The Latest: Poland closes coal mines after infections
WARSAW, Poland — Polish authorities have ordered the closure of 12 coal mines for three weeks after hundreds of workers were infected with COVID-19.
The measure announced on Monday comes as coal mines in Poland’s southern mining region of Silesia have become hot spots for the transmission of the novel coronavirus.
Deputy prime minister Jacek Sasin said that the measure will take effect on Tuesday and is aimed at suppressing the epidemic. He added that the miners will continue to receive their full pay.
“It is very important for us not to punish the miners economically for the infections at mines that have made us take this decision,” Sasin told reporters.
In some other earlier cases, miners told not to work because of the epidemic saw their wages reduced, increasing their frustration ahead of a presidential election that is crucial to Poland’s governing conservatives.
Poland has so far recorded about 27,000 cases of coronavirus, which is far less than many other European countries. Yet nearly 5,000 of the confirmed cases are coal miners. That is an extremely high infection rate in the sector given that there are just 82,000 miners in the nation of 38 million people.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Worldwide virus deaths pass 400,000, according to Johns Hopkins tally.
— New Zealand says it has eradicated the virus.
— India eases lockdown even as virus cases jump in capital.
— Coronavirus disrupts global fight to save endangered species.
— Britain faces criticism for another sudden change in its advice on face masks: all hospital staff in England will wear surgical face masks beginning June 15 while visitors will need some sort of face covering.
— While seasonal colds and the flu spread through NFL locker rooms most years, many players polled by The Associated Press say they’re scared to return to work without a vaccine for the coronavirus.
Go to https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak for updates throughout the day.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING TODAY:
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish Airlines says it is offering a 40 percent discount on airfares for health care workers across the globe.
The national flag carrier said Monday the campaign was aimed at people “who are working selflessly to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.” Up to three people traveling with a health care worker would be able to benefit from the discount, the airline said.
The tickets must be purchased before Aug. 1 for flights before May 31, 2021.
Turkish airline companies resumed domestic flights last week. International flights are scheduled to resume gradually as of June 10.
MOSCOW — The Russian capital is ending a tight lockdown that has been in place for more than two months, citing a slowdown in the coronavirus outbreak.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that starting Tuesday residents will no longer be required to obtain electronic passes for travel and can walk, use public transport and drive without any restrictions.
Hairdressers and beauty salons will be allowed to reopen Tuesday, and cafes and restaurants will be able to open outdoor terraces starting June 16.
Under the lockdown imposed in late March, all nonessential businesses were closed and residents were only allowed to shop at nearby stores and pharmacies, visit doctors and walk their dogs.
The restrictions have been gradually eased. Industrial plants and construction sites were allowed to start working on May 12 and non-food retailers were permitted to reopen last Monday.
The number of daily infections in Moscow has dropped from a peak of about 6,700 to about 2,000 recently. Overall, Russia has registered over 476,000 infections, the world’s third-highest caseload after the United States and Brazil, including 5,971 deaths.
Moscow has accounted for nearly half of the nation’s infections and coronavirus deaths. Many of Russia’s 85 regions already have eased their lockdowns.
YEREVAN, Armenia — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian says he and his family have recovered from the coronavirus.
Pashinian said on Facebook that he and his family members tested negative Monday for a second time in as many days.
Pashinian announced that he was infected a week ago, adding that he probably contracted the virus from a waiter who brought him a glass a water at a meeting without wearing gloves and later tested positive for the virus.
Armenia has so far reported over 13,000 infections, including 211 deaths, among its population of nearly 3 million.
DHAKA, Bangladesh — China has sent a 10-member team of physicians to Bangladesh to help hospitals and doctors fight coronavirus as the South Asian nation’s total infections are nearing 70,000.
The team consists of 10 respiratory physicians selected by the Hainan Provincial Health Commission in China, according to the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.
Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen was in Dhaka’s international airport to receive the team. He said the country was seeking “cooperation and partnership” to deal with the pandemic.
On Monday, the Health Directorate’s senior official said another 42 people died of coronavirus and 2,735 people were infected in the previous 24-hour period, raising the total infections to 68,504.
A total of 930 people have died since the first positive case was confirmed on March 8.
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cypriot officials are warning against undue complacency in enforcing social distancing rules after video emerged of an open-air nightclub at a popular seaside resort jam-packed with patrons.
Cyprus police spokesman Christos Andreou told The Associated Press on Monday that the nightclub’s owner faces a charge of flouting maximum capacity limits set out under a Health Ministry order.
Andreou said police are taking the owner to court because he was repeatedly warned over the weekend not to exceed the allowable capacity. Andreou said police will also seek a court order to temporarily shut down the Ayia Napa establishment.
Justice Minister George Savvides posted on his official Twitter account on Sunday that the nightclub acted “inconceivably irresponsibly” for the sake of profit.
Earlier, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou also tweeted that such behavior could make a return to lockdown measures “inevitable.”
