The Latest: Victoria, Australia records 41 new virus deaths
MELBOURNE, Australia — Victoria on Monday recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic as the Australian government urged the hot spot state to announce plans to lift lockdown restrictions.
Victoria’s health department reported 41 deaths and 73 new COVID-19 infections in the latest 24-hour period.
The death toll eclipses the previous record of 25 set on Aug. 17. The tally of new infections is the lowest since 67 new cases were recorded on June 30 in the early weeks of the second wave of the pandemic.
A six-week lockdown in the state capital Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, is due to be relaxed on Sept. 13. But the state government has not said how it will be relaxed or given any assurances that it won’t be extended.
Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Monday he disagreed with the Victorian government that it was too early to announce plans to reopen the economy.,
“Business is very frustrated because they haven’t been told when can they open up, when can people get back to work,” Frydenberg told Nine Network television.
Frydenberg pointed to a Treasury Department forecast that in the next three months more people in Victoria will be receiving pandemic employment subsidies than from the rest of Australia combined. Australia pays employers an allowance known as Job Keeper to continue paying staff who have no work to do.
Consumer spending had fallen 30% in Victoria due to the lockdown while spending had declined by only 3% across the rest of Australia.
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LOGAN, Utah — Utah State University plans to test nearly 300 students for COVID-19 after wastewater samples from four dormitories showed elevated levels of the coronavirus, school officials said Sunday.
The 287 students who will be tested Sunday and Monday live in the Rich, Jones, Morgan and Davis dorms on the campus in Logan. There have been no reported positive tests for COVID-19 in those residence halls so far. Students in those dorms must quarantine until the test results are available, which could take up to four days.
They are also asked to fill out a form to ensure they receive academic support, food deliveries and other resources. Classes are scheduled to begin on Monday for about 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Utah State is one of a small handful of schools using wastewater sampling to help safeguard against a COVID-19 outbreak, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Officials with the University of Arizona said Thursday the school used wastewater testing to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak on campus.
A test of just over 300 people in one dorm with elevated levels of coronavirus in the wastewater turned up two cases, said university President Robert Robbins. Neither student had symptoms. They were isolated.
PHILADELPHIA — Temple University has announced a two-week halt of in-person classes as Philadelphia officials called on all college and university students in the city to avoid all social gatherings with people outside their households.
Temple officials said Sunday that new test results over the weekend had pushed the number of active COVID-19 cases from the 58 reported Friday to 103 active cases, most of them among people with no symptoms and a small number with mild to moderate flu-like symptoms.
University president Richard Englert said officials believe they are seeing “new cases that result from small social gatherings happening off campus.” He said that prompted the two-week “pause” on in-person classes and a contact tracing effort.
Temple said in-person classes will go online starting Monday and continue online through Friday, Sept. 11, with only classes deemed essential by college deans held in person.
ATHENS, Greece — The confirmed number of new coronavirus cases in Greece has exceeded 10,000, and more than half of them were reported this month, Greek health authorities announced Sunday.
Over the past day, there have been 157 new cases confirmed, of which 41 were international arrivals. There were also two deaths.
The total number of cases is now 10,134, of which 5,657 were detected over the past month. The total number of deaths is 262, of which 56 occurred in the past month.
There are 35 patients on ventilators and 149 have exited intensive care.
The government will decide Tuesday on which day schools will open. It will choose between Sept. 7 or the following Monday, Sept. 14. Mask wearing will be mandatory, but some parents are opposed to this.
OKLAHOMA CITY — The number of reported coronavirus cases in Oklahoma has surpassed 58,000 and the number of related deaths is nearly 800, the Oklahoma State Department of Health said Sunday.
There are now 58,020 reported cases and 799 deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. The true number of cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
On Friday, Gov. Kevin Stitt extended a state of emergency first issued March 15 in response to the virus outbreak in Oklahoma.
