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:
– Mnuchin says U.S. jobless numbers probably going to get worse.
– Presidential adviser says itâ€™s â€œscary to go to workâ€ in White House after two staffers test positive.
– Germany to allow cross-border entry so children can visit on Mother’s Day.
WASHINGTON – Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the jobless numbers in the United States â€œare probably going to get worse before they get better,â€ but the bigger risk to the country is keeping businesses’ closed rather than states allowing some to reopen.
Mnuchin spoke as most states begin to loosen their restrictions on businesses after extended shutdowns designed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. He says that if re-openings are not allowed it would have permanent economic damage to the American public.
Another 3.2 million U.S. workers applied for jobless benefits last week, bringing the total over the last seven weeks to 33.5 million.
Mnuchin says that increased testing and the prospect of better treatments will give businesses and workers the confidence to reopen in a careful way. He says, â€you are going to have a very, very bad second quarter. And then I think youâ€™re going to see a bounce-back from a low standpoint.â€
Mnuchin spoke on Fox News Sunday.
WASHINGTON – Presidential adviser Kevin Hassett says itâ€™s â€œscary to go to workâ€ in the White House after two employees tested positive for the new coronavirus in the past week.
Hassett says the West Wing of the White House, â€œis a small, crowded place. Itâ€™s, you know, a little bit risky.â€ The West Wing is where the Oval Office and other work space is located in the executive mansion.
Hassett says he wears a mask when necessary and practices â€œaggressive social distancing.â€
He says any fears are tempered by frequent testing, access to an excellent medical team and his belief that this is a time â€œwhen people have to step up and serve their country.â€
Hassett is an adviser to President Donald Trump and the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. He appeared on CBSâ€™ â€œFace the Nation.â€
BERLIN – Germanyâ€™s interior minister is making an exception for cross-border entry to allow children who live outside Germany to enter the country for a Mother’s Day visit.
The countryâ€™s pandemic restrictions currently forbid entry into the country except for â€œcompelling reasonsâ€ such as work. This would have prevented families that live across the border from visiting Sunday on Mother’s Day.
But Interior Minister Horst Seehofer approved a decision by border police to include filial visits on Mother’s Day to the list. Like cross-border commuters, they will also be exempt from the rule that requires people entering Germany to quarantine for two weeks.
BERLIN – The number of workers who tested positive for COVID-19 at a slaughterhouse in western Germany has risen to 205.
Authorities in Coesfeld county near the Dutch border say they have so far received results for half of the 950 staff at the slaughterhouse. Most of the workers are migrants from Eastern Europe and living in shared accommodation.
The outbreak in Coesfeld, at a sister plant in a neighboring county and a separate slaughterhouse in norther Germany, have contributed to a spike in new cases in Germany.
The countryâ€™s public health agency said 1,251 new infections had been recorded over the past 24 hours. It said the so-called reproduction rate that reflects the number of people each person with COVID-19 infects has risen to 1.1 from 0.65 on Wednesday.
ROME – Italians are eagerly waiting to travel from one region to another during the warm spring weather but the country continues to work on containing the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Giuseppe Conte says itâ€™s too soon to set a date for unrestricted travel.
Tourism is a major industry in Italy and hotel owners, tour guides, beach establishments and others who depend heavily on the summer holiday season are pressing to know when citizens can travel across the country.
Under lockdown rules, foreigners canâ€™t travel into Italy for vacation. Visitors can only enter for work for a few days, so domestic travel is crucial for the industryâ€™s revenues.
In an interview published Sunday in Corriere della Sera, Conte promised that the restriction on inter-regional movement would be lifted.
â€œThis summer, we wonâ€™t be staying on our balconies, and Italyâ€™s beauty wonâ€™t stay in quarantine,â€ Conte said. â€œWeâ€™ll be able to go to the sea, in the mountains, enjoy our cities, and it would be lovely that the Italians spend their holidays in Italy.â€
But he said authorities need to better determine how the virus outbreak evolves in an epidemiological sense before exact dates and other details can be given.
MADRID â€“ Roughly half of Spainâ€™s 47 million inhabitants will be able to enjoy their first drink or meal at an outdoor terrace on Monday, but residents of Madrid and Barcelona have to wait.
The two major cities have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Spainâ€™s government is allowing other areas to further loosen restrictions that have been in place for nearly two months.
Bar and restaurant owners in cities like Seville and Bilbao will be able to open 50% of their outdoor seating for customers, while residents there will be allowed meet in groups of up to 10 people, and go to church, theaters and museums in limited numbers. Small shops will be able to open without the requirement for an appointment.
