The Latest: Putin, Trump discuss cooperation in virus fight

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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.

– Tokyo Olympics rescheduled to start July 23, 2021.

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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 – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says large businesses are eligible for a 75 percent wage subsidy for employees amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Trudeau says businesses that have seen a 30 percent decrease in revenue are eligible. The prime minister says the government will cover up to 75 percent of salary on the first 58,700 Canadian (US$4,488) that is earned. That means up to $847 Canadian (US$598) a week.

He says it’s about making sure Canadians have money to buy groceries right now and a job to go back to. Trudeau previously announced the 75 percent wage subsidy for small businesses but says the number of employees a company has will not determine whether or not they get support. He also says non-profits and charities are also eligible.

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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 billion 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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PRAGUE – The Czech capital is working on securing shelters for the homeless, including cheap hotels and hostels.

Prague’s City Hall says it wants to prevent an uncontrolled spreading of the coronavirus in their community and beyond it.

It adds it is also nearly impossible for the homeless to comply with the restrictions on movement imposed by the government to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Several charities and volunteers will be taking care of people while they’re staying in the new locations.

Prague says it was inspired by the approach to the homeless in some major cities, including Chicago, London and Paris.

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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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BERLIN – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman says it would be “irresponsible” to offer false hope of a quick end to restrictions on public life in Germany, amid increasing calls for an exit strategy.

Germany is a week into a ban on gatherings of more than two people in public. It also has closed schools and most nonessential shops. Merkel’s chief of staff has made clear the measures won’t be loosened before April 20.

There has been little direct questioning of that, but increasing calls to map a way out of the restrictions. Merkel’s government wants to keep the focus on ensuring that Germany’s health system isn’t overstretched.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert says the chancellor “would be the first who would announce the loosening of the measures on the basis of facts, and with pleasure.”

Germany has the world’s fifth-largest number of coronavirus cases but a relatively low death rate so far. Seibert says the increase in infections remains too fast to loosen restrictions.

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WASHINGTON – Dr. Anthony Fauci says smaller U.S. cities that don’t yet have large numbers of COVID-19 cases are ripe for the acceleration that occurred in New York City.

The U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert told ABC’s “Good Morning America” the “dynamics of the outbreak” of the coronavirus in New Orleans and Detroit show signs that “they’re going to take off.”

He’s also concerned about smaller cities across the country.

“There are a number of smaller cities that are sort of percolating along, couple hundred cases, the slope doesn’t look like it’s going up,” Fauci said. “What we’ve learned from painful experience with this outbreak is that it goes along almost on a straight line, then a little acceleration, acceleration, then it goes way up.”

Fauci says that “very consistent pattern” is the same as what’s occurred in New York, Italy, France, Germany and Spain.

“We’re going to have all of these little mini outbreaks throughout various cities in our country,” he said.

Asked about how long the Trump administration’s recommended social distancing guidelines might be in effect, Fauci says, “I think April might do it…but we kept an open mind when we presented it to the president.”

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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

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Russian gas monopoly Gazprom Head, Alexei Miller during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 27, 2020. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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