The Latest: Spain to lift state of emergency in Madrid
MADRID — Spain’s health minister says the government won’t extend the state of emergency in the Madrid region when it expires on Saturday but may introduce curfews at coronavirus hotspots around the country.
Health Minister Salvador Illa says the partial lockdown in the Madrid area in recent weeks had helped limit community transmission that made it one of Europe’s most significant coronavirus clusters.
However, he noted Madrid’s number of cases is still high. The region has reported more than 29,000 cases in the past two weeks. It's tally on Tuesday was 354 new cases in 24 hours — Spain’s fourth-highest rate.
Illa says he’s conferring with Spain’s regional governments about targeted curfews as the country approaches the milestone of 1 million officially recorded cases.
“I want to be very clear,” Illa says. “Some very hard weeks are coming.”
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Britain gives Manchester deadline to OK tighter rules
— Ireland goes into 6-week lockdown until Dec. 1
— India reports 46,000 cases, 587 deaths in past 24 hours
— U.K. researchers plan to infect healthy volunteers with the virus to speed the development of a vaccine.
— Argentina is 5th nation to surpass 1 million cases; 3 others in Latin America near the milestone.
— World Series opens Tuesday night with Major League Baseball relieved to reach the championship of a pandemic-delayed season.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s Health Ministry reported nearly 9,300 new daily coronavirus cases and 107 deaths Tuesday, among the highest daily numbers under the pandemic.
The Health Ministry says 42,000 tests were done in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 4.05 million tests in a nation of 38 million. The ministry says 725 ventilators are in use across the country and nearly 9,000 COVID-19 beds are full out of 15,000.
The ministry is aiming for more ventilators and 10,000 more beds. It’s turning the National Stadium in Warsaw, built for the EURO 2012 soccer championships, into a hospital for some 50 serious COVID-19 cases and 500 mild cases. Other cities are turning conference centers into COVID-19 wards.
Many professionals leave Poland for better paid jobs abroad because of an underfunded health care system. The government is offering bonuses to volunteers for jobs treating coronavirus patients. Warsaw and some other big cities and regions are red zones. All of Poland is a yellow zone, where masks are required.
There’s been nearly 193,000 cases and more than 3,700 deaths in Poland.
NEW DELHI — India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged citizens to remain cautious ahead of the upcoming festival season amid concerns that the pandemic may surge again in the country.
In his televised address to the nation, Modi on Tuesday reiterated that people should continue taking precautions, maintain physical distancing and not lower their guard during the festival season. This was Modi’s seventh address to the nation since the pandemic began.
“If you are negligent, you are putting the lives of others at risk,” said Modi.
Faced with a stalled economy, India is slowly opening ahead of the upcoming festive season. Health experts have warned gatherings during major festivals and in November have the potential to spread the virus.
In the last month, India has had declining cases on a week-to-week basis even though the country’s overall virus caseload has neared 7.6 million, behind only the U.S. On Tuesday, India reported over 46,000 cases of the coronavirus, the lowest in three months. It reported 578 confirmed deaths.
Overall, there’s been 115,000 confirmed deaths in India, third highest in the world.
STOCKHOLM — A city north of Stockholm became the first in Sweden to introduce local restrictions because of an increase in the coronavirus.
Citizens of Uppsala are urged to avoid physical contact, arranging parties and public transportation.
“It is not a lock down as that would mean that you shut down the whole society,” said Anders Tegnell, who is credited with Sweden’s much-debated COVID-19 approach of keeping open large parts of the society.
He added the restrictions would last two weeks, could be extended and introduced elsewhere in Sweden. He says restaurants and schools in Uppsala, Sweden’s fourth-largest city with 220,000 people, are not affected.
Sweden has 106,380 confirmed cases and 5,922 reported deaths.
LONDON — London’s Heathrow Airport has launched a rapid coronavirus test service for passengers.
The pre-departure tests, which aim to provide results in an hour, will be offered to those flying to Hong Kong and Italy. The saliva swab costs 80 pounds ($104) and can return results quickly because they don’t need to be sent to a laboratory.
Hong Kong and Italy are among destinations requiring travelers from Britain and other “high risk” countries to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result 72 hours before their departure.
Aviation services company Collinson and logistics firm Swissport says the pre-departure tests are the “crucial next step toward keeping the travel industry moving while limiting the spread of the virus.”
