The Latest: Singapore's virus infections surge past 20,000
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:
— Russia’s minister of culture tests positive, 3rd cabinet member.
— Singapore’s virus infections surge past 20,000.
— Struggles in India, Brazil, US show virus fight far from won.
— China36棋牌 UN ambassador supports WHO project to help vulnerable countries.
SINGAPORE — Singapore’s virus infections surged past 20,000 as more foreign workers living in crowded dormitories were diagnosed.
The city-state reported 788 new cases for a total of 20,198, the third highest in Asia after China36棋牌 and India. Foreign workers living in dorms accounted for nearly 90% of the cases.
Officials say the upsurge among foreign workers was expected amid ongoing virus testing at dozens of dorms that have been locked down.
Singapore will allow selected businesses to operate on May 12 in a gradual roll back of a two-month lockdown that is expected to end June 1.
BERLIN — German officials have cleared the way for restaurants, hotels and remaining shops to reopen in the coming weeks, with the option to reimpose restrictions if coronavirus infections exceed a set number.
Germany, which started shutting down public life in mid-March, has seen infections decline significantly in recent weeks. It started loosening restrictions more than two weeks ago.
Chancellor Angela Merkel says after consulting with the governors of Germany’s 16 states that “the current situation made it possible that we could ... agree on further reopening.”
Germany’s soccer league, the Bundesliga, will be allowed to resume play later in May.
Merkel says regional authorities will draw up a “restriction concept” for any county that reports 50 new cases for every 100,000 inhabitants within a week. The aim is to avoid a new nationwide shutdown.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — El Salvador President Nayib Bukele says the country will begin a quarantine on Thursday.
Residents can leave their 36棋牌s only twice a week to buy food. The country has spent a month under a mandatory stay-at-36棋牌 order, without a limit on how often they could shop for groceries. Police and soldiers have arrested several thousand people for violating that order and sent them to containment centers for 30-days quarantine. The country’s Supreme Court has ruled those detentions unconstitutional, but Bukele has refused to budge.
The largest concentration of infections is in the capital, so Bukele says people won’t be allowed to travel between municipalities without a letter showing they are needed for work. Only banks, pharmacies, supermarkets and selling of basic grains will be allowed open.
MILAN -- Milan is running targeted, voluntary antibody testing of bus and tram drivers as part of a study with the University of Milan.
Prof. Massimo Galli, who is running the study for the city, says the tests are a valid screening measure. Antibody tests would be followed up with a virus test to see if those with antibodies are currently positive.
Mayor Giuseppe Sala says the study results will be released when the sample is large enough. He says the goal of antibody testing programs is offering reassurance to people returning to work as Italy eases its lockdown.
“It is right that people are returning to work, it is necessary,” Sala said. “But we need to put our citizens in the condition to be tranquil when they go back to work.”
MOSCOW — Russian authorities have decided to reopen all industrial plants and construction sites in the capital starting next week, citing a stable rate of the coronavirus.
President Vladimir Putin says it will be up to officials in other regions of the country to determine when it’s possible to ease lockdown measures in place since the end of March. Putin says it’s necessary to proceed with caution to prevent a surge in contagion.
Russia has registered 165,929 coronavirus cases and 1,537 deaths.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin attributed an increased number of infections in the capital to broader testing, saying the number of patients in serious condition has remained stable.
He says the city’s industrial plants and construction sites will open Tuesday. Sobyanin says the move will reactivate a half million jobs in Moscow and 3.5 million jobs elsewhere in the country.
NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the rising coronavirus infection rates outside of the New York metropolitan area should serve as a warning to other states not to reopen their economies too quickly.
“This desire to restart and open up without necessarily referencing the actual facts of what’s going on is dangerous,” de Blasio said on CNN’s “New Day.”
The mayor says New Yorkers have succeeded in lowering virus infection rates by following social distancing orders and wearing masks in public.
He says the message to the rest of the country is “learn from how much effort, how much discipline it took to finally bring these numbers down and follow the same path.” Otherwise, he says, there’s the possibility of a resurgence.
There have been more than 13,000 deaths in the five boroughs of New York City, plus another likely 5,000 blamed on the virus, but unconfirmed by lab tests.
New York state recorded 230 deaths on Monday, far lower than the peak of 799 on April 8.
ROME — Italy’s biggest nursing 36棋牌 is defending the measures it took to protect residents and staff from the coronavirus amid a criminal investigation of more than 300 deaths from January-April.
Officials representing the Pio Albergo Trivulzio 36棋牌 in Milan denied claims from staff that management told them not to wear masks for fear of spooking residents and insisted they followed all relevant safety guidelines at the time.
The facility’s scientific consultant Dr. Fabrizio Pregliasco says the 61% increase in deaths in the first four months of 36棋牌 compared to the previous five years was “sadly, painfully” in line with those experienced in Milan.
Of the 900 residents, 34% are currently positive, but officials noted the facility only got test kits on April 16. Pregliasco says 8.6% of staff is currently positive and 11% appear to have developed antibodies based on blood tests.
