CANBERRA, Australia – Australia did not record any new locally transmitted coronavirus infections for the first time in five months.
In Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, which has the highest number of cases in the country, residents enjoyed the first weekend cafés, restaurants and pubs reopening to arriving visitors.
The city has only one mystery case with no known source. There are 61 active cases remaining statewide, down from 70 on Saturday.
Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino hailed Sunday’s zero as “another big day for Victoria,” but urged caution ahead of Tuesday’s most prestigious horse race in Australia, the Melbourne Cup, known as “the race that stops the nation.” Australians traditionally gather in bars or in private homes to watch these events, public holidays.
The race attracted over 100,000 people at Melbourne’s Flemington racetrack, but this year it will be held without fans due to public gathering restrictions.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton urged Victorians to enjoy the Cup but to adhere to guidelines on mask use and social distancing.
“Most of the Melburnian people know what to do,” said Sutton. “There will be some who may be a little liberal in their behavior.”
Sutton said the new wave of infections in Europe shows how quickly the coronavirus can re-emerge.
“What Europe is going through right now is a consequence of not being able to get to a point where you can stay on top of very low numbers,” he said. “What we create is very valuable and we have to hold on tight.”
The state of Western Australia on Sunday recorded one new case of COVID-19, a woman who returned from overseas and is in hotel quarantine.
HERE WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE OUTBREAK VIRUS:
– Halloween in pandemic: Costumes and candy, from a distance
– England to enter a new lockdown; UK virus cases passed 1 million
– US minority contact tracers build trust across cities
– Efraín Valles guides world leaders, pop stars and a princess on an exclusive tour through Inca lands. He is now making ice cream to survive the pandemic.
– The Dutch government will suspend a multibillion-euro coronavirus bailout to national airline KLM amid a dispute with the pilots’ union over the terms of the rescue package.
– Austria has announced a partial closure that will see restaurants and bars closed for four weeks, cultural, sports and recreational activities canceled, and residents asked to stay home after 8 p.m.
Follow coverage of the AP corona virus pandemic at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE WHAT ELSE HAPPENED:
SANTA FE, NM – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Saturday said the spread of the coronavirus was out of control in New Mexico as he urged residents to stay home and avoid hanging out with other people to celebrate Halloween.
“Please – do your part to protect yourself and your fellow New Mexicans by celebrating COVID-SAFE Halloween,” the Democratic governor’s office said in a Facebook post. “Stay at home. Don’t hang out with other people.”
State officials on Saturday reported 592 additional known virus cases and 11 additional deaths but said case data for the day were incomplete due to technical issues.
“Due to technical glitches to the electronic laboratory reporting system, the following data reflects only a fraction of the total recent cases,” the state official said in a statement. “Pending results will be included in state reporting as soon as they are received and confirmed.”
The additional cases and deaths reported on Saturday raised the state’s total to 46,490 cases and 1,018 deaths.
JERUSALEM – Dozens of members of Israel’s Arab Druze minority stormed a hospital in northern Israel and seized the body of a sheikh who died from the coronavirus. Saturday night, his followers held a large funeral for him that went against safety guidelines.
Crowds stormed the hospital late Friday in the northern city of Safed. The TV station showed a video of dozens of followers entering the building. The funeral took place in the town of Majdal Shams on the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, which has been under lockdown due to high rates of coronavirus infections. Thousands of Druze participated in the funeral procession, although large gatherings were prohibited.
Late Saturday, Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif, spiritual leader of the Druze sect, said the deceased’s family and Druze leader were not consulted before the bodies were taken from hospital. He appealed to the Druze to comply with health restrictions, the Israeli Arab public radio service reported.
The Druze community, which follows a secret branch of Islam, generally has good relations with the national government.
The report said that Israeli police were investigating the incident.
Israel has begun easing its second national lockdown this month after bringing down the infection rate, which in September had risen to one of the highest in the world.
CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada hit 100,000 total coronavirus cases as of Saturday.
State officials reported more than 977 cases, raising the total to 100,763.
The seven-day turnover average of new cases each day changed from 584 on October 16 to 874 on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press.
The positivity rate increased from 8% to 10%. However, the average number of daily deaths fell from 7.1 to 5.6.
Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak said, “Now is not the time to be complacent or succumb to COVID exhaustion.”
Sisolak appealed to residents to wear masks, practice keeping their distance, washing their hands frequently, and avoiding crowds. He told people to take this virus seriously to protect others and the economy.
Nevada reported no deaths on Saturday, keeping the confirmed number at 1,777.
JUNEAU, Alaska – Members of parliament, employees and journalists must be screened for the coronavirus when entering the Alaska Capitol.
The Alaska Legislative Council approved the measure, which required masks on buildings and other legislative offices. The council decided to keep the Capitol building closed to the public until at least January, when the next Legislature convenes.
Alaska reported 384 coronavirus cases and four deaths as of Friday.
There are more than 15,000 confirmed cases and 81 deaths, according to the state’s Department of Health and Social Services.
ROME – Italy added a record 31,758 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and doubled deaths to nearly 300 on Saturday.
The Health Ministry said about one in seven people who received swab tests had tested positive in recent days.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is considering stricter virus measures. Demonstrators took to Rome’s streets on Saturday to protest against the recent actions.
Italy has nearly 680,000 confirmed cases and 38,618 deaths, Europe’s second-highest death.
PHOENIX – Arizona reported nearly 1,900 new cases and 45 deaths as of Saturday.
Hospitalization rates at the end of October had already started reaching levels last recorded at the end of May, with 880 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday. Nearly 200 are in intensive care.
The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases rose from 772 on October 16 to 1,166 on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press.
The daily mortality changed from 8.6 to 9.9 and the positivity rate increased from 8.2% to 10.5%.
Arizona has reported 245,946 confirmed cases and 5,979 deaths.
Athens, Greece – Greece surpassed 2,000 coronavirus cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Authorities said there were 2,056 new cases in the past day and six deaths.
The government announced new lockdown measures on Saturday to stem the rapid increase in new cases. The restrictions, including the closure of bars, cafes, restaurants and gyms in much of the country, will take effect from Tuesday until at least the end of November.
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases stood at 39,251 and 626 deaths.
VIENNA – Austria will impose a partial closure on Tuesday closing restaurants, bars and leisure facilities.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Austria will stay home between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., although they can go out to work and exercise. He asked residents to work from home if possible.
Kurz said the restrictions will last until November. She characterized it as a “second lockout” but lenient because schools, non-essential shops, and hairdressers were able to stay open.
Austria has reported 301 cases per 100,000 population in the last seven days. That compares with 110 in neighboring Germany, which imposed a somewhat lighter four-week partial closure starting Monday.
Austria has confirmed a total of 106,000 coronavirus cases and 1,097 deaths.
PRAGUE – The Czech Red Cross has launched a one-day training program for volunteers to assist medical personnel in hospitals and nursing homes amid staff shortages.
The volunteers will learn the basics of patient care, said Katerina Havlova, director of the Red Cross branch in the northern city of Jablonec nad Nisou.
Its branch office, one of eight providing training throughout the Czech Republic, plans to train more than 100 volunteers.
About 15,000 medical staff at the country’s hospitals have tested positive for the coronavirus. Currently, 7,281 people are hospitalized, more than double the number two weeks ago.
The Czech Republic has 323,673 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths.