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.

BEIJING — Chinese health authorities reported 30 new coronavirus cases Sunday, including 25 people who had arrived from overseas. The other five cases were in southern China’s Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong.

China has clamped down on international arrivals, banning most foreigners from entering and limiting foreign airlines to one flight per week. Having largely stopped the spread of the disease, the fear is that infected people coming from abroad could spark new outbreaks.

The National Health Commission said that three more people had died, bringing the country’s death toll to 3,329 as of the end of Saturday. The deaths were in Wuhan, where the pandemic began and by far the hardest-hit city in China. The number of confirmed cases stood at 81,669.

President Trump says he may take hydroxychloroquine

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again touting a drug used to treat certain other diseases and says he may take it himself in hope that it will help fend off the new coronavirus.

Trump says “there’s a rumor out there” that hydroxychloroquine is effective, declaring “I may take it.”

He has often pointed to hydroxychloroquine as a possible cure and urged people to take it, despite more sober assessments of its effectiveness by medical professionals.

The drug has long been used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Very small preliminary studies suggested it might help prevent coronavirus from entering cells and possibly help patients clear the virus sooner.

But the drug has major potential side effects, especially for the heart, and large studies are underway to see if it is safe and effective for treating COVID-19.

Trump warns “toughest” weeks in U.S. are yet to come

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is warning that the U.S. is facing the “toughest” weeks ahead as the rise in coronavirus cases accelerates. He says,“There will be a lot of death.”

But after the somber start to his daily briefing on Saturday, he has come back again and again to his desire to get the country open for business.

He said, “We have to open our country again. We don’t want to be doing this for months and months and months. This country wasn’t meant for this.”

Trump, who met earlier Saturday with the heads of major sports leagues, said he wants to get the fans back in arenas as soon as possible. He also talked about wanting people to be able to go to restaurants again.

Read the full story here.

Nearly 3,000 released from Sri Lanka prisons

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Nearly 2900 prisoners have been released from overcrowded prisons in Sri Lanka as the Indian ocean island nation has stepped up it’s efforts to contain the spreading of the new coronavirus.

Sri Lanka has been under a countrywide curfew since March 20. Five people have died due to the virus and the total number of confirmed cases have risen to 166.

According to a statement from the president’s office, 2,961 prisoners have been released on bail since March 17.

Sri Lanka’s prisons are highly congested, and the president’s office said at present, there are more than 26,000 inmates while the normal capacity does not exceed 10,000.

Two inmates were killed and six others wounded last month when they scuffled with guards and some tried to escape during a protest against new strict measures to control the spread of the virus.

Prisoners protested after the government banned visitors to prevent the spreading of the virus inside prisons. Visitors often bring home-cooked food when they visit.

Death toll tops 7,500 in France

PARIS —France’s health director said that 7,560 people have died of coronavirus-related issues in France since the start of the epidemic in the country, including at least 2,028 in nursing homes.

Jerome Salomon spoke Saturday evening during a daily press briefing. According to these figures, France has experienced 441 more deaths in hospitals in the last 24 hours. The information for nursing homes remains incomplete, because not all of them have reported the number of people contaminated or dead because of COVID-19.

He also said that 28,143 people were currently hospitalized — of which 6838 are in intensive care, accounting for a rise of 176 people in 24 hours in intensive care.

Among the critical patients 35% are under 60 years old.

“The number of people being cured is also increasing very quickly,” Salomon said.

New Jersey announces 200 more deaths from virus

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey has announced another 200 deaths from the coronavirus, with Gov. Phil Murphy saying the state has now lost nearly 100 more residents than it did in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Murphy on Saturday said the “particularly sobering” numbers included another 4,331 positive cases bringing the total to 34,124, and 200 more deaths of residents bringing the total to 846 “precious lives lost.”

“This pandemic is writing one of the greatest tragedies in our state’s history,” Murphy said. “And just as we have committed to never forgetting those lost on 9/11, we must commit to never forgetting those we are losing to this pandemic.”

Murphy then paused for a moment of silence. On Friday he ordered flags across the state to half-staff indefinitely to commemorate people who died from COVID-19.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said the state was sending out a crisis alert calling for more volunteers. She said nine hospitals were diverting patients partially or completely Friday night because of staffing issues and critical care bed capacity.

NY to get 1,100 ventilators with help from China, Oregon

NEW YORK (AP) — New York is poised to get over 1,100 ventilators from China and Oregon as it scrambles to line up more breathing machines for the sickest coronavirus patients, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.

The Chinese government facilitated a 1,000-ventilator donation from billionaires Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai, the co-founders of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Cuomo said. He said those ventilators were due to arrive Saturday, and the state of Oregon had volunteered to send 140 more breathing machines.

