The Latest: France: 357 deaths, but signs spread is slowing
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.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
— France: 357 deaths in hospitals from the virus in a single day but signs that spread is slowing.
— Fauci: Very good chance coronavirus “will assume a seasonal nature.”
— Palm Sunday services in some Kentucky churches in defiance of Gov. Andy Beshear’s warning against in-person worship.
— Brazil’s Bolsonaro, evangelical backers declared day of prayer and fasting against the spread of coronavirus
— Trudeau confident Canada will still be able to import N95 masks
PARIS — France reported 357 deaths in hospitals from the virus in a single day Sunday but showed signs that its spread is slowing after 20 days of national confinement.
The country remains among the hardest hit in the world, with 8,078 confirmed deaths since the virus arrived in January. More than a quarter of those who died were in nursing homes, according to figures from the national health service Sunday night.
France’s intensive care units continue to fill up fast, with 390 new arrivals since Saturday for a total of 6,978 people in critical care beds. But the daily growth has been slowing, and 250 people left intensive care in the same one-day period. Most of those in intensive care are older, but 106 are under 30 years old.
While still high, the number of new deaths in hospitals dropped Sunday for the second day straight and was the lowest since March 29.
France continued Sunday to transport critically ill patients out of saturated regions to those with more hospital space and has brought in hundreds of medical personnel to help in the overwhelmed Paris region.
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci says there a very good chance the new coronavirus “will assume a seasonal nature” because it is unlikely to be under control globally.
Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He says the virus is unlikely to be completely eradicated from the planet this year. That means the U.S. could see the “beginning of a resurgence” during the next flu season.
Fauci says the prospect of a resurgence is the reason the U.S. is working so hard to get its preparedness “better than it was.” He says that includes working to develop a vaccine and conducting clinical trials on therapeutic interventions.
Fauci also says states that don’t have stay-at-home orders are not putting the rest of the country at risk as much as they are putting themselves at risk.
Fauci spoke on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some Kentucky churches held Palm Sunday services in defiance of Gov. Andy Beshear’s warning against in-person worship.
Dozens of people were at Maryville Baptist Church in Louisville on Sunday, news outlets reported. A video showed a pianist playing and choir members singing during the late morning service.
Louisville’s Our Savior Lutheran Church streamed its in-person service live on YouTube. The church had required online registration beforehand and restricted seating to every other pew. The video stream did not show the audience.
Beshear warned during his daily briefing on Saturday that mass gatherings “are spreading the coronavirus.
“We care about each other in this state, and our faith guides us and gives us the wisdom to do the right thing to protect each other.”
Some states, including Florida, have made exemptions to allow religious gatherings to proceed during the coronavirus. Kentucky does not have that exemption.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and evangelical backers declared Sunday a day of prayer and fasting against the spread of the new coronavirus, and a small group gathered outside his official residence in the capital, Brasilia, to pray.
A day earlier, he posted on social media a video of himself with about a dozen pastors calling for the fasting and prayer. The Rev. Marco Feliciano said the purpose is so that “all the bad predictions made here in Brazil fall to the ground.”
Bolsonaro has distanced himself from most world leaders and many members of his own government by repeatedly minimizing the risks posed by COVID-19 and saying younger and healthy people should not self-isolate at home but get back to work.
Some of the pastors appearing in the video had previously criticized state governors who introduced quarantines that prevented them from opening their churches.
TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s confident Canada will still be able to import N95 protective masks form the U.S. despite an export ban. He plans to speak to U.S. President Donald Trump in the coming days.
Trump has said he will block exports of the masks from the United States to ensure they are available in the U.S. for use during the coronavirus pandemic.
Trudeau notes Canada supplies the U.S. with many supplies including pulp for surgical-grade N95 masks, test kits and gloves. Canadian nurses also work in the U.S.
Trudeau says it would be harmful to both nations if the flow of those goods and services stopped.
Manufacturing giant 3M say there are significant humanitarian implications in not sending N95 masks to health care workers in Canada and Latin America, where 3M is a critical supplier of respirators.
