The Latest: Greek court keeps Easter services ban in place

0

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:

– New York City records more deaths from virus than 9/11.

-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care.

-Japan declares national emergency.

-U.N. estimates loss of 195 millon full-time jobs in 2nd quarter.

___

ATHENS, Greece – A high court in Greece has rejected complaints seeking to overturn a ban on religious services over the Easter holidays.

Judges from the Council of State say the recently announced measure to outlaw public attendance of religious services as part of a campaign of circulation restrictions was in the public interest. Several religious organizations, not connected to Greece’s Orthodox Church, had backed the court challenge against the church ban, arguing it was unconstitutional.

Greece’s new coronavirus death toll rose to 81 Tuesday, with authorities arguing the restrictions have so far been effective. But Nikos Hardalias, a deputy minister for civil protection, said that effort could be undermined if Greeks abandoned caution at Easter, celebrated on April 19 together with other Orthodox Christian countries.

___

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration announced an additional $225 million in foreign assistance to help countries around the world combat the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total to nearly half a billion dollars.

The new assistance won’t include personal protective equipment due to the high domestic demand for such supplies in the U.S. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says it is intended to help foreign nations boost their response to the COVID-19 virus.

He says the money would be for diagnosis, prevention and control, and bolstering national health systems. It could also prepare laboratories to deal with testing and train medical workers.

Last month, the U.S. announced $274 million in virus prevention and treatment assistance to 64 countries.

___

MOSCOW – Russian experts say they can speed up tests of a new coronavirus vaccine.

Rinat Maksyutov, head of the state Vektor lab, reported to President Vladimir Putin the trials involving volunteers could begin in May instead of June as earlier planned.

Maksyutov says more than 300 people already have volunteered to take part in clinical tests. Putin noted that the outbreak hasn’t yet reached its peak in Russia, noting that “the situation is difficult but not hopeless.” Russia reported 1,154 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the country’s total caseload to 7,497, with 58 deaths.

Putin asked experts whether it would be possible to lift some of the restrictions earlier to ease the pain for the economy. They said next week would show if the lockdown has helped.

___

PRAGUE – The lower house of Czech Parliament has agreed to extend the state of emergency imposed by the government until April 30.

The state of emergency gives the government extra powers to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, including a power to limit basic rights.

The government demanded a maximum possible 30-day extension until May 11, but Prime Minister Andrej Babis says the compromise was “acceptable.”

The Czech Republic and Austria were the first European countries to announce on Monday they’ll start to relax their restrictions to contain the virus.

The Health Ministry says 4,828 Czechs have been infected and 80 have died.

___

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced large-scale social restrictions in the capital will start Friday.

The Indonesia Health Ministry granted the request from the governor after a significant increase and spread of COVID-19 in Jakarta.

The social restrictions should be implemented for 14 days. It can be extended if there are still cases of transmission. With this new status in Jakarta, there will be stricter law enforcement from the National Police.

“Basically people in Jakarta have applied the restrictions by working at home, studying at home and doing the worship at home in the last three weeks. But we will add the law enforcement component on it,” Baswedan said.

Baswedan says the local government will ban events with more than five participants.

The government says half the infection cases are in Jakarta. There are 1,369 of COVID-19 cases with 106 deaths in the capital.

___

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration announced an additional $225 million in foreign assistance to help countries around the world combat the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total to nearly half a billion dollars.

The new assistance won’t include personal protective equipment due to the high domestic demand for such supplies in the U.S. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says it is intended to help foreign nations boost their response to the COVID-19 virus.

He says the money would be for diagnosis, prevention and control, and bolstering national health systems. It could also prepare laboratories to deal with testing and train medical workers.

Last month, the U.S. announced $274 million in virus prevention and treatment assistance to 64 countries.

___

NEW YORK – More people have died from the coronavirus in New York City than perished in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

At least 3,202 people have been killed in the city by the virus, according to a new count released by city health officials Tuesday.

The deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil killed 2,753 people in the city and 2,977 overall, when hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001.

The coronavirus has made New York ground zero again in a national tragedy and the center of a crisis that is reshaping Americans’ lives and liberties.

New York City recorded its first coronavirus death on March 13, less than two weeks after confirming its first infection.

___

WASHINGTON – Health officials announced 114 new cases in Washington, D.C., bringing the total to 1,211, with 22 deaths.

Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a stay-home order on March 30 for Washington’s approximately 700,000 residents. Neighboring Maryland and Virginia have done the same.

Bowser also declared a state of emergency last month, shuttered all schools and ordered all non-essential businesses to close. White House and Capitol tours were cancelled and the National Zoo, Smithsonian museum network and Kennedy Center were closed.

On Sunday, officials shutdown a popular fish market at the city’s Wharf boardwalk after crowds ignored social distancing guidelines and packed the area on Saturday.

___

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s health minister says 66 people at a single hospital in Durban have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past few days, including 48 staffers.

Zweli Mkhize says authorities are looking into closing parts of St. Augustine’s Hospital. The minister says less than 100 people across the country are currently hospitalized with the virus.