Heathrow airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye says ultimately, the travel industry needs an international standard for pre-departure testing.
PIRAEUS, Greece -- Greece’s prime minister has reversed a government decision to allow a limited number of fans back into soccer stadiums on the eve of a Champions League match between Greek club Olympiakos and Marseille.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis says the pilot plan would have “sent the wrong message to members of the public.”
The reversal came after the government announced late Monday that it would begin allowing fans back into stadiums, capping attendance at 10% capacity with a maximum attendance set at 3,500.
The plan was due to start with the Champions League match Wednesday when Olympiakos and Marseille meet in the Group C match at Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus, before being extended to other European and domestic matches.
Manchester City and Porto, which also meet Wednesday, are the other teams in the group.
Greece is battling a surge in infections, with Piraeus and greater Athens currently at the second-highest stage of pandemic alert, with capacity restrictions on public transportation and early closing times for bars.
LONDON — The British government has given the city of Manchester a noon Tuesday deadline to agree to tighter coronavirus measures, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson struggles to impose his plan for localized restrictions on restive regions.
Johnson’s government is resisting a recommendation from its scientific advisory committee for a short “circuit-breaker” lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Instead it has adopted a three-tier system for England, with areas classed as medium, high and very high risk. In the top tier, pubs have to close and people are barred from mixing with members of other households.
So far only the Liverpool and Lancashire regions of northwest England have been placed in the highest tier. Nearby Greater Manchester, with a population of almost 3 million, has been holding out for more support for workers and businesses affected by the restrictions.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said if the government imposed the measures, “we would obviously have to accept that decision ... But I would say to them at this point are they sure that that is a wise thing to do?”
LISBON, Portugal -- Portugal’s prime minister is backing down from his plan to make the government’s COVID-19 tracing app mandatory.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa said in a television interview that the widely contested move, which was due to be voted on later this week in parliament, required further debate.
Portugal’s Stayaway COVID app has been downloaded 2.3 million times -- just over one third of the government’s target.
Costa’s plan for compulsory use was widely criticized as unworkable. Among other complaints, police said the measure was unenforceable, and legal experts said it was unconstitutional.
Parliament is expected on Friday to make the wearing of face masks mandatory outdoors.
BERLIN — A district in Germany's Alpine southeastern corner is going into a de-facto lockdown Tuesday after reporting well above 200 new cases per 100,000 residents in a week, the highest level in a country that is still in better shape than many others in Europe.
Schools, restaurants and other facilities in the Berchtesgaden district, on the border with Austria, are being closed for 14 days. Hotels there are closed to tourists and residents can only leave their homes for good reason.
Other areas across Germany are considering less onerous new restrictions as infections rise. The national disease control center said the country of 83 million people recorded 6,868 new cases over the past day -- below the record of 7,830 on Saturday but considerably more than a week earlier.
Many of Germany’s biggest cities have exceeded the level of 50 new cases per 100,000 residents over a week that is supposed to trigger new local restrictions. As of Tuesday, the entire Ruhr industrial region in western Germany was above that figure.
LONDON — U.K. researchers are preparing to begin a controversial experiment that will infect healthy volunteers with the new coronavirus to study the disease in hopes of speeding up development of a vaccine.
The approach, called a challenge study, is risky but proponents say it may produce results faster than standard research, which waits to see if volunteers who have been given an experimental treatment get sick.
Imperial College London said Tuesday that the study, involving healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30, would be conducted in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and hVivo, a company that has experience conducting testing .
Professor Peter Openshaw, co-investigator on the study, says that “deliberately infecting volunteers with a known human pathogen is never undertaken lightly. However, such studies are enormously informative about a disease, even one so well studied as COVID-19.”
In the first phase, researchers will aim to determine the smallest level of exposure needed to cause the disease. Researchers will then use the same challenge model to study how potential vaccines work in the body, the bodies immune response and potential treatments.
HELSINKI — The Finnish national carrier Finnair says it will cut 700 jobs — over 10% of its total workforce — by the end of March 2021 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airline based at the Helsinki Airport is heavily focused on Europe to Asia flights. It said Tuesday that some 600 of the cuts would be in Finland.
FInnair CEO Topi Manner said the job cuts are "necessary and inevitable. Finnair’s re-build requires us to be competitive when aviation gradually starts to recover. Therefore, in the future, we will have to do many things differently in order to succeed.”
