The Latest: Vacationers arriving in Rome get virus tests
ROME — Vacationers arriving in Rome from four Mediterranean countries lined up with their suitcases at Leonardo da Vinci airport to be immediately tested for the new coronavirus on Sunday.
Last week, Italy’s health minister issued an ordinance requiring the tests for all travelers arriving in Italy from Croatia, Greece, Malta or Spain.
Travelers have the option of being tested instead within 48 hours of arrival at local public health offices closer to their home or destination in Italy.
Vacationers coming from abroad are fueling an increase in new coronavirus infections in Italy in recent weeks. On Saturday, the daily caseload of new infections topped 600 for the first time since May.
Alessio D’Amato, health commissioner for Lazio, the region including Rome, said at the airport that concern was mounting about the rising number of infections, especially since school resumes in Italy on Sept. 14, for the first time since the pandemic began.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— S. Korea reports 279 cases, most in 5 months
— Italy garbage dips with virus lockdowns, but plastics rise.
— Millions of seniors live in a home with at least one child, and the new school year could bring new worries for one of the groups most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
— More than 400 grassroots music venues in Britain are at imminent risk of closure because of the coronavirus pandemic.
— AP PHOTOS: Masks hold images of pandemic, Hong Kong protests.
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BERLIN — Bavarian authorities said Sunday they’re still haven’t been able to contact 46 of more than 900 people who tested positive for the new coronavirus upon entering Germany recently, but didn’t receive the results.
The southern German state admitted last week that tens of thousands of travelers returning back home had to wait for weeks to receive their test results — among them the more than 900 who had tested positive but were not aware of it because of the missing results.
The bureaucratic breakdown led to an uproar in Germany over concerns that those who tested positive but were not aware of it could spread the virus to others.
The Bavarian state government said the long delays in getting the results were linked to problems with the software and an unexpectedly high number of people wanting to be tested at newly established test centers, primarily at highway rest stops near the country’s southern borders.
On Saturday, authorities in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate said there had been delays in informing people of their test results in the southwestern state. However, the authorities there were at least able to contact all those who tested positive immediately, the German news agency dpa reported.
PARIS — After France recorded its highest one-day rise in virus infections since May, the government is pushing for wider mask use and tighter protections for migrant workers and in slaughterhouses.
But France still plans to reopen schools nationwide in two weeks, and the labor minister says the government is determined to avoid a new nationwide lockdown that would further hobble the economy and threaten jobs.
France’s infection count has resurged in recent weeks, blamed in part on people criss-crossing the country for weddings, family gatherings or annual summer vacations with friends. Britain re-imposed quarantine measures Saturday for vacationers returning from France as a result.
France reported 3,310 new infections in a single day Saturday, and the rate of positive tests has been growing and is now at 2.6%. The daily case count was down to several hundred a day for two months, but started rising again in July. Overall France has reported more than 30,400 virus-related deaths, among the world’s highest tolls.
Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne said in an interview published Sunday with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper that the government wants to expand mask use in workplaces.
“We must avoid new confinement at any cost,” she said.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Health authorities reported 13 new cases of the coronavirus in New Zealand on Sunday, including 12 linked to an outbreak in the city of Auckland and one returning traveler who was already in quarantine.
The outbreak in Auckland, discovered Tuesday, has prompted officials to put the nation’s largest city back into a two-week lockdown.
The outbreak has now grown to 49 infections, with authorities saying they believe all the cases are all connected, giving them hope the virus isn’t spreading beyond that cluster.
New Zealand had gone 102 days without community spread of the disease before the latest outbreak. Officials believe the virus was reintroduced to New Zealand from abroad but haven’t yet been able to figure out how it happened.
KAHULUI, Hawaii — Kahului Airport on Maui has completed its second phase of its thermal screening project meant to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The screening uses thermal imaging and facial recognition technology to pinpoint people with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher.
Dual lens cameras have been installed at all arrival gates and TSA checkpoints in the airport.
The Maui News reports that when phase three is completed, the cameras will be able to track travelers with high body temperatures so contact tracers can stop and screen them before they leave the airport.
KANSAS CITY — Trump’s top coronavirus adviser used a visit to Kansas to urge people to wear masks regardless of where they live.
“What’s really important for every Kansan to understand is that this epidemic that we have been seeing this summer is both urban and rural,” Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force said Saturday. “So we are really asking all communities, whether you are urban or rural communities, to really wear a mask inside, outside, every day.”
She also stressed that people should socially distance and not have gatherings while in Kansas City, Kansas, for a meeting with Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, as well as community and state health officials at KU Medical Center, The Kansas City Star reports.
“You can’t tell who’s infected,” Birx said. “Much of the spread is asymptomatic. I know we all want to believe that our family members cannot be positive. They are.”
Birx said when communities start seeing a rise in positive cases, leaders need to close the bars, restrict indoor dining, decrease social gatherings and ensure there’s a mask mandate.
“We have been doing that across the South and we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in cases where the population has followed those guidelines,” she said.
AUSTIN, Texas — The death toll in Texas from the coronavirus inched nearer to 10,000 on Saturday, with 238 deaths bringing the total to 9,840.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said the number of reported cases increased by 8,245 to 528,838.
Health officials said Saturday that 6,481 people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, were hospitalized.
The number of hospitalizations has been decreasing since peaking in July at 10,893, and the number of newly reported cases is shrinking. But the virus is still spreading geographically.