The Latest: South Korea capital adds more coronavirus cases
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 49 new coronavirus cases.
Most most of them are in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where health authorities have been struggling to slow transmissions linked to entertainment and leisure activities, church gatherings and low-income workers who can’t afford to stay home.
The figures released Saturday brought national totals to 12,051 cases and 277 deaths.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 44 of the new cases are in greater capital area, which is home to half the country’s 51 million people.
Agency director Jung Eun-kyeong is urging residents in the capital area to stay home over the weekend, saying there is “high concern” that increased public activity will lead to widespread circulation of the virus.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— World Health Organization says pandemic puts women at ‘heightened risk’ of dying in childbirth.
— China reports Beijing’s first locally transmitted virus case in weeks
— Airlines sue British government over country’s quarantine for most incoming travelers
— More than two dozen international aid organizations have told the U.S. government they are “increasingly alarmed” that “little to no U.S. humanitarian assistance has reached those on the front lines” of the coronavirus pandemic as the number of new cases picks up speed in some of the world’s most fragile regions.
— Survivors of COVID-19 are donating their blood plasma in droves in hopes it helps other patients recover from the coronavirus. And while the jury’s still out, now scientists are testing if the donations might also prevent infection in the first place.
— Among the numerous rural areas across the U.S. that have recently experienced coronavirus outbreaks are migrant farmworker communities in Florida. Immokalee is one of them. The poor town of 25,000 north of the Everglades has become a hot spot, with cases more than doubling in the past two weeks.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING TODAY:
GUATEMALA CITY — The spread of the coronavirus is encroaching on Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei.
He says 58 employees in the presidential offices have tested positive for the virus, up from 18 on Sunday.
Those who have tested positive include people from administration and security areas. Giammattei says he has been tested multiple times, but always has come out negative.
On Friday, Guatemala reported more than 8,600 infections and 351 deaths.
BEIJING — Officials in China’s capital are moving quickly to stem a new coronavirus outbreak after the discovery of seven cases the past two days.
The National Health Commission said six of the cases were confirmed in Beijing on Friday, a day after the first was reported. They are the first locally transmitted cases in the city in more than 50 days.
Chinese media said at least two of the infected people had visited a wholesale market dealing in fresh food. Authorities said all workers at the Xinfadi market were being tested for the virus and testing of food and environmental samples had been ordered for all Beijing’s wholesale food markets.
Earlier, the city said it was delaying the planned reopening of school Monday for first to third graders because of the new cases.
SAN DIEGO — A top U.S. Border Patrol official says coronavirus cases are on the rise in certain pockets of the agency.
Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz said Friday that 93 Border Patrol employees and 16 people in custody have tested positive for the virus. He says that is “relatively low” but adds that “we are not out of the woods just yet.”
Ortiz tells employees that there have been “indications of localized increases” among Border Patrol personnel. He doesn’t say where in an email to agents that was obtained by The Associated Press, and the agency didn’t immediately respond to questions.
AP reported Thursday that border states Arizona and Texas have seen a recent rise in coronavirus cases.
AUSTIN, Texas — Daily coronavirus hospitalizations in Texas have reached a new high for a third time in four days as state officials continue to loosen restrictions on public activities.
Health officials said Friday that 2,166 patients were in Texas hospitals with COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. That is 13 more than the previous high reached Wednesday.
Nineteen more COVID-19 deaths also were reported Friday, bringing the state’s overall toll to 1,939.
Officials said almost 2,100 new coronavirus infections had been confirmed, bringing the state’s total to 83,680.
The actual number is likely higher because many people have not been tested. Studies have found that many people can be infected and not feel sick, so may not seek testing.
TORONTO — Air travelers in Canada will need to have their temperatures checked before they are allowed to board planes, although the country’s transport minister says the system will take months to get going.
The measure is meant to keep the coronavirus from spreading as more people start flying again.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau says the requirement will be phased in, starting at the end of June for international flights into Canada.
By the end of July, the program will expand to Canada’s four largest airports — Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. Eleven more Canadian airports serving mostly domestic travelers will be added at the end of September.
SAO PAULO — Brazil’s health ministry says the country has recorded a total of 41,828 deaths during the coronavirus pandemic, meaning it has surpassed the United Kingdom and now has the second highest total in the world, according to tallies by Johns Hopkins University.
Brazilian officials on Friday reported 909 deaths over the previous 24 hours. It is the hardest-hit nation in Latin America, with more than 828,000 confirmed virus cases.
The news came as states and cities across Brazil start to ease restrictive measures introduced more than two months ago in hopes of limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
Shops and malls are being allowed to open for four hours a day in Sao Paulo, the epicenter of Brazil’s crisis. Stores have been crowded in smaller cities.
