LONDON – British scientists rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hopes that the country could get out of the corona virus locking and return to normal at Christmas.
Johnson has announced easing further restrictions, with people urged to return to public transportation and workplaces. He said sports fans had to return to the stadium in October and the remaining restrictions could be lifted from November, “maybe in time for Christmas.”
But epidemiologist John Edmunds, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said returning to pre-pandemic normality would not be possible until there was a vaccine for the virus.
He said a world where people could “go to work normally, travel by bus and train, go on vacation without restrictions, meet friends, shake hands, hug each other and so on – unfortunately, it was very far away,”
The head of the British Health Officer, Chris Whitty, also said social distance rules must exist for “prolonged periods.”
The UK has registered more than 45,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, the highest number in Europe.
HERE WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OUTBREAK VIRUSES:
– Indian infections are increasing, alarming cases could double on August 10
– Reality shows Trump’s lack of claims for ‘best testing’
– Millions of children say full return to school in the fall
– Republicans wipe the eyes of the shield from coronavirus obligations
– Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin urges Congress to immediately enact a new pandemic aid package targeting the most severe economic patches, as lawmakers race to stand on federal aid in the face of the latest surge in coronavirus cases in most of the Sun Belt and the most severe unemployment .
– The evidence behind what role children play in the coronavirus pandemic and how it affects them is inconclusive, despite Trump’s administrative position that science is clear.
– New research provides more information on what treatments are done or not working for COVID-19, with high-quality methods that provide reliable results.
Follow all AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE IS WHAT ELSE HAPPENED:
NEW DELHI – A surge of 34,884 new corona virus cases makes India count to 1,038,716, as local governments re-implement focused locking in several parts of the country.
The Ministry of Health on Saturday reported 671 confirmed deaths in the past 24 hours for a total of 26,273. The ministry said the recovery rate fell slightly to 62.9%.
Actual numbers, like elsewhere in the world, are likely to be much higher for various reasons, including limited testing. More than 300,000 samples are tested every day.
About a dozen states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam, have locked up at risk areas, only allowing important food supplies and health services.
Rahul Gandhi, leader of Congress’s main opposition party, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to take concrete steps to tackle the pandemic. He warned the number of infections would double to 2 million on August 10 at the current pace.
Experts say India is likely to witness a series of peaks when infections spread in rural areas.
Confirmed corona virus cases worldwide have reached 14 million and deaths have exceeded 600,000, according to calculations from Johns Hopkins University on Saturday.
The World Health Organization reports one day of new infections: more than 237,000. Experts believe that the real number is even higher.
The United States, Brazil and India occupy the top ranks with the highest number of cases. India on Friday surpassed 1 million confirmed infections, and Brazilian cases passed 2 million, including 76,000 deaths, on Thursday.
MELBOURNE, Australia – The Australian state of Australia witnessed a decline in new COVID-19 infections – from Friday’s record high of 428 to 217 – a number according to Head of Health Service Brett Sutton was “a relief after yesterday’s numbers.”
The Department of Health said on Saturday that two more Victorians, a man and a woman in their 80s, had died, bringing the state’s death rate to 34 and Australia’s national total to 118.
Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said the latest figures were encouraging but warned it was only one day.
He said, “We want to see a pattern where there is stability and then decline.” He urged residents in the Melbourne metropolitan to remain diligent for six weeks of confinement – “being bored is far better than being in intensive care.”
MEXICO CITY – Mexico has registered 736 more COVID-19 deaths and 7,257 more confirmed cases of coronavirus infection.
Mexico now has more than 35,000 deaths due to pandemics, the fourth highest number in the world. It has also recorded more than 324,000 cases, around the seventh highest rate.
The Health Department said Friday that hospitals in the coastal state of Tabasco now have 85% capacity and there are crowds at hospitals in the northern state of the Nuevo Leon border.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he was concerned about the situation in Tabasco, where he was born. He said the government hospital there would be expanded to handle more patients.
BEIJING – The number of confirmed cases in the new COVID-19 outbreak in the western tip of China has increased to 17.
The National Health Commission said on Saturday that 16 other cases were identified on Friday in the Xinjiang region, above the first case the previous day.
The outbreak in the city of Urumqi was the latest to emerge because China contained mostly the spread of the domestic virus in March. The biggest is the recent outbreak in Beijing which infected more than 330 people.
Chinese media said authorities in Urumqi had reduced subway, bus and taxi services and closed down several residential communities. They also restrict people from leaving the city.
China has been accused of human rights violations in Xinjiang, the homeland of the mostly Muslim Uighur community. The region has long been shrouded in extreme security, which according to China is needed to prevent terrorist activity.
SEOUL, South Korea – Authorities in South Korea say the majority of new corona virus cases originate from abroad.
Officials have expressed optimism that the recent revival of infection is being controlled. They say import cases are less threatening than local transmissions because South Korea mandates testing and enforces two-week quarantine on all people who come from other countries.
The South Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday that at least 28 of the 39 new confirmed cases were related to people coming from abroad. It said 18 other people involved local transmission in the densely populated Seoul area, which was at the center of a virus revival that began in late May when people increased economic and social activities.
In all, South Korea has reported 13,711 confirmed cases during the pandemic, including 294 deaths.
CANBERRA, Australia – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will cancel the next two weeks of parliament due to the recent spread of the corona virus in several parts of the country.
Parliament has been scheduled to meet August 4-13 and then sit down again for a two-week session from August 24.
Morrison said on Saturday that he had written to the speaker of parliament asking for the cancellation, but the request was considered only a formality.
In a statement, the prime minister said acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly had suggested that there would be “significant risk” in holding parliamentary meetings because of increased community transmission of the corona virus in Victoria state as well as trends in New South Wales.
AUSTIN, Texas – The deadliest month of the pandemic in Texas continues, with state officials reporting 174 new deaths, the largest one day since the coronavirus outbreak began.
Texas also reported more than 10,000 new cases that were confirmed Friday for the fourth day in a row. The rate of positive cases also rose above 17% for the first time.
Officials at the Texas-Mexico border, which was devastated, said hotels could be converted into medical units as soon as next week.
The bleak markers were announced hours after Texas gave public school permission to close the campus to more than 5 million students until the fall. Nearly a third of more than 3,700 deaths due to the corona virus in Texas occurred in July.
SACRAMENTO, California – California has recorded the third highest total number of new daily corona virus cases, two days after reporting the second most cases in a day.
The state reported nearly 10,000 new cases and 130 deaths on Friday, during a week of positive numbers ranging from 7,346 to as high as 11,126 on Wednesday.
The daily positive test rate fell slightly, to 7.1% over the past seven days, compared to 7.4% for the past 14 days. California tested more than 120,000 people per day for most of last week.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced strict criteria on Friday for the reopening of schools which prevented most districts from returning to classroom teaching in the fall.
CHICAGO – Most Chicago kids will return to class two days a week and spend the other three days studying remotely once the school year begins, under the tentative plan outlined on Friday.
Chicago Public School officials call the hybrid approach the initial framework and ask parents, students and staff of the third largest school district in the country to consider.
The final decision on direct instruction for the fall class will not come until the end of August, with classes starting September 8.
“We must be prepared for all possibilities,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “COVID-19 is unpredictable from the start and we have the responsibility to prepare for what is dictated by public health indicators, whether that means distance learning, direct learning or something in between.”
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