By The Associated Press
Latest news on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially the elderly and people with existing health problems, this can lead to more serious illness or death.
– The small nation of Lesotho has a virus, the last of 54 African countries.
– Spain reports a slight increase in daily viral infections.
– Wuhan to test all residents after a handful of new infections.
PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron wants Bastille Day to show the nation’s gratitude to health workers and other people who are helping to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Government spokesman Sibeth Ndiaye said the tribute was announced at a cabinet meeting at the Elysee on Wednesday. Details of the July 14 celebrations will be released later depending on the progress of the epidemic.
French National Day is traditionally marked by a military parade on the avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris.
Ndiaye said that a medal of honor will be awarded to those who have dedicated themselves to fighting the disease.
France has reported at least 140,227 infections and 26,991 deaths.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico officials announced the closure of more than 30 public school cafeterias and several food warehouses after dozens of workers tested positive for the coronavirus.
Education secretary Eligio Hernandez said the temporary closings come after 50 workers tested positive and 278 others were quarantined. The closings have affected places like Caguas and Mayaguez, two of the largest cities in the United States, where nearly 70% of public school children are poor.
Several mothers and non-profit organizations have sued the island’s education ministry, accusing it of shirking its responsibility to feed nearly 300,000 schoolchildren on the island. A judge was scheduled to rule on the case on Friday.
Education officials initially refused to open the department’s 854 school cafeterias during the foreclosure that began in mid-March, citing health concerns, noting that 64% of the workers were elderly. Instead, they dumped food to nonprofits and a food bank, but it quickly ran out.
Two weeks ago, the authorities abruptly changed positions and have since reopened more than 100 school cafeterias for a meal.
MEXICO – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the country is headed for “the new normal” after 51 days of foreclosure.
Economy Secretary Graciela Marquez said the reopening would be “gradual, orderly and prudent.” On Monday, industries such as construction, mining, and the manufacturing of cars and trucks could resume.
Mexico’s main advisory body on the coronavirus pandemic, the General Health Council, said it had decided to classify these industries as “essential activities.”
Mexico has been pressured by US officials to reopen auto plants because without an integrated supply chain, it would be difficult for US and Canadian factories to reopen.
WARSAW, Poland – Poland is extending its anti-coronavirus controls to its land, sea and airport borders until June 12.
On Monday, he will open hairdressers and restaurants, using social distancing and masks.
Secondary school and vocational school students can have individual lessons.
Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski said the virus’s reproduction rate had dropped below 1 and that the pandemic’s parameters were at a “safe level”.
JOHANNESBURG – The United States claims that Tanzania has not released data on COVID-19 for two weeks, as concerns about the actual number of cases there increase.
The World Health Organization is also openly concerned about Tanzania, whose president questioned his own government’s virus tests and refused to close churches, believing that the virus could not survive in the body of Christ.
A new statement from the US Embassy warns that the risk of being infected in Tanzania’s commercial hub, Dar es Salaam, is “extremely high” and indicates that many of the city’s hospitals have been overtaken.
He says that “all the evidence points to exponential growth” in the cases of the East African nation. The country has more than 500 confirmed cases and 21 deaths, according to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
LISBON, Portugal – Portuguese health officials have released plans to resume preschool next week.
Kindergartens must reduce the number of children they normally have in a room and keep them away.
Staff members will be dedicated to a single group, and groups should be kept in separate rooms.
Parents’ groups have expressed concern that young children cannot be kept at school socially. Experts say there is a need to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.
Classes for students aged 16 to 18 are also expected to resume next week.
Portugal officially registered just over 28,000 cases and 1,175 deaths from the coronavirus.
ANKARA, Turkey – A lawyer in Turkey has filed a lawsuit against China on behalf of a private company, seeking redress for financial losses due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Lawyer Melih Akkurt said he had filed a complaint with the Ankara Magistrates Court on behalf of a company that was forced to suspend operations during the closings. He says this is the first commercial trial in Turkey against China, where the coronavirus pandemic began.
The lawyer did not name the company. The trial holds China responsible for economic losses, accusing it of not providing the World Health Organization with accurate and up-to-date data, of concealing information about the infectivity of the virus, of silencing doctors and do not prevent its spread.
China dismisses accusations of concealment or non-response to the epidemic in a timely manner.
VIENNA – Austria has accepted a plan to open its border with Germany and expects something similar soon with Switzerland and Liechtenstein, but Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says it is too early to talk about such measures with Italy.
Italy is one of the European countries most affected by the coronavirus with more than 220,000 infections and 30,000 deaths.
Austria has already announced an agreement with Germany to open its border from June 15. Kurz says that work is underway on a similar solution with his other western European neighbors, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Austria has registered some 16,000 coronavirus infections and more than 600 deaths.
Lesotho – The small mountainous kingdom of southern Africa, Lesotho, has confirmed its first positive case of COVID-19, making it the last of 54 African countries to report the disease.
Lesotho’s health ministry said that a person who had recently arrived in the country had tested positive without showing any signs of illness. The patient is isolated.
Lesotho, a country of 2 million people, is surrounded by South Africa, which has the highest number of confirmed cases in Africa with 11,350 people.
The coronavirus has been slow to spread in Africa, but cases are increasing. More than 69,500 cases have been confirmed and more than 2,400 deaths, according to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
TOKYO – Japan plans to partially lift the state of emergency for the coronavirus, which is in effect nationwide until May 31.
