The Latest: More than 1 million European cases of virus
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:
— European Center for Disease Control finds more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases.
— British doctor protests outside Prime Minister’s office over lack of PPE.
— Pence says 150,000 coronavirus tests now being conducted daily.
BERLIN — The European Center for Disease Control says the continent now has more than 1 million confirmed cases and almost 100,000 deaths from the new coronavirus.
According to a tally posted on the ECDC website Sunday, Spain had the most cases in the region with 191,726, followed by Italy, Germany, Britain and France.
It listed Italy as having the most deaths in Europe, with 23,227, followed by Spain, France, Britain and Belgium.
According to the tally, Europe accounts for almost half the global case load and more than half the total deaths.
LONDON — A British doctor held a lone protest outside Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office Sunday to highlight the lack of personal protective equipment for the country’s medical workers battling the coronavirus outbreak.
Meenal Viz is a junior clinical fellow with the U.K. National Health Service. He wore hospital scrubs and a facemask as he held a hand-drawn sign outside Downing Street that said, “Protect Healthcare Workers.”
She said she was demonstrating for vulnerable members of staff. The British government has been under fire for weeks over the distribution of PPE. At least 50 NHS workers have died after contracting the virus, including a pregnant nurse whose baby was delivered by emergency Caesarean operation.
“We are still in a position where we’re on our knees begging for PPE and if we had enough we wouldn’t have grannies stitching up our masks and we wouldn’t have pensioners raising money for the NHS,” said Viz, who is herself pregnant.
“The government should have been prepared a long time ago and that’s why we are in this position now.”
British officials are scrambling to source equipment and said a consignment of 84 tons, including 400,000 gowns, is on its way from Turkey.
WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence says 150,000 coronavirus tests are now being conducted daily in the U.S. but suggested that governors and not the federal government were to blame for numbers not being higher.
Pence tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that, “if states around the country will activate all of the laboratories that are available in their states, we could more than double that overnight.”
He said the nation has “sufficient testing today” for states to begin reopening their economies as part of the initial phases of guidelines the White House released this week.
Governors from both parties have said that while they do have more labs that could increase testing in many areas, they often are unable to do so because of federal delays.
Pence was also asked about President Donald Trump tweeting that Democratic governors in Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia should “liberate” their states — even though officials there are following many of the Trump administration’s own guidelines about slowing the spread of coronavirus.
Pence sidestepped those, saying, “This president wants to reopen the American economy as soon as we can safely and responsibly do it.”
SOAVE, Italy — Italy’s representative to the World Health Organization says it is too early for the country to transition to a “Phase Two” of greater freedom of movement while living alongside the virus.
Walter Ricciardi told SKYTG 24 on Sunday “it is absolutely too early” and some regions remain in Phase One. He cautioned it is important not to rush.
“We have to wait until we can count the number of new cases on one hand, not the four-digit growth that we are having,” Ricciardi said.
He endorsed a plan being drafted by Italy’s health minister that calls for continuing social distancing, reinforcing the health care system and offering more diagnostic testing.
But he acknowledged that a lack of testing remains an issue, particularly in Lombardy, which has borne the brunt of the pandemic in Italy. (edited)
LONDON — Britain reported 596 more coronavirus-related hospital deaths on Sunday to raise the total to 16,060.
The health department’s latest daily number is down 292 from the previous day’s 888 deaths. Britain posted a record daily death toll of 980 just over a week ago.
Sunday’s count is the lowest since April 6 when 439 deaths were reported.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia will test all employees in the country’s nursing homes for the new coronavirus because of the growing number of infected people in those facilities.
Prime Minister Igor Matovic says 40,000 people will be given rapid tests to determine which of the homes have been hit by the virus.
Full tests that give more precise results will follow.
Of the 12 people who have died of COVID-19 in Slovakia, seven were clients in a nursing home in the town of Pezinok located just northeast of the capital of Bratislava.
Government figures released Sunday show Slovakia has 1,161 people infected with the new coronavirus.
LONDON — An industry group estimates thousands of deaths related to COVID-19 in British nursing homes have not been reflected in official figures.
The National Care Forum represents non-profit nursing home providers and says its research suggests 4,040 people have died after contracting the illness in British nursing homes.
The figures are based on data from nursing and residential care homes looking after 30,000 people, which is 7.4% of Britain’s nursing home population. They reported 299 confirmed or suspected deaths from the new coronavirus during the week ending April 13, which is triple the number in the preceding month.
Health department figures released daily track only deaths in hospitals, which rose to 15,464 on Saturday. Data from Office for National Statistics showed that 217 deaths from the virus in nursing homes in England and Wales through April 3.
The forum’s Executive Director Vic Rayner says as long as death figures from nursing and residential care homes are excluded from real-time data, the government will be unable to properly plan protection.
Care home operators and staff say official figures likely underestimate the true toll in facilities that house some of the Britain’s oldest and most vulnerable people, cared for by often overworked and poorly paid staff.
ROME — The governor of the southern region of Campania has placed a tighter lockdown on the town of Saviano, near Naples.
It comes after video circulated showing several hundred people outside for the funeral of the town’s mayor, a doctor who died with coronavirus.
Regional governor Vincenzo De Luca said that the decision to stop people from leaving or entering the town was ‘inevitable to prevent an outbreak.
Video shows hundreds of people lining a road as the hearse drove by, and helium balloons in the colors of the Italian flag released into the sky.
De Luca has taken a tough stance against calls by his colleagues in the north to loosen restrictions, saying if they go too far he would close the borders to Campania, which includes Italian treasures including Naples Bay, the Amalfi Coast and the Pompeii archaeological site.
ROME — The Italian coast guard is transferring 34 migrants from the Spanish rescue ship Aita Mari off the coast of the Sicilian capital Palermo onto a naval ship for quarantine.
The new arrivals will join 146 migrants from the German-run rescue ship Alan Kurdi, who were transferred on Friday to the Rubattino.
The Italian naval ship will remain a mile off the coast for the duration of the quarantine, which is being overseen by the Italian Red Cross.
BEIRUT — Lebanon’s Interior Ministry has announced that the nighttime curfew will be shortened by one hour to start at 8 p.m.
Sunday’s announcement comes days before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when observant Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.
Nearly two thirds of the Mediterranean country’s 5 million people are Muslims, while a third are Christians.
Lebanon imposed a nighttime curfew last month in an attempt to limit the spread of the new coronavirus. Most businesses, schools and universities have been closed for weeks.
The ministry’s decision that will go into effect Monday and restaurants will be allowed to deliver food until the start of the curfew.
OSLO, Norway — Norway has released nearly 100 inmates from the country’s prisons to serve their sentences at home in efforts to reduce crowding in penitentiaries and contain the spread of COVID-19.
Director Lise Sannerud from the Norwegian Correctional Service says prisoners are being fitted with ankle monitors and some 94 inmates have now been released to serve their sentences at home.
There now 405 inmates in Norway who have been released from prison to serve their sentences at home.
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