The Latest: Restrictions could be imposed in St. Louis area

O’FALLON, Mo. — Missouri’s largest county offered a dire warning to its 1 million residents on Monday: New restrictions will be necessary unless the coronavirus surge is brought under control.

St. Louis County already requires face coverings and has imposed other restrictions, but Democratic Executive Sam Page said at a news conference that with cases rising again and hospitals filling quickly, more drastic measures could be announced next week.

“No one wants to shut down our economy and no one wants more restrictions,” Page said. “We understand how harmful that will be. But we can’t stand by as this virus continues to rage in our community.”

Missouri is among dozens of states seeing a big increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. After reaching new records in cases several times last week, culminating with a high of 4,559 on Saturday, the state health department reported better numbers Monday — 3,244 new cases and no new deaths.

It’s too early to tell if that was a one-day blip or the start of a trend.

State data showed Missouri’s positivity rate at 19.5% — nearly four times the benchmark suggested by the World Health Organization. Missouri has now reported 212,441 confirmed cases and 3,153 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

On Sunday, Dr. Alex Garza of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force cited a “frightening” amount of virus in the St. Louis area, and he warned that hospitals are increasingly overwhelmed. Average daily hospitalizations and admissions have more than doubled over the past month at St. Louis-area hospitals.



— Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19

— Hungary unveils toughest virus measures yet, Portugal enters new state of emergency to fight rising infections

— Belgian health authorities are confident a renewed surge of hospital admissions related to COVID-19 has peaked in the hard-hit country.

— With the campaign over, President-elect Biden is pivoting to fighting the coronavirus pandemic

— Germany says increase in new coronavirus infections appears to be levelling off, too early to talk about a reversal of the trend.


— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at and



INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame has implemented mandatory coronavirus testing for students and strict penalties for those who don’t comply after students rushed the school’s football field to celebrate a double-overtime upset over Clemson and held numerous weekend parties.

Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins told students Sunday that they’re required to undergo coronavirus testing before they leave South Bend, Indiana, for the extended winter break.

The email announcement didn’t specifically reference the storming of the field on Saturday night, but rather “many gatherings.”

If a student is exposed or tests positive, they’ll be required to quarantine on campus for two weeks.

The school says if students don’t complete the test they will be prevented from registering for classes.


MADRID — Spain’s health ministry is reporting more than 52,000 officially recorded new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, as ICU wards fill up with new coronavirus patients.

The average occupancy rate of ICU beds by COVID-19 patients has surpassed 31%, with that percentage exceeding 50% in the regions on La Rioja and Aragón. Half of the ICU beds in the Melilla region are also taken.

The health ministry said Monday that 512 people died over the weekend.

Spain has recorded more than 39,000 deaths and more that 1.38 million cases since the outbreak of the new coronavirus pandemic


MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota is adding more than a dozen free COVID-19 testing sites around the state over the next two weeks in an effort to bring the virus under control as cases have surged.

Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday that testing at the sites will be free and open to anyone, whether symptomatic or not.

A saliva testing site opened Monday at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and another opens Thursday at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

An additional 11 sites will open next week at National Guard armories statewide. They will offer a mix of saliva and nasal swab tests and will stay open through at least the end of the year.

Walz said Minnesota’s COVID-19 positivity rate is higher than it’s ever been, and the state’s testing strategy is key to controlling the spread.

The state ranks 12th nationwide for new cases per capita in the last two weeks.


ROME — Italy’s daily new caseload of confirmed COVID-19 infections dropped considerably on Monday, but some 43,000 fewer swab tests were performed in the last 24 hours.

According to Health Ministry figures, there were 25,271 new cases, some 7,000 fewer than the previous day.

Ministry figures on Mondays frequently reflect reduced testing over the weekend. Still, Italy’s overall number of confirmed cases in the pandemic climbed closer to the 1 million mark, with 960,373 as of Monday.

Since Sunday, 356 deaths were registered, raising to 41,750 the known total in the pandemic. Italian government officials were deciding on Monday about expanding the so-called “red zone” lockdown areas, beyond the four regions so designated last week in an urgent bid to slow the surging spread of COVID-19.

People in red-zone regions cannot leave their towns or even their homes, except for essential reasons including food shopping, doctor’s visits, work, or, in the case of younger children, schools.

Classrooms for upper grades are shuttered in red-zone regions, forcing older students to have lessons remotely.


ISLAMABAD — Pakistani authorities have imposed mini-lockdown in 4,136 residential areas across the country by sealing off hot spots in a bid to contain rising fatalities and infections from coronavirus.

Monday’s announcement by the military-backed National Command and Operations Center comes amid a steady increase in infections.

The imposition of mini-lockdown and sealing off hotspots started Saturday when Pakistan banned indoor weddings but allowed outdoor gatherings if guests adhere to social distancing rules.

