sunny.png
Thursday October 22nd, 2020 4:27PM

The Latest: Protests in Prague over virus restrictions

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PRAGUE — Czech police used tear gas and a water cannon to disperse hundreds of violent protesters who attacked them after a rally Sunday in Prague against government restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus infections.

Police rescue services said at least 20 injured in the clashes, which erupted after a couple thousand people, including soccer and ice hockey fans, rallied at Old Town Square to condemn the restrictions that include the ban of sports competitions and closure of bars and restaurants.

Public gatherings of more than six are also banned but up to 500 people are allowed to demonstrate if they are divided into separated groups of 20 and wear face masks.

Many of the demonstrators had no face coverings. After police said their number surpassed 500, the organizers ended the rally.

But some protesters remained and the square, throwing flares, beer bottles, stones and various other objects at riot police.

The Czech Republic has been facing a record surge in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, making it one of the hardest hit countries in Europe.

___

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

— New infections and deaths are hitting records in Russia, but Vladimir Putin's government appears determined to avoid unpopular restrictions.

— Uganda's ‘ taxi divas' rise from COVID’s economic gloom.

— Some in North Dakota want tougher virus approach from governor.

— France's 9 p.m. virus curfew leaves an eerie quiet on streets of Paris, eight other cities

— Chancellor Angela Merkel urges Germans to unite against the virus like they did in the spring, says what Christmas and the winter looks like depends on people's actions now.

— Europe’s economy was just catching its breath from the sharpest recession in modern history but a resurgence in coronavirus cases will likely lead to a lean winter of job losses and bankruptcies.

___

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

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

BERLIN — Switzerland is introducing new restrictions across the country to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has been growing at a record pace in recent days.

At a special meeting Sunday, the government decided to broaden a mask mandate, saying “the rapid rise in coronavirus cases in the last few days is a cause for great concern.”

As of Monday, face and nose coverings will be required in all publicly accessible indoor areas, including all railway stations and airports, and at bus and tram stops. The rule also extends to schools, child-care facilities, shopping malls, libraries, places of worship and hotels, among other places.

Gatherings of more than 15 people are not permitted in public, and new regulations were put on private events of more than 15 people.

The number of new cases in the Alpine nation of 8.5 million people has been increasing rapidly recently, hitting a new daily record of 3,105 on Friday. Overall Switzerland has reported 74,422 infections and 1,823 deaths.

___

MILAN — As the Italian government considers yet more restrictions to try to curb the resurgence of coronavirus, the 179 Italian doctors who have died in the COVID-19 crisis were remembered Sunday in a ceremony in the northern Italian town of Duno, north of Milan.

Their names were inscribed in marble at a sanctuary in the Lombardy region, which has been the hardest-hit area in the country. The names include Dr. Roberto Stella, the first-known Italian physician to die of COVID-19. His death at 67 on March 11 death shocked the Italian medical establishment and underlined the risk that the coronavirus pandemic to family doctors.

Italy, the first country outside of Asia to detect local transmission of the virus, has seen new confirmed positive cases surge above 10,000 a day in recent days. That is higher than the virus’ most lethal peak in March and April, when only the most seriously ill were being tested in Italy.

___

JERUSALEM — Israeli authorities have granted senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat permission to enter Israel for medical treatment following his infection with the coronavirus.

Erekat’s condition has deteriorated in recent days, and he requested and received authorization to be hospitalized at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital, people familiar with the Palestinian official’s condition said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Erekat made the request despite the fact the Palestinian Authority severed ties with Israel earlier this year over the Trump administration’s Mideast plan, which would allow Israel to annex large parts of the West Bank.

Erekat is a longtime senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and served as the Palestinians’ chief negotiator in past peace talks. Erekat has a history of health problems and received a lung transplant in the U.S. in 2017.

There have been over 58,000 cases and 474 deaths reported in the Palestinian-administered areas of the Israeli occupied West Bank.

___

PARIS — The streets of Paris and eight other French cities were deserted on Saturday night on the first day of the government-imposed 9 p.m. curfew that is to last at least four weeks.

The measure was announced this week by French President Emmanuel Macron to curb the resurgent coronavirus as new daily infections peaked last week to over 30,000. Macron said the curfews were needed to stop hospitals from becoming overrun.

Many restaurant owners are up in arms about the move that is forcing them to close early, something that they say will devastate the industry.

In France, nearly 20 million people are covered by the curfew and eerily deserted scenes were observed in Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse as well. The curfew runs until 6 a.m. daily.

France has seen over 33,300 confirmed deaths in the pandemic, the fourth-highest death toll in Europe.

___

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s public works and transport minister says he’s has been infected with the coronavirus as his country grapples with a surge in cases.

Minister Michel Najjar said Sunday he is continuing to carry out his duties from isolation, according to the National News Agency.

Lebanon is struggling to contain an escalating infection rate since August. The country of just over 5 million has recorded over 61,000 infections that killed over 500 people.

