BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana officials said Sunday they have suspended an emergency rent assistance program to help those hurt by the COVID-19 economic slowdown because they were quickly overwhelmed with applicants.
They said more than 40,000 people had begun the application process in less than four days. The Lousiana Housing Corportation had estimated it had enough money to help about 10,000 tenants, with money paid directly to landlords.
The Corporation had set aside $24 million of federal money for the program and says it will try to find more money after the flood of applications.
When the program was announced Thursday, housing advocates said it was a good start, but was far too little money, especially with the $600-per-week federal unemployment payments expiring at the end of the month.
â€œThe response to our stateâ€™s emergency rental assistance program proves how significant the economic burden of COVID-19 is for our citizens,â€ Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement.
HEREâ€™S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
– As virus surges in some US states, emergency rooms are swamped
– Virus deaths top 600,000 and Hong Kong warns of resurgence
-How the coronavirus spread through an immigration facility
– Major companies are keeping employees in the dark on how prevalent the coronairus is in warehouses, stores and plants. That’s led workers to sleuth out what’s happening in their workplaces.
– Franceâ€™s most worrisome virus hot spo t is on the northern coast of South America: French Guiana, a territory of about 300,000 people where poverty is rampant and health care is scarce.
– The Blue Jays wonâ€™t play their home games in Toronto this year because Canadaâ€™s government doesnâ€™t think itâ€™s safe for players to travel back and forth from the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Follow all of APâ€™s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HEREâ€™S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
HILLSDALE, Mich – A small conservative college in southern Michigan has defied warnings from state public health officials during the coronavirus pandemic by hosting an in-person graduation ceremony.
Hillsdale College held graduation Saturday evening, capping days of celebrations, according to The Detroit News.
â€œCOVID obviously was a concern,â€ said David Betz, whose son, Christian, graduated. â€œFor a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to come, it was well worth it.â€
The college of about 1,500 students had expected more than 2,000 people at the event, though school officials declined to discuss actual attendance numbers. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel had called the gathering illegal at a time when with public gatherings are capped at 100 people.
Health officials had said the event, drawing people to restaurants and hotels, put the HIllsdale city community of about 8,000 people at risk.
School officials said graduation is an important milestone and safety precautions were taken, including wearing masks. The liberal arts college has connections to top Republicans. Vice President Mike Pence gave 2018â€²s commencement address.
Michigan has reported more than 73,000 confirmed COVID-19 with more than 6,100 deaths.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina has set another record for newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases in a single day.
Sunday saw 2,335 people newly diagnosed with COVID-19, the South Carolina Deparment of Health and Environmental Control reported.
South Carolina has reported 2,000 new cases three times since the virus was first detected in the state in March. All have been in the past eight days. The state has spent much of the past month in the top four in the nation for new COVID-19 cases when adjusted by population.
Health officials also reported 19 new deaths Sunday, bringing the death toll to 1,138 people.
But one key statistic has been missing from the public over the weekend. Health officials said they are unable to release how many people are hospitalized with COVID-19 because the state is following a federal request to change how it reports hospitalizations.
South Carolina reported a daily record 1,593 people in the hospital with the virus Friday, the last day figures were available.
ROME – The Italian region that includes Rome is warning citizens that local lockdowns might have to be ordered if there are more clusters of coronavirus infections.
Lazio Region Health Commissioner Alessio Dâ€™Amato said 17 new COVID-19 cases were registered on Sunday, 10 of them â€œimportedâ€ from other countries when foreign residents returned to Italy. Many of the Rome areaâ€™s recent cases have been among returning workers from Bangladesh.
â€œI appeal for the use of masks, otherwise, weâ€™ll have to close down againâ€ with restrictive measures on citizensâ€™ activities and movements outside of homes, Dâ€™Amato said.
â€œWe canâ€™t turn back and waste all the efforts done till now,â€ Dâ€™Amato pleaded in a Facebook post.
Lazioâ€™s increases were included in Italyâ€™s 219 new cases, raising to 244,434, the number of confirmed infections since the outbreak began. Italyâ€™s known death toll on Sunday stood at 35,045, with the confirmation of three more deaths.
SAN DIEGO — Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego was the site of the first big outbreak at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcementâ€™s 221 detention centers. In interviews with The Associated Press, workers and detainees reveal shortcomings in how the private company that manages the center handled the disease: There was an early absence of facial coverings, and a lack of cleaning supplies. Symptomatic detainees were mixed with others.
Some workers at the center quit; the Mexican consul general, responding to complaints from detainees, raised concerns about how the facility handled the outbreak.
Other centers would follow with their own outbreaks, and a Homeland Security Department internal watchdog survey of 188 detention centers taken in mid-April echoed some of what The Associated Press found at Otay Mesa: 19% of facility directors said there werenâ€™t enough standard surgical masks, 32% said there werenâ€™t enough N95 respirator masks, and 37% felt there wasnâ€™t enough hand sanitizer for detainees.
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is assuring his closeness to all those grappling with COVID-19 and its â€œeconomic and social consequences.â€
Speaking on Sunday from his studio window overlooking St. Peterâ€™s Square, Francis said that â€œthe pandemic is showing no sign of stopping.â€
He said he was thinking in particular about all those whose suffering in the pandemic is worsened by conflicts.
Citing a recent U.N. Security Council resolution, he renewed his appeal for a worldwide, immediate cease-fire that he said â€œwill permit the peace and security indispensable to supplying the necessary humanitarian assistance.â€
ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey has suspended flights to Iran and Afghanistan because of the coronavirus outbreak, Turkeyâ€™s Transport Ministry said Sunday.
