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:
– Decline in critical patients in Italy continues.
– Britain reaches goal of 100,000 tests per day.
– British doctors define possible COVID-19-linked syndrome in children.
– Virus worries for workers demanding rights on May Day.
ISTANBUL – Turkeyâ€™s health ministry has announced 84 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 3,258.
Minister Fahrettin Koca also announced the recovery of 4,922 people from the disease, with total recoveries nearing 54,000 people.
Koca tweeted thatâ€™s nearly 45% of the total number of confirmed infections, which are now at 122,392 with 2,188 identified in the past 24 hours.
The minister also said the number of patients needing intensive care was decreasing and urged continued precautions.
Thirty-one provinces are on the first day of a three-day lockdown. The weekend curfews are expected to continue through the month of Ramadan.
DENVER – Getting a haircut and shopping in person at retail stores were allowed again in much of Colorado starting Friday as the state continues to ease restrictions set up to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
Stay-at-home orders remained in place in Denver and some surrounding counties, with only essential businesses like grocery, liquor and hardware stores open there.
Goodwill reopened 16 stores around Colorado with changes to protect peopleâ€™s safety. Dressing rooms are closed and one-way aisles were set up to make it easier for customers to stay 6 feet apart.
Elective surgeries and curbside pickup at retail shops were allowed to begin outside the Denver area on Monday in the first wave of the relaxation of restrictions under Democratic Gov. Jared Polisâ€™ â€œsafer at homeâ€ order.
Offices can reopen starting Monday but only with half the usual staff to allow for social distancing.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina – A Russian military team of anti-coronavirus experts has been prevented from entering Bosnia from Serbia.
The 24-member team traveling in five vehicles was stopped at Bosniaâ€™s border with Serbia on Friday after failing to get a permit from the authorities in Sarajevo. The soldiers had planned to disinfect a hospital in the south of the Balkan country.
Radio Sarajevo says the Russian soldiers were stopped at the border because â€œforeign troops cannot enter Bosnia without a permit.â€
The Russian team has been deployed in Serbia for over a month, receiving praise from its pro-Moscow officials.
After a US-mediated peace agreement in 1995 that stopped a bloody civil war, Bosnia was declared a single state consisting of two entities, the Croat-Muslim federation and the Serb-run semi-autonomous entity.
A separate Russian disinfection team was directly flown from Moscow to the Serb-run parts of Bosnia last month.
ROME – The number of patients in Italyâ€™s intensive care beds is continuing to decline.
That’s allowing hospitals to better deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, which when it began weeks ago had overwhelmed the national health care system, especially in heavily stricken northern regions.
According to health ministry ministry figures released on Friday, 116 intensive care unit beds were freed up in the previous 24 hours.
For back-to-back days, the daily nationwide tally of new cases was lower than 2,000 â€“ 1,965 coronavirus infections were registered in a 24-hour period, raising to 207,428 cases the nationâ€™s known total in the pandemic. Doctors have cautioned that many cases have likely gone undetected as some people with the virus show no or nearly no symptoms.
Italy registered 269 more deaths of persons infected with COVID-19. Its death toll now stands at 28,236. Italyâ€™s worst-hit region, Lombardy, still is registering several hundred new cases daily, while many regions, including that of Lazio, which includes Rome, are registering cases far fewer than 100 each day.
LONDON – The British government says it has met its target of conducting 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April, after more than doubling the number carried out in just two days.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says 122,347 tests were carried out Thursday, the last day of the month. That’s up from 81,611 announced the day before and just over 52,000 the day before that.
The figure represents a tenfold increase since the start of April, when Hancock set the target.
The U.K. has promised to vastly expand testing as part of a â€œtest, track and traceâ€ strategy to control the spread of the virus and allow the country to emerge from lockdown. Public health officials have set up almost 100 mobile testing units and dozens of drive-through sites, and tests are being offered to millions of health care workers, essential staff and older people.
Itâ€™s unclear whether all the tests counted in Fridayâ€™s total have been completed, however. The Health Service Journal reported that the total includes home-testing kits that people have ordered through a government website, but which have not yet been returned and processed.
As of Friday, Britain has recorded 27,510 deaths among people with COVID-19 in hospitals, nursing homes and other settings, the third-highest total of any country in the world.
ALBANY, N.Y. – New York schools and colleges will remain shut through the end of the academic year.
The order announced Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo applies to 4.2 million students statewide and continues an order that had been set to expire May 15.
The Democratic governor said it is too risky to reopen when the virus is still sending nearly 1,000 people to the hospital every day in the state hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The largest school district, New York City, had already determined it could not reopen before the end of the school year in June. Mayor Bill De Blasio announced April 11 that the city would rely on remote learning through the end of the school year.
At the time, Cuomo dismissed De Blasioâ€™s announcement as an â€œopinion,â€ saying the governor had the power to make decisions on a statewide basis.
LONDON – British doctors have published a working definition of a rare inflammatory syndrome affecting children that may be linked to COVID-19, which they hope will help other physicians identify cases.
In a statement on Friday, the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health said it was releasing a detailed definition of the syndrome, including the symptoms seen in children, diagnostic tests that should be used and potential treatments.
The group stressed that â€œit remains unclear whether COVID-pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome is caused by COVID-19â€ and emphasized that to date, only about 20 children in Britain and a small number across Europe have been identified.
