The Latest: Adviser says evidence shows lockdown is working

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The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

TOP OF THE HOUR:

-Navy hospital ship arrives in New York City.

-Japan urges head of WHO to help speed vaccines.

-Italy sees slowdown in rate of new cases.

– Tokyo Olympics rescheduled to start July 23, 2021.

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LONDON – The British government’s chief scientific adviser says there is evidence nationwide lockdown measures are working to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Patrick Vallance says the number of hospital admissions for COVID-19 is rising steadily, “suggesting we’re not on a fast acceleration at the moment.”

There are currently 9,000 coronavirus patients in hospitals in England, a number increasing by about 1,000 a day.

Vallance says the number of deaths among people with the virus is tracking the rise seen in France but is below the trajectories of Spain and Italy, the hardest-hit European countries.

The U.K. has confirmed 22,141 cases of COVID-19, and 1,408 people with the virus have died. That is an increase of 180 on the previous 24 hours, a smaller rise than in the two previous days.

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BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has again tested negative for the new coronavirus.

Merkel went into self-quarantine on March 22 after learning that a doctor who had administered a vaccine to her days earlier had tested positive.

Her office said Monday that despite now testing negative three times, the 65-year-old leader would continue to work from home “in the coming days.”

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LONDON – The British government has formed a partnership with airlines to repatriate tens of thousands of Briton stranded around the world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said at the government’s daily briefing that those people who are still able to board commercial flights should book their tickets as soon as possible.

“Don’t run the risk of getting stranded,” he said.

Where there are not any commercial options because of the virus-related lockdown measures put in place around the world, Raab said the government will provide up to 75 million pounds ($93 million) of financial support to enable special charter flights – operated by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, Jet2 and Titan Airways – to fly stranded travelers back.

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ROME – Italy is seeing a continued slowdown in the rate of its new confirmed coronavirus cases while registering a record number of people cured as it enters its third week into a nationwide lockdown.

Another 812 people died in the last day, bringing Italy’s toll to 11,591 and maintaining its position as the country with the most dead.

Overall, Italy added 4,050 new infections Monday, bringing its official total to 101,739 and keeping its place as the European epicenter of the pandemic and second only to the U.S. Epidemiologists say the real number of Italy’s caseload, however, is as much as five to 10 times more than the official number, but that those cases aren’t being counted because Italy is only testing people with severe symptoms. Of those infected, 14,620 have been declared cured, including a record 1,590 in the past day.

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GENEVA – The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief says coronavirus case counts in hard-hit countries like Italy and Spain are “potentially stabilizing,” but it’s no time to let up on tough measures to limit and track the spread of the virus.

“It is our fervent hope that that is the case,” Dr. Michael Ryan told reporters. “But we have to now push the virus down, and that will not happen by itself.”

Ryan, speaking at a regular WHO news conference, said “we should start to see stabilization” in the wake of lockdowns and “stringent measures” in Italy, Spain and elsewhere over the last two weeks.

He said case-counting in an epidemic reflects the reality of transmission for at least the previous two weeks.

“The cases you see today are almost like a historical, in the same way when we’re told that we’re looking at galaxies through a telescope, that we’re seeing light from a billion years ago,” he said. “We’re seeing a reality that existed before.”

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ANKARA, Turkey – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Turkey passed 10,000, while those who lost their lives from the virus reached 168.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reported 1,610 more infections in the past 24 hours, increasing the total in the country to 10,827.

He also reported an additional 37 fatalities.

Turkey has so far conducted nearly 77,000 tests.

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MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump discussed possible cooperation between the two countries in the fight against the novel coronavirus in a telephone call.

A Kremlin statement said the call took place at Washington’s initiative.

The leaders also discussed the world oil market, where prices have fallen since Russia rejected an OPEC proposal to cut production; demand for oil has lowered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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TORONTO – Canada is effectively nationalizing many private payrolls by offering businesses large and small a 75% wage subsidy for their employees amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says businesses that have seen a 30% decrease in revenue are eligible. The prime minister says the government will cover up to 75% of salary on the first 58,700 Canadian dollars (US$41,455) that is earned. That means up to $847 Canadian (US$598) a week.

Trudeau did not put put a price tag on it or say how long it would last but he called it a bridge to better times.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The Dutch defense ministry says a group of sailors on a navy submarine has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The ministry reported 15 members of the 58-strong crew of the Dolfijn were tested after developing mild flu symptoms.

The submarine is breaking off its current voyage and heading back to the northern Dutch port of Den Helder two weeks earlier than planned. The crew will be quarantined to prevent further spread of the virus.

The Dutch nationwide death toll in the virus outbreak rose by 93 Monday to 864.

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GENEVA – A United Nations agency is urging the world’s top powers to commit $2.5 trillion to help developing nations weather the novel coronavirus outbreak, including a “Marshall Plan” for health recovery.

Just days after influential G20 nations announced plans to inject $5 trillion into an ailing global economy, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development insisted the developing world should not be left out.

UNCTAD says the $2.5 trillion in support should come through “Marshall Plan”-style grants, debt forgiveness, and access to assets known as special drawing rights.

The International Monetary Fund on Friday estimated that emerging markets have “finance needs” totaling $2.5 trillion, calling that a “lower-end estimate” that their own reserves cannot satisfy.

Richard Kozul-Wright, head of globalization and development strategies at UNCTAD, said the coronavirus crisis has forced a lot of change, and “ideas that were previously deemed odd” are suddenly in play.

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ATHENS, Greece – Greece has announced another 56 confirmed coronavirus cases and five deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 1,212, with a total of 43 deaths.

The country has carried out more than 15,000 tests.

