- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The latest on the effects of the novel coronavirus outbreak around the world:

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

- International aid group says data in some countries show sharp discrepancy between coronavirus cases in men and women.

- US virus cases surge to highest level in 2 months.

- Indian armed forces personnel to provide medical care for coronavirus patients kept in New Delhi railroad coaches.



- The spread of the coronavirus is prompting soaring demand for medical oxygen, which is expensive and hard to get in much of the world. Scarce oxygen supplies are another basic marker of inequality both between and within countries from Peru to Bangladesh. Across Africa, only a handful of hospitals have direct oxygen hookups, as is standard across Europe and the United States.

- Americans are unlikely to be allowed into Europe when the continent reopens its borders next week, due to how the coronavirus pandemic is flaring in the U.S. and President Donald Trump’s ban on Europeans entering the United States. European nations appear on track to reopen their borders between each other by July 1, and their EU representatives are debating the criteria for lifting restrictions on visitors from outside Europe.

- Major League Baseball has issued a 60-game schedule that will start July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks as the sport tries to push ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic. It will be MLB’s shortest season since 1878. Each team will play 10 games against each of its four division rivals and four games against each of the five clubs in the corresponding division in the other league, according to details obtained by The Associated Press.

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Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SYDNEY - Australian health workers will go door-to-door testing more than 100,000 residents in a coronavirus hot spot in suburban Melbourne that is threatening to undo the nation’s success in battling the virus.

Victoria state on Thursday reported 33 new cases, the highest daily number in more than two months.

Premier Daniel Andrews says the testing aims to collect samples from half of all residents in 10 suburbs. He says the goal is to test 10,000 people daily over 10 days. The tests are free and Andrews is urging people to see undergoing testing as a civic duty.

More than 1,000 military personnel are helping with the operation, while other states will help process the test results.

Australia has reported more than 7,500 cases of the virus, including 104 deaths.

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DAKAR, Senegal - Senegal’s national television says President Macky Sall is going into quarantine after being exposed to someone who tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The report late Wednesday said the 58-year-old Sall tested negative for a virus infection earlier in the day but will still self isolate. The report didn’t identify the person who exposed the president. A month ago Sall’s brother was treated for the virus.

The news comes as concern mounts about COVID-19 in the West African nation, which now has more than 6,000 confirmed cases and 93 deaths. Four of the fatalities were announced Wednesday.

The rise in cases comes after Senegal lifted restrictions on movement between cities and shortened the nightly curfew.

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CARSON CITY, Nev. - Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak says the state will begin mandating the use of face-coverings in public places in an effort to stem a rise in coronavirus cases four weeks after casinos, restaurants and other businesses started reopening.

Nevada has reported more than 14,300 coronavirus cases and 494 deaths from COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic.

The governor says Nevada residents must make face coverings “a routine part of our daily life” in order to keep businesses open and people safe.

Nevada joins several states, including California, Washington and North Carolina, in mandating face coverings.

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SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea has reported 28 more coronavirus cases as the country strives to suppress a resurgence of the virus, mostly in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.

The figures released Thursday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bring the country’s total to 12,563 cases, with 282 deaths. The agency says 10,974 people have recovered, while 1,307 patients are still in COVID-19 treatment.

South Korea has seen an uptick in infections since easing its strict social distancing rules. But the daily increase hasn’t reached the level of late February and early March, when South Korea saw hundreds of new cases every day.

Most of recent cases have been associated with nightlife establishments, church gatherings, a huge e-commerce warehouse and door-to-door sellers.

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BEIJING - China has reported 19 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus amid mass testing in Beijing, where a recent outbreak appears to have been brought under control.

Of the new cases reported Thursday, 13 were in Beijing and one in the neighboring province of Hebei. Officials say the other five were brought by Chinese travelers from outside the country. No new deaths were reported.

China has reported 4,634 deaths among 83,4449 cases since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

This month’s outbreak in Beijing saw 249 people infected, most of them with links to the city’s biggest wholesale market. Since then, 3 million test samples have been taken from 2.43 million people in the city.

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NEW YORK - Three Northeast governors are installing restrictions on travelers from states with increasing COVID-19 cases.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced the restrictions, which require travelers from certain states to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

The quarantine applies to people coming from states with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents on a seven-day average, or with a 10% or higher positive rate over seven days.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says his state was mistakenly included on the list. Washington’s recent positive test rate was about 6%.

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday that Washington was mistakenly included on a list of states from which travelers to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut would need to go into quarantine for 14 days because of COVID-19 concerns.

Inslee said people from Washington state won’t be subject to the restrictions announced earlier by three governors from the Northeast.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said restrictions were being placed on travelers from certain states with increasing COVID-19 cases.

The quarantine applies to people coming from states with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents on a seven-day average, or with a 10% or higher positivity rate over seven days.

Washington state’s recent positive test rate was about 6%

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. - West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice forced out the commissioner of his public health bureau on Wednesday, hours after he publicly questioned the accuracy of the state’s coronavirus data and detailed growing outbreaks in about a dozen counties.

The abrupt resignation of Cathy Slemp, who was also a state health officer, came after the Republican governor vented during a news conference that West Virginia’s active virus caseload may have been overstated.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, the governor’s office said Justice had expressed his “lack of confidence” in Slemp to the secretary of the state health department, who then asked for Slemp’s resignation. She resigned immediately, the statement said.

In a separate statement, a spokeswoman for the health department said there were discrepancies related to virus caseload data at a state prison.

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HOUSTON - Apple has decided to re-close seven of its recently reopened stores in the Houston area because of COVID-19 problems in Texas.

