The Latest: Africa coronavirus infections top 1,000

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The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 275,000 people and killed more than 11,400. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 88,200 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.

TOP OF THE HOUR:

– The number of coronavirus cases in Africa tops 1,000.

– East Timor reports its first case.

– Turkey’s president releases audio message urging citizens to stay home, take care of personal hygiene and maximize social distance.

– South Korea’s prime minister recommends country’s religious facilities, gyms and clubs close.

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JOHANNESBURG – The number of coronavirus cases in Africa has topped 1,000, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Angola reported its first cases, and Burkina Faso’s foreign minister announced he is infected. At least 40 of Africa’s 54 countries now have confirmed cases.

The Ivory Coast said it would close its borders starting Sunday, while Ethiopia’s electoral authorities were discussing the possible impact on a national election later this year.

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DILI, East Timor – The tiny Southeast Asian country of East Timor has reported its first confirmed case of the new coronavirus.

The interim health minister announced Saturday that a Timorese who had returned from overseas tested positive and has been put in quarantine.

East Timor, which gained independence from Indonesia in 2002, has a population of 1.3 million.

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ISTANBUL – Turkey’s president has released an audio message urging all citizens, especially the elderly and the chronically ill, to not leave their homes, take care of personal hygiene and maximize social distance to combat the coronavirus.

A senior Turkish official says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s public announcement was forwarded to all phone companies and will reach citizens through automated calls. It is part of an effort to raise awareness among the elderly who may not have access to online information. The message was also shared on social media.

At least 670 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Turkey and nine people have died.

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SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea’s prime minister has “strongly recommended” that the country’s religious facilities, gyms and clubs close for the next 15 days to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Chung Se-kyun said in a nationally televised speech Saturday that the government plans to use administrative orders to shut down the facilities that remain open but fail to enforce proper distance between people.

He said the government could also file damage claims against churches and businesses that become linked to infections after failing to employ preventive measures.

South Korea’s epidemic has slowed, but there are growing concerns about a steady rise in infections in the Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of South Korea’s 51 million people.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

A woman wearing a face mask passes by posters about precautions against new coronavirus at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, March 21, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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