Spain has reported 52,188 new coronavirus cases and 279 new confirmed deaths since Friday.
Monday’s data brought the total people infected since the start of the pandemic to nearly 1.1 million and the death toll to 35,031, although experts agree that the real figures could be much higher due to missed cases.
The top virus expert, Fernando Simón said that the “evolution (of new infections) is fast” and likely to continue this way over the next few weeks.
Four of Spain’s 19 regions announced they would be banning all but essential travel across their regional borders following a state of emergency ordered by central authorities on Sunday that imposed an overnight curfew and caps of six people in social meetings.
Simón said that nearly every region in Spain was at high risk.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Trump to intensify his campaign schedule despite U.S. virus surge, new White House outbreak
— Wary of angering public with restrictions, Iran has few ways to contain virus
— Nations across Europe enact more sweeping restrictions to try to slow surging infection rates
— Mexico acknowledges far more deaths than officially confirmed, saying 139,153 now attributable to COVID-19
— El Paso, Texas imposes curfew as virus cases overwhelm hospitals
— COVID-19 cases surge in north-central West Virginia county, shutting down schools and sports
— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization dismissed suggestions from a top White House aide that the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t be controlled, saying that giving up on suppressing the virus is dangerous.
On Sunday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said officials in the U.S. would not be able to control the coronavirus because it is “a contagious virus just like the flu.”
Asked to respond to Meadows’ comments at a press briefing on Monday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “giving up on control is dangerous.”
Tedros said that while the U.N. health agency agreed with the U.S.’ priority to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19, more stringent measures should be taken to stop the coronavirus.
Tedros called for both governments and their citizens to each do their part to contain the pandemic.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s business agency has approved more than 90% of the more than 800 events that planned to attract more than 250 people since the governor removed the COVID-19 related ban on the gatherings in early August.
The Post and Courier of Charleston reported that while the state Commerce Department reviews the events and approves them if they include proper social distancing plans and mask rules, it doesn’t follow up to make sure events follow their own guidelines. That’s left to local law enforcement.
Meanwhile, South Carolina’s COVID-19 cases are creeping back toward a point not seen since Republican Gov. Henry McMaster lifted the ban on large gatherings.
The state’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases was more than 950. It has been below 1,000 new cases since mid-August other than a few brief spikes as many schools returned in September.
The seven-day average for daily COVID-19 deaths has also been climbing from 12 to 22 over the past 10 days.
South Carolina’s upward trend in cases, hospitalizations and deaths have not been as pronounced as areas in the central and western U.S., which are setting records for case counts and seeing hospitals overwhelmed.
BURLEY, Idaho — Most courts in south-central Idaho have been prevented from holding jury trials because of high weekly confirmed coronavirus case numbers following an order that places virus case thresholds on when trials can resume.
The Times-News reports that the Idaho Supreme Court issued the order last month allowing jury trials to start again when their counties meet the new case threshold level. The state high court previously suspended all trials in March.
Camas County is the only county that has low enough numbers to hold jury trials.
Trial court administrator Shelli Tubbs says there has only been one in-person trial so far. All other hearings were conducted online.
According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, Idaho has had at least 59,344 confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, including 573 deaths. On Sunday, 650 new cases were reported.
GENEVA — The World Health Organization says national lockdowns could be avoided to fight the latest surge of coronavirus cases if people are willing to make sacrifices and “if everyone plays their part.”
At a press briefing on Monday, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, said she hoped countries would use other tools to stop transmission, including strengthening their surveillance, testing and contact tracing systems.
Van Kerkhove said people should take personal responsibility for everyday decisions, like whether or not they should go out to crowded places, avoiding closed settings and postponing social gatherings.
WHO’s emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan noted that 46% of all global COVID-19 cases last week were reported in Europe.
“There’s no question that the European region is an epicenter of disease right now,” he said. Ryan said that the normally open European Union borders might need to be shut down to “take the heat out of this phase of the pandemic.”
LONDON — The central England city of Nottingham is the latest part of England to be put under tightened restrictions as part of a three-tier system to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The news came as Britain announced 102 new deaths of people with COVID-19. Its official total is almost, 45,000, the highest toll in Europe.
Local authority leaders in Nottingham say the city and parts of the surrounding county of Nottinghamshire will move to the top “very high” risk Tier 3 on Thursday. Under the rules, pubs and bars must close, non-essential travel outside the area is discouraged and people can’t mix indoors with members of other households.
