The Latest: Missouri reports more than 1,500 virus cases

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri reported an increase of more than 1,500 confirmed coronavirus cases.

The state health department says Thursday that Missouri had 1,505 new cases and 23 more deaths. That brings the statewide totals to 137,156 cases and 2,259 deaths.

State health data shows 1,344 Missourians were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 on Wednesday. The seven-day average for hospitalizations was 1,204, also a new high since the start of the pandemic.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Paris hospitals on emergency footing as ICUs fill with coronavirus patients

— British study finds 86% of people who tested positive showed no symptoms

— Am I immune to the coronavirus if I’ve already had it?

— The Commission on Presidential Debates says second Trump-Biden debate will be ‘virtual’ amid concerns about the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

— A Madrid court strikes down a national government order imposing a partial lockdown in the Spanish capital and surrounding suburbs.

— Doctors and nurses treating the sick and dying from the coronavirus say the politics and denial of the health crisis is complicating treatment efforts.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

OMAHA, Neb. — In Nebraska, the number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus set a record Thursday when it hit 288.

State statistics show that hospital capacity is tightening up with only 22 percent of the state’s intensive care beds available.

The rate of new cases remains high in Nebraska with the total number of cases is approaching 50,000. The state had the eighth-highest rate of new cases, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day average of the positivity rate in Nebraska declined slightly over the past two weeks, going from 12.71% on Sept. 23 to 12.23% on Wednesday.

Nebraska eliminated nearly all of its restrictions related to the coronavirus last month in favor of voluntary guidelines. Gov. Pete Ricketts opposes requiring people to wear masks although local rules in the state’s two largest cities require them.

But for now, it appears that the health care system has capacity to handle the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the state.

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ROME — Italy’s second wave of coronavirus infections have hit a new high, with 4,458 confirmed cases, the highest number of new infections since April.

Italy’s southern Campania region added 757 cases, with the virus bearing down in southern regions far less equipped to handle it.

Campania, the region that surrounds Naples, in recent days has ordered bars and restaurants closed by 11 p.m. and was nearly a week ahead of the national government in mandating masks outdoors.

Campania’s governor, Vincenzo De Luca has warned: “Let’s understand one another: We have to return to the rigorous behavior of February, March and April, otherwise we’ll be hurt.”

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistani authorities are acknowledging a slight increase in COVID-19 deaths and infections weeks after government ended almost all restrictions.

The announcement comes following Thursday’s meeting of military-based National Command and Operations Centre, which oversees the country’s response to the new virus.

However, the government says overall coronavirus situation was stable in the country despite widespread violation of social distancing rules by people. The announcement comes days after Pakistan shut more than 200 restaurants and some wedding halls over violation of social distancing rules.

On Thursday, Pakistan reported 583 cases and nine single-day deaths in the country.

The totals rose to 316,934 cases and 6,544 confirmed deaths.

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PARIS — Paris hospitals are activating emergency measures to cope with COVID-19 patients, who are filling 40% of the region’s intensive care units.

The French health minister is expected to announce new restrictions Thursday for areas where hospitals are facing strain and infections are mounting. Authorities already shut down bars in Paris and several cities and limited private gatherings.

The emergency hospital measures can involve adding hospital beds and postponing non-urgent surgery. Such measures were taken in March and April when the pandemic first appeared in Europe.

France reported a record daily count of 18,700 new cases Wednesday, and COVID-19 patients now occupy a quarter of ICU beds nationwide.

France has recorded more than 693,000 cases and 32,463 confirmed deaths.

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HONG KONG — Hong Kong reported 18 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, raising concerns among health officials.

Of the 18 infections reported, 14 were local, with at least one case with an unknown source of infection, according to health officials.

About 11 of the local infections were linked to a home for the disabled, just a day after a resident was confirmed to have the coronavirus.

In the last week, Hong Kong has seen clusters of infections linked to a bar, a school and at pharmacies.

Hong Kong has reported a total of 5,162 confirmed coronavirus infections and 105 confirmed deaths.

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LISBON, Portugal — Portugal has surpassed 1,000 new daily coronavirus cases for the first time in six months.

The General Directorate for Health officially recorded 1,278 infections over the previous 24 hours. That’s the biggest daily jump since April 10.

Government health secretary António Lacerda Sales says officials are concerned about a possible difficult winter for the public health service.

On Wednesday, the official number of cases reached 944. The number of new daily cases in Portugal has exceeded 1,000 only twice, on March 31 and April 10.

The nation of 10 million has officially recorded 82,534 cases and 2,050 confirmed deaths.

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WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s government has declared the entire country a yellow zone, requiring the wearing of masks in all public places effective Saturday.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki made the announcement Thursday, after the number of cases of reached a record of nearly 4,300. There were 76 deaths.

The yellow zone rules allow no more than 75 persons at events, strict social distancing in restaurants that must close at 10 p.m., masks worn on public transportation and in cars, if the passengers not from one household.

