The Latest: Italy adds record 31,758 daily coronavirus cases
ROME — Italy added a record 31,758 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours and doubled the deaths to nearly 300 on Saturday.
The Health Ministry says approximately one of every seven people receiving swab tests has tested positive in recent days.
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte is considering more stringent virus measures. Demonstrators took to the streets of Rome on Saturday to protest recent measures.
Italy has nearly 680,000 confirmed cases and 38,618 deaths, the second-highest deaths in Europe.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Italy adds record 31,758 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours
— Germany’s Merkel pledging financial help for companies hit by partial shutdown
— Two top Turkish officials who work closely with Turkey’s president say they’ve tested positive for the coronavirus.
— Italian nurse sees the nightmare return of the coronavirus. The 54-year-old nurse saw the virus in the unmasked faces of fellow vacationers this summer and her worry grew.
— Federal health officials have new rules that will enable large cruise ships to eventually start sailing again in U.S. waters.
Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
PHOENIX — Arizona reported nearly 1,900 new cases and 45 deaths on Saturday.
Hospitalization rates in late October have started to reach levels last recorded in late May, with 880 people hospitalized for COVID-19 on Friday. Nearly 200 were in intensive care.
The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases rose from 772 on Oct. 16 to 1,166 on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press.
The daily deaths went from 8.6 to 9.9 and the positivity rate increased from 8.2% to 10.5%.
Arizona has reported 245,946 confirmed cases and 5,979 deaths.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece surpassed 2,000 coronavirus cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Authorities says there were 2,056 new cases in the past day and six deaths.
The government announced new lockdown measures Saturday to stem the rapid rise in new cases. The restrictions, including the closure of bars, cafes, restaurants and gyms in large swaths of the country, will take effect Tuesday through at least the end of November.
The total confirmed coronavirus cases reached 39,251 and 626 deaths.
VIENNA — Austria will impose a partial shutdown Tuesday that closes restaurants, bars and recreation facilities.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says Austrians will stay home between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., although they can go out for work and exercise. He requested citizens work from home when possible.
Kurz says the restrictions will last through November. He characterized it as a “second lockdown” but more lenient because schools, non-essential shops and hairdressers can stay open.
Austria has reported 301 cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days. That compares with 110 in neighboring Germany, which is imposing a somewhat lighter four-week partial shutdown starting Monday.
Austria has confirmed a total of 106,000 coronavirus cases and 1,097 deaths.
PRAGUE — The Czech Red Cross launched a program of one-day training for volunteers to assist medical personnel in hospitals and nursing homes amid a staff shortage.
The volunteers will learn the basics treatment of patients, says Katerina Havlova, the director of Red Cross branch in the northern town of Jablonec nad Nisou.
Her branch, one of eight providing training across the Czech Republic, plans to train more than 100 volunteers.
Approximately 15,000 medical staff in the country’s hospitals have tested positive for the coronavirus. Currently, 7,281 people are hospitalized, more than twice the number two weeks ago.
The Czech Republic has 323,673 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths.
LONDON — Britain has recorded more than 1 million cases of the coronavirus since the start of the outbreak.
The British Department of Health on Saturday announced 21,915 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 1.01 million cases.
The United States, India, Brazil, Russia, France, Spain, Argentina and Colombia also have recorded more than 1 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Scientists say the number of cases is likely much higher because of a lack of testing and reporting.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce new restrictions Saturday to help combat a coronavirus surge.
Britain’s confirmed death toll is 46,555, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.
NEW YORK — Federal health officials announced new rules to eventually help cruise ships sail again in U.S. waters.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says companies must demonstrate procedures for testing, quarantining and isolating passengers and crew. Ship owners must test all passengers and crew at the start and end of all voyages, which are limited to seven days.
The companies will need test labs on all ships and arrangements to isolate or quarantine passengers on shore, if needed. The CDC says this may take months to coordinate.
“This framework provides a pathway to resume safe and responsible sailing,” says CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield.
In mid-March, the CDC issued an order suspending cruise ship operations at U.S. ports. That came after coronavirus outbreaks on ships and concerns about spreading the virus. The no-sail order ended Saturday.
ISTANBUL — Two top Turkish officials who work closely with Turkey’s president say they’ve tested positive for the coronavirus.
Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesman to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says in a tweet he had light symptoms and was nearing the end of treatment.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu says in a tweet that he, his wife and daughter were hospitalized but feeling “a bit better.”
Soylu was criticized in April for announcing the first weekend lockdown just 2 hours before it went into effect, leading to chaos at markets. Erdogan didn’t accept his resignation after the event.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reported 2,213 new coronavirus cases and 75 deaths on Saturday. Turkey has more than 373,100 confirmed cases and reported more than 10,200 deaths.
ROME — Premier Giuseppe Conte says his government is deciding if more restrictions are needed to rein in the spread of coronavirus infections.
“The contagion curve is so rapid now it puts in-class schools at risk,’’ says Conte, five days after closing restaurants in the evening and closing down gyms, cinemas and theaters.
Elementary and middle school children can still attend class. However, 75% of high school instruction must be done remotely, in accordance with nationwide rules that started this week.
On Monday, Lombardy’s governor will consult with the local mayors, including of its main city Milan, before deciding whether to lock down the region.
Some citizens have participated in anti-lockdown protests this week to vent their anger about the restrictions. In Florence on Friday night, four demonstrators were detained.
Italy has more than 647,000 confirmed cases and more than 38,000 deaths.
ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has tested negative for coronavirus after having exposure to someone who tested positive.
A statement on his Twitter account says the Republican governor is quarantining as a precaution. It says first lady Marty Kemp also tested negative.
In a separate announcement Friday, U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson says he tested positive for coronavirus and is working from home while in quarantine. Ferguson appeared with Kemp at a rally on Thursday.
Kemp was among the earliest to allow businesses to reopen. He has avoided a statewide mask mandate, including this summer, when Georgia recorded the highest per capita infections nationwide.
Georgia has 360,000 confirmed cases of the virus and more than 7,950 deaths,
according to the state Department of Public Health.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece will shut down restaurants, bars, cafes, cinemas and gyms across a large part of the country, including the capital Athens, after a surge in coronavirus cases.
Outlining the measures in a televised address, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the changes will take effect Tuesday morning and last for the whole of November.
The areas affected are most of northern Greece and the Athens region.
Though closed for sitting customers, restaurants in these areas will be able to offer food for takeaway and deliveries.
In other measures, Mitsotakis said masks will become mandatory across the whole of Greece and a curfew will come into force from midnight to 5 a.m. University classes across the country will have to be conducted online.
In contrast to the spring lockdown, travel within the country will not be affected and retail shops will stay open.
Like other countries in Europe, Greece is in the grip of a resurgence of the virus. Daily infections surged over 1,000 this week, peaking at 1,690 Friday.
LONDON — The British government is considering imposing a new national lockdown in England after scientific advisers warned hospitalizations and deaths from the resurgence of the coronavirus could soon surpass the levels seen at the outbreak’s spring peak.
Epidemiologist John Edmunds, a member of the government’s scientific advisory group, say cases were running “significantly above” a reasonable worst-case scenario drawn up by modelers this month.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has introduced a system of local restrictions for England based on levels of infection. But scientists say it hasn’t been enough.
The Times of London says Johnson could announce a month-long lockdown as soon as Monday, though the government says no decisions have been made.
Any new lockdown would likely see non-essential businesses close and people told to stay mostly at home, though schools would remain open.
The U.K. is recording more than 20,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and government statisticians say the actual figure is likely far higher. On Saturday, the country is likely to surpass 1 million confirmed cases.
The U.K. has Europe’s highest coronavirus death toll at more than 46,000.
BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel is pledging to help companies hit by a new German partial shutdown “quickly and unbureaucratically” as the country reports the latest in a string of daily coronavirus infection records.
German officials decided this week to shut down bars, restaurants and leisure facilities for four weeks starting Monday and impose new contact restrictions. The aim is to curb a rapid rise in new infections and prevent an overwhelmed health system.
The government plans to spend up to 10 billion euros ($11.7 billion) to compensate companies hit by the latest shutdown.
Merkel said in her weekly video message, “we will not leave companies that face difficulties because of the current crisis through no fault of their own alone. We want to help quickly and unbureaucratically.”
