The Latest: Brazil president still tests positive for virus
BRASILIA, Brazil -- Brazil’s government says President Jair Bolsonaro is still testing positive for the coronavirus following his July 7 announcement.
The positive test Tuesday came after a follow-up check on July 15. The government says he remains in good health.
The World Health Organization says the median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately two weeks.
The government say Bolsonaro will keep holding videoconferences instead of face-to-face meetings. He had to cancel a trip to northeastern Brazil. At least four members of Bolsonaro’s Cabinet have been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Bolsonaro repeatedly dismissed the disease as a “little flu” and often mingled in crowds, sometimes without wearing a mask. He is treating his COVID-19 with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, although it has not been proven effective against the virus and can be dangerous for some people.
Brazil’s government says the country has recorded more than 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 81,000 deaths. That’s second only to the United States in both categories, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— WHO, Africa CDC explore traditional medicine
— Trump says virus in US will get worse before it gets better
— Crisis hits Lebanon’s hospitals, among the best in Mideast
— Silent spread of virus keeps scientists grasping for clues
— New research suggests that antibodies the immune system makes to fight the new coronavirus may only last a few months in people with mild illness, but that doesn’t mean protection also is gone or that it won’t be possible to develop an effective vaccine.
— With the coronavirus rebounding in parts of Spain, it appears Catalonia and other regions have not adequately prepared to trace new infections in what was supposed to be an early detection system to prevent a new cascade of cases.
— More than one in five people in Delhi have been infected with the coronavirus, according to a study, indicating that most cases in the Indian capital region have gone undetected.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
MADRID — Frequent snacking and a lack of exercise during over two months of mandatory home confinement against the spread of the coronavirus has taken a toll on Spaniards’ waistline.
A survey by Spain’s Obesity Society, or SEEDO, says 44% of Spaniards gained weight during the spring mandatory order to stay at home. Of those, 73% added between 1 to 3 kilograms (2.2 to 6.6 pounds).
The study suggests anxiety and boredom led to more alcohol consumption and frequent trips to the pantry in search for sugar-heavy snacks. The difficulty of exercising while at home contributed to the weight gain.
More than half of the respondents say they exercised less than before mid-March, when Spain enacted a strict lockdown to fight the pandemic. One third of the 1,000 surveyed by telephone say they spent an average of 5 hours per day watching television.
Currently, the country is dealing with 224 smaller outbreaks. Spain has reported more than 28,400 deaths from the virus.
BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania has confirmed more than 1,000 new daily cases of the coronavirus for the first time.
The 1,030 new confirmed cases and 27 deaths were reported by the government. That raises the totals to 40,163 confirmed cases and 2,101 deaths.
The village of Cartojani, outside of the capital of Bucharest, will be quarantined for two weeks starting Wednesday after 32 people were confirmed infected with the coronavirus. They reportedly took part in a private event on the coast of the Black Sea.
According to new regulations, quarantines can be imposed on locations were the number of confirmed cases is above 3 per 1,000 residents and no other measures are deemed capable of containing the spread of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced Tuesday that 954 localities had reported at least one coronavirus case in the past two weeks, up from around 350 locations in early June.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Bosnia has reported the highest number of new infections with the coronavirus since the start of the outbreak.
Health authorities say 324 people have tested positive on the virus and five have died in the past 24 hours.
The crisis team dealing with the outbreak urged citizens to remain vigilant and respect anti-virus rules of social distancing and wearing of masks in public spaces.
Bosnia and the rest of the Balkans have seen a rise of infections with the coronavirus since countries eased strict lockdown rules imposed at the start of the outbreak.
There’s been about 9,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 262 deaths in Bosnia.
JOHANNESBURG — The World Health Organization and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched an effort to explore the role of traditional medicine in the coronavirus pandemic.
The new advisory panel will support countries in clinical trials, other research and development of traditional therapies as the pandemic now spreads rapidly in parts of Africa.
Confirmed cases on the continent have nearly reached 750,000, more than half in South Africa.
A WHO statement says traditional medicine “has many benefits” and the continent has a long history of its use. WHO Africa chief Matshidiso Moeti says the research “must be grounded in science.”
Several countries showed interest after Madagascar’s president promoted a local herbal concoction as part of the island nation’s pandemic response.