“It’s going to make a significant difference for us,” said the Democratic governor. Cuomo had said on Thursday that the state’s supply of ventilators would be exhausted in six days if the number of critically ill coronavirus patients kept growing at the current rate.

New York is the pandemic’s U.S. epicenter, with over 113,700 confirmed cases as of Saturday morning. More than 3,500 people statewide have died, and about 15,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized. Over 4,100 are in intensive care — many, if not all, of them needing ventilators.

Read the full story here.

President Trump speaks with sports commissioners

WASHINGTON — The White House says President Donald Trump spoke with commissioners of the country’s sports leagues on Saturday and told them he recognizes “the good work being done by many teams and players” to care for their communities and fan bases dealing with the new coronavirus.

The virus has decimated the sports world with the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League suspending their seasons indefinitely and Major League Baseball and the WNBA postponing the start of their season.

The NCAA basketball tournament was also cancelled, as were college spring sports such as baseball and softball, lacrosse and track and field.

The White House says the commissioners thanked Trump for his “national leadership and for his interest in the sports industry.” He called on them to continue efforts to support their fellow Americans during the current challenge.

A wide range of sports league officials participated in the call, including Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, and Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA.

Read the full story here.

Turkey passes 500 coronavirus deaths

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s health minister reported 76 new COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll in the country to 501.

Fahrettin Koca also raised the total number of COVID-19 infections to 23,934, reporting 3,013 more confirmed cases on Saturday. There are 1,311 patients in intensive care units across the country, with 909 of them intubated.

A total of 786 people have recovered from novel coronavirus infections, according to the figures the health minister posted on Twitter.

Puerto Rico feeling lasting effects of mismanagement of supplies during hurricane

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The suspected mismanagement of essential supplies during Hurricane Maria has turned out to be a boon for Puerto Rico as it fights a rise in the coronavirus cases.

Health Secretary Lorenzo González said Saturday that officials discovered a cache of urgently needed personal protective equipment at a hospital in the nearby island of Vieques that remains closed since the Category 4 storm hit in September 2017. He said the equipment includes face masks, gloves, gowns and face shields that were in good condition.

Puerto Rico has reported 18 deaths, including that of a nurse, and more than 450 confirmed cases, including police officers who have demanded more personal protective equipment.

Read the story here.

Canada won’t retaliate over export of protective masks

TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada won’t bring retaliatory or punitive measures against the United States after the Trump administration announced it would prevent the export of N95 protective masks.

Trudeau says he will speak to President Trump in the coming days. He says his officials are having constructive conversations with American officials.

Trudeau says he will tell Trump both countries are interlinked in ways that it would damage both if supply chains are cut. The prime minister says Canada ships gloves and testing kits to the U.S and notes materials from the N95 masks originate in Canada.

Canadian nurses also cross the bridge in Windsor to work in the Detroit medical system everyday.

Manufacturing giant 3M says there are significant humanitarian implications of ceasing N95 masks to health care workers in Canada and Latin America, where 3M is a critical supplier of respirators.

Italy’s Lombardy region requires people to wear masks outside

ROME — Italy’s virus-ravaged Lombardy region is now requiring residents to wear a protective mask when they go outside in a bid to further trim infections.

The ordinance from Lombardy Gov. Attilio Fontana goes into effect Sunday and lasts through April 13. It mirrors similar ordinances in recent days from two other northern regions, hard-hit Veneto and Alto Adige, which require protective masks for residents particularly if shopping in stores and markets.

While all of Italy is under a nationwide lockdown, Lombardy has passed particularly tight restrictions on movement and business operations in an effort to curb infections in the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak. The new ordinance extends those tight restrictions to mid-April but makes a new exception to the shutdown for stationary stores to reopen to let students buy school supplies.

Spain starting to see slowdown in new cases

MADRID — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says that his nation ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic is “starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Sánchez said that if the current slowdown of the outbreak continues then Spain is on course to reduce its cases of the COVID-19. Current numbers show Spain has 124,000 cases of coronavirus and over 11,000 deaths.

Sánchez gave a televised address to the nation Saturday and said Spain is close to reducing the spread of the virus. He implored citizens “to make more sacrifices” during the crisis.

Sánchez used the address to announce that the government plans to extend the lockdown the country has been under for three weeks until April 26.

Strict limitations that keep people at home except for shopping for food and medicine, as well as non-essential businesses, helped Spain reduce its rate of contagion that was over 20% last week to 6% on Saturday.