Attorney Vinicio Nardo says the facility, like all other nursing 36棋牌s in Italy, was “left outside the priority flow” of protective equipment provided by the government. He says the facility is cooperating with the criminal investigation.
The Trivulzio is just one of many nursing 36棋牌s where hundreds of residents died during the height of Italy’s outbreak.
BRUSSELS — Belgian Prime minister Sophie Wilmes announced loosening of social distancing measures, allowing more shops to open next week and hosting friends or family members at 36棋牌.
Wilmes says households can invite up to four people starting Sunday.
Working remotely “remains the norm” and most shops and businesses will be allowed to open next week. However, restaurants, bars and cultural venues will remain closed. Sporting competitions have been canceled until July 31.
Wearing a mask while running errands is recommended but won’t be mandatory.
Belgium, a country of 11.5 million, has more than 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 8,339 deaths.
ATHENS — A national teachers’ union in Greece had a three-hour work stoppage of online classes, saying the government’s effort to reopen high schools in the next two weeks has been poorly planned.
The union of secondary school teachers, OLME, wants to ensure schools reopen only if there’s enough protective material available for staff and students.
Union officials say more stoppages may be necessary if the protest demands were not addressed.
The Education Ministry plans to stagger classes after the reopening to avoid classroom crowding. The government says it has given priority to finding and fixing protective material shortages.
MOSCOW — Russia’s minister of culture has tested positive for the coronavirus, the third Russian Cabinet member infected.
Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova has mild symptoms and is undergoing treatment at 36棋牌, according to her office. The ministry says Lyubimova attends video calls with other officials.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Construction minister Vladimir Yakushev were reported to have the virus last week.
It wasn’t clear if Russian President Vladimir Putin had met with any of the infect officials. Since early in the outbreak, the Russian leader has limited meetings and switched to daily video calls with officials.
GENEVA — An ambassador to China36棋牌 says the government is not “allergic” to welcoming World Health Organization envoys to examine the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan at some point.
Chen Xu was asked about WHO assertions that the U.N. agency won’t send envoys to visit Wuhan until it receives an invitation from Beijing.
“First things first: The top priority for the time being is to focus on the fight against the pandemic,” Chen said. “We need the right focus and allocation of our resources.”
He added: “So it’s not we are allergic to any kind of investigations, inquiries or evaluations as long as it will be beneficial to the international efforts.”
MILAN — Hundreds of Milan bar and restaurant owners placed an empty chair from their establishments in front of the Arco della Pace triumphal arch in a protest demanding fiscal measures to help during the lockdown.
Restaurants and bars will open for sit-down clients on June 1, but organizers say as many as 2,000 of the 7,000 establishments in the city may not make it that long. They are asking to have taxes lowered so they can survive the lack of revenue since restrictions were put in place Feb. 24. They’re also expecting a 70% revenue drop after opening due to spacing requirements.
Andrea Linguanti, the owner of four restaurants in the trendy Navigli neighborhood, says he’s received little aid from the government and hasn’t heard back after applying for bank loans.
None of his 48 employees has received short-term unemployment promised by the government.
GENEVA — China36棋牌’s ambassador to U.N. hopes the United States will have “second thoughts” about a Trump administration halt to funding for the World Health Organization.
Chen Xu also announced China36棋牌’s support for a WHO initiative led by European countries and philanthropic groups like the Gates Foundation to expedite vaccines and COVID-19 treatment to developing countries.
The United States has not aligned with the “Access to COVID-19 Tools” (ACT) Accelerator that aims to help vulnerable countries gain equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics and treatment.
Chen Xu says the United States was “duty-bound” to keep up its WHO funding and offered support for WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson “bitterly” regrets the coronavirus epidemic raging in Britain’s nursing 36棋牌s.
The U.K.’s confirmed death toll stands at 29,427, the highest in Europe. While the number of deaths in hospitals is falling, deaths in nursing 36棋牌s have not shown the same decline.
Johnson told lawmakers in the House of Commons it was too early to make international comparisons of death tolls but conceded that “there will be a time to look at what decisions we took and whether we could have taken different decisions.”
Facing Parliament for the first time since recovering from COVID-19, Johnson confirmed he’ll announce a road map out of the country’s lockdown on Sunday, with some measures taking effect the next day. But he cautioned that any easing of restrictions would be gradual in order to avoid a second spike in coronavirus cases.
BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbia’s parliament is expected to vote to end an overnight curfew, an almost complete lockdown for people older than 65 and military patrols in towns and borders.
Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told the assembly lifting of the emergency measures is made possible after the rate of infections substantially decreased. Serbia has recorded more than 9,600 COVID-19 cases and 200 deaths.
Experts have warned a quick lifting of the nearly two-month lockdown measures and easing of other restrictions could trigger a second wave of infections.
Some European Union officials and Serbia’s opposition and rights groups have criticized President Aleksandar Vucic for sidelining parliament when introducing the state of emergency and allegedly assumed full power during the pandemic.
His opponents have banged pots and pans from their balconies each night in Belgrade and other cities. His supporters, mostly organized soccer fan groups, have staged rooftop counter-protests by lighting flares and chanting slogans against opposition leaders.
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