The Latest: Britain’s Johnson sees 2nd wave; 4,322 new cases
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says a second wave of coronavirus is coming, on a day when the government reported 4,322 new confirmed cases, the highest since early May.
Speaking at a vaccine manufacturing center under construction near Oxford, Johnson says: “We are seeing it in France, in Spain, across Europe — it has been absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable we were going to see it in this country.”
The weekly survey released Friday by the Office for National Statistics revealed an average of 6,000 people in England were estimated as newly infected between Sept. 4-10, about double from the previous week.
England is preparing for more restrictions on gatherings and other activities in several areas of the country. There is growing speculation Britain may be sliding toward a lockdown in the coming weeks, partly because the testing regime is struggling to cope with higher demand.
The U.K. recorded 27 deaths on Friday, bringing the government’s official tally of deaths from COVID-19 to 41,732.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK
— Push is underway to test COVID-19 vaccines in diverse groups
— Guatemalan president tests positive for coronavirus
— Madrid sets up emergency tents, adds restrictive measures as cases spike
— U.S. health officials are dropping a controversial piece of coronavirus guidance and telling all those who have been in close contact with infected people to get tested.
— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing back against the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco’s criticism of COVID-related restrictions.
— North Carolina State University says its received permission from department of health to allow 350 fans to attend the football game against visiting Wake Forest on Saturday.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
PARIS — France’s health agency has recorded 13,215 new coronavirus cases and 123 addiitional deaths in the last 24 hours.
Public Health France says the country surpassed the 10,000 mark in cases last weekend for the first time since May. In the Paris region, Ile-de-France, the agency reports 2,311 new hospitalizations and 86 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Many health officials believe France is in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The French government has said it will tighten restrictions in certain virus hotspots in the cities of Nice and Lyon.
Meanwhile, government figures show 89 schools have been temporarily closed out of 61,500 since the school year began three weeks ago.
The virus hot spots include academies in the cities of Lille, Toulouse, Aix-Marseille, Bordeaux and Versailles. Some 891 students tested positive for the virus in the 24 hours, bringing the weekly rolling tally to 5,056 students. Another 284 more staff tested positive, bringing the weekly rolling tally to 1,307 staff.
LONDON — The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief says new global cases of the coronavirus appear to have plateaued at about 2 million and 50,000 deaths every week.
Dr. Michael Ryan says while the global COVID-19 caseload was not rising exponentially, the weekly number of deaths was still very unsettling.
“It’s not where developing countries want to be with their health systems under nine months of pressure,” Ryan said.
He says there have been recent surges in Europe, Ecuador and Argentina. He adds a lack of large increases in African countries and other nations might reflect a lack of testing.
BISMARCK, N.D. — Daily coronavirus data in North Dakota set four records on Friday.
Active cases of coronavirus neared 3,000, while deaths continued to mount in Burleigh County.
The Bismarck Tribune reported cases totaled 508, active cases reached 2,986, hospitalizations totaled 77 and daily tests hit 10,006. All were daily highs.
The state through its North Dakota Health Alert Network issued a call for volunteer nurses and certified nursing assistants, saying “there is an urgent need for surge staffing for the next week in long-term care facilities.”
BEIRUT — Lebanon’s Health Ministry reported a record daily 75 coronavirus cases and 18 deaths in the past 24 hours.
The new figures raise the totals to 27,518 cases and 281 confirmed deaths.
In recent days, 223 cases were reported in Lebanon’s largest prison amid concerns the virus could spread among the more than 3,000 detainees held in Roumieh prison near Beirut.
The rise began after a lockdown was eased and the country’s only international airport was reopened in early July. The surge continued after the massive explosion on Aug. 4 in Beirut’s port killed 193 people, injured at least 6,500 and devastated much of the city.
The blast overwhelmed Beirut’s hospitals and badly damaged two hospitals that had a key role in handling virus cases.
GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei says he’s tested positive for the coronavirus.