The resurgence of the disease prompted Apple to backtrack and close the Houston area stores on Wednesday afternoon.

The move comes just days after Apple re-closed 11 other stores in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina because of escalating cases in those states.

Apple closed all of its U.S. stores in March before it gradually started to re-open some last month in an effort to allow shoppers to check iPhones and other products without exposing themselves and company employees to an elevated risk of becoming infected.

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JACKSON, Miss. - New numbers from the Mississippi Health Department show the state has had more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19.

Numbers posted Wednesday showed the second-highest single-day increase in new cases in the state, below only the numbers posted a day earlier. Mississippi has had at least 23,424 cases of the disease and had a one-day increase of 526 cases.

State health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says “really bad things are going to happen” if people don’t follow precautions to try to slow the spread of the virus.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that he will withhold $2.5 billion in the upcoming state budget to penalize counties that fail to comply with state mandates on wearing masks, testing and other measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases and decrease hospitalizations.

The money is intended to help local governments pay for services needed because of the pandemic. But it’s contingent upon counties following emergency orders to enforce the safety measures as they gradually reopen the economy.

Newsom’s warning came as the state recorded a 69% increase in new cases just this week, and set several daily records for new cases. Officials reported corresponding increases in the rate of people testing positive and hospitalizations.

The Democratic governor said he views the $2.5 billion fund in the budget that lawmakers are expected to approve this week as a reward, not a punishment for local government.

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TOPEKA, Kan. - Kansas has seen its largest jump in new coronavirus cases in more than six weeks with an increase of more than 500 cases in two days.

The state health department on Wednesday reported a total of 12,970 cases of the novel coronavirus, up 4.1% from Monday, when Gov. Laura Kelly urged local officials to postpone lifting their last restrictions on businesses and public activities for another two weeks.

The state also reported an additional two deaths since Monday, bringing the total to 261 since the pandemic began in early March.

The state hasn’t seen such a spike in new cases since early May.

Kansas has had more than 2,100 new cases of the novel coronavirus over the past two weeks, a 20% increase. Deaths have risen 9%, or by 21, during that period.

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MIAMI - Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Wednesday at a virtual press conference that “surge teams” will be sent this weekend to areas where doctors are noticing an increase in new COVID-19 infections.

About 100 people will go into such hot spots as Little Havana and Homestead, an agricultural area with vegetable farms and nurseries. The teams will be knocking on doors and handing out kits with masks and hand sanitizers.

Gimenez says officials are noticing an increase of cases among farm workers and will be offering hotel rooms to those who are ill and live in small homes with several people so they don’t infect others.

Gimenez says the county still has an availability of beds, but certain hospitals are out of ICU beds and have had to transfer patients to other centers.

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Tulsa health officials on Wednesday reported a record spike in COVID-19 cases in the county but said it’s too soon to attribute any increase in infections to President Donald Trump’s campaign rally.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported a one-day record increase of 482 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the confirmed total to at least 11,510. The previous record of 450 was reported last Thursday.

Tulsa Health Department Director Bruce Dart says the new cases have been linked to gatherings such as funerals, weddings and people going to bars. He says because the incubation period is anywhere from two to 14 days, the virus could be spread for weeks after that by anybody exposed during Saturday’s rally.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum says he’s concerned that residents of the city are getting lax in their daily lives, not socially distancing, not wearing face masks, or frequently washing hands. He says the uptick began long before the rally.

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HONOLULU - The U.S. Department of Justice says a traveler quarantine in Hawaii that was imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus discriminates against out-of-state residents.

The Justice Department has filed a statement of interest in a federal lawsuit filed by Nevada and California residents who own property in Hawaii and are challenging the quarantine mandate.

Travelers arriving in Hawaii must quarantine for 14 days or face up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Some tourists and residents have been arrested for breaking quarantine.

The Hawaii attorney general’s office says the Justice Department’s arguments and the lawsuit have no merit.

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ATLANTA - Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday that Georgia “continues to make solid progress in the fight against COVID-19, even as the number of people hospitalized with the respiratory illness continues to rise.

Kemp made the remarks in a recorded video that his office released Wednesday.

“Our hospitalizations remain low and surge capacity is high,” the Republican said, referring to the state’s efforts to build temporary hospital beds in multiple locations.

Numbers released later Wednesday show that the number of people hospitalized with coronavirus infections rose to 1,124. That’s the highest number since May 12 and a 44% increase since the number of hospitalized people bottomed out on June 7.

Kemp urged people to wear a mask and keep their distance from others.

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RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina’s governor announced Wednesday that people across the state must wear masks or other face coverings in public to fight the spread of COVID-19, and he extended other restrictions by three more weeks to fight a surge in cases.

Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order that people must wear face coverings in public when it’s not possible to maintain physical distance. The order also mandates face coverings for employees of businesses, including retailers and restaurants, as well as state employees in the executive branch.

Violations of Cooper’s executive orders are punishable by misdemeanor.

The governor also said restrictions limiting capacity at retailers, restaurants and public gatherings will remain in place for three more weeks.

The order comes as the state reports its second-highest, one-day jump in virus cases at around 1,700. About 900 people are currently hospitalized, also representing the second-highest mark in that category.

Cooper said the state currently has sufficient hospital capacity, but that could quickly change if virus trends don’t improve. In a story June 25, 2020, about the virus outbreak, The Associated Press erroneously reported twice that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut would need travelers entering these states to go into quarantine for 24 days because of COVID-19 concerns. The quarantine will be for 14 days.

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In a story June 24, 2020, about the virus outbreak, The Associated Press erroneously reported twice that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut would need travelers entering these states to go into quarantine for 24 days because of COVID-19 concerns. The quarantine will be for 14 days.

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