ADVERTISEMENT

The Latest: Australia has no local case 1st time in months

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia has recorded no new locally transmitted coronavirus infection for the first time in five months.

In Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, which had the highest number of cases in the country, residents were enjoying the first weekend of cafes, restaurants and pubs reopening to walk-in customers.

The city only has one mystery case without a known source. There are 61 active cases left across the state, down from 70 on Saturday.

State Deputy Premier James Merlino hailed Sunday’s zero figures as “another great day for Victoria,” but urged caution ahead of Australia’s most-prestigious horse race on Tuesday, the Melbourne Cup, known as the “race that stops a nation.” Australians traditionally gather in bars or in private homes to watch the event, a public holiday.

The race attracts crowds of more than 100,000 at Melbourne’s Flemington race course, but this year it will held without fans because of restrictions on public gatherings.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton urged Victorians to enjoy the Cup but to continue obeying guidance on mask-wearing and social distancing.

“The great majority of Melburnians know what do to,” Sutton said. “There will be a few who may be a bit liberal in their behavior.”

Sutton said the new wave of infections in Europe showed how quickly the coronavirus can reassert itself.

“What Europe is going through now is a consequence of not being able to get to this point where you can stay on top of very low numbers,” he said. “What we have created is very precious and we need to hold onto it tightly.”

Western Australia state on Sunday recorded one new case of COVID-19, a woman who returned from overseas and is in hotel quarantine.

___

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

Halloween in the pandemic: Costumes and candy, at a distance

England to enter new lockdown; UK virus cases pass 1 million

— Minority US contact tracers build trust in diverse cities

— Efraín Valles guided world leaders, pop stars and a princess on exclusive tours through the land of the Incas. He now makes ice cream to survive amid the pandemic.

— The government of the Netherlands will halt its multibillion euro coronavirus bailout to national carrier KLM amid a standoff with a pilot’s union about terms of the rescue package.

Austria has announced a partial shutdown that will see restaurants and bars closed for four weeks, cultural, sports and leisure activities canceled, and residents asked to stay home after 8 p.m.

___

Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SANTA FE, N.M. — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Saturday said the spread of coronavirus is out of control in New Mexico as she urged residents to stay home and avoid gathering with others to celebrate Halloween.

“Please — do your part to protect yourself and your fellow New Mexicans by celebrating a COVID-SAFE Halloween,” the Democratic governor’s office said in a Facebook post. “Stay home. Do not gather with others.”

State officials on Saturday reported 592 additional known virus cases and 11 additional deaths but said the case data for the day was incomplete due to a technical problem.

“Due to a technical disruption of the electronic laboratory reporting system, the following data reflects only a partial total for today’s case update,” state officials said in a statement. “The delayed results will be included in the state’s reporting as soon as they are received and confirmed.”

The additional cases and deaths reported Saturday increased the state’s totals to 46,490 cases and 1,018 deaths.

___

JERUSALEM - Dozens of members of Israel’s Druze Arab minority stormed a hospital in northern Israel and seized the body of a sheikh who died from the coronavirus. Later Saturday, his followers held a large funeral for him against safety guidelines.

The crowd stormed the hospital late Friday in the northern town of Safed. TV stations showed videos of dozens of followers entering the building. The funeral took place in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights town of Majdal Shams, which has been placed under a lockdown due to the high rate of coronavirus infections. Thousands of Druze people participated in the funeral procession, despite a ban on large gatherings.

Later Saturday, Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif, the spiritual leader of the Druze sect, said the family of the deceased and the Druze leadership were not consulted before the body was taken from the hospital. He appealed for Druze to abide by health restrictions, Israel’s public radio Arabic service reported.

The Druze community, which follows a secretive offshoot of Islam, generally has good relations with the national government.

The reports say that Israeli police are investigating the incidents.

Israel has begun easing its second nationwide lockdown this month after succeeding in lowering the infection rate, which in September had risen to be one of the highest in the world.

___

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada topped 100,000 total coronavirus cases on Saturday.

State officials reported 977 more cases, increasing the total to 100,763.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases went from 584 on Oct. 16 to 874 on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press.

The positivity rate rose from 8% to 10%. However, average number of daily deaths dropped from 7.1 to 5.6.

Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak says, “Now is not the time to get complacent or to give into COVID fatigue.”

Sisolak urged residents to wear masks, practice social distancing, frequently wash hands and avoid large crowds. He told people to take the virus seriously to protect others and the economy.

Nevada reported no deaths on Saturday, keeping the confirmed total at 1,777.

___

JUNEAU, Alaska — Lawmakers, employees and reporters must be screened for the coronavirus when entering the Alaska Capitol.

The Alaska Legislative Council approved the measure, which requires masks in the building and other legislative offices. The council voted to keep the Capitol building closed to the public until at least January, when the next Legislature convenes.

Alaska reported 384 coronavirus cases and four deaths on Friday.

There’s been more than 15,000 cases and 81 confirmed deaths, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services.

___

ROME — Italy added a record 31,758 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours and doubled the deaths to nearly 300 on Saturday.

The Health Ministry says approximately one of every seven people receiving swab tests has tested positive in recent days.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte is considering more stringent virus measures. Demonstrators took to the streets of Rome on Saturday to protest recent measures.

Italy has nearly 680,000 confirmed cases and 38,618 deaths, the second-highest deaths in Europe.

___

PHOENIX — Arizona reported nearly 1,900 new cases and 45 deaths on Saturday.

Hospitalization rates in late October have started to reach levels last recorded in late May, with 880 people hospitalized for COVID-19 on Friday. Nearly 200 were in intensive care.

The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases rose from 772 on Oct. 16 to 1,166 on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press.

The daily deaths went from 8.6 to 9.9 and the positivity rate increased from 8.2% to 10.5%.

Arizona has reported 245,946 confirmed cases and 5,979 deaths.

___

ATHENS, Greece — Greece surpassed 2,000 coronavirus cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Authorities says there were 2,056 new cases in the past day and six deaths.

The government announced new lockdown measures Saturday to stem the rapid rise in new cases. The restrictions, including the closure of bars, cafes, restaurants and gyms in large swaths of the country, will take effect Tuesday through at least the end of November.

The total confirmed coronavirus cases reached 39,251 and 626 deaths.

___

VIENNA — Austria will impose a partial shutdown Tuesday that closes restaurants, bars and recreation facilities.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says Austrians will stay home between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., although they can go out for work and exercise. He requested citizens work from home when possible.

Kurz says the restrictions will last through November. He characterized it as a “second lockdown” but more lenient because schools, non-essential shops and hairdressers can stay open.

Austria has reported 301 cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days. That compares with 110 in neighboring Germany, which is imposing a somewhat lighter four-week partial shutdown starting Monday.

Austria has confirmed a total of 106,000 coronavirus cases and 1,097 deaths.

___

PRAGUE — The Czech Red Cross launched a program of one-day training for volunteers to assist medical personnel in hospitals and nursing homes amid a staff shortage.

The volunteers will learn the basics treatment of patients, says Katerina Havlova, the director of Red Cross branch in the northern town of Jablonec nad Nisou.

Her branch, one of eight providing training across the Czech Republic, plans to train more than 100 volunteers.

Approximately 15,000 medical staff in the country’s hospitals have tested positive for the coronavirus. Currently, 7,281 people are hospitalized, more than twice the number two weeks ago.

The Czech Republic has 323,673 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths.

Bg pattern light

UPGRADE TO PREMIUM

Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?