tested positive will be quarantined for 14 days on board the ship, he said.

Those on board were from Greece, Belarus, Cuba, Bulgaria, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States, the shipping ministry said.


WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia has announced 67 new positive infections from the new coronavirus. That brings the total to 653 positive cases with 12 deaths.

Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a stay-home order for Washington’s approximately 700,000 residents. Neighboring Maryland and Virginia have done the same.

Bowser has declared a state of emergency, shuttered all schools and ordered all non-essential businesses to close. White House and Capitol tours have been cancelled and the National Zoo, Smithsonian museum network and Kennedy Center have closed.


MILAN — The mayor of Europe’s first major metropolis to close for the coronavirus is expecting a ‘’stop-and-go’’ relaunch once the lockdown on movements begins to lift.

Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala says until there is a vaccine against the virus, any reopening of the city of 1.3 million residents is likely to be tentative.

‘’It is possible that we reopen, and then we have to close again. Until we have a vaccine, it will be an anomalous situation.,’’ he said.

Restrictions were first launched in Italy’s fashion and finance capital on Feb. 23, when the region of Lombardy shut schools, cinemas, museums, theaters and bars after 6 p.m. The measures have grown ever tighter, with residents of Lombardy barred from leaving their homes except for necessities like going to the grocery store or pharmacy.

Italy’s premier has announced that national containment measures will be in place at least until April 13 and that any easing would happen in phases.

Sala said the new coronavirus will provoke a major rethink in how to handle events that characterize the city, from four Milan Fashion Weeks a year, to the annual design week to cultural events.

Milan Fashion Week menswear previews usually held in June will not take place this year and that ‘’fashion sector officials are asking what they can do in September,’’ when womenswear previews are scheduled.


WASHINGTON — The Justice Department says it is distributing about 192,000 N-95 masks to frontline medical workers in New York and New Jersey that were found during an investigation by the new coronavirus hoarding and price gouging task force

Officials say the masks, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment were found by the FBI on March 30. The Justice Department says it notified the Department of Health and Human Services, which compelled the supplies be turned over as part of the Defense Production Act.

Agents also found nearly 600,000 medical-grade gloves, 130,000 surgical masks, some N100 masks and disinfectant spray and towels.

Authorities said the owner would be paid “fair market value” for the supplies. The equipment is being sent to officials with the New York city and state health departments and the New Jersey Department of Health.


PARIS — A portion of Europe’s largest food depot is being converted into a mortuary and funeral home.

The food depot outside Paris is needed as bodies are accumulating from the new coronavirus too quickly for professionals to cope.

The police chief for the Paris region made the decision to open a hall of the market in Rungis for storage of bodies and caskets starting on Friday. Families will be able to pay respects to departed loved ones beginning next week.

The hall is located in an isolated area of the massive food depot which supplies stores and other food outlets.

Police did not specify the capacity of the hall.

The decision was made by Police Chief Didier Lallement to seek out a space with sufficient capacity because the epidemic has created shortages in mortuaries and funeral homes in the Paris region.

Salons for grieving families to pay respects at loved one’s casket are being created.


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Officials say five men standing in line for a haircut at a clandestine barbershop in Puerto Rico have been detained for violating the new coronavirus curfew.

Police say the barber was operating in the northern town of Canovanas. The U.S. territory is in the midst of a month long curfew in which all non-essential businesses have been ordered closed.

Hundreds have been detained for violating the curfew. The government has reported 12 deaths and more than 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19.


RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A second Red Cross trailer loaded with emergency supplies has been stolen from a Southern California office of the organization.

Police say two men in a pickup drove into a Red Cross parking lot in Riverside on Sunday. They pried a lock, connected the trailer to their truck and left.

The trailer was used for establishing emergency shelters and was filled with cots, blankets and some masks.

Red Cross spokeswoman Brianna Kelly tells the Press-Enterprise the supplies were not related to the coronavirus. The trailers are typically used during wildfires or floods. The first trailer was stolen several weeks ago. It’s not known if the thefts are related.


WEST BEND, Wis. — Many dairy processing plants across Wisconsin have more product than they can handle and that’s forced farmers to begin dumping their milk down the drain.

That’s the case at Golden E Dairy near West Bend. Farmer Ryan Elbe told WISN-TV they are dumping about about 30,000 gallons (113,562 litres) a day.

The coronavirus has dried up the marketplace for dairy products as restaurants, schools and food service businesses have been closed. About one-third of the state’s dairy products, mostly cheese, are sold in the food-service trade.

The Journal Sentinel reports that Elbe’s cooperative Dairy Farmers of America has agreed to pay them for milk that’s being dumped. But like most cooperatives, DFA can only afford to do that for so long.

Elbe’s parents started the farm with 80 cows in 1991, an operation that has grown to 2,400 cows today.


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The new coronavirus pandemic is expected to wipe out $23 billion in passenger revenue from airlines across the Middle East and Africa this year.

That’s according to an assessment Thursday by the aviation industry’s largest trade association.

The International Air Transport Association has been pleading for governments to rescue carriers with financial assistance and tax cuts. Flights around the world are grounded and airports are shuttered except to cargo flights and returning citizens.

The group said Mideast airlines will see a $19 billion drop in revenue this year as compared to 2019. Airlines in Africa, which include EgyptAir, are expected to see a $4 billion drop.

Hundreds of thousands of job in the aviation sector are also at risk across both regions.

IATA said projections are based on assumptions that travel restrictions will continue through the second quarter of 2020. Even if travel recovers partially in the second half of the year, it will be slow and impacted by an overall slump in the global economy and weakened passenger demand.


NICOSIA, Cyprus — A domestic abuse association in Cyprus says forced seclusion because of the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a nearly 50% spike in family violence reports in March.

The Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family says of the nearly 2,100 calls to its helpline through March, more than half went unanswered because staff were overwhelmed.

The association says confinement due to the new virus increases the intensity, frequency and danger of violence against women and children. It also offers perpetrators different ways to abuse victims like using children to pressure a spouse psychologically, using threats of exposure to the virus, withholding items like medicine, masks and antiseptic liquids and preventing women from seeking medical help in case symptoms appear.

The association said it continues its operate its helpline and that all shelters remain open.


BERLIN — An app developed by German non-profit group Data4Life and Berlin’s renowned Charité hospital that makes the process of testing for the new coronavirus more efficient is being made freely available to other institutions around the world.

The CovApp was launched in the German capital last month to help people determine whether they should visit a testing center if they believe they are infected.

Depending on the answers users provide about their symptoms and recent activity, the app either suggests they rest at home or refers them to a nearby medical facility to get a test.

The data collected beforehand can be provided to doctors at the facility to shorten the waiting time there.

The app’s makers said Thursday they are making the code open source, meaning it will be “freely accessible for everyone.”


BERLIN — Germany plans to loosen a week-old ban on most seasonal workers entering the country amid concerns about the impact on farms.

Farms last year employed nearly 300,000 seasonal workers, many from eastern Europe.

The interior and agriculture ministries says up to 40,000 seasonal workers will be allowed into Germany in April and the same number in May.

Authorities hope that some 10,000 people per month who are already in Germany can be recruited, such as the unemployed, students or asylum-seekers.

Newcomers will be allowed in only by plane and must be given medical checks on arrival. They will have to live and work separately from other employees for the first 14 days and wear protective gear while working.

Farmers had been able to bring in only 20,000 seasonal workers before new arrivals were halted last week but they will need some 100,000 by the end of May.


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