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:
— Spain to start easing confinement of children.
— Stranded Kosovo citizens to begin returning home.
— US, Canada to keep border closed 30 more days.
— Africa surpasses 20,000 cases, more than 1,000 deaths.
— Queen Elizabeth wants low-key birthday amid virus; nearly 15,500 deaths in Britain.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported eight more cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, the first time for a daily jump in the country to drop to a single digit in about two months.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the additional figures released Sunday took the country’s total to 10,661 with 234 deaths.
It says 8,042 of the total have been recovered and released from quarantine and that 12,243 others were under tests to determine whether they contracted the virus.
South Korea’s caseload has been waning in recent weeks since it recorded hundreds of new cases every day between late February and early March, mostly in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby areas.
Despite the recent downward trend, South Korean officials have warned about the possibility of a broader “quiet spread” with people easing up on social distancing.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina retail stores and public beach access points that had been closed to halt the spread of the coronavirus will be allowed to reopen next week, The Post and Courier reported Saturday.
Gov. Henry McMaster will issue orders Monday to allow for the reopenings to take place on Tuesday, the governor’s chief of staff, Trey Walker, told the newspaper.
The order will apply to numerous nonessential stores, including department stores, flea markets, florists, bookstores and music shops. Grocery stores, pharmacies, home improvement stores and medical facilities have been allowed to stay open during the pandemic.
Occupancy in each store will be limited to five customers per 1,000 square feet of retail space or 20% occupancy, whichever is less, the newspaper said.
Local governments will still be allowed to make their own rules about waterway access.
The governor’s stay-at-home order will remain in place, as will the ban on eating inside restaurants, Walker said.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Hundreds of people denouncing pandemic lockdown measures opposed by President Jair Bolsonaro snarled traffic in major Brazilian cities on Saturday.
Protesters in trucks, cars and on motorcycles honked horns on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and the capital of Brasilia, calling for governors to resign over measures that have forced most businesses to close for weeks.
Bolsonaro has been a fierce critic of the states’ stay-at-home measures, arguing that the economic harm could be more damaging than the illness. The protests took place a day after Bolsonaro fired his health minister, who had been promoting isolation measures.
In Rio de Janeiro, about 100 vehicles took part in the gridlock and temporarily shut down Copacabana Beach.
In Brasilia, Bolsonaro reiterated his intention to start reopening the economy.
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation is ordering all people on the tribe’s sprawling reservation to wear protective masks when out in public to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Tribal officials announced Friday night that the Navajo Department of Health issued an emergency health order for the reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
The Navajo Nation has been hit harder by the coronavirus than any other Native American tribe.
The tribe and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service said the number of positive coronavirus tests reached 1,127 as of Friday with 44 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
SAN FRANCISCO — California is on its way to acquiring 15,000 hotel rooms to house the homeless during the pandemic, said Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday as he reminded people to stay indoors while outbreaks continue to crop up throughout the state.
Standing in front of a Motel 6 outside the city of San Jose, Newsom said more than 4,000 people have been moved out of shelters and off the streets and into motel rooms. He took the opportunity to scold leaders of unnamed cities for blocking efforts to house the homeless, asking them to “please consider the morality” of their decisions.
His announcement came a day after the state reported another 87 deaths from the coronavirus. Meanwhile, California’s death toll from the virus rose above 1,050 on Saturday, according to a tally by John Hopkins University.
INDIANAPOLIS — More than 200 people upset over restrictions on Indiana residents because of the coronavirus protested outside the state mansion of Gov. Eric Holcomb, urging him to back off and restart the economy.
Holcomb, a Republican, said a stay-at-home order that expires Monday will be extended to May 1 while he works on a plan to reopen businesses.
In Austin, Texas, a few hundred people rallied at the state Capitol in another protest over stay-at-home orders. The demonstration came a day after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced that next week Texas will begin reopening state parks and letting retailers sell items curbside.
Abbott says more restrictions will be lifted before the end of April.
TIRANA, Albania — About 2,400 Kosovo citizens stranded abroad due to the new coronavirus will begin returning home.
A Foreign Ministry statement Saturday said the first two flights from Switzerland and Turkey would be next week.
Kosovo has been in a total lockdown for more than a month. The Kosovar Foreign Ministry selected the first 600 people based on criteria set by the Health Ministry. More citizens will be allowed to return once quarantines are lifted.
ATHENS, Greece — There have been two new fatalities from COVID-19 in Greece since Friday, raising the total to 110.
The country’s health ministry also announced Saturday the number of confirmed cases rose by 11, to 2,235. There are 68 people hooked to ventilators in intensive care units, down from 71 on Friday, and 39 patients have exited ICUs.
The average age of the victims is 74, the ministry said.
MADRID — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says the government will seek to extend the country’s state of emergency by two weeks to fight the new coronavirus outbreak but will start easing the total confinement of children.
Spain imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe in mid-March that brought economic activity to a near standstill. The government, which has been under pressure from regional governments, parents and some educators to ease the lockdown for children, will begin to do so in nine days.
Sánchez said Saturday that children will be allowed “to get out of their houses for a period on a daily basis” but the specifics need to be ironed out with experts. He says rolling back the national lockdown will only come when the country’s embattled health system is ready for possible rebounds. The state of emergency extension until May 9 needs to be approved by parliament.
