The Latest: Paris, Marseille declared at-risk zones
PARIS — The head of France’s national health service says Paris and Marseille have been declared at-risk zones for the coronavirus as authorities observe a sharp increase in infections.
Jerome Salomon, speaking on France Inter radio, warned “the situation is deteriorating from week to week” in the country. He says virus clusters emerge every day following family reunions, big parties and other gatherings amid summer holidays.
A government decree issued Friday allows authorities to impose stricter measures in the Paris and Marseille areas.
Salomon says there are “more and more people who tested positive, more and more people arriving in hospitals… we need to react before counting new deaths.”
The national health agency reported 2,669 new infections across on Thursday, putting France’s infection rate per 100,000 people to above 30.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— North Korea lifts lockdown in Kaesong, says virus situation there is stable
— Bolivia ’s political crisis threatens hospitals and patients
— New Zealand extends lockdown in its largest city as new outbreak grows
— Spain is facing another surge in coronavirus infections not even two months after beating back the first wave
— False claims and conspiracy theories have dogged efforts to control the pandemic from the beginning. The bad information can pose a particular threat to communities of people of color who already face worse health outcomes.
— Indonesia’ s only vaccine production company has injected the first volunteers with Chinese firm Sinovac’s vaccine candidate in so-called phase 3 clinical trials.
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
LONDON — Britain has secured 90 million doses of two vaccines being developed to fight COVID-19.
The deals with Novavax, an American biotech company, and Janssen, a Belgian company owned by Johnson & Johnson, mean the U.K. has now acquired the rights to 340 million doses of six different experimental vaccines as the government seeks to hedge its bets on products that are still being tested to see if they are safe and effective.
Kate Bingham, chair of the government’s Vaccines Taskforce, told ITV there was no guarantee any of the vaccines would work “because there have been no vaccines against any human coronavirus.
“So what we’re doing is we’ve chosen six of the most promising vaccines across four different vaccine types and we’re hoping that one of those will work.’’
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark has added Belgium and Malta to its list of European nations where non-essential travels are not recommended as the Scandinavian country has seen a flare-up of coronavirus cases.
The Scandinavian country’s reason for doing so is that both nations have seen more than 30 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants. Danish health officials say the number is 32.5 for Belgium and 31.5 for Malta.
As of Friday midnight, people who travel from Belgium or Malta must self-quarantine upon return.
Denmark earlier has listed Spain, Andorra, Bulgaria, Luxemburg and Romania as countries where non-essential travels are not recommended.
Danes also don’t recommend trips to countries outside Europe with the exception of Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Georgia, Japan, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
BERLIN — German authorities in the western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg have established a new coronavirus testing station at a highway rest stop by the French border after noting a strong increase in cases in the neighboring country.
The dpa news agency reported Friday that the center has started testing travelers at the Neuenburg-Ost rest stop, across the border from the French town of Chalampe. Travelers from designated risk areas are required to be tested upon return to Germany, and the center will also test any others who want to be checked.
France reported more than 10,000 new confirmed cases over the past week.
Baden-Wuerttemberg already has test centers at airports in Stuttgart, Friedrichshafen and Baden-Baden, as well as the Stuttgart main train station.
The Neuenburg rest stop center is the first such station outside Bavaria, which has had roadside testing since the end of July. They have generated so much interest that Bavarian officials have reported a backlog of cases, with about 44,000 people not yet informed of their results, including more than 900 who tested positive for COVID-19.
Baden-Wuerttemberg says it expects to be able to inform people within four days of their tests.
SYDNEY — A man in his 20s has become the youngest person to die of the coronavirus in Australia.
He was among 14 new deaths and 372 new infections reported by Victoria state health officials Friday in an outbreak centered in Melbourne, the second-largest city.
And Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 188 elderly people had died over the past week as the virus ripped through aged-care homes in Melbourne. Officials say about 70% of Australia’s 375 virus deaths have been at aged-care facilities.
Morrison said that Australians had high expectations of the services and standards at nursing homes and other facilities like hospitals and schools.
He says, “On the days that the system falls short, on the days that expectations are not met, I’m deeply sorry about that, of course I am.”
He said the country was moving heaven and earth to defeat the virus and it would eventually win.
NEW DELHI — India’s coronavirus death toll overtook Britain to become the fourth-highest in the world with another single-day record increase in cases Friday.
According to the Health Ministry, India reported 1,007 deaths in the past 24 hours. Its total rose to 48,040 deaths, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico.