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran says 138 health care professionals have died so far while battling the coronavirus pandemic.
The semiofficial ISNA news agency on Wednesday quoted Hossein Kermanpour, spokesman for the regulatory body for Iranian health care professionals, saying the death toll includes 90 doctors and 28 nurses.
Iran announced this week that 12,000 health care workers have been infected across the country. The country reached its single-day highest death toll of 229 on Tuesday.
Iran is grappling with the deadliest outbreak in the Middle East. It has so far reported more than 278,000 confirmed cases and 14,634 deaths.
STOCKHOLM — The Nobel Foundation, which manages the prestigious Nobel Prizes, says it has canceled the traditional December banquet at the Stockholm City Hall due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lars Heikensten, CEO of the Nobel Foundation, said it is not possible to gather up to 1,300 banquet guests and let them sit next to each other amid the current COVID-19 restrictions. He said the pandemic also makes it uncertain whether prize winners can travel to Sweden.
The Nobel Prizes are announced in October but the festivities in December will be severely limited due to the pandemic. The foundation says it's not completely clear yet how and in what form the award ceremonies will take place.
The Nobel Peace Prize is announced in Oslo, Norway, while the others are awarded in Stockholm.
PRAGUE — The day-to-day increase of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic has surpassed 200 for the first time in almost a month.
The Health Ministry says the number of those infected reached 212 on Tuesday, the highest day increase since June 28.
The Czech Republic has confirmed 14,324 cases and 360 deaths.
Of the 5,046 active cases, the highest number since the outbreak of the pandemic, 148 are hospitalized with 20 in intensive care.
BANGKOK — Faced with labor shortage in construction and agriculture, Thailand has agreed to let in about 120,000 migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos in the next phase of easing coronavirus restrictions.
A spokesman for the government’s COVID-19 center says details such as quarantine measures still have to be worked out. Further loosening of restrictions, which also includes opening the borders to foreigners visiting for medical and business purposes, is expected Aug. 1.
Thailand’s government will extend until the end of August a state of emergency imposed in March to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, though critics want it abolished because they charge it is used to suppress political dissent.
An anti-government demonstration Saturday in the capital Bangkok drew more than 2,000 people.
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa has well over half of the confirmed coronavirus cases on the African continent as the country is now a global hot spot.
New Health Ministry data show 381,798 cases and 5,368 deaths.
The country’s current epicenter is Gauteng province, home to Johannesburg and one-quarter of the population. It has more than one-third of South Africa’s cases.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has pleaded with people against pandemic fatigue and urged them not to abandon masks.
HONG KONG — Hong Kong has made it mandatory to wear masks on public transportation and indoor areas and passenger terminals.
The measures will last until Aug. 5 as the city tries to break the transmission of local infections.
Hong Kong has recorded 2,019 infections and 14 deaths. On Tuesday, it reported 58 cases, 25 from an unknown source.
The city’s Health Minister Sophia Chan is appealing to people to stay at home as much as possible, saying Hong Kong is at a high risk of a community outbreak.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state reported a record 484 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and health authorities warned numbers could continue to rise.
With Australia’s second-largest city of Melbourne in lockdown for two weeks, authorities had hoped the infection rate would begin to plateau. Instead, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says “we’re going to look at 500-600 cases per day. I absolutely don’t want us to go there.”
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews says nine out of 10 people didn't self-isolate between having symptoms and being tested. More than half didn't self-isolate between when they were tested and when they got the results.
Andrews also announced two more deaths, both men in their 90s, bringing the national death toll to 128.
Face masks will become mandatory for residents in lockdown regions when they leave their homes.
Six prisons in Victoria were placed into total lockdown on Tuesday after a staff member tested positive at one of the facilities. Neighoring New South Wales state reported 16 new cases on Wednesday.
KATHMANDU, Nepal — Nepal’s government has ended a lockdown 120 days after it was imposed to control the spread of coronavirus.
Information Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada says the number of cases was declining in Nepal.
Government and private offices will be fully functional and all private and public vehicles will be allowed back on the streets on Wednesday. All the markets, malls and shops will open. However, airports and commercial flights will resume on Aug. 1.
Khatiwada says schools and colleges would remain closed until further notice. Prohibition would continue on large public gatherings, religious functions, parties, gymnasium, zoo and parks.