Sánchez warned that when restrictions are loosened they will be rolled back gradually. He says it is unclear when all normal activities will be resumed.

Kenya extends quarantine period

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya’s government has ordered the quarantine period extended for two weeks in facilities where some people went on “partying sprees” and might have spread the new coronavirus.

Officials on Saturday reported a high number of cases among those in quarantine facilities and accused some people of not taking social distancing seriously.

But some Kenyans have complained to local media about the quarantine conditions that include shared bathrooms and poor hygiene. Kenya has 126 confirmed coronavirus cases.

France mulls masks for all

PARIS — France’s health minister says the government is in discussion with experts over whether all residents should be wearing a protective mask to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.

Olivier Veran indicated it has not been recommended by French authorities for everyone to wear a mask. But he says the idea is under discussion with the scientific council, virology experts and health agencies.

Veran also says the French government is committed to obtaining a plentiful supply of masks. He added ” we have to be able to produce masks, for people who are not caregivers, who are what are called people who are on the second line, people who will be in contact with the public.”

Scotland sees outbreak at nursing home

GLASGOW, Scotland — A Scottish nursing home says 13 residents who died in the past week are believed to have had the new coronavirus.

Four Seasons Health Care runs the Burlington Court Care Home in Glasgow and says two members of its staff are also being treated in hospitals for the virus.

The residents who died were not tested for the virus because they did not go to hospitals. Their families have since been told of the possible connection.

The news came as the government said 4,313 people with COVID-19 have died in British hospitals. That’s an increase of 708 on a day before. The youngest victim was 5-years-old.

That daily figure does not include nursing-home deaths, which are recorded separately and published weekly.

Britain releasing 4,000 inmates

LONDON — Britain is temporarily releasing about 4,000 inmates to ease crowding and try to slow the spread of the new coronavirus in prisons.

The Ministry of Justice says “low-risk” offenders will be freed with electronic tags. People guilty of violent or sexual offenses or terrorism will not be eligible for release.

Pregnant prisoners or those with infants have also been approved for release.

Britain has one of the largest prison populations in western Europe with more than 80,000 people behind bars. Many prisons hold far more inmates than they were built for.

According to official figures, 88 inmates and 15 prison staff have tested positive for COVID-19. Three prisoners are reported to have died.

Italians defend government response

ROME — Italy’s commissioner for the new coronavirus crisis has defended the government’s response amid criticism of slow and insufficient distribution of ventilators and personal protective equipment for health care workers.

Domenico Arcuri insisted the civil protection agency had accelerated its distribution of protective masks in recent days and deliveries had reached regions in sufficient quantities.

Arcuri on Saturday defended the decision to prioritize the hard-hit north first because the epidemic is centered there. He added central and southern Italy are receiving the necessary equipment in time to cope with their slowly increasing caseload.

Regional officials and associations of doctors and health care workers denounced the shortages of PPE early on in the crisis. It has been blamed as a contributor to more than 11,000 health care workers getting infected and more than 70 doctors dying.

Arcuri also noted that Italy had made an “enormous effort” to increase its intensive care capacity. The number of ICU beds nationwide at the start of the emergency was 5,179 and now is at more than 9,000.

Italy had only 8.6 ICU beds per 100,000 people before the pandemic. That is well below the OECD average of 15.9 and a fraction of Germany’s 33.9 ICU beds per 100,000 people.

Curfew takes hold in Serbia

BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbian streets have emptied as a tightened curfew took effect on Saturday as part of measures designed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

The government extended the ban from 1 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. on Monday to prevent people from leaving their homes. Previously the curfew was imposed from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m daily.

Children’s playgrounds and entrances into Belgrade parks have been blocked with plastic tape and police are patrolling the main streets to ensure people stay inside. Police have used loudspeakers to disperse citizens from recreation areas in the city.

Serbian citizens have not obeyed the strict measures despite government warnings to stay indoors to avoid being infected with the new coronavirus.

Serbia has reported around 1,500 confirmed cases and 39 fatalities.

Doctors have warned they are expecting a rise in the numbers of cases in the Balkan country of around 7 million people. Authorities have banned all people over 65 years old from leaving their homes.

U.S. Embassy trying to repatriate Americans in Russia

MOSCOW — The U.S. Embassy in Russia says it is trying to arrange a charter flight to repatriate Americans but warns it could be the last flight for some time.

A planned Aeroflot flight to New York was cancelled while on the taxiway on Friday. Russia has banned all international airline flights, including those bring Russians back to their homeland in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Ross advised Americans that if the charter flight happens “this will likely be the final charter opportunity to depart Russia.”

As of Saturday, Russia has reported 4,731 coronavirus infections and 44 deaths.

