The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic from around the U.S. and the world.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — As demonstrators flooded streets across America to decry the killing of George Floyd, public health experts watched in alarm – the close proximity of protesters and their failures in many cases to wear masks, along with the police using tear gas, could fuel new transmissions of the coronavirus.

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Chicago police hold back protesters Saturday during a rally and march over the death of George Floyd. While case numbers and deaths have been trending down in several of the cities where the largest protests have occurred, the number of people in those places infected with the virus remains high. John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune via AP

Many of the protests broke out in places where the virus is still circulating widely in the population. In fact, an Associated Press review found that demonstrations have taken place in every one of the 25 U.S. communities with the highest concentrations of new cases. Some have seen major protests over multiple days, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

The protests have come just as communities across the nation loosen restrictions on businesses and public life that have helped slow the spread of the virus, deepening concern that the two factors taken together could create a national resurgence in cases.

“As a nation, we have to be concerned about a rebound,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser warned Sunday after days of protests rocked the nation’s capital. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo bemoaned the crowds, saying that hundreds could potentially have been infected, undoing months of social distancing.

A fresh outbreak in the places where protesters gathered could lead to reinstituting shutdowns.

The AP’s review focused on large metro counties – the central counties within metro areas with more than 1 million people – that showed the highest rates of new cases per capita over the past 14 days.

Read the full story about protests in coronavirus hot spots here.

SAT drops plan for home college entrance exam amid internet access concerns

The company that administers the SAT college entrance exam is scrapping plans to provide a home version of the test this year, saying it can’t guarantee all students would have access to the needed technology.

The College Board announced Tuesday that it’s pausing plans for the remote exam but still hopes to make it possible in the future. Offering the test at home would have required three hours of uninterrupted internet access, the company said.

Officials in April said they were creating a home exam in case schools remained closed into the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of offering the test on paper under a proctor’s supervision, the company said it would rely on “remote proctoring” using the computer’s camera and microphone.

Instead, the College Board said that it’s working to expand the availability of the SAT at in-person test centers this fall, and it’s asking colleges to be more flexible with testing requirements.

“There are more important things than tests right now,” said David Coleman, CEO of the College Board. “In making these difficult decisions we focused on reducing the anxiety that students and families are experiencing this year.”

The College Board announced the change weeks after thousands of students ran into technical glitches while trying to submit online versions of the company’s Advanced Placement exams. Nearly 20,000 of the more than 4.6 million timed tests taken at home resulted in errors, according to data from the College Board. Students who were unable to submit their tests will likely have to retake them, officials said.

For the SAT, the company is asking colleges to accept test scores as late as possible, to give equal consideration to students who were unable to take the test because of the coronavirus, and to recognize that students may have been unable to retake the test.

The three-hour, multiple choice test measures math and English language arts proficiency.

UK study finds minorities at higher risk of COVID-19 death

LONDON — An analysis of the disproportionate effect the coronavirus outbreak in the U.K. appears to be having on members of ethnic minority groups has found that those of Bangladeshi ethnicity had around twice the risk of dying with the virus than white British people.

The report by Public Health England found that black people were most likely to be diagnosed and that coronavirus-related death rates were highest among people from black and Asian ethnic groups.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This pandemic has exposed huge disparities in the health of our nation.”

The Public Health England analysis did not adjust for conditions such as obesity or for occupations when calculating the risk to various ethnic groups. There are a number of other findings in the report, including the fact that working age men are twice as likely to die than working age women.

Hancock says further analysis will be taken over the coming weeks and months to flesh out the early findings.

Read the full story here.

Tokyo issues alert amid fear of 2nd virus wave

TOKYO — The governor of Tokyo has issued a coronavirus alert for the Japanese capital amid worries of a resurgence of infections only a week after a state of emergency ended.

Governor Yuriko Koike issued a “Tokyo alert” on Tuesday after 34 new cases were confirmed in the city, where confirmed infections had slowed to a few per day in late May.

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Men wearing masks walk past an electronic stock board showing foreign currency exchange rates at a securities firm in Tokyo Thursday, May 28. AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

Koike said: “The alert is to precisely inform the people of the status of infections and to advise caution.”

