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Tuesday May 18th, 2021 9:17AM

The Latest: German cruise ship out for 1st time since virus

By The Associated Press
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BERLIN — A German cruise ship has set sail for the first time since the industry was shut down because of the coronavirus, with strict precautions for passengers and crew.

The TUI cruise ship “Mein Schiff 2” -- “My Ship 2” -- set sail for the weekend cruise in the North Sea on Friday night, the dpa news agency reported.

Occupancy was limited to 60% so passengers can keep their distance. There were 1,200 people on board compared the ship’s normal 2,900 capacity. The ship sailed from the port of Hamburg toward Norway, and passengers will spend the weekend at sea with no land stops before returning to Germany on Monday.

Passengers and crew are required to stay 1.5 meters (5 feet) away or wear protective masks and won’t serve themselves at the ship’s buffet. All passengers filled out a health questionnaire before boarding and had temperatures checks.

After being shut down for months, German cruise ship companies hope shorter, strictly controlled trips will help restart the business.

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

— South Korea reports case spike, US states tighten controls

— Extra unemployment aid expires as virus threatens new states

— US sued over expulsion of migrant children detained in hotel

— At a convent near Detroit, 13 nuns have died of COVID-19. The toll is seven at a center for Maryknoll sisters in New York, and six at a Wisconsin convent that serves nuns with fading memories.

— Recovering from even mild coronavirus infections can take at least two to three weeks. That’s according to new U.S. research published Friday. It found that even among young adults, 1 in 5 had lingering symptoms. Cough, fatigue and body aches were among the most common persistent symptoms.

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

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

LONDON — Swimming pools and gyms in England are reopening for the first time since the U.K. went into lockdown as public health officials extol the benefits of exercise in fighting COVID-19.

The government has announced a fresh attack on obesity as part of the move, hoping that a fitter nation might be able to minimize the impact of future waves of the virus.

But Jane Nickerson, chief executive of Swim England, says that there had been financial pressure on pools even before the pandemic and that without government support many won’t open this year — or ever.

She told the BBC that funding pools actually saves money because of the impact they have on social cohesion, crime prevention, education attainment and health benefits. Learning to swim is also a life skill.

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MULTAN, Pakistan — A Pakistani health official says 14 Chinese engineers and experts have tested positive for the coronavirus while working on a power project in central Pakistan.

Rana Yousaf, a medical doctor at the state-run Behawalpur hospital, said Saturday that the Chinese were brought to the hospital a day earlier amid tight security and that all of them were listed in stable condition.

It is the first time that authorities have confirmed infections among Chinese working in the country.

Currently, an unspecified number of Chinese are working in various parts of Pakistan on CPEC-related projects.

The development came hours after Pakistan reported 24 new deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the country’s lowest number of daily fatalities from the virus in more than a month.

Pakistan has recorded 271,887 cases and 5,787 fatalities.

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PARIS — France’s coronavirus infection rate is continuing its worrisome upward creep, with health authorities saying the closely watched “R” gauge is now up to 1.3, suggesting that infected people are on average contaminating 1.3 others.

Also increasing is the daily number of new cases, up to 1,130 on Friday. In their daily statement on the French outbreak that has claimed 30,192 lives, health authorities warned that the country is going backward in its battle and that infection indicators now again resemble those seen in May when France was coming out of its strict two-month lockdown.

“We have thus erased much of the progress that we’d achieved in the first weeks of lockdown-easing,” health authorities said.

They appealed for a return to “collective discipline,” asking that people work from home and get tested if they have any suspicions of infection.

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JOHANNESBURG — Africa’s total confirmed coronavirus cases has surpassed 800,000.

That’s according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Africa has more than half the reported cases on the 54-nation continent. But infections are now climbing rapidly in other countries including Kenya, East Africa’s economic hub, with more than 16,000.

Africa was a major concern even before the first case was reported on the continent on Feb. 14, as the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global health emergency in January cited the threat to fragile health care systems.

Africa’s are the least-equipped in the world, and health experts have warned the virus could “smoulder” in parts of the continent for a long time. Africa now has 810,008 confirmed cases.

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NEW DELHI —India began its first human trials of a coronavirus vaccine candidate as the world’s second-most populous country recorded nearly 49,000 new cases.

The additional infections take India’s total to more than 1.3 million on Saturday, with surges seen in a quarter of the country’s 36 states and union territories.

India has tallied 31,358 deaths, including 757 in the last 24 hours. It has reported a much lower death rate than the world’s two other worst-hit countries, the United States and Brazil. Johns Hopkins University showed the U.S. has more than 4.1 million cases (144,000 deaths) and Brazil with 2.2 million cases (85,000 deaths).

