The Latest: Merkel warns of pandemic difficulties to come
BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel is cautioning that the coronavirus crisis will make life more difficult in the coming months than it has been over the summer and is calling on Germans to continue taking the threat seriously.
Germany’s response to the virus is generally viewed as relatively successful, but the country has seen a pickup in new infections in recent weeks, as have many others in Europe.
Merkel said Friday: “We have to expect that some things will be even more difficult in the coming months than in the summer.”
She said it is important to keep infections down as people increasingly meet indoors.
She told reporters in Berlin that “we will have to keep living with the virus.”
The long-time German leader said she had three priorities, including ensuring that children can continue access education despite the pandemic, ensuring economic revival, and maintaining social cohesion at a time when many in society are suffering hardship.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK
— Small businesses in U.S. college towns struggle without students
— Virus lockdown brings new misery to long-suffering Gaza
— South Korea tightens distancing as new cases mount
— With improving virus data, California looks to reopen again
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
LONDON — London’s Gatwick Airport says it doesn’t expect air traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels for four or five years after passenger volume dropped 66% in the first half of the year.
The capital’s second-biggest airport said Friday that just 7.5 million people traveled through Gatwick in the first six months of 2020, down from 22.2 million in the same period last year.
Gatwick says it has already eliminated 740 jobs and expects to cut another 600 during the third quarter.
CEO Stewart Wingate says, “like any other international airport, the negative impact of COVID-19 on our passenger numbers and air traffic at the start of the year was dramatic and, although there are small signs of recovery, it is a trend we expect to continue to see.”
NEW DELHI — India has recorded another high of 77,266 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, raising the country’s total to more than 3.38 million reported cases.
Nearly 47% of India’s virus cases were detected this month alone.
The Health Ministry on Friday also reported 1,057 deaths for a total of 61,529.
India has been recording more than 60,000 new infections per day for nearly three weeks. India’s previous highest daily count was 75,760 on Wednesday.
With up to 900,000 tests every day, India’s cumulative tests reached 39 million on Thursday, the ministry said.
SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea is tightening social distancing restrictions in the greater capital area, requiring restaurants to provide only delivery and takeout after 9 p.m. and shutting down gyms and after-school academies.
Health Minister Park Neung-hoo announced the plans Friday after the country reported 371 new infections of COVID-19, marking its 15th straight day of triple digit jumps and bringing national totals to 19,077 reported cases, including 316 deaths.
The measures will be imposed for eight days starting Sunday.
Park said more than 470,000 businesses in the Seoul area will be affected by the measures.
BEIJING — China began moving into its final weekend before a full re-opening of schools amid continuing measures to prevent any further spread of the coronavirus.
The country reported just nine new cases on Friday, all brought from outside the country. Hospitals are treating 288 people for COVID-19 and another 361 are being monitored in isolation for showing signs of the illness or having tested positive for the virus without displaying symptoms.
China has reported 85,013 cases since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, with 4,634 dying from COVID-19.
The roughly 25% of students still out of school are due to return to classes on Monday.
Classes are being held on a staggered schedule and mask wearing and social distancing are required. College undergraduates are also due to return to campus next week, with Beijing ordering tests for all 600,000 taking up places at the city’s institutions.
SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean officials are considering reducing the working hours of restaurants and cafes as the country counted its 15th straight day of triple-digit jumps in coronavirus infections.
The 371 new cases reported by the South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday brought the national caseload to 19,077, including 316 deaths. The country has seen more than 4,300 new cases over the past 15 days, prompting concerns about the potential for overwhelmed hospital systems.
While the government has recently banned large gatherings and shut down nightspots and churches nationwide, there are calls for elevating social distancing measures to the highest “Level 3,” which would prohibit gatherings of more than 10 and advise private companies to have employees work from home.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said during a virus meeting Friday that the government wasn’t ready to do that yet, citing concerns about hurting an economy that policymakers will likely shrink for the first time in 22 years. Chung said officials will instead explore other ways to improve distancing, such as limiting the hours of restaurants and cafes.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state has reported 113 new coronavirus cases for a second consecutive day, with authorities warning that the infection rate will have to fall substantially if a six-week lockdown is to be relaxed on schedule on Sept. 13.
The latest daily tallies are the lowest in more than eight weeks, with a peak of 725 in early August.
The latest death toll dropped to 12 from 23 on Thursday. Thursday’s was the third-highest toll of the pandemic.
Authorities want daily infections to fall at least to low double-digits before they would consider relaxing restrictions.
Elsewhere in Australia, the federal health department said there were 18 new cases. New South Wales state recorded 13, Queensland three and Western Australia two