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Saturday May 30th, 2020 10:40PM

The Latest: Italy sees more encouraging coronavirus numbers

By The Associated Press
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The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

TOP OF THE HOUR:

—WHO members OK evaluation of virus response.

—Russian prime minister returns to work after bout with coronavirus.

—Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London may be shuttered due to virus.

— As United States, Europe reopen more, big nations see rising virus toll.

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ROME — Pressure on Italy’s hospitals has continued to decline, an essential condition for the country to safely continue to eliminate or ease lockdown measures for the coronavirus.

For the first time since mid-March, the number of persons hospitalized in non-intensive care beds has dipped under 10,000. The number of COVID-19 patients occupying intensive care beds also has decreased in recent weeks, down to 716 on Tuesday, according to Health Ministry figures.

Throughout the outbreak, most coronavirus patients in Italy haven’t needed hospitalization but instead stayed isolated at home. There were 813 new cases of infection nationwide in the 24-hour period ending Tuesday evening, raising to 226,699 Italy’s overall known case tally. The daily increase in deaths was registered at 162, increasing the country’s total number of persons who died with confirmed COVID-19 infections to 32,169.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland is reporting its first pediatric death from the coronavirus.

Baltimore County officials say a 15-year-old resident died after being infected by COVID-19. Officials say the individual had symptoms of an inflammatory syndrome associated with the COVID-19 infection that has been documented in children in New York and other locations.

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HOUSTON — A catholic church in Houston has closed its doors after five of its leaders tested positive for COVID-19, including two priests who helped celebrate public masses after they resumed earlier this month.

The closure and positive tests come after a priest from Holy Ghost parish, 79-year-old Donnell Kirchner, died last week. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, but officials are determining whether he might have contracted the virus before he died May 13.

Kirchner went to an urgent care clinic and later to a hospital emergency room. But after being released, he went back to the home he shared with members of his religious order, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said.

The members of Kirchner’s religious order are asymptomatic but are being quarantined.

The diocese encouraged anyone who attended masses at Holy Ghost to get tested as a precaution.

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MOSCOW — The United States will send two planes with ventilators to Russia as a donation to help the country tackle the coronavirus outbreak, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says.

The move follows a “whole-hearted and genuine” offer U.S. President Donald Trump made last month to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Lavrov adds. According to Russian media, the shipment will include 200 breathing machines, 50 of which may be dispatched to Moscow on Wednesday.

Russia has reported nearly 300,000 infections and 2,837 deaths. Officials have scrambled to secure ventilators and other essential supplies amid an exponential growth in infections.

Russia sent a planeload of medical supplies, including ventilators, to the U.S. last month. Moscow says the U.S. paid for half of the medical supplies, while the other half of the cost was sponsored by Russia’s state investment fund.

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TORONTO — Canada and the United States have extended their agreement to keep the border closed to non-essential travel to June 21 during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the border is a source of vulnerability so the agreement will be extended by another 30 days. The restrictions were announced on March 18 and were extended in April.

Trudeau says Canada’s provincial leaders clearly wanted to continue the measures. Many Canadians fear a reopening. The U.S. has more confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 than any country in the world, though its per-capita numbers are well below many other nations.

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MADRID -- Spain has recorded fewer than 100 deaths from the new coronavirus for the third day in a row.

The Health Ministry said Tuesday that 83 people had died over the previous 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 27,778.

It reported 295 new cases, bringing the total in the outbreak to just over 232,000.

The government is asking parliament to extend the current state of emergency to June 7, saying it is the only legal instrument that allows authorities to order lockdowns.

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MADRID — Spain is mandating facial masks in all public spaces, including outdoors when a safe distance of 2-meters (6.5-feet) between people can’t be kept.

Health Minister Salvador Illa says the decision expands recommendations in March for masks worn only in hospitals and nursing homes.

Previously, masks were in short supply in a country ravaged by the pandemic. Last month, masks became mandatory on public transportation.

Spain has recorded more than 27,000 deaths from the coronavirus and more than 230,000 confirmed infections.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Public health officials in at least two-thirds of U.S. states are sharing the addresses of people who have the coronavirus with first responders. Supporters say the measure is designed to protect those on the front line, but it’s sparked concerns of profiling in minority communities already mistrustful of law enforcement.

The AP review shows public health officials in at least 35 states share the addresses of those who have tested positive for the coronavirus -- provided by the state or local health departments to emergency dispatch centers that request it. In at least 10 of those states, health agencies also share their names: Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Tennessee. Wisconsin did so briefly but stopped earlier this month.

In Tennessee, the issue has sparked criticism from Republican and Democratic lawmakers who recently became aware of the data sharing. Some critics wonder why first responders don’t take precautions with everyone, given so many people with the virus are asymptomatic or present mild symptoms.

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UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations secretary-general is recommending the annual gathering of world leaders in late September be dramatically scaled back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Antonio Guterres suggested heads of state and government deliver prerecorded messages instead, with only one New York-based diplomat from each of the 193 U.N. member nations present in the General Assembly Hall.

