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Friday December 4th, 2020 10:01AM

The Latest: South Carolina lieutenant gov contracts COVID-19

By The Associated Press
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Officials in South Carolina say Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday, but is recovering in isolation with her family at home.

Brian Symmes, the spokesman for Gov. Henry McMaster, said Monday that Evette had a sore throat and headache and was tested for the virus. She has stayed at her family’s home near Greenville since noting the symptoms on Thursday.

Evette’s positive test prompted McMaster and his wife to get COVID-19 tests, which both came back negative Sunday. Symmes said it was the fifth negative test since the pandemic began for the governor and the third for his wife.

Symmes said two members of Evette’s staff and some of her security detail are also isolating but have not tested positive for COVID-19. Evette, 53, and the 73-year-old governor were last together on Sept. 6.

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

— In defiance of Nevada's coronavirus restrictions and US guidelines, Trump holds indoor rally in front of largely maskless crowd

— To door knock or not? Candidates are evolving tactics of political campaigning in the coronavirus pandemic era

— Teacher departures, some driven by health concerns, leave schools scrambling for substitutes

— A family struggle as pandemic worsens food insecurity

— 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:

CAIRO — Egypt says wedding parties, funeral prayers and cultural events will be allowed next week, only at open venues, for the first time since the government imposed a partial lockdown earlier this year to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Nader Saad, a spokesman for the government, said Monday that wedding parties will be allowed with a maximum capacity of 300 people starting from Sep. 21 at tourist facilities and hotels that have obtained health safety certificates.

He said in a statement that cultural events, including book fairs, will be allowed in open-air places with 50% of its capacity. Funeral prayers will be also allowed at mosques with outdoor yards.

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CHICAGO — Chicago officials say they’ve started hiring hundreds of contact tracers in the fight against COVID-19.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot first announced the $65 million initiative in May. City officials said Monday that 31 community organizations will help create the program and conduct the hiring. So far, roughly 100 people have been offered jobs in the effort.

Chicago will work with 31 community groups to hire 500 more people for contact tracing and supervising positions that’ll pay either $20 or $24 hourly. City officials say the move marks a moment of hope during the pandemic that has killed 8,314 Illinoisans, including five reported Monday.

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NEW YORK — This year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving parade has been reimagined for the coronavirus pandemic.

Macy’s officials said Monday that the parade will feature floats, performers and giant balloons parading along a one-block stretch of 34th Street in front of the retailer’s flagship Manhattan store.

The spectacle will be broadcast as usual from 9 a.m. to noon Eastern time on NBC and will include both live and recorded elements. The giant balloons will be flown without the traditional 80 to 100 handlers and will instead be tethered to vehicles. Most of the parade’s performers will be locally based to cut down on travel.

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PANAMA CITY — Panama has lifted a five-month-old coronavirus measure that restricted women from going out one day, and men the next.

The rules, lifted Monday, limited when people could go out for essentials. They proved controversial because it led to harassment and discrimination against transgender people.

Health Minister Luis Antonio Sucre urged caution despite the lifting of the rule, which had been in place since March.

Similar measures were also tried in Peru as a way to reduce the number of people on the street and slow the spread of contagion.

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PITTSBURGH — A federal judge has struck down Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic restrictions that required people to stay at home, placed size limits on gatherings and ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down, calling them unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV on Monday sided with plaintiffs that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmer’s market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders who sued as individuals.

Stickman wrote in his ruling that the Wolf administration’s pandemic policies have been overreaching, arbitrary and violated citizens’ constitutional rights.

Wolf has lifted many of the restrictions since the lawsuit was filed in May, allowing businesses to reopen and canceling a statewide stay-at-home order. But his administration has maintained some capacity restrictions and limitations. A spokesperson for Wolf said the administration was reviewing the decision.

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PARIS — Two of France’s biggest cities with COVID-19 infection rates exceeding the national surge in new cases are tightening limits on public activities as the French government seeks to ward off a new nationwide lockdown.

The stricter restrictions announced Monday in Marseille and Bordeaux responded to a demand from France’s prime minister that both cities take additional steps to stem their growing numbers of infections.

In Bordeaux, the top government official for the region announced a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people in public parks, along the city’s picturesque river and on beaches. The new rules also limit the size of large public gatherings to no more than 1,000 people.

To counter partying, Bordeaux cafes and restaurants will also no longer be able to serve clients who are standing up and will not be able to play music outdoors. Dancing is forbidden in public venues, including at weddings. Drinking alcohol in public is also banned in Bordeaux, a center of the French wine industry.

In Marseille, France’s second-biggest city after Paris, the regional government also announced a series of similar restrictions and the cancellation of an 11-day international festival.

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ATLANTA — The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the fight against HIV. Across the U.S. South, clinics have stopped or limited testing for the AIDS virus and public health officials overwhelmed by demands to control COVID-19 have shifted staff away from tracking HIV patients.

Progress against the virus had already stalled in recent years. Now, health experts and advocates worry the country is at risk of backsliding, with a spike in new HIV infections because people don’t know they have the disease, aren’t aware if their treatment is working or aren’t getting a drug that can prevent them from getting HIV in the first place.

The issue is of particular concern in the South, which accounted for more than half of the country’s roughly 37,000 HIV infections in 2018 and has been a focus of the Trump administration’s goal of eradicating the disease by 2030. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer people in the South are aware that they have HIV compared with other regions in the U.S.