JACKSON, Miss. — Officials in Mississippi say calls from people in the state to the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline have increased 20% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The chief of staff at the state Department of Mental Health said Friday that mental health challenges can arise from changes in eating or sleeping habits, anxiety about one’s health or the health of loved ones and stress over the loss of a job. Wendy Bailey said problems can also be spurred by increased drug or alcohol use, something that is common during a major event like the pandemic.
Bailey spoke at a news conference with Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves.
The governor said “There is fear, there is pain and there is anxiety in this country and in our state and those cannot be overstated.”
CARACAS, Venezuela — Authorities in Venezuela are extending its coronavirus lockdown keeping residents at home except for essential chores such as food shopping. The announcement Friday extends the lockdown through mid-July.
Officials have already allowed some sectors to reopen, including banks and construction. Doctors and dentists can also see patients. Next week, shopping centers and gyms will be allowed to reopen as well as sporting activities without live audiences.
According to official figures, 23 people have died in Venezuela since the first coronavirus cases were diagnosed in mid-March. Officials say fewer than 3,000 people have fallen ill in the country of roughly 25 million.
However, experts outside the government worry a wave of illnesses is still a danger for Venezuela.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Health officials in Oklahoma say a spike in coronavirus cases in the Tulsa area is linked to indoor events and are warning people attending such events to take health safety precautions.
The Tulsa Health Department’s warning Friday comes a week before President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa, which has a listed seating capacity of 19,199.
Department spokesperson Leanne Stephens says an undetermined number of the latest coronavirus cases were linked to two recent indoor gatherings, but declined to name those events.
She says the department has not had contact with the Trump campaign and the warning is unrelated to the planned rally.
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa has seen its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases — 3,359.
A health ministry update says South Africa now has more than 61,000 cases, or well over a quarter of the cases across the African continent, including 1,354 deaths.
Nearly two-thirds of South Africa’s cases are in the Western Cape province centered on the city of Cape Town, where the World Health Organization’s Africa chief has said the trend “seems to be similar to what was happening in Europe and in the U.S.”
The total number of cases across the 54-nation continent is now above 218,000 and WHO says the pandemic is “accelerating” in Africa, even though the cases make up less than 3% of the global total.
South Africa has conducted more than 1 million tests for the virus, roughly one-third of all testing in Africa.
SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Supreme Court has upheld Gov. Kate Brown’s shutdown orders aimed at stemming the coronavirus pandemic, and she put the brakes on loosening restrictions amid a spike in cases.
The Supreme Court overturned a ruling by a judge in a conservative, rural part of the state who had determined that Brown’s restricting of activities during the coronavirus pandemic were subjected to a time limit and were thus “null and void.”
The high court said Friday that Brown’s powers under a state of emergency, declared on March 8, continue until the state of emergency is ended by either herself or the Legislature.
The Oregon Health Authority reported 178 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday, marking the highest daily count in the state since the start of the pandemic.
“As I’ve said before, reopening comes with real risk,” Brown told a news conference Friday. She said the “pause” will give health officials time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus and determine the way forward.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- Three months into a mandatory lockdown, Salavdorans are awaiting a reaction from President Nayib Bukele after the country’s congress passed legislation over his strong objections that would let them leave their homes.
The Legislative Assembly passed legislation early Friday that would extend a state of emergency in the country for another two weeks, but eliminate the nearly universal mandatory stay-at-home order except for those who tested positive for COVID-19 and those returning from abroad.
The body approved it after failing to reach an agreement with administration negotiators, so it was unclear whether Bukele would accept it.
Bukele has imposed the strictest measures in the region to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, including sending people caught violating the order to government-run containment centers for month-long stays. He has resisted loosening the stay-at-home order, arguing that the country’s medical system could be quickly overwhelmed, resulting in much greater loss of life.
PHOENIX -- The number of jail inmates in metro Phoenix who have tested positive for the coronavirus has surpassed the total among state prisoners.
Officials say 290 of Maricopa County’s 4,400 inmates had tested positive as of Thursday. That compares to 249 confirmed cases among the nearly 41,000 inmates in Arizona’s prisons. The sharp growth of cases in the county’s jails has been attributed to more testing and contact tracing within the jails.
Arizona is one of several states that has seen a surge in new COVID-19 cases after stay-at-home orders were lifted last month.
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey is reporting an increase in the number of daily confirmed infections, some two weeks after relaxing many of the restrictions in place to curb its spread.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Friday reported 1,195 new cases in the past 24 hours, pushing the total number of infections in the country to 175,218. It was the first time the daily infections jumped past the 1,000-mark after hovering around 800 or 900 for nearly two weeks.