The meeting of world leaders in New York usually brings thousands of people for more than a week of speeches, lunches, dinners, receptions, one-on-one meetings and hundreds of side events.

However, New York has been an epicenter of the coronavirus crisis. This year was expected to bring an especially large number of leaders to U.N. headquarters to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

But Guterres said in a letter to Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the president of the General Assembly, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, that the COVID-19 pandemic “will continue to cycle with varying degrees of severity” across the world and it’s highly unlikely leaders can travel to New York in September.

Muhammad-Bande has said a decision on the annual gathering will be made after consultations with U.N. member states.

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MADRID — Spain’s government says it will seek to extend the current state of emergency to fight the coronavirus outbreak until mid-June.

The government had planned to extend the special measures until the end of June, when some regions are expected to completely come out of lockdown. But Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s cabinet on Tuesday shortened the extension period to two weeks to secure the backing of opposition parties for Wednesday’s vote in the Congress of Deputies.

Sánchez’s minority left-wing coalition needs a simple majority in the 350-seat Lower House to pass the decree. The center-right Citizens party and smaller nationalist parties from the Basque and Catalan regions were demanding a shorter period in order to limit the government’s special powers.

The main conservative opposition and a far-right party have declared they will vote against the extension. Some of their members have been attending anti-government protests of pot-banging citizens in cities across the territory.

Spain has recorded more than 27,000 deaths and more than 230,000 confirmed infections.

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LONDON — A British lawmaker is urging the government to accept a bill that enshrines privacy protections in law in connection with a new app meant to track COVID-19 cases.

Harriet Harman, chair of Parliament’s human rights committee, says Britain needs a bill to safeguard privacy rights with the new app, rather than relying on existing legislation.

Though Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised to safeguard privacy rights in rolling out the app nationally, Harman says the system shouldn’t “rely on the individual integrity of any minister.”

Britain is testing an app on the Isle of Wight that logs details of nearby phones that have the app. If a user gets symptoms, those other phones will receive an alert and people can get a coronavirus test.

But the app’s success depends on large swathes of the population being willing to share personal data. Harman argues that such an intrusion requires legislation -- even if the ultimate goal is to safeguard the population.

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ISLAMABAD — A special Pakistani plane has airlifted 274 students from China.

That comes months after they were stranded in Wuhan because of the spread of coronavirus. The students arrived at the Islamabad airport Monday night, according to Tuesday’s foreign ministry statement.

It didn’t say how many Pakistani students were still present in China.

Pakistan is a longtime friend of China. Despite domestic pressure, Pakistan earlier this year had refused to evacuate an estimated 30,000 of its nationals, including students, to express solidarity with Beijing. Officials say seven Pakistani students were tested positive in Wuhan following the outbreak of virus and all of them recovered.

The move to start bringing back students came a week after Islamabad eased a six-week long lockdown amid increasing infections. It has drawn criticism from some experts who say it could cause more coronavirus-related deaths.

Pakistan has reported 43,966 confirmed cases and 939 coronavirus-related deaths since February. Authorities say the increase of infections and deaths was mainly because people failed to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

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GENEVA — Member states of the World Health Organization have unanimously passed a resolution brought by European Union members, African nations and others calling for an independent “comprehensive evaluation” of the international response to the COVID-19 outbreak coordinated by the U.N. health agency.

The United States has sharply criticized the agency and its relationship with China, where the outbreak erupted.

Overnight, U.S. President Donald Trump listed concerns and criticism about the WHO to its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Nations rallied around the resolution that calls on the director-general to initiate “at the earliest appropriate moment” an evaluation that would “review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19.”

It was not immediately clear how, when or by whom that evaluation will be conducted.

The resolution pointed to the “role of extensive immunization against COVID-19 as a global public good,” and called on international organizations to “work collaboratively” to produce safe, effective and affordable medicines and vaccines.

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MOSCOW — Russia’s prime minister has fully resumed his duties after recovering from the coronavirus.

Mikhail Mishustin, 54, announced he was infected on April 30.

On Tuesday, Mishustin’s office says he's checked out of the hospital and returned to his duties in the Cabinet headquarters. He's set to take part in a video conference with President Vladimir Putin later in the day.

Several Cabinet ministers and Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov also have been infected. Peskov says he had double pneumonia caused by the virus. He noted he hadn’t met with Putin in person for more than a month.

Putin has limited public appearances and held most of his meetings online during the virus pandemic.

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LONDON — Shakespeare’s Globe theater, one of London’s major tourist attractions, says it could be forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic.

All of Britain’s theaters have been shut since March, when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the virus.

While some venues receive government subsidy, the Globe gets 95% of its revenue from ticket sales. The theater says the blow from the pandemic “has been financially devastating and could even be terminal.”

Parliament’s culture committee told the government that the Globe was “part of our national identity.” It says, “for this national treasure to succumb to COVID-19 would be a tragedy.”

The Globe is a reconstructed Elizabethan playhouse beside the River Thames modeled on the theater where many of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed. It opened in 1997 and draws hundreds of thousands of people a year to its open-air productions.

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Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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