Thailand bans passenger flights

BANGKOK — Aviation authorities in Thailand have banned passenger flights from landing for three days after chaos broke out when more than 100 returning Thai citizens reportedly refused to abide by regulations requiring them to go directly to state-run quarantine centers.

The ban by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand exempts other flight categories. It appears special flights to take foreign tourists back to their countries is still allowed.

The unrest at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport occurred Friday night. A security official allowed the travelers to proceed home. Thai media reports said the security official was removed from duty Saturday and errant travelers were ordered to report to the authorities.

A bureaucratic tangle appeared to contribute to the problem. Regulations for returning Thai nationals that had allowed them to self-isolate were changed Thursday to require them to go to a state quarantine facility.

Most, if not all, had completed travel arrangements before the change, which included approval by the relevant Thai embassy.

Rome government tells citizens to continue staying home

ROME — The government is demanding Italians stay home and not take the leveling off of new coronavirus infections as a sign the emergency is over.

The demand follows evidence that more and more Italians are relaxing restrictions.

Top government and regional officials took to national television Saturday after photos were published in leading daily Corriere della Sera and La Stampa showing huge crowds of people out shopping in Naples, Rome, Genoa and even the Veneto city of Padua.

Lombardy vice governor Fabrizio Sala claimed cell phone date showed 38% percent of the region’s people were out and about. That’s the highest figure since March 20.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza told RAI state television that the sacrifices Italians have made since the nationwide lockdown went into effect March 10 risked being reversed if they don’t adhere to the lockdown.

He warned that wrong behavior now risks compromising all the good Italians have achieved so far.

Italy for nearly a week has seen a leveling off in its new coronavirus infections. But Italy hasn’t yet seen any dropoff after three weeks of lockdown and each day still counts hundreds more dead.

Spain has more than 18,000 infected health care workers

MADRID — Spain’s Health Ministry says it has 18,324 infected health care workers as of Saturday. That represents 15% of the total number of infections in the country.

Spain’s government has hired 356 foreign health workers living in Spain to help boost its ranks. It has also hired medical and nursing students to help.

WHO warns African leaders of imminent surge

JOHANNESBURG — The World Health Organization director-general has warned African leaders of an “imminent surge” in coronavirus cases on the continent.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a teleconference with several heads of state also urged African nations to open humanitarian corridors to allow the delivery of badly needed medical supplies.

More than half of Africa’s 54 countries have closed air, land and sea borders to prevent the virus’ spread. But that measure has delayed some aid shipments.

Virus cases in Africa are now over 7,700. The head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said some nations will have more than 10,000 cases by the end of April.

Phillipine senator moved to tears at enormity of crisis

MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine senator and head of the local Red Cross was moved to tears in a news conference while discussing the enormity of the coronavirus crisis in one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

Sen. Richard Gordon has dealt with major catastrophes, including the Mount Pinatubo eruption and the closure of the largest American naval base in the early 1990s. As a Red Cross leader, he discussed the gargantuan work of helping fight the COVID-19 disease in a video conference Saturday.

Gordon shed tears while attempting to reassure Filipinos they can surmount the pandemic. He called the coronavirus pandemic “a monumental, world-class disaster.”

He says residents are hungry, asking for milk and diapers and complaining of delays in receiving supplies. Gordon also warned that local officials will be arrested if they steal from the massive government aid for poor families.

A monthlong lockdown of the northern Philippine region has hit millions of poor families hard. At least 3,094 infections, including 144 deaths, have been reported in the Philippines and officials expect the toll to spike with planned massive tests.

Hungary announces new taxes to pay for pandemic fight

BUDAPEST, Hungary — The Hungarian government says it will impose new taxes on multinational retail chains and banks to boost state budget revenues needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Retailers will pay about $106 million and banks about $162 million, while a vehicle tax totaling $100 million normally paid by car owners to municipalities will be transferred to the central budget.

Gergely Gulyas, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, also said Saturday that political parties will lose 50% of their state funding, saving the budget about $3.5 million.

Gulyas said health sector employees will get a bonus of about $1,500 at the start of summer.

Measures totaling 18-20% of GDP to counter the economic effects of the pandemic will be announced early next week.

Hungary has reported a total of 678 confirmed virus cases and 32 deaths.

Spain reports more than 800 deaths in 24 hours

MADRID — Spain has reported 809 more deaths over the last 24 hours, for a new tally of 11,744 fatalities from the pandemic.

Spain’s Health Ministry says Saturday that its total number of infections has reached 124,736. That is an increase of 7,026 infections from Friday, which is slightly down from the previous 24-hour period as the rate of the outbreak decreases in the country.