The surge is testing Lebanon’s already flailing health care system. A massive explosion in Beirut’s port that killed over 190 people further undermined the health sector and deepened an economic meltdown. The government resigned in the wake of the Aug.4 explosion but continues in a caretaker capacity.

Authorities have put more than a hundred villages and towns under lockdown and ordered nightclubs and pubs to close to curb the surge of infections. But the caretaker health minister told a local paper Sunday the localized lockdowns have failed, urging similar measures in major cities.

__

JERUSALEM — Dozens of ultra-Orthodox elementary schools and religious schools known as yeshivas opened in Israel on Sunday in violation of a government lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Israeli government only permitted nurseries and kindergartens to reopen in person on Sunday as part of country’s first phase of easing restrictions following a month-long lockdown, but schools, learning centers and universities are to conduct classes remotely.

On Saturday, a leading ultra-Orthodox rabbi — who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month — called for religious grade schools and yeshivas to reopen, despite government regulations. Police said officers were dispatched to a number of reopened schools in ultra-Orthodox towns, ordered them to send students home and issued fines.

Israel has recorded over 300,000 cases, including nearly 2,200 deaths. The country’s ultra-Orthodox community, many of whom live in densely populated neighborhoods with large families, has been disproportionately affected. Some members of the community have flouted the rules, holding weddings and mass prayers inside synagogues in conditions that help spread the disease.

___

MILAN — The Italian government has approved 40 billion euros ($47 billion) in new spending to counter the pandemic’s economic blow.

The stimulus package announced Sunday includes an additional 1 billion euros to the national health care system, plus funds to hire doctors and nurses to fill in during the emergency and money to pay for vaccines and other necessities to treat and combat the spread of COVID-19.

There is also money to extend short-term layoff schemes, to support families, to help the underdeveloped south and to make it cheaper to hire workers under 35 years of age.

Premier Giuseppe Conte is expected to approve new restrictions on people’s movements later Sunday, after new infections are hitting 10,000 a day. That is well beyond the numbers confirmed during the peak of Italy’s outbreak in the spring, when only the most seriously ill people were being tested.

Experts warn that the virus is already reaching vulnerable populations again and filling hospital wards in Milan, the epicenter of the new surge. Italy has over 36,400 confirmed deaths in the pandemic, the second-worst in Europe after Britain.

—-

MOSCOW — The coronavirus outbreak in Russia this month is breaking the records set in the spring lockdown. But, as governments across Europe move to reimpose restrictions to counter rising cases, authorities in Russia are resisting shutting down businesses again.

Some regions have closed nightclubs or limited the hours of bars and restaurants, but few measures have been implemented in Moscow, which is once again the epicenter of the surge.

Moscow — with less than 10% of the population — accounts for up to 30% of new infections each day. The health minister says 90% of hospital beds for coronavirus patients have been filled.

On Friday, Russian authorities reported over 15,000 new infections, the highest daily spike so far in the pandemic. Three times this week, Russia’s daily death toll exceeded the spring record of 232.

The spring lockdown hurt the country’s already weakened economy and compounded Russians’ frustration with plummeting incomes and living conditions, driving President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating to a historic low of 59%.

___

NEW DELHI — India has added 61,871 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to about 7.5 million.

The Health Ministry on Sunday also registered 1,033 new fatalities, taking the death toll to 114,031.

The country is continuing a downward trend in new cases, but virus-related fatalities jumped after recording the lowest daily figure of 680 in nearly three months on Friday.

Some experts say India’s numbers may not be reliable because of poor reporting and inadequate health infrastructure. India is also relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.

Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the religious festival season beginning later this month. New Delhi is also bracing for high air pollution levels, making the coronavirus fight more complicated in upcoming months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked officials to prepare cold storage chains and distribution network for vaccine delivery involving all levels of government and citizen groups. According to Indian officials, three vaccines are in advanced stages of development.

___

BANGKOK — Thailand has closed all border crossings between its northern province of Tak and Myanmar after five people in the Thai border town of Mae Sot tested positive for the coronavirus.

The five, none of whom exhibited symptoms, are the first locally transmitted cases confirmed in Thailand since early September. All five are members of a family of Myanmar nationals residing in Thailand.

Along with cases found among people quarantined after arriving from abroad, seven additions on Sunday brought Thailand’s total number of cases to 3,686, including 59 deaths.

In response to the new cases, schools in the Mae Sot area were ordered closed for seven days and only take-out service is allowed at restaurants and food stalls. Shops, malls and fresh markets remain open but must take temperature checks and enforce social distancing.

Thai authorities in the past two months have sought to tighten crossings in northern Thailand, which shares a long border with Myanmar, where there has been a surge of coronavirus cases since August.

___

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has loosened lockdown restrictions as new and active COVID-19 continue to decline.

From midnight Sunday, Melbourne residents will no longer face limits on the time they can spend away from their homes for education or recreation. Previous restrictions allowing Melburnians to travel only 5 kilometers (3 miles) from home will increase at midnight to 25 kilometers (15 miles).