Meanwhile, Koca also reported 15 new deaths on his Twitter account — the lowest day-to-day fatality in more than two months. The total number of deaths now stands at 4,778.
Turkey reopened restaurants, cafes, gyms, parks, beaches and museums on June 1 and eased stay-at-home orders for senior citizens and minors earlier this week. People crowded sea fronts and parks in the first weekend after the relaxation, often without masks or flouting social distancing.
Koca warned that “false optimism” is causing the virus to spread and urged the public to wear masks and abide by government advice on distancing and hygiene.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and state schools superintendent Joy Hofmeister say schools in the state are eligible to apply for federal funds available to respond to the coronavirus.
Grants of $50,000 to $500,000 are available, based on a school’s student enrollment as of Oct. 1, 2019 for measures including improved access to distance learning and mental health support for students.
Public schools statewide were closed for the remainder of the school year and to turn to distance learning.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A third California state prison has had an inmate die of suspected coronavirus as fatalities spread beyond what had been the prisons’ epicenter for such deaths.
Officials said Friday that an inmate from Chuckawalla Valley State Prison near Blythe in Riverside County died Thursday at an outside hospital from what appear to be coronavirus complications.
It was the prison system’s 15th virus-related inmate death, with 13 of those at the California Institution for Men in Chino.
Officials said the first death outside that prison came Tuesday, when an inmate from the California Institution for Women in Corona, east of Los Angeles, died at an outside hospital.
Statewide, more than 2,440 inmates have tested positive and more than 660 have recovered.
ATLANTA — U.S. health officials on Friday released long-awaited guidance for Americans who want to reduce their risk of coronavirus infection while attempting some semblance of normal life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggestions include: Take the stairs, not the elevator, down from your hotel room. Encourage people to bring their own food and drinks to your cookout. Use hand sanitizer after banking at an ATM. Call ahead to restaurants and nail salons to make sure staff are wearing face coverings. And no high-fives — or even elbow bumps — at the gym.
The CDC also offered tips for organizing and attending big gatherings such as concerts, sporting events, protests and political rallies.
Those guidelines are “not intended to endorse any particular type of event,” the CDC’s Dr. Jay Butler said in a Friday call with reporters.
The guidelines are long overdue, some health experts say.
LONDON — The director-general of the World Health Organization says he is “truly concerned” about divisions the coronavirus pandemic has created globally and within countries, calling it an “invisible but a very small virus causing havoc.”
WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Friday that the novel coronavirus “is a very dangerous virus, and it’s very hard to fight this virus in a divided world,.
Comparing the ongoing outbreak to the devastating Spanish influenza pandemic more than a century ago, Tedros called on nations “to do better” and to learn from history..
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A third California state prison has had an inmate die of suspected COVID-19 as virus-related deaths of prisoners spread beyond the institution that has been the epicenter.
Officials said Friday that an inmate from Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, located near Blythe in Riverside County, died Thursday at an outside hospital from what appear to be COVID-19 complications.
It was the state prison system’s 15th virus-related inmate death, 13 of which involved prisoners at the California Institution for Men in Chino.
Officials said the first death outside the Chino prison took place Tuesday, when an inmate from the California Institution for Women in Corona, east of Los Angeles, died at an outside hospital.
Statewide, more than 2,440 inmates have tested positive for the virus and more than 660 have recovered.
ROME — The northern Italian region where Europe’s COVID-19 outbreak began has registered for another day by far the most new coronavirus cases in Italy.
Italian Health Ministry figures showed the Lombardy region had 272 confirmed cases in the 24-hour period ending Friday evening. The region with the next-highest daily caseload, Emilia-Romagna, reported 33 new cases.
Nationwide, Italy had nearly 400 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 236,305. The Health Ministry’s daily update included 56 virus-related deaths, raising the country’s death toll of people with confirmed infections to 34,223.
Authorities say since many people with COVID-19 symptoms weren’t tested, the actual numbers of infections and deaths are likely to be significantly higher.
GENEVA — The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief is expressing concern about Brazil’s ability to manage surging coronavirus case numbers, but said the health system so far is coping.
Dr. Michael Ryan said Friday that some of Brazil’s 27 administrative areas “have quite a bit of pressure on the intensive care system” and there are ”clear hot spots in heavily populated areas.”
The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University says Brazil has tallied more than 802,000 confirmed virus cases as of Friday, the second-largest number in the world after the United States, and over 40,000 COVID-19 deaths.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has rejected ordering quarantines, and many Brazilians have criticized him for opposing city and state measures such as lockdowns, social distancing and other steps meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.