Cyprus is eager to get its key tourism sector back on track after a two-month lockdown, but officials say they won’t allow anyone to cut corners on what they need to do to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
Commercial flights from a limited number of countries resume on Tuesday. Cyprus has lifted almost all restrictions, but a ban on indoor bar and nightclub openings remains in force.
MOSCOW — Russia says it will partially reopen the country’s borders as the country eases coronavirus restrictions.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Monday that traveling abroad for the purposes of work, studying, receiving medical treatment or taking care of relatives will be allowed. He said Russia will let in foreigners seeking medical treatment or taking care of family members.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the partial reopening of the borders would go into effect.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters there is “no set date” yet for resuming international flights, which were halted in late March.
Last month, President Vladimir Putin called for gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions, saying that Russia was able to slow down the epidemic.
The country’s health officials, however, have been reporting around 9,000 new infections daily since mid May and some experts are concerned that easing lockdown restrictions may be premature.
LONDON — Travelers to Britain are now being required to go into quarantine for two weeks — a sweeping measure meant to halt the further spread of COVID-19.
Starting Monday, all passengers will be asked to fill in a form detailing where they will self-isolate, with only a few exceptions. Those who fail to comply with the quarantine rules could be fined.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary says the quarantine will cause “untold devastation” for the country’s tourism industry — not just on the airlines.
He told the BBC that hotels, visitor attractions and restaurants will also be hurt, and thousands of jobs will be lost.
ATHENS, Greece — Bars, nightclubs and internet cafes are allowed to reopen from Monday in Greece, where an early lockdown is credited with keeping the number of coronavirus deaths and serious illnesses at low levels.
Nearly all lockdown measures have now been lifted in a phased reopening, with regulations in place for businesses to maintain limits on the number of customers allowed and distances to be maintained.
Most bars, nightclubs and restaurants operate outdoors in Greece during the summer months, which has helped authorities in allowing their reopening.
However, government and health authorities warn local lockdowns could be imposed if violations in social distancing regulations lead to outbreaks.
NEW DELHI — India is reopening its restaurants, shopping malls and religious places in most states even as the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country grows.
The Health Ministry reported another 9,983 cases Monday, raising India’s count past 256,000 to fifth most in the world. The 206 fatalities reported Monday were the highest single-day rise and takes the country’s death toll to 7,135.
New Delhi is also reopening its state borders, allowing interstate movement of people and goods.
India already partially restored train services and domestic flights and allowed shops and manufacturing to reopen.
Schools remain closed.
The number of new cases has soared since the government began relaxing restrictions. There has also been a surge in infections in India’s vast countryside following the return of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who left cities and towns after losing their jobs.
ISLAMABAD — The number of new coronavirus infections in Pakistan continued to spiral upward, as thenation of 220 million people surpassed 100,000 cases as of Monday with more than 2,000 deaths.
The daily infection rate spiked after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan ended and markets were thrown open during the Eid-al Fitr holiday at the end of May. That followed the government refusing to close mosques and deciding to open up the country even as medical professionals pleaded for a stricter lockdown,
Since then the daily infection rates have held fairly steady with just under 5,000 new cases each day. Testing has held steady in recent days at about 22,000 each day, with government officials saying Pakistan aimed to eventually carry out 30,000 tests every day.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has gone on national television to tell Pakistanis the country’s poorest cannot survive a strict lockdown.
The International Monetary fund and the Asian Development Bank have both give Pakistan millions of dollars in bridge loans to ease the economic impact of the pandemic pummeling economies worldwide.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Data from the New Mexico Health Department shows COVID-19 infections among health care workers in the state have spiked as intensive care units remain full and nurses and first responders call for more protective equipment.
The data shows 492 workers were diagnosed in May, marking a 219% increase from the 154 workers who had tested positive for the coronavirus the month before.
Human Services Secretary David Scrase told the Albuquerque Journal that the increase was expected.
The largest increase came in Bernalillo County — home to three of the state’s COVID-19 hub hospitals. San Juan and McKinley counties also had surges.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta, the city hardest hit by the new coronavirus, has partly reopened after two months of partial lockdown as the world’s fourth most populous nation braces to gradually reopen its economy.
The city of 11 million people, with a total of 30 million in its greater metropolitan area, has been under large-scale social restrictions since April 10.
Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan announced that all worship facilities will be allowed to reopen with half their capacity and social distancing measures on Friday, followed by offices, restaurants and grocery stores that begin to resume activities with only 50% of their employees and clients on Monday. The measure also applies to public transportation.
Schools are closed during this month’s transition phase to the so-called “new normal,” while some shopping centres, zoo and beaches will open their doors next week.
But the major transport and industrial hub has now signalled the end of its isolation, with social media showing long lines of travelers queued at train stations, many ignoring social distancing rules.
Jakarta, the first large city to enforce a partial lockdown in the country, has recorded more than 8,033 confirmed cases with 529 deaths. Nationwide, there’s been 31,186 infections and 1,851 fatalities.
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