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MILAN — The number of new positive cases of coronavirus identified in Italy narrowed in the last 24 hours almost in proportion to the lower number of tests.

Italy reported 1,008 new positives on Monday, the first day of school in most of the country after breaks of six to seven months, down by 30% from the previous day. During the same period, testing dropped by 37% to just over 45,000, according to Health Ministry statistics.

The number of confirmed positives has edged up for the last six weeks, mostly discovered during testing of returning holidaymakers. Most are asymptomatic, although the number of people in the hospital and in intensive care units is also edging up, with 80 more hospitalized in the last 24 hours and 10 more in intensive care. Fourteen people died in the period, bringing the pandemic total to 35,624 known victims.

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BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia is imposing travel restrictions for anyone coming from the Czech Republic after its neighbor registered a record level of new confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Starting on Friday, travelers from the Czech Republic will have to present a negative coronavirus test that is not older than 72 hours or be quarantined for five days and then get tested.

Random checks will be conducted to make sure people comply with the requirements.

Exceptions include students, teachers, health personnel, some artists and athletes and some others.

The two countries that formed Czechoslovakia have closer ties with one another than with any other country.

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LONDON — New rules preventing gatherings of more than six people go into effect in England, Scotland and Wales on Monday, in an effort to simplify directives meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But a myriad of exceptions ensure that the public is likely to still find the rules hard to follow. For example, the rule applies to pubs but not to schools or workplaces.

The U.K. has suffered Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak. It recorded more than 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the third day running on Sunday.

Though an increase in testing accounts for some of the new cases, it’s clear that the U.K. has seen the virus spread in recent weeks, stoking concerns about a second wave.

To try to halt the spread, authorities have tightened a number of restrictions on everyday life. London’s Metropolitan Police pledged to take appropriate action, and say they will act to enforce the tighter restrictions across the capital.

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WINTER PARK, Fla. — Police say a 70-year-old man was beaten after he asked a man who wasn’t wearing a mask to practice social distancing inside a central Florida gas station.

According to an Orange County arrest affidavit, the two men began arguing outside a Citgo gas station in Winter Park on Sept. 8. The older man paid for his items and left.

The report said 24-year-old Rovester Ingram followed him outside and began kicking and punching the older man. The Orlando Sentinel reported that the man went back inside the gas station, and Ingram punched him again, grabbed him by the hair and dragged him back outside.

Winter Park police confirmed the victim’s account through eyewitness accounts and security footage. They found Ingram at his house.

Court records show he is charged with kidnapping/inflicting bodily harm as well as aggravated battery.

The victim was taken to a hospital for treatment.

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PARIS — A global development agency said the world’s 20 major industrialized nations have seen their economies shrink in an unprecedented manner between April and June amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Monday that the gross domestic product dropped by a record 6.9% in the second quarter of this year in the G-20 area.

This organization noted that is “significantly larger” than the 1.6% fall recorded in the first quarter of 2009 at the height of the financial crisis.

Between April and June this year, the GDP most dramatically fell by 25.2 in India, by 20.4% in the UK and by 17.1% in Mexico. It plunged by 9.1% in the United States.

The OECD said that China was the only G-20 country recording growth (11.5%) in that period. The organization said that reflects “the earlier onset of the pandemic in this country and subsequent recovery.”

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STOCKHOLM — Sweden has removed Britain from its list of countries with travel warnings, allowing Swedes to travel to the United Kingdom.

At the same time, the Foreign Ministry in Stockholm said Sweden is now part of a group of countries for which the United Kingdom considers that the risks regarding the virus are lower and is no longer covered by Britain's quarantine regulations.

Swedish authorities said the easing of restrictions implemented for Swedish travelers was taken into account when deciding to remove the travel warning for Britain on Monday.

The Foreign Ministry said local regulations, restrictions and requirements for quarantine that affect Swedish travelers can be reintroduced at short notice if the situation changes.

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NEW DELHI — India reopened its Parliament after more than five months Monday even as the country continues to report the most daily new infections of the coronavirus in the world and daily virus deaths remain above 1,000.

Lawmakers must wear masks and follow other sanitization protocols, sit on seats separated by transparent plastic sheets and keep their meetings limited. The Question Hour, when lawmakers ask questions to ministers and hold them accountable for the functioning of their ministries, will not be allowed.

Opposition parties have protested the decision to do away with the Question Hour and are expected to grill the government over its handling of the pandemic, the nosediving economy and simmering tensions with China.

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — Main streets were less crowded as Indonesia’s capital began two weeks of social restrictions Monday to curb a rise of coronavirus infections that has pushed its critical-care hospital capacity to unsafe levels.

Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan announced the restrictions Sunday, to last from Monday to Sept. 27, to combat a virus outbreak he called an emergency situation.

Social, economic, religious, cultural and academic activities will be restricted, with 11 essential sectors, like food, construction and banking, allowed to operate with health protocols and 50% of usual staffing levels.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported its lowest daily virus tally in about a month as it began easing its tough social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said the 109 new cases took the country’s total to 22,285 with 363 deaths. The daily increase has stayed in the 100s for 12 straight days, but Monday’s increase was the lowest since mid-August.

The government on Sunday relaxed its physical distancing guidelines in the Seoul area, citing a downward trend in new infections and economic worries.

The rules effective Monday allow customers to eat and drink inside franchise cafes and bakeries and indoor gyms and after-school academics can reopen. A ban on late-night dining at restaurants was also lifted. Distancing and masks are still required.

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