On Monday, Pakistan reported 1,650 new cases and nine deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. It has registered 344,839 cases and 6,977 deaths since February.


ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities have registered a new record high of 41 COVID-19 deaths, three days into a new lockdown, but a drop in new infections.

Health officials said Monday that 1,490 confirmed new infections have been reported – down from 1,914 on Sunday – which brings the total to about 58,000. The total death toll is now 825, while 239 people are intubated.

Officials said new infections are expected to drop during lockdown, but the number of intubations will creep up. Greece is in lockdown until next month.


TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel will soon offer coronavirus testing at its main international airport, something authorities hope will speed the revival of air travel.

Passengers at Ben Gurion International Airport will be able to pay around $13 for a test and get results within 14 hours, with faster testing methods on offer in the coming weeks. Authorities say labs at the airport will be able to process 20,000 tests per day. Passengers can register starting Thursday and the testing booths open Sunday.

Visiting the facility on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it can “help us get back to a better, quicker and more efficient aviation routine,” adding that “we want to renew Israel’s link to the world.”

Israel is gradually emerging from its second nationwide lockdown since the pandemic began. The country has reported nearly 320,000 cases, including 2,674 deaths.

An earlier lockdown last spring largely succeeded in containing the outbreak, but cases surged over the summer after authorities reopened too quickly. At one point, Israel, with a population of just 9 million, had one of the world’s worst outbreaks on a per capita basis.

Authorities plan to gradually ease restrictions over several weeks following the second lockdown, which began in mid-September and was partially lifted last month.


TIRANA, Albania — Albania on Monday decided to apply a three-week night curfew and closure of bars and restaurants to prevent a further spread of the virus.

Health authorities decided to stop people’s move and close the restaurants and cafes from 10 p.m. (2100 GMT) t0 6 a.m. (0500 GMT). During those hours people may strictly move only for work purpose, health emergencies or necessary needs, they said.

Medical experts also advised that the public employees work from home.

Wearing masks indoors and outdoors is mandatory, too.

The new steps start to be applied on Wednesday, Nov, 11 and will be reviewed every week.

Albania has noted a significant increase of the daily new confirmed cases in the last month, reaching a record of 501 new cases on Sunday.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has registered 176 cases per 100,000 people in the last two weeks in Albania, compared to 69 a month ago.

There have been recorded 24,206 confirmed virus cases with 559 deaths as of Sunday, according to the Health Ministry.


GENEVA — The World Health Organization predicted it might “fundamentally change the direction of the pandemic” by March, when it hopes to start vaccinating high-risk groups against the coronavirus and rolling out massive numbers of rapid tests.

During a meeting of its member states, the U.N. health agency’s senior adviser Dr. Bruce Aylward called the interim results announced Monday by Pfizer and BioNTech about its experimental shot appearing to be 90% effective “a substantive step forward.”

“By March, as a result of the extraordinary work happening, we could be in a position to fundamentally change the direction of this crisis,” Aylward said, citing work done to increase vaccine manufacturing capacity, research on diagnostic tests and COVID-19 treatments. He said the preliminary results announced by Pfizer and BioNTech “should hold great promise for the entire world.”

Aylward said WHO’s next priority is to ensure that vaccines might be shared equitably — even though rich countries have reserved the majority of the world’s global supply. He said WHO has been working with countries to increase their vaccine delivery systems and said officials are “on the verge of having the readiness in place to roll out doses for the highest risk populations around the world in the first quarter of next year.”


TOKYO — Experts on a Japanese government coronavirus taskforce urged officials and the people to step up preventive measures, testing and cluster investigation amid the recent sharp increase in the number of new cases, especially in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido.

The panel’s “emergency recommendation” came Monday when Hokkaido reported a record 200 new cases, many of them linked to its capital city Sapporo’s night entertainment district. Tokyo on Monday had 157 new cases after reporting more than 200 cases three consecutive days last week. The cases have also increased in Osaka, Hyogo, Aichi and other urban areas.

The panel urges the government to urgently step up cluster investigation, DNA analysis of virus taken from test samples to track their infection routes, and awareness campaigns for college students and foreign residents’ communities where infections are on the rise.

The spread of the infections has caused clusters not only in night entertainment areas but also at ordinary eateries, offices, schools and foreign residents’ communities, and may suddenly spike “if we wait too long without strengthening measures,” said a senior panel member Shigeru Omi.

“We need to take action now to prevent a sudden escalation of the infections ahead of the winter so that we don’t have to restrict our social and economic activity like we did before.” He was referring to Japan’s state of emergency in April and May when remote work and business closures were requested.

Hokkaido officials raised the prefecture’s alert level to three on a scale of five, but experts said business and travel restrictions are not immediately needed.

The central government has dispatched public health experts to Hokkaido to investigate and help local officials. Japan as of Monday has 108,084 cases, with 1,818 deaths, according to the health ministry.


Categories: National & International News