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:
– United States poised to surpass China’s toll of 3,300 deaths.
– Indonesia closing doors to foreign arrivals, bringing home more than 1 million working abroad.
– Vietnam set for lockdown starting at midnight Wednesday.
– Cluster of cases in Australia among Qantas Airways baggage handlers.
NEW YORK – The mounting death toll from the virus outbreak had the United States poised Tuesday to surpass China’s grim toll of 3,300 deaths, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying up to 1 million more healthcare workers were needed. â€œPlease come help us,â€ he urged.
Hard-hit Italy and Spain have already overtaken China and now account for more than half of the nearly 38,000 COVID-19 deaths worldwide, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
But the World Health Organization warned that while attention has shifted to epicenters in Western Europe and North America, the coronavirus pandemic was far from over in Asia.
â€œThis is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard,” said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. “We need every country to keep responding according to their local situation.â€
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia will close its doors to foreign arrivals in an attempt to curb the coronavirus spread, and the country plans to bring home more than a million nationals working abroad.
Foreign minister Retno Marsudi announced Tuesday that all foreigners will be temporarily banned from visiting and traveling in Indonesia territories, except for diplomatic corps and those who hold a residence permit.
The restriction will take effect later this week, Marsudi said.
She said the government would protect the health of nationals stranded abroad amid the coronavirus crisis, and has decided to repatriate more than a million Indonesian migrant workers from neighboring Malaysia.
Indonesiaâ€™s latest tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 1,414, with 122 reported deaths.
HANOI – Vietnam will lock down the country for at least two weeks starting at midnight Wednesday in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In an order by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Tuesday, no gathering of more than two people will be allowed, and businesses must be closed except for essential services and manufacturing.
â€œItâ€™s going to be the crucial two weeks for Vietnam to curb the spread of the virus,â€ Phuc said to his cabinet during a televised meeting.
Vietnam has reported 204 cases of the new coronavirus, but no deaths.
CANBERRA, Australia – South Australia state authorities have announced a cluster of six new coronavirus cases among Qantas Airways baggage handlers at Adelaide airport.
State Chief Public Health Officer Dr Nicola Spurrier said on Tuesday anyone who flew through the airport in the previous 24 hours should wipe down their luggage with disinfectant.
Spurrier says Qantas has been told a â€œsignificant number of staffâ€ will have to go into quarantine because of the infections.
Around 100 Qantas baggage handlers used the confined area for working and eating meals. She says â€œa large majorityâ€ of those employees will require quarantine.
Qantas is working around the infected work space and Spurrier says she hopes flights wonâ€™t be affected.
She could not say when the six tested positive or how they became infected.
TOKYO – Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp., which converted its liquid crystal display factory into one churning out medical masks, sent its first shipment Tuesday.
The plant in central Japan is set to make 150,000 masks a day, with production being ramped up later to 500,000 masks a day. The shipment was in response to a Japanese government order, and details were not immediately available on how the masks would get distributed.
The masks will be sold to consumers online later, according to the company, owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as Foxconn. Masks are in short supply at stores in some parts of Japan because of a surge in demand.
LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who was sued by gun-rights groups after trying to shut down firearms dealers in the wake of coronavirus concerns, said he is abandoning the effort.
The sheriff said he’s heeding a federal Department of Homeland Security advisory issued on Saturday that listed gun and ammunition dealers as â€œessential critical infrastructure workers.”
Villanueva called the non-binding memo â€œpersuasive” and announced that his department won’t order or recommend closing businesses that sell or repair firearms or sell ammunition in the nation’s most populous county.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said each of the state’s 58 counties can decide for themselves whether to list firearms dealers as nonessential businesses that should be subject to closure while the state seeks to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak