LONDON – Swimming pools and gyms in England are reopening for the first time since the U.K. went into lockdown as public health officials extol the benefits of exercise in fighting COVID-19.
The government has announced a fresh attack on obesity as part of the move, hoping that a fitter nation might be able to minimize the impact of future waves of the virus.
But Jane Nickerson, chief executive of Swim England, says that there had been financial pressure on pools even before the pandemic and that without government support many wonâ€™t open this year – or ever.
She told the BBC that funding pools actually saves money because of the impact they have on social cohesion, crime prevention, education attainment and health benefits. Learning to swim is also a life skill.
â€œOne of our biggest, biggest fears is that there will be a lost generation of children this year who donâ€™t learn to swim,â€ she said.
HEREâ€™S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
– South Korea reports case spike, US states tighten controls
– Extra unemployment aid expires as virus threatens new states
– US sued over expulsion of migrant children detained in hotel
– At a convent near Detroit, 13 nuns have died of COVID-19. The toll is seven at a center for Maryknoll sisters in New York, and six at a Wisconsin convent that serves nuns with fading memories.
– Englandâ€™s new rules on masks-wearing took effect Friday, with face-coverings required to enter banks, stores and food shops. Refusing to follow the rule can result in hefty fines. Romania has reported a record for daily infections as few people wear masks; France is requiring tests for travelers from the United States and 15 other countries.
– Recovering from even mild coronavirus infections can take at least two to three weeks. Thatâ€™s according to new U.S. research published Friday. It found that even among young adults, 1 in 5 had lingering symptoms. Cough, fatigue and body aches were among the most common persistent symptoms.
Follow APâ€™s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HEREâ€™S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
MULTAN, Pakistan – A Pakistani health official says 14 Chinese engineers and experts have tested positive for the coronavirus while working on a power project in central Pakistan.
Rana Yousaf, a medical doctor at the state-run Behawalpur hospital, said Saturday that the Chinese were brought to the hospital a day earlier amid tight security and that all of them were listed in stable condition.
It is the first time that authorities have confirmed infections among Chinese working in the country.
Currently, an unspecified number of Chinese are working in various parts of Pakistan on CPEC-related projects.
The development came hours after Pakistan reported 24 new deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the countryâ€™s lowest number of daily fatalities from the virus in more than a month.
Pakistan has recorded 271,887 cases and 5,787 fatalities.
PARIS – Franceâ€™s coronavirus infection rate is continuing its worrisome upward creep, with health authorities saying the closely watched â€œRâ€ gauge is now up to 1.3, suggesting that infected people are on average contaminating 1.3 others.
Also increasing is the daily number of new cases, up to 1,130 on Friday. In their daily statement on the French outbreak that has claimed 30,192 lives, health authorities warned that the country is going backward in its battle and that infection indicators now again resemble those seen in May when France was coming out of its strict two-month lockdown.
â€œWe have thus erased much of the progress that weâ€™d achieved in the first weeks of lockdown-easing,â€ health authorities said.
They appealed for a return to â€œcollective discipline,â€ asking that people work from home and get tested if they have any suspicions of infection.
JOHANNESBURG – Africaâ€™s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has surpassed 800,000.
Thatâ€™s according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
South Africa has well over half the reported cases on the 54-nation continent, but infections are now climbing rapidly in other countries including Kenya, East Africaâ€™s economic hub, with more than 16,000.
Africa was a major concern even before the first case was reported on the continent on Feb. 14, as the World Health Organizationâ€™s declaration of a global health emergency in January cited the threat to fragile health care systems.
Africaâ€™s are the least-equipped in the world, and health experts have warned the virus could â€œsmoulderâ€ in parts of the continent for a long time. Africa now has 810,008 confirmed cases.
NEW DELHI – India began its first human trials of a novel coronavirus vaccine candidate as the worldâ€™s second-most populous country recorded nearly 49,000 new cases.
The additional infections take Indiaâ€™s total to more than 1.3 million on Saturday, with surges seen in a quarter of the countryâ€™s 36 states and union territories.
India has tallied 31,358 deaths, including 757 in the last 24 hours. It has reported a much lower death rate than the worldâ€™s two other worst-hit countries, the United States and Brazil. Johns Hopkins University showed that the U.S. has more than 4.1 million cases, while Brazil has a caseload of nearly 2.3 million.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a premier teaching hospital in the capital of New Delhi, says it has administered the first dose of a trial COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.
The candidate vaccine, Covaxin, is among nearly two dozen that are in human trials around the world. AIIMS is among the 12 sites selected by the Indian Council for Medical Research for conducting the two-phase randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials of Covaxin.
Countries are making giant bets on various vaccine candidates, entering into purchasing agreements with pharmaceutical companies for delivery if and when regulators deem the doses safe and effective.
HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnam has reported the first local case of COVID-19 in over three months.
The 57-year-old man from central Da Nang city was hospitalized on Thursday with a fever and respiratory distress. The Health Ministry says his condition worsened and he was put on a ventilator.
Health workers have not been able to trace the source for his infection. For over a month, he did not travel outside his hometown, where no case of COVID-19 has been reported since April.
Da Nang city authorities have isolated the hospital he had visited and those who had been in contact with the man in the past weeks. His family members and over 100 others have initially tested negative for the coronavirus.
The news of a local infection after most activities had resumed in mid-May caused many to cancel or prematurely end their holidays in Da Nang, one of Vietnamâ€™s most popular beach destinations.
Vietnam has reported 416 confirmed cases and no deaths.
MELBOURNE, Australia – Five more Victoria residents died from COVID-19 as the Australian state recorded 357 new cases in the past 24 hours.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews refused to rule out further restrictions but said Saturday the mandatory wearing of masks was the current strategy to stop the spread.
Andrews says, â€œIf they are worn by everybody, we may not need to go further. We canâ€™t rule out going further with rule changes, but itâ€™s a big game changer.â€
There are now nearly 4,000 active cases in the state and of those, 313 are health care workers.
The deaths take Victoria state toll to 61 and the national figure to 145. Victoria recorded 300 new cases on Friday, down from 403 on Thursday.
SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea has reported 113 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours – its first daily jump above 100 in nearly four months.
But the rise was expected as health authorities had forecast a temporary spike driven by imported infections found among cargo-ship crews and hundreds of South Korean construction workers flown out of virus-ravaged Iraq.
The figures released Saturday by South Koreaâ€™s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought the national caseload to 14,092, including 298 deaths.
The agency says 86 of the new cases are linked to international arrivals, while the other 27 involved local transmissions. It says the imported cases include 36 South Korean workers who returned from Iraq and 32 crew members of a Russia-flagged cargo ship docked in the southern port of Busan.
NEW ORLEANS – New Orleansâ€™ mayor is shutting down the cityâ€™s bars because of rising coronavirus numbers and is also forbidding restaurants to sell alcoholic drinks to go.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Friday that some lines of people waiting to buy drinks were so long they became â€œa gathering in themselves, and no mask-wearing and the like.â€
Cantrell says the city is seeing daily increases in confirmed coronavirus cases about double its threshold of 50 a day for more relaxed rules. The rule against take-out sales of alcoholic drinks takes effect at 6 a.m. Saturday.
The mayorâ€™s orders came as the Louisiana Department of Health reported more than 2,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases, for a total of 103,734. New Orleansâ€™ total rose 103, to 9,752.
JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippiâ€™s governor is setting new restrictions on bars and social gatherings to curb the spread of the coronavirus among a group that he describes as â€œyoung, drunk, careless folks.â€
Gov. Tate Reeves said Friday that coronavirus infections have been rising steadily in people in their 20s who are not being responsible under the current regulations.
Bars and restaurants in the state have been able to open if they use only 50% of their capacity. Under the new rules, they also must require that customers be seated to order alcohol and alcohol sales will end at 11 p.m.
The governor says that â€œour bars must look more like restaurants and less like mobs of COVID-19 spread.â€
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has canceled its 2020-21 indoor season due to the coronavirus outbreak and â€œunforeseen economic pressures.â€
Orchestra management and the Orchestra Committee that represents musicians released a joint statement announcing the cancellation.
It says management and musicians are is â€œcommitted to collaboratively exploring creative ways to continue to connect with our patrons and return to performing if conditions allow.â€
The statement didnâ€™t elaborate on the â€unforeseen economic pressures.â€
CAIRO – A humanitarian group says 97 medical workers in Yemen have died of the coronavirus, the first reliable estimate to give a glimpse into the pandemicâ€™s impact on the devastated health sector in the war-torn country.
The report by MedGlobal elies on accounts from Yemeni doctors tracking the deaths of colleagues to gauge the toll of the virus. The 97 dead include infectious disease experts, medical directors, midwives and pharmacists.
Even before the pandemic Yemen had just 10 doctors for every 10,000 people. The countryâ€™s health system is in shambles after five years of war that has spawned the worldâ€™s worst humanitarian crisis. Half of its medical facilities are dysfunctional.
Yemenâ€™s internationally recognized government has reported 1,674 confirmed coronavirus infections and 469 deaths.
HONOLULU — The first hurricane to threaten the United States since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is presenting new challenges for Hawaii, even though officials there are long accustomed to tropical storms.
Meteorologists say Hurricane Douglas should weaken by the time it hits Hawaii with strong winds, heavy rainfall and dangerous surf beginning Sunday.
But Honolulu authorities are having to prepare extra shelter space so people can maintain physical distance from others.
Evacuees at Honolulu shelters also will have their temperatures taken. Those with high temperatures or with a travel or exposure history will either be isolated at that shelter or taken to a different site.
Officials are reminding people to make sure they have masks and hand sanitizers in their emergency supply kits.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Health officials in Oregon say nine more people have died from COVID-19 – the highest number of deaths reported in one day in the state since the pandemic began.
The Oregon Health Authority said Friday the newly recorded deaths raise the stateâ€™s toll for the pandemic to 282.
The authority also said there were 396 new confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, bringing Oregon’s case total to more than 16,100.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brownâ€™s expanded face-covering mandate for anyone 5 years or older went into effect Friday.
LOS ANGELES – California prosecutors have charged two brothers in an alleged assault of Target security guards during a brawl in May after they refused to wear face masks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Los Angeles city attorney said Friday that Phillip and Paul Hamilton refused to wear masks at the Target store in Van Nuys and started a melee as they were being escorted out. One of the security guards suffered a broken arm.
It was not immediately clear if the brothers had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.
Los Angeles has required face coverings since April 10.