Children remain among the least affected group by COVID-19 and typically suffer only mild symptoms when infected.
Earlier this week, Britainâ€™s Pediatric Intensive Care Society said there was â€œgrowing concernâ€ that either a COVID-19 related syndrome was emerging in children or that a different, unidentified disease might be responsible.
Similar warnings were issued by pediatric groups in Spain and Italy and cases have been noted in Belgium, France and the U.S.
PORTLAND, Maine – The first phase of the reopening of Maineâ€™s economy began Friday on an acrimonious note after a restaurant owner aired his grievances during an appearance on Fox News Channel.
Restaurant owner Rick Savage vowed to defy Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, by reopening, his business, Sunday River Brewing Co. He claimed she wasnâ€™t listening to business owners.
Savage also shared what he said was Mills’ private cellphone number. A call to the number said it was â€œunavailable at this time.â€
â€œSheâ€™s doing this all rogue on her own. Weâ€™ve had enough of it. Weâ€™re encouraging all businesses in Maine to open up. We never shouldâ€™ve been closed in the first place,â€ Savage said on primetime host Tucker Carlsonâ€™s show Thursday.
Mills had no immediate comment. The state remains under a stay-at-home order until May 31, but residents on Friday became entitled to restricted use of golf courses; visits to dentists, barbers and hairdressers; and drive-in religious services. Restaurants wonâ€™t be allowed to open for dining in until June 1.
WASHINGTON – Washington, D.C. health officials announced Friday morning that 335 positive new COVID-19 infections had been identified. That brings the city’s total up to 4,658 with seven new deaths for a total of 231.
Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency on March 11 and issued a stay-home order on March 30 for Washingtonâ€™s approximately 700,000 residents. Bowser, a Democrat, has also announced plans to turn Washington’s convention center into a 1,500-bed field hospital.
ATHENS, Greece – Greeceâ€™s health ministry announced there were no coronavirus-related deaths recorded in the last 24 hours and 21 new confirmed infections.
The total infections in Greece stand at 2,612, although authorities say the true number is likely much higher. The countryâ€™s death toll stands at 140.
Greece imposed lockdown measures early in the outbreak, a move that has been credited with keeping the number of deaths and seriously ill low. The restrictions on movement and businesses will be eased gradually, starting Monday.
NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana restaurants were adding outdoor tables 10 feet apart in a tiny step toward normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restaurants statewide have been allowed to offer only takeout and delivery food since March 21 under an order by Gov. John Bel Edwards. But starting Friday, restaurants are allowed to seat people outside, though without waiter service at the tables.
New Orleans is not participating in the governorâ€™s tweaks to business restrictions, which also include letting mall retailers offer curbside service.
ZAGREB, Croatia – A prominent workersâ€™ union in Croatia held an online Labor Day protest as the lockdown against the coronavirus prevented traditional gatherings and demonstrations.
The Association of Independent Unions of Croatia gathered 100 participants via video conference for an hour and thousands more followed on social networks. The participants in the â€œRights before Thank You for the Workersâ€ event discussed worker problems and what will come after the outbreak.
The unions have sent requests to the government, including lower taxes for workers, a more just pension system, accessible education and better work conditions.
Head of the association, Mladen Novosel, expressed hope that â€œinvestment in local production and industry will become a ruleâ€ and the pandemic â€œbecome an opportunity to build a better society.â€
Croatia has one of the weakest economies in the European Union.
SOFIA, Bulgaria – Bulgaria is relaxing parts of a nationwide lockdown imposed seven weeks ago to limit the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
Bulgariaâ€™s health minister lifted a previous ban on visiting city parks, mountains and nature parks across the country. Visitors cannot use public transport, like buses or lifts, and visits to tourist sites remain banned.
The announcement about the easing of the ban on outdoor activities followed a decision on lifting the requirement for compulsory wearing of face masks in open public spaces.
The new regulation says people should wear masks when in contact with others. Face masks remain mandatory for indoor public spaces, like shops and on the public transportation.
The Balkan country of 7 million has recorded 1,541 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 66 deaths.
PRAGUE – About a hundred of people who commute from the Czech Republic to Germany and Austria to work have protested the governmentâ€™s restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After limiting crossborder travelling for weeks, the government allowed them to commute abroad daily again on Monday.
Originally, the commuters were ordered to get tested for the coronavirus twice a month. After their initial protests, the government changed that on Thursday to one test a month.
The protesters who gathered at a Czech-German Folmava border crossing Friday say they still considered it discriminatory, especially since they must pay for the tests.
It was a rare protest in the country on May Day when traditional rallies and gatherings were canceled amid the pandemic.
HELSINKI – For May Day, Finland replaced parades and speeches with virtual reality.
Helsinki encouraged residents to attend a virtual concert on Thursday by a popular local rap duo JVG.
Citizens turned their smartphones, tablets or computers to see the band that reportedly was Finlandâ€™s most streamed. No VR headsets were needed and people could choose an avatar of their liking to see themselves dancing in virtual reality among the participants at the gig.
â€œEven though we wonâ€™t be physically together, we can still enjoy May Day as a community, together in spirit,â€ Helsinki mayor Jan Vapaavuori says of the 650,000 residents.
The concert was part of the Virtual Helsinki initiative that recreates experiences of the cityâ€™s most famous landmarks through virtual reality.
Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak