The Latest: New Zealand is no longer coronavirus-free
WELLINGTON, New Zealand —- New Zealand is no longer free from the new coronavirus after health officials say two women who flew from London to see a dying parent had tested positive.
But before they were tested, the women had been given an exemption to leave quarantine on compassionate grounds and had traveled from Auckland to Wellington by car.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said that as part of their travel plan, the women had no contact with any people or any public facilities on their road trip.
Nevertheless, the new cases have sparked a round of testing in New Zealand for anybody who might have been close to the women. That includes passengers and staff on their flights, which arrived via Brisbane in Australia, other people at the Auckland hotel they initially stayed at in quarantine, and a family member they met in Wellington.
The women remain in isolation in Wellington and have delayed the funeral of their parent until they have recovered. Until Tuesday, New Zealand had gone more than three weeks without any new cases and had declared that everybody who had contracted the virus had recovered, aside from the 22 people who died.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Borders opened up across Europe after three months of closures. But many restrictions persist.
— Educators try to ensure students thrown off track during distance learning don’t fall more behind.
— An ambulance driver ’s daily rush to save lives is exhausting, never-ending task in Mumbai, India.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine officials have placed a central city back under strict lockdown and retained quarantine restrictions in the capital for another two weeks as coronavirus infections continue to spike alarmingly.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved in a televised meeting Monday night with key Cabinet officials a recommendation to lock down Cebu city anew and retain quarantine restrictions in metropolitan Manila where many of the nearly 26,500 infections and more than 1,000 deaths have been recorded.
First imposed in mid-March, the COVID-19 restrictions in Metro-Manila, the seat of government of more than 12 million people, have been among the longest in the world.
“The battle with COVID isn’t over,” Duterte said. “I can’t stop you from going out and I can’t catch all of you ... don’t blame us. Do not forget that we warned you about the grave consequences.”
The Philippines has been under intense pressure to slowly reopen the economy, which is under threat of a looming recession, despite continuing viral outbreaks.
HONOLULU -- A woman traveling with a group of 21 people arrested on suspicion of violating Hawaii’s coronavirus quarantine says they have agreed to leave the state because they have received threats from residents.
Kendra Carter says that when the group arrived earlier this month, they didn’t realize Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day quarantine would be enforced. Court documents say they were seen at a beach park shortly after arriving.
The quarantine doesn’t allow travelers to leave a residence or hotel room for any reason except medical emergencies.
The leader of the group, Eligio Bishop, pleaded no contest Monday to the quarantine violation.
Attorney Donald Wilkerson, who represents two other men arrested with the group, said Monday the other cases will be dismissed but would be refiled if they return to Hawaii and violate the quarantine.
CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has announced that current limits on businesses and gatherings would remain in place while health officials evaluate whether the state’s uptick in cases is cause for concern.
“Recently we’ve experienced some trends that require additional evaluation and analysis,” Sisolak said at a press conference, mentioning the upward trend in the number of new daily cases reported in the last three weeks and the percent of individual tests that come back positive.
Nevada reported 106 additional coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 11,279 confirmed cases, including 8,815 in Clark County. No new deaths were reported Sunday, keeping the statewide death toll at 465. On June 11, the state reported 277 new confirmed cases, the second-highest daily uptick since the start of the pandemic, behind May 22.
Sisolak said he and state health officials anticipated an increase in new cases after reopening and expanding testing capacity throughout June. He emphasized that the increase hadn’t significantly affected the number of COVID-19 patients in Nevada hospitals, which continue to have excess bed capacity, with 217 patients and 129 suspected to have coronavirus occupying beds.
BEIJING — Beijing is imposing further control measures in an attempt to prevent a new outbreak in the capital from spreading to other parts of the country.
In addition to locking down communities and ordering mass testing, China’s capital is banning residents of areas considered at high risk from leaving the city, health authorities say. Those from such areas who have already left must report to local health bureaus as soon as possible.
The number of passengers on buses, trains and subways will also be limited and all will be required to wear masks.
The outbreak traced to a wholesale market in the city’s southwest may also be disrupting plans to restart China Super League soccer as early as next month.
Coaches and players for Beijing Guoan, the city’s top team have been tested and given a week off because their training camp is located in the same district as the source of the latest outbreak, local media reported Tuesday.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.-- Florida seniors missing out on a live graduation are getting a surprise from their school district thanks to an augmented reality app that makes it look like they are getting their diploma onstage along with a celebratory dance with Flo Rida.