Lighting on Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge will be changed from rainbow-colored to red as a sign of alert. However, the alert does not mean restrictions that just got eased will be reimposed immediately.

Experts say the rise in new cases reflects the increased movement of people since mid-May and could increase further.

Koike said: “I want to remind everyone once again that we are fighting against an unknown virus as we still don’t have any vaccines or treatment for it.”

Under the second phase of a three-part plan for resuming business activity, Tokyo’s theaters, fitness gyms and other commercial facilities reopened. Night clubs, karaoke parlors and other highest-risk establishments are still closed. shut observing shutdown requests.

Kitakyushu in southern Japan is also experiencing what local officials say is a second wave of infections. New cases exceeding 110 in the last 10 days following a three-week hiatus.

Greece will conduct antibody tests on public health workers

ATHENS — Greece’s Health Ministry says it will carry out coronavirus antibody tests on public health and support workers across Greece this month as part of its efforts to monitor the course of the nation’s outbreak.

The Health Ministry said Tuesday that the testing will be carried out on a voluntary basis.. The plan was announced as Greece prepares to reopen to foreign tourists starting June 15.

Early and strictly enforced lockdown measures helped keep Greece’s infection rates comparatively low, and officials hope that will help entice summer visitors.

The government is racing to reopen international access to its resorts and to augment health care resources on the Greek islands and in mainland cities popular with vacationers.

Portugal sees brighter economic outlook

LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s economy minister says the outlook for the country’s crucial tourism sector is brightening.

Some low-cost flights have resumed from Zurich and Luxembourg to Faro, in Portugal’s southern Algarve region, which is one of western Europe’s main vacation destinations.

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A waiter wearing a face mask brings an order to a customer sitting outdoor at the Versailles restaurant and pastry shop in Lisbon, Monday, May 18. AP Photo/Armando Franca

Flights to Faro from Amsterdam are set to restart this week. Ryanair and Jet2 expect to operate flights to Faro starting July 1.

Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira said Portugal is in “advanced discussions” with Germany to establish a so-called “air corridor,” which could allow tourists who test negative for the coronavirus to fly to an area with a low infection rate, such as the Algarve.

The Portuguese government also has started talks with the British Foreign Office about creating an air corridor.

Siza Vieira told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday: “I and businesses in the (tourism) sector are less pessimistic than we were a month ago.”

Spain wants to extend state of emergency

MADRID — The Spanish government is seeking to extend the state of emergency it imposed over the coronavirus until June 21, when most remaining restrictions on movement and business will be lifted.

New confirmed virus cases and deaths in Spain are at the lowest point since before the government ordered nationwide lockdown in mid-March.

The decree the Spanish Cabinet passed on Tuesday to prolong the state of emergency still needs to be approved by the lower house of parliament. Spain’s ruling left-wing coalition has secured enough support from smaller opposition parties for the measure to be approved on Wednesday.

Government spokeswoman María Jesús Montero says the extension will be the last one. But she warned that all precautions should be applied in advancing toward the post-lockdown phase the government calls the “new normality.”

For the first time since early March, Spain didn’t register any new deaths from COVID-19 on Monday. The official death toll stands at 27,127, and a total of 240,000 infections have been confirmed by laboratory tests.

British health officials say fall outlook for virus impact ‘very unclear’

LONDON — A leading epidemiologist said the coronavirus outbreak in the U.K. is unlikely to worsen during the summer but that the outlook from September was “very unclear.”

Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London said he expects levels of coronavirus transmissions and cases to “remain relatively flat between now and September, short of very big policy changes or behavior changes in the community.”

He told a committee of lawmakers in the House of Lords on Tuesday that the “real uncertainty” will be in September.

Ferguson resigned from his position as a government adviser last month after revelations that he broke social-distancing rules.

Ferguson leads a team which modeled the spread and impact of the coronavirus. The team’s data was instrumental in prompting Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose the lockdown on March 23.

The lockdown is being eased across the U.K., most quickly in England, raising concerns among many health officials of a potential second spike in infections.

Slovenia finds first case of virus in school-age child

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Health authorities in Slovenia say the first primary school pupil has tested positive for the coronavirus since children started returning to school two weeks ago.

A school in the city of Maribor said Tuesday that the 3rd-grader’s 17 classmates and teacher have been placed under a two-week quarantine.

Health authorities say the child with the virus likely acquired the virus from within the family and that contact tracing is underway.

The official STA news agency says it’s the first confirmed virus case since April 30 in Slovenia’s second-largest city.

Slovenia has declared an end to its outbreak and started easing anti-virus restrictions in mid-May.

The small European Union nation has reported 1,475 confirmed cases and 109 deaths since early March.

South Africa virus cases leap to more than 35,000

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s total confirmed coronavirus cases have jumped to more than 35,000 while the province anchored by Cape Town remains a worrying hot spot with more than 23,000.

South Africa has the most confirmed virus cases of any nation in Africa. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the total number across the continent is now above 152,000.

South Africa took another step in easing lockdown restrictions on Monday with alcohol sales allowed again. Authorities have warned that the rate of new cases is expected to quicken.

South Africa has seen cases double roughly every 12 days while cases in the Western Cape have been doubling every nine days.

A major test lies ahead this weekend as places of worship are allowed to operate with a limit of 50 people, despite warnings from some religious leaders about the risk of spreading the virus.

Russian Orthodox churches in Moscow reopen

MOSCOW — The two main Russian Orthodox cathedrals in Moscow have reopened their doors as officials take more steps to ease the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

The Christ the Savior Cathedral and the Epiphany Cathedral at Yelokhovo welcomed parishioners again on Tuesday.

The move was coordinated with federal and city officials. Church-goers are supposed to wear medical masks and maintain a proper distance from others during services.

Other churches in the Russian capital are scheduled to reopen on Saturday. Moscow churches have been closed to parishioners since April 13.

Russian officials say that the nation is now past the peak of contagion, making it safe to gradually ease lockdown measures. Some experts warn that with new confirmed cases increasing by about 9,000 daily, lifting restrictions quickly is dangerous.

WHO says African continent remains least affected by virus

JOHANNESBURG — Africa’s coronavirus cases have surpassed 150,000 while the World Health Organization says the continent of 1.3 billion people is still the region least affected.

Concerns remain high as some of Africa’s 54 countries struggle with when to reopen schools and parts of their economies.

Rwanda, the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a lockdown, this week slowed the easing of it after reporting its first COVID-19 death.

More than 4,300 deaths have been confirmed across the continent as local transmission of the virus increases and testing materials and medical equipment remain in short supply in many places.

Berlin health official says weekend club event of 1,500 was ‘grossly negligent’

BERLIN — Berlin’s top health official says she is appalled by a weekend gathering in support of the city’s shuttered clubs that brought up to 1,500 people together and which organizers ended because participants weren’t keeping to distancing rules.

The demonstrators gathered on a city canal Sunday in 300 to 400 small boats and on the banks, with loud music. The city’s health minister, Dilek Kalayci, said Tuesday she understands nightclubs’ financial difficulties but noted that aid is available and said the weekend event was “grossly negligent” while the pandemic continues. She said “this is not the time for parties.”

Germany started easing its coronavirus restrictions in late April and is continuing to do so despite some concern over local outbreaks linked to slaughterhouses, a church service and a restaurant.

In the latest case, at least 68 people tested positive in the central city of Goettingen after private family parties.

Singapore reopens most of its economy

SINGAPORE — Singapore has reopened 75% of its economy as part of a three-phase controlled approach to end a virus lockdown in place since early April.

Finance, electronics manufacturing and logistics are among sectors that resumed operations after a two-month closure with strict safety requirements. Schools will also reopen in stages this month. But most retail shops, personal services, dining in at restaurants and social gatherings are still banned.

“It feels like it has come back to where it should be. Like you know, people start to see people again, and working again. It feels good,” said Firman Hanif, who works in a security firm.

The affluent city-state has more than 35,000 cases, one of the highest in Asia. More than 90 percent of cases involved foreign workers living in crowded dormitories. The government says it will only lift further restrictions if infections remain low.


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