The Latest: Russia under stain as it sets new virus record
MOSCOW — Russia’s daily number of new coronavirus infections topped 20,000 Friday, setting a new record since the beginning of the pandemic.
Russia’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases -- currently the fourth largest in the world – has exceeded 1.7 million following a quick spread of contagion since September. The government’s coronavirus task force has reported 29,887 deaths since March.
Of 20,582 new cases reported Friday, Moscow accounted for 6,253 infections, the capital’s highest number since May.
Despite new daily records, authorities insist there is no need to impose a second lockdown or shut down businesses nationwide. They argue that the health care system is capable of handling a surge in infections.
Russian media, however, have reported on overwhelmed hospitals, drug shortages and inundated medical workers in some regions, indicating that the health care system is under significant strain.
GENEVA — The United States is urging the head of the World Health Organization to invite Taiwan to attend the U.N. health agency’s annual assembly next week, pointing to its “resounding success” against COVID-19.
China has effectively blocked Taiwan from attending the World Health Assembly in recent years since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Her pro-independence administration has run afoul of Beijing, which considers Taiwan as part of China.
The U.S. appeal to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus comes after the Trump administration over the summer took action toward pulling the United States out of the U.N. health agency next year. Taiwan is not a U.N. member state.
Taiwan, a country of some 23 million people, has tallied just 569 confirmed COVID-19 cases and just seven deaths from the pandemic, according to a compilation of global figures by Johns Hopkins University.
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Slovenian police say they have detained 10 people following violent protests in the capital Ljubljana against lockdown measures designed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
Several hundred angry protesters on Thursday threw bottles, flares and rocks at the police who used tear gas and water cannon to disperse them in a rare riot in what in the usually calm Alpine nation.
The gather was organized in violation of a ban on gatherings that is in place in Slovenia as part of anti-virus rules. Public broadcaster RTV Slovenia says some of the protesters attacked media crews, hitting a photojournalist on the head.
Slovenia’s authorities have introduced an overnight curfew and a set of restrictive rules after facing a surge in infections in the nation of 2 million people.
BERLIN — Germany’s health minister has warned of hard times ahead unless the country can “break” the rising trajectory of coronavirus cases.
Jens Spahn told lawmakers in Parliament on Friday that “the situation is serious,” noting that the number of COVID-19 patients being treated in the country’s intensive care units has doubled in the last 10 days.
“As of today the health system can cope with this,” he said. “But a doubling every 10 days is something the best health system in the world can’t cope with in the long term.”
Germany’s disease control agency reported a new record of over 21,500 confirmed infections in the country in the past day, and 166 further deaths.
Laboratories in Germany are also warning that they are reaching capacity, and urging stricter criteria for which people can be tested.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— AP finds counties where virus is advancing voted for Trump at higher rate
— U.S. employers likely slowed hiring for 4th month with virus hitting records
— Indonesians collect old phones to help students get online to learn at home
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BEIJING — China has temporarily banned the entry of foreigners from at least eight countries as COVID-19 cases rise in Europe and elsewhere.
Non-Chinese can no longer enter from Russia, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Philippines, India and Bangladesh, even if they hold a valid visa or residence permit for China.
Embassies in those countries have posted online notices in recent days announcing the temporary suspension of entry.
China has enacted strict measures to guard against new infections from abroad.
Health authorities on Friday reported 30 imported cases in the most recent 24-hour period, including 15 in Shanghai. That brought the total number of imported cases during the pandemic to 3,510.
NEW DELHI — India has recorded 47,638 new cases of the coronavirus, taking its total to 8.4 million.
Deaths rose by 670 in the last 24 hours, driving total fatalities to 124,985 on Friday, the health ministry data showed.
India has the world’s second-highest caseload behind the United States. Even though the country has seen a steady dip in cases since mid-September, its capital is witnessing a surge in infections.
New Delhi recorded nearly 6,700 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the second-highest single-day spike since the pandemic began.
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s highest court has upheld a state’s border closure and dismissed a case arguing the pandemic measure was unconstitutional.
All Australian states and territories have used border restrictions to curb infections, and a ruling against Western Australia's closure could have impacted the others.
The High Court judges ruled the state's border closure to non-essential travel during “a hazard in the nature of a plague or epidemic” complied with the constitution.
The state shut its border to the rest of Australia on April 5 and hasn’t recorded any COVID-19 community transmission since April 11. It will ease the restriction next week for people from states and territories deemed low risk..
Separately, an inquiry into quarantine troubles in Melbourne has recommended that police guard hotels where returning overseas travelers stay. The Victoria state government’s decision to use private security firms instead of police and the military to enforce the quarantines has been widely blamed for lax controls that led to a virus surge in Australia’s second-largest city.