Broward Education Foundation teamed up with ImagineAR to create #2020gradsecret. The app allows graduates to record themselves in their homes appearing to accept diplomas from Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, joining rapper Flo Rida for a congratulatory message or dancing. The videos can be shared instantly on social media.
Flo Rida called the technology “a trip” and said in a statement he was “happy to help these graduates define a new way of celebrating and social interaction as they move on to the next chapter in their young lives.”
Former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade also joined in on the surprise with a video message for graduates.
AUSTIN, Tx.-- Texas is continuing an upward trend in hospitalizations of novel coronavirus patients, setting a new one-day high Monday for the seventh time in eight days.
That trend has local officials in some of the state’s largest cities urging residents to be diligent about social distancing and other measures such as wearing masks.
Texas health officials reported 2,326 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and 1,254 new cases, the most ever reported for a Monday, which is typically the lowest day of the week for new virus cases.
The mayors of Austin and Dallas, two cities seeing strong upticks in cases and hospitalizations, urged diligence in social distancing and the use of masks.
Texas has been steadily expanding customer capacity for businesses for weeks, even as the number of new cases and hospitalizations have been steadily rising.
RICHMOND, Va. — Vice President Mike Pence is encouraging the nation’s governors to tell their citizens “there’s a lot of really, really good news” about current efforts to fight the cornoavirus pandemic.
In a private call with governors Monday, the audio of which was obtained by The Associated Press, Pence said that with the exception of a few localities, the country is seeing strong dropping virus-related hospitalization and mortality rates, as well as low and steady positivist rates in testing.
“I encourage you, as appropriate, with the proper gentleness and respect, to share the progress that we are making,” Pence said.
His comments come after several states have reported a rise in coronavirus cases, which could intensify as people return to work and venture out during the summer. White House officials have played down the severity of the virus surge and President Donald Trump has taken to talking about the pandemic in the past tense.
Pence stressed to governors that one of the reasons for the increase in coronavirus cases is the increase in testing and urged governors to make that clear.
DETROIT — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city’s health department has performed 50,000 tests for the COVID-19 virus.
About 40,000 tests of the tests were conducted at a drive-thru testing site at the old state fairgrounds. Ninety-six people who own or work in barber shops, and hair and nail salons were tested over the weekend. Only one of them tested positive for the virus.
“I’m really glad that one who came in got tested because you think about that one barber who might have seen 30 or 40 people this week,” Duggan told reporters Monday. “That’s the way this virus can spark back up and re-spread.”
The city will continue to offer the testing to owners and workers at barber shops and hair and nail salons, Duggan said.
TIRANA, Albania — Both Albania and neighboring Kosovo have registered record numbers of new virus cases, raising fears of a resumption of lockdown measures.
Albanian health authorities on Monday reported 69 new cases, the highest number so far, resulting from people working in different businesses and public offices. They repeated their call for social distancing, use of masks and hand washing, also urging people to disinfect their premises and continuously open windows for fresh air.
Albania has eased all its previous lockdown measures except for public transport and mass gatherings in sport and cultural or entertaining activities. As of Monday, Albania has reported 36 confirmed deaths and 1,590 cases.
In neighboring Kosovo authorities reported 129 new cases Monday. Authorities urged the closure of all the working places with positive cases and said that mask wearing was mandatory.
As of Monday, Kosovo has reported 33 deaths and 1,615 confirmed cases.
WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump is telling reporters there won’t be an empty seat in a Tulsa arena Saturday when he returns to the campaign trail for the first time since the coronavirus shut down much of the country.
Health experts have warned that holding an indoor rally while the virus continues to circulate will put attendees at risk.
But Trump has accused the media of “trying to Covid Shame” him out of holding the rally and says he’s expecting a record crowd.
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted earlier Monday that attendees will have their temperatures checked before entering and will be given face masks and hand sanitizer.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says the precautions are “a recognition that there are guidelines in place that should be followed” and says: “We certainly hope that the people in Oklahoma will adhere to all the reasonable guidelines and have fun.”
The campaign says over 1 million tickets have been requested so far.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis has stalled plans to move ahead with plans to reopen more businesses after an unexpected rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Shelby County’s health department reported an increase of 256 cases on Monday, the largest daily jump in reported COVID-19 cases since mid-March.