The 64-year-old Giammattei told a local radio station he feels well. He has multiple sclerosis and uses canes to walk.
The announcement came on the same day the country reopened its borders and international flights. Guatemala had closed its airports and borders with Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador in March.
The country’s Health Ministry says travelers seeking to enter Guatemala will need to present a negative coronavirus test taken at most 72 hours before entry.
Guatemalans returning to their country and children under 10 won’t be subject to the test requirement. All those entering or leaving must wear face masks.
The country of 16 million has more than 83,600 confirmed cases and 3,036 deaths.
TORONTO — Canada is extending the agreement to keep the U.S. border closed to non-essential travel to Oct. 21 during the coronavirus pandemic.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says they’ll continue to base the decision on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe. The restrictions were announced on March 18 and were extended each month.
Many Canadians are concerned about a reopening. The U.S. leads the world with 6.6 million confirmed cases and 197,000 deaths.
MADRID — Citizens in Madrid are urged not to travel out of their neighborhoods unless they need to work or study.
The restrictions announced Friday affect 13% of Madrid’s 6.6 million residents in areas where one of every four new virus infections are being detected, regional chief Isabel Ayuso said. The new measures were aimed at avoiding any mandatory stay-at-home orders.
Madrid has a rate of transmission six times higher than the national average, which already leads European contagion charts.
On Friday, the region reported more than 5,100 new infections, 200 more than the day before. The regional hospitals were treating 2,907 people, including nearly 400 in intensive care units, one third of the country’s total.
Nationally, there have been 625,000 confirmed cases and at least 30,400 deaths, according to the Health Ministry’s official data.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece is tightening restrictions in the greater Athens region, stepping up testing and creating quarantine hotels due to an increase in coronavirus infections.
The government says from Sept. 21 to Oct. 4 there can be no more than nine people allowed at indoors and outdoors gatherings — except for restaurants, bars and coffee shops — in the capital. Maximum attendance at weddings and funerals will be reduced to 20.
Officials will ban concerts, close indoors cinemas and mandate remote working for many employees.
About half the 339 new infections reported in the country Friday were in the greater Athens area. There have been 14,000 confirmed cases and 327 deaths nationwide.
LISBON, Portugal — The top diplomats of Spain and Portugal say they don’t intend to close their common border again, despite surging coronavirus cases.
Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva and Spanish counterpart Arancha González Laya say they prefer a piecemeal approach, adopting “surgical, occasional” measures.
The neighbors shut their border from mid-March through the end of June during national lockdowns. They allowed some exceptions, such as trucks.
Santos Silva says the European Union’s current policy aims for countries to cooperate against the pandemic, not close borders.
SAO PAULO — Brazil’s Supreme Court is suggesting attendees at last week’s inauguration of its chief justice be tested after six others confirmed they have the coronavirus.
The list includes newly inaugurated Chief Justice Luiz Fux, Lower House Speaker Rodrigo Maia, Prosecutor General Augusto Aras, the head of another high court and two justices of another tribunal.
Brazil’s top court says its ceremonial team “is in contact with guests who were present at the ceremony to warn them about the importance of seeking medical service in case they have been exposed in any way, including at other events.”
Only 20% of the seats at the ceremony in Brasilia were occupied on Sept. 10. Face masks were required and all guests had their temperatures taken before entry, according to the court’s statement.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch justice minister will be fined for breaches of social distancing rules at his recent wedding.
Public prosecutors say Ferd Grapperhaus will be fined 390 euros ($460) for the breaches at his Aug. 22 wedding in the upscale town of Bloemendaal. Photos taken of wedding guests gathered outside showed that some were not adhering to the government’s required 1.5-meter (5 foot) social distancing rules.
The photos were an embarrassment for the Dutch government and Grapperhaus, who is the minister responsible for making sure coronavirus measures are enforced.
The announcement of the fine came amid rising coronavirus infection numbers in the Netherlands.