The coronavirus pandemic has forced global airlines to halt most of their flights. Finnair has temporarily laid off a large part of its 6,500 staff and its flight traffic was down 91% in September from the previous year.
PRAGUE — The Czech government is further tightening its restrictive measures in efforts to slow a record surge in coronavirus infections.
Health Minister Roman Prymula says the new restrictions expand mandatory wearing of face makes to outdoor spaces if people are closer than two meters (6.5 feet). Face coverings will be mandatory in cars if the driver and passengers are not members of the same family. The measures will become effective on Wednesday.
The Czech Republic has about 178,00 infections while 1,501 people have died of the virus.
The number of new cases has tripled in the past two weeks, from a seven-day rolling daily average of 23.81 per 100,000 people on Oct. 4 to 75.74 on Sunday.
ISLAMABAD — A Cabinet minister says Pakistan has witnessed a 140% increase in fatalities from COVID-19 in recent weeks due to widespread violations of social distancing rules.
Asad Umar, the planning and development minister who oversees Pakistan’s response to coronavirus, warned on Twitter “We will lose both lives and livelihoods” if people did not adhere to social distancing rules.
His comments Tuesday came shortly after the military-backed Command and Operations Center reported 14 deaths and 625 new cases in the past 24 hours.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had warned on Monday that Pakistan’s big cities could face a second wave of COVID-19 in the coming weeks because of increasing pollution in winter. Pakistan has reported 324,084 cases, including 6,673 COVID-19 deaths.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A number of fishing crew who flew into New Zealand on chartered planes have the coronavirus.
Health officials said Tuesday that 11 have tested positive so far and another 14 cases are being investigated.
The crew members have been in quarantine at a Christchurch hotel since they arrived, and tested positive during routine testing, officials said. The news could deal a blow to New Zealand’s efforts to restart its fishing industry, which has struggled to find local workers to crew vessels.
Jeremy Helson, the chief executive of Seafood New Zealand, said all the men tested negative before flying to New Zealand. “While we await to see how many cases there are, the fact that they were all detected in quarantine shows the system is working well,” Helson said.
The origin of the infected crew members wasn’t immediately clear.
New Zealand has managed to stamp out community spread of the virus.
NEW DELHI — India has added over 46,000 cases of coronavirus infection and 587 deaths in the past 24 hours.
With 7.59 million cases, India’s total detected cases is second in the world, behind only the U.S. Although the number of new infections detected daily in the country has been been declining in the past month, independent experts have cautioned against laxity.
They pointed out that people not wearing masks or maintaining distance during the upcoming festival season, combined with cold weather, could lead to a surge in cases.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday that India is strategizing to immunize its population by using a digital health plan, under which each person gets an identity card containing all health-related information.
LONDON — Ireland’s government is putting the country at its highest level of coronavirus restrictions for six weeks in a bid to combat a rise in infections.
Premier Micheal Martin said Monday the measures take effect at midnight Wednesday and run until Dec. 1.
People are being asked to stay at home, with exercise allowed only within a 5-kilometer (3-mile) radius of their home. Only essential stores can open. Restaurants and bars can provide only takeaway service. No social or family gatherings will be allowed in homes or private gardens, but schools will remain open to prioritize education.
Martin urged the country to “pull together” for six weeks so that the virus can be suppressed and people can still enjoy Christmas.
Ireland has seen daily cases rising. It had 1,031 new confirmed cases Sunday and the death toll stands at 1,852.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state won’t allow distribution of coronavirus vaccines until it is reviewed by the state’s own panel of experts.
Newsom says California wants its own independent review no matter who wins the presidential election next month.
The governor named 11 doctors and scientists to review any rollout of vaccines by the federal government or vaccine developers. The board members hail from top California top universities and medical providers, along with state and local public health officials.
Newsom’s position pledge raises the possibility that California’s 40 million residents might not receive a vaccine as distribution begins in other states.
SALEM, Ore. -- As Oregon’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic nears 40,000, state health officials say face-covering requirements are being expanded.
Currently, Oregonians are required to wear masks at indoor public spaces and outside where they cannot maintain six feet of space between others. Health officials said Monday that they are expanding the guidance to include all private and public workplaces, including classrooms, offices, meeting rooms, colleges, universities, outdoor markets and private career schools.