A total of 200 virus patients are being treated in Memphis-area hospitals, up from 192 on Friday, according to data provided to the city and county’s virus task force.
Officials said last week that Memphis and Shelby County could enter the next phase of reopening businesses on Monday. But plans to move ahead are being delayed due to a “disconcerting” upward trend in cases and increased hospitalizations, Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said during an online news conference Monday.
“It would not be prudent for Shelby County to move into phase three at the current time,” she said.
Restaurants, retail stores and other businesses would be allowed to increase capacity from the current 50% under phase two to 75% under phase three of the reopening plan.
ANKARA, Turkey — The daily number of new coronavirus cases in Turkey is continuing to rise, weeks after the country relaxed restrictions.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Monday reported 1,592 confirmed new infections over the previous 24 hours — 30 more than Sunday’s figure.
Koca also reported 18 new deaths due to the coronavirus, bringing the total to 4,825. Turkey has now recorded a total of 178,831 infections.
At the start of June, the government authorized cafes, restaurants, gyms, parks, beaches and museums to reopen and eased stay-at-home orders for the elderly and young. Turkey’s media is rife with reports of people flouting social distancing rules and ignoring advice to wear masks in public places.
Koca tweeted: “If we altogether abide by the mask + distance rule we can control the spread.”
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A coronavirus outbreak at a West Virginia church has grown to 28 cases, Gov. Jim Justice said Monday.
The outbreak that occurred last week at the Graystone Baptist Church in Lewisburg has led to additional available testing for the public in Greenbrier County.
Justice said during his daily news conference that the National Guard conducted decontamination efforts at the church Sunday. The governor said the outbreak was close to his Lewisburg home.
The church said the source of the outbreak is unknown.
It is the fifth virus outbreak involving a West Virginia church. Similar outbreaks have occurred in Boone, Hampshire, Jefferson and Marshall counties.
At least 88 people in West Virginia have died from the virus and about 2,300 have tested positive, state health data shows.
LONDON — The emergencies chief of the World Health Organization said he “fully expects” China to share the genetic sequences from the resurgence of coronavirus that have recently hit Beijing, even though they have not yet done so.
Chinese officials said that their examination of the virus shows it originated in Europe, but they have not yet shared the sequences with WHO or the global scientific community.
“We fully expect our colleagues in China will share that information,” said Dr. Michael Ryan at a press briefing on Monday. Ryan said the finding that this virus genome “may represent a strain commonly transmitting in Europe” is significant but that verifying the hypothesis requires the sequences be shared. Ryan said the new cluster of cases in China was of particular concern given that Beijing had gone 50 days without a new case, but expressed confidence Chinese authorities would be able to contain it.
In a story published earlier this month, the Associated Press found China delayed sharing critical virus information with WHO for more than a week after three government labs had decoded the information.
GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization says more than 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported worldwide each day over the past two weeks — mostly in the Americas and South Asia — and countries that have curbed transmissions “must stay alert to the possibility of resurgence.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted a new cluster of cases in Beijing, which went more than 50 days without a new case of COVID-19, and said the origin of that new series of cases is under investigation.
Dr. Michael Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies chief, said the U.N. health agency has offered additional assistance to Chinese authorities and said WHO could be bolstering its team in China in the coming days as the investigation advances.
The outbreak first emerged late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Tedros noted that it took over two months to reach 100,000 reported cases — now that is a daily norm. Nearly three-quarters of each day’s new cases come from 10 countries, mostly in South Asia and the Americas, he said.
ROME — The region in northern Italy where the country’s COVID-19 outbreak began in February accounted for some 85 percent of new cases in the 24-hour period ending on Monday.
According to data from the Health Ministry, Lombardy region registered 259 new cases out of the 303 for the entire nation since Sunday evening. All of Italy’s other regions had fewer than a dozen new cases, while several had none.
Italy has counted 237,290 COVID-19 cases since the and 34,371 deaths. The 26 deaths registered since Sunday is the lowest one-day number since early March, before the entire country went into lockdown to contain spread of infection.
Italy has been gradually removing lockdown restrictions, with movie houses and theaters able to reopen on Monday. But schools won’t be back this academic year, with pupils expected back in classrooms sometime in September.