PARIS — France’s national health agency says the number of virus patients in intensive care dropped for the 10th straight day, while the number of overall virus hospitalizations has fallen for three consecutive days.
Health officials say confinement is “stopping the viral spread.”
The total number of deaths in France from COVID-19 reached 19,323, and nursing home deaths amount to more than one third of the total.
DETROIT — A Michigan prisoner who declined to be paroled earlier this year after decades behind bars has died from COVID-19 complications.
William Garrison died at a hospital after nearly 44 years in prison. The coronavirus outbreak has infected more than 500 inmates in Michigan prisons and killed 17.
The 60-year-old Garrison was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man during a 1976 robbery when Garrison was 16 years old. He could have been paroled two weeks ago but decided to wait until September, when he would be eligible for a complete release without the rigors of parole supervision, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The parole board approved his application in March.
LONDON — Britain is due to receive a major shipment of personal protection equipment from Turkey.
The consignment of 84 metric tons of safety equipment includes 400,000 medical gowns.
Governments and hospitals are scrambling to source supplies of personal protection equipment as supplies run low during the pandemic. Turkey has ramped up production equipment to meet the booming demand.
Turkish officials have said that 88 countries had asked Turkey to supply PPE.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s government has announced it will start relaxing a countrywide curfew.
The president’s office announced that curfew in 18 of the country’s 25 districts will be in force from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day starting Monday. Curfew in the remaining seven districts, where most of the patients have been reported, will start Wednesday, and 25 areas identified as high-risk localities will remain locked down.
The government has instructed that only one third of state workers should report to their offices in Colombo. In other areas 50 percent of the state workers will be required to report to their offices.
Sri Lanka has so far reported 248 COVID-19 patients with seven deaths, while 86 have recovered.
ROME — The Health Ministry in Italy says there were 3,491 new coronavirus cases, nearly identical to the previous day increase in confirmed infections.
There were 482 more deaths, raising the overall official toll to 23,227 in Italy, which has Europe’s highest number of deaths.
The country is approaching the end of its sixth week of nationwide lockdown, with people allowed out of their homes only for essential work or buying food and tending to family members.
Overall, Italy has nearly 176,000 confirmed cases.
TIRANA, Albania — The NATO-led troops in Kosovo say two civilian workers have died from the coronavirus.
A statement by the Kosovo Force on Saturday says, “some of our personnel have tested positive, and sadly two civilian workers lost their lives.”
It does not specify the nationality of the workers. KFOR, with some 3,500 troops from 28 countries, is led from NATO and supported by the United Nations, the European Union and the United States.
KFOR says soldiers who show signs of infection or had contact with someone infected are placed in quarantine and treated by medical facilities on KFOR bases before being evacuated.
KFOR commander Major General Michele Risi says, “Our Forces remain ready, and our crucial work goes on.”
Kosovo has 480 virus cases and 12 deaths.
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s health minister says 121 more people have died of COVID-19, with total deaths at 1,890.
Minister Fahrettin Koca shared the figures on Twitter on Saturday, saying 3,783 more people were infected of the novel coronavirus. The total number of confirmed infections is 82,329.
“Despite an increase in tests, there’s a decrease in number of new cases,” Koca tweeted and urged: “Precaution, treatment.”
Also Saturday, the interior ministry extended for 15 days a ban on entering and leaving 31 provinces by land, air or sea. These provinces, including Istanbul and capital Ankara, are on a weekend lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the U.S. and Canada have agreed to keep the border closed to nonessential travel for another 30 days.
Trudeau says it will keep people on both sides of the border safe amid the pandemic. U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday the U.S.-Canada border will be among the first borders to open. Nearly 200,000 people normally cross the border daily.
The U.S. has more confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 than any country in the world. The U.S. and Canada agreed last month to limit border crossings to essential travel amid the pandemic. The agreement was due to expire this week.
STOCKHOLM — Sweden has reported 111 new COVID-19 deaths, with total deaths at 1,511.
Swedish health officials say 13,822 people have confirmed infections. Most of the infections and deaths have been recorded in Stockholm, which has 897 fatalities.
Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told Swedish broadcaster TV4, “pressure on the intensive care units seems to be easing and pressure on health care services has been somewhat relieved. We hope this is a trend that is continuing.”
On Friday, the Swedish government defended its approach of pursuing relatively liberal policies to fight the coronavirus pandemic, saying it shared the “same goals” as other nations fighting COVID-19. The government has advised the public to practice social distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants remain open. Only gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned.
ROME — An Italian cruise liner company says a ship with no cases of COVID-19 has reached the western Mediterranean.
Costa Crociere says the Costa Deliziosa will disembark 168 Spanish passengers early next week at the port of Barcelona, Spain. Then the Deliziosa will head to its final destination, Genoa, Italy, where it will disembark Italian and other remaining passengers on Wednesday.
A company spokesman says a passenger left the ship this week in Marsala, Sicily, for health issues but not due to the coronavirus.
French authorities had rebuffed a request by Costa for permission to disembark several hundred passengers from France and nearby countries at Marseille’s port.
The ship, sailing around the world when the pandemic erupted, has 1,814 guests and 898 crew members.
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