Officials are under pressure to revive a flagging economy amid rocketing unemployment.
Spainâ€™s health minister reported 143 new confirmed fatalities from the virus on Sunday, the lowest daily increase since March 19. The total death toll for Spain is 26,621 since the start of the outbreak. More than 136,000 have recovered.
SEOUL, South Korea â€“ The mayor of a city near Seoul has ordered the temporary closing of clubs, discos and other nightlife establishments amid concerns of a second wave of coronavirus cases in the country.
Mayor Park Namchoon of Incheon city to the west of Seoul says the closing of nightlife facilities will last for two weeks and that anyone violating the order can be punished by up to two years in prison or a 20 million won ($16,380) fine.
Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province have already taken similar steps after new cases associated to nightclubs in Seoulâ€™s Itaewon entertainment district were detected in recent days.
South Korea reported 34 new virus cases on Sunday, the first day that its daily tally was over 30 in about a month. Officials said that 24 out the 34 cases were linked to Itaewon nightclubs.
ISTANBUL â€“ Turkeyâ€™s senior citizens have been allowed to leave their homes for the first time in seven weeks under relaxed coronavirus restrictions.
Those aged 65 and over, deemed most at risk from the virus, had been subjected to a curfew since March 21, but they were permitted outside Sunday for four hours as part of a rolling program of reduced controls. Under-20s will be allowed outside for a similar period later in the week.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted his thanks to the elderly for their â€œgreat supportâ€ in fighting the outbreak by staying at home, and he reminded them to wear masks outside.
The government announced a â€œnormalization planâ€ as the number of new cases dropped last week, but warned of tougher measures if infections go up again.
Entry and exit restrictions have been lifted for seven provinces where the outbreak is under control. They remain in place for 24 other provinces, including Istanbul and Ankara.
Shopping malls, barbers, hairdressers and beauty salons can open under strict conditions on Monday, while domestic and some international flights will resume at the end of May.
Turkey has recorded 137,115 cases of the virus and 3,739 deaths attributed to COVID-19, according to a tally by John Hopkins University. The true number is likely much higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with displaying symptoms.
VATICAN CITY â€“ Pope Francis is calling on leaders of European Union countries to work together to deal with the social and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pope noted in his Sunday blessing that 75 years have passed since Europe began the challenging process of reconciliation after World War II. He said the process spurred both European integration and â€œthe long period of stability and peace which we benefit from today.â€
He prayed that the same spirit that inspired European integration efforts â€œnot fail to inspire all those who have responsibility in the European Unionâ€ to deal with the coronavirus emergency in a â€œspirit of harmony and collaboration.â€
Throughout his papacy, the pope has urged European countries to resist nationalism and instead pull together on issues like migration.
During the pandemic, hard-hit countries like Italy and Spain have that insisted EU leaders demonstrate solidarity.
JAKARTA, Indonesia â€“ Indonesiaâ€™s daily tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases has been fluctuating as testing capability has improved.
Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto has declared 387 new cases, taking the countryâ€™s total to 14,032.
Yurianto said in his daily video conference on Sunday that there have been 973 deaths attributed to COVID-19 and that 2,698 patients have recovered.
Indonesia recorded 533 new cases on Saturday for its highest daily tally, likely due to a significant increase in testing.
However, testing remains a major problem in the archipelago nation, which is home to about 270 million people. Indonesia has so far conducted fewer than 120,000 tests â€“ less than 500 per million people.
BEIRUT â€“ Lebanonâ€™s churches have welcomed worshippers for the first time in nearly two months.
Most churches were closed to the public to limit the spread of coronavirus, but Lebanese authorities have started easing restrictions that were imposed in March.
Churches and mosques are now permitted to welcome worshippers for congregational prayers on Sundays and Fridays as long as capacities are limited and other safety guidelines including social distancing measures are respected.
Many worshippers entering churches around Lebanon on Sunday were sprayed with disinfectant and had their temperatures checked before they were allowed in to sit at a distance from others.
Masses including the Easter prayers were held in empty churches for the first time in Lebanonâ€™s recent history last month. Even during the countryâ€™s civil war from 1975-90 did not stop its people from going to places of worship.
Lebanon has the largest percentage of Christians in the Middle East, about a third of the countryâ€™s five million people. The country has registered 809 cases of the coronavirus with 26 deaths attributed to COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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