The Latest: LA to file charges over recent house parties
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles plans to file criminal charges over recent parties in the Hollywood Hills, held despite a city ban on large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.
City attorney Mike Feuer plans to announce a crackdown Friday against so-called party houses, including one reportedly rented by TikTok celebrities Bryce Hall and Blake Gray.
Mayor Eric Garcetti last week authorized the city to shut off water and power to the home after they repeatedly held large and raucous parties in violation of public health orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Garcetti says with bars closed in town, large house parties can become “super spreaders.”
Los Angeles County has recorded nearly 237,000 coronavirus cases and more than 5,700 confirmed deaths, making it the hardest-hit county in the state.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK
— Germany’s Merkel warns of pandemic difficulties to come
— Small businesses in U.S. college towns struggle without students
— South Korea tightens distancing as new cases mount
— President Donald Trump spoke of the deadly coronavirus pandemic as though his handling of it was an unqualified success during his nomination acceptance speech.
— The British government is encouraging workers to return to their office s amid economic concerns for coffee shops, restaurants and other businesses.
— With the average number of daily cases falling along with the infection rate and hospitalizations, California looks to reopen again
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Amsterdam and Rotterdam municipalities say face masks will no longer be mandatory in busy parts of the Netherlands’ two biggest cities starting Monday.
The city officials say their experiments with masks on a limited number of busy streets, markets and shopping malls will end as planned on Aug. 31.
Amsterdam officials says in a statement that the experiment started on Aug. 5 will be evaluated before a decision is taken on whether to again mandate the wearing of masks in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The Dutch capital, a popular destination for tourists, has had a rise in infections in recent weeks. Infections have risen in Rotterdam since lockdown measures were relaxed on July 1.
However, Amsterdam says with the busiest tourist season coming to an end it’s likely to be easier for people to stick to social distancing guidelines in busy parts of the city.
LONDON — Ryanair says a passenger was removed from a plane in London after he received a text message notifying him that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Authorities in hazmat suits boarded the plane Wednesday night and took the passenger and his companion off the plane at London’s Stansted Airport before their seats and overhead luggage bins were disinfected.
The flight from London to Pisa, Italy, was delayed for an hour and 20 minutes.
Ryanair says the two passengers were wearing masks and on the plane for a short period. They were sent to an isolation area and put in touch with authorities from Public Health England.
The airline says “there was little if any risk of C19 transmission to other passengers or crew members … all of whom were also wearing face masks at all times.’’
BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel is cautioning that the coronavirus crisis will make life more difficult in the coming months than it has been over the summer and is calling on Germans to continue taking the threat seriously.
Germany’s response to the virus is generally viewed as relatively successful, but the country has seen a pickup in new infections in recent weeks, as have many others in Europe.
Merkel says, “We have to expect that some things will be even more difficult in the coming months than in the summer.”
She says it is important to keep infections down as people increasingly meet indoors and that “we will have to keep living with the virus.”
The long-time German leader says she had three priorities, including ensuring that children can continue access education despite the pandemic, ensuring economic revival and maintaining social cohesion at a time when many in society are suffering hardship.
LONDON — London’s Gatwick Airport says it doesn’t expect air traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels for four or five years after passenger volume dropped 66% in the first half of the year.
The capital’s second-biggest airport said Friday that just 7.5 million people traveled through Gatwick in the first six months of 2020, down from 22.2 million in the same period last year.
Gatwick says it has already eliminated 740 jobs and expects to cut another 600 during the third quarter.
CEO Stewart Wingate says, “like any other international airport, the negative impact of COVID-19 on our passenger numbers and air traffic at the start of the year was dramatic and, although there are small signs of recovery, it is a trend we expect to continue to see.”
NEW DELHI — India has recorded another high of 77,266 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, raising the country’s total to more than 3.38 million reported cases.
Nearly 47% of India’s virus cases were detected this month alone.
The Health Ministry on Friday also reported 1,057 deaths for a total of 61,529.
India has been recording more than 60,000 new infections per day for nearly three weeks. India’s previous highest daily count was 75,760 on Wednesday.
With up to 900,000 tests every day, India’s cumulative tests reached 39 million on Thursday, the ministry said.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea is tightening social distancing restrictions in the greater capital area, requiring restaurants to provide only delivery and takeout after 9 p.m. and shutting down gyms and after-school academies.
Health Minister Park Neung-hoo announced the plans Friday after the country reported 371 new infections of COVID-19, marking its 15th straight day of triple digit jumps and bringing national totals to 19,077 reported cases, including 316 deaths.
The measures will be imposed for eight days starting Sunday.
Park said more than 470,000 businesses in the Seoul area will be affected by the measures.
BEIJING — China began moving into its final weekend before a full re-opening of schools amid continuing measures to prevent any further spread of the coronavirus.
The country reported just nine new cases on Friday, all brought from outside the country. Hospitals are treating 288 people for COVID-19 and another 361 are being monitored in isolation for showing signs of the illness or having tested positive for the virus without displaying symptoms.
China has reported 85,013 cases since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, with 4,634 dying from COVID-19.
The roughly 25% of students still out of school are due to return to classes on Monday.
Classes are being held on a staggered schedule and mask wearing and social distancing are required. College undergraduates are also due to return to campus next week, with Beijing ordering tests for all 600,000 taking up places at the city’s institutions.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean officials are considering reducing the working hours of restaurants and cafes as the country counted its 15th straight day of triple-digit jumps in coronavirus infections.
The 371 new cases reported by the South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday brought the national caseload to 19,077, including 316 deaths. The country has seen more than 4,300 new cases over the past 15 days, prompting concerns about the potential for overwhelmed hospital systems.
While the government has recently banned large gatherings and shut down nightspots and churches nationwide, there are calls for elevating social distancing measures to the highest “Level 3,” which would prohibit gatherings of more than 10 and advise private companies to have employees work from home.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said during a virus meeting Friday that the government wasn’t ready to do that yet, citing concerns about hurting an economy that policymakers will likely shrink for the first time in 22 years. Chung said officials will instead explore other ways to improve distancing, such as limiting the hours of restaurants and cafes.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state has reported 113 new coronavirus cases for a second consecutive day, with authorities warning that the infection rate will have to fall substantially if a six-week lockdown is to be relaxed on schedule on Sept. 13.
The latest daily tallies are the lowest in more than eight weeks, with a peak of 725 in early August.
The latest death toll dropped to 12 from 23 on Thursday. Thursday’s was the third-highest toll of the pandemic.
Authorities want daily infections to fall at least to low double-digits before they would consider relaxing restrictions.
Elsewhere in Australia, the federal health department said there were 18 new cases. New South Wales state recorded 13, Queensland three and Western Australia two