The order includes all 77 counties in the state and activates a provision in state law that allows absentee voters to mail their ballots by verifying their signatures with a copy of an approved identification. An approved ID includes a state driver’s license or a military or federally recognized Indian tribe or nation.
ROME — The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care beds in Italy has been rising in the past few weeks.
On Sunday, 86 persons infected with the coronavirus occupied ICU beds, compared to 38 in late July, as returning vacationers drive up Italy’s numbers of day-to-day new caseloads as well as hospitalizations.
Italy registered 1,365 new infections since Saturday, according to Health Ministry figures. Still, those numbers are low when compared to the daily bulletin early in the pandemic, when thousands of Italians each day were testing positive for COVID-19, and a few thousand were needing intensive care, overwhelming hospital staff.
Italy counts 268,218 confirmed infections and 35,477 known deaths, including four in the last 24 hours. After months in which the heaviest concentration of cases occurred in northern Italy, lately many southern regions are seeing sharply rising numbers. On Sunday, Campania, the region which includes the southern metropolis of Naples, had the most new cases in Italy – 270.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistani authorities have reported 264 new COVID-19 cases, the country’s lowest daily count for the new coronavirus in more than four months.
In a statement Sunday, the national command and control center said only four people died from the new virus in the previous 24 hours, taking overall COVID-19 deaths to 6,288 since the start of the outbreak in February.
However, health officials are still trying to understand the reason for a steady decline in infections in Pakistan, which witnessed twin peaks in June when daily confirmed cases reached up to 6,825.
It was then when hospitals were full amid shortage of medicine, oxygen and ventilators, and even face masks were not easily available.
But the situation suddenly began improving after June and currently about 1,000 COVID-19 patients are being treated in Pakistan.
PARIS — Not all French classrooms can safely reopen Tuesday, the education minister acknowledged Sunday, amid a persistent rise in coronavirus infections that is threatening the government’s push to get France’s 12.9 million schoolchildren back in class.
“It’s being decided by a day-by-day analysis based on the health situation of each territory,” Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said Sunday on France-Info radio. Some classes will remain closed, he said, but “as few as possible.”
A collective of doctors published an appeal Saturday saying the governments’ school virus measures aren’t strict enough. It urged mask requirements for children as young as six and a mix of online and in-person schooling.
The government wants to reopen all schools starting Tuesday to reduce learning gaps worsened by the spring lockdown, and to get parents back at work and revive the economy.
France reported 5,453 new daily infections Saturday, compared to several hundred a day in May and June. The national health service says the growth is exponential, and neighboring countries have imposed quarantines or testing for people arriving from parts or all of France.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases globally has topped 25 million, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. leads the count with 5.9 million cases, followed by Brazil with 3.8 million and India with 3.5 million.
The real number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher — perhaps 10 times higher in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognized.
Global deaths from COVID-19 stand at over 842,000, with the U.S. having the highest number with 182,779, followed by Brazil with 120,262 and Mexico with 63,819.
NEW DELHI — India has registered a record new 78,761 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the worst single-day spike in the world, as the government continues to further ease pandemic restrictions nationwide.
The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported 948 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 63,498.
India now has the fastest-growing daily coronavirus caseload of any country in the world, and has reported more than 75,000 infections for the fourth consecutive day.
Sunday’s surge has raised the country’s total virus tally to over 3.5 million and comes at a time when India is reopening its subway networks and allowing sports and religious events in a limited manner from next month as part of efforts to revive the economy.
The crowded subway, a lifeline for millions of people in capital New Delhi, will be reopened in a phased manner from Sept. 7. Schools and colleges will, however, remain closed until the end of September.
The South Asian country has the third-highest caseload after the United States and Brazil, and its fatalities are the fourth-highest.
Even as eight Indian states remain among the worst-hit regions and contribute nearly 73% of the total infections, the virus is now spreading fast in the vast hinterlands, with experts warning that the month of September could be the most challenging.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 299 new cases of the coronavirus as officials placed limits on dining at restaurants and closed fitness centers and after-school academies in the greater capital area to slow the spread of the virus.