India’s confirmed cases reached 2,461,190 with a single-day spike of 64,553 in the past 24 hours. More than 70% of people infected in India have recovered.
The daily increase in newly reported infections was around 15,000 in the first week of July but jumped to more than 50,000 in the first week of August. The ministry cited its testing efforts, with more than 800,000 tests in a single day, taking cumulative tests to more than 26 million.
Health experts say it needs to be higher, given India’s population of 1.4 billion.
India’s two-month lockdown imposed nationwide in late March kept infections low. But it has eased and is now largely being enforced in high-risk areas. The new cases spiked after India reopened shops and manufacturing and allowed hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to return to their homes from coronavirus-hit regions.
Subways, schools and movie theaters remain closed.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea is reporting 103 new coronavirus cases. It is one of the country’s biggest daily jumps in months, and officials are expressing concern that infections are getting out of control in the capital of Seoul and other major cities as Koreans increasingly venture out in public.
The figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday brought the national caseload to 14,873 cases, including 305 deaths.
Eighty-three of the new cases were in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where authorities have struggled to stem transmissions. Infections were also reported in other major cities such as Busan, Gwangju and Ulsan.
Friday’s jump was driven by local transmissions, which health authorities said could worsen because of the increase in travelers during the summer vacation season.
FRESNO, Calif. — A private school in California has been ordered to close after it reopened classrooms in violation of a state health order aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Fresno County issued a health order Thursday against Immanuel Schools in Reedley. The K-12 school was told to close its classrooms until the county is removed from a state monitoring list for two weeks.
The school has about 600 students and it allowed students into classes Thursday without masks or social distancing. The school’s trustees and superintendent say they believe students’ development will suffer if they can’t be taught on campus.
BEIJING — China has reported another eight cases of locally transmitted coronavirus infections, all in the northwestern region of Xinjiang where the country’s last major outbreak has been largely contained.
Officials said Friday that 22 other new cases were brought from outside the country by Chinese travelers returning home. China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 among 84,786 cases.
Hong Kong reported 69 new confirmed cases and three deaths over the past 24 hours. The semi-autonomous Chinese city has required masks be worn in all public settings, restricted indoor dining and enacted other social distancing measures to bring down transmissions that now total 4,312 with 66 deaths.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico has passed the half-million mark in confirmed coronavirus cases.
The Health Department reported 7,371 newly confirmed cases Thursday, bringing the country’s total for the pandemic to 505,751. The department reported 627 more confirmed COVID-19 deaths, giving Mexico a total of 55,293.
Experts agree that due to Mexico’s extremely low testing rates, those numbers are undercounts and that the real figures may be two to three times higher. With only about 1.15 million tests conducted to date in a country of almost 130 million people, less than 1% of Mexicans have been tested.
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas is reporting fewer than 7,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients for the first time in six weeks.
That encouraging sign Thursday was clouded by questions over testing as students return to school and college football teams push ahead with playing this fall. Testing has dropped off in Texas, a trend seen across the U.S as health experts worry that patients without symptoms aren’t bothering because of long lines and waiting days to get results.
Numbers from Texas health officials this week offer a hazy picture of how much testing has fallen. At one point this week, the infection rate in Texas was as high as 24%, only to suddenly drop Thursday to 16%.
Officials have not offered explanations about the wild swing in infection rates.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California will resume eviction and foreclosure proceedings Sept. 2, stoking fears of a wave of evictions during the coronavirus pandemic unless the governor and state Legislature can agree on a proposal to extend protections.
The Judicial Council of California voted 19-1 Thursday to end the temporary rules blocking such proceedings that had been in place since April 6.
Since the pandemic began in March, more than 9.7 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in California. A survey from the U.S. Census shows more than 1.7 million renters in the state could not pay their rent on time last month.
California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye has been reluctant to let the rules stay in place much longer, saying it is the job of the judicial branch to interpret the laws, not make them.
LONDON — Britain will require all people arriving from France to isolate for 14 days — an announcement that throws the plans of tens of thousands of holidaymakers into chaos.
The government said late Thursday that France is being removed from the list of nations exempted from quarantine requirements because of a rising number of coronavirus infections, which have surged by 66% in the past week. The Netherlands, Malta, Monaco and the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Turks & Caicos also were added to the quarantine list.
France is one of the top holiday destinations for British travelers, who now have until 4 a.m. Saturday to get home if they want to avoid two weeks in isolation.
The number of new infections in Britain is also rising.