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MOSCOW – The lockdown order in Moscow that obliges most of the Russian capital’s residents to stay in their homes is to continue for at least two weeks.

The initial order by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, which went into effect Monday, did not specify a time period. But the city’s office for monitoring the spread of the coronavirus says it will remain in effect through April 14.

The order allows Moscow’s 13 million to go out only to shop for food and medication, dispose of garbage, walk their pets in close proximity to their homes or go to work if their presence is required.

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PHOENIX – University of Arizona medical students who want to join the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic can ask to graduate early.

The University of Arizona College of Medicine–Phoenix announced it is offering eligible fourth-year students the chance to graduate before mid-May.

Each student’s request will have to be reviewed by a committee next week. But students could potentially be at work in a clinical setting by mid-April.

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NEW YORK – A Navy hospital ship has arrived in New York City to help relieve the coronavirus crisis gripping New York City’s hospitals.

The USNS Comfort has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours. It’s expected to bolster a besieged health care system by treating non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19.

New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, reported Sunday that its toll had risen to 776.

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MIAMI – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn’t want the people on a cruise ship where four people died and others are sick to be treated in Florida.

DeSantis says it would be “a mistake” to bring them into South Florida, which already has a high and growing number of coronavirus infections. He says the area’s hospital beds need to be saved for residents and not “foreign nationals.”

He says he wants the cruise line to arrange to have “medical personnel dispatched to the ship.”

Officials say in addition to the four dead, more than 130 Zaandam passengers and crew have symptoms. Four doctors and four nurses were on board to treat 1,243 passengers and 586 crew members, many of whom are American or Canadian, says Holland America, which is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp.

A sister ship, the Rotterdam, took on passengers who didn’t appear to be infected. They were allowed through the Panama Canal on Sunday night and are about three days from Florida.

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TOKYO – Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged the head of the World Health Organization to help accelerate development of medicine and vaccines for the coronavirus by promoting information sharing and cooperation among countries.

Abe told Director-General Tedros Adhanom in a phone call that Japan is pursuing clinical research on flu drug Favipiravir with several other countries.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry says Tedros pledged WHO’s leadership in the development of medicine, vaccines and diagnostics.

Abe asked Tedros to make use of Japan’s $46 million contribution to the WHO to effectively provide technical assistance for health workers in developing countries where COVID-19 cases are sharply on the rise.

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PANAMA CITY – The administrator of the Panama Canal says two Holland America Line cruise ships completed their journey through the waterway on their way to Florida.

Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez says coronavirus was the cause of death for at least two of the four people who died on the Zaandam. He says the pilots who led the Zaandam and Rotterdam through the locks would be placed in a 14-day quarantine.

The Zaandam, which left Argentina on March 7 with some 1,800 passengers and crew, had been denied entry to South American ports and was stranded off Panama for several days until the Central American nation decided to permit it to cross the canal.

Several hundred passengers were transferred Friday to a sister ship, the Rotterdam.

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LISBON, Portugal – Portugal’s government is hoping the country’s wine producers will give up a half-million liters (132,000 gallons) of alcohol for medical use.

The country’s Farm Ministry says it will provide financial help for producers offering their alcohol stocks for use by hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.

It says alcohol for disinfection remains in short supply amid the new coronavirus outbreak

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PARIS – The United Nations scientific agency UNESCO held a virtual meeting with science ministers from 73 countries to discuss international cooperation around COVID-19.

Open science is an issue UNESCO has been pushing for months. The agency’s leadership believes the global pandemic has highlighted the need to better share information to save lives.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay says “the COVID-19 pandemic has made us aware of the importance of science for both research and international cooperation. This crisis also shows us the urgency of better knowledge sharing.”

The meeting, which included representatives from the United States and Israel, addressed reducing the “knowledge deficit” between countries, strengthening the link between science and political decisions and allowing free access to scientific data.

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MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin says the country has managed to slow down the spread of coronavirus but should be prepared for contagions to quickly grow.

Russia has been relatively lightly hit by the outbreak, with 1,836 cases and nine deaths. But the number of new cases has mushroomed, forcing the authorities to brace up for the worst.

Putin hailed a lockdown declared Monday in Moscow and warned that other regions should prepare to take similar steps.

Speaking to his envoys in Russian provinces in a video call, a stern-looking Putin says they will bear personal responsibility for the availability of hospital beds, lung ventilators and other essential equipment. He says the authorities need to call professors of medical universities and students to help deal with the outbreak.

The Russian leader also talked about the need to counter “provocations, stupid gossip and malicious lies” about the outbreak.

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LONDON – Prince Charles has ended his period of isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The prince’s Clarence House office says Charles is in good health after completing the seven-day quarantine recommended by U.K. health authorities for people with COVID-19 symptoms.

Royal officials said last week the 71-year-old heir to the British throne was showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 and self-isolating at the royal family’s Balmoral estate in Scotland. His wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, tested negative but will be in self-isolation until the end of the week.

Charles’ mother Queen Elizabeth II, 93, is at her Windsor Castle home west of London with her 98-year-old husband, Prince Philip.

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TOKYO – The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in July, the same slot scheduled for this year’s games.

Tokyo organizers say the opening ceremony will take place July 23, 2021. That is almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year. The IOC and Japanese organizers last week postponed the Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The rescheduled Olympics will start July 23, with the closing ceremony on Aug. 8. The Paralympics were rescheduled to Aug. 24-Sept. 5.

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Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

In this handout photo provided by 10 Downing Street, from left, Britain’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Public Health England medical director Yvonne Doyle answer questions from the media via a video link during a media briefing on coronavirus in Downing Street, London, Monday, March 30, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street via AP)
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