The 17th consecutive day of triple-digit increases brought the national caseload to 19,699, including 323 deaths.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 209 of the new cases came from the capital of Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi province as well as Incheon, a region that had been at the center of a viral resurgence this month.
Health authorities have ordered churches and nightspots to close and shifted more schools back to remote learning nationwide as infections spiked in recent weeks.
For eight days starting Sunday, restaurants in the Seoul metropolitan area will be allowed to provide only deliveries and takeouts after 9 p.m. Franchised coffee shops like Starbucks will sell only takeout drinks and food.
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation health officials say the confirmation of a new death brings the number of fatalities from the coronavirus to 500.
The Navajo Nation on Friday night reported the additional death as well as 14 more confirmed cases of COVID-19.
That brings the total number of people infected to 9,780. But that includes 165 cases that occurred between early April and mid-August and were recently identified as COVID-19 related.
Navajo officials said 94,099 people have been tested for the coronavirus and 7,032 have recovered. The Navajo Nation lifted its stay-at-home order on Aug. 16, but is asking residents to go out for emergencies or essentials.
HONOLULU — The Hawaii Department of Public Safety says that three inmates and one staff member at the Oahu Community Correction Center tested positive for COVID-19.
There are now more than 300 people who have tested positive at the Honolulu facility, including 256 inmates and 53 employees, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Early in the pandemic, several advocacy groups raised concerns about the safety of others crowded in jails and prisons statewide and mentioned the risk of an outbreak.
Since then, the Hawaii Supreme Court has had ongoing orders to release defendants incarcerated for misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor crimes to open space in the facilities.
The state Department of Health has reported more than 7,800 confirmed coronavirus cases and 59 deaths, including 265 newly confirmed cases and four deaths, as of Friday.
PHOENIX — Arizona has reached a grim milestone of more than 5,000 known coronavirus deaths.
The state Department of Health Services reported 629 confirmed coronavirus cases and 29 more deaths on Saturday to total 5,007.
Meanwhile, Arizona State University President Michael Crow says 452 students have tested positive for the coronavirus. More than half involve students who live off campus in the metro Phoenix area.
Crow says 205 students are currently in quarantine on the Tempe campus.
MIAMI — Health officials in Florida are reporting 150 new deaths from COVID-19 and 3,197 new confirmed cases.
The new deaths bring the average daily toll reported over the past week to 120. The number of new known cases is down from peaks averaging nearly 12,000 daily in mid-July.
The positivity rate in testing has averaged below 10 percent over the past week. The number of people treated in Florida hospitals for coronavirus has also been declining since highs of more than 9,500 on July 23.
Florida has confirmed 619,000 cases and 11,246 deaths.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Restaurants and bars in Anchorage will reopen Monday for dine-in service with some restrictions after city officials announced an updated emergency order.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has replaced a four-week order, which closed food establishments to indoor service and drew criticism from the industry. That order expired Sunday.
The updated regulation means businesses can resume dine-in service at no more than 50% of building capacity. Patrons will be required to practice social distancing.
Masks must be worn by all employees, and also by customers when they aren’t eating or drinking
In Alaska, more than 5,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus since March and 37 have died.
CHICAGO — Freshmen and sophomore students at Northwestern University will take classes remotely, the Chicago school announced.
The Chicago Tribune reports Northwestern University officials originally planned for undergraduate students to return to campus. The university also is keeping fraternity and sorority houses shuttered during the fall semester.
Students in their third and fourth years or graduate and professional programs are allowed on campus and can take classes remotely, in person or a mix of both.
Universities around the country have struggled with plans for the fall semester as the coronavirus continues to spread. Early outbreaks forced some schools’ administrators to cancel in-person classes temporarily or for the fall semester.