In a brief statement, the ministry said the flights were halted â€œas part of the Covid-19 processâ€.
Turkey previously shut down air travel with its neighbor Iran in February while Afghanistan suspended all flights in March.
NICOSIA, Cyprus – Cyprusâ€™ health minister says thereâ€™s concern that coronavirus-infected migrants could be seeping through the ethnically divided island nationâ€™s porous cease-fire line.
Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Sunday pointed to â€œa problemâ€ after a number of migrants who recently crossed from the breakaway north to seek asylum in the internationally recognized south have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Ioannou said the government had ordered two months ago that all migrants undergo testing for the virus before they enter reception centers for processing.
Reportedly at least eight Syrian migrants who crossed southward in the last week tested positive for the virus.
HONG KONG – Hong Kong is tightening anti-coronavirus measures following a recent surge in cases. The wearing of masks will be mandatory in all public places and nonessential civil servants will again work from home.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam introduced the measures on Sunday, saying the situation in the Asian financial hub is â€œreally criticalâ€ and that she sees â€œno signâ€ that itâ€™s under control.
Travelers flying to Hong Kong from areas where the risk of infection is considered particularly severe will have to show a negative coronavirus test before boarding their flight, undergo another test upon arrival and undergo a 14-day quarantine in a hotel. Previously, those arriving could quarantine themselves at home. The nations included in the new regulation were given as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa.
Hong Kong had appeared to have largely contained the coronavirus, but new cases reported last week have brought the cityâ€™s total to 1,777, including 12 deaths.
China, which runs Hong Kong as a semi-autonomous region, has ordered all arrivals from Hong Kong to be quarantined for two weeks, sharply reducing the volume of cross-border traffic.
NEW DELHI – A record 24-hour surge of 38,902 new cases has taken Indiaâ€™s coronavirus total to 1,077,618.
The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported 543 additional deaths for a total of 26,816.
The number of people who have recovered continues to grow. The Health Ministry data shows 677,422 patients have been cured so far across the country, putting the recovery rate at 62.82%.
Experts say India is likely to witness a series of peaks as the infection spread in rural areas.
ISLAMABAD – Pakistani authorities reported 1,579 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest number in more than a month, as health officials plan to resume a much-awaited nationwide anti-polio campaign next week.
Authorities conducted 22,559 tests in the past 24 hours. The additional cases bring to 263,500 the total number of confirmed infections, out of which 53,652 are active. Pakistan has reported 5,568 deaths.
The improvement in infections coincides with Mondayâ€™s three-day anti-polio drive that aims to reach 800,000 children.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three countries where polio – a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the polio virus – is still endemic.
Johns Hopkins University says the global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 600,000.
The universityâ€™s tally as of Saturday night says the United States tops the list with 140,103 deaths. It is followed by 78,772 fatalities in Brazil and 45,358 in the United Kingdom.
The number of confirmed infections worldwide has passed 14.2 million, out of which 3.7 million are in the United States. There are over 2 million in Brazil and more than 1 million in India.
The World Health Organization again reported a single-day record of new infections with 259,848.
SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea has reported less than 40 additional cases of the coronavirus for a second straight day, as authorities struggle to suppress an uptick in local infections.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday it has reported 34 additional cases, raising the countryâ€™s total to 13,745 with 295 deaths.
The agency says 21 of the newly confirmed cases were domestically infected patients, all of them found in the densely populated Seoul area or two central cities. It says the rest 13 cases were from overseas.
Health authorities have said imported case of COVID-19 are less threatening than local transmissions because South Korea is mandating testing and enforcing two-week quarantines on all people arriving from abroad.
South Korea on Saturday recorded 39 new cases.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico continues to register near-record levels of confirmed coronavirus infections, frustrating plans to reopen the economy.
The Health Department reported 7,615 more cases Saturday and 578 more deaths. That brings Mexico to a total of 38,888 confirmed COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began and 338, 913 cases. Those numbers are widely considered significant undercounts because Mexico has done so little testing. Government labs have administered slightly more than 800,000 tests so far, or about one out of every 150 people in the country with a population of nearly 130 million.
Mexico had hoped to begin a gradual reopening starting in June, but several states have had to reverse course, closing beaches and hotels again.
BEIJING – China on Sunday said another 13 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in the northwestern city of Urumqi, raising the total in the countryâ€™s most recent local outbreak to at least 30.
An additional three cases were brought into the country from overseas, increasing Chinaâ€™s total number of confirmed cases to 83,660 with 4,634 reported deaths.
Despite the Urumqi outbreak, China has just 251 people remaining in treatment for COVID-19, according to the National Health Commission.
Another 151 people were being monitored in isolation for showing signs of having the virus or for testing positive without showing symptoms. At least 23 of those asymptomatic cases were in Urumqi, although China does not include those in the numbers of confirmed cases.
Urumqi has responded by reducing subway, bus and taxi service, closed off some residential communities and is now conducting tests on people city-wide, beginning with those in communities where cases had been reported, according to state media. Some restrictions on people leaving the city have also been imposed, with the number of flights from the city reduced.
The Urumqi outbreak is the latest to pop up since China largely contained the domestic spread of the virus in March. The largest was a recent outbreak in Beijing that infected more than 330 people, but local authorities on Saturday said commercial operations in the city have largely recovered. The Chinese capital has gone 13 days without a domestically transmitted case.