The lockdown was first imposed in March and it was renewed several times. The country has 17,994 confirmed cases and 40 deaths from coronavirus.
SEOUL, South Korea — Just days after South Korean officials hopefully declared the country’s COVID-19 epidemic was coming under control, health authorities reported 63 newly confirmed cases.
South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least 36 of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of the country’s 51 million people live.
The KCDC didn’t immediately confirm whether the numbers included a new cluster of infections discovered at a frontline army unit in Pocheon, north of Seoul, where at least 13 troops have reportedly tested positive.
The KCDC says 29 of the new cases were local transmissions and tied the other 34 to international arrivals as the virus continues to spread in Asia, the United States and beyond. The government also plans to send to send two military planes to Iraq on Wednesday to evacuate around 300 South Korean construction workers amid the spread of the virus there.
The national confirmed count is 13,879 cases and 297 deaths.
The country had reported four local transmissions on Monday, which was the lowest in two months, prompting a celebratory tweet from President Moon Jae-in, who says the nation as winning its fight against COVID-19.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico passed the 40,000-death mark Tuesday and reported near-record levels of newly confirmed coronavirus cases.
The Health Department reported that COVID-19 deaths rose by 915 to reach 40,400, the fourth highest total behind the United Kingdom at 45,507.
Mexico’s number of confirmed cases rose by 6,859 to 356,386, and the country now rivals Peru for the sixth-highest number of cases. But Mexico does so little testing that its number is considered vastly undercounted.
By Tuesday, Mexico had conducted just over 820,000 tests, or about one test for every 160 inhabitants. In recent weeks, 47% of all tests have come back positive, suggesting Mexico is mainly testing only those with considerable symptoms.
Health authorities indicated the country only has about 170,000 tests left, but left open the possibility of acquiring more.
DETROIT — A judge has ordered the Detroit school district to test more than 600 students who are participating in voluntary summer classes.
The order from U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow on Tuesday came in response to a lawsuit by critics who claim the in-person classes are risky for kids and staff. Students and teachers are required to wear masks, and desks are spread apart. The lawsuit followed days of protest outside bus yards.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says the district will comply with the testing order with assistance from the city health department. But he suggested the judge had exceeded his authority.
“It is insulting to our parents that they must have their children COVID-tested to receive public school services yet parents outside of the city can receive the same services without testing,” Vitti said.
Classes started July 13. The Detroit district is also offering summer online learning.
AUSTIN, Texas — While some big cities in Texas are reporting signs that an alarming surge in cases of the coronavirus may be leveling off, officials in counties along the border with Mexico say the outlook there remains bleak.
Dallas County officials say the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients dropped below 1,000 on Tuesday for the first time in more than two weeks, and officials in Houston are seeing signs of optimism.
But along the border in Starr County, Judge Eloy Vera said “we’re very close to losing the situation” and plans to issue voluntary stay-at-home recommendations this week.
He says it would be similar to one issued Monday in Hidalgo County, which set a curfew and recommends that all nonessential businesses cease any activity that can’t be provided at curbside or by takeout.
The orders, however, are not enforceable under Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s past mandates that don't allow local officials to set their own stay-at-home restrictions. Texas on Tuesday reported more than 9,300 confirmed new cases and 131 deaths, the state’s second deadliest day of the pandemic.
FORT WORTH, Texas — More than 500 women at a federal medical prison in Texas have tested positive for the coronavirus, in one of the largest confirmed outbreaks at a federal prison.
The Bureau of Prisons say the number of confirmed cases at the Federal Medical Center-Carswell in Fort Worth increased to 510 on Tuesday, just two days after the Bureau of Prisons reported that 200 women there had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Only the federal prison in Seagoville, also located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, had more infected inmates, with 1,156 cases as of Tuesday.
SAO PAULO — Brazilian authorities say the country’s Sao Paulo state has topped 20,000 deaths from COVID-19, while the nation as a whole has recored more than 80,000 fatalities due to the coronavirus.
Sao Paulo is Brazil’s most populous state, with 46 million people, and is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the South American country.
It has been enforcing social distancing measures since mid-March, but has never applied a full lockdown.
Sao Paulo Gov. João Doria replaced his health secretary this week, though he says the official left the post for medical reasons unrelated to the coronavirus.