Morawiecki says “strict adherence to the rules is a condition for an effective fight against the rise in the cases of infection.”

In the summer, Poland registered about 500-600 new cases daily.

The nation of 38 million has nearly 112,000 confirmed cases and almost 2,900 deaths.

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LONDON — A British study has found 86% of people infected with the coronavirus didn’t show the main symptoms on the day they were tested.

Researchers at University College London looked at data from a survey that has been testing thousands of U.K. households every week, regardless of whether the subjects had symptoms.

The study, released Thursday, looked at data for 36,061 people between April and June. Researchers found among those who tested positive, 86% didn’t have a cough, fever or loss of taste or smell.

Lead researcher Irene Petersen says while people may have had symptoms in the days before their test or developed them later, the study suggests many may be spreading the virus while asymptomatic. She says frequent and widespread testing of all individuals is needed to curb “silent transmission.”

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BRUSSELS — The European Commission has secured another deal allowing its 27 member states to buy 200 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

The contract with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson, is the third vaccine deal sealed by the EU’s executive arm following agreements reached with Sanofi-GSK and AstraZeneca for up to 700 million doses.

“The vaccine candidate is already in phase III of clinical trials,” the commission said. It added there were “successful exploratory talks” with three other companies: CureVac, BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna.

“More agreements will follow, and we remain determined in our search for a successful and safe vaccine to combat this deadly pandemic,” said Stella Kyriakides, the Commissioner for Health.

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MADRID — A court in Madrid has struck down a national government order that imposed a partial lockdown in the Spanish capital and surrounding suburbs.

It sided with regional officials who had resisted stricter measures against one of Europe’s most concerning virus clusters. The judges say travel restrictions in and out of the cities and other limitations might be necessary to fight the spread of the virus but under the current legal form, they were violating “fundamental rights and freedoms.”

The decision means police can’t fine people for leaving their municipalities or businesses that want to close later than 10 p.m. for shops and 11 p.m. for restaurants and bars. It also leaves 4.8 million residents in Madrid and nine suburban towns wondering whether they can travel to other parts of Spain over a long weekend extended by Monday’s national day celebration.

The situation in Madrid has been at the center of a standoff between regional and national authorities of competing political camps that has irked many who see more partisan strategy than real action against the pandemic.

The Madrid region has a 14-day infection rate of 591 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, more than twice the national average (257) and five times the European average rate of 113 for the week ending on Sept. 27.

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BRUSSELS — The European Commission says it has sealed a deal with pharmaceutical company Gilead to buy 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir.

No treatment has yet proved able to prevent serious illness after a coronavirus infection but the antiviral drug also known by its commercial name Veklury has helped some COVID-19 patients recover faster.

Remdesivir was approved as a treatment for the coronavirus by the Commission in July.

The European Union’s executive arm said the joint procurement contract has been signed by 36 participants including all 27 EU countries and the UK. The agreement will allow countries to purchase the drug for immediate use and stockpiling needs, Gilead said.

“Today we secure access to Remdesivir for the treatment of up to 500,000 patients in need,” said Stella Kyriakides, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

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BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Coronavirus infections in Slovakia are on a steep rise, surpassing 1,000 cases in one day for the first time.

The Health Ministry says the day-to-day increase of people infected reached 1,037 on Wednesday, up from the previous record of 877 on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Igor Matovic calls the development “a serious moment for Slovakia.” His government imposed strict restrictive measures last week but they have not managed to contain the surge yet.

Slovakia has had a total of 15,726 cases of COVID-19, including 57 deaths, according to Health Ministry figures published on Thursday, still low numbers compared with other European countries.

Neighboring Czech Republic also registered a new record for the second straight day Wednesday with 5,335 new confirmed cases.

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ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatia has reported a new record in daily infections with the new coronavirus.

Authorities said Thursday that 542 new cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the outbreak. One person has died.

Croatia has reported a surge in new infections since the end of the summer tourism season, in which hundreds of thousands of visitors flocked to the country’s Adriatic Sea coast.

So far, there have been 18,989 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus including 310 deaths in the country of 4.2 million people.

Croatia’s official HRT television says authorities are preparing a recreation area in the capital, Zagreb, to host people with COVID-19 who have nowhere to self-isolate.

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NEW DELHI — India has registered 78,524 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the country’s total since the pandemic began to 6.8 million.

The Health Ministry on Thursday also reported 971 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 1,05,526.

India has witnessed a steady drop of confirmed coronavirus cases for three consecutive weeks now — from recording more than 86,000 daily cases in the last two weeks of September to an average of more than 70,000 cases daily so far this month. The numbers have also fallen sharply from earlier in September when daily cases averaged around 93,000 in India.

More than 1.1 million samples have been tested daily on an average so far in October, according to the Health Ministry.

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