The announcement came hours after Warrington, in northwest England, was also moved into the tighter restrictions. A big swath of northern England, including the major cities of Liverpool and Manchester, is already under the heightened measures.
ROME — Italy registered slightly more than 17,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday. That’s fewer than daily increases of the last few days, but tens of thousands fewer swab tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, as often happens over a weekend.
Italy’s total of known coronavirus infections during the pandemic now stands at 542,789.
Compared to the first months of the outbreak, when most cases were concentrated in Italy’s north, the current situation sees surging infections nationwide, prompting the government to order new restrictions that took effect on Monday, including closures of gyms, cinemas and early shutdown of restaurant dining and cafes.
The regions with the highest day-to-day caseload on Monday were again northern Lombardy, which includes Milan, Italy’s financial hub, followed by Tuscany in the central-north and Campania, the southern region that includes Naples.
Hospitalizations and ICU admissions continued their steady increase. Italy’s death toll rose to 37,479, after 141 more deaths.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — A senior Bosnian health official is warning that the impoverished Balkan country is facing a “rapid rise in the number of patients” with the new coronavirus.
Deputy Health Minister in the half of Bosnia run by Bosniaks and Croats, Goran Cerkez said Monday all hospitals in the region have been instructed to allocate one-third of their capacities for treatment of COVID-19 patients. Wearing face masks has become mandatory in open public spaces as well as inside.
Bosnia has reported a surge in new cases in the past weeks reaching record numbers. On Monday, authorities reported 703 new cases for the past 24 hours and said eighteen people have died.
Meanwhile, in the remaining part of Bosnia dominated by Serbs authorities placed the schools on remote teaching in an effort to contain the virus spread.
Bosnia’s health system is among the weakest in Europe after the country went through a devastating war in the 1990s’.
LONDON — The large town of Warrington is the latest part of England to be put under tightened restrictions as part of a three-tier system to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The government says the city in northwest England will move to the top “very high” risk Tier 3 on Tuesday. That means most pubs and bars will have to close, non-essential travel outside the area is discouraged and people can’t mix indoors with members of other households.
The case rate per 100,000 people in Warrington is twice the national average.
Warrington is between Liverpool and Manchester, which have some of the country’s highest COVID-19 infection rates and are already in Tier 3.
There are mixed signs about whether measures introduced in the last few weeks have stemmed a steep rise in coronavirus infections. Government scientific advisers say there are some signs the increase has begun to level off since the three-tier system of restrictions came into force, but that it is too soon to be certain.
Britain has seen Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with almost 45,000 confirmed deaths.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norway on Monday put a nationwide limit for public gatherings to 50, down from 200, and at the same time urged that a maximum of five guests at a time can visit people in private homes.
The announcement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg came ahead of the traditional Christmas parties held by companies, associations and privates across Norway. These events are traditionally held before Christmas eve when Norwegian celebrate Yule.
The new restrictions start Tuesday at midnight and last until early December but can be extended if needed.
Norway has had 17,908 confirmed COVID-19 cases ad 279 deaths.
BERLIN — The Bavarian city of Nuremberg has canceled its big Christmas market, one of Germany’s best-known, because of fast-rising coronavirus infections.
The bustling Christkindlesmarkt is traditionally a big tourist draw. City officials originally wanted to go ahead with the event under strict hygiene rules, but mayor Marcus Koenig said Monday they concluded even that would send the wrong signal as virus cases rise.
Germany, like other European countries, has seen new virus cases rise rapidly over the past two weeks.
Nuremberg is currently seeing 76 new cases per 100,000 infections over seven days, well above the 50 mark at which local authorities have to start taking action.
TIRANA, Albania — Albanian authorities have decided to open a new COVID-19 hospital with 150 beds after the existing two hospitals are reaching their limits.
Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu on Monday said that the two existing COVID-related hospitals with 320 beds are reaching their limits and the new one will open this week.
Albania has seen a surge of the daily new virus cases, doubling compared to two weeks ago.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said Albania’s cumulative figure for new cases per 100,000 inhabitants has increased to 131 cases compared to 75 cases two weeks ago.
Authorities have reported 19,157 confirmed cases with 477 confirmed related deaths, as of Sunday.
Holding the mask is mandatory indoors and outdoors and police have fined hundreds of Albanians not wearing it every day.