Trump has said the U.S. wants the masks and he doesn’t want others getting them. But has also said 3M can sell to other countries but the company needs to take care of the U.S.
TORONTO — The premier of the Canadian province that sheltered thousands of stranded American airline passengers after the 9/11 attacks says he’s infuriated that U.S. President Donald Trump banned the export of N95 protective masks to Canada.
Newfoundland Premier Dwight Ball says one of the great lessons in humanity is that in times of crisis you don’t stop being human. He noted that in 2001 his province stepped up in the biggest way possible without being asked.
Ball says he can’t believe Trump would even think about banning key medical supplies to Canada. He says this is a time to work together no matter the passport. More than 6,600 passengers descended on Gander, Newfoundland, a town of 10,000 without warning. Canadians took care of them. The premier says Newfoundland and Labrador will never give up on humanity and would do it again.
ROME — Italy has registered its lowest day-to-day increase in deaths of patients with the coronavirus in more than two weeks.
Angelo Borrelli, the head of the national Civil Protection agency on Sunday, said there were 525 deaths in the 24-hour period since Saturday evening. That’s the lowest such figure since 427 deaths were registered on March 19.
Italy has a total of 15,887 deaths and nearly 130,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. A day shy of one month under national lockdown that the government ordered to try to contain the wildly spreading contagion, the lower count of day-to-day deaths brought some encouragement.
The number of intensive care beds occupied by COVID-19 patients has also showed a decrease in the past few days, including in northern Lombardy, Italy’s most stricken region.
JERUSALEM — The Israeli Defense Ministry says it has helped arrange an airlift of critically needed medical equipment from China to help fight the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement Sunday, the ministry said the first plane, carrying more than 900,000 surgical masks and half a million protective suits for medical teams, is scheduled to arrive on Monday.
It said Israeli airline EL Al has modified 11 Boeing Dreamliner aircraft for the operation. The airlift, which is to bring in millions of items as well as breathing machines, is to take place over two weeks.
The ministry has been coordinating an effort in recent weeks with other government ministries, the Mossad intelligence agency and the private sector to cope with the health crisis. Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Israeli chemical maker ICL also participated in the airlift mission.
Israel has reported more than 8,000 cases of COVID-19 and 48 deaths.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden — King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has asked the country to “stay home at Easter,” during a rare televised address to the nation.
Speaking from the remote Stenhammar Palace where the 73-year-old monarch is self-isolating, the King paid tribute to healthcare workers battling the outbreak that has now claimed 401 lives in the Scandinavian nation.
The King said staying home was “a small sacrifice” and urged people to act responsibly.
While most European countries have adopted strict restrictions of movement and personal freedom, Sweden’s strategy in fighting the pandemic appears comparatively more relaxed.
Swedish authorities have advised the public to practice social distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants are still open, and only gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned.
Over the weekend, outdoor bars and restaurants were busy, and many people flocked to parks and forests around the capital, Stockholm.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia’s Prime Minister Igor Matovic says his government is planning to limit movement across the country over Easter in efforts to contain the epidemic of the coronavirus.
Matovic says the restrictions should be in place from Wednesday till the end of Easter Monday. After the restrictive measure was proposed by experts on Sunday, Matovic said his coalition government will vote on it on Monday.
“To travel means to spread the virus,” Matovic said. “We’re not in a situation to make a mistake.”
People will be allowed to travel to work, do essential shopping or visit doctors, but won’t be allowed to leave their county.
Slovakia is a Roman Catholic stronghold in central and eastern Europe. The government previously banned public gatherings, including religious services.
Slovakia has 485 infected people with the coronavirus, the government said Sunday.
ATHENS, Greece — Authorities in Greece have announced five fatalities from the new coronavirus over the past 24 hours. That brings the total to 73 fatalities, of which 52 were men.
The average age of the victims is 74.
There were 62 new confirmed cases to raise the total confirmed cases in Greece to 1,735. More than 50% of the infected are men.
There are 93 people in intensive care units. Greek authorities say they have administered 25,453 tests for the virus.