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is expected to make an announcement on Thursday. He declared a month-long emergency on April 7 in Tokyo and six other prefectures and then extended it nationwide.
Japanese media reports that lifting is expected in more than 30 prefectures where new cases of COVID-19 have decreased. Restrictions will remain in place in Tokyo and its surrounding areas, as well as in Osaka, where medical systems are still under pressure.
Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said homework should continue and residents should avoid displacement after the state of emergency is lifted.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said it was too early for people to drop their guards, even though the number of new cases in the capital has declined. She says it is not known when the second wave of infections will occur and whether the current wave of infections has abated.
At the same time, the Japanese Ministry of Health approved a new type of coronavirus test. Antigen test kits developed by Fujirebio can detect viral proteins in samples slipped into the nose of a suspect patient, with results in 30 minutes. Ministry officials and experts say it is faster than the PCR test, which takes several hours.
Japan has nearly 16,000 confirmed cases and more than 680 deaths.
WARSAW, Poland – US and Polish defense officials say that part of Exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20 in Poland will move from May to June 5-19 to provide security for troops during the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement from the US Army Command in Europe and the Polish Defense Ministry says the decision to relocate Exercise Allied Spirit was made “after careful assessment and planning.” Drawsko Pomorskie’s test range exercise has been changed from its original design.
The deployment exercise will involve some 4,000 American and 2,000 Polish soldiers in an airborne operation and a division-sized river crossing.
Some 5,000 American soldiers are stationed in Poland to enhance security during periods of increased military activity from neighboring Russia.
FATIMA, Portugal – The Catholic Shrine of Fatima in Portugal held its annual celebrations without worshipers for the first time in more than 100 years of history.
Hundreds of thousands of people traditionally hold candles as they attend masses in the huge small town shrine on the night of May 12 and the morning of May 13. The ceremonies mark the day when three illiterate shepherd children reported seeing visions of the Virgin for the first time.
Like the Lourdes sanctuary in France, Fatima annually attracts about six million pilgrims from around the world to thank Our Lady of Fatima or to pray for help.
Authorities this year asked people not to go to Fatima due to the coronavirus epidemic. The police closed the roads leading to the sanctuary.
The ceremonies were broadcast live and streamed. The dean of the sanctuary asked people to place a burning candle in a window of their house and “make a pilgrimage of the heart.”
ANKARA, Turkey – The parks have been filled with the sounds of children, as Turkey has allowed children aged 14 and under to leave their homes for the first time in 40 days.
On Wednesday, the country’s youngest population was allowed out for four hours between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. as Turkey relaxed restrictions to fight the coronavirus epidemic. Young people aged 15 to 20 will be able to leave the home for a few hours on Friday, while senior citizens were briefly allowed out for the first time in seven weeks on May 10.
In Ankara’s main park, Kugulu Park (or Swan Park), young children wearing masks took turns sliding slides while some older children took selfies.
The government has announced a “normalization plan” as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus has declined, but has warned against tougher measures in the event of a further increase in infections.
Turkey has registered more than 140,000 cases of the virus and nearly 4,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, according to a count by John Hopkins University. The actual number is likely to be much higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest that people can be infected with symptoms.
MADRID – Spain reports a slight increase in new daily deaths and coronavirus infections, with authorities closely monitoring the curves to see if the loosening of containment rules leads to a significant rebound.
The number of deaths recorded in Spain surpassed the 27,000 mark on Wednesday with 184 new deaths in the past 24 hours, eight more than the increase on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, about 400 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed by the most reliable laboratory tests, bringing the total to 228,600 in the country. At least 42,000 additional infections have emerged from tests to monitor antibodies that appear after the infection.
Over 140,000 have overcome COVID-19 disease.
BERLIN – The German government recommends removing the requirement for people arriving from other European countries to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Last month, Germany imposed on all people arriving in the country to go directly home and stay there for two weeks, except those who made very short trips, went to work, transported goods or performed other essential functions.
A court in northern Lower Saxony suspended the rule for the region this week.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Wednesday that he recommended that state governments, which are responsible for quarantines, remove the requirement for travelers from other European countries but retain it for arrivals other countries such as the United States and Russia.
The comment came as Seehofer said Germany would start easing border controls with some neighbors this weekend – although he said controls would be tightened if infections rose sharply in neighboring countries.
BERLIN – Germany’s foreign minister has said his country will be able to lift a general warning against traveling abroad to European destinations before other places, but does not say when.
Germany’s warning against all non-essential tourist travel abroad is currently scheduled until at least June 14.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday “it will certainly be possible to raise the travel alert earlier for Europe than for other destinations – as long as the current positive trend in many countries solidifies “
Maas said in a statement that “freedom to travel is one of the cornerstones of the European project, but at the time of the crown, Europe must guarantee more: the freedom to travel safely.”
He said the European Union guidelines presented on Wednesday are an important basis for talks with other European countries. Maas plans to invite several of his colleagues in the coming days to participate in a “neighborhood dialogue” on how to lift the restrictions safely.
He said that Europe must coordinate at best, even if the situation differs from country to country – “we should not all do the same speed, but neither should we do it as a race , and we have to do it in such a way that we don’t trample on our feet. “