The Latest: Notre Dame president ends his virus quarantine
INDIANAPOLIS — The University of Notre Dame’s president has ended his quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus after his attendance at a White House event without wearing a mask.
The Rev. John Jenkins “is symptom-free,” the university announced Monday. He began his self-isolation period on Sept. 28, two days after he attended the Rose Garden nomination ceremony of Notre Dame law professor Judge Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court justice.
The university announced the university president’s COVID-19 diagnosis on Oct. 2. Jenkins has since apologized, writing his regret in a Sept. 28 letter to the Notre Dame campus of about 12,000 students.
The university’s online coronavirus tally showed five new cases reported on Tuesday, giving the school 819 total infections among students and staff. The school estimates 29 active cases.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— WHO: Europe reported more than 700,000 coronavirus cases last week
— Dutch order bars, restaurants closed over coronavirus concerns
— India has 55,342 coronavirus cases, lowest single-day tally since mid-August
— Safety monitoring panel will try to determine what might have caused sickness in a second COVID-19 vaccine trial paused over unexplained illness
— New poll finds coronavirus pandemic has thrust many Americans into role of caring for an older or disabled loved one for first time.
— Cristiano Ronaldo latest high-profile soccer player infected with the coronavirus, Portuguese soccer federation says.
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
PHOENIX — Arizona health officials are reporting more than 680 new coronavirus cases and eight deaths.
After two days of no virus-related deaths, the latest numbers on Tuesday bring the statewide confirmed case total to more than 226,000 and the 5,767 confirmed deaths.
On Saturday, state Department of Health Services officials reported 894 new cases. That was the largest daily increase since mid-September.
The number of actual coronavirus infections is likely far higher because many people haven’t been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana health officials have added 27 more coronavirus-related deaths to the state’s pandemic toll as the infection rates and hospitalizations increase.
The 1,288 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday marked the ninth straight day topping 1,000 after not reaching that high since the end of May, the Indiana State Department of Health reported.
The hospitalizations are up 70% in the past three weeks, which is when Gov. Eric Holcomb decided to lift nearly all of Indiana’s restrictions on businesses and crowd sizes while keeping the statewide mask mandate.
The deaths raise the state’s confirmed toll to 3,822.
MADRID — The Spanish government says the spread of the coronavirus in Madrid is still worrisome despite a drop in the number of patients treated in hospitals.
The Madrid regional chief, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, urged again the central government to lift a soft lockdown that was imposed on Friday.
But Health Minister Salvador Illa says time is needed to evaluate if a slower spread of the virus is not due to delays in the reporting of infections or the lower number of lab tests performed in Madrid.
Madrid accounted for 15% of 7,118 new infections reported Tuesday by the health ministry, bringing the national caseload to more than 896,000. With 80 new deaths confirmed in the past 24 hours, the death toll rose to 33,204.
Health experts agree that official numbers fail to capture the real extent of the outbreaks due to insufficient testing, cases missed or other issues.
JERUSALEM — An Israeli Cabinet minister has acknowledged violating the country’s lockdown restrictions, joining a long list of senior officials to flout the rules.
Channel 13 TV says Rabbi Yaakov Avitan, the minister of religious affairs, performed a wedding ceremony in southern Israel on Tuesday. The station says there were some 60 people at the ceremony, well over the 20 people permitted at such gatherings.
In a statement to the station, Avitan says he made a mistake in judgment and expressed regret.
A number of top officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, President Reuven Rivlin, the head of the Shin Bet security agency and other politicians have violated lockdown restrictions in recent months, undercutting public trust in the government’s response to the pandemic.
Israel, a country of 9 million, is grappling with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks on a per capita basis. It has reported more than 243,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,000 deaths.
AMMAN, Jordan —Jordan has reported a record 2,054 new coronavirus cases, raising the confirmed total to 28,127.
Through a strict lockdown earlier this year, Jordan appeared to bring a first wave of infections under control.
But after reopening its economy and international airport, the coronavirus has returned in recent months, forcing the government to impose new lockdown restrictions that include the closings of schools and tight weekend curfews.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson executives say it will be a few days before they know more about an unexplained illness in one participant that caused a temporary pause in its late-stage COVID-19 vaccine study.
“It may have nothing to do with the vaccine,” Mathai Mammen, head of research and development for Janssen, Johnson & Johnson’s medicine development business, said Tuesday.
Mammen says they don’t yet know whether the ill study participant received their experimental vaccine or a dummy shot. He says Johnson & Johnson gave information on the case to the independent monitoring board overseeing the safety of patients in the study, as the research protocol requires. It will recommend next steps.
The study of the one-dose vaccine called ENSEMBLE will include up to 60,000 people from multiple countries. The company expects to complete enrollment in the study in two or three months.
Johnson & Johnson isn’t disclosing the nature of the illness, which it learned of Sunday and disclosed Monday night. Such pauses are not uncommon in long clinical studies, as some participants come down with an unrelated illness.
Unlike a study hold imposed by government regulators, a pause is initiated by the sponsor of the drug trial and often can be quickly resolved.
ROME — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte says the aim of Italy’s new anti-virus restrictions limiting nightlife and socializing is to head off another general lockdown.
Conte defended the measures as both “adequate and proportional.” He spoke Tuesday as the health ministry reported another 5,901 people tested positive in the past day and 41 deaths.
That brings Italy’s official COVID-19 death toll to 36,246, the second highest in Europe after Britain.
Conte on Tuesday issued a new decree requiring bars and restaurants to close at midnight and preventing consumption of alcohol and food outside bars after 9 p.m. The measures, as well as recommended limits on private parties, aim to decrease casual socializing blamed for Italy’s latest surge.
Currently, Italy has more than 5,000 people in the hospital and 500 in intensive care, a fraction of the springtime peak, but worrisome given cases are surging in every Italian region.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — People are lining up in Bosnia’s capital of Sarajevo waiting for tests on the coronavirus amid a new surge.
The pressure is rising on the health system in Bosnia, which is one of the poorest countries in Europe after going through a devastating war during the 1990s.
Doctors say the numbers of infected have been on the rise, with people flocking to the medical clinics also due to seasonal respiratory diseases and the flu.
Bosnia has reported 926 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus in a country of 3.3 million.
BERLIN — Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says its chief has tested positive for coronavirus and will continue to work while quarantined at home.
The BfV says Thomas Haldenwang, who has headed the agency for about two years, had tested positive on Monday for the virus.
The agency wouldn’t say who Haldenwang had come into contact with before learning he was positive.
The agency says it established a crisis team early in the pandemic to ensure its ability to keep working.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Vanderbilt at Missouri football game is the first Southeastern Conference game postponed by the coronavirus.
The game scheduled for Saturday has been postponed because coronavirus issues have left the Commodores without enough players. The SEC announced the game has been tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12.
Vanderbilt says it couldn’t reach the SEC’s 53-player minimum this week “due to the quarantining of individuals with positive tests and those designated as close contacts, along with injuries and opt-outs.”
It is the 28th FBS game overall to be postponed or canceled since Aug. 26. The SEC started Sept. 26, a few weeks later than the rest of the FBS conferences that began play in September.
WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says he’ll quarantine after he met last week with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus.
In a video message, Morawiecki says his government was working as usual. He urged the citizens to observe social distancing, wear masks and disinfect hands.
A nation of 38 million, Poland has had a sharp spike in new registered case of coronavirus infections, with 5,068 cases reported Tuesday and 63 deaths.
In the summer, the new daily cases were around 600. But the numbers started rising quickly after vacation. Some doctors say the chronically underfunded health care system may give in if the current rate of new cases continues.
Overall, there have been 135,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,100 deaths in Poland.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates has recorded 1,315 new coronavirus cases, its biggest single-day infections since the start of the pandemic.
The numbers on Tuesday bring the total in the country to more than 108,600 cases and 448 deaths.
Recorded infections have soared again in recent weeks as authorities relaxed restrictions and schools resumed in-person instruction. Dubai, the region’s business hub, recently reopened its airport for international travelers.
Although coming amid an aggressive testing campaign, the upward trend has raised concerns there could be lockdowns in parts of the country that rely heavily on tourism.
GENEVA — The World Health Organization said European nations reported more than 700,000 new coronavirus cases last week — the highest figure since the start of the pandemic.
In a weekly briefing published Tuesday, WHO said weekly virus cases and deaths across Europe jumped by 34% and 16% respectively. Britain, France, Russia and Spain accounted for more than half of the new cases seen in the region.
WHO noted that the number of new cases reported in Spain showed a “noticeable decline” in comparison to recent weeks. But in Poland, WHO said virus cases and deaths spiked by 93% and 104% respectively, and the government has tightened restrictions to try avoiding another lockdown.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week that the agency understood the frustration people were feeling as the pandemic drags on but warned “there are no shortcuts and no silver bullets.”
WHO described lockdowns a “last resort” when countries have no other options and urged officials to use more targeted methods to stop the virus.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The government in Norway says it will make the vaccine free and will cover the costs that municipalities and hospitals may have in connection with vaccinations.
Health Minister Bent Hoeie says the government’s decision was based on recommendation by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. That agency will also be preparing a national vaccination plan with a priority order.
“We hope to be able to start offering vaccines as early as 2021 but the time for start-up will depend on when pharmaceutical authorities give their approval,” Hoeie told the Norwegian parliament.
Norway has seen 15,524 coronavirus cases and 276 deaths.
LONDON — Britain’s government defended its new three-tier system of COVID-19 restrictions as critics suggested it was too little, too late amid reports the government’s scientific advisers recommended tougher action three weeks ago.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the new system Monday in a carefully orchestrated series of events that culminated with an address to the nation. The plan sets out progressively stricter measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 based on local infection rates and placed the northern city of Liverpool in the highest risk category.
The new system comes three weeks after the government’s last nationwide program, which banned gatherings of more than six people and required pubs and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. The government’s scientific advisers at that time recommended ministers go further, suggesting a two- to three-week national lockdown to short-circuit rapidly rising infection rates.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC that the government took “robust action” in response to the scientist’s advice, but ministers had to balance this against other impacts like the economy.