LONDON — The chief medical officer for Scotland has apologized for ignoring her own policy and visiting her second home despite government advice to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Photos of Dr. Catherine Calderwood appeared in The Scottish Sun on Saturday. Police gave her a warning and she is facing calls to resign.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says that while she doesn’t condone Calderwood’s behavior, it would be “damaging not to have the ongoing advice and expertise’’ of Calderwood as chief medical officer.
Sturgeon says she did not know about Calderwood’s visits to her second home, which is an hour from Edinburgh.
Sturgeon says “all of us, including me, will make mistakes in these unprecedented times we are living in. When we do we must be candid about it and learn from it.”
ISTANBUL —Turkey’s health minister has announced 73 more patients have died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 574.
Fahrettin Koca, in figures shared on Twitter on Sunday, also said 3,135 people tested positive for the coronavirus. A total of 27,069 cases have been confirmed so far by the ministry.
ATHENS, Greece — The Greek government has announced stricter lockdown measures for the islands of Mykonos and Santorini, both of which are among Greece’s premier tourist destinations. Specifically, for the island of Mykonos, there is a total curfew imposed on residents from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Also, residents of Mykonos will not be allowed to leave their homes to exercise, individually or in pairs, as in the rest of Greece. They will only be allowed to walk their dog, for 15 minutes, and only on the block around their home. There are also stricter-than-usual crowd control measures in supermarkets. On the island of Santorini, all construction activities are suspended. The above measures will be imposed Monday morning and will last 14 days. They will then be reviewed.
RABAT — Morocco’s Ministry of Justice has said King Mohammed VI ordered the release of 5,654 prisoners across the North African country’s prisons in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus.
The prisoners were all deemed to be low-risk and granted the royal pardon. They were selected on the basis of age, health condition, the length of detention, as well as good conduct.
No cases of the new coronavirus have been identified in Moroccan prisons so far. The Ministry of Justice announced Sunday that the king also ordered the strengthening of the protection of detainees in prisons, particularly against the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
Morocco has so far recorded 961 infections and 69 deaths from COVID-19.
PRAGUE — The Czech Republic has agreed to take coronavirus patients from France to help the country badly hit by the pandemic.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis says six French patients will be transported to the University Hospital in the second largest Czech city of Brno.
Babis says France asked his country to take care of the patients and “because we have the capacity available we agreed.” Babis has offered more beds for French patients.
The French embassy in Prague thanked the Czechs who previously sent some medical protective gear to Italy, Spain and Slovenia.
The Czech Republic has 4,543 people infected with the coronavirus and 67 have died.
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden says the Democratic National Convention that has already been delayed until August may need to be held virtually.
Biden said on ABC’s “This Week” it may not be possible to put tens of thousands of people in one place.
Biden has a commanding lead in delegates and needs to clinch his party’s presidential nomination as the coronavirus’ spread continues to reshape the race for the White House.
Biden says he plans to wear a mask in public. That conforms with federal guidelines that Americans use face coverings in public places. But it contradicts President Donald Trump, who says he’s choosing not do that.
“He may not like how he looks in a mask, but the truth of the matter is that follow the science,” Biden said. “That’s what they’re telling us.”
CAIRO — Former Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril died in the Egyptian capital of Cairo from COVID-19. The announcement was made on his official Facebook on Sunday. He was 67.
Jibril tested positive for the new coronavirus late in March.
Egypt’s state-run media also reported his death. Jibril was a senior Gadhafi economic adviser and protege to Seif al-Islam, son and presumed heir to Libya’s longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.
He broke with Gadhafi’s regime in the early days of the 2011 NATO-backed rebellion that toppled and later killed Gadhafi. He quickly managed to reinvent himself as a rebel leader through his international ties, which included fluent English from his advanced degrees at the University of Pittsburgh. He also had backing from his powerful Warfalla tribe.
Jibril had established a secular-leaning allegiance, the National Forces Alliance, in 2012 in efforts to hold off Islamist rivals after the overthrow and killing of Gadhafi in 2011.
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