On Saturday, the national disease center, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 19,059 confirmed cases in the last 24 hours and 103 deaths. That’s up from the previous record set Friday of 18,681.
Germany’s total cases since the pandemic started has increased to 518,753 and its death toll to 10,452.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — A national rapid-testing program for the coronavirus has launched in Slovakia. The government aims to test anyone over 10 in the next two weekends.
The results of the free tests, which look for antigens, will be available within minutes. Those testing negative won’t have to abide by strict limits on movement imposed on citizens in the country of 5.4 million.
Some 5,000 testing sites have been established by the armed forces. Long lines of cars have already formed at the sites. Despite help from volunteers, some sites didn’t have enough medical personnel on Saturday, authorities say.
BEIJING — China has reported six new confirmed cases of coronavirus in an outbreak in Xinjiang, bringing the total in the far-west region to 51.
Six were in serious condition, Xinjiang health authorities said Saturday. Another 161 people have tested positive but show no symptoms.
The outbreak in Shufu county, near the city of Kashgar, appears to be linked to a garment factory that employs 252 people. It has been sealed off.
China has largely curbed the spread of the coronavirus but continues to see localized outbreaks with infections in the hundreds. The National Health Commission also reported 27 new cases among people who had arrived recently from overseas.
The total confirmed cases has reached 85,973 and 4,634 deaths. China does not include people without symptoms in its confirmed case count.
NEW DELHI — India has registered 48,268 confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, continuing a downward trend.
The Health Ministry on Saturday reported 551 more deaths, taking total confirmed deaths to 121,641. The figure raises the country’s total virus tally to more than 8.1 million, behind only the U.S., which has 9 million cases.
The slowdown in daily infections has held for more than a month, with fewer than 60,000 cases for nearly two weeks. Some experts say the trend suggests the virus may have finally reached a plateau in India. But others question the testing methods and warn a major festival due in a few weeks and the winter season could result in a new surge.
The capital of New Delhi, which recently became the worst-hit city in India, is already witnessing high air pollution levels. That may make fighting COVID-19 — a respiratory disease that effects the lungs — more complicated in months ahead.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — For the first time, Sri Lanka police have arrested dozens of people for not wearing masks and failing to maintain social distancing, under the new laws imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Police spokesman Ajith Rohana says 39 people were detained and another 221 were held for violating a curfew.
Since Thursday, the government has imposed the curfew in the entire Western province where new outbreaks at a garment factory and a main fish market were discovered in early October. It includes the capital Colombo, where nearly 30% of the 22 million population live.
Infections from the two clusters have grown to 6,945 by Saturday, including 633 in the last 24 hours. That brings the confirmed total to more than 10,000 cases and 19 deaths on the island nation.
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia has announced it will spend 500 million Australian dollars ($351 million) to secure coronavirus vaccines for the Pacific and Southeast Asia “as part of a shared recovery for our region from the pandemic.”
The government says it would use a range of advance purchase agreements with manufacturers via the global COVAX Facility plan, which aims to ensure virus vaccines are shared with all nations.
“A fast, safe vaccine rollout … will mean we are able to return to more normal travel, tourism and trade with our key partners in the region.”
Meanwhile, officials in Victoria state reported just one new coronavirus case on Saturday as Melbourne residents head into a weekend of greater social freedom.
Figures from the state’s Health Department show an average of just 2.4 new cases per day for the past 14 days.
The easing of restrictions means families can visit each other at home. A 25-kilometer (15-mile) travel limit remains in place and outdoor gatherings are still capped at 10 people.
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky reported a near-record number of coronavirus cases Friday as the surging outbreak sent more people to hospitals, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
“This is a dangerous time. We’re moving the wrong way,” the Democratic governor said as he urged Kentuckians to wear masks in public to protect themselves and others.
Beshear reported 1,941 new coronavirus cases — the second-highest statewide daily total since the pandemic began — and 15 more virus-related deaths. The state’s positivity rate reached 6.19% — the highest level since May 6, he says.
The recent surge has led to rising hospitalizations. On Friday, there were 974 patients hospitalized in Kentucky due to the virus and 241 patients in ICU with COVID-19.
Total statewide cases surpassed 105,000, and the virus-related death toll reached at least 1,476. The latest deaths included people ranging in age from 39 to 91.