The Latest: South Korea reports 3 virus cases, China just 1
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:
— South Korea reports 3 virus cases, China just 1.
— Australia PM still suspects virus originated in Chinese market, not lab.
— Carrier prepares to go back to sea after virus outbreak.
— Australia, New Zealand committed to resuming travel between them.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — China and South Korea, which had early, intense outbreaks of the coronavirus, together reported only four new infections Tuesday and were slowly resuming public events after months of containment efforts.
Meanwhile, the U.S. was taking halting steps to lift some restrictions even as thousands of new cases continue to be reported each day.
In Washington, the Supreme Court heard arguments by telephone and allowed the world to listen in live for the first time. And the Senate convened for the first time since March, though prospects for quick action on a new aid package are uncertain.
South Korea’s three new cases represented the lowest daily jump in nearly three months. More than 10,000 people have been infected in the nation’s outbreak, and more than 250 have died.
In China, it has been three weeks since any new deaths have been reported in the country where the pandemic began in December. Just one new case of infection was confirmed, and fewer than 400 patients are still being treated for COVID-19, health officials said.
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s prime minister still suspects the new coronavirus originated in a Chinese wildlife market despite U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advocating a theory that it began in a laboratory.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday that he had written to Group of 20 government leaders calling for a “proper assessment” of the origins of and government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pompeo, who has backed Australia’s call for an independent review, told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that there is “enormous evidence” that the virus began in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The institute, which is run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is about 8 miles (13 kilometers) from a market considered a possible source of the virus.
Asked about the lab theory, Morrison told reporters Australia works closely with the United States and cannot rule out potential origins. But he said a wet market was “most likely” the origin of the pandemic.
China has dismissed calls for an international inquiry independent of the World Health Organization and has accused Australia of parroting the United States.
WASHINGTON — On board the coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt, the crew is getting the aircraft carrier ready to head back out to sea.
For the ship’s commander, Capt. Carlos Sardiello, the road to recovery has been a challenge. For the crew sidelined in Guam for more than a month, it’s been an emotional roller coaster.
Sardiello was a former Roosevelt captain when he abruptly returned to the ship in early April to take command after Capt. Brett Crozier was fired for urging faster action to stem the virus outbreak onboard.
More than 4,000 crew members went ashore last month. While more than 2,000 are back on board, at least 1,000 are still testing positive for the virus and remain on land. And the close to 700 crew members who had been protecting and running the Roosevelt and systems aboard have now moved into hotels and other facilities on the island for their quarantine.
When it’s time to return to the ship, boarding takes place in slow, meticulous waves. Wearing gloves and masks, the crew members climb onto sterile buses only after they’ve had two negative tests for the virus. They are screened and checked when they get on the bus and again before they board the ship. Even a simple sniffle can get them turned back.
Those who had stayed on the ship did deep cleaning four times a day.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The leaders of Australia and New Zealand say they’re committed to resuming travel between the two countries as soon as they can do so safely.
The announcement Tuesday came after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took the unusual step of joining Australian counterpart Scott Morrison and his National Cabinet for a discussion by video link. Morrison said he’d been talking to Ardern for several weeks about creating a safe travel zone between the countries.
“It is still some time away,” Morrison said. “But it is important to flag it because it is part of the road back.”
Both countries have experienced success in suppressing their coronavirus outbreaks. New Zealand reported no new cases Tuesday for the second consecutive day, while Australia reported 25 new cases.
TEHRAN, Iran — The new coronavirus pandemic has brought back something unseen in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution: a drive-in movie theater.
Once decried by revolutionaries for allowing too much privacy for unmarried young couples, a drive-in theater now operates from a parking lot right under Tehran’s iconic Milad tower, showing a film in line with the views of hard-liners.
Workers spray disinfectants on cars that line up each night here after buying tickets online for what is called the “Cinema Machine” in Farsi. They tune into the film’s audio via an FM station on their car radios.
With stadiums shut and movie theaters closed, this parking-lot screening is the only film being shown in a communal setting amid the virus outbreak in Iran, one of the world’s worst. Iran has reported more than 98,600 cases with over 6,200 deaths, though international and local experts acknowledge the toll is likely far higher.
Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.