He also seeks to reassure anxious health workers after a union went to court over the shortage of protective gear. Mkhize says South Africa’s supply should last up to eight weeks.

South Africa has Africa’s most confirmed cases with more than 1,700.

___

GENEVA – The U.N.’s labor organization estimates the equivalent of 195 million full-time jobs could be lost in the second quarter alone from the COVID-19 outbreak, with businesses and plants shuttered worldwide.

The projection from the International Labor Organization is based on an emerging impact of the virus, and it amounts to a big increase from its March 18 prediction for an extra 25 million jobs losses for all of 2020.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder says, “These figures speak powerfully for themselves: That the world of work is suffering an absolutely extraordinary fall.”

The agency says full or partial lockdown measures now affect nearly 2.7 billion workers or about 81 percent of the global workforce.

Some 1.25 billion are in hard-hit sectors such as hotel and food services, manufacturing and retail.

___

ROME – Italy’s health ministry has sent inspectors to the country’s biggest nursing home where 70 elderly people reportedly died in March alone while management allegedly downplayed the risk of infection of coronavirus.

Italian daily Repubblica says Milan prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into alleged homicide at the Pio Albergo Trivulzio home. Repubblica quoted a geriatric doctor, Luigi Bergamaschini, as saying he had been removed for having insisted his staff wear masks and protective gear, while union leaders blamed managers for having listed the deaths as pneumonia.

The Health Ministry’s deputy minister, Pierpaolo Sileri, told Radio Capitale that inspectors backed by the Carabinieri’s health care squad would seize documentation from the facility as well as other nursing homes with a high death toll.

Many nursing home dead were never tested for COVID-19 and weren’t hospitalized, given their frail conditions and northern Italy’s overflowing intensive care units. As a result, their deaths don’t figure into Italy’s official death count, already the highest in the world.

___

RABAT, Morocco – Morocco made wearing face masks compulsory for all people allowed outside for work or shopping.

Masks will be available in local shops, according to a joint statement from the Interior, Health and Economy ministries.

National manufacturers are working to supply the domestic market with masks. Violation of the new measure is punished with up to three months in prison and a fine of up to $130.

A total of 8,612 people have been arrested for breaking the state of a health emergency, including 82 people allegedly responsible for spreading fake news, according to Morocco’s General Directorate for National Security.

___

GENEVA – The U.N.’s labor organization estimates the equivalent of 195 million full-time jobs could be lost in the second quarter alone from the COVID-19 outbreak, with businesses and plants shuttered worldwide.

The projection from the International Labor Organization is based on an emerging impact of the virus, and it amounts to a big increase from its March 18 prediction for an extra 25 million jobs losses for all of 2020.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder says, “These figures speak powerfully for themselves: That the world of work is suffering an absolutely extraordinary fall.”

The agency says full or partial lockdown measures now affect nearly 2.7 billion workers or about 81 percent of the global workforce.

Some 1.25 billion are in hard-hit sectors like hotel and food services, manufacturing and retail.

___

WASHINGTON – U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams echoed optimistic comments by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, saying that if Americans keep practicing social distancing for the rest of April “we can start to slowly reopen in some places.”

Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Adams says U.S. officials are watching to see how China and South Korea handle reopening their societies after putting mitigation efforts in place to deal with outbreaks of the coronavirus.

Adams applauded West Coast public health officials for enacting social distancing early in California and Washington state and providing a “blueprint for how we deal with this in the rest of the country.”

Both Trump and Pence have spoken in recent days of seeing optimistic signs in the data.

___

ROME – Italy’s commissioner for fighting the COVID-19 virus appealed to Italians ahead of the Easter weekend to not lower their guard and to abide by a lockdown now in its fifth week.

Domenico Arcuri cited data showing pressure on Italian intensive care wards is easing and the number of deaths is narrowing.

But Arcuri stressed repeatedly “Don’t ever forget even for an instant that this invisible, strong and unknown virus has taken 16,523 lives through yesterday.”

With warmer weather, officials are concerned the number of people out and about with nudge up. People may attempt to see family and friends or just a glimpse of nature after a month of severely restricted movement.

___

PARIS – Paris authorities have banned all outdoor sports activities between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. after Parisians took to the streets in numbers over the weekend to enjoy the sunny weather.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and police prefect Didier Lallement say Parisians should limit their movement to urgent or indispensable outings amid stringent lockdown measures implemented across the country. Starting Wednesday, Parisians can only exercise outdoors when “street crowd is at its lowest.”

Parisians were previously allowed to exercise outdoors for an hour while carrying a form explaining the reason why they were going out.

France has nearly 9,000 dead and some 100,000 known infections across the country.

___

LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in stable condition in an intensive care unit and has not been put on a ventilator.

Johnson spokesman James Slack says “the prime minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits. He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and is breathing without any other assistance.”

He said Johnson was not receiving mechanical ventilation and does not have pneumonia.

Johnson was admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital late Sunday with a fever and cough that persisted 10 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19. He was moved to the intensive care unit Monday evening after his condition worsened.

___

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

Older men wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus arrive at Evagelismos hospital in Athens Tuesday, April 7, 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. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Advertisements