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The Latest: Russia reports yet another virus case record

  • November 21, 2020

MOSCOW — Russia on Saturday reported a new daily high in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths.

The national coronavirus taskforce said 24,822 new cases were recorded over the past day, the fourth time in a week that a new high has been tallied.

It said a record 467 people died of COVID-19.

The surge in infections is straining Russia’s vast but underfunded health care system, with many infected people reportedly forced to search for sparse hospital beds.

Overall, Russia has recorded more than 2,064,000 cases and 35,778 deaths.

Japan scales back travel, dining out campaigns as cases rise

TOKYO — Japan is scaling back on the government-backed “GoTo” campaign to encourage travel and dining out, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached a record for the third day straight on Saturday, at 2,418.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the decision at a government panel on coronavirus pandemic measures.

Stressing the need for “utmost caution,” he said the campaign’s travel discounts will no longer apply to hard-hit areas, and discounts on eating out will end temporarily.

Japan has never had a total lockdown. It has had fewer than 2,000 deaths so far related to the coronavirus. But worries have been growing about a spike in infections over the three-day weekend. Monday is Labor Thanksgiving, a national holiday.

India reports nearly 50,000 new cases in 24 hours

NEW DELHI — India has reported 46,232 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, with the situation particularly alarming in New Delhi.

Intensive care wards and the capital’s main crematorium are near capacity, and health officials this week found the prevalence of infections in markets much higher than expected. The city has added an average of 6,700 cases each day in recent weeks.

The next two weeks in the post-festival season, including celebrations for the Diwali holiday, are going to be important in determining which way the virus will go. The Health Ministry on Saturday also registered 564 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 132,726.

While the pace of new cases in the country of 1.3 billion appears to be slowing, experts have cautioned that official figures may be offering false hope since many infections are undetected.

The two states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have announced night curfews in at least in eight cities from Saturday. Northern Rajasthan state is also imposing restrictions on the assembly of more than four people during nighttime.

South Korea may reimpose strong social distancing restrictions

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 386 new cases of the coronavirus in a resurgence that could force authorities to reimpose stronger social distancing restrictions after easing them in October to spur a faltering economy.

The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Saturday brought the national caseload to 30,403, including 503 deaths.

More than 270 of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where health workers have struggled to track transmissions in schools, private tutoring academies and religious facilities.

Infections were also reported in other major cities including Busan, Daejeon, Gwangju and Asan.

South Korea has so far managed to weather its COVID-19 epidemic without major lockdowns, relying instead on an aggressive test-and-quarantine campaign and mask-wearing.

Officials eased distancing measures to the lowest level in October, which allowed high-risk venues such as nightclubs and karaoke bars to reopen and fans to return to professional sports.

But the Korean Society of Infectious Diseases said Friday that the country could be reporting more than 1,000 new infections a day in a week or two if social distancing measures aren’t effectively strengthened.

Washington governor announces $135 million in emergency money

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday announced $135 million in grants and loans to help businesses and workers hurt by new restrictions he imposed through mid-December.

Inslee said that businesses would be able to apply for the assistance to help blunt the impact of restrictions that took effect this week, including the closure of fitness facilities and gyms, bowling centers and movie theaters, and the requirement that restaurants and bars to be limited to to-go service and outdoor dining.

The economic package also includes $20 million in rental assistance and $15 million in utility payment assistance for those with low income. All of the funding is part of federal coronavirus outbreak assistance funds distributed to states.

Wyoming governor announces new gathering limits

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has announced new limits on indoor and outdoor public gatherings. But he has not implemented a statewide mask mandate as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the state.

The Republican governor and state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist said Thursday that public gatherings will be limited to 25 people or fewer without restrictions. Indoor gatherings will be limited to 25% capacity, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 50%.

The new order goes into effect Nov. 24. No statewide mask mandate was approved, though nearly all of the county health officers have called for one as virus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have substantially increased in recent weeks.

Texas tops 8,000 hospitalized patients

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas has surpassed 8,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients for the first time since a deadly summer surge, and doctors are amplifying pleas to keep Thanksgiving gatherings small.

Texas reported more than 11,700 new cases Friday, once again approaching record highs. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has ruled out shutdowns and says cities and counties need to enforce restrictions already on the books, including occupancy limits and face coverings.

The Texas Hospital Association is now appealing for families to keep holiday gatherings “very small” as doctors and nurses struggle to keep up with rising caseloads. The group says staff are “tired and emotionally drained” and worried about the health of their own families.

Former Sen. Al D’Amato hospitalized with virus

NEW YORK — Former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato has been hospitalized with COVID-19.

The New York Post reported Friday that the New York Republican was being treated at a Long Island hospital.

“I’m weak but I feel good,” the 83-year-old told the newspaper in a phone interview. He said he had a light fever and congestion.

D’Amato said he started feeling unwell late last week, and didn’t know where he had gotten exposed to the virus. He said he had been mainly working from home, where he lives alone.

D’Amato served as one of the state’s senators in Congress from 1981 to 1999.

Kentucky reports almost 4,000 new cases

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Kentucky reported 3,825 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 20 more virus-related deaths Friday, as new restrictions went into effect aiming to slow the virus’s spread.

“Remember, your decisions are going to be what determines how many people live or die. Do your part,” Gov. Andy Beshear said, urging Kentuckians to follow the new requirements.

Starting Friday, private indoor gatherings are limited to two households, with a maximum of eight people. For roughly three weeks, bars and restaurants must close indoor dining, though they are permitted to continue curbside pickup, delivery and outdoor dining services.

Event venue capacity is limited to 25 people. Gym capacity is lowered to 33%, and group classes, team practices and competitions are prohibited. Beshear has also encouraged houses of worship to refrain from in-person services.

Judge allows ban on indoor dining to stand in Michigan

DETROIT — A judge on Friday declined to halt a three-week ban on indoor dining in Michigan that is one of the most recent coronavirus restrictions imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.

The state health department, meanwhile, reported a new daily high of confirmed COVID-19 cases, 9,779, and 53 additional deaths as the virus continued to spike.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in Kalamazoo said a restraining order halting the indoor dining ban wouldn’t be appropriate, especially when the state hasn’t had a chance to respond to the lawsuit.

The Michigan Restaurant Lodging Association, which has thousands of members, is suing to try to stop the indoor dining ban that began Wednesday. The group said restaurants can take further steps to reduce coronavirus risk without cutting off customers.

The group said its members were being unfairly treated compared to other businesses. The judge, however, wasn’t swayed.

“Individuals who patronize the businesses that remain open can do so — and must do so — while wearing a face covering. … In contrast, individuals cannot eat or drink while wearing a mask,” Maloney said.

Maloney scheduled the next hearing for Nov. 30, nearly two weeks into the three-week ban.

Toronto to enter lockdown on Monday

TORONTO — Canada’s largest city is going back on lockdown.

The province of Ontario announced Friday Toronto and the surrounding Peel Region will go into lockdown on Monday.

Premier Doug Ford and health officials say they won’t allow indoor organized events or social gatherings except for members of the same household. Restaurants and bars will only be allowed to offer takeout and delivery. Retail will only be open for curbside pickup or delivery except for big box stores.

The stricter measures come as Ontario reports 1,418 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, including 393 in Toronto and 400 new cases in Peel Region.

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams says Ontario flattened the epidemic curve before and he’s confident it can be done again.


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