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a premier teaching hospital in the capital of New Delhi, says it has administered the first dose of a trial COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.

The candidate vaccine, Covaxin, is among nearly two dozen in human trials around the world. AIIMS is among the 12 sites selected by the Indian Council for Medical Research for conducting the two-phase randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials of Covaxin.

Countries are making giant bets on various vaccine candidates, entering into purchasing agreements with pharmaceutical companies for delivery if and when regulators deem the doses safe and effective.

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HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam has reported the first local case of COVID-19 in over three months.

The 57-year-old man from central Da Nang city was hospitalized on Thursday with a fever and respiratory distress. The Health Ministry says his condition worsened and he was put on a ventilator.

Health workers haven't traced the source for his infection. For more than a month, he didn't travel outside his hometown, where no case of COVID-19 has been reported since April.

Da Nang city authorities have isolated the hospital he had visited and those who had been in contact with the man in the past weeks. His family members and more than 100 others have initially tested negative for the coronavirus.

The news of a local infection after most activities had resumed in mid-May caused many to cancel or end their holidays in Da Nang, one of Vietnam’s most popular beach destinations.

Vietnam has reported 416 confirmed cases and no deaths.

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Five more Victoria residents died from COVID-19 as the Australian state recorded 357 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews refused to rule out further restrictions but kept with mandatory masks as the current strategy to stop the spread.

Andrews says, “If they are worn by everybody, we may not need to go further. We can’t rule out going further with rule changes, but it’s a big game changer.”

There are now nearly 4,000 active cases in the state and 313 are health care workers.

The deaths take Victoria state toll to 61 and the national figure to 145. Victoria recorded 300 new cases on Friday, down from 403 on Thursday.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 113 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours — its first daily jump above 100 in nearly four months.

But the rise was expected as health authorities had forecast a temporary spike driven by imported infections found among cargo-ship crews and hundreds of South Korean construction workers flown out of virus-ravaged Iraq.

The figures released Saturday by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought the national caseload to 14,092 and 298 confirmed deaths.

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NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans’ mayor is shutting down the city’s bars because of rising coronavirus numbers and forbidding restaurants to sell alcoholic drinks to go.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell says some lines of people waiting to buy drinks were so long they became “a gathering in themselves, and no mask-wearing and the like.”

Cantrell says the city is seeing daily increases in confirmed coronavirus cases about double its threshold of 50 a day for more relaxed rules. The rule against take-out sales of alcoholic drinks takes effect Saturday.

The mayor’s orders came as the Louisiana Department of Health reported more than 2,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases, for a total of 103,734. New Orleans’ total rose 103 to 9,752.

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JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s governor is setting new restrictions on bars and social gatherings to curb the spread of the coronavirus among a group that he describes as “young, drunk, careless folks.”

Gov. Tate Reeves says coronavirus infections have been rising steadily in people in their 20s who are not being responsible under the current regulations.

Bars and restaurants in the state have been open at 50% capacity. Under the new rules, they also must require customers be seated to order alcohol and alcohol sales will end at 11 p.m.

The governor says “our bars must look more like restaurants and less like mobs of COVID-19 spread.”

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CAIRO — A humanitarian group says 97 medical workers in Yemen have died of the coronavirus, the first reliable estimate to give a glimpse into the pandemic’s impact on the devastated health sector in the war-torn country.

The report by MedGlobal relies on accounts from Yemeni doctors tracking the deaths of colleagues to gauge the toll of the virus. The 97 dead include infectious disease experts, medical directors, midwives and pharmacists.

Even before the pandemic Yemen had just 10 doctors for every 10,000 people. The country’s health system is in shambles after five years of war that has spawned one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government has reported 1,674 confirmed coronavirus infections and 469 deaths.

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HONOLULU — The first hurricane to threaten the United States since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is presenting new challenges for Hawaii, even though officials there are long accustomed to tropical storms.

Meteorologists say Hurricane Douglas should weaken by the time it hits Hawaii with strong winds, heavy rainfall and dangerous surf beginning Sunday.

But Honolulu authorities are having to prepare extra shelter space so people can maintain physical distance from others.

Evacuees at Honolulu shelters will have their temperatures taken. Those with high temperatures or with a travel or exposure history will either be isolated at that shelter or taken to a different site.

Officials are reminding people to make sure they have masks and hand sanitizers in their emergency supply kits.

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Health officials in Oregon say nine more people have died from COVID-19 — the highest number of deaths reported in one day in the state since the pandemic began.

The Oregon Health Authority say the newly recorded deaths raise the state’s toll 282.

The authority say there were 396 new confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, bringing Oregon's case total to more than 16,100.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s expanded face-covering mandate for anyone 5 years or older went into effect Friday.

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