MADRID — A line of tents has been installed at the gates of a Madrid military hospital four months after similar structures for triaging patients were taken down.
Spain’s Defense Ministry, which manages the Gómez Ulla military hospital, says the tents are currently empty, installed protectively ahead of the second wave taking hold on the Spanish capital.
Madrid has a rate of transmission six times higher than the national average.
Officials are expected to announce measures to slow down the outbreaks. That might include localized lockdowns or other “restrictions on mobility” centered in the city’s hardest-hit areas, which are also the poorest and more densely populated.
Spain on Thursday added more than 11,000 new infections and 162 confirmed deaths.
The totals are 625,000 cases and at least 30,400 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The president of Providence College announced the school will move to remote-only learning for at least two weeks after a surge of coronavirus cases among students.
More than 80 students tested positive in just two days, the private Catholic university’s president, Rev. Kenneth Sicard, wrote in a message to the community. The school has 106 positive student cases among about 4,800 students.
Students who live off campus cannot leave their apartments, and students who live on campus will be tested and can’t leave campus, he said. Students who violate the rules face suspensions.
Sicard says if things get worse, the campus may be shut down for the semester.
BRUSSELS — The EU Commission has finalized a deal with Sanofi and GSK allowing its 27 member states to buy up to 300 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s the second contract signed by the bloc’s executive arm after a first agreement was reached last month with AstraZeneca for up to 400 million doses.
“With several countries in Europe experiencing new outbreaks after the summer period, a safe and effective vaccine is more instrumental than ever to overcome this pandemic and its devastating effects on our economies and societies,” said Stella Kyriakides, the Commissioner for health.
The Commission says some of the reserved shots could be donated to “lower- and middle-income countries.”
LONDON — The European Medicines Agency is recommending an inexpensive steroid be licensed for the treatment of people with severe coronavirus who need oxygen support.
The EMA says it is endorsing the use of dexamethasone in adults and adolescents age 12 or older who need either supplemental oxygen or a ventilator to help them breathe. The drug can be taken orally or via an infusion.
In June, British researchers published research showing dexamethasone can reduce deaths by up to one third in patients hospitalized with severe coronavirus. Shortly afterward, the U.K. government immediately authorized its use in hospitals across the country for seriously ill coronavirus patients.
Steroid drugs like dexamethasone are typically used to reduce inflammation, which sometimes develops in COVID-19 patients as their immune system kicks into overdrive to fight the virus.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced a nationwide order, telling cafes, bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. instead of midnight.
Frederiksen says the size of gatherings was lowered from 100 to 50 for the country. The new restrictions run Saturday through Oct. 4.
“When we take more measures, it is to get the infection down. It is important for me to stress that we are not in the same place as March 11,” he said.
Denmark was one the first European countries to ease its coronavirus lockdown as the first wave appeared to be contained.
Denmark has had 21,847 cases and recorded 635 deaths.
ROME — The Sicilian town of Corleone, made famous by the fictional Mafia clan in “The Godfather,” has ordered schools closed and a limited lockdown because of a coronavirus spike.
The city administration told all guests at a wedding on Sept. 12 and anyone who lives with them to self-isolate and inform their doctors and city health authorities. In a Facebook post, Mayor Nicolò Nicolosi said he expected “maximum cooperation to overcome the current crisis.”
The town, which is part of the province of Palermo, has reported at least five positive cases in recent days. News reports said they were tied to a wedding reception involving some 250 people.
Like the rest of southern Italy, Sicily has seen a new spate of infections since August, with more than 500 of its 5,500 cases overall registered in the past three weeks.
The Corleone administration ordered schools closed, put a curfew on bars and suspended the weekly market and other public gatherings.
Corleone was the home and last name of the fictional crime clan in “The Godfather” movie. It was also the real-life stronghold of the late convicted mobster and reputed chieftain, Bernardo Provenzano. In 2016, the Italian government dissolved the municipal government after determining the mob had infiltrated it