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people from two households will be allowed and golf and tennis can resume.

Victoria state reported only two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and no deaths. The rolling 14-day average of cases dropped to eight, the lowest in four months.

There were only 137 active cases across Victoria state on Sunday with 12 people receiving hospital treatment, none in intensive care.

Regulations will be further loosened on Nov. 2 with the partial reopening of shops, bars and restaurants.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
UN arms embargoes on Iran expire despite US objections
A decade-long U.N. arms embargo on Iran that barred it from purchasing foreign weapons like tanks and fighter jets has expired
11:03AM ( 3 minutes ago )
French premier joins nationwide tributes to beheaded teacher
France's prime minister has joined demonstrators who rallied together across the country in tribute to a history teacher who was beheaded near Paris after discussing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class
10:48AM ( 18 minutes ago )
The Latest: Protests in Prague over virus restrictions
Czech police have used tear gas and a water cannon to disperse hundreds of violent protesters who attacked them after a rally in Prague against government restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus infections
10:48AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Guinea votes to see if president can extend decade in power
Guinean President Alpha Conde is seeking to extend his decade in power, facing off against his longtime rival Cellou Dalein Diallo for the third time at the polls
9:14AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Switzerland tightens restictions as COVID grows
Switzerland is introducing new restrictions across the country to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has been growing at a record pace in recent days
9:10AM ( 1 hour ago )
Protesters in Thailand carry on despite police warning
Thousands of mainly young Thais have gone back to the streets of Bangkok for a fifth straight day of protests demanding sweeping political change, with demonstrations also taking place at several other locations around the country
9:08AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Despite past Democratic wins, Trump making a play for Nevada
Democrats have kept Nevada in their column in every presidential election since 2004
8:19AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: France's virus curfew leaves Paris streets empty
The streets of Paris and eight other French cities were deserted on Saturday night on the first day of the government-imposed 9 p.m. curfew that is set to last at least four weeks
7:21AM ( 3 hours ago )
Hard hit by virus, airlines push for tests over quarantines
Airlines are in trouble, and nowhere more than on long-haul international routes
7:21AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Dark déjà vu for European economy as virus cases spike
A resurgence in coronavirus cases in Europe is darkening the prospects for the economy just as it was emerging from its sharpest recession in modern history
3:05AM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Biden vows racial and economic justice efforts
Joe Biden is promising a sweeping effort for racial and economic justice if he’s elected president
7:23PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Senator hails Biden role in bailing out auto biz
Michigan Sen. Gary Peters is playing up Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as a savior of the U.S. auto industry
6:57PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Economy
Rural Midwest hospitals struggling to handle virus surge
Rural Jerauld County in South Dakota didn’t see a single case of the coronavirus for more than two months stretching from June to August
6:38PM ( 16 hours ago )
The Latest: Rural hospitals in Midwest face viral surge
Rural parts of the American Midwest that had previously escaped the worst of the coronavirus are now seeing a surge _ and hospitals are struggling to keep up
10:31AM ( 1 day ago )
Trump changes course, approves California relief for 6 fires
President Donald Trump’s administration has reversed course and approved a previously rejected California application for disaster relief funds to clean up damage from six recent wildfires
11:34PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Industries
Pfizer: Mid-November earliest it can seek virus vaccine OK
Pfizer CEO says it can't seek emergency authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine before the third week of November — and that's if everything goes well
10:09AM ( 2 days ago )
Swiss hospital chief: Europe at 'turning point' vs. COVID
Europe is at a “turning point” in the fight against the coronavirus, the head of Switzerland’s biggest hospital complex says
8:51AM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: US testing 3 drugs to tamp down coronavirus
U.S. government officials are launching a new study testing three drugs to tamp down an overactive response by the immune system that can cause severe illness or death in people with COVID-19
8:01AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Health Care
UN arms embargoes on Iran expire despite US objections
A decade-long U.N. arms embargo on Iran that barred it from purchasing foreign weapons like tanks and fighter jets has expired
11:03AM ( 4 minutes ago )
French premier joins nationwide tributes to beheaded teacher
France's prime minister has joined demonstrators who rallied together across the country in tribute to a history teacher who was beheaded near Paris after discussing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class
10:48AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Armenia, Azerbaijan blame each other for truce violations
Armenia and Azerbaijan are trading accusations of violating the new cease-fire in their conflict over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh territory despite a true announced Saturday that was supposed to take effect at midnight
10:15AM ( 52 minutes ago )
Some in North Dakota wish for tougher virus tack by governor
North Dakota’s status as one of the hottest spots in the nation for coronavirus spread has prompted some sharp questions about Republican Gov. Doug Burgum’s stressing individual responsibility over mandates and enforcement actions
10:11AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Say goodnight to the bad guys: Astros fall short in Game 7
The Houston Astros spent this odyssey of a season as baseball’s biggest villains
9:59AM ( 1 hour ago )