The daily increase puts Spain ahead of Italy as the country with the second-most infections behind the United States. Italy will update its figures later on Saturday.

Spain is completing its third week of a state of emergency, which the government has used to apply stay-at-home rules and a shutdown of all non-essential industries.

Russia flies supplies to Serbia

BELGRADE, Serbia — The Russian military has flown 11 planeloads of equipment and medical experts to Serbia to help it fight the coronavirus spread.

The Serbian Defense Ministry says the last of the Russian cargo planes landed early Saturday at a military airport near Belgrade, delivering disinfection experts and their gear.

Serbia, which formally seeks European Union membership, has maintained close political and economic ties with Russia and Moscow has provided it with weapons.

Serbia’s Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin has thanked Moscow for sending the aid, saying it shows “that we are not alone, that the Russian Federation and the Russian people will always be with us whenever it is needed.”

The transport follows last month’s deployment of a similar Russian coronavirus task force to Italy and the delivery of medical supplies to the United States.

Russian officials have angrily rejected claims that the Kremlin was seeking political gains by providing medical aid to other countries.

First positive test confirmed in Falkland Islands

LONDON — The first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the Falkland Islands, a remote British territory in the South Atlantic.

The islands’ government says the patient was admitted to a hospital on Tuesday from the Mount Pleasant Complex, a Royal Air Force base. The patient, who has not named, is in stable condition and is not on a ventilator.

The Falklands’ chief medical officer Dr. Rebecca Edwards, said authorities were working with the British military on tracing people who may have come into contact with the patient.

The U.K., which maintains a permanent military presence on the islands, has sent in extra army medics to help with the fight against the new coronavirus.

The islands have a population of about 3,000 and lie off the coast of South America. Britain and Argentina fought a 1982 war over the islands, known to the Argentines as the Malvinas.

Scientist says British lockdown could ease by end of May

LONDON — A scientist advising the British government on the coronavirus pandemic says it might be possible to loosen some lockdown measures by the end of May.

The U.K. has been in effective lockdown since March 23, with schools, bars, many shops and gathering places shut and people told to go out only for essentials or exercise.

Imperial College London epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who sits on the government’s scientific advisory committee, says “we want to move to a situation where at least by the end of May that we’re able to substitute some less intensive measures, more based on technology and testing, for the complete lockdown we have now.”

He told the BBC that if the number of cases began to fall soon, then “we will be able to move to a regime which will not be normal life, let me emphasize that, but will be somewhat more relaxed in terms of social distancing and the economy, but relying more on testing.”

Authorities are imploring Britons not to flout the lockdown rules on what’s expected to be a warm, sunny weekend.

Stranded tourists flown out of Nepal

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Hundreds of stranded tourists have been flown out of Nepal days after complete lockdown was imposed in the country.

According to Tribhuvan International Airport, planes chartered by German, French and Malaysian governments have transported their citizens back home.

Two Qatar Airways jets flew 305 Germans and 303 French nationals out of Kathmandu. A Malaysian Airlines plane transported 66 passengers who were Malaysians, Singapore, British and Indian nationals.

Nepal’s government has halted all flights and ground transportation, shutting down offices and shuttering businesses since last month to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Nepal has six confirmed cases including one person who has recovered.

Indian couple name new twins Corona and Covid

NEW DELHI, India — A couple in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh have named their newborn twins Corona and Covid.

The twins — a boy and a girl — were born during the ongoing 21-day long nationwide lockdown that began on March 24.

“The delivery happened after facing several difficulties and therefore, my husband and I wanted to make the day memorable,” Preeti Verma, the 27-old mother of the twins, told news agency Press Trust of India.

The couple said the names would remind them about the hardships they faced during the lockdown and ahead of the successful delivery in a government hospital last week.

The lockdown in India has resulted in the suspension of trains and airline services and effectively kept 1.3 billion Indians at home for all but essential trips to places like markets or pharmacies.

India has 2,909 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across the country, including 68 deaths.

The overall number of known cases in India is small compared with the United States, Italy and China, but health experts say India could be weeks away from a huge surge that could overwhelm its already strained public health system.

Bangladesh reports new deaths

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh has reported two more deaths and nine more cases of infection from the new coronavirus.

The total death toll stands at eight while the number of people infected with COVID-19 rose to 70 since March 8 when the first case of infection was declared, said Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research.

Meanwhile, a private TV station in the capital says one of their journalists has tested positive and it has sent 47 journalists to home quarantine as they came into close contact with the infected person.

Experts say the number of cases could rise over the next few weeks